If you want to learn Japanese, where should you start? In this article, we will introduce the basics of learning Japanese for beginners and recommended resources, perfect for you if you are a fan of anime and manga. Read to the end and you will know how to enjoy learning Japanese!
Acquire basic knowledge of Japanese language learning
This section explains the basic knowledge you need to know before you start learning Japanese. We will introduce two of them here.
- Types of characters and how to read them
- Understanding basic grammar
Let’s take a look at these two essential points for beginners of Japanese!
Types of Characters and How to Read Them
Japanese is written in hiragana, katakana, and kanji. We will explain the differences between each and the basics of how to read them. Hiragana is the basic character for the Japanese language. Hiragana is also the first character to be studied when learning Japanese. The basic way to read it is to pronounce it with consonants as well as vowels. The same is true for katakana in terms of reading, but it is often used for foreign words. It’s much easier to read than if everything were written in hiragana. And the key point of kanji is that the characters themselves represent a specific meaning, and the meaning can be recognized at a glance. Although it is based on Chinese, it has evolved uniquely in Japan. There are often multiple readings, but it is easier to guess the meaning and reading if you learn the “radical,” which is a component of kanji.
Understanding Basic Grammar
This section provides a brief explanation of important Japanese grammar points for beginners. The structure of Japanese sentences is SOV-type. English is SVO-type, which may seem a little confusing until you get used to it. A particle is attached to the end of a word to supplement the meaning or connect words. It is also important to note that verbs and adjectives change form depending on the word they are attached to. For example, “書く” becomes “書かない” when the negative “ない” is added. Did you notice the one-character change? If you look at another example of how to make a question sentence as one of the basic sentence patterns, you will see that you can add “か” to the end of the sentence.” I understand.” is “わかります,” and “Do you understand?” is “わかりますか” Please enjoy learning about the profound world of Japanese grammar.
Recommended Learning Resources for Beginners
This section introduces resources and tools recommended for beginners of Japanese language learning. These three are introduced here.
- Learn the basics with online learning materials
- Learn practical skills at language exchange events
- Use apps to learn efficiently
All of these methods are easy for beginners to learn, so let’s look at them in order!
Learn the basics with online materials
This section introduces online teaching materials and websites for beginners and explains how to make use of them. First of all, let’s learn what kind of grammar there is in Japanese at grammar explanation websites. It is difficult to learn just by reading, so we recommend practicing on free material websites. If you practice repeatedly, you will be able to consolidate your grammar. Furthermore, if you use video materials, you can deepen your understanding by seeing how grammar is used in actual conversations. You can also train your listening skills at the same time.
Acquire practical skills at language exchange events
This section describes how to participate in language exchange events and how to make the most effective use of them. Language exchange events are held both in person and online. To find online language exchange events, we recommend the app Meetup or Facebook groups. Also, when communicating at events, it is a good idea to do active listening and take notes instead of being passive. By participating regularly, rather than just once, you will get into the habit of learning and improve your learning.
Use apps for efficient learning
This section introduces and explains how to use Japanese language learning apps for beginners available on smartphones and tablets. Grammar practice apps such as Duolingo are effective for making steady progress in your spare time. How about replacing the time you usually spend casually looking at your smartphone with grammar practice apps? In the case of vocabulary and kanji learning apps, it is also recommended to review them repeatedly over a certain period of time. Even if you think you have learned them once, look back every week or month in order to retain them in your long-term memory. Furthermore, to consolidate these inputs, it is recommended to practice your practical skills with a conversation practice application. You can get feedback during the interaction, and the sense of accomplishment when you get the message across will help keep you motivated.
Even beginners who are interested in Japanese from anime and manga can learn Japanese while having fun by acquiring basic knowledge of the language and using effective resources. Let’s make good use of online materials, language exchange events, and apps to continue learning Japanese.
Ohanasi Kagawa offers free online language exchange events on weekends. Japanese and English learners are paired one-on-one and switch the language they speak every 15 minutes, so even beginners can practice their conversation skills. We have various rules in place to ensure that everyone can enjoy the event comfortably, so even those new to online events can participate with confidence. This is a great chance to make friends online with Japanese people who are learning English, so please check it out!