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How long does it take to learn Japanese

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How long does it take to learn Japanese 2005/4/19 00:28
How long does it take to learn Japanese? On average. What is the level of difficulty?
by charlie  

......... 2005/4/19 07:56
I heard somewhere that students in Japan don't completely learn the language untill they are in high school.
Please correct me if im wrong.
by kenshiro yoshimoto rate this post as useful

Depends.... 2005/4/19 10:52
Exact 5.37011 years. Adjust up or down based on high school GPA. No, I'm kidding. It really is different for everyone, depending on how much time you put into it, frequency of use and what level you're aiming for. 2 years of Japanese at a US college should give you a really strong grasp on the basics, providing you put in the study time. However, I've known people to take 3+ years of college JP and can barely communicate. Studying abroad in Japan is the fastest way to pick up the "living" language, beyond the stiff "textbook talk" that you will learn in your home country. A year of studying/living in Japan and you could resonably expect to be able to handle most everyday conversation. This doesn't mean native like fluency, but you will be able to communicate. To use myself as an example, I studied JP at college in the US for 2 years, then did 1 year study abroad at a Japanese univ. Since then I've been living and working in Japan for almost 3 years, for a total of 6yrs with the language. Although I have gained a resonable level of confidence in speaking/reading, I still feel that I have a long way to go in my studies. But, language acquisition is a never ending process. Hope this helps!
by BigUp rate this post as useful

. 2005/4/19 11:25
I agree it differs person to person, how good someone learns andhow much someone uses it. I learned French in college, even though i "learned"it, i NEVER use it daily so its out of my mind.
by john rate this post as useful

It depends 2005/10/19 21:37
It all depends on how smart you are and if you learned any other languages . For ex. it took me 1 year to learn English. So I learned Japanese in 1 year also. And if you are smart it won't be a problem to you.
by maxim rate this post as useful

It depends on what your goals are. 2005/10/22 20:33
So the best and the shortest way is to find out what your goal in japanese is and then go for it.
The level of writing down the words of the cartoon SPIRITED AWAY is different than the level of reading thr book MUSASHI
by Dennis Lie-Hap-Po rate this post as useful

Re: How long does it take... 2007/6/29 07:52
I just accidentally bumped by this question on Google, since I was wondering if I could learn Japanese in one year. One year is possible. How long did it take you to learn your main launguage? As a younger child, basics come in easily, so it would be quicker to learn at a young age. The best way to learn it is to live in Japan for at least one year, this way you would pick up Japanese just like you did when you were a child. This is a much easier way than cramming vocabulary into your head...And it keeps you relaxed which puts your brain in maximum learning power. (Sorry about cheesiness) :P I might do this someday, maybe during the summer. But it has to be before I become eighteen or else I'd be an old geezer then! e-mail me if you have any questions. I am not fluent in Japanese by the way, but I know a few words like Hello, Goodbye and stuff that I picked up from watching anime. I also repeat those words before I go to sleep so I would remember them. I wouldn't repeat them the whole day or else it would just be like forcing the words into your head. Jam packing info and vocab is a big no-no for all who want to learn a new language. That's why learning a language in school takes so long...! True, it is effective but it takes a much longer time and much more patience! By living in the Japanese society, learning new words is like picking fruit off a tree! (Besides, they're repeated everyday for you!)
by Ku-Mi-Ko rate this post as useful

. 2007/6/29 09:24
If you're not a toddler, 5 to 6 years to become fluent.
It's very easy to learn another language if you are exposed to it when you are very young, but once you become a teen its much more difficult.

A Japanese friend of mine told me 5 years. And so far...he's been right. I've studied for 3 years and am not yet fluent. However, being immersed in the language by actually living in Japan would definately speed it up.

by niko-chan (nicole) rate this post as useful

Learning Japanese 2007/6/29 11:03
Living in Japan does not necessarily mean being immersed in the language though, I know people who have lived in Tokyo for years and hardly speak any Japanese.

For adults, language learning is done through different pathways in the brain than when you were a small child and you would not learn Japanese by osmosis- i.e. just being in Japan. Even in Japan you would still have to be in a Japanese-only environment as much as possible (not always the case if you are around other foreign students or co-workers) and you also have to put in a lot of effort to practice and study.

In one year, with plenty of effort, you could reach a level where you could have a reasonable conversation with someone. Three years at least for real
fluency. Written Japanese takes even longer to learn. People who study these things have said that it takes 3 times as long for English-speakers to learn Japanese than it does to learn a European language because the grammar and writing systems are so different.

In my long experience of learning Japanese and living in Japan I believe this is true.

by Sira rate this post as useful

5 years to become fluent???? 2007/7/2 20:03
I guess indeed it really depends on how much effort you take for studying Japanese. It took me about 6 monthes to understand and speak Japanese. I am fluent now :-)
by shenmue rate this post as useful

. 2007/7/3 05:12
6months would probably get you into the basic structure and understanding, how long did it take you to become "fluent". Can you read and write 2000+ Kanji? Or hold a speech on Global Warming and the Kyoto Protocal all in Japanese?

