Can you learn Japanese without a teacher?

Japanese culture is one of the most popular around the world. Be it because of manga, ramen, or the stern faces of the samurai, there are many reasons to love Japan.

But, can you learn Japanese without a teacher? Absolutely! There are even advantages to doing so. You can study at a fast pace or be as detail-oriented as you wish. Also, you don’t have to commit to the pace of a traditional class. You could also study your own favourite subjects, transcending the common “how do you get to the train station?” sample conversations.

Below, we’ve shared our tips to guide you on your journey without a ?? (sensei).

Hiragana and katakana

Japanese writing is composed of three systems: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. You’ll see hiragana a lot, as it is the base for most common words and grammar. You can learn hiragana and katakana easily, each in one or two months. These exotic characters will become so familiar you’ll be able to read words out loud without effort.

Particles and basic grammar

Particles are hiragana characters that connect verbs, nouns, and adjectives, showing the relationship between each part of speech. Familiarize yourself with how they work, and keep a grammar reference close by when you’re reading so you can look up other general rules.

Vocabulary and kanji

In any language, building vocabulary is essential to the learning process. In Japanese, learning more words is also tied to learning kanji, the Chinese script that was adapted to Japan. Use a spaced repetition system to master all the kanji and associated vocabulary, a method that’s easy on your time and on your brain. Come back and tell us how it felt when you saw ??? and instantly knew that it meant textbook.

Consistency

Learning a bit every day is more important than a huge effort in an afternoon every few weeks. Even if you only have 30 minutes, set aside some time daily to review hiragana, learn a new word, or take a learning session on a language app.

Immersion

If you’re not in Japan, you can easily find Japanese TV shows online that you enjoy, anime, books, music, or news. Reading and listening to content in Japanese will start adapting your brain to the finer details of the language while activating the knowledge you’re gaining every day. Plus, it’s the best part of learning Japanese: to engage with the culture and its people.

Putting your Japanese skills out there

Whenever you decide to connect with other Japanese speakers, you’ll find new opportunities to solidify what you’re learning. This can speed up your learning process and solidify what you’ve already learned, so you won’t forget it.

At italki we help you to improve your language skills by connecting you to native speakers and Japanese teachers in 1-on-1 lessons. You can clarify any issues, practice your speaking and listening and get suggestions on what to do next. All this at your own pace, for the price of an afternoon meal with friends, with total flexibility. Take your first step to fluency and book your trial session for $1!