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How to learn Japanese?

Une professeur enseigne le japonais dans une classe avec des élèves


This is Baptiste, the founder of Tokyo Snack Box. I've lived in Japan for a few years and speak the local language fluently but that hasn't always been the case. Here are some tips that will help you achieve your language goals.

The choice of method

Japanese is a fascinating and unique language, which can be difficult for speakers of Western languages to master. You should therefore choose the method that best suits your profile.

There are several ways to learn Japanese, such as taking classes online or in person, using grammar books or phrasebooks, or listening to audio recordings. Find the method that works best for you and meets your time and budget needs.
If you opt for online or in-person classes, make sure you find a teacher or school that has a good reputation and offers a program tailored to your needs and level. If you prefer to learn on your own, there are many books and phrasebooks available that can help you learn the basics of the language. You can also use audio recordings to work on your pronunciation and listening comprehension.

The magic of repetition

Practice daily. As with any language, regular practice is essential to improving your Japanese skills. Try to dedicate some time each day to learning the language, whether through reading, writing, or speaking. The more you practice, the faster you will progress.
Try to find opportunities to practice Japanese in your daily life, such as watching Japanese movies or TV shows with subtitles, listening to Japanese music, reading books or articles in Japanese, or speaking with native speakers if you get the chance. Regular practice will help you retain what you have learned and improve your skills more effectively.

The immersion

Immerse yourself in Japanese culture. Japanese is a language very closely linked to the culture of the country, and by learning about this culture, you will be better able to understand the language. The easiest way is obviously to spend time in the country. But if you don't have the opportunity, use the resources at your disposal to simulate this immersion.

This will include, for example, watching Japanese films, listening to Japanese music, reading books about Japan and trying to cook Japanese food.

Japanese language

What scares many beginners are the different Japanese alphabets. Indeed, the language also includes two syllabaries, hiragana and katakana, as well as Chinese characters, kanji. Although these first two can be memorized in a few weeks, the kanji are much more numerous (more than 2000 to know how to read everything on a daily basis) and you will therefore need to arm yourself with patience and courage to learn everything.

Japanese grammar is very different from Western languages, and it can be complex for beginners. For example, Japanese does not have conjugated verbs or plural markings, and it uses particles to indicate the relationship between words in a sentence. You will need a basic grammar to understand what is being said to you, but the rest will come with regular practice.

When it comes to pronunciation, Japanese is less difficult than Chinese, with fewer intonations. It is always possible to improve but a French person should not have too much trouble pronouncing Japanese words.

Good luck ! Ganbatte!

Be patient and persistent. Learning a language can be difficult and time-consuming, but with patience and perseverance, you will achieve your goals. Don't hesitate to ask teachers or native speakers for help if you're having difficulty, and celebrate your progress, even the smallest ones.

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