We want to learn Japanese, and we want to learn it as quickly as possible. 90 days, 30 days, 10 days…
But is it really possible to speed learn Japanese?
Can I really learn Japanese fast?
Most of the “learn a language fast” advertisements seen online promise incredible results like “learn Japanese in 1 month,” “2 weeks” or even just “10 days.” They typically don’t go into great detail about how they’ll actually help learners achieve this, which leaves most wondering, “Is it really possible?”
Yes and no.
First of all, anything is possible with the right method, motivation and dedication. Some language programs will definitely prepare you with practical language elements within the timeframe they promise, but you will definitely not be fluent. You won’t be able to talk with anyone about absolutely anything in Japanese, but you will know some of the basics that can help you survive in Japan without being completely lost.
Likewise, 2 months, 2 weeks, or 10 days isn’t really indicative of the amount of time and work you need to put in to learn Japanese. These timelines are merely attention-grabbers that aren’t promising you “instant skills,” but are rather promising the basics in as short a time as possible. This can be done through the use of learner-friendly teaching methods and by teaching you the most practical vocabulary and grammar first. It will, however, take much more time to be able to fully converse in Japanese in a variety of different situations.
So how long does it really take to become fluent?
Well, that depends on your definition of “fluent.”
Get audio learning software. After learning the basics, it’s time to get some outside instruction so you can improve your skills. If you are learning Japanese for fun because you like Japanese culture such as manga and anime or for travel, an audio learning CD might be all you need. Just spending an hour a day can build up grammar usage and teach you simple stock phrases and useful vocabulary.
- Listen to the software during your commute to work or have it ready on your portable music player for lunch and breaks or walks in the park.
- It isn’t necessary to learn the reading and writing to enjoy the language and culture, so if you plan on taking a short trip to Japan, knowing a few useful phrases will be more practical than cramming obscure characters into your brain.
Study in Japan. This is simply the best way to practically apply what you have learned and learn more. It’s a very exciting and unpredictable experience to immerse yourself in another culture, even for a short period. Even if you have researched exhaustively, actually experiencing a place will expose you to things you could never have imagined.
- If you’re enrolled in a college or university, ask about programs to study in Japan. This is one of the best ways to gain long-term exposure to Japanese language, and you may be eligible for financial aid.
- Don’t be discouraged if you do not understand everything that is said to you or you can’t read or write as well as you expected. It takes many years to become fluent in another language. The intricacies and nuances of the Japanese language make it difficult to master, but they are also part of its beauty.