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Learning Japanese through Online Tools

by Ryan Cong

To all the anime fans out there: have you ever wanted to just watch an anime the normal way instead of having to look at the subtitles every time a character starts to monologue? Of course, there‚Äôs dubbed anime out there, but who likes that? So the solution is simple: learn Japanese! Of course, learning a language is not easy and can take a lot of time. However, as long as one is patient and committed, all it takes is a few minutes a day for you to learn a new language. 

First, just like pinyin in the Chinese language or phonetic spelling in English, there is something called hiragana in Japanese. This is basically the foundation of the language. All of the pronunciations of all the kanji characters are included in hiragana. This is very easy to memorize and once you have done so, you will have learned to pronounce everything that the language will throw at you! In my opinion, the best site for learning hiragana is tofugu. This is because it gives you easy ways to remember how every hiragana is pronounced and looks. They also offer tests so you can have a better and firmer understanding.

This is a hiragana chart, and while it may seem hard to remember all these squigglies, with patience and a few minutes a day, they will be lodged in your brain in less than a week.

After hiragana, the obvious thing to learn is kanji and vocabulary. A website I recommend is wanikani. Wanikani is a very well-designed site where you are only allowed to learn a certain amount of information every day or so. In between these lessons, they provide you with reviews of the things you learned once every two hours. This effectively controls the speed of learning so you have just enough time to take in the information before new information is presented to you. One website that I do not recommend is Duolingo. While it is certainly usable, the way it is structured is much more for a language like Spanish than a language like Japanese.

This is a basic kanji chart. They will be used in vocabulary words with a mix of hiragana to form the Japanese language you know. Again, while they may seem difficult, just think about how you can flex on all of your anime friends once you have mastered this!

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