How Long Does it Take to Learn Japanese?

How Long Does it Take to Learn Japanese?

Do you want to learn Japanese?

It’s an excellent choice. 

No matter if you prepare yourself to start studying or you’ve been into Japanese for some time, there’s always one question floating in your mind: How long does it take to learn Japanese.

If you are reading this, you’ve probably figured out that you’re not the only one wondering this.

When learning a language, it’s perfectly normal to ask yourself how long it would take to learn the language.

But, as much as we want to give you a quick and straightforward answer, it isn’t that easy.

It depends on many things.

However, in the following lines, we’ll give you a quick look at the reasons that determine how long it takes to learn Japanese. Then, we can give you a proper answer.

And now, let’s dive in.

The Reasons That Determine How Long It Takes to Learn Japanese

Saying how long it takes to learn Japanese depends on many things. Let’s take a glance at the primary reasons that determine how much time you’ll need to learn Japanese.

Your Native language

When learning a new language, one of the essential things that can determine whether you can learn the language in no time. 

If your native language is similar to Japanese, it’s very likely that you have that privilege to learn the language easily.

If, on the other hand, your native language is Spanish, for example, you’ll have to spend twice as much time as Chinese native speakers to learn Japanese because it is one of the hardest languages for Spanish speakers. It is because the writing system, grammar, pronunciation and sentence structure differs from your native language, so you’ll have to learn everything from scratch.

Your Japanese Learning Goals

Some might say that this actually isn’t so important in learning any language.

But, that’s not true.

For example, if you want to learn Japanese fluently to get that  promotion at work, every time you have to sit down and study, you’ll have the motivation, precisely that promotion you want so badly.

Other goals can be about your determination to learn Japanese fluently or only to be able to speak with the locals. That’s a big difference.

If you want to learn kanji which is a pretty complex writing system and requires a lot of memorization and dedication, you’ll surely have to spend a lot of time practicing it compared to learning Japanese to speak it in a simple way.

Spending Time to Learn Japanese

How much time do you spend studying Japanese? 

One of the main things you should know is the more you learn, the faster and more efficient you’ll be. Simple as that.

Studying Japanese at least an hour every day and two to three hours a week is a significant difference.

Just like solving puzzles: it's more likely that you’ll finish the puzzle if you sit down for a couple of hours than coming to it by now and then, and placing one by one puzzle.

Is Japanese a Hard Language to Learn?

Before we start, tell us what you think? Is Japanese a hard language to learn?

This question is always connected to our main question about the time you need to spend to learn Japanese.

Just like the above-mentioned reasons determine how much time you need to learn the language, saying that Japanese is easy or hard to learn depends on them, too.

We can, however, explain some of the characteristics of the language that show you whether Japanese is hard or easy to learn.

For a very long time, the Japanese language was considered an isolate. It means that the language isn’t related to any language in the world. Today, however, some research has shown that Japanese belongs to Ryukyuan languages, although the information is still under the shadow.

The language structure is different from many languages, especially those who use the alphabet. Therefore, for those native speakers, the Japanese may be quite challenging to learn. The writing system, different word order in a sentence, pronunciation, vocabulary, etc., makes Japanese as one of the hardest languages to learn.

Long story short: Japanese, undoubtedly, isn’t one of the easiest languages to learn, but it isn’t impossible either. You’ll need a lot of time to learn it but once you get your goal, the happiness and pride will be unmeasurable.

So, How Long Does it Take to Learn Japanese?

Finally, we’ve come to this part. We are sure that you can’t wait any longer. However, here’s one more catch. But, before you start freaking out, keep reading and you’ll get the answer.

Linguists, teachers and other language scientists have been trying to classify all the languages in the world and make one general list where anyone can see all the languages from the hardest to the easiest ones. It would be ideal, but that isn’t possible.

Language is a living thing that human beings can communicate with. But, some of them managed to make a classification. And that is The Foreign Service Institute.

The institute created a list of all languages dividing them into five categories. Each category shows how many hours or weeks it takes to learn a particular language to achieve the conversational level. The ranking is however made only for English speakers. So, if you are a native Chinese or Arabic speaker who wants to learn Japanese, the list, unfortunately, won’t be helpful for you.

The Japanese language belongs to category 5. Languages from this category are classified as the ones that are extremely difficult for native English speakers. This means that to achieve the conversational level of Japanese, it’ll take at least 88 weeks or 2.200 hours.

