Japanese is an East Asian language which is spoken by about 128 million people and is the official language of Japan. To this day Japanese is the only major language whose genetic affiliation isn’t clear. The strongest hypothesis links it to Korean, however there are many other ones that are also plausible.
Nowadays, there are various different dialects spoken in Japan, with some of them being vastly different from one another. Because of this, a standardised written language was added to the compulsory education system in 1886. The goal of this was to even out dialectal differences and help people from different regions understand each other better.
First of all, learning a new language is a great way to expand your mind. You’ll be exposed to a completely different culture, history and atmosphere compared to what you’re used to. Japan is one of the oldest nations in the world and by learning Japanese you’ll get the opportunity to learn about their rich history, speak to new people and travel to places you might not have had the chance to before.
Second, learning Japanese can be great for your professional career. Japan currently has the third biggest economy in the world only behind the USA and China. Regardless of the field you work in, you’ll definitely stand out from the crowd of job applicants if you have Japanese in your CV. Being able to speak to customers and business associates in their own language is a huge advantage to have.
Last but certainly not least, Japanese could be the perfect gateway towards Asian languages and cultures. Throughout its history, Japan has been shaped by many influences from Korea, China, India and others. Although nowadays these cultures might differ, they share many similarities that differ heavily from the Western world.
Many English speakers consider Japanese to be one of the most difficult languages out there. With a completely different alphabet, three separate writing systems and an opposite sentence structure to English, it’s easy to see why people would get discouraged.
However, learning Japanese might actually be a tad easier than you think. Getting used to the alphabet will take some time but once you do, you’ll quickly realise that there are thousands of words that the Japanese borrowed from the English language. For example, table is “teeburu” and internet is “intaanetto”.
Another interesting fact is that Japanese doesn’t have masculine, feminine or neuter nouns. They use the same ones, regardless of gender. Moreover there is no need to conjugate verbs to match their respective subjects. For example if you’re learning the verb “eat” which is “taberu”, the verb form stays the same in each tense. It doesn’t matter if you’re saying “I eat, he eats or they eat” it will always stay the same.
Japanese will certainly be a challenge, however with the right mindset and preparation you’ll learn it quicker than you might have thought.
With the amount of information online and all of the different resources available, how you learn a language is entirely up to you. You can buy books, listen to podcasts or watch YouTube tutorials.
However if you’re looking for a more hands on approach, then you might want to find an online tutor. TutorExtra is a platform that offers online courses in over 1000 subjects. Browse through our qualified tutors, choose the one that suits your needs the best and start learning today!