Living in such an interconnected and interdependent world, fluency and proficiency in more than 1 language is a crucial skill. Not only does it give you a sense of pride for mastering a new skill, but it also gives you the avenue to compete and succeed in a globalised society.
That said, there’s a reason as to why many are hesitant to add a foreign language to their existing skill sets. Learning a new language is known to be a challenging task that can be frustrating at times. This is especially the case if the language is vastly different from your native language.
The Japanese language is one of the languages that have intrigued many English native speakers. But it is also one of the more difficult languages to learn. In fact, beginners often make the mistake of jumping into pitfalls that not only trigger delays in their learning, but can even cause them to give up mid-way. We’ve listed a couple of these pitfalls so you may be aware and avoid them.
1. Don’t Bite More Than You Can Chew
Learning a new language is undoubtedly an exciting endeavour. You may have gone out of your way to gather as many Japanese books, joined social groups filled with people with the same objectives or even diligently follow Japanese media.
This enthusiasm is a great source of motivation to push your learning but if you don’t have a plan, it will be all for nought. The reason why the Japanese language is tricky to many native English speakers not only lies in the 3 different writing script, but also the different syntax rules, and also the politeness levels.
Not having a proper plan will be overwhelming and may even result in a burnout! The best way to overcome this is to enrol in a Japanese online course. An experienced and knowledgeable tutor will guide you through a structured curriculum so that you can learn the language with ease and efficiency.
2. Keep Kanji Aside For A Later Date
If you’re picking up the language on your own, don’t jump straight to the hardest writing script out of the 3, Kanji. Kanji uses logographic Chinese characters in its writing. The seemingly limitless vocabulary and complex writing may be too big of a challenge for a beginner.
Thus, start by learning Hiragana and Katakana. These writing scripts have fewer letters and each letter is not as intricate than those in Kanji. Once you’ve fully mastered both writing scripts, you are able to read the majority of Japanese materials! Only then are you ready to master Kanji.
3. Don’t Be Embarrassed To Make Errors
When it comes to learning, making errors and mistakes is a given. To move forward, you will need to make as many mistakes you possibly can to know what and how to improve.
So don’t be hesitant to speak to native Japanese speakers even if it’s in broken Japanese. Don’t be embarrassed to engage in discussions in Japanese! Embarrassment is an obstacle that prevents any improvement. You will need to practice your skills as much as possible to reach the level of proficiency and fluency you desire.
4. Avoid Self-Study Books and Blogs as a Beginner
Buying self-study bools and signing up for Japanese language learning blogs shows great initiative. It may work for some but take note that none of these modes of learning is tailored to your background. Whilst both have the propensity to boost your Japanese skills, it’s undeniable that contextual learning bears greater benefits. You will able to construct meaning based on your experiences and perspectives, thus making it easier to retain any form of information. Therefore, consider using self-study books and blogs as supplements to your Japanese classes instead.
Importance Of Daily Practice Sessions
You may take up the above advice and even sign up for Japanese classes in Singapore. But if you fail to practice, your efforts in avoiding the above pitfalls, and efforts to learn Japanese in Singapore will amount to nought. If you have no avenues to practise speaking on a daily, you can practice talking to yourself. It may sound rather bizarre and unconventional, but you’d practice forming sentences and pronunciation regardless. Commit to a daily journal and write about your day in Japanese! The methods are endless.
As a means to keep our staff and students safe, we have decided to move our classes online. We’re here to guide you through your learning whilst avoiding the common pitfalls many beginners fall into. We look forward to being physically present in your learning journey once the circuit breaker measures have been lifted. In the meantime, let’s continue doing our part to keep the community safe by practising good personal hygiene and social responsibility.