Learn Japanese

Japanese is a fascinating language that serves as the primary means of communication for over 127 million people in Japan and is spoken by communities around the world.
It belongs to the Japonic language family and is characterized by its unique writing system, which includes a combination of characters borrowed from Chinese (kanji) and two syllabic scripts (hiragana and katakana). Japanese grammar is known for its subject-object-verb word order, extensive use of honorifics and politeness levels, and intricate verb conjugation system.

Additionally, Japanese culture and history are deeply intertwined with the language, making it a gateway to understanding various aspects of Japanese society, literature, and traditions. As a language with a rich cultural heritage and global influence, Japanese continues to captivate learners worldwide.

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Beginner level

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Intermediate level

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Advanced level

Japanese language

The ease of learning Japanese:

Lets start with the good news. Here is why Japanese is relatively easier to learn compared to other languages:

Pronunciation: Japanese has a relatively simple and consistent pronunciation system compared to many other languages. Once you learn the basic sounds of Japanese, you can generally read and pronounce words accurately, as words are pronounced as they are spelled.

No Genders or Plural Forms: Unlike many European languages, Japanese nouns do not have gender or plural forms. This simplifies grammar rules, as there’s no need to memorize complex noun declensions or verb conjugations based on gender or plurality.

No articles or verb conjugations for person/pronoun: Japanese lacks articles like “the” or “a/an,” which can be challenging for learners of languages like French or Spanish. Additionally, verb conjugations in Japanese do not change based on the subject’s person, making it simpler compared to languages like Spanish or French.

Contextual understanding: Japanese relies heavily on context and non-verbal cues in communication. This means that even if you make grammatical mistakes, native speakers can often understand your intended meaning based on the situation or context of the conversation. This can alleviate some pressure on learners and provide opportunities for effective communication even while still learning the language.

Italian conjugation chart

For visual learners:
Japanese conjugation chart

Interested in learning the most essential tenses in Japanese? Check out this Japanese conjugation blueprint.

This chart is made for those who want to have the conjugation process visualised. To have an overview of the rule of thumb for the essential tenses used in Japanese.

The difficulties and challenges in learning Japanese:

Now the bad news. Here is how learning Japanese can be difficult or challenging especially compared to other languages:

Complex writing system: Japanese employs three scripts: kanji (adopted Chinese characters), hiragana, and katakana. Mastering kanji, which consists of thousands of characters, requires significant time and effort. Additionally, the mix of scripts can be daunting for learners accustomed to alphabetic writing systems.

Verb conjugation: Japanese verbs undergo intricate conjugation to express different tenses, moods, and politeness levels. Learning and mastering these conjugations, along with irregularities and exceptions, can be a significant hurdle for learners, especially those from languages with simpler verb systems.

Politeness levels and honorifics: Japanese has various levels of politeness, which dictate how verbs, pronouns, and other elements of speech are modified. Understanding and appropriately using these politeness levels, along with honorifics, are essential for effective communication and can be challenging for learners unfamiliar with hierarchical language systems.

Cultural context and nuances: Japanese language and culture are deeply interconnected, and understanding the language often requires familiarity with cultural nuances, social customs, and historical context. Mastery of Japanese extends beyond grammar and vocabulary to encompass cultural sensitivity and understanding, which can pose challenges for learners from different cultural backgrounds.

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Past indicative – formal

Japanese present tense chart - informal

Indicative tense – informal

Japanese conjugation chart - form the present tense

Indicative tense – formal


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