If you’ve taken the plunge and signed up for Japanese classes in Singapore, congratulations! Learning a new language indisputably offers you an array of opportunities, from opening career doors to entering a world of new people and cultures.
But as with any learning endeavour, the path to proficiency is never straightforward. Language learning extends beyond the classroom – it requires you to put in consistent hard work to see the results. As such, to elevate your Japanese-learning progress, utilise the following three tips to learn smartly and efficiently!
Shift your focus from memorisation to recall
As you start to learn Japanese in Singapore, you might be tempted to leverage on memorisation to speed up your language-learning process. Although this might be necessary for you to get accustomed to the new language system, picking up the basic Japanese alphabet, memorisation is not the key to learning Japanese.
The trick is not to let the Japanese alphabet stay in your memory but to bring it to your everyday life and constantly recall what you’ve picked up in class. To help you get started in the practise of recalling, decide on five things you want to learn each week.
Ideally, these five things should be related. For instance, in a week, pick up five Japanese vocabulary to be used in a weather conversation. This method not only teaches you five Japanese words weekly but forces you to link and even form sentences with them. You kill two birds with one stone: you expand your vocabulary and practise using them in conversations!
Frequently tackle your weaknesses
Undoubtedly, no one is fond of doing or tackling things that they are not good at. One common weakness is pronouncing beautiful yet complex Japanese sounds. For instance, the Japanese ‘R’ sound is produced when you roll your tongue quickly, similar to the flipped ‘R’ sound in Spanish. If this poses a challenge to you, find a buddy to practise conversing with. You’ll be each other’s second pair of ears and check if you’re progressing in this weakness!
If you put little to no effort into your weak points, your learning progress might slowly taper or slow down over time. And in the context of learning Japanese, it’ll also affect other aspects of your linguistic abilities. If you’re not particularly good at kanji, for example, remembering their meaning, this weakness will ultimately hinder your learning progress. Having to pause every time to look up the meaning of Japanese words would be an obstacle to your Japanese reading.
Focus on patterns in the written language
Unless your reason for studying up Japanese is for its calligraphic arts, it might not be wise to focus too much on writing the language’s alphabet or kanji. Despite the alphabet’s benefit in committing characters to memory, the time and effort spent learning can’t be discounted.
Although seemingly surprising, the need for proficiency in written Japanese is mainly reserved for those truly determined to live and work in Japan. If your needs for studying doesn’t require extensive knowledge of each character’s proper stroke order, you might be better off skipping this part until later in your studies.
Instead, look out for patterns in the Japanese language. Not only do the endings of Japanese verbs offer the tense, but they also often provide either a positive or negative connotation. Knowing these language patterns can help you read and pick up Japanese more efficiently.
Learning Japanese can be challenging at the beginning. You might even feel discouraged and this could put a halt to consistent learning. But couple these above tips with your Japanese classes – you’ll soon be on the right track to consistent language learning.
For more tips in mastering the Japanese language, check out the effective Japanese courses here at Japanese Explorer! We offer extensive private and group courses led by our professional and native Japanese tutors. They hold the expertise to guide you and tailor to your needs and preferences.