There are so many reasons why you might like to study Japanese. Despite the language’s reputation as being difficult to learn, with some dedication and commitment you may well find yourself making strides in the language.
Being able to speak Japanese has many advantages. For example, knowing some Japanese may:
- Help you navigate your way around Japan if you ever find yourself there for a holiday or for work;
- Improve your career prospects, especially if you work with a lot of Japanese-speaking clients or companies;
- Improve your chances of learning other Asian languages, such as Korean.
So, whether you’ve never studied a foreign language before, or you’re already familiar with the basics of Japanese and would like to improve your proficiency, one of the best ways to get better when it comes to your Japanese reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills is to take Japanese classes.
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What Kinds Of Japanese Courses Are Out There?
There are Japanese courses out there to suit all types of learners, whether you’ve never learnt Japanese before or you’re looking to practice your well-established Japanese speaking skills.
Short Japanese Courses
For instance, you can attend structured short courses in Japanese. Such courses tend to run for a short period of time and are usually aimed at a certain level of proficiency.
So, if you’ve never studied Japanese previously, you’ll be best suited to a beginner’s Japanese course, while someone who is familiar with the basics of Japanese, such as its grammar, alphabet, and basic vocabulary, may feel more at home in an advanced beginner’s or intermediate level course.
The type of content you could expect to cover in a short Japanese course is likely to be determined by the proficiency level of the course participants. So, a beginner’s course may focus on the basics such as the alphabet, basic sayings and greetings, and the very fundamentals of Japanese grammar.
On the other hand, an advanced class is much more likely to place more emphasis on developing participants’ Japanese speaking skills and may cover much more involved topic areas that require more specialised vocabulary, as well as more complex grammatical concepts.
If you think a short course in Japanese might work well for you, then you might like to try out Japanese courses at Queen’s University Belfast.
The University offers language courses through its language centre for those 18 years old and above, and has several Japanese courses, ranging from:
- Level 1 (beginners)
- Level 2 (post beginners)
- Level 3 (lower intermediate)
- Level 4 (intermediate)
- Level 5 (post intermediate)
As is to be expected, the learning outcomes differ in each course, as outlined below per the Queen’s University Belfast website.
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According to the Queen’s University Belfast website, the learning outcomes of the level 1 course are:
“Students will have developed a beginner’s vocabulary in the topic areas outlined above so that they can communicate at a basic level in the language. Students will understand basic words and phrases. Students will be able to formulate simple sentences.”
“Students will have developed a post-beginner’s vocabulary in the topic areas [in the course] enabling them to hold a simple conversation in the language. Students will understand frequently used words and phrases. Students will be able to formulate sentences.”
“Students will have developed a post-beginner’s vocabulary in the topic areas [in the course] which should give them the confidence to hold a conversation in the language. Students will understand frequently used words and phrases. Students will be able to formulate sentences.”
“Students will aim to improve their spoken expression and vocabulary in the main topic areas sharing and defending opinions as well as voicing disagreement. Students will improve their descriptive competence, learning to give more detailed accounts of past events. Students will be able to use appropriate vocabulary to observe and discuss cultural difference.”
“Students will be able to hold discussions and discuss opinions. Students will have developed a broad vocabulary in the topic areas outlined above and a comprehensive knowledge of all of the main grammatical themes. Students will understand frequently used words and phrases associated with everyday living […]”
Each course runs for 10 weeks, so it’s best to make sure before booking that you can make most, preferably all, of the class dates to get the most out of the course.
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Intensive Japanese Classes
Another format that you might find when researching different types of Japanese courses is the intensive Japanese course.
Although such Japanese lessons will typically be held over a short period of time (like short courses) the difference is that in an intensive course, more material is typically covered, with the aim of getting the class participant(s) to a particular proficiency level in a short space of time.
As an example, say that you need to learn basic conversational Japanese because you’re due to move to Japan for a year in two months’ time. In such a case, an intensive course may be the best option, as you can try to learn the basics of Japanese within that time.
Naturally, to achieve these goals, it means that intensive courses often require more input and effort from the participant, but the rewards can be significant.
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Online Japanese Classes
If you’re unable to get to a Japanese class in person, or you prefer learning Japanese from the comfort of your own home, then online Japanese lessons can be worth considering.
There are plenty of Japanese language programmes available that offer online-only lesson formats, with some of the most common examples being language learning apps such as Duolingo.
Alternatively, you could also consider hiring a Japanese tutor for online lessons from Superprof. Superprof has tutors across a range of modern languages, from Russian to French and Japanese, so it’s just a case of searching for a Japanese tutor that is happy to offer online lessons and who sounds like a good match for you.
If online Japanese lessons are a route you’d like to go down, it’s worthwhile seeing whether your teacher is able to help you practice your Japanese speaking skills remotely as well, for example through a platform such as Skype.
This is because it can be easy to neglect your speaking skills when learning a language online. However, it’s best to continue improving your Japanese speaking skills and overall conversational ability, while you continue to learn and get better when it comes to your listening, reading, and writing skills in Japanese.
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Other Japanese Class Formats
There are many other types of class formats as well when it comes to learning foreign languages. For example, there are:
- Business courses for Japanese, which focus on teaching you how to work within a Japanese-speaking environment, from sending emails to speaking in business meetings;
- One to one Japanese language lessons, which gives the student much more study time with a teacher than would otherwise be possible in a group class;
- Group Japanese classes, which are a very popular format and allow a number of people, from small groups to larger class sizes, to learn about particular aspects of the Japanese language.
The type of Japanese class that works for you will be dependent on a lot of different factors.
For instance, if you only want to learn Japanese to become conversational in the language, then you’re likely to be better suited to a class that focuses on the fundamentals of the Japanese language (such as basic grammar, vocabulary, the alphabet, and basic conversation) rather than a class that is very specific in nature (such as a business course) or is designed for already advanced speakers.
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There are language course providers in Belfast that offer a range of course formats, so hopefully, there is one that best suits your circumstances.
Language Trainers, for examples, offers a variety of Japanese classes, including one to one general Japanese courses, one to one business Japanese courses, and two to one and small group Japanese courses (although for these courses the students “must have the same language needs, be able to study at the same time at the same place and be at the same level”).
Listen & Learn also offers a similar range of Japanese courses and offers online options, such as Skype lessons for general and business Japanese, whether that’s in a one on one format or in a group setting.
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Find A Japanese Course That Works For You
Ultimately, if you want to start learning Japanese from scratch or you just want to improve your conversational Japanese, it’s important to find a course that suits you, in terms of cost, lesson delivery and course content, length, and location.
If you’d prefer to learn Japanese from the comfort of your own home, or you have specific objectives you’d like to reach when learning Japanese, why not see whether tuition with a Superprof tutor can work for you?
Just enter your postcode and select the language you’d like to learn to find tutors in your area to choose from.
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