You Still Need To Dedicate Time To Study Japanese
Anime is not a lazy way to learn Japanese, I wish it was, this is the simple truth. Some aspects of the Japanese language is very hard to be learned from Anime, and so you need to study them in their dedicated time. That goes particularly to the written language, like hiragana & katakana . The same goes to the Kanji character .
While there are tons of appearance of Hiragana in Anime, theres as much written Katakana . If you visited any Japanese website, you will see Katakana used very often to denote English terms, like Homu or Kaatu . For that reason, Katakana alone can help you navigate websites to some extent.
Even if we said you were only going for the spoken language, learning the grammar is still a must here. Also, having a dedicated time for studying the vocabulary can greatly boost the speed by which you learn the language .
Learning these things can serve as a basis that will allow you to benefit from watching Anime. Despite my early level in Japanese, I find myself frequently able to learn new words since I know the grammar behind the sentence, and I could tell which word meant what in the subtitle. I do a quick Google search to confirm if I got it right, and this worked for me many times.
You Can Learn Japanese To A Good Level After Just A Few Months
Chris Broad shows that itâs possible to survive in Japanese with as little as 6 months of studying. Fluent in 3 Months Challenge head coach Shannon Kennedy learned Japanese in 3 months to a conversational level . I also participated in the Fi3M Challenge with Rodylyn, who had a 15-minute conversation in Japanese in only 90 days.
Stick To Your Level Or Slightly Above Your Level
Some people choose shows that are too difficult. Perhaps they have a large appetite and want to make lots of progress quickly. Or perhaps they overestimate the time it takes to learn from these shows.
The problem with choosing shows that are too difficult is that the short-term progress usually takes longer than people expect.
The result? People get discouraged and may even burn out.
But picking a show thats too easy can have a similar effect, for different reasons. You may find the material super easy. Then its possible to get lazy or overconfident and become discouraged when faced with real-world situations or more difficult material.
So its best to pick something appropriate for your level. If youre a beginner, for instance, appropriate shows may be kids cartoons, such as My Neighbor Totoro or Grave of Fireflies.
If looking for appropriate anime,;this ultimate guide on anime genres is the perfect place to start.
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Where To Find Anime For Learning Japanese
Anyone whos ever tried to learn Japanese through anime knows that this can be a bit tricky.;You need to find the right streaming site for each anime that youre trying to watch, and all your favorite anime shows arent always in the same place.
If you want to buy a DVD version of your anime, the challenge growsyou have to find discs that are compatible with your DVD player in the United States, and the seller has to actually be willing to ship them to your faraway address.
Luckily, in recent years this challenge has become easier to overcome through the rise of streaming websites. Here are a few places where you can legally find anime to watch :
- Netflix, Hulu and : These three streaming services might be better known for their shows and movies, but all three have a pretty impressive selection of anime, as well. The links will take you straight to the anime genre section of each.
- Crunchyroll:;This is perhaps the most well-known anime streaming service. It has hundreds of anime to choose from and even simulcasts anime .
- Crackle:;Sonys streaming service has a smaller selection, but theyre usually good picks.
- Anime-Planet: This site partners with other streaming services like Netflix and Crunchyroll to bring fans a huge selection of anime.
You can find even more options for watching anime no matter where you are in the world on Yattatachi.
Learn Every Single Word Of Every Single Episode
This ones kind of a bummer, because it requires a lot of work, but if you want to understand , then you need to understand every word in that anime.
Maybe that sounds redundant, but I think that its something that I had a hard time accepting when I was still a beginner student of Japanese. I was more concerned about enjoying anime than I was about studying anime. As such, I had this lofty dream of magically understanding all of these rad shows just by toggling subtitles and immersing myself in Japanese.
Well, that didnt work so well.
Watching anime does not teach you Japanese. This has nothing to do with subtitle settings or amount of time watched or focus or any of that BS that I used to worry about when I sucked at Japanese.
For example, here are some English words:
Now tell me what each of those words means.
Difficult? Thats strange, because Im pretty sure were reading this article with English subtitles: On.
But none of us learn that way. Were not geniuses. Or, at least, Im certainly not a genius If I were, Id probably have a lot more money. .
The point is, you cant expect yourself to understand Japanese just because you hear or see Japanese words. Foreigners who spend decades in Japan without attaining fluency are a testament to this .
Luckily, there are programs available for splitting up the dialogue, audio, screenshots, and video clips of anime and putting them into flashcards so that we can study them and thereby learn them.
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Which Anime Should I Watch
To learn Japanese through anime you should consider some points before starting:
Firstly, watching anime you are familiar with and know its story will help you understand Japanese phrases more easily. Try to focus on vocabulary by taking notes on things you have trouble with and search for it online it;
Then, you have to be conscious about our level of understanding. Take something easier to watch in the beginning and gradually increase its difficulty;
Finally, when you are able to watch and understand a higher level try watching anime without subtitles and see what you can get from this experience. If needed, take some steps back and try it again.
There are plenty of anime categories to choose from but the main are:
Shonen, anime for teenage boys ,
Shôjo, equivalent to Shonen but main characters are girls ,
Mecha, anime which are about giant robots
Kemono, animals or anthropomorphises are the main characters
And many others. Just choose that you think you will enjoy watching!
Join The Fluent In 3 Months Challenge
Donât underestimate the power of accountability. More times than not, the difference between succeeding and failing in language studies is building a habit and sticking with it.
Thatâs where the Fluent in 3 Months Challenge comes in. Itâs a community of learners who all share the same goal as you. Having someone who can relate, share tips, and give encouragement makes a big difference. Plus, youâll be assigned specific tasks that are strategic to push you to the next level in fluency. Youâll start to learn areas youâre weak in, and how to strengthen them. And most importantly, youâll stick with your study habits for 90 days to complete the challenge.
I already shared mine, Shannonâs, and Rodylynâs success stories with you from taking this challenge. I can say with certainty my study habits drastically changed and I wouldnât be at the Japanese level Iâm at without it.
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Pick Up Some Japanese Sentences And Learn Them With Anki
Grammar is always learnt best with a sentence. That goes for vocabulary as well. I recently started with iKnow and am quite fond of their service. They offer exactly