As you see, learning Japanese, especially becoming fluent, takes a lot of time. An average Japanese student usually becomes fluent after constant learning for three to five years.

Should You Learn Japanese At All?

Of course, you should!

Don’t let numbers and statistics decide for you. 

How long it takes to learn Japanese depends only on YOU.

If you are motivated, committed, and well-organized, you won’t mind the time you’ll need.

And there are plenty of reasons for learning Japanese.

  • Japanese, the language of the House of the Rising Sun, is a fascinating language. By learning the language, you’ll learn about the magnificent history, culture, tradition, customs, etc.
  • You’ll get to know the people better. Many say that the Japanese behave like they are from another planet. With the language, you’ll get the chance to get to know them better and see for yourself if they’re really from another planet.
  • Different writing systems, pronunciation, grammar, sentence structure. In one word, every aspect of the language is completely different from your native’s. And that’s fascinating- knowing the entirely different language.
  • Cinematography and tv shows, literature, music. Learn Japanese with songs and practice the language in an entertaining way - by singing along. Learn some common Japanese words through movies and practice your listening skills. Many amazing shows aren’t even available in your native language.
  • Improve your possibilities for jobs and eventually the option to visit and live in Japan for some time.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve come so far, you’re surely aware that no matter how long it takes to learn Japanese, as long as you are motivated enough and committed, you’ll succeed in learning it, even after five-month or years.

There’s a catch, though, that can help you learn Japanese a bit faster and more effectively. Listening to native Japanese speakers, learning tips and tricks from them, and practicing speaking even if your vocabulary contains only less than 100 words is the right way that  will lead you to progress faster than the old-fashioned way.

So, don’t wait tomorrow or next week but give it a try now. Now is the perfect timing.

Is Japanese hard to learn?

This question is always connected to our main question about the time you need to spend to learn Japanese. Just like the above-mentioned reasons determine how much time you need to learn the language, saying that Japanese is easy or hard to learn depends on them, too. We can, however, explain some of the characteristics of the language that show you whether Japanese is hard or easy to learn. For a very long time, Japanese was considered an isolate. It means that the language isn’t related to any language in the world. Today, however, some research has shown that Japanese belongs to Ryukyuan languages, although the information is still under the shadow. The language structure is different from many languages, especially those who use the alphabet. Therefore, for those native speakers, the Japanese may be quite challenging to learn. The writing system, different word order in a sentence, pronunciation, vocabulary, etc., sorts Japanese as one of the hardest languages to learn. Long story short: Japanese, undoubtedly, isn’t one of the easiest languages to learn, but it isn’t impossible either. You’ll need a lot of time to learn it but once you get your goal, the happiness and pride will be unmeasurable.

How long does it take to learn Japanese?

Linguists, teachers and other language scientists have been trying to classify all the languages in the world and make one general list where anyone can see all the languages from the hardest to the easiest ones. It would be ideal, but that isn’t possible. Language is a living thing, that human beings can communicate. But, some of them managed to make a classification. And that is The Foreign Service Institute. The institute created a list of all languages dividing them into five categories. Each category shows how many hours or weeks it takes to learn a particular language to achieve the conversational level. The ranking is however made only for English speakers. So, if you are a native Chinese or Arabian speaker who wants to learn Japanese, the list, unfortunately, won’t be helpful for you. The Japanese language belongs to category 5. Languages from this category are classified as the ones that are extremely difficult for native English speakers. This means that to achieve the conversational level of Japanese, it’ll take at least 88 weeks or 2.200 hours. As you see, learning Japanese, especially becoming fluent, takes a lot of time. An average Japanese student usually becomes fluent after constant learning in three to five years.

Should I start learning Japanese?

There are plenty of reasons for learning Japanese. Japanese, the language of the House of the Rising Sun, is a fascinating language. By learning the language, you’ll learn about the magnificent history, culture, tradition, customs, etc. You’ll get the know the people better. Many say that the Japanese behave like they are from another planet. With the language, you’ll get the chance to get to know them better and see for yourself if they’re really from another planet. Different writing systems, pronunciation, grammar, sentence structure. In one word, every aspect of the language is completely different from your native’s. And that’s fascinating- knowing the entirely different language. Cinematography and tv shows, literature, music. Learn Japanese with songs and practice the language in an entertaining way - by singing along. Learn some common Japanese words though movies and practice your listening skills. Many amazing shows aren’t even available in your native language. Improve your possibilities for jobs and eventually the option to visit and live in Japan for some time.

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