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How To Learn Japanese

Geraldine Said:

How long does it take to learn japanese and how do you learn it?

We Answered:

I had 3 years of formal study in college. 2 years here in the US, 1 in Japan. I also had conversation partners, so I could practice Japanese outside the classroom (very important!)

Honestly, I think I learned more Japanese in my first few months in Japan than from the 2 years of formal classes beforehand. There's a big difference between what you learn in class and how people speak everyday. Unfortunately you need that formal background if you want to really get good.

Another friend of mine moved to Japan with his wife. He knew next to zero Japanese, and was immediately enrolled into a nearby language school by his in-laws. When I met up with him again, we had both been in Japan for about a year, and his Japanese was better than mine despite only studying for a year. Of course he had a lot of help from his wife's friends and family, and he studied really hard too.

So going to Japan, and taking classes is definitely the key but be prepared for a lot of work.

Albert Said:

What is the best method to learn japanese?

We Answered:

I fail to see how you can attend college in any country without speaking AND writing the dominant language. You're going to have to write papers, and unless you take nothing but Korean courses you're going to have to learn how to write in Japanese. Not to mention that Korean uses kanji too (though obviously the name is different). I mean, think about it, would a school where the dominant language was English accept a foreigner who could speak English but only write in Spanish? I don't think so. You need to learn to write Japanese. If you have access to formal classes and tutoring, I suggest you start taking advantage of those ASAP, and set aside a lot of time in your day to practice speaking, reading, and writing Japanese.

Alberto Said:

How long does it take to learn Japanese?

We Answered:

I've got a degree in Japanese which took me 7 years of extramural study. I was working full-time, and the BA degree included some other subjects besides Japanese, so it wasn't like a full-time internal degree; that would have only taken three years. But I found studying Japanese very hard work compared with a European language. I've never been to Japan. My lecturer says that one year in the country is like five years full-time study. I've known several high school students who have spent a year in Japan on a student exchange, and they all come home speaking Japanese almost fluently. Japanese is said to be one of the four most difficult languages for an English speaker to learn; the others are Chinese, Korean and Arabic. It took me about a month each to learn katakana and hiragana, the two Japanese alphabets, with about 49 symbols each. Japanese pronunciation is quite easy. There are fewer sounds than in English. Japanese has a lot of homophones; different words which are pronounced the same, which is confusing. But the hardest part is the kanji; the characters borrowed from Chinese. Schoolkids there learn a minimum of 1850, and to read a newspaper you need about 3000. That's just the beginning; most words consist of more than one kanji. The word for national park consists of 4. My Japanese kanji dictionary contains 55 000 compound kanji like this. A few you can work out; the one for China is the characters for middle and kingdom. The one for Japan is sun and origin, as in land of the rising sun, but most are less obvious. I learned Japanese just out of curiosity, because it's such an alien language, and I've found it very satisfying getting an insight into such an exotic culture; the food, mores, handicrafts and all the rest. You'll find it an interesting hobby. I suggest you try to spend a year over there, either working or on a student exchange. Good luck.

Kristina Said:

Is it impossible to learn Chinese and Japanese at the same time?

We Answered:

I take Japanese and Chinese at the same time and I find it pretty easy. I started with Japanese though and I had trouble with the kanji so I decided to take Chinese and the Chinese really helped me with my Japanese because a lot of the characters mean the same thing although they are pronounced differently.
It's pretty fun, you should go for it.

Julian Said:

what is the best way to learn japanese without taking a class?

We Answered:

The alphabet can be learned fairly easily on your own, but Kanji is more difficult and may require that you purchase workbooks (they are usually available in bookstores in foreign language sections)

Speaking and listening are easily picked up through dramas, movies, and anime. Check out for a wide variety of free Japanese movies and dramas which have english subtitles.

Arlene Said:

How long does it take to learn japanese if you already know 3 langues?

We Answered:

Hmmm.. If you are very good with languages then you have a fair shot at becoming fluent yes. But maybe not in 3 years. Consider a further year student exchange and I'd think you'd be pretty close to it then.

Good luck

Ruby Said:

Where can i learn japanese online for free?

We Answered:

I just answered a question similar to this so I will just copy+paste my answer.

Books for newbies:
Japanese for dummies
Making out in Japanese
More Making out in Japanese
Barrons Japanese Grammar
A English to Japanese dictionary (I use Random House)

*A book that teaches Hiragana and Katakana. (You can find Kana Charts online)
The way I practiced Kana was to learn 5 or 10 Hiragana or Katakana a week, and just kept writing them over and over again.
KANA is simple because it is just a Vowel and a continent.
????????? ?A I U E O)
????????? ( KA KI KU KE KO)
?????????(SA SHI SU SE SO)

If you have a Nintendo DS/i you should by My Japanese coach by Ubisoft.
It is a great game for beginners!

There are some people who teach Japanese on YouTube, so search "Japanese lessons" has LOADS of Japanese dramas, animes, tv shows, all subtitled in English.
Listening to the language will help you.

Here are some good websites to help you as well (Look carefully for the little tool bar that says Lessons Beginers Grammar Kanji etc. to navigate around the site)

>They>They>They have lessons with audio clips just have to make an account.…

I also recommend to install the Japanese keyboard on your computer.
If you have have Windows XP or Vista then you can do so.
This will help you learn how to write in Japanese faster.…
^It teaches you how
It is a simple keyboard to use.
Whatever you type will be written in Japanese
For example
K+A =?

I hope this helped.
I know this is very over whelming but start slow and just have fun. Dont take it to seriously.

Start slow with Romaji, and beginners phrases, and words, then slowly work your way up. Dont worry about Kanji for a while.

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