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Anyone English who speak Japanese? 2007/7/11 04:48

My name is Rob, I'm 17 and nearly 18 in a few weeks time. I've had this fancination with Japan for a few years now because of the film's, the country, the culture and most importantly the people there. I would really like to visit Japan or hopefully live in Japan in a few years time but I would find it extremely helpful to speak the language of Japanese.

On Saturday, 7th July I recieved my copy of Pimsluers Japanese. This is an audio CD that helps the user to speak Japanese in 90 audio lessons that are around 30 minutes each. This is my only chance of learning the language without resorting to another payment method and I hope to learn very soon. Except that one thing puts me off sometimes and that is the amount of time it takes to learn Japanese.

Right now I can ask for someone's attention and ask them how they are and if they speak Japanese/English and a few other phareses. It's very basic but I really want to know if there are any people out there who are also English and now speak a high level of Japanese or even fluent Japanese.
My question is how long did it take to learn and is it difficult?

Thanks in advance,

by Rob  

Another similar thread 2007/7/12 14:57

Opinions vary. I might add that if you study full-time (meaning living in Japan and attending a language school, and living in Japanese language environment), one year will get you somewhere. In the UK, you have SOAS university (School of Oriental & African Studies), and I know a few British people who completed the 4-year curriculum there, with fluent speaking ability and quite good writing skills as well. ENjoy studying! :)
by AK rate this post as useful

re 2007/7/12 14:59
Its nice that you like japan :) The 'hopefully live' in japan thing is very generic amongst westerners and will most likly wear off in years or after you have stayed there a extended period of time and realise its not that different and not the pretty picture you get from outside japan.

It took me two years of pretty hard study to talk a high level of japanese, but study times is going to be different for everyone if your learning outside school. You study at your own comfortable pace so only you can know how long that will take you :)
There is many good resources on the internet too which is great. I also used couchsurfing to find a local japanese person in my country to meet for coffee and to help me with my studies. That worked out really well.
Japanese was very difficult for me, but again I think thats just down to each person. Some find physics easy :)
Good luck with your studies
by Stacy rate this post as useful

5 years 2007/7/12 15:34
I've been studying in high school for 5 years.. and I can get around.. but i'm still far from fluent. I imagine the best way for you to learn.. is to pick up the basics.. then just immerse yourself in japan. Eventually you'll just pick it up =].

(that's what I'm doing next month)
by cliff rate this post as useful

Hmm 2007/7/12 18:28
I believe this question, or something similar, may have been asked before...

If I remember correctly, I think the general consensus was that if you are studying Japanese while living in Japan, then learning the language enough to be able to have comfortable conversation would take around 3 years.

However, if you are studying the language away from Japan, and speak it only in the classroom, I imagine it will take longer.

As with all languages, it differs from person to person. I studied Spanish for three years and still wouldn't feel totally comfortable living in an all-spanish speaking area, whereas one of my friends picked up the language with ease and now lives over there.

Try contacting local language schools and see what their average is for pupils to confidently learn the language.
by Kelly rate this post as useful

Speak, speak, speak 2007/7/12 18:44
I find that a lot of native English speakers start to be very insecure and mumble when they need to speak a foreign language in front of strangers. They're usually very good at grammar at the same time. That's one thing you'll need to overcome as soon as possible in case you recognise this in yourself. For sure you'll make mistakes, for sure you will say something funny involuntarily, but don't worry about that. Practice as much as possible.
by Kappa rate this post as useful

Keep going Rob! 2007/7/12 18:53
Hey Rob, learning Japanese is definitely do-able! I've just got a 2.1 in Japanese from Leeds uni so my best advice to you would be to get yourself out to Japan (i think there are loads of language schools you could try over summer) so you can immerse yourself in the culture and then if you think you like it, why not take it up at uni back in the Uk. There are lots of unis offering it now, not just SOAS. Leeds has the largest East Asian dept in the country and I've heard very good things about Sheffield too. Good luck!
by Leeds girl rate this post as useful

Thanks for the reactions. 2007/7/20 01:56
I've been practicing for a few weeks now (I've been abit lazy because of work for this past week and haven't had much time to reivse). But I can greet someone, ask them how they are, if I'm okay etc but surprisingly it's not as hard as I thought it would be and I feel as if I am getting somewhere.
by Rob rate this post as useful

language 2007/7/22 08:21
It's not just native English speakers who feel self conscious and hesitant to start speaking a foreign language, Kappa, that is almost universal! Japanese people are also known to be pretty shy and reluctant to try out their English, right?

It's quite natural, especially as adults we don't want to accidentally say something stupid and feel like an idiot.
by Sira rate this post as useful

a little over 2 years 2007/7/27 16:08
I know this is an older question, but I like what you're asking.
I've been studying Japanese since I started college, which was 2005. Since then, I went to Japan for a fall semester and that is really how I gained most of what i've learned recently. I wouldn't ever call myself fluent now. But within two years, I think I've done a pretty good job.
To become fluent in Japanese takes more than an audio cd or some language program on your computer. It is a good start! I think one good option is joining a night class at a community college (or go to a college that has Japanese if you're planning on going) and take classes there. That way, you can learn from someone who, hopefully, is fluent in Japanese and interact with them. I think that is much better than audio lessons, because you can't ask the tape a question about a grammar structure or how to make a sentence on your own.
The VERY BEST WAY to become fluent is to actually go there. I would not say live there. I would say, study abroad there. when you study abroad, you're in the right place to accelerate your learning, and of course the teachers know Japanese. You can also make friends with other Japanese students and practice your conversation skills with them.
I know that the only way I'll become fluent is by studying there. I'll be going again this semester, but this time for a full year. I hope that this experience will allow me to become fluent and if not, almost. I hope someday you'll consider classes and an exchange program (with college or not). It'll be the best experience and memory you'll ever have!
by Miko rate this post as useful

... 2007/7/27 16:29
You should have searched this topic first, as it has already been discussed.

Most people seemed to agree that learning basic Japanese (i.e. enough to get you along comfortably in day to day life) would take anywhere up to 3/4 years. Of course, if you want to be completely and utterly fluent, it would take many more years, plus day to day contact with the language.

Of course, these times will vary from person to person, but that seemed to be the general consensus.
by Tired rate this post as useful

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