How To's

How To Learn Japanese By Yourself

Update 1.1 – Added Japanese Language – bond Japanese

Hello everyone this is one of the first how to’s here at Anime Athena and I know that some people would want to learn Japanese at the convenience of their own time and for free.

The Japanese language has three writing systems namely, Katakana, Hiragana, and Kanji. Katakana is used for foreign words like “Cake (ケーキ),” “Door (ドア),” etc.

Hiragana is used for Japanese words “こんにちは (Hello, good afternoon!)” and since Japanese sentences are written without spaces, the Kanji writing system is used. It’s also shorter than writing the Hiragana alphabet. (See also 6 Reasons Why Kanji is Necessary ).

Romaji, also a writing system, is mainly used for non-Japanese speakers who know Roman letters like “Konbanwa (Good evening).”

Now, where to learn?

1) JF Japanese e-Learning Website

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Sponsored by the JAPANFOUNDATION, “JF Japanese e-Learning Website” teaches the basics about Hiragana and Katakana.

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Currently, it only has Elementary lessons and basics of Hiragana and Katakana. The website is fairly new and updated regularly. (Note: Updated as of March 2017)

This Website is free so you’ll only need to:

  1. Sign up
  2. Go to courses
  3. Add a Course
  4. Start Learning!

These courses are all self-study (comes with certificates too!) but they also offer tutor-supported courses.

2) Tae Kim’s Learning Japanese Guide

This Website handled by Tae Kim  will teach you how to learn everything about Japanese. Complete using apps in the Play Store or App Store, to YouTube Videos, and a Book.

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This guide covers all including Kanji for beginners, and it’s all for free (except for the book). However, don’t base all your learning in this guide as it is very basic and could turn some of your Japanese language practices to bad habits because of oversimplification.

3) Follow Japanese Language – bond Japanese

If you’re using Facebook regularly there’s a new page, “Japanese Language – bond Japanese.” The page posts stuff about how to use Japanese words, alphabet, and pronunciations.

The page’s sensei or teacher is Marina. She will show you how to naturally speak in Japanese, including gestures, norms, and accent. Sometimes they do Facebook live and the comment section goes crazy about Marina-san!

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4) YouTube

There are tons of YouTube videos teaching the Japanese language, some are all completely free while some charge for continuation.

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Just use the search term “learn japanese“or click the link if you’re lazy.

5) Japanese Media

If you already learned the basics, it’s time for you to practice them!

Start off with watching Japanese drama or “Slice of Life” films as they show how to properly use the language and get the feel of the Japanese Language as they say it.

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Next would be reading. Just like the English language, you know that reading makes you smarter (or better). However, reading is not only limited to books. If you like games, you could play JRPGs in Japanese!

Personally, I don’t recommend using anime as the basis of your Japanese pronunciations or sentence making, as it focuses on either speaking for children, speaking moe-tifully, or speaking very very overdramatic.
Japanese people tend to speak simple and in a courteous way, unless you want those nyaa~s and desu~s in your sentences and become kawaii~. (Note: Desu is generally spoken with silent “U” like all Us in Japanese words, unless it’s in the first syllable like in “すばらしい subarashii”)

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Then, listening to music.
Assuming you can already follow conversations in Japanese shows and can read Japanese sentences, you can now try to listen to Japanese music as it will practice your listening to Japanese words with different tones, tempos, and intonations which would naturally teach your subconscious mind to be able to understand Japanese.

We don’t have yet a list of J-pop bands so feel free to search for them yourself. I’d plug her music though 🙂

daoko

Lastly, going to Japan.
Where else would you use Japanese then? (We don’t have yet a list on what to do in Japan so stay tuned)

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6) If all else fails

If you’re feeling very unmotivated or can’t learn by yourself, yet you still want to learn Japanese, I encourage you to enroll in a language center near you or find someone who would teach you personally.

All that is said in this article will be updated regularly, given the time that new online sources will be contributed by our staff or viewers. Have any suggestions you would like us to know? Message us here or leave some comments below.

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