I’ve set up a page for learning Japanese at timbunting.com/japanese. My aim is to help people get to a conversational level of Japanese in the quickest time. I’m doing that by teaching a friend of mine once a week on Clubhouse, and keeping notes on this page.
There is a quick way to get conversational by memorizing key sentences and key vocabulary and simply replacing the words as necessary. I’m not entirely sure what those sentences are, but I have an idea, and the same goes for vocabulary.
I’m not sure what the list is like for Japanese, but in English the most common 1,000 vocabulary will give you about 72% coverage of all English spoken. The next 1,000 words give you an extra 6 or so percent. Which is to say, by memorizing a few key phrases, and the most common vocabulary, you could be conversational relatively easily. I’m assuming the same for Japanese.
The problem with Japanese for native speakers of European languages or people without experience with Asian languages, is the written system is quite difficult. But if you break it up into understandable parts, it can be easier than expected to pick up the characters.
You’ll want to start with hiragana and katakana for sure. These can take about 3 or so hours each with the Heisig method. Kanji takes much longer. It took me about three months to learn Kanji using the same Heisig method. If you want to become conversational though, I’m not sure it’s necessary to remember these. If you’re planning on becoming fluent though, give these books a try.
I’m going to use one blog post each week to dedicate to sharing my knowledge of Japanese from now on. This is just the beginning.
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