Learning a new language can be both a fun exercise as well as a challenge. Many people can't or don't want to invest their time, money, and energy in language courses or lessons inside a classroom.
However, by studying the basics, practicing the language, and exploring Japanese in novel ways, students of the language get to experience the joy of learning about a new culture, its' history and traditions.
If you are someone who has an avid interest in Japan and its language and wants to broaden your knowledge horizon by learning a new language, this article is for you. Read on!
Learn Japanese with Japanese Books
Depending on which level of learning you are at - beginner, intermediate, or advanced Japanese - you must choose your type of Japanese book to suit your learning needs.
Textbooks are ideal for students enrolled in formal, classroom-based courses. In fact, textbooks are the first resource that is prescribed for beginner learners of the Japanese language. Usually, the course guidelines provide you with names of textbooks so you don't have to go searching for them on your own. For the brave hearts, who opt for self-study, however, do some research to check which textbook you need to supplement classroom material with a good textbook or two.
Generally speaking, textbooks contain major lessons, covering such topics as Japanese greetings, asking for directions, or going to the grocery store. There are also some accompanying components to the lessons, including practice exercises, vocabulary lists, grammar tables, online components for students to post queries and keep track of their progress, and games as well.
Grammar books provide an in-depth understanding of the Japanese language. Choose from the 2 basic types of grammar books, namely, reference books and practice-based books.
It is important to understand the fundamental difference between a vocabulary book and a dictionary. Vocabulary books are specifically designed to aid the complex process of learning and understanding when and how to write, spell and speak Japanese vocabulary, which can't be found in a Japanese dictionary.
It goes without saying. But we will still include dictionaries in this list as they are basic requirements in the learning of any language. Pick a dictionary that is suitable for your level of learning and language skills. You will find plenty of options online as well as in bookstores.
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Kanji books are basically books on Japanese alphabets. They are a critical component in a beginner's toolkit for learning Japanese. Some Kanji books help students learn Japanese characters, while some serve as references. Kanji books help students improve their fluency in the Japanese language.
Manga comics are an extremely popular learning resource for Japanese language students. Here is why:
- They have fewer words, more pictures.
- They are loved and read by people of all ages.
- They make extensive use of Furigana and Ateji characters.
- They provide plenty of examples of Japanese onomatopoeia.
Self Study Japanese with Immersive Language Learning
Are you interested in learning authentic Japanese? Do you want to make the Japanese culture your daily guide to writing, reading, and speaking the language? Then, you must consider immersion-based learning that will help you live and breathe Japanese every day! Here are 5 easy paths to Japanese immersion, anywhere, anytime!
1. Japanese Television
Since language learning involves a lot of spaced repetition, Japanese TV series are a great way to teach yourself Japanese. Why? The same words and lines come up through the same voices, regularly, in TV series. This allows the viewer (and listener) to grow accustomed to the pronunciation and speed of the words.
2. Japanese Music
Many people underestimate the power of the simple act of listening, especially, listening to foreign vocabulary. Japanese music can help you with this. Choose songs that you enjoy listening to give yourself a useful listening exercise.
3. Japanese News
Watch the news in ordinary, everyday Japanese and give yourself an extraordinary practice tool. Many online Japanese news portals allow beginners to hover over more difficult words for explanations in simpler Japanese, and glossing all kanji with hiragana. This is a great way to hone your Japanese reading skills. Moreover, you can also familiarize yourself with the Japanese way of life.
4. Japanese Video Games
Switch your video games into Japanese. This is an easy way to pick up new and interesting vocabulary. For example, the very popular game, Pokémon, offers the option of kana (intended for Japanese children) or kanji, so it can be attempted by Japanese learners across all levels of learning.
5. Japanese Social Media
Speaking of switching language settings, try it on your social media handles. The great advantage of social media is that they are online, enabling users to change their language.
Learning Japanese is Easy
Japan is a leading country when it comes to technological innovations and work ethic which makes it a global force to reckon with. Japan is also a key investor in India.
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In fact, trade with Japan is an integral part of the national economy of India. Japan is also a major job destination for Indians.
With a working knowledge of Japanese, Indians can easily apply to companies that are in constant need of Japanese language specialists in cities such as Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, and so on in India.
Hindi and Japanese Share Some Close Ties
For Indians, especially those who speak Hindi well, picking up the Japanese language is not difficult. It is not common knowledge but the Hindi alphabet and Japanese alphabet borrow from the same concept. Both languages are written exactly like how they sound.
If you can pronounce every character in Hindi, Japanese alphabets should be easy for you to learn!
There is one challenge, however, that Hindi speakers need to keep in mind. There are so few vowels in Japanese that you may start to accidentally add in the rest of the Indian sounds into Japanese!
Hire a Japanese Private Tutor
Some extra support is always welcome in learning. In this regard, especially for beginners, online private tutors can play a vital role. Private Japanese tutors guide you on the path to improving your skills and fixing problem areas. Private teachers of Japanese also offer great flexibility in the class schedule.
Learning Japanese: Tips for Beginners
It is easy for Japanese language beginners to think that learning Japanese is a monumental task. This is not surprising, given the nature of the Japanese language, which is more contextual than direct.
Scripts for Writing Japanese
Learning Japanese as a beginner begins with an understanding of the basics of modern Japanese writing systems. Modern Japanese, which belongs to the Japonic language family, is a mixture of three basic scripts. They are Kanji , which are Chinese ideographic symbols , Hiragana, and Katakana, the latter two being phonetic alphabets (syllables).
There are thousands of Kanji characters, while Hiragana and Katakana have 46 each. Don't worry about when to use which script. There is one basic rule of usage, with some exceptions. However, some words written in Kanji can often have multiple pronunciations, depending on the context or conjunction.
Kanji is mainly used for the lexical elements, that is, nouns, verb stems, adjective stems, and so on. Hiragana has rounded letter shapes and is mainly used for the grammatical elements of sentences such as particles, auxiliary verbs, and suffixes of nouns. Lastly, Katakana has an angular letter shape and is mostly used for foreign words and for the purpose of emphasis.
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Using Study Guides
Study guides are ideal for beginners. A study guide allows you to have a feel of the language and shortlist your strong and weak areas. After a few lessons in the language, you would be able to decide which study method is best suited for you.
Don't just read the study guides online, only to forget about them later! Bookmark each new study guide you find on the Internet. Study guides can be used as references too. So, make sure you have easy access to your shortlisted study guides.
Many English loanwords appear in the Japanese language, which is actually a good thing for beginners because once you get into the language, you’ll find that many words are already available to you.
For students who already have a working knowledge of the English language, it should take about 2-3 years with full-time study to become fluent in Japanese. However, this will also depend on how much time you devote to daily practice.
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