Learning process1

Is there any easy way and faster way to memorize vocabulary?? :cold_sweat:
How long does it take to speak a language (for someone who is studying everyday or at least once each two days)


Let’s find it out together :smiley:


Yeah you could probably go to Japan and enter a high intensity training program in a japanese school while surrounding yourself with only japanese people, listening to japanese podcasts in every possible situation and studying japanese while eating.

WK is fast/easy enough for me though.

And now without sarcasm: Input=Output, If you put in the time with a reasonable method you will see results.

“How long does it take to speak a language” is such a broad question. Whats your goal? What do you define as being able to speak a language? I went through 4 chapters of Genki1, can I now speak japanese? Can i speak it if I finish Genki1? Genki2? Maybe I can only really talk and know japanese once I pass N3? N1?

Define your Goals or noone here can help you


It’s not really about a binary “speaking the language” as it is topics and ways to speak. At about 500 base words you can speak the absolute basic yes, no, maybe, please. At about 3000 to 4000 you can have a basic everyday conversation. At about 6000 to 7000, you can speak about certain topics pretty well and likely can get the gist of most works. (This is around N2). At about 9000 to 10000, you can talk about a variety of topics with a somewhat verbose range of synonyms and expressions for some time. (N1).

In short it’s a gradient, not a yes or no.

Also in terms of vocabulary, as someone who is constantly going 200 words a week, 100 is the max most people can do and still manage a daily life. This is pretty fast and will take you two years to get 10,000. 50 is also a good number, and will take you about 4 years. By years one and two respectively, you should be well past the point you can have a daily conversation.


Japanese is hard compared to other languages i’ve attempted. I put in several hours a day, every day. It feels like i’m not getting very far, but i look back and can see that i am, it just just doesn’t feel like it.

I’m only 2 months in of serious study so the mountain still feels huge, infact bigger than ever. When i was learning Spanish, by this stage i felt able to have a number of simple conversations with people. Not so much with Japanese, but i wonder if that has something to do with the fact i’m getting older!

You can probably speak enough to get by as a tourist within a month or two (ask directions, order food, greetings, etc, though probably wouldn’t understand many of responses you get!), as with any language. Anything beyond that is impossible to predict.

One thing i do know, is that the joy has to come in the journey, and not in the final goal. With any language, i’m not sure you ever ‘arrive’ at the final destination. I know even with English (my native language), i’m learning new things frequently despite heading towards my 40’s and being immersed in it 24/7 from birth. If you doubt this fact, go onto HiNative or similar and start helping people who are learning your native language- you soon realise just how little you know, it took me by surprise, especially some of the complicated grammar questions!

The short answer to your question is probably “10+ years”. Prepare for that and enjoy it. The more reasonable goal would be to break it down into manageable, defined chunks. Try aiming for one or more of these goals instead:

“Read and write Hiragana and Katakana with ease”
“Complete 10 levels of WaniKani”
“Complete the first Genki textbook”
“Find and learn the core 1000 vocab words”
“Learn how to talk about myself - my family, things i like/dislike, places i like. Learn how to ask and understand the same things about others”
“Read a simple Japanese children’s manga and understand it”

… and reassess the goal regularly. Always have a goal in sight, but define it well and work towards it. The above goals are some of mine, and i think it’s reasonable to head for them and really get comfortable with it in 6 to 12 months. I’ve already achieved some of it.


The reason why Japanese is so hard for English and European language speakers is because of kanji and grammar. WaniKani makes the former much easier, to the point where it feels like Kanji is making the language easier rather than harder. The latter just requires diligence, but your amount spent on grammar should see significant decreases after N4 and N3 grammar.

It shouldn’t take 10 years to learn a fair amount of Japanese. Especially not to the level you can have an everyday conversation. Even N1 is not that far off, and could be done in 2 years for a somewhat diligent learner.


That’s a bit far fetched. It’s certainly possible for a diligent and motivated student, but “somewhat diligent” is a bit low


I think the discrepancy comes from “somewhat”. By this I mean a student who spends enough time to learn 5000 words, maybe n3 level of grammar, and reads enough to understand the multiple meanings by the word within a year. This should reach to about 14 words a day, maybe an hour or so with grammar, and another hour reading. Maybe two to three hours a day was more of what I was imagining.

Something to be careful with–wanting to speak Japanese is an ambition, not a goal. It might be better to set more tangible checkpoints that mark development in the breadth and depth you can go into in Japanese.

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I think @anon78952551 was meaning mastering the language at that time and learning most/ all of the quirks you’ll come across. Sure, you’ll be ‘fluent’ before then but you may still come across things now and then that will throw you off or confuse you.
Btw, I’m not speaking from experience in Japanese here but just thinking logically.

herein lies the problem to answering the “how long does it take to learn japanese?” question. Everyone has different ideas of what it means to have achieved ‘learnt’ status. I did mean @Vaminta 's definition more than a conversational level because for me that’s where i want to be and i know this is the minimum it’ll likely take me to get there.

Another thing i have found when learning languages (not necessarily Japanese and i’m still new to it, but i have put considerable years and effort into learning Spanish before), is that learning all the grammar and vocab is one thing, but effortlessly being able to understand and then use all that knowledge is something else entirely. With Spanish, i found that it was simply passage of time and regular usage that led me to become more effortless, which had nothing to do with learning new grammar and vocab but simply practise and familiarity and i suspect it’ll be the same with Japanese.

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I’m always curious about this method of looking at so many new words a day, and have always wanted to ask more about it with someone.

So you’re looking at 200 new words a week, so roughly 30 a day, right?

How many of those 30 a day have you properly remembered by the end of the week? For me, cramming so many words, by the time I’m at Saturday a lot of Monday’s words would mean nothing to me.

Or is it more a case of ‘Ok, I’ve at least SEEN and acknowledged these words and what they look like. Now it’s a case of seeing them over and over, over a longer time.’ You haven’t actually memorised 200 words by the end of the week, have you?

Maybe you have. I don’t want to sound like I’m doubting that by asking.


Depends on the words. Some words I memorize instantly, other times they have to go through the SRS a few times. Also, when I say memorized, I’m using that as a short term for put in the SRS. If you want to be precise, you could say a person can’t memorize a word until you read it in context a few time and comprehend the nuance. But if you’re just talking word-definition, yeah it’s doable. As for this statement:

That’s the point of SRS. If I don’t know the word, I see it soon after. So long as I see the system several times a day, I’ll get any word memorized. Check out this article on minimu dose writer by one of the Tofugu guys. It can help explain why, with vocab, just seeing it with a few hours in between can be better than just writing it down a few times at once. Should give you an idea of where I’m coming from.

Also, I’m doing the fast levels and was adding stuff to HouHou before that. So, while I’ve been doing that since beginning of February, it probably won’t be long before I slow down/ take a break and let the words sink further into SRS. Once I hit level 60 around.


Yeah… I will try to do my best… I hope it works…

Thank you Sr.

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Totally agree…

Nicely explained. Thank you.

I’ll check out the article.

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