Whether you were inspired by your favourite manga or anime, learning the Japanese language is a useful skill. With a good grasp of the language, you’ll be able to develop a deeper appreciation and passion for the Japanese culture. Being fluent in Japanese allows you to explore and learn about the culture in ways that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. However, Japanese is considered one of the hardest languages to learn.
Apart from its complex writing system, the Japanese language also has a completely different grammatical structure from English and relies heavily on cultural context and understanding. Nonetheless, there are several ways that you can learn the Japanese language quickly. Here are 4 ways to master Japanese in a short period of time.
1. Master how to use everyday grammar
While you may be enthusiastic about speaking Japanese immediately, hearing the complex vocabulary used in your favourite Japanese movies or anime can leave you feeling overwhelmed. To learn Japanese effectively, take it one step at a time, starting with learning the most common words first. After all, no one is going to come after you for not knowing every single word in the dictionary!
Instead of beating yourself up over not being able to understand everything, focus on solely mastering the art of small talk. What do you say to someone when you meet them for the first time? How do you ask for help or directions? How do you ask someone for their name? Pick up the words and phrases that come up the most in everyday conversation. To practise your skills, it’s helpful to find a buddy who knows or is also learning Japanese to converse with you.
2. Make use of online resources
There are plenty of online resources and apps available to guide you in learning Japanese. To make your learning experience more effortless, it’s best to choose an app that’s simple and customisable. For instance, a customisable flashcard app will likely allow you to create your own flashcards for useful vocabulary that you wish to learn, rather than copying existing flashcards. As you improve on your language skills, this gives you the option to create a new deck of cards with progressively harder vocabulary.
It’s also useful to take photos of your everyday life and attach them to your flashcards instead of writing English translations. Associating the Japanese terms with things that you experience with your senses increases the likelihood of you remembering it, rather than memorising a dictionary translation. Nonetheless, be aware of the context in which you should use each respective term. For example, certain expressions are only used in formal settings, or with someone younger than you. The Japanese language requires you to be sensitive to these nuances in order to communicate effectively.
3. Keep track of your progress
Learning a new language requires consistent diligence if you want to master it fast. It’s important to evaluate yourself regularly and determine whether you are making progress with your learning. If you were able to sustain a one-minute conversation last week, can you do two minutes this week? Though it may be gruelling, it’s crucial that you push yourself more and more with every bit of progress made so that you can achieve your intended learning outcomes over time.
4. Get guidance from a tutor
Picking up Japanese on your own can be a challenging task, especially if you haven’t had any prior experience with the language. If you’re finding it difficult to improve in your Japanese language skills, a professional tutor can definitely be helpful in getting you up to speed in no time. Unlike apps and self-created vocabulary lists, a tutor will be able to accurately measure your level of fluency and develop tailored instructions to help you improve. A tutor will also be able to identify your areas of weakness and provide personalised assistance to get you on the right track.
At Japanese Explorer, we offer Japanese classes in Singapore which are designed to suit your needs. Led by professional and experienced teachers, our classes have an interactive learning approach that gives you the opportunity to practise your skills and clarify any doubts you may have. Sign up for our Japanese courses and kickstart your learning today!