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How to Speak Japanese
Are you interested in learning how to speak Japanese, but believe it might be too hard to learn? While learning how to speak Japanese fast may or may not be too lofty a goal, learning Japanese is not impossible and is very rewarding. Many people who speak English are quick to try out romance languages like Spanish or French, simply due to their similarities with English, believing it to be easy. And while indeed, romance languages have more similarities to English than Japanese certainly does, it doesn’t make it some insane goal to speak Japanese. However, as you start learning how to speak Japanese words and start conversing with other people who know Japanese, you’ll be glad to know that there is some simplicity to the structure of the language.
For example, unlike grammatical rules in romance languages, in Japanese, nouns are nouns…not feminine or masculine nouns. In other words, you won’t have to memorize if a car is masculine or feminine in Japanese like you do in French or Italian.
Also, as you begin your Japanese studies, you’ll see that there are fewer sounds in the language.
- English has 44 phonemes (24 consonant sounds and 20 vowel sounds)
- Japanese has 5 vowel sounds, and 26 consonant sounds.
Of course, these Japanese sounds are uniquely different from English sounds, but after working with Rosetta Stone’s Japanese program to learn how to speak in Japanese, you’ll find yourself having real-life conversations in Japanese with confidence. Our language program has been built on the research and expertise of our linguists, who specialize in the study of phonetics, communication, language structure and more, for over 26 years. So, whether you want to learn Japanese on your smartphone or your desktop, we have you covered with engaging, ten-minute, bite-sized lessons.
And even though Japanese phonemes are unfamiliar to the English speaker, with Rosetta Stone’s speech recognition technology, TruAccent®, you’ll fine-tune your pronunciation in real time to see how you are progressing in Japanese. Because there’s no point in knowing just a bunch of Japanese words if people can’t understand what you’re saying, right?
Want to Speak Japanese? Learn More About the Japanese Language
Here are some more facts about the Japanese language before you begin your studies on this fascinating language. Chances are, you are already pretty intrigued by Japanese culture, history, and art, so learning how to speak in Japanese will be something you’ll value for years to come.
These facts will help you form a basis for the language as you learn how to speak Japanese words and more:
- What are Hiragana & Katakana?: They are both Japanese alphabets; Hiragana is a system of characters that represent Japanese sounds; Katakana is as well, but these sounds often represent words that came from other languages. Each character in these alphabets has only one sound, so after some pronunciation practice with TruAccent®, you’ll sound amazing. Not to mention that Rosetta Stone also offers options for you to learn different systems and ways of writing when learning Japanese.
- Pitch is everything: Instead of accents, pitch is everything when it comes to pronunciation. High or low pitch can change the meaning of a word, making your intonation very important to getting the right meaning across.
- Writing takes practice: Japanese has four different systems when it comes to writing: Kanji, Katakana, Hiragana and Rōmaji. This may sound daunting, but you don’t need to learn to write in order to converse in Japanese. Rosetta Stone’s Dynamic Immersion® method teaches you new words and phrases based on the context in which they’re used, so you’ll be prepared to thrive in real-world conversations using Japanese, no script required.
- Kanji is cool: Kanji is the writing system used in Japanese. They are characters derived from Chinese characters, and the basis for Japanese writing.
- Avoid Romaji: What's Romaji? Romaji is basically the Romanization of Japanese words. It was created for people who essentially, cannot read Kanji. Do not focus on Romaji as it will make learning Kanji difficult.
If you’ve gotten this far, you’re intrigued by the Japanese language. Is there any real recipe for how to speak Japanese fast? No, there’s not. But through repetition and teaching you patterns of the language, Rosetta Stone kick starts your ability to learn in context, making connections between what you’re seeing and what you’re saying. So over time, you’ll start to speak Japanese with confidence.
Try Our Award-Winning App
Surround yourself with Japanese whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app.
Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation.
The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.