There is one common question nearly all beginners have when they become interested in learning the Japanese language. “How long will it take me to learn Japanese?” is typically top of mind if you have a trip to Tokyo coming up, or if you’ve always wanted to watch your favorite Japanese movie with the subtitles off.
Learning any new language is a journey. When it comes to learning Japanese, you’ll need patience, persistence, and a good work ethic. If you put in the time and effort, you can learn to speak fluent Japanese faster than you think!
Ultimately, your own goals, drive, and determination will be the deciding factor when it comes to how long it would take to learn Japanese. You can study Japanese casually and still make good progress over time, or you can crank up the effort and shorten the time frame.
In order to keep you motivated, we’ll take a look at the average time to learn Japanese if you work with a tutor and practice regularly. If you’re just looking to get a hang of the basics, you can stick with the first stage of basic comprehension. On the other hand, if full-blown fluency is your goal, be sure to check out the requirements for advanced-level Japanese!
Chances are, once you get started learning Japanese, you won’t want to stop. This fun and unique language is a joy to study, and the Japanese culture is full of rich experiences. If you started taking online lessons today, how long would it take to learn Japanese? Let’s explore.
Basic Comprehension: 6 Months
If you know fewer than 200 words, you’re in the pre-beginner stage. You probably know basic Japanese greetings like kon’nichiwa (hello), arigatō (thank you), and sayōnara (goodbye). You should also learn how to count 1-10 in Japanese.
At this level, you may not believe you’re very far along, but you know more than you think! After picking up the first 200 words in a new language, you’re able to recognize them in conversations between native speakers, and you start to comprehend these words. For example, if you know the Japanese word Kayoubi (Tuesday), you’ll able to pick recognize it in conversations.
At the pre-beginner level, start looking up any words you hear and don’t understand. Look words up on Google Translate, and review them with your Japanese tutor.
At this level, with one-on-one lessons and consistent practice, you will pick things up quickly. Within six months, you will know enough Japanese to be able to find your way around in Japan. You will be able to make hotel reservations, ask for and understand directions, and have basic conversations with Japanese speakers.
Beginner to Intermediate (9 – 12 months)
With a solid work ethic, you can advance to the intermediate level in an average of nine months to one year.
The intermediate level is more fun because you start to understand news and other TV programs in Japanese. You also know honorifics the words and terms to describe family members. At this point, you can proudly say you can speak (basic) Japanese!
Advanced Level and Beyond (2 – 3 years)
The average length of time to learn advanced Japanese is 2-3 years. At the intermediate level, you can understand most of what your teacher says, and you can follow along with TV programs. When it comes to using the language with other Japanese speakers, however, you still have some limitations.
This can be frustrating, but it’s important not to get discouraged. In order to get to the advanced level, you will need to be able to understand different speech patterns and sounds, which can take a long time. To really learn and understand the nuances of the language, you will need time, a great Japanese teacher, and consistent practice with Japanese speakers.
Reaping the Benefits
If you’re looking to supercharge your progress, working with a private Japanese tutor is the best way to go. You’ll get the personalized feedback that books and videos just can’t provide, all while getting your questions answered as quickly as possible. Online Japanese lessons make it possible to connect with a teacher anywhere in the world, including Tokyo!
Learning a new language like Japanese requires practice and perseverance, but the benefits are well worth it. No matter what age you are, time spent practicing Japanese is a great investment in your future. Are you ready to get started? Search for a Japanese tutor near you today.