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How to Learn Japanese Quickly

Over the sixty-five years since World War II, the change in the Western world’s perceptions of Japan. We went from being at war with Japan to being in love with it. Japanese cars, animation, movies, food – all these things have engendered a fascination with not just the little island country, but also its language. If you’re eager to find out how to learn Japanese, this article is for you.

The first thing you need to do before you start learning Japanese or any other language, is to determine the reason why you need to learn the language. While your motive may not be so important in beginning the study of other languages, it’s a critical factor in determining how to learn it. Why? Well, if you’re just going over to Japan for a very short time and will be spending most of your time with people who know English, all you probably need is a brief introductory course that teaches you a few essential phrases like hello, excuse me, I’m sorry, and the like. However if you need to speak and understand conversational Japanese from basic to intermediate level, then you need to learn more than just a few basic phrases.

If you fit into that category, you may want to try either a formal Japanese course at a school, college, or university. You may also find it more cost effective and easier to learn Japanese with audio-based language learning programs, software games or watching Japanese movies. Regardless of your choice of how to learn the language, make sure you select an audio-based method. You need to hear the language spoken by a native speaker. Books alone will not do. A good Japanese audio-based program is an example of an extremely natural learning method. It attempts to replicate the way children actually learn their language in the first place.

How does this work? Small children will first learn how their home tongue sounds like when their parents speak to them. They learn through careful listening. As this takes place, the children are picking up vocabulary words they’ll be able to use themselves as they learn to talk. Have you ever noticed that if you ask a toddler to “bring me the ball,” he will comply long before he’s able to form the words himself? He’s acquired a passive vocabulary, but not yet an active one. You’ll find, as you find out how to learn Japanese, that you’ll follow the same progression recognizing words first, then understanding them, and finally being able to use them correctly.

What about writing? You may ask. How will I ever learn to write Japanese if I can’t even read those strange looking symbols? Well, it’s up to you to decide whether you need to learn them or not. If you are just planning to visit Japan for a short holiday, then you possibly may not need to learn to read Japanese to begin with. However if you want to become fluent in Japanese then it is a good idea to learn to read the language as well. If you decide that for you, reading is an essential step in how to learn Japanese, study the kanas, hiragana and katakana, two basic components of the very complex writing system. And make flash cards!

Speaking the language is its most important aspect, and not reading and writing as most people would like us to believe. You will have a huge advantage over other people traveling to Japan who do not speak the language, if you can manage to learn conversational Japanese even if it is just at a beginner level. So regardless of your decision on how to learn Japanese, concentrate on learning to speak it well, and enjoy your immersion in another culture!

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