How much time will it take to speak Japanese fluently? When lots of people first start out with Japanese, they want to master the language as fast as possible. There is no quick answer to the question, but it really depends on how devoted you are to really learning the language.
People ask “how much time?” all the time. But what they are really wondering is “how much time will this take?” Of course there is no definitive answer for a question like this. However the greatest factor for learning to speak Japanese as fast as possible is the motivation to learn the language.
Learning conversational Japanese can actually be done in a short time under the right conditions. You’ll find that there is a pretty wide spread of people out there. Some of them are so enthusiastic that they can learn Japanese in a few short months, while other people actually live in Japan for several years and still use the point-and-grunt method of communicating.
Though often quite expense, you’ll find that the best way to learn Japanese is with personal lessons or language classes. A more reasonably priced route is to grab a few Japanese language software programs or books to teach yourself in your spare time. All of these alternatives are great ways to get a solid groundwork in the Japanese language and begin your journey toward the land of cherry blossoms and sumo wrestlers.
We all know that you’re never going to become fluent if you just read and never put your Japanese into practice, so look for every opportunity you get to chat someone up in Japanese. Take some time to talk to people that already speak Japanese well or some of your classmates. When you start putting the Japanese you learn in the classroom into action, you will be astonished at how quickly you can take your Japanese to the next level. Talking to native speakers gives you the chance to learn some useful slang that you won’t learn in the textbooks.
Don’t pay attention to anyone that tells you that learning spoken Japanese is difficult. Odds are most of these people have never tried it themselves, or if they have they never really put much effort into it. If you take the time and effort to learn it correctly you will realize that speaking is not so hard. But you may still find that reading and writing in Japanese is still relatively difficult.
Learning all those new characters is going to be hard at first if you’ve only ever used the English alphabet. The Japanese have several writing systems. Hiragana and Katakana are in some ways similar to our alphabet, but when you get into the Kanji things will likely start getting tough. Each one has a distinctive meaning and I hate to break it to you, but there are nearly two thousand of these little buggers!
Don’t stop trying and throw in the towel though, this isn’t any different that learning to speak Japanese. It simply requires constant practice and application. Try to make yourself learn the Japanese characters and steer clear of relying on Romaji. Another great tip is to associate certain symbols with pictures. For example, the Kanji symbol for “ka” (meaning “fire”) looks a bit like a camp fire. With some practice, you’ll discover imaginative ways to remind yourself of what each Kanji means.
So how long does it take to learn Japanese? It is going to take you just as long as you need. Of course some people will of course learn faster than others, but the most important factor to look at is your level of dedication. Don’t give up and take things one day at a time.
If this information helped you and you’re ready to learn Japanese, check out useful Japanese phrases and is it hard to learn Japanese.
Author: Billy Buchanan
Billy Buchanan has studied Japanese since 2000 and enjoys helping other learn Japanese for school, business, and pleasure.