When people think about learning a new foreign language, often people think about learning a European language, such as French, Spanish, German, or even Italian.
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with learning these languages (in fact, there can be some benefits to learning a romance language such as Spanish, as it can be easier to learn other romance languages in turn) you might want to consider learning Japanese as your next foreign language.
There are so many reasons why learning Japanese can benefit you. For instance:
There are around 128 million speakers of Japanese across the world. In fact, it’s one of the ten most spoken languages on Earth. This means you should have no shortage of people to practice speaking Japanese with, especially if you travel to Japan!
It’s no secret that Japan has a successful economy. In fact, it has one of the largest economies in the world, and many of the most successful companies today are Japanese, with Mitsubishi, Sony Corporation, and Nintendo as just a few examples. This means that the Japanese language can be great to know in the world of business.
So, if you are working or plan to work in an industry that does a lot of business in Japan, or you have a lot of Japanese-speaking clients, being able to speak Japanese, even if it’s just within a business setting, can help you put the right foot forward when it comes to your career.
Although you certainly don’t have to be fluent in Japanese to appreciate Japanese culture, you might find it easier to understand certain aspects of it if you speak the language. For example, if you’re a huge anime or manga fan, then learning Japanese may allow you to read or watch your favourite anime or manga in its original language.
If you want to travel to Japan, it can be a great idea to learn Japanese
Again, you don’t necessarily need to be fluent in Japanese to travel to Japan, but it can certainly make life easier if you do know how to speak to the locals. From ordering in a restaurant to asking for directions, or speaking a little about yourself, knowing some Japanese can be incredibly useful on your travels abroad.
Perhaps one of the most overlooked advantages to learning a foreign language – be it Japanese or another language entirely – is that taking foreign language classes allows you to meet with people with whom you share a common interest.
As such, language classes can be a great way to meet new people and make friends, while also giving you plenty of different people that you can practice your Japanese skills with!
There isn’t really a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to learning a new language. This is because everyone has a different way of learning a language effectively. For example:
So, when looking for a Japanese course, it may be a good idea to research how much emphasis the course places on grammar/vocabulary/pronunciation etc so that you know whether or not the course may be a good fit for you.
If you’re not sure if a class’s approach might work for you, don’t be afraid to try and get in touch with the course provider to ask them for more information – hopefully they should be able to answer any questions you may have.
There are business courses in Japanese as well that may help you get ahead in your career
As noted above, everyone learns a foreign language best in their own way. Having said that, when it comes to Japanese, one point of reference that many learners find helpful is to study the Japanese alphabet early on in their studies.
This is because the Japanese alphabet is very different from the alphabet that we use in English, and it can take some time both learning and getting used to.
Although this may sound daunting, as the Japanese alphabet is such a core part of the Japanese language it is incredibly important to learn, especially if you’re looking to commit time learning and improving your Japanese proficiency.
One of the quirks of the Japanese alphabet that Japanese language learners can find conceptually difficult to overcome is the fact that there isn’t actually one alphabet – there are three! They are called:
When you’re first starting out, you may want to focus on learning the Hiragana, as this is often the alphabet that’s first taught to children in schools, so it may be easier for you to ease into. However, if you want to learn a different alphabet from the offset, you’re of course more than welcome to do so!
One of the best places to learn Japanese in Cardiff is at Cardiff University.
Cardiff University runs a variety of part-time courses for adults in foreign languages, and Japanese is one such offering.
There is a wide range of courses that cater to all types of ability levels, although the primary focus is for learners between basic and intermediate proficiency in the Japanese language.
For example, you could study Japanese courses such as:
The content of the lessons will vary depending on which course you’re enrolled onto.
For example, the “Japanese for Beginners I” course runs over 12 weeks with evening sessions that last for two hours.
As the course is designed for someone who has had no previous experience with the Japanese language, the alphabet that is focused on in this course is Hiragana (often considered one of the easier Japanese alphabets to learn).
According to Cardiff University’s website, the course also covers topics such as greetings and daily expressions, as well as numbers, time and day, shipping, travel, and personal information.
When it comes to grammar, a few basic grammatical points should be covered, including:
Compare the above course to the “Japanese Higher Intermediate” part-time course offered by Cardiff University.
This course runs for twice the length of Japanese for Beginners I (24 weeks) although the length of the lessons remains the same (2 hours in the evenings).
The course is designed for those who have “studied Japanese for three years part-time” and intends to continue to develop participants’ speaking, listening, writing, and reading skills in the Japanese language.
Group classes can be a great way to learn Japanese
If you are truly passionate about the Japanese language and Japan in general, then one way to really improve your Japanese proficiency is to take a degree in Japanese.
As this does take some commitment in terms of time, and carries much higher costs compared to other ways of learning Japanese, if an undergraduate degree is a path you’d like to go down then you can study Japanese at Cardiff University, typically through a joint-degree combination such as:
Cardiff University isn’t the only place you can go to learn Japanese in Cardiff.
For instance, if you’re unsure about whether you’d want to commit for 12 weeks of study (or longer) or you’d rather focus on learning about aspects of the Japanese language that are of particular interest to you, then you could also consider hiring a private Japanese tutor to help you improve your proficiency in Japanese.
Superprof, for example, has a range of language tutors across the UK, so it’s a case of searching for Japanese tutors in your local area and picking out the tutor that suits you.
So, whether you:
Private tuition, through a tutor such as a Superprof tutor, may work for you.
Simply enter your postcode and select the language you’d like tuition in, and you will be shown tutors in your local area that can offer tuition in that subject. So all you need to do is take a look and contact the tutor that you think might best suit you.