Start to Learn Japanese Hiragana

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I often get questions about how to start studying Japanese, so here is my best advice. Many people want to "learn Japanese.

Learn Japanese From Scratch: The Ultimate Guide For Beginners

Does it mean watching anime without subtitles? Does it mean reading graduate level texts for research? Or becoming fluent enough to work doing a job other than teaching English in Japan? Unfortunately, a lot of people who want to learn Japanese have little experience in learning foreign languages. If you haven't learned a foreign language before, you don't really have an idea of how difficult it is to learn a foreign language and what kinds of problems you may encounter.

Most people give up in the early stages, so it's important to have realistic expectations at the outset. If you want to master Japanese, it will help a lot if you decide in advance just what it means to "master" the language. Specific goals are more helpful than vague ones. For example, it's much easier to measure your progress if your goal is "I want to read The Tale of Genji in the original" than if your goal is "I want to know everything.

Many students find measuring their progress one of their biggest motivators. The road to fluency is long and difficult. Clear goals aren't everything, but they help a lot when you get lost-- and you likely will feel lost from time to time. As with other languages, as you advance in ability the spoken and written forms begin to diverge significantly. You may be able to understand graduate texts on philosophy but still have no idea what a three year old is saying. Or vice versa. Having clear goals at the outset helps ensure that you develop the abilities you want.

Throughout this site, I focus on self study approaches. But I don't think self study is the best way to begin learning a new language. Languages are means of communication. You can't learn to speak by talking only to yourself. Tapes can be helpful, but starting from tapes can be lonely and depressing. After all, what's the point of learning to speak if there's no one to speak to?

Of course, there may be no good options nearby where you live. I wasn't able to start studying until I went to college. But I would recommend you do take a class if at all possible. Having a teacher guide give you a strong foundation in basic grammar will ensure that when you begin studying on your own later, you will be moving in the right direction and spend your time studying effectively. I studied more than eight years, and I have yet to meet someone who went from zero to fluent without taking a significant number of classes. Language is about talking to people, so unless you have a bunch of Japanese friends, the best practice you're going to get is in a class.

Since language is about communication, you need people to communicate with. Fellow Japanese students are a great start, but nothing beats a native speaker for motivating you to improve your Japanese. If there are few native Japanese speakers where you live, you can use the Internet to meet new people. There are a large number of Japanese looking to improve their English, so working out a language exchange arrangement shouldn't be too difficult. Skype is also an option, but unfortunately newer versions removed the feature that allowed users to search for people by country, rendering the software much less useful for meeting new people.

Learn hiragana and katakana the Japanese alphabets as fast as possible. Avoid romaji Japanese written in the Roman alphabet. Briefly familiarize yourself with romaji about an hour is sufficient and then move on to the real Japanese writing system.

Free Japanese learning games and tools

In Japan, romaji is used for your name on your credit card, strange advertisements, and the occasional song title- and that's about it. For everything else you need hiragana , katakana , and kanji , so it's best to start learning them as soon as possible. That said, don't avoid textbooks just because they use romaji. There are plenty of good older books which still use romaji ; don't pass up the opportunity to learn just because of the format. Japanese and English developed on opposite sides of the world. As a result, many everyday expressions simply don't translate well. For example, Japanese people often say yoroshiku onegaishimasu , but this is rather hard to translate directly into English.

Trying to translate everything you learn in Japanese back into English will only be possible for the first few months of study anyway, so it's a habit you should rid yourself of as soon as you can.

The foreigners I know who sound like idiots in Japanese often sound that way because they literally translate English expressions directly into Japanese, resulting in a string of words that make no sense at all. Instead of translating, get the gist of what the expression means, learn how to pronounce it correctly, and memorize in which situations people use it. There are absolutely no "tones" in Japanese like in many other asian languages and there are only 2 exceptions within the alphabet which will be explained later.

The Japanese alphabet does not contain letters but, instead, contains characters and, technically, they are not alphabets but character sets.

Learn Japanese: The Ultimate Guide For Beginners

The characters in the chart below are called Hiragana. Hiragana is the main alphabet or character set for Japanese. Katakana will be covered in Lesson 2. Don't wait to move on until you have all Hiragana characters memorized - learn them as you continue to go through the other lessons. There are 5 vowels in Japanese. All Hiragana characters end with one of these vowels, with the exception of n.

How to Learn Japanese

The only "consonant" that does not resemble that of English is the Japanese "r". It is slightly "rolled" as if it were a combination of a "d", "r", and "l". Exceptions: 1. This character is usually only pronounced "ha" when it is part of a word.

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Both of these are very simple to detect. Click here if you'd like to know why these two exceptions exist. Note: You probably noticed in the chart above that there are 2 characters pronounced "zu" and 2 characters pronounced "ji".

Start to Learn Japanese Hiragana Start to Learn Japanese Hiragana
Start to Learn Japanese Hiragana Start to Learn Japanese Hiragana
Start to Learn Japanese Hiragana Start to Learn Japanese Hiragana
Start to Learn Japanese Hiragana Start to Learn Japanese Hiragana
Start to Learn Japanese Hiragana Start to Learn Japanese Hiragana
Start to Learn Japanese Hiragana Start to Learn Japanese Hiragana
Start to Learn Japanese Hiragana Start to Learn Japanese Hiragana

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