It takes Japanese people years from childhood to adulthood to study and become fluent. So its hard for someone to go from nothing to fluency in 1-2 years.

by John rate this post as useful

Fluency 2007/7/3 12:06
fluency means different things for different people. being able to order a meal, a train ticket, do basic shopping is not being fluent! I was able to do it after only one month in Finland, where I spent several months working in a government agency (in an exchange program). Being the only foreigner I had no choice but to learn. Total immersion really works. However I wasn't able to read newspapers, much less books,nor to write. English is my third language (French my second,German my third. I learned it in my native country for 10 years. I could read it fluently, write basic sentences, but wasn't good at speaking it as even our teachers couldn't speak it to save their lives. it took me several years of living in an English speaking country before I was able to write long documents at work, having letters published in newspapers etc. I still don't consider myself fluent, althought I can make speeches on various subjects. Fluency is being able to speak and write nearly as well as an educated native. Educated is the key word as, in any country,many people people aren't totally fluent in their native tongue. I am always amazed when I hear foreigners speaking French fluently enough to get the gender of the words right. Japanese is especially hard for people using another alphabet because we can't imprint the characters in our brain. we learn the meaning of Konichiwa but we can't see it on signs, in newspapers and books etc.
by Plantagenesta rate this post as useful

Writing in Japanese 2007/7/12 22:05
I'm really interested in this discussion, as I'm involved in developing language curricula for international schools. I'd like to hear forum users' opinions on learning different writing systems, and whether you think that once you've learned to write in one language, it's easier to learn any other language (even if the characters are so different)? And what about Japanese literate people who learn English? Is that easier than English literate learning to write in Japanese?

Your feedback would be really valuable. Thank you!

by Marsha rate this post as useful

what else do you speak? 2007/8/1 00:17
I am fairly new to Japanese but I have a feeling if you know Korean, Chinese or English you have an advantage.

I know English and Chinese and have found that Japanese progress is much_much quicker than chinese.

Educational material is superior, no 2 types of characters (simplified, traditional) etc. I've studied fore a month and know katakana, hiragana and probably about 1100 of the kanji (not what they sound like mind you). Seems like a lot of loan words from both languages.

My goal is to be able to read basic comic books within a year. Don't know if it will be possible as my mind is old and slow.

Plowing through pimsleur, lets learn japanese videos, and a half dozen books and plan to spend a week every 4 months in japan. I may try to hire a teacher - but I find I learn better if there are at least 1e to 3 other students that I can learn from in the course and I don't want to be slowed down.

by Anthony rate this post as useful

Interesting question 2007/8/1 16:10
The various responses show just how different opinions and particular situations are.

My short answer is "a lifetime."

One can learn survival Japanese rather quickly when totally immersed into the culture. Its basically sink or swim...
How motivated are you? I was highly motivated to learn Japanese earlier in life. Especially concerning work, culture, food and communicating with my lovely then girlfriend now Wife.
After a few years, I took a pretty long break because We moved back to the U.S. I have recently began studying again with plans to retire in Japan.
You also need to ask yourself to what degree do you want to understand the oral and written form. Just basics or able to read and write it as fluently as a native. My goal has always been somewhere in the middle of that bell shaped curve.
With regards to age, like another poster said the younger the better...Children pick up languages like a sponge. Your brain keeps improving into early adulthood if I remember right. From then on its downhill baby.
Theres also physical limitations like hearing loss. I personally have a hard time hearing consonants. And with background ambient noise, forget about it. Talk about a minor hitch. I often hear a totally different word or phrase than what the speaker intended. Lip reading helps, but some women mistake watching their lips for breast gazing.

Everyone travels down a different path. Anyhow, I believe its a lifetime process, so start early.

by BB rate this post as useful

It all depends what you want to do! 2008/8/19 01:39
I have studied japanese for 3 days and i have mastered all of the hiragana and the first 7 katakana. I should be done with katakana in a few months and then from there ill ensure that my hiragana and katakana is polished 100%. Ill then start kanji but i want to move to japan to study that, so ill start here in england then finish it in japan...

It really depends on how determined you are to learn, i used up at least 10hours for the past 3 days to master only the hiragana and a couple of katakana!

by Ohayo! rate this post as useful

A long time... 2008/8/23 16:10
I've been learning it for 7 years and am still learning it... although I learned it though high school so you could say 4 of those years where a waste :P
by bleach1st rate this post as useful

Japanese 2008/8/23 21:25
I have been learning it for 15 years and am still learning it. If you are not a native speaker of a particular language then it's a lifelong process.
by Sira rate this post as useful

No correct answer 2008/8/25 08:34
There is no correct answer to this one! It depends on many things.
I learned to speak english as a teenager. I did it by my own means, with no teacher or classes, only reading easy stories and listening to music. It was quite easy.

Now, many years have passed and i've decided to learn japanese. My husband wanted to give it a try too, so some 4 months ago we started with the basics we found on the internet.We are both in our fourties and he is quite intelligent. But... I really don't know why, he does not seem to be able to assimilate this new language. I, on the other hand, have progressed pretty fast. When listening japanese music or watching movies or TV, i can distinguish every word clearly (even if i don't always know the exact meaning) but for him it is impossible to hear a precise sound. When we learn new vocabulary, i will not forget it, but he does as soon has he doesn't see it anymore. Now he wants to quit because he is getting frustated.

We have the same background, the same age. He and i are living the same learning experience but are not getting the same results.

Well, i guess many things count when learning a new language, so the only answer to this one is to do it at your own pace!

by Black Cat rate this post as useful

Japanese 2008/8/26 07:26
There is a Book:

'' Japanese in 30 days ''

Why dont you give this a try. Become fluent in just 30 days.

by Kage rate this post as useful

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