"I think the Japanese culture is one of the very few cultures left that has its own entity. They're just so traditional and so specific in their ways. It's kind of untouched, it's not Americanized." -Toni Collette 

If you have the same opinion as Toni Collette or many other artists and people who love exploring new cultures, Japan is among one of the most interesting. Why? For so many reasons! From the appeal of the food, the beauty of the architecture, the serenity of the people, and the futuristic cities, there are not enough words to capture the essence of Japan.

Therefore, although claimed to be the world's most challenging language to grasp, after a visit to Japan, foreigners from various parts of the world are entranced with the culture and decide to embark on a learning expedition of the Japanese tongue. Are you daring enough? We sure hope so!

So, instead of coming up with a bunch of excuses about why you shouldn't learn Japanese take the plunge and stay motivated; the result is entirely worth it! 

Without further ado, in today's article, we shall consider some practical advice about how Japanese language beginners can climb up the ladder to become intermediate students in no time.

Learn From the Internet's Best Resources

There is no beating around the bush, Japanese is a harsh language to learn, and it sometimes takes years to go from a beginner level student to an intermediate one. Should that discourage you? Not at all since the most significant accomplishments in life come from a lot of hard work and effort.

writing and reading in Japanese
Japanese characters are very tough to read at a beginner level. (Source: Unsplash)

So, rather than spending more time looking around for practical resources than learning, Superprof wants to help Japanese language learners connect with resources that they can actually trust in and frequently use for months or even years. Such as?

We'll focus our attention on three fantastic online resources that have greatly assisted language learners in acquiring a foreign tongue such as Japanese. Also, it is worth stating that giants in the education industry such as Babbel and Duolingo are not going to be featured or mentioned since we feel that it is time for lesser-known sites to shine and make an impact.

Listening to Japanese natives speak greatly improves overall listening skills.

Tandem

Not to be mistaken with Tinder, Tandem has nothing to do with dating and finding a soulmate, but rather it is thoroughly educational and connects language learners. Tandem is perfect for interested students who want to extend their Japanese language skills and not spend too much money; Tandem language exchange is completely free!

The Tandem app can be downloaded on the Google Play and App Store, and luckily for Japanese learners, there are plenty of native Japanese speakers who are looking to take part in a language exchange programme with an English native from the UK such as yourself!

For free of charge, Tandem users can use options such as chat, video, translate, and correction with their language partner. 

But how does Tandem work? Have no fear; the following instructions explain to first-time users how Tandem is used:

  1. Create a free account using Facebook, Google, or your email,
  2. Select the language that you wish to acquire and browse through profiles to find a language partner that meets your needs,
  3. Start conversing with your language partner through the usage of the Tandem chat, video call service, and voice notes.

As someone who has extensive knowledge of the Tandem application, I highly recommend it. Why? There are thousands of glowing testimonials from individuals who were barely beginners in Japanese when they started and have now reached an intermediate level or higher to possess the ability to speak with Japanese natives.

Busuu

Kimonos
The people of Japan are so beautiful and accommodating. Learning their language creates friendships that last a lifetime. (Source: Unsplash)

Quickly becoming known as one of the most reputable academic resources available online, Busuu has created many foreign tongue courses that aid users. In what ways? Well, first and foremost, to acquire speaking ability in another language with a minimal effort put forth.

By visiting the Busuu website, students observe the fact that languages such as Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Turkish, Polish, Portuguese, and of course, Japanese can be learnt. 

The experts at Busuu claim that by dedicating at least 10 minutes per day of reviewing a new language, speaking Japanese with confidence can be done; sounds simple enough!

Busuu currently offers three Japanese courses that help individuals go from a beginner to an intermediate level. Such as? The following three:

  • Hiragana and Katakana: the Busuu app's Hiragana and Katakana courses help Japanese students learn to read and write letters in those two distinct alphabets. Reviewing this course aids beginner to become intermediate level students before moving onto the next essential course.
  • Complete Japanese: it doesn't matter if you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced learner, the Complete Japanese course with Busuu helps learners read, write, and speak Japanese by following structured lessons. Students of Complete Japanese learn everything from vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.
  • Japanese for Travel: while not necessarily recommended for learners who want to be more than beginners, the Japanese for Travel course from Busuu is a godsend for those planning a fortnight away in the land of the rising sun. Travellers/learners acquire basic phrases such as asking for directions and ordering food.

