5 types of advice to be efficient in learning Japanese
Autumn is coming, children are almost back to school, and you might want to think about starting studying Japanese!
Marie from Espace Langue Tokyo, a Japanese and French language school, would like to give you advice about the way to learn this language that might be completely new to you, especially if you just arrived in Japan.
1. When to start: the sooner the better!
You might be completely lost everytime you enter a shop and do not understand a single word of what the shop attendent say to you.
You might want to give you the time to get used to the sonority of the language, but starting as soon as possible will enable you to focus on the phrase structure of what you hear, recognize some words, and it will give a great satisfaction feeling to understand more and more what they say.
If you’re perfectly set down in your new place, had all your papers done, do NOT wait anymore, START!
2. Find your rhythm and stick to it
You have two options, either starting gently and slowly, or starting very intensely, depending on your goals and motivations.
- The slow pace: with a few hours per week, you might be frustrated not to be able to communicate as quick as you want, but at least you will assimilate everything little by little and will not lose your motivation because it is too difficult.
- The intensive course: studying a language 4 hours a day might be very exhausting, but at least, within 4 weeks you will be able to have a simple conversation and know the basics required to ‘survive’ in the everyday life.
You can still take some break afterwards to ‘digest’ all the things you learned, quietly at home.
No matter what, stay regular. If you see that it is too much, slow down but never give up!
3. Method : a bit of everything every time
If you can, start getting familiar with the syllabi system ‘hiragana’ and ‘katakana’ before taking a class, at least to visualize them.
If you are interested in taking classes or private lessons with a Japanese teacher, you will learn the proper order of writing them.
At the same time, you will study grammar and vocabulary little by little and will be very excited to be able to say, write and read more and more things after each session!
4. Studying time : do not content yourself with classes only
Spend time EVERYDAY, even it is just 10 minutes, to review what you studied during the class. Ideally, if you have 2 weekly lessons of 1:30, you should spend 1:30 studying in between. This self studying time includes reviewing, but also homework exercices.
5. Manual : study with a commonly used one!
Minna no Nihongo is a recognized method that is used in many schools in Japan but also abroad. Same thing applies to Japanese for busy people. The advantage of studying with those references will be that if you change school, teachers, countries, it will be very easy to asset your level and know what you know and do not know yet.
If you want to get familiar with the language before studying in a school, there are many other books (more appropriate to self studying), that you can order online or get in specialized librairies such as Sogakusha.
We hope those pieces of advice will help you getting started!