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Scared about learning Japanese?

laratsukino
Asked 4 years ago

Lots of people say that it is hard, especially for English speakers like me, to learn Japanese because the languages are so different. It kind of discourages me, and I was wondering if any of you are also English speakers learning Japanese and have any tips/stories/anything to share to make me feel a little better? :)

Thank you!

Thank you all so much for your answers! I'm really glad this community is so friendly and supportive. I will try to follow your advice, and follow my dreams of becoming fluent in Japanese!

laratsukino
Commented 4 years ago

Know someone who might be able to answer this question?

4 Answers

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Sometimes going to japan and experiencing being in a world of japanese helps.  go on vacation there for like 2 weeks and u will soon get used to speaking japanese.  don't worry your friends and family will help u learn and get better at it :)

Emmachan
Answered 4 years ago

Yes, I agree that full immersion would be a good thing for learning Japanese! Unfortunately, I don't have enough money at the moment. But I am planning on saving up money and going to visit Japan once I become a bit more fluent, or even going to a special school there to learn Japanese as an English speaker! I really hope this dream of mine comes true, and that I can make friends there who can also help me. :D Thank you for your answer!

laratsukino
Commented 4 years ago

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For me it was very daunting. I had issues grasping the language. Mostly because of the grammar. For me, I tried to find patterns in things. I started to study kanji which helped me see the patterns, as well as increase my vocabulary. I also have worked hard to try and find books and sites that I could use. Tools were a big thing. Grammar wise, only 1 book helped me understand. "Japanese the Manga Way" was one of the best books I have read for learning Japanese. 

Between that book, this site, and wanikani, I think I finally have a perfect trio to help me learn. I used memrise for awhile as well. But I think I like this site better. Book for grammar, Nihongo Master for vocabulary and general study, and wanikani for kanji. 

Also as emmachan stated, visiting Japan and being surrounded helps a lot. Also making japanese friends that you can trade languages helps. I use www.japan-guide.com and found several friends whom I talk to daily. Usually in english as a few of them are studying, but I speak as much Japanese as I can, when I can. 

Chad
Answered 4 years ago

Learning a new language can be very daunting! Yes, the grammar kinda freaks me out to be honest, haha. But that is a good learning strategy, finding patterns in things! And I will have to check that book out. I'm glad it helped you! Thank you for your answer!

laratsukino
Commented 4 years ago

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As someone who self-taught Japanese for over three years, I wouldn't say it's all that difficult to learn from an English speaker's point of view. I'll try to give some reasons for that:

1) There are SO many resources online for learning Japanese. Whenever you have a question or don't understand something you can pretty much always find help for it online.

2) There are SO many avenues that you can use to practise Japanese. J-Drama, Anime, Manga, Japanese books, newspapers, pen pals, community websites (like this), skype. The list is pretty endless and I would definitely recommend finding some regular pen-pals once you have passed a beginner level of skill.

3) Unlike other languages, Japanese actually follows it's own rules (I'm looking at you English!). Words will nearly always conjugate to follow the grammatical rules and sentence structure is incredibly simple for word order until much later into your studies.

4) Kanji is tough to learn. There is no denying it. But it's definitely possible to self-teach just with 10-15mins a day for a few months and you will have a core set of Kanji down that you can use daily in conversation!

5) Speaking Japanese is unbelievably straightforward. Unlike English which has thousands of different vocal sounds, Japanese has a very limited set that is nearly always pronounced the same. There are very few exceptions to this such as す being pronounced as "ss" instead of "su", or し being pronounced as "sh" instead of "shi". But these are very easy to pickup, especially if you listen to Japanese conversation in television or anime (for example). This simplicity in turn makes listening a fairly simple task too, although you will have to start off slow of course.


Some other points:

- Speaking Japanese with a Japanese person is definitely the best way to practise but not everyone can do this, unfortunately. However you can meet plenty of people who can help you learn online.

- Decide why you want to learn Japanese. It's a long path until you have mastered it, but so far I've found every stage to be incredibly rewarding - from remembering a kanji that you studied a year ago through to being able to read a menu in Japanese. If you have commitment to learning, nothing can stop you!

- Going to Japan would definitely help, as emmachan said. However, I feel like it isn't at all necessary to learn Japanese, especially at a beginner level as it would be far too daunting and lots of things you wouldn't understand.

- Find a study buddy. Find someone that will assist in your studies. Say you just learnt how to ask questions in Japanese - ask them to your buddy and see what they answer, then you can learn even more words and progress together!

- The lack of spaces. This can be a huge distraction early and really offput you. However, in only a few days will you start being able to see the patterns in the structures and make sense of it, so don't be disheartened!

 

That's all I can think of for now, but feel free to ask me any questions that you can think of!

 

頑張って下さい Good luck!

Harry

ハリー (Harry)
Answered 4 years ago

Thank you so much! Your answer was so thorough and I now feel a lot better about learning Japanese. I will definitely follow your advice, and I think I can do this! -sends you sunshine and happiness-

laratsukino
Commented 4 years ago

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I'm not very far in my studies, but I've found that learning Hirgana and Katakana to be quite valuable in and of themselves. So even if you were to stop there, you'd still have a useful skill.

I didn't realize how much Japanese I've seen in my daily life (as someone who lives in the US) until I had internalized those two. It's all the little things like: phrases on t-shirts, text on a piece of candy, tv commercials, the menu at a sushi restaurant, or even the cat collection "game" neko atsume.


So, you don't have to be scared about learning the whole thing, even that little bit can be valuable.

Johnny
Answered 4 years ago

Yeah, come to think of it, I have actually learned some Japanese already, too! Like, in my current favorite anime, Cardcaptor Sakura, the characters said certain things a lot (such as {I apologize if I get these definitions wrong} "demo" which means "but", kaiju which means "monster", "itadakimasu" which I think means "Let's eat" or "I'm going to eat", "she-neh" which means "die", and "matte" which means "wait"). And I have learned little things through my time on the internet, such as "neko" which means "cat". Repetition is key, as they say! So maybe that is why I know these words. I will have to repeat, repeat, repeat as I study Japanese, and hopefully I will remember the words just like I remember these words! And I have seen several books on Hiragana and Katakana, so hopefully those books will help. Good luck in your studies, and thank you so much for helping!

laratsukino
Commented 4 years ago