Are you or your children fans of Japanese culture? Would you like to learn Japanese as soon as you can?
If the answer’s yes, you can’t become fluent in Japanese just by watching anime, playing video games, and reading manga (though it certainly doesn’t hurt!).
There many different ways to learn Japanese, but it isn’t one of the most common languages taught in schools, after all. Generally speaking, the most popular language in schools is Spanish. After Spanish, there’s French, German, Latin, Mandarin Chinese, American Sign Language, Italian, and Japanese. However, that doesn’t mean that learning Japanese in middle school is impossible.
We know that an essential question in your language learning process is how to learn Japanese. In this article, we’re going to focus on how you can go about learning Nihongo whilst at school.
Where Can You Learn Japanese in Middle School?
If you live far from a big city, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to find a middle school where Japanese learning is possible (that doesn't mean you can't find any one who knows how to speak Japanese, though).
In fact, Japanese in schools has become decreasingly popular since the late 80s. However, before you give up on learning your first Japanese words, remember that learning Japanese at university is on the rise although it’s still a long way behind Spanish and French.
Don’t let that put you off, though. While you might be difficult to study Japanese at middle or high school, there are plenty of different ways to learn foreign languages nowadays.
Click here for Japanese lessons in Australia.
If you're still desperate to start learning how to use the Japanese writing systems, the Japanese kanji characters (which came from Chinese characters) and the kana (the hiragana and katakana writing systems), you should consider looking at the Embassy of Japan’s website where you can find schools teaching Japanese as well as interesting resources for learning Japanese. There are also cultural groups that promote Japanese culture and learning the Japanese language.
If you’d like more information on learning the language, you should also check out your locan Japan society's website.
No matter what your level is, you should be able to find somewhere you can learn Japanese. From grammar and vocabulary to Japanese history and culture, you’ll soon know everything you need to know about Japan and Japanese.
Check out this exceptional Japanese course on Superprof.
Can You Learn Japanese before Middle School?
You’ve probably heard that it’s much easier to learn a language if you start as young as possible. Do you know why this is? In reality, it’s due to neurological and sociological reasons.
Children have far more connections in their brain than an adult does. This allows them to learn new things more easily. For example, a child would pick up lots of basic Japanese vocabulary and phrases much more quickly than an adult learner. However, as we age, these connections are used less and less and eventually they’re destroyed. This is so that our brains operate more effectively and efficiently. A young child can learn almost anything. They would find learning to write Japanese just as easy as Japanese people do.
When it comes to the sociological reasons, they are particularly fascinating. A child is less embarrassed when they fail and are much more likely to try again. While adults worry about using the wrong expressions or verbs, a child doesn't let mistakes discourage them when they learn to speak Japanese. This is the attitude that any beginner learning a new language should have.
Learning like a child is also one of the best ways to learn a language: start by practising pronunciation, saying things, and practising regularly. After you've learned a few important Japanese phrases, you can start looking at Japanese characters and learning the most common ones. There are plenty of free Japanese resources (such as textbooks and flashcards) and you can even learn Japanese online with websites, podcasts, and videos.
Learning Japanese before middle school is an achievable goal. However, learning any language (including Japanese) can be difficult and you may need some extra help. This is when you should look for places, organizations, and teachers that can help you or your child learn Japanese. If possible, finding an elementary school that teaches Japanese is one of the best ways for your child to learn the language and gain fluency long before they even get to middle school. Now’s the time!
You will often hear people asking if Japanese is difficult to learn. If you start young enough and you use the right resources then there is no reason why you, or your child, can't be successful.
Don’t worry if you don’t live anywhere near a school or center offering Japanese lessons. There are plenty of different ways to learn Japanese and get Japanese lessons whilst at middle school.
Are you familiar with the idea of distance learning? Distance learning is when you don’t physically attend the institution. In the past, students did correspondence courses where they’d communicate with the school via mail. However, now we can do this using the internet and email.
The best thing about distance learning is that you can now do it anywhere there’s an Internet connection. If you have access to the Internet (which we’ll assume is true because you’re reading this), distance learning could be the solution you’ve been looking for. Don’t forget, you can still get your own personal teacher or tutor online to help you study.
There’s a huge variety of different courses available for those wanting to study Japanese regardless of their level.
If you choose a beginners course, for example, you’ll cover things such as:
Studying the Japanese writing systems: (kanji, hiragana, and katakana)
Learning some of the most common kanji symbols
There are also tests and quizzes so that you can check how you’re doing.
Of course, if you’re finding things too simple, you can always opt for intermediate courses offerings things like:
Listening and reading comprehension
Advanced grammar exercises
Japanese history and culture
These levels also include tests and quizzes to make sure you’re on the right track. It’s perfect for learning Japanese when you can’t get to classes. The resources are often varied and you’ll be expected to master a variety of different language skills.
Furthermore, you’ll have access to:
Forums and message boards for discussing the materials with tutors and other students
Somebody to correct your homework
If you’re interested in this kind of learning, you should look for some of the best distance learning courses or massive open online courses (or MOOCs).
Starting to learn about the language and culture in Japan whilst at middle school is a great way of getting a head start before you go to high school, or even university. As with any 11, 12, or 13 year old, the classes will need to be fun to keep them engaged, and not be too overwhelming. The distance learning courses offer a wide range of options, not just for middle school students so make sure you find one that suits your child's needs.
Who Can Help Me Learn Japanese Outside of School?
What can you do if there aren’t any nearby societies or language centers and you’re not interested in distance learning? It can be difficult to work on your own at home.
So how do you start learning Japanese? Why not try using video games to learn Japanese?
There are also a number of other options available to you if you’re on a limited budget.
Superprof is a site for putting students in contact with private tutors. That means you can find Japanese private tutors near you. We sincerely believe it’s one of the best ways to learn a language.
Why? Because you can get native Japanese private tutors. They know what they’re talking about. Furthermore, you’ll be the only student in your private Japanese tutor’s class! This means they can go as fast or slow as they need to as well as tailor their classes to your strengths and weaknesses.
Learning Japanese with a private tutor means that if you struggle to pronounce a certain word or are struggling with a certain grammar point, your Japanese teacher can set aside the time to help you and provide you with personal feedback. You can’t usually do this in a traditional class because the teacher doesn’t have time. Your tutor can also teach you from the comfort of your own home whenever you need them to.
Additionally, a lot of the tutors on our platform offer free tutoring for the first hour so you can see if you like them. You’re free to choose the best tutor for you and your budget.
Independent Private Language Centers and Schools
Another solution that might interest you is choosing to attend classes from an independent private business. They often offer courses for all ages and levels. Of course, the bigger the city, the more options there are for language tuition. As we said earlier, the Japan Societies are often the best places to go to.
Can you learn Japanese for free? There are two options for those who want to learn Japanese for free:
Teach yourself using the internet
Check for intercultural events where you can practice Japanese
Just like academic support, there are plenty of events organized or promoted by the aforementioned intercultural societies and associations. However, these events aren’t frequent enough to make you fluent in Japanese. You should consider attending these events as well as studying almost daily. Check out their websites (see above) for calendars detailing when and where these events are.
Finally, the internet is a fantastic resource for anyone wanting to learn Japanese for free. You’ll find plenty of text, audio, and video resources to help you master the Japanese language. These are great for reading and listening comprehension. You can also look up words and specialized vocabulary and how to use it.
Now you have several options for learning Japanese. We hope you’re lucky enough to have access to all of them.