But why is Busuu better than other online resources such as Duolingo and Babbel? Well, for starters, Busuu's Study Plan helps students progress faster, the vocabulary is learnt in a way that will not shortly be forgotten. Also, the ability to practice with Japanese native speakers make everything better.

Anki

What is Anki? 

Probably the least known of all the online resources mentioned in this article, Anki has become a force to be reckoned with that is frequently being used more and more by secondary school and Uni students to acquire valuable information. How does it work?

Anki boasts a program that makes remembering things easy by utilising flashcards that feature topics that need to be studied. The flashcards learning method cuts down on study time since it does not rely entirely on traditional learning techniques that require a lot of time. Learning new concepts with Anki truly is the best since study time is lessened with the amount of learning is increased.

Topics such as the following are frequently studied with Anki:

  • Foreign languages such as Japanese,
  • University level exams that touch on subjects such as law and medicine,
  • Memorising people's faces,
  • Historical events and geographic locations,
  • To practice the chords of a new musical instrument.

We remarkably suggest creating custom-made Anki flashcards to practice learning new Japanese characters since they are so hard to grasp at first, yet knowing them makes a beginner advance to an intermediate level.

Now that we've been considered our three online resources, the question remains, are there any other ways to go from a beginner to an intermediate student in Japanese? Keep reading to find out more!

FYI, before we finish this point, it is important to mention that becoming a better reader in Japanese is also acquired by using flashcards to memorise characters.

Make Language Learning Entertaining

netflix anime
Animes on Netflix are very popular and grant Westerners the ability to glance into Japanese culture. (Source: Unsplash)

It goes without saying that to improve at anything in life, you must enjoy the process and like the material or topic that you are reviewing. We could pretty much sum it up by saying, if you're not having fun you won't learn as well. Therefore, to effectively learn a new language and work towards fluency, the experience must be enjoyable.

But how can acquiring a new tongue as brutal as the Japanese be enjoyable? Well, it is essential to state that not every single moment of the studying process will be rainbows and butterflies, there are some low points, but finding ways to make the tricky parts more entertaining is entirely possible. How's that?

Without further ado, we shall examine some ways to make the language learning experience of Japanese more enjoyable. Let's get started!

Make Japanese Food

Of all the world's cuisines, Japan's is the most delicious and I am not ashamed to say it!

Famous chefs all around the world dream of creating fantastic dishes from the fresh ingredients and savoury flavours from the island of the rising sun and that could be you!

Not only is a regular study programme necessary when learning a new language, but it is also essential to get immersed in the culture, traditions, and cuisine to make the experience more enjoyable.

So, start cooking delicious ramen, yummy sushi, and stringy soba noodles today; we know you'll have a blast. Also, we recommend following the recipes of Japanese chefs from insightful Youtube channels to get an ear for Japanese conversation skills.

Watch Japanese TV, Movies, and Listen to Their Music

If you're already learning Japanese, it's probably because you love the culture and everything about the island of Nippon. Therefore, it won't be that hard to convince you to watch television programmes, movies, and listen to Japanese music.

And since Japanese anime has become so popular in the Western World, it won't be hard to find a few good series or movies on Netflix or Prime that are Japanese. As a recommendation to beginners, we highly recommend watching Japanese TV shows or films with English subtitles to get a gist of what is going on.

In conclusion, at Superprof, we couldn't be happier with your decision to learn more about the Japanese language. We want you to continue in your daring endeavour, so please take into consideration all of the advice in today's article, and you'll move up to an intermediate level in no time!

Want to learn how to write in one of the world's hardest languages? Click this link to find out more!

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Jess