How to Shorten the Time to Learn Japanese

Published September 24th, 2021

Congratulations! You’ve decided that you want to learn Japanese. Fantastic! The Japanese language is one of the richest languages in the world. One word can hold various meanings, and a phrase won’t have the exact translation for it.

Of course, with any language, it takes time to learn. The question is, are there any ways to cut down the time it takes to learn it? The answer is yes! In this article, we’ll highlight some of the ways and things you can do to do just that. But remember, at the end of the day, effort is key. So if you combine your efforts with our tips, you’ll be able to reach your desired time goal with no problems!

Understand your native language better first

First and foremost, you have to understand your native language first. If you’re learning Japanese in English, make sure you understand your own language’s sentence structures and grammar. It’s harder to learn another language when you haven’t mastered the backbone of your own.

There’s no shame in that, though. Our native language is one where we learn by ear most of the time. But it’s never too late to build the base and foundation for it. You’ll develop more understanding of how languages work and overtime, learning new languages gets easier. After that, getting into Japanese grammar can be easier. Or at least manageable.

Learn actively, not passively

Some people believe that you can learn a new language the way you learn your first language. That’s not true. You can't just immerse yourself in the language and expect to naturally pick it up over time. There needs to be effort put into learning. There has to be hard work.

When you’re a kid, it’s easier to learn new languages. You also get more attention from your parents when it comes to the language. When you’re an adult, you have to put in the same amount of attention for yourself, by yourself.

Reach out to people for help. Go to classes. Practice speaking, listening and writing every day. There are no shortcuts to learning. Immersion can be powerful, but useless when on its own. I know people who’ve been in Japan for years but still don’t know any Japanese.

Practice more, study less

This might contradict my previous point, but always practice. It can be easy to forget that language is a skill, not a collection of knowledge. What’s the point of knowing a language if you can’t use it? The textbook will always be there, but use it as a reference rather than a foundation. You can’t always be walking around with a textbook.

Not being in Japan is not an excuse to not practice your Japanese language. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people to get help. The internet is full of resources for you to find people to practice Japanese with. From apps to websites, there’s no reason for you to not have access to what you need.

Of course, you would want to have your basic Japanese skills down first. Don’t just throw away the textbook. Make sure you know your foundation. Your language exchange partner is not your teacher.

Don’t be a perfectionist

I can understand the need to be perfect. I’m a perfectionist too. The thing is, if you want to learn a language fast, you can’t afford to be one. You can’t know everything in a short period of time. You may only reach a passable level of communication.

You should get over your fear of making mistakes, because it’s inevitable. You’re going to make mistakes, and that's okay. You actually learn more when you make them. When you make mistakes, you put in effort to fix your wrong, and you learn from them better. So actually, in this context, mistakes are good!

Set your priorities

When it comes to learning a new language, the amount of information can be quite overwhelming. Be sure to prioritise properly. Grammar is key. Once you have a solid foundation of vocabulary, you can use grammar points to explain the words you don’t know yet. From there, you’ll be able to learn new words as well.

My mistake was focusing on vocabulary, but you won’t be able to use them if you don’t know how to string a sentence together to express your thoughts. Set your priorities!

Make time, not find time

Last but not least, since we’re on the topic of priorities, make Japanese learning a priority. You shouldn’t slide the learning session in between free slots in your schedule, but rather open up your schedule for learning. Having a consistent learning journey is one of the most significant aspects of language learning. If you're serious about learning Japanese, you’ll turn your coffee break into a quick, rapid Japanese learning sesh!

Get studying!

If you stick by these tips, you’ll be able to cut down some time off your Japanese language learning. Whether a whole chunk of time or just a little, it’s still some time saved! So grab your books and your language partner, and get studying!