Learning a new language, especially a complex one like Japanese, can be a daunting and time-consuming task, especially for native English speakers. Comprehending a new vocabulary, familiarising yourself with three different writing systems, and understanding the hierarchy of politeness can prove to be a challenge. Though mastering Japanese is not without its hurdles, a vital trick to honing your language skills is to make the learning process fun and engaging for yourself.
Reviewing flashcards and quizzing yourself with sentence structures are effective methods to learn Japanese. However, it can get mundane, and your motivation will slowly wane over time. So instead, it would be best if you thought back to the reason that made you invested in picking the language up. For many of us, anime was the starting point that first sparked our interest in the Japanese language and culture.
If you enjoy watching anime, then this will be a great study tool for you. Not only will you be able to immerse yourself in your favourite shows, but it also serves as a fantastic learning resource. Let us share three reasons why watching anime can vastly improve your Japanese language skills.
1. Familiarisation with words and sentences
Watching a show with native speakers zipping through a conversation at regular speed can be overwhelming for beginners. You will have a hard time discerning the words and sentences being said. A tip is to slow down the video speed – this helps you pick out the foreign words being enunciated. Along with the help of translated subtitles, you will soon understand the meaning of the sentence.
When you are more familiar with the Japanese language, you should not be relying on the assistance of such subtitles to capture the essence of what is being spoken on-screen. Instead, by toggling the subtitles to Japanese and repeatedly re-watching several anime, you will be able to link the familiar audio with the respective Japanese words you have memorised along the way.
2. An enriched vocabulary
You will undoubtedly struggle with understanding the vast vocabulary and big words thrown at you when you begin your Japanese learning journey – but that’s a good sign. This means that you now have a brilliant opportunity to buff up your vocabulary.
It would be wise to go through each word and analyse its meaning carefully when watching an episode. If you have trouble figuring out certain words, jot down what you are unsure of. A tip is to pick words that are applicable in the real-world context.
By keeping track of what you are studying and constantly being exposed to the various new kanjis and terms, you will reinforce what you know and get a more profound idea of Japanese culture. By the end of a few episodes, you will be rewarded with an enriched vocabulary and a firmer grasp of the language.
3. Improved pronunciation abilities
Language shadowing refers to an efficient technique of reading the subtitles on-screen out loud while mimicking the pronunciation of native speakers. In addition, streaming platforms offer you the benefit of slowing down the speed of an anime episode, which will help you follow the dialogue with ease.
That being said, you have to steer clear of shows with characters that speak unusual Japanese terms – for example, in science fiction and fantasy anime shows. Instead, the best choices for learning the language are generally slice-of-life shows and detective dramas. These shows tend to engage in an authentic conversational style, which is applicable to your day-to-day life.
Akin to singing a song, this method is terrific in aiding you to grasp certain tones and intonation of the language. In addition, shadowing the speaker in anime will significantly hone your pronunciation abilities and get you accustomed to grammar or speech patterns.
Kicking back with a bowl of popcorn to watch the latest anime episode while learning Japanese is a fun and creative way to familiarise yourself with the language. With such an exciting routine, you can develop a deeper appreciation and interest in the culture.
However, it is advisable to not rely solely on watching anime to expand your language knowledge. Instead, it is paramount that you also enlist in Japanese classes in Singapore, where experienced teachers can guide you to speak the foreign tongue fluently.