“Tips on how to learn Japanese? Yes, please!” Even more so if we are talking about one of the most difficult languages in the world (I wish it were a path of lotus flowers, but it’s not). Many of those who decide to learn it give up halfway through, fed up with so many Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana. Others continue even though it is a challenge worthy of Her Majesty’s best agent 007.
However, and in spite of everything, if one follows a proper line of learning, there is no need to complicate things so much… How to learn Japanese from scratch then? Let’s get to the heart of the matter.
Of course, these are just a few brief brushstrokes that have little to do compared to any Japanese course you can take at an academy, but we didn’t intend to teach a whole language in a single article! (for impossible missions we already have Tom Cruise). Anyway, I’m sure they will be very useful if you want to study this language but don’t know where to start. If you are one of those people, dear reader, stay tuned, because here are the 7 guidelines for learning Japanese that every beginner should know.
PS: furthermore, in line with not wanting to compare ourselves with any language academy (an article can never equal a good course). Because if you really want to learn this language you will need very good training, at least to acquire the basics.
Focus on the Spoken Language First
It is undoubtedly much easier than written Japanese. Listen and learn to pronounce its consonants and vowels by repeating the words out loud, especially those most commonly used. Keep in mind that this language has only 5 vowels, whose sound is very similar to their English counterparts. Once you have some practice, it will be time to move on to the second level.
In this sense, we usually recommend watching Japanese movies with Japanese subtitles. But since we assume that you are just starting with this language, you’d better download one of the many language learning apps for your cell phone and listen and learn words one by one.
Hiragana (平仮名 or ひらがな) is one of the two syllabaries used in the Japanese language (along with Katakana, which we will go for later) and represents mainly syllables and vowels, thanks to which any sound can be written in this language. Sounds that we will have already learned in Level 1. On the other hand, it is also used for verb and adjective endings, as well as for propositions and particles.
The 46 characters of Hiragana are very simple, so learning them should not take you long.
And now Katakana
Japanese syllabary (片仮名 or カタカナ) (also 46 characters long) is used mainly for foreign words and onomatopoeias. Each sound in Hiragana has its equivalent in Katanaka; so having already learned the former, you’ll have less trouble assimilating the latter. Have you memorized both already? Good. Well, now practice with them both writing and reading. However, if you’re talking about this Japanese alphabet, the article we have just left you will come in handy. For additional tips and information, visit Japanese Explorer to find out more info.