While there a number of great reasons to learn Japanese, studying a foreign language is a challenging endeavor. One-on-one lessons with a language tutor is the best way to learn Japanese. Luckily there are also a number of fantastic resources, study tools, and learning hacks to supplement your Japanese lessons.
Olly Richards speaks eight different languages, and is the founder of the I will Teach You a Language website. Through his website, Richards helps students of all ages learn to speak foreign languages. Here, Richards shares his three simple, effective methods to help you learn Japanese.
1. Use Japanese EVERY Day
This may seem obvious, but a lot of people underestimate the time commitment involved in learning a language. Because of the way the education system works in the United States, we’re trained to believe that languages can be learned the same way as any subject, like math or chemistry.
While Japanese is an academic subject, the ability to actually speak and use the language is a skill which must be developed. For this reason, you need to find ways to use the language every day.
Consistent practice will help you strengthen your Japanese language skills. Just like working out a muscle, learning Japanese takes dedication, repetition, and hard work.
2. Speak Regularly
(With People you Like)
Language doesn’t just exist on paper; language is a primary form of communication. You know what it’s like to hang out with your best friends – the conversation flows freely. When you’re learning to speak Japanese, you may feel uncomfortable or nervous using your new language skills in front of others. You can overcome your apprehension by surrounding yourself with people you like.
Find a person or group of people you like, who you can speak to regularly! You will look forward to your Japanese conversation practice because you will be in the company of people you enjoy.
Regular conversation practice is another way to strengthen your “language muscle,” and remember, if you want this to develop, you have to practice every day.
3. Understand Why You Started
Learning a new language can be challenging and time consuming. What are the chances that you’ll actually keep it up, once the grind and the reality of the hard work sets in?
For most of us, language learning isn’t a matter of life and death, so we’re always susceptible to giving up or slacking off, especially if there’s no one to hold us accountable.
Your Japanese teacher can help you stay on track, and tailor his or her lesson plan based on your goals. You must know why you’re learning Japanese, so that when the going gets tough, you have the motivation to help you power through.
Photo by James Balingit