Studying Japanese on your own is challenging but possible. Some people prefer to learn foreign languages on their own because they get to study at their desired pace and focus on the subjects of their interest. After all, self-studying gives the student complete freedom.
Studying Japanese on your own is challenging but possible. In this article, we will speak about a few things you need to consider when you start self-learning Japanese.
Learn hiragana and katakana
The Japanese writing systems and their main components present some major difficulties students meet when they learn the language independently.
The Japanese language has been evolving for a long time, and as a result, it has three writing systems: Hiragana, katakana, and kanji.
Hiragana is the language base and can be learned relatively quickly for between 1 and 3 months. Hiragana is the Japanese syllabary. It is based on sounds rather than pictograms. It represents a fundamental topic you need to cover when you start learning. Once you’ve mastered it, you’ll be able to read the words out loud without effort. But Hiragana is only one component of the Japanese writing system.
Katakana is another component of the writing system, and it should also be covered in your beginner lessons. Similar to hiragana, katakana is a native alphabet based on sounds. Many Youtube videos describe how to read and write katakana. There are even katakana games to make learning more practical, fun, and interactive. When studying katakana most Japanese learners find it handy to use a typing converter. With the help of a Japanese converter, you can type any Japanese word and get it immediately converted to katakana.
The third writing system you need to learn is kanji. Kanji was actually the first writing system used in Japan starting from the 4th century. Kanji are ideograms, and each character is correspondent to a word. Learning kanji is more complicated than the other two alphabets, but you still need to familiarize yourself with kanji from the beginning of the learning process. Try to memorize kanji daily.
Build the fundamental vocabulary
When you start the journey of teaching yourself Japanese, you should focus on building a core vocabulary. This vocabulary is essential for reading, writing, and speaking. The easiest way to do that is by starting with the words that sound close to English. Then continue by studying basics and most common words such as “hello”, “please”, “thank you”, etc. As a next step learn how to introduce yourself in Japanese.
Familiarize yourself with the Japanese pronunciation
Using a pronunciation dictionary is essential when learning Japanese on your own. It will help you to learn how Japanese words are pronounced and get an insight into the language. Repetition and practice is the only way to get familiar with spoken Japanese.
Diversify your learning materials
There are many tools and learning materials to help you boost your Japanese. For instance, grammar books, subtitled movies, songs, and Japanese television can all be incorporated into your language learning process. Reading and listening to Japanese content as often as possible helps you adapt to the language faster. You can also learn Japanese online through language platforms and YouTube channels.
Conversing in Japanese
After you’ve learned the basics of the language on your own, you can start practicing Japanese conversation. In fact, speaking Japanese regularly is an excellent method to deepen your knowledge. Try to organize a language exchange with a Japanese native speaker. If you do not live in Japan and cannot find a Japanese-speaking native, italki can help. We offer a language learning platform that connects you to native Japanese teachers and online tutors. On our website, you can find Japanese teachers for one-on-one classes who will help you improve your level and entirely personalize the learning process. Register for a trial class with one of our experienced teachers to practice Japanese with.