The Japanese language is difficult to master and most students of the language never reach a competent level. Students struggle to speak Japanese even after months or years of study. There are several reasons for this. The language itself is very difficult. The grammar is completely different to English, there is a polite style of language and there are many dialects or “hougen”. Then there is the complex writing system – the two “Kana” alphabets and Kanji. With all this to contend with the learning process can become too overwhelming. Beginners usually feel they don’t make any progress in the first few months of study.
I highly recommend Rocket Japanese . It pretty much gets you speaking the language right away, and in contexts that reflect everyday life in a Japanese-speaking environment. This cultural aspect is very important and too often neglected in books. Rocket Japanese is the most comprehensive and best quality language package currently available for learning Japanese, especially spoken Japanese. The product is huge with 7 large learning components, that include 14 hours and 27 minutes of audio lessons. Also, there are 31 Grammar Lessons which include comprehensive cultural notes and lessons on Japanese writing, and fun and easy software based learning games for vocabulary, pronunciation, and writing skills.
The Japanese writing system is probably the main reason most people quit learning Japanese after a few months. Getting to a level where you can start reading can take months and even years depending on how much free time you have. Learning Katakana and Hirgana doesn’t take too long if you commit to regular study. However, Kanji is the biggest obstacle as it is very time consuming to learn hundreds of Kanji characters. If you are at the point where you have learnt Hiragana and Katakana, but can’t actually read Kanji in context, check out a product I made with my wife – Read Japanese Fast. It is a quick and easy way for students to learn how to actually read Japanese rather than learning Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji seperately.
How can I learn to speak Japanese fluently?
So, you want to get past the basics? Many people believe the only way to really learn spoken (colloquial) Japanese is to come to Japan and study. This is not completely true. If you are motivated, study daily and practice your Japanese often you’ll become a fluent speaker. Please check out our intermediate speaking cousre – speak Japanese fluently.
If you do go to Japan to study, you’ll discover most of the ( Mr. Tanaka & Mr.smith) text book Japanese language you learnt at high school or university just isn’t really spoken in Japan. However, you can’t just “pick up the language” over a few years just by living in Japan. Thousands of English teachers come to Japan every year. They stay for a few years and go back home not being able to speak the language at all. You really need to surround yourself with Japanese, understand and appreciate Japanese culture, speak and practice Japanese at every opportunity and put in some focused study time.
Japanese Friends: Make lots of Japanese friends. The Japanese people are wonderful and very friendly people. Before I came to Japan I surrounded my self with Japanese people. Soon I had a girl friend who was happy to teach me Japanese everyday. You can do the same. Try ans find some Japanese people in your local community. Let them know you are really interested in learning the Japanese language.
The Internet: I started studying Japanese about 12 years ago – a few years before the internet took off. Back then you could only buy Japanese language text books or expensive cassette courses. The quality of the books and cassettes was fairly average. Now, with the interenet there is an abundance of learning material out on the net. Learning Japanese has never been better. Most of it is free. Find yourself a blog or podcast and get started on learning the Japanese language.