How to learn Japanese – Preparation and tutorials
As a student of the Japanese language for about 2 years, I have gained some valuable knowledge on how to learn Japanese more efficiently. I have learned what to pay extra attention to in my studies. I have also come across some great tools that I use in order to improve faster in my studies.
Teachers in Japan are overall very good and have in most cases earned their teaching position after intense studying themselves. But what I have learned during my studies here in Japan is that a majority of the people that study Japanese are Chinese. Truth is, that is a disadvantage for a person whose native tongue is in the Indo-Germanic language tree – Which most languages are.
Tips on how to learn Japanese will differentiate depending on what your native tongue is. Here are a few key points to follow as you start your studies, or to make your studies easier!
- YOUR WAY – A lot of written study material from Japan will most likely be based on teaching curriculum’s on how to teach Japanese to students from countries where the writing structure is somewhat comparable. As a result, it is hard to find ways that is suitable for you. You have to find out yourself. Find which method of learning that suits you the best. Be open minded and keep looking and try different approaches. That brings me to one of my favorite approaches:
- FLASHCARDS – I used to find flashcards a waste of time but do not discard them. Flashcards have helped me out tremendously when it comes to learning kanji. Put the kanji in the front, meaning in Japanese in the back (preferably using hiragana) and write down up to five useful words in the back containing the kanji. Memorization of kanji is going to take time and requires patience. Therefore, I like to study the flashcards while I do something else (while I’m on the train or watching a movie). This makes it more fun and you will not lose your motivation as fast.
- STROKE ORDERS – again regarding the kanji. Opinions are wide apart when it comes to the importance of stroke orders. I started my Japanese studies in USA before I moved to Japan and I found not as much emphasis is put on stroke order here as it is in the US. Why? Kanji are composed of specific standard pieces, the main thing is that you learn to identify them, which you will learn to do decently pretty fast. I recommend that you give stroke order some time for the most basic kanji.
- JISHO.ORG – Tips on how to learn Japanese without recommending this free source would simply be wrong. Not only will you learn the standard pieces of kanji much faster using this, but you can use it without any knowledge in Japanese and find out what meaning each kanji represents.
As I wrote before “how to learn Japanese” is a relative term. I have given you a few tips that have been very valuable to me already.
Another source for me has been Rocket Languages Japanese course in addition to my language school and private studies. You can decide yourself which pace and what level you want to study at. It is also a very big help for your listening comprehension as well as your conversation skills. This is crucial especially if you intend to do most of your studying by yourself. They also offer free trials for those who are skeptical, which I am every time I have to pay for something online. The only thing I am not too fond of is the multiple choice quizzes, but for some reason it seems very hard to avoid that in quizzes and tests nowadays. The course is downloadable and optimized for tablet use as well. I will give a complete review of Rocket Languages Japanese course and further tips to assist you shortly.
Do you have any tips on how to make your Japanese language studies easier? Please feel free to contact me with tips or questions on how to learn Japanese faster.