Learning any second language can be quite an undertaking and for Westerners, how to learn Japanese is no exception. The Japanese language is different in so many ways, but it is those differences that make it such a fascinating subject to study.
The most obvious difference is the written language. Japanese uses three different character sets (Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji) that are nothing at all like the Latin alphabet. In addition to the unique characters, Japanese is read from top to bottom (vertically) and right to left. Next, there are a number of different sounds that exist in Japanese that do not in English and it takes a little extra practice to learn a whole new sound that you have never made before. The culture of Japan creates different language structures such as formal and informal phrases that can mean the same thing but are definitely not used in the same situations. With any language there are some words that exist in one that do not in another and that do not translate, Japanese is no exception.
That may leave you wondering how to learn Japanese and ,is it possible? Of course it is, it just takes the willingness to practice, time, the right attitude and the right tools. You need to be responsible for the attitude but when it comes to the tools, there are many great programs, books, and systems available.
There are some key aspects that you need to look for in any language learning system and a couple of things specifically for how to learn Japanese. The most important learning tool for learning Japanese is a large amount of audio material so you can listen to native speakers and hear the language. Japanese has different pronunciations and sounds than English and you may never pick them up if all you do is read the language, but hearing it and having the ability to replay it over and over is a tremendous help. A full transcript of the audio is important, too, because it helps you learn the written language as well as giving you a good reference for times that you can’t listen. The conversation format is very popular for audio learning because it flows better and in most cases is useful stuff that you will want to learn (“Hello, how are you”, “Where is the hotel”, “How much does this cost”, etc.).
A good system of learning new vocabulary is important and it won’t take long into your studies before you will need instruction on basic grammar and sentence structure. Quizzes and tests will help reinforce things for you and affirm whether or not you are retaining what you have learned. Perhaps the biggest key in how to learn Japanese is support. A person or a community of people that you can post questions to is an invaluable resource in the learning process. One program that encompasses all of these important tools is the Rocket Japanese language learning program. Click the links on this page to find out more and to answer the question of how to learn Japanese.