Why would anyone think that Japanese is harder than any other language to learn?
Why the learning of the Japanese language has been unfairly labeled as a difficult language, I'll never know. I feel that if you want to learn a language you should try the Japanese language. There are plenty of reasons why but let me first tell you a few of the reasons why I think that Japanese is in fact one of the easier languages to learn.
One reason why Japanese might be an easier language to learn is because there are only four tenses in which a verb can take. A lot less than English which has a multitude of various irregularities to deal with. Another big reason why Japanese might be easier to learn than other languages is because, there are so many common words that are exactly the same in Japanese as they are in English. It only takes a little bit of time before one can start getting use to Japanese pronunciation, but when one does then a plethora of vocabulary words will be at your command.
In Japanese, foreign words are heavily borrowed. I would almost venture to say that if you want to speak to a Japanese person, all you would have to do is say what you want in English but with a Japanese accent or pronunciation, and your communication is likely to be understood. New words or words that are borrowed from other countries (gairaigo) are numerous and continiue to grow in number. Let me give you a few examples:
Spoon - supun -
Fork - fouku
Ball - bouru
Door - doa
Curtain - kaaten
Card - kaado
Toaster - tosuta
Juice - juusu
These are just typical everyday words, but the list goes on and on.
The Japanese language is a fascinating language to learn. They use different letters and script for writing their words. Their system for writing words and communicating through ideographs is very old. The kanji (symbols-ideographs-ideas represented by pictures or even pictographs) has been used in Japan for quite a long time. is a very ancient tradition and the language has evolved Let me tell you something: You can do anything you put your mind to! Now having said that, I would like to give a couple of reasons why I feel that Japanese is in fact an easier language to learn than English.
The symbol shown above is the Kanji, or Chinese character, which represents the word ai, or love in Japanese. Start today to recognize parts of the kanji as you would a constellation. The ai kanji itself is made up of various components (the heart kanji among other ones) that will become easier to recognize the more times you see it. Who said a little drill and kill will hurt you?
There are a lot of reasons why people might think that the Japanese language is a hard language to learn. People seem to think that learning Japanese is too big a task. A mountain can be moved with a little persistence and some good goals, so get to setting them up!
A couple of more Ideas on how to overcome the fear of learning Japanese
How to study Japanese for the first week and why kanji is so cool.
There is spoken language and the written language. Kanji has deep meanings contained within each one. This is much different from what we are expecting, because we have become through continuous use of our own native language, stifled by the alphabet. We can see the meaning of things inside the kanji. Therefore from the get go, we should try to wean ourselves from the temptation to look up words in Romaji to decipher meaning. We should use a dictionary like Sanseido's daily concise wa-ei jiten.
Verbs - Drink, Sleep, Eat, Go, Work (nomu, neru, taberu, hataraku).
- Be able to put learned verbs in all their bases. Bases I - V
- create sentences using all base forms from I - V
- Test your created sentences on an actual Nihonjin to make sure they really work.
Nouns: coffee, tea, milk, water, coca cola, sake, Aquarius, beer, juice (KO-hi, o-cha, gyu^nyu^, mizu, koka kora, sake, akuariusu, bi-ru, ju-su
Adjectives - oishii, suteki na, benri na, okii, nagai, samui, atsui, chisai, mijikai. (Delicious, cool, convenient, big, long, cold, hot, small, short etc.)
- Adjectives- are fun to play with. Practice putting the adjectives in front of nouns etc
Grammar - Know the masu, masen, mashita, masen deshita etc (polite formations of verbs)
- Become acquainted with the various levels of politeness; humble, honorific, plain form
Example Grammar Construction -
Verb (Base II) + Tai desu = I want to verb - polite form. - Without desu, its plain form or P.F.
Verb (Base II) + masho^ = Shall we +verb or let's +verb
Pronunciation - (distinguish between long and short vowel sounds) =
Be careful when studying Japanese for the first couple of times to make sure and pay attention to detail. The Romanization methods employed by the various types of Romanization of the Japanese Syllabary should be duly noted. For example in Japanese vowels can extend themselves into their double impressions where two vowels are connected into one yet the true pronunciation will be an elongated double vowel sound.
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Wa Ei or Ei Wa, Either way, you are covered!
The mother load when it comes to Japanese to English or English to Japanese Dictionaries. Essential for any serious Japanese language student.
Sanseido's New Concise Japanese English Dictionary
Amazon Price: (as of 06/11/2008)
The biggest and most worthy of Dictionaries available to you. The mother load is in Blue. Sanseido has always been my reliable back pocket friend. I love my sanseido. Mua!
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