Japanese Language Courses

By Jessica Hetley - Last update

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Learn Japanese

Japanese Language is an incredibly popular choice for people looking to start learning a new language. This is partly due to the popularity of Japanese culture, which has swept across the world in recent year. For others, it is to do with the power of Japanese business, especially in the technology and video gaming sectors.

While some new learners might be concerned by the fact that the Japanese Kanji alphabet (there are 3!) is difficult to learn, remember that speaking is always much easier than reading for beginners, and that with practice, it can be mastered surprisingly quickly.

The Japanese language

Japanese Language is spoken by around 124 million people. Surprisingly, very little is known about where Japanese came from, and there is little evidence of its existence before the 8th century. Despite this, and despite the fact that is virtually only spoken in Japan, it has become a very popular world language.

There are 3 alphabets, Kiragana, Katakana and Kanji, all of which are used for different purposes. Most courses however, will not focus on all 3 (or depending on the course, on much reading and writing at all). New learners should not be worried about the fact that Japanese is as unlike English as it is possible for most languages to be, and instead enjoy the freedom of speaking a new language for the first time, and the connection with Japanese culture that it can bring.

Like all languages, you must keep practicing Japanese in order to remember it. It is amazing how quickly a language can be forgotten by speakers of any level, if they do not use it frequently enough.

The European Language Framework

Knowing what course is right for you depends entirely on your level. To help work out what level you are, using the European Language Framework can help a lot, as it explains in detail, what the tiers of each language are, and how easy (or hard) it is to achieve them.

If you have not so much as looked at a manga, watched an anime or taken a Japanese lesson before, then you will be at level A1. This is the starting point for absolutely beginners who have never attempted to learn Japanese, or only just started out on their language journey. Gaining level A1 will take around 120 hours, which is equal to 4 months of study at only 1 hour a day.

Once you have mastered A1, and have a basic familiarity with the language, it is time to move on to level A2. This is the first level where you will really learn to speak to people. Advanced students may be able to hold a basic conversation at this stage in their journey. A2 takes another 120 additional hours, meaning that within 240 hours, you will be a competent Japanese user, and will be able to understand basic conversations. If the course you are studying includes a literary element, you will also have gained the ability to read basic Japanese notices and instructions, although with some difficulty.

The real achievement for a Japanese student is to gain level B1, which is the point at which you will really be able to ‘get by’ in Japan. If you are looking to spend some time in the country, B1 is an excellent goal to aim for, as it will give you the freedom to enjoy a holiday without having to worry about communication.

If you would like to learn Japanese, there is sure to be a course that fits your needs perfectly. With a team of skilled instructors, you will be able to enjoy one of the world’s most popular languages in next to no time.

Jessica Hetley

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