In this blog we are going to discuss the problems which Beginners face while learning Japanese language or the mistakes they often make while learning it. Further, we talk about how you can tackle it and make yourself grow in Japanese language.
1. You have no idea, where to start?
This is the first point, where beginners face difficulty. As we all are aware, unlike other languages, Japanese language follows three scripts, for example, “Hiragana”, “Katakana” and “Kanji”.
When you begin learning this language, students get confused about where to start and in case, they don’t get proper guidance. Then they will feel like giving up on Japanese Language.
So because a beginner has no idea where to start they often make the mistake while starting learning all the scripts together. Now if you do so you won’t reach anywhere, as “Hiragana” and “Katakana” have the same count of letters (46 syllabus each) with the same pronunciation, having the difference in written part only. If you start learning both together, you’ll get confused, and come up with nothing. Besides this we have one more pictorial script which is “Kanji” (“Hiragana” is derived from “Kanji”) here, so it will even get difficult, if you start learning together.
How to cope up
As you are a beginner, first you need to understand how these three scripts work, their role, where and how to use them and then you should start.
So if we talk about “Hiragana”, “Hiragana” is the first script which is derived in Japan only. This script is used to write the native vocabulary, which means those vocabularies, which originated in Japan itself like Sushi, Tokyo etc.
Our second script is “Katakana”, which is used to write foreign adopted words which means those words which are not originated in Japan but in some other country and we adopted it and used in Japan like any foreign Name, table, ice cream etc.
Our third and final script is “Kanji”. “Kanji” is a pictorial language, where a picture denotes a meaning and it has it’s pronunciation. Now it is very important to know that in ancient times when we didn’t have any language, Japan adopted kanji from China and simplified it into “Hiragana”. That’s why some words of “Hiragana”, which can be written by drawing a pictorial image of it or vice versa. For example, (私ー”Kanji” (The reading of this picture is “watashi”, which you can write in “Hiragana” as well (わーwa, たーta, しーshi).
So in order to learn in a proper way, one should start from “Hiragana” because it’s a Japanese originated script and most of the words in beginner level start with “Hiragana”.
In order to learn it you need to write them on the repetition of 5-10 times (each word), and then switch for the next character.
After learning “Hiragana”, you need to do the practice by trying to read the words mentioned in your vocabulary. If you are able to read and recognize all the words, switch for the next script.
Repeat the same process with “Katakana”, and after learning both scripts, for some days just practice these two scripts only, after doing 5-6 lessons of beginner book (check blog for book details), start learning “Kanji”, starting from 4-5 characters of “Kanji” you should take it further to 9-10 characters.
By following this pattern, you’ll never face the issue in writing and reading.
Remember as this is your first step, so you need to pay full attention and time to learn the characters, only then you can read and write further.
2. Not able to use the grammar in speaking
This is the most common issue one can find in any student. When you start learning Japanese language, under the proper guidance one can easily learn the grammar, can make sentences etc. But the problem came when one is not able to speak while using the learned grammar.
The common mistake is that students just memorize the grammar pattern by translating it into English, Hindi or any of their mother tongue. They memorize the sentences which are already in the book and do not try any of their own.
How to cope up
So we need to remember here that learning or reading the book sentences will help us to understand the meaning of the grammar pattern, but won’t be left in our memories long. In order not to forget the pattern and for using it while speaking, one should make at least 4-5 sentences of their own, which should be related to their daily life or which is easy to remember. Once you start making your own sentences, then only you’ll get used to the grammar and it will naturally come out when you talk to any native. So do make your sentences of each grammar pattern you learn.
3. Feeling like giving up
The motive of a student to learn Japanese language could vary depending on the student. Some may have started out of interest, some like Japanese food, their culture, anime, movies, some have just started for the growth in career etc.
So one can say, that if you have interest in something, you can make it last long, but if you are doing something out of pressure or just for getting a hike in your job, without having any interest in the same, you’ll feel like giving up.
Now in this situation, what students do is that they think Japanese is difficult and it is not their cup of tea, so they give up and quit it. This is the biggest mistake done by a student as they are not able to understand that the issue is not the capability but it is just because you are losing your interest in the same.
How to cope up
So if you are facing the same situation, and you are thinking of giving up, then just remember why you have started? After that, make up your mood, take a one or two day break from books and try to find your interest in other fields of Japanese. Like if you love to watch anime watch Japanese anime, if you are a fan of Japanese cuisine go and try it, watch cooking videos, if you want to travel then watch travel videos or blogs of Japan, if you love game play Japanese games etc. This will help you to grow your interest in Japan, which will automatically boost you up for Japanese study.
It is not that easy to adopt a completely different language like your mother tongue, so it is important to keep your motive in your mind and go steadily.
4. I can understand but not able to speak
Now this is the problem every student has faced once. As we have discussed learning is not a big deal but using that learning material into your actual life is a task. In this situation, you are able to understand Japanese pretty well, but not able to speak, and you start losing your motivation. It makes you think that even after learning years or completing the advanced level or even speaking course “why can’t I speak?”, “Is it my problem?” or “Is it an institute?”. In most cases students think that they choose the wrong place and wrong course, which might be true in some cases, but not every time and with every place.
In this situation, students start changing from place to place seeking the answer of their query and think that when they find the right place, they’ll be able to speak. They spend a lot of money and even after doing so, the result is negative. They found themselves in the same place as before. There is no change like before and the words are still not coming out in front of the native.
How to cope up
So first you need to understand “What is the problem?”.
If you have studied well, you are scoring good, and you are giving your best but the problem is only speaking, so it is just lack of practice and hesitation or nervousness.
Actually when you start learning, we have different types of students, students who grasp well and start speaking since starting on the other hand students who are listening, understanding but not speaking, because they are shy or feel nervous in front of others. This is the part you need to change.
In foreign language, the teacher starts teaching some simple Japanese words or letters from your very first day, and asks you to use Japanese words instead of English, Hindi etc. Students take it very easy, and do not use those words on a day to day basis, which stops the words coming out naturally in front of native. If you are used to the common phrases, it will come out naturally, and will boost your confidence to speak more like your native language.
So always remember, even if you have just learned 3-4 grammar patterns or some vocabulary, try to practice the same phrase while repeating the sentence at home alone. For this you don’t need any native, just stand in front of the mirror, speak by concentrating on your expression or how your teacher taught you. The very next day when the question is asked, answer it confidently in front of your classmates and you’ll notice that you gain confidence.
There might be some hurdles which always come in your path, but do “remember” if you want to do good in the language and want to make your career in it, you need to give your best.
Concentrate on your speaking from the very first day, else you’ll be always a step behind from others.
Japanese is a very beautiful language and you’ll definitely fall in love with it as soon as you start. Not only the language, even Japan has a lot to explore starting from their beautiful culture to cuisine. Japanese language will bridge the gap and will help you to enjoy this beauty while growing high in future.