Everything You Need To Learn Japanese
Japanese (日本語: Nihongo) is a language spoken by over 125 million people, primarily in Japan, but also in various Japanese communities around the world.
Japanese is a Japonic language that has a considerably complex writing system consisting of three different alphabets: hiragana, katakana and kanji. All three systems have their own unique characters and rules for using them. The kanji writing system is based upon Chinese characters and has over 50,000 characters.
Interestingly enough, due to the shared characters, written Chinese and written Japanese share many of the same meanings, but the pronunciations differ. This means that a Japanese person can understand a great deal of Chinese, so long as it’s written down.
Japanese is the language of manga and anime; if you’re a fan, learning Japanese may benefit you and make it easier to understand and appreciate the beauty of the stories.
For some time now, Japanese has proven itself to be an extremely popular language to learn, and as such, you’ll find plenty of resources to help you learn it. We’ve put together a list of those we believe will benefit you the most.
Japanese Language Learning Books
If you’re just getting started with Japanese, you might want to pick up a Japanese course book or study guide. It’ll introduce you to the basics of the language, break down the grammar, provide you with plenty of useful vocabulary, and generally give you a solid foundation on which to build.
Learning Japanese usually has to be done in 2 parts: learning how to speak and understand spoken Japanese, and learning how to read and write it. While it’s perfectly possible to become fluent in spoken Japanese only, you’ll be missing out on a lot if you stop there. That’s why a Japanese kanji guide should be high on your list of study books.
A concise Japanese dictionary, preferably with romaji included, is a must-have for anyone serious about becoming fluent. You need to not only be able to quickly look up the new Japanese words you encounter, but see examples of them used in different contexts.
Japanese Children’s Books
There’s only so much you can learn from study books. Reading children’s books written in Japanese, on the other hand, will help you learn to read and understand Japanese in a way that’s more natural and fun.
These stories are very accessible; they’re written in simple Japanese, using easy-to-understand vocabulary, and usually come packed with colorful illustrations to aid in memorization.
Reading Japanese kids’ books out loud is one of the best ways to practice pronunciation and improve your language skills and comprehension.
Once you’ve got the basics and fundamentals of Japanese under your belt, you can turn to reading more advanced material, namely Japanese-language books written for older readers.
These kinds of books are often better for improving your reading comprehension and expanding your vocabulary than children’s books, which can become rather dull the more you progress in the language.
Japanese Digital Courses
For those who’d prefer to learn Japanese in a more interactive way, a Japanese e-course might be just what you need. Lessons are usually in audio and/or video format, and are focused on speaking and listening as opposed to language theory, as you’ll find with many Japanese study books.
Though you will learn grammar, vocabulary, sentence structure etc., you’ll do so in a more natural way.
Both Udemy and Pimsleur offer beginner-level Japanese digital courses at affordable prices. While Pimsleur’s Japanese course is audio-only, Udemy’s consists of a staggering 21 hours of video instruction.
Each course can be accessed from almost any smart device. With Udemy’s Japanese course you also get lifetime access to future updates, and membership to the active community of learners also taking the course, where you can exchange ideas and get help.
JAPANESE UDEMY COURSES
JAPANESE AUDIO COURSES
Pimsleur Japanese Basic Course - Level 1 Lessons 1-10 CD: Learn to Speak and Understand Japanese
Japanese Flash Cards
For an effective, efficient way to learn new Japanese vocabulary, nothing beats Japanese flash cards. Many of these will teach you the most commonly used words in Japanese, and some even come with pictures and/or digital audio files to help you with pronunciation.
Learning Japanese isn’t only about studying, it’s about practice. And while more traditional Japanese study books or courses are great, there are plenty of Japanese products out there that can aid you in more fun, interesting ways.
A Japanese poster with common hiragana characters is a great addition to your wall décor, and will give your vocabulary that boost it needs. And a Japanese-language video game lets you work on your listening and reading comprehension whilst having lots of fun.