Speak Japanese as a Beginner

“I want to be able to speak Japanese but I’ve never done it before and don’t know how.” I remember when I started learning Japanese I did not speak that much. I actually barely spoke Japanese for the first 2 years of my study! This was a HUGE mistake! I didn’t start actually picking up the Japanese fast until I was in Japan and forced into situations where I HAD to speak. So how do you force yourself to speak as a beginner?   Speaking Japanese is Key to Becoming Fluent In Videos About Learning Languages every single person giving… Read More…

A Simple Way to Start Speaking Japanese

It’s a bit overwhelming to know where to start when learning Japanese. I already posted Japanese – Where to Start which has advice on learning hiragana and katakana, and Japanese – Where to Start II which covers what to do next. So once you know the alphabet and some vocabulary, how do you start speaking Japanese?  Practice the following 3 steps regularly (even at advanced levels) and you will find yourself getting better and better in no time!     1. Speak Japanese This one might seem a bit obvious, but when you’re reading Japanese, any Japanese, read it out loud. This can… Read More…

Japanese – Where to Start II

Japanese - Where to Start

“What do I do once I’ve learnt hiragana and katakana?” In a post last year I advised that the first thing a person starting to learn Japanese should do is learn hiragana and katakana. This post listed various resources you can use to study hiragana and katakana as each person is different in their study approach. It’s important to learn hiragana and katakana as it opens up so many more opportunities for learning the language and helps with pronunciation and reading ability. Since then I’ve seen a lot of people asking “what next?” It’s difficult to pick a direction when… Read More…

Anime Japanese – I & You

Different characters speak differently in anime, and the most recognisable ones are the differences between men and women. We will discuss the full extent men and women are characterised to speak differently in Japanese in a later lesson, but one of the most noticeable differences in anime is the way people refer to themselves and others. Below is a chart of how some of these words are divided up. It’s important to remember though, that although some are more feminine/masculine than others, personal pronouns used in anime are interchangeable depending on the character type (i.e a masculine girl or feminine… Read More…

Reading Practice for Beginners

When you start learning Japanese you learn the hiragana and katakana along with vocabulary and grammar, but if you’re teaching yourself you won’t often get much reading practice to combine all those skills together in a useful way. So how do you practice? It’s good to start reading soon! It not only allows you to practice your vocabulary and grammar but also your understanding of Japanese sentences. This is particularly important at the higher levels where 80% of what you’re exposed to will depend on your comprehension of the language. The following are suggestions for beginner JLPT N5/N4 level learners.… Read More…

Verb Groups – Beginners Japanese Grammar

Plain form is also called dictionary form and it is just like “masu” form but is used in casual, informal situations. Plain form is the present/future tense and is pretty important because you use this as a basis to create other verb forms (like past and negative). – You can practice all of these using the J-Talk Online Memrise course Beginners Japanese Grammar 1 (JLPT N5 Grammar). See last week’s post on Studying Japanese Grammar for tips on ways to learn grammar. But the first thing you need to know about plain form are the 3 groups. Group 1 or “u… Read More…

Japanese Textbooks for Teaching Yourself Japanese

“What text books should I use for teaching myself Japanese?”   Using text books to learn Japanese can be tricky business because they are often made for class studying rather than self study, but it doesn’t mean they’re not useful if you can’t afford the time or money for classes. First of all when studying Japanese it’s good to know the answers to these questions: Why are you studying Japanese? What’s your goal? It could be to read manga, watch anime without subtitles, to be able to read/speak it while on holiday or for a possible career. Your answer will… Read More…

An Introduction to Japanese Verbs – “masu” Form

A lot of Japanese grammar is based in it’s verbs which when conjugated (changed into a different form) can give a very different meaning to the sentence.   The Basics of Japanese Verbs – “masu”* Form *Pronounced “mass” rather than “ma-su”, but in Japanese characters is spelt ま”ma” す “su” A few examples: かきます – “kakimasu” = to write いきます – “ikimasu” = to go たべます – “tabemasu” = to eat ねます – “nemasu” = to sleep します – “shimasu” = to do きます – “kimasu” = to come Most people when they begin to learn Japanese learn the “masu”… Read More…

Learning Kanji – From Beginners to Advanced

Kanji is an interesting part of Japanese that is not to be taken lightly, but not to be intimidating either. There are 2136 official regularly used (常用 / じょうよう) kanji, each with one to three or more readings but there is a pattern and a way to work out which readings to use. 1006 of the kanji are taught in Japanese primary schools, and the other 1130 are secondary level. After learning all 2136 you should be able to understand Japanese on the same level as a native 16 year old. But it’s important to start with small steps. The… Read More…

The Basics of Grammar

“I just don’t get grammar” This is something I say a lot. I admit grammar is a tricky subject for me, and I have personally struggled with it since I started learning Japanese. But it doesn’t mean you have to! If you’ve just started studying Japanese you might notice that sentences are structured a bit differently compared to English. You might be learning vocabulary and the kanas and focusing on how to listen to Japanese, but not so much creating your own sentences which are based heavily in Japanese grammar. Memorising vocabulary is fantastic but when it comes to speaking… Read More…

Retaining Your Japanese

“I’m trying to learn Japanese, but I keep forgetting what I’ve learnt!”  I hate it when I go to use a word in Japanese and I have to stop myself and think “I just learnt this! Why can’t I remember it!?” *Flips table* Well over the years I’ve found that you cannot retain information as soon as you’ve read it (if you’re like me; if you’re like my boyfriend and can then you can f-off right now because I am very jealous of you). So learning does take a bit of practice and although you might find it takes a… Read More…

Apps for Learning Japanese

If you have some form of small portable computer having apps on for Japanese practice is invaluable. They allow you to practice anywhere at (almost) any time. If you often find you don’t have time to set aside time to study Japanese using an app to practice if you’re commuting, or between classes, or even just in bed and can’t be bothered to move, is a great way to get that practice in every day so that you don’t forget too quickly. Use them for long enough and you’ll soon notice that you’re reaping the rewards. I only recently got… Read More…

Japanese – Where to Start

“I’ve always wanted to learn Japanese but I don’t know where to start.” When starting to learn Japanese I will always recommend learning hiragana (ひらがな) and katakana (カタカナ) straight away. Why? Because it is invaluable if you go to Japan (for reading and speaking), and most study guides will use these. They are the most basic foundation of the Japanese language. They are two of the Japanese alphabets and although there are 46 characters in each of these, it is not that difficult or scary to learn them! It can be done relatively quickly! When I started learning Japanese I… Read More…