An English guy learning Japanese...

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by AdamA9, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. AdamA9 macrumors 65816

    Feb 2, 2010

    I want to learn Japanese - I've always been fascinated by the language, culture and country, and am planning a visit there hopefully either this year or next. I'm a snowboarder too, so thinking about going there during season, however, I would like to learn the language as I've heard it's not very western friendly when it comes to road signs or the locals speaking English (I could be wrong, but going on what I've been told by people who have been).

    I want to know, just how hard it is to learn the language? And also, would I be able to get by just learning to speak it, or would it be beneficial to learn how to write too, both in Romanization and script? And if the syllabic scripts, what type?

    Just how prolific could I be with a year of learning? I'm hoping that my iPad or iPhone could help me learn during my daily commute to work (about 2 and a half hours a day).

    Arigato :)
  2. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    First of all, Japanese is very 'Western friendly' when it comes to learning he language. It's one of the easier languages to learn. Most Japanese people people don't speak English, but if you can speak a bit, and understand hiragana and katakana, you'll be fine with regards to reading.

    With regards to learning, a year is plenty.

    Here's a tip. Download the podcast, ''. It's pretty good, it's free, and it's helpful.
  3. .Andy macrumors 68030


    Jul 18, 2004
    The Mergui Archipelago
    I've done a few years of japanese but in my experience I found podcasts and books a little disappointing. What I found the most productive was using them in addition to going to classes. Classes were the best for me - I found it much more fun and productive doing it with a bunch of other people.

    But in a year you can learn a reasonable amount easily. How to order in a restuaraunt. Introduce yourself and explain where you are from. Buy tickets. Describe and purchase objects etc. Describe the relative places of objects. And count (which is more difficult that it sounds :))!
  4. iNewton4000 macrumors newbie


    Apr 8, 2009
    on wheels -- usually 2
    Hey AdamA9,

    Just a quick note as I'm sure many will respond after with great advice (when they wake up)!

    Japanese is a very logical language, and some of the words are almost the same as in English. A lot of the complexity is if you want to be fully sex and class compliant (there's a good joke in there for someone...), but I think that if they see that you are trying, they will appreciate that.

    I bought a pretty basic quicky guide to the language and didn't really look at it much until the plane trip over(!); that, combined with my friend's limited knowledge from working there a month or two (isolated, and not really diving in to learning) was actually enough to do quite well; in fact, it was pretty fun roaming around and trying to figure things out.

    So yeah, in a year you could be quite comfortable for sure! (I recommend studying/practicing a lot more than we did!)

    I was over there 10 or 15 years ago and can't wait to go back: it's like being in the future -- and so clean! Returning to LA via ultra-laid back Hawaii was a total culture shock, and contrast in every way.
  5. AdamA9 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Feb 2, 2010
    Thanks for the replies. I was thinking of going with something like Rosetta Stone for learning, but may check out the classes in my area. I know there are a lot of language schools and what not, so I might be able to find something there :)
  6. H00513R macrumors 6502a


    Mar 12, 2010
    I took 4 years of Japanese and I can tell you it's extremely easy to learn as far as languages go. It's logically structured and there isn't the problem of male/female (which is one of the major reasons I can't for the life of me learn Spanish!).

    I highly recommend learning it. I've always been enamored with Japanese culture also. Though everyone would tell you to learn Cantonese now. ;)

    I haven't practiced in a few years, but have wondered how Rosetta would be for it. Let me know!
  7. iAlan macrumors 65816


    Dec 11, 2002
    Location: Location:
  8. AdamA9 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Feb 2, 2010
    After reading the reviews of rosetta I won't be trying that! And I'm glad they don't define a gender to everything. I'm also losely learning Slovak and they do that, it's very confusing. I would have thought after learning Spanish it would have been easy, but it's not.

    I've found some night courses here, 20 hours for £180 which isn't too bad I guess.
  9. ChristianVirtual macrumors 601


    May 10, 2010
    Ok, in this case it's me but I have some difficulties to hear and understand the native speaker. Grammar for short time stay is easy, kind of agree. But for example the way of counting things is quite different each time. And most problems I still have with these nasty little particles wa, ga, o, ni, de, ...

    Reading us quite easy, learn hiragana, katakana first then some basic kanjis. But focus on talking and listening.

    Helpful is a small app on my iPhone called KOTOBA.
    I should spent less time on MR and more in my books :rolleyes:
  10. SlovakApple macrumors 6502

    Jul 4, 2010
    In the heart of Europe
    Really?:eek::D But serious now,you are right about Slovak being confusing, tons of rules and tons of exceptions to those rules.

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