The Japanese language has been one of the most popular languages in the world – and with great reason too! Aside from being home to some of the most fascinating historical and cultural sites, Japan has also gained international traction with their media: anime, manga, JPOP and Japanese game shows, amongst many other things.
Whilst many that do pick up Japanese as a foreign language are interested in Japan and its culture, some learn it for more pragmatic reasons. Even though being the largest economy in Asia is a title that Japan no longer holds, their influence on the global economy and the Asian market is still very much strong. Electronic brands such as Sony and Panasonic still have a good reputation for their amazing quality and efficiency. Those who wish to work for Japanese companies are encouraged to learn Japanese as the country is mainly monolinguistic.
If you’re a beginner to Japanese, you’re in luck! We’ve prepared a guide to help you get started on your learning.
Enrol In Japanese Online Classes
The most straightforward and effective approach to learning is to learn from an experienced and competent teacher. Whilst some may advocate for self-study, this method is not exactly the most effective option for beginner learners. By enrolling in Japanese classes, you’d be introduced to a structured curriculum and an experienced tutor to guide you through your learning. You’ll now have an individual to turn to whenever you have burning questions. Furthermore, they can give you personal insight into Japanese culture and history, an aspect that you won’t be able to attain when you study the language on your own.
Take the First Steps in Hiragana
The Japanese language has 3 writing systems: kanji, hiragana and katakana. As a beginner, do not jump straight to kanji or you’d suffer an onslaught of headaches early on. Kanji borrows logographic Chinese characters to represent Japanese words. The complexity and intricacies of these characters can easily confuse and demoralise a beginner.
Instead, start your learning with hiragana. Also referred to as ‘basic Japanese’, there are 46 basic hiragana characters that are relatively easy to master. Hiragana helps you to familiarise yourself with the pronunciation and the grammar components of the Japanese language. Once you’ve mastered this writing script, transitioning to other writing scripts will be fairly easy.
Find Japanese Communities To Interact With
Learning doesn’t just stop at books and class time, the real test comes in its application. A significant chunk of education actually happens outside of the pages of your textbooks and the four walls of your classrooms. Don’t be afraid to join communities that have an interest in Japanese topics – be it history, culture or just learning the language. Being surrounded by like-minded people will allow you to practise your Japanese skills. Engage in discussions with Japanese speakers, native or otherwise. Find a Japanese native speaker to be a language buddy and you can help them out with their English whilst they help you with your Japanese. Who knows, you can also make a friend or two in the process!
Practice Makes Perfect
Regardless of the route that you’re about to take, whether it’d be self-study or enrolling in classes, you won’t be able to effectively learn Japanese if you don’t practice the language on a daily. You will need to consciously make time in your schedule to practise speaking, writing, listening and reading Japanese every single day. It helps you to familiarise yourself with the language better and better retain the things that you’ve just learnt.
As we eagerly wait for the implementation of Phase 2 and Phase 3 circuit breaker measures, we at Japanese Explorer are offering beginners a chance to learn Japanese online! We hope to give an avenue for those interested to pick up Japanese as a foreign language and brush up on their proficiency and fluency levels – all whilst staying safe. Exit the circuit breaker with a skill upgrade by enrolling in our Japanese online class today!