Learning a new language

I’ve always wanted to learn a language or two besides English and Filipino since 6th grade. Since I was a fan of anime and the whole j-culture, I wanted to learn Nihongo or Japanese. I made an effort to look for language schools I could enroll in, but I was just too lazy to pursue this study despite my longing for it.

Entering university as a Japanese studies Major, it was inevitable that I study Nihongo. I was really excited to learn the language despite the change in my interests. Initially, I wanted to learn Nihongo because of anime, j-drama, j-pop, and so on. This interest sort of died down, and I’ve become more interested in Japan’s culture as a whole and its fashion.

 

I personally believe that Nihongo is one of the hardest languages to learn. Not only do you have to learn the vocabulary and the grammar, but you also have to learn  new systems of writing. Yes, systems of learning. In Nihongo, we use Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. Though Katakana isn’t used as often as Hiragana, one should still be familiar. And Kanji just makes me cry…. I am not the best at it as you can see in my crappy unpleasant hand writing.

But honestly, Nihongo is just a fun language to learn. Like learning other languages, you only not absorb the language proper, but also the culture. In Filipino, we use the po and opo to show respect to our elders. In Nihongo I learned that you modify your sentences depending on who you are speaking to. There are formal and informal verbs and such. There’s really more to a language than the language itself (if that makes sense haha).

I really had to put so much time and effort in my lessons. I had to be familiar with the writing system, then memorize words, learn sentence patterns, just everything! But what I think would really help in learning a language is USING THE LANGUAGE. It literally could make or break your learning (for me anyway). If you don’t practice conversing, verbal and non-verbal, then fully learning the language would be a challenge. You don’t have to have a Japanese friend to help you with it, though it would be a plus. You can do it with other friends or classmates everyday so that you’d get used to the language. When I was in Japan, it really changed my Nihongo game (lol so lame). But seriously though, it helped me converse more confidently, it helped me absorb the language, just everything! Maybe I’d post about my exchange experience on another blog post!

If you want to learn a new language, make sure that you are willing to invest your time into studying the language. It is very important especially if you are learning a language with a totally different writing system. Also, I think that one should have proper learning materials like books, handouts, online content perhaps. Something that would guide you in your process of learning. And as much as possible, practice conversing in that particular language! You’d notice the difference if you’ve been studying by the book the entire time. I know I did!

If you’re currently learning a language, tell me about your experiences! If you have more tips when learning, please do comment them down below! If you’re planning to learn a new language, don’t be afraid to try it!

x Jam x

Email: iamjamtan@gmail.com

Instagram: @iamjamtan

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