Learning languages after Japanese

Hey guys!

Supposedly Japanese is one of the 5 most difficult languages for a native English speaker to learn.

It has been quite the challenge for me, and for many others here on the forms.

I was curious if any of you who’ve succeeded in learning (for the most part) Japanese have gone on to learn any of the easier languages for a native English speaker to learn.

If so, talk about your experience a bit! I’m curious how much more of a struggle it was to learn Japanese for you.

For me, I could really benefit from learning French. Every time I open a french textbook though, I get PTSD from how it was taught when I was a kid. I have too many friends for which that is the case.

Maybe learning Japanese will be what I need to get over this aversion, after all, french is so easy comparatively! That’s the dream, anyway.


Does it count if I studied French before Japanese? :thinking:

If so, I feel the opposite. Learning French was something of an uphill battle, and I’m completely useless in the language now except maybe a bit of reading. I’ve been picking up some Korean here and there from co-workers, and that seems easier by comparison too.

1 Like

I started learning french after I started learning Japanese and because I am learning Japanese.
I wanted to learn a language that is easier to learn and I’ve only learned Spanish and Latin (and English) as foreign languages in school so I’ve always felt I lacked something since all my friends learned french in school.

At the beginning I was euphoric because it is easier than learning Japanese for me. Especially in the beginning since I could read things without a problem and understood texts simply by knowing Latin, English and Spanish, so I didn’t even need to learn vocabulary. But in the end it only taught me that every language has its difficulties and just because my native language has many things in common with the language I want to learn and it is easier than Japanese doesn’t mean I don’t need to put in any effort.


What? You mean there comes a time AFTER learning Japanese?!

As a real answer, I am not a native English speaker myself, but instead a native Finnish speaker. Even though Finnish and Japanese are in no way related linguistically, they share enough features that some aspects that are difficult for English speakers do not pose as big of a challenge for me. Especially pronounciation, because both Finnish and Japanese are for the most part written phonetically. Both languages also use a lot of compound words that are composed of short syllables (Finnish does not exclusively have consonant+vowel syllables, but uses them a lot nevertheless). Additionally, Finnish is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn as well, and I never found it difficult :smiley:

Just to be clear, after having learned English at a young age, any language that is written in Latin alphabet and is in any way connected to Romance/Germanic languages feels relatively easy to pick up if I wanted to. Japanese is definitely harder, both because of the complex writing system and because the sentences are structured so differently.


Well, what did help me study French was that I had already learned a lot of how I like to learn languages from studying Japanese, so I could start with applying methods I knew would at least sort of work.

Also, definitely less work overall, but man do I feel thankful for how regular Japanese verbs are!

EDIT: Also, I think every language you learn will make it easier to learn other languages. For one thing, you can form more connections like “Oh yeah, this thing in French is kinda like this other thing in Japanese” or “This French word sounds kinda like this Japanese word, so next time I hear it I will know that it was the one that made me think of that unrelated Japanese thing”…


Indeed, Japanese is eternal. I’ve thought about learning another language after I’m done but I don’t think that day will ever come.


Before beginning my (eternal) quest to learn Japanese about six months ago or so, I was living in Korea and continuing in my Korean acquisition. Switching to Japanese has been fascinating. Some things are easier, some are more challenging. Long before that, I studied some Spanish and acquired a small amount of it. In both Korean and Spanish, I reached the high-beginner/low-intermediate levels of the language.

The main other language I’d be interested in learning is Chinese, and I have minimal interests (due to heritage and culture) in Hebrew, Norwegian, and Swedish.

But Japanese is likely to remain my primary goal for an indefinite amount of time (hopefully for a loooong time).


I really had the plans like “after I reach a confident level with Japanese, I will study add a list of languages of my interest” I was seriously putting this thought off though, as I believed that you should focus on one delivery, and then go over to the next one.

But, as said, Japanese seems to be kind of eternal the way I am learning it and with only artificial exposure (I mean, I can read and listen, and even talk to my speaking lessons group, but all this is purely out of interest). So now I have decided to pick up Chinese, just because I want to. Japanese and Chinese are totally different, except for a somewhat shared writing system, so I really wonder how I would be able to link them in my head.

And then there are also plans for Spanish and Arabic at some point in the future…and Japanese taught me the basics of self-study, planning the activities and looking for resources, so I feel pretty comfortable about the idea of learning some languages until my life ends :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

I studied Spanish for 2 years in high school, which I don’t remember much of, but I feel like I had an easier time studying Japanese because of it. Just general pronunciation and the idea of congujation, different sentence structure, etc. Then again I’ve been playing games and watching anime in Japanese for years so that probably helped with familiarization of the sounds as well.
At some point in the future if I’m satisfied with my Japanese abilities I would like to learn Mandarin, but that seems like a long ways off.

1 Like

I actually googled what those five languages were. The answer that came back was this:


French and Japanese were nowhere on that list. Anyone have an actual credible source? (I’m sure babbel isn’t.)

The standard source is to look at the categories from the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC).
They list 5 “category IV” (hardest in terms of time required to learn the language): Arabic, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean and Pashto.
French is categorized as “category I or II” (so easiest).
Source: http://www.dliflc.edu/about/languages-at-dliflc/

Edit: actually, that’s based on incomplete recollection + googling. The usual source is the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S.

Edit2: finally found the original source.


Thanks, I appreciate the correction.


This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.