Learning Japanese involves mastering four writing systems and thousands of characters, wrapping your head around obscure grammar, and navigating the tricky waters of hierarchy. Japanese is a difficult language.
But hundreds of thousands of learners like you pass the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) every year.
Japanese is spoken by about 126 million people, primarily in Japan. It is a member of the Japonic (or Japanese-Ryukyuan) language family, and its relation to other languages, such as Korean, is debated. Japanese has been grouped with language families such as Ainu, Austroasiatic, and the now-discredited Altaic, but none of these proposals has gained widespread acceptance.
Little is known of the language’s prehistory, or when it first appeared in Japan. Chinese documents from the 3rd century recorded a few Japanese words, but substantial texts did not appear until the 8th century.
Japanese is an agglutinative, mora-timed language with simple phonotactics, a pure vowel system, phonemic vowel and consonant length, and a lexically significant pitch-accent. Word order is normally subject–object–verb with particles marking the grammatical function of words, and sentence structure is topic–comment. Sentence-final particles are used to add emotional or emphatic impact, or make questions. Nouns have no grammatical number or gender, and there are no articles. Verbs are conjugated, primarily for tense and voice, but not person. Japanese equivalents of adjectives are also conjugated. Japanese has a complex system of honorifics with verb forms and vocabulary to indicate the relative status of the speaker, the listener, and persons mentioned.
Japanese has no genetic relationship with Chinese, but it makes extensive use of Chinese characters, or kanji, in its writing system, and a large portion of its vocabulary is borrowed from Chinese. Along with kanji, the Japanese writing system primarily uses two syllabic (or moraic) scripts, hiragana and katakana. Latin script is used in a limited fashion, such as for imported acronyms, and the numeral system uses mostly Arabic numerals alongside traditional Chinese numerals.
You can learn Japanese with the right approach
If your approach is wrong, obviously learning a language is very difficult if not impossible.
The secret to success is not hard work and regular practice. Many people, after years of learning, go to a Japanese restaurant and struggle to make a simple order. They wonder whether the results really justify their time and effort. Very frustrating.
Their biggest goal is to communicate and understand real-world Japanese as it’s actually used. But all they’ve got are random words and abstract grammar patterns.
Hard work alone does not lead to success.
They didn’t study hard. *They studied *smart. There’s a huge difference.
If you’re not using the right method, you’re not only wasting precious time, but forming bad habits that will prevent you from ever achieving fluency.
Every hour of study time has the potential to unlock brand new possibilities.
But it’s all to easy to waste that same hour mindlessly clicking on picture flashcards.
It’s all too easy to mistake the illusion of progress for actual improvement, and we’re sad to see some of our competitors take advantage of people new to digital language learning.
LinguaLift students who have followed our clear and sensible approach to learning Japanese have found they can fit studying in even the most busy of schedules.
From company CEOs to Ivy League undergraduates, to single parents of four children—we’ve seen that you can be a successful language learner even if you don’t have much time to commit to studying. You just need to study smart.
You’re probably wondering what our solution is.
The LinguaLift course is divided into a clear, step-by-step curriculum, where each lesson teaches you Japanese characters, words, and phrases relevant to real-life situations – but, in addition to teaching you the nuts and bolts of the language, we provide also cultural insights and tips from natives so you can not just speak, but act like a local.
We also make use of a memory approach recommended by the Harvard Medical School called spaced repetition.
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