The language and culture of Japan are probably two of the last things that spring to mind when you think about the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. But just like people learning Japanese elsewhere in the U.S.A, the Dallas area has plenty of options to help you learn Japanese, a language which is really worth the effort learning.
Japan is the 10th biggest country in the world with a population of around 126 million. The small percentage of Japanese people who speak English, and the smaller percentage of Americans who speak Japanese, means that learning this ancient language will open plenty of doors throughout your professional and social life.
Japan boasts a rich and diverse history and culture, as well as having one of the largest economies in the world today.
Just like Arabic, Korean, and Mandarin, anyone learning a new language is often put off by the perceived difficulties of Japanese, something which is more often than not, over-exaggerated.
But if you stick to the task, you will be richly rewarded by deciding to take language lessons in Japanese.
Whether you want to learn for academic, professional, or personal reasons, Dallas-Fort Worth has a range of language schools, colleges, cultural centers, and Japanese associations that are more than happy to help you master the language of the Land of the Rising Sun.
Dallas and Japan, Closer than Ever
Someone learning Japanese in Los Angeles might find more in common with the far east, than someone in downtown Dallas. And while there’s 6,000 miles between the Big D and Tokyo, Japan’s actually closer than you think. Have you ever been to the Japanese Garden in the Fort Worth Botanic Garden? Don’t forget that there are also plenty of Japanese restaurants around the metro area you can visit if you’d like a taste of Japanese culture.
There’s also the Samurai Collection. This includes over 1,000 pieces of Japanese history and culture under one roof. In fact, this is the only museum outside of Japan with such a collection, too. This is definitely worth seeing if you’re interested in Japanese history and is another sign that Japanese culture is alive and well in the area.
Taking Japanese Classes at College in Dallas
If you’re looking to study Japanese at college, you’re in luck. It's not just people studying Japanese in New York that have this option, there are a number of options for students looking to major or minor in Japanese as part of their undergraduate degree in Dallas as well.
While there aren’t many options for studying Japanese at middle school or high school, the language is becoming increasingly popular at college. Any Japanese course will often start at beginner level, before progressing to intermediate level when you have a solid grasp of reading and writing in Japanese.
Japanese lessons will also more than likely be taught in Nihongo, the form of Japanese learnt by foreigners as a second language. Tuition also largely comes from people of Japanese origin, and if your teacher is not a native speaker, they will be someone who has lived in Japan for a long time and therefore has an excellent grasp on the intricacies of the language.
Southern Methodist University
While you can’t major in Japanese at Southern Methodist University, you do have the option of minoring in Japanese. If you’re really into languages, there's also the option to major in World Languages, with the possibility to study abroad in Japan as an international student. Immersion in a foreign language is arguably the best way to learn, and a period of study abroad is also an often unforgettable experience that will teach you more than just the language spoken there.
The University of Texas at Dallas
The University of Texas at Dallas was founded in 1969 and has since grown into one of the top 100 colleges in the US. They offer beginners, intermediate, and advanced Japanese classes. Language instruction comes from the School of Arts and Humanities’ Literature and Languages departments.
The beginners classes will introduce students to the four main aspects of the language: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. By the time students reach the advanced classes, they’ll be broadening their understanding of the language, as well as Japanese culture and history.
The University of North Texas
The University of North Texas offers students the opportunity to both major and minor in Japanese as well as the opportunity to study abroad during May and June. These courses are operated as part of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences which can be found on the school’s Denton Campus.
There are also Japanese courses available at Richland College. These courses can be used towards foreign language college credit and are available for beginners and intermediate students. There are no advanced classes on offer.
The Beginning Japanese I class is designed for students starting with very little knowledge of the Japanese language. Students will be shown the four main language skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) and all the vocabulary they’ll need for basic communication.
Beginning Japanese II will have students continuing on from their last class. They’re expected to pick up a lot of new Japanese vocabulary during this stage and use it to develop their communication skills in the language.
By the time the students reach the intermediate levels, they’ll be delving into more advanced grammar points and developing a better understanding of both Japanese culture and history. By this stage students should be able to communicate to a level where they can hold a conversation with another person.
