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So you want to learn how to speak Japanese, but don't know where to start? This page will direct you to where you should begin. Below you will find lessons for beginners, writing lessons, information on pronunciation and comprehension, where to find dictionaries and translation services, information for travelers to Japan, audio lessons, culture lessons and articles about the culture of Japan.
Take your time and review all the material available. It is important when learning a language to start with the basics, but also with something fun and engaging so that you are motivated to keep with it. If you are planning on going to Japan, I recommend familiarizing yourself with my basic writing lessons. Hiragana and katakana, the two basic writing systems, are easy to learn. Knowing how to read basic information (trains, buses, food, etc) will really increase your confidence and independence.
It is also very important to work on your listening practice. Therefore I recommend familiarizing yourself with the sounds and rhythms of the language. This will go a long way towards being able to speak with a Japanese person. Hearing someone speak in Japanese and being able to answer appropriately is very rewarding for the beginner.
I think a great way to start your journey is with some basic Japanese phrases. Just a simple hello, good morning or good afternoon can go a long way. Using my simple phrase lessons in conjunction with the audio files to check your pronunciation will have you communication effectively in no time. You can find video files here. Some people find they learn better from actually seeing the person speaking. If that sounds like you, then I recommend checking them out.
The Japanese language will seem very different at first from your native language, but it is not as hard to learn as many people think. It is quite a logically laid out language and once you learn basic reading skills it will be easy to pronounce any word you can read. Unlike English, for example, how a word is written in Japanese is how it is pronounced. For example, there are no 'spelling bees' in Japan because there is confusion in what characters to use to spell a word. How it sounds is how it is spelled. This may sound confusing, but if you learn hiragana it will very quickly make sense.
So, with all that in mind, let's begin to learn the language. Everything you need to start is listed right below this paragraph. There is guaranteed to be something to suit every level. Have fun and stick with it!
Introduction to Japanese - Are you new to Japanese? Familiarize yourself with Japanese and start learning basic vocabulary here.
Japanese for Beginners - Learn the basics of Japanese grammar and useful expressions.
Learning Japanese Writing - There are three types of scripts in Japanese: kanji, hiragana and katakana.
- Japanese Writing for Beginners - Introduction to Japanese writing
- How to Write Hiragana
- Katakana in the Matrix
- Frequently Used Kanji
Pronunciation and Comprehension - It is essential to hear a native speaker when practicing pronunciation.
- Lessons with Sound Files
- Japanese Language Videos
- Japanese Vocabulary
- How do I know which syllables to stress in Japanese words?
Japanese for Travelers - If you need quick survival skills for your trip, try these.
Dictionaries and Translations - Choosing the right words for a translation can be difficult.