Hello. I am an early-middle school Japanese learner and I love learning languages, I know German and Romanian so I have experience. If anyone has any tips whatsoever please share them with me
I think the biggest tip I could give you is that while you will need to sit down with a textbook or other form of formal study tool at times, because that is sadly a part of the process, the most important thing for you is to find the aspects of the language that interest you. If that means playing through video games, there is a lot that can be said how to turn those into learning tools. If that means reading manga, books, … There are tools to make that an enriching learning experience. Same for watching movies, anime, sumo wrestling, vtubers, …
Embrace the fact that you’re young, you have plenty of chances to discover the beauty of the language, the “boring” parts are needed, but there is so much fun to be had, so firstly find ways that bring you joy in experiencing the language, the rest will follow!
Thanks a lot! I agree with the fact that a big aspect of learning a language is getting comfortable with it. I usually put Japanese subtitles or dubs on so I get more familiar with the language
Slow and steady. Keep plugging away at kanji and vocab. If you do, by the time you’re 25 you’ll have an abundance of knowledge to draw on.
Learn not to be shy. Dive in - be willing to be embarrassed. Don’t let it control your life and trajectory.
Learn how to learn. Learn how to experiment with different learning strategies.
Don’t let anyone hold you back. Surround yourself with supportive, understanding people. Not just online, but in person. If people hold you back, appeal to them to change and if they won’t, cut them loose. Develop the good social relationships. This is the most general piece of advice: develop not just good language partnerships, but good relationships generally, because bad relationships will destroy your ability to achieve and undermine your motivation to be good.
Don’t neglect output. I did for 8 months straight so I struggle with formulating basic sentences. I recommend HelloTalk to talk to natives, or you can join a Japanese learning discord server and chat with other learners or natives.
Starting at your age gives you an incredible opportunity most of us here could only dream of! I’d say it’s really important to try and incorporate using Japanese in your daily life. It doesn’t have to be much, just try and give yourself a reason to use it daily. Your brain is still developing a lot, so giving it Japanese regularly will go a long way in helping you to become fluent in the future, although if you already know 3 languages you probably already have a good idea about that.
I teach English in Japanese middle schools and it’s amazing how some students’ English improves over just 2 years because they’re passionate about it. Those students are the ones you know are going to be speaking English proficiently when they grow up.
Also look out for any Japan-related opportunities in your area! Anything to give you more motivation to study the language is great.
I’m going to be a pain and give you the exact opposite advice, haha: don’t feel like you have to do anything you don’t want to. Lots of people choose to entirely skip handwriting. Doesn’t mean handwriting is bad, just that the only thing you “need” to do is whatever brings you joy. Output can be put off until later if it doesn’t call to you like input does (I’ve read multiple books in Japanese, would probably fumble to put a basic sentence together, and couldn’t be happier with where I am knowing that it’s all tradeoffs).
@Wantitled Hit on part of what I came here really wanting to say though. Hang in there! Your age is no weakness, learning a language as young as possible is great. I’m over 30 and wish I had committed to this sooner, no doubt most of us would like it if we decided to do it earlier.
Edit: Should probably also clarify I don’t mean what I quoted is bad advice! It emphasizes that each part of the language is its own skill, which is important to know, and it’s crucial if you do indeed want to start speaking/writing in Japanese early. Just wanted to emphasize the no pressure, do what you want side of it.
Yeah this too. It all depends on where your priorities lie. Like I have 0 interest in the handwritten language or calligraphy (although it looks really cool) so I don’t practice it.
Must second this. I also first started when I was young (perhaps 13/14), but I was incredibly impatient and wanted to learn everything instantly. Ended up burning out fast and dropping Japanese for many years. Now in my early 20s, wishing that I had taken it slow (I could’ve known so much more by now!). The advice that I wish I could give young me (and you may find this useful):
Japanese is nothing like European languages, so be prepared for the learning process to be slightly different (and even much more challenging in places). You mentioned that you already speak Romanian and German (which is absolutely amazing at such a young age!) - but make sure not to discredit how difficult learning Japanese (or any other new language) can get. Try to build a habbit of practicing every day (even just a little bit). And try not to rush the process - language learning is a marathon not a sprint. But most importantly, make sure to have fun with it! Find something that you enjoy (manga, video games, etc) and use that as a learning tool.
People always say slow and steady but don’t really define what it means. Some people think it means 15min a day, good luck with that. “Slow and steady” means abolutely nothing unless defined, and it’s a big difference between doing it with one language like spanish when you know english, and doing it with japanese with english, since it will take more or less four times as long with japanese than with spanish, which means that you’ll need to spend far more time into it.
Unless you put some serious effort in, you’ll probably get nowhere with japanese. Anything less than an hour daily is probably not going to get you anywhere.
Then there are alot of people that will tell you what you want to hear, soft words are usually the most alluring. Sure don’t overdo it, but on the other hand don’t be too comfortable either.
Remember that sometimes you may get discouraged, and that’s ok. If you study hard when you’re motivated, then even if you give up for a while and come back to it, you will be miles ahead of people who have never studied Japanese before. Be proud of yourself! Taking on language learning as a hobby can lead you to lots of great places.
I’d say, there need to be a serious effort on studying how the language works, both from textbooks and searching around. There are also books other than textbooks.
Output isn’t so bad, but perhaps don’t try to be perfect in early stages. Lot of input will be required to blend in, anyway. I think it is easier to try to be learn various aspects of the language at first, then later knowing what to focus or not to focus on. Perhaps handwriting a sentence / short-notes / essays doesn’t need to be perfected early on, but there are no hard rules.
In any case, read and watch early on, don’t wait to be good enough; but also learn how to learn from materials.
How was your experience in studying other non-native languages, like what your parents and friends don’t speak? In Japanese, studying Kanji is yet another aspect more than other languages, as if Kanji are vocabularies themselves. WaniKani may gives a nice structure and stepping, but there are also more to study Kanji than in WaniKani.
Japanese-English dictionaries usually rely on JMdict and Kanjidic, which can be freely developed on. You can look into the nature of these resources. Wiktionary is yet another resource, which I don’t think it is used anywhere else other than Wiktionary itself, also the website in English and Japanese can be a little different, but both of which transcend Japanese-only boundary.
Japanese-only dictionaries, e.g. Goo, Weblio, Kotobank, can be better resources. However, they use licensed materials, so there will only be limited place where they appear. (There are also some bought, but not necessarily physical, contents.)
It shouldn’t be surprising that even Japanese-only dictionaries don’t cover everything. Searching around and using some reading skills will eventually be needed.
Thank you a lot for the advice. I always try to surround myself with nice, supportive people, I won’t let anyone discourage me.
Thanks for the advice on not forgetting output. I will try the websites and the Discord servers.
I will take this amazing piece of advice and try not to rush things. I will do everything at my own pace, while being consistent nonetheless.
Hello. I will take this advice and I will try to do a bit more work, since I have a lot of free time! I agree that Japanese is very hard, so I have more learning sources than only WaniKani.
I love when people normalize short breaks, when unmotivated. When that happens to me, I watch some anime with Japanese subtitles so I don’t forget what I learned completely.
Hello. About output. I will not try to stress it right now, since it is not that important but I always try write short sentences with Kanji and words that I learn.
I love to read Japanese manga and watch anime in Japanese.
I would say it was very easy learning the latin and germanic languages I know, since these language families are some of the eastiest. But Japanese is indeed a very different one and Kanji is confusing.
I will try the dictionaries and tools you listed.
Hello. I am glad I do have an advantage and I will take use of it by being consistent.
Thanks! I always watch anime and read manga as a side task, to get comfortable with the langauge.