The Best Tools for Learning Japanese

A good place to start is to watch Japanese movies with subtitles. You’ll learn how to piece together what you know and make sense of what you don’t. You can always split movies into smaller segments at first. One huge benefit of learning a language on your own is relevance—you only need to learn what you want to learn. Specifically, you’ll want to know simple Japanese sentence structure, the basics of Japanese verbs and how Japanese particles work. Next, you’ll want to start building your core vocabulary in Japanese.

  1. I wanted to be unique, and I didn’t want people to think I was copying other people.
  2. Join an online community or a conversation club, play online games, talk to native speakers… Possibilities are endless.
  3. Available resources begin to dry up, in both number and quality, and learners get stuck or plateau.
  4. You will hear both of the consonants as separate sounds.
  5. This type of practice is essential for improving all areas of your Japanese.

With pronunciation, it’s best to put the time and work in now, at the beginning. You can also shadow using textbooks, if they come with audio. It’s one thing to read and process, but it’s another entirely to get comfortable using the grammar in conversation. While kanji can be daunting, it’s still highly important because of how linked kanji is to vocabulary.

Commit to Specific Learning Resources

And you should start now, because in six weeks you’ll be needing to utilize this habit a lot more. If this step doesn’t happen, everything else will fall apart. Instead, you need to do things the hard way (i.e. the correct way) right from the start.

So even though I knew a natural way to say something (because I heard someone else say it correctly), I would try to say it in a different way (and often fail). When I got to an intermediate level, I knew enough Japanese to be creative and express my thoughts and feelings. If you’re just starting with Japanese or know just a little, this video and the cheat sheet might help give you a better overview of how Japanese grammar works. Additional choices for textbooks, such as the Nakama series, can be found on the Resources page of the wiki. Get results from both the General dictionary and the Collaborative one through one single interface! Reading through this guide, I found myself impressed at just how well it reflected the problems that I faced while learning, and how thorough it was.

Yet, virtually all of the people I know who became good at another language wrote things down in a notebook or on flashcards. I highly recommend you do this if you have the chance to talk with native Japanese speakers. The Japanese sounds system consists of a total of 23 consonant sounds and 5 vowel sounds (Compared to English with 24? consonant sounds and 14 vowel sounds). Additional sounds, such as double consonants and glides, are formed by glottal stops or combining the “i” sound with the “y” sound. Note that DuoLingo and other similar apps are generally NOT recommended.

Self-advertisement is referring or linking to a platform or product under control of poster. Self-promotion is writing, referring, or linking content created by the poster. Try to only answer questions within your knowledge of the subject. With that, remember that answers you receive are never guaranteed to be 100% correct. Consider the OP’s skill level when answering a question. Use furigana if you think they won’t understand your kanji usage.


Also, try to study smart to make the most of your lesson time. You never know where learning Japanese will take you. Whatever your reason is, learning Japanese is very rewarding. Maybe there’s someone special in your life who speaks Japanese. Also, when you feel discouraged, remind yourself of all the reasons why you want to learn Japanese. But using hacks to learn a new language isn’t only about being familiar with memory techniques.

You won’t be spending your grammar study time looking up every other word. Instead, you’ll be able to focus solely on grammar, and you’ll know the contents of 80% of every sentence you see for the first time. When you say these sentences out loud, you won’t be tripping over your tongue because you’ll already be intimately familiar with Japanese sounds and pronunciation. The time you put into kanji, vocabulary, and pronunciation will begin to pay off.

Make sure you can pronounce all of the hiragana characters correctly before moving on. While hiragana alone won’t teach you everything, it is the key to understanding how and why Japanese words sound the way they do. It will also help you get the foundation you need for a native-sounding accent. At the very least, hiragana will get you 80% of the way there. Most Japanese classrooms spend an entire month learning how to read and write hiragana. Instead of writing out each hiragana character over and over to memorize them, use the guide below and you may be reading hiragana later tonight.

English » Japanese dictionary with thousands of words and phrases

So you’ll learn things that are not in most textbooks. However, be careful about using those expressions in real life. A lot of people don’t have the what are market movers time other may have to sit down for long periods of time and study. But keep in mind that you don’t need to study for hours upon hours every day.

That will also boost your confidence and prepare you for situations when it’s actually necessary to speak Japanese. Learning Japanese by yourself can be a lonely process, and being a part of an online community or having a language partner can keep you motivated. If you see friendly local people in the cafe, try to initiate a conversation.

Best for Understanding Grammar: Cure Dolly

When you learn a new piece of Japanese grammar, make sure to read explanations from multiple sources. Some will be complicated with hard linguistic language while others will be overly simplified. Making a habit out of using multiple explanations and resources for one thing will feel like it’s slowing you down at first, but it’s much faster overall. We’ll list some really good reference books at the end of the Beginning Japanese section, so make sure to take a look. Shadowing with audio and text strengthens your listening, reading and speaking skills all at once, for example. Finding ways to combine practice for listening, speaking, reading and writing, as well as vocabulary and grammar, will really help you learn efficiently.

Not everyone who learned to speak fluent Japanese studied in a classroom. But even if you prefer to study on your own, occasionally talking to someone from Japan will improve your communication skills significantly. The term manga covers a wide variety of comic books and graphic novels originally published in Japan. And contextual learning is very important in learning any foreign language. When you feel confident enough, you can try to watch a Japanese movie without subtitles.

This was a huge problem I had, and I noticed other people have it too. When I was a beginner learning Japanese, I was pretty much reciting the words or phrases I learned. James’ site is highly recommended for finding reading material that will help you with the difficult jump from Intermediate to Advanced.