Learning a foreign language is often associated with high-order thinking abilities or extreme intelligence. However, after you learn how to speak Japanese for beginners, you will have an entirely different approach to the whole language-learning matter.
There is no such thing as a “difficult” language. Nonetheless, Japanese has somehow found its way to the hall of notoriety, due to its alleged complexity. Let’s take a look at the following step-by-step method that will set you on the right track and have you mastering the basics of the language, much sooner than you expected.
Learn About the Nature of the Language
Too many people freak out when it comes to learning Eastern languages because they look like nothing they know. The elusive language learner, in fact, will feel that any attempt at acquiring ANY foreign language is too challenging a task for them.
Fortunately, the optimistic learner-to-be will be interested in knowing that Japanese is far more simple to learn that one would expect. To begin with, the entire language is made up of only 46 distinct sounds, which is much more simplified than other more “phonetic” languages. On the other hand, it is true that Japanese relies on many different subtleties that will require several years to master.
One of the greatest challenges that any novel learner is bound to come across involves getting used to a different writing system. At first, it is natural for you to confuse some of the characters. This will often happen until you get familiar with them. Confusion often stems from the fact that this language makes use of two different syllabaries; Hiragana and Katakana. Another feature that makes Japanese especially difficult for English speakers is word order. Whereas in English, the standard sentence word order is usually Subject + Verb +Object, in Japanese it is more like Subject +Object + Verb; whatever!
Learning the Basics
Learning how to speak Japanese for beginners can be a difficult and daunting task. Once you have acknowledged that Japanese is a whole new language to you and that in many ways, it is very different from your mother tongue you can begin to practice the first communicational tools you may need to use shortly. Start by learning a few greetings and salutations. Luckily, the web is full with interesting and useful sites that will help you carry out your task more effectively.
Some of the most helpful first phrases include personal presentations and general greetings. Together with the acquisition of these phrases, you can begin to learn a bit more about the different cultural meanings associated to each greeting, as well. Remember that learning a language is much more than just learning the actual words; there are so many cultural connotations to pay attention to, especially in the Japanese culture.
Move on to Short Conversations
You will be surprised to learn that just with the help of a few phrases, you are now able to move on to short conversations that can help you engage in small talk, in the event of a trip or a near encounter with Japanese tourists, for example.
A good starting point is always yourself and exchange of personal information. Another all-time favorite is the weather and traveling conditions –though this last subject may elicit responses that you are not yet able to deal with.
But of course, linguistic experts get it right when they claim that the best type of exchanges you can aspire to engage in concerns functions, such as shopping for a present, eating out or parking your car, among many other essentials.
One of the pros of these pre-rehearsed exchanges is that you will feel natural and have something to say when the time comes. The bad news is that you have no –or very small control- whatsoever over the other people’s responses, so be ready to say “I don’t understand” when the time comes.
Learn the Numbers
Since figures pop up all over the place when you are traveling to a foreign country (timetables, prices, hotel rooms), you will want to master the numbers in Japanese, too. Although this piece of advice may sound trite to you, it is basic that you are able not only to understand but also make use of numbers accurately.
Keep in mind that numbers are written in Kanji –Japanese writing system that makes use of Chinese characters- and are pronounced using a different variation of the original 46 sounds.
Go on to More Complex
Once you feel comfortable on how to speak Japanese for beginners, you should move on to more complex situations that require a major effort on your part. For example, put yourself in a situation in which you will need to use the language to communicate something a bit more advanced.
Besides, moving on to another level will challenge what you already know so much so that you will find yourself asking for more information or looking for more advanced help. This will help you keep the motivation level high, and motivation is vital to success on any language learning occasion.
Learn About Japanese Pronunciation and Variations on Japanese Sounds
You will soon learn that Japanese writing presents some strokes that mean that these words should be pronounced with an additional sound that can be placed within four different categories. If you are to master the language, you should begin to pay attention to these aspects early in your training.
As with many languages, English for example, you will find that intonation plays a vital role when it comes to conveying meaning. Pay careful attention to these subtleties and again, practice as much as you can. Since Japanese pronunciation is based not so much on intonation, but on a pitch, you will find that different words mean different things because of the presence of pitch or not.
If you are planning on becoming fluent, you should pay attention to pitch variations if you are to become a fluent and accurate Japanese speaker.
What about getting an instructor? You may be wondering what it is with the DIY approach to Japanese learning. Truth be known, finding a right language teacher is still the best way to succeed at learning a language, but still, there are useful tips that you can follow if you want to learn how to speak Japanese for beginners.