The second intermediate class focuses on reading, composition, grammatical complexities, and intense oral practice. This is when your Japanese studies will start to get serious. Once you finish the intermediate class, you’ll have to go elsewhere to continue your studies in Japanese.
Have you considered maybe hiring a private tutor to continue practicing?
Tip: It doesn't matter if you want to study Japanese in Philadelphia or Dallas, most courses start in the fall and you should therefore consider signing up for them as soon as you can. If you miss registration, you’ll have to wait a whole year before you can enroll again!
Japanese Courses at Japanes Associations and Institutes in Dallas and the Surrounding Area
Japan America Society Dallas Fort Worth
The Japan America Society Dallas Fort Worth aims to promote cultural exchanges between Americans and the Japanese through education, business, politics, history, and culture.
The society was founded in 1970 and has spent nearly 50 years organizing events, programs, and classes in order to bring DFW closer to the Land of the Rising Sun. The society organizes a number of cultural and social events including a New Year’s Celebration, a Japan America Friendship Night (with baseball!), and the Otsukimi Moon-Viewing Festival.
You should also consider visiting the Dallas Japanese Association which offers Japanese language classes for anyone over 16 years of age. The course includes forty lessons and runs on Saturdays from August to June.
There are a variety of levels and most of the classes follow the syllabus set out in the Japanese for Busy People book. The course costs $320 or $340 if you wish to pay in two installments. There’s also a $30 registration fee for new students.
Fort Worth Japanese Society
The Fort Worth Japanese Society has promoted Japanese culture in the Fort Worth area since 1985. In addition to the language classes offered by the society, there are also calligraphy, origami, folk dancing, taiko drum, tea ceremony programs. The Forth Worth Japanese Language School run by the society offers classes for both adults and children. There are seven different levels for adult students covering beginners, intermediate, and advanced students.
Students just starting out will be shown basic Japanese conversational skills as well as two of the three Japanese writing systems: hiragana and katakana. They won’t see kanji until they reach level 2.
Students won’t be able to move onto the intermediate classes until they can comfortably use both the kana (hiragana and katakana) syllabaries and at least half of their class will be presented in Japanese. They’ll need to master between 100 and 150 kanji before moving to pre-advanced classes.
The time taken to grasp the Japanese writing system means that fluency will follow on later. The focus of any language course at this level is to get students comfortable with writing phrases in Japanese in order to boost their overall confidence in the language.
The pre-advanced classes use textbooks that are fully in Japanese so students need to have a good understanding of the writing systems by the time they reach this level. Japanese is used for about 80% of these classes.
The format in each language school varies from place to place. For example if you would like to take Japanese lessons in Houston, they may differ slightly from Dallas. But likewise, different language schools in the same city can also have differing approaches to language learning.
What About Hiring a Japanese Private Tutor in Dallas?
If you’re not interested in learning Japanese in a traditional classroom environment, you should consider enlisting the help of a Japanese private tutor.
It doesn't matter if you are looking for Japanese lessons in Chicago, Washington, or Dallas, private tutors can be found across the country.
Private tutors can provide academic support for students who are struggling at school as well as teach Japanese to beginners, intermediate, and advanced students.
You should consider looking for Japanese native speakers with teaching qualifications and experience of giving private tutorials. However, you should also take your budget into account since the better the tutor, the more money they’ll probably charge you.
If you’re an advanced student, you might benefit from regular practice with a private tutor in order to work on your vocabulary, pronunciation, or even getting ready for college exams or the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)
Whether you opt for in-home private tutorials or online tutorials over Skype, make sure you’ve chosen the right tutor for you. You might not need a university professor if you’re just going through the basics of Japanese for a trip to Japan. However, you’ll probably need an experienced professor if you’re working on a Japanese paper for college.
In terms of budget, the rates of private tutors can vary wildly with so many factors to consider. We recommend shopping around before contacting anyone.
Tip: Look for private tutors offering free tutoring for the first hour so that you can see whether or not they’re the right fit for you and your preferred learning styles.
We highly recommend browsing Superprof in order to find the ideal private Japanese tutor for you. Take your time and think carefully about the reasons you’re learning Japanese and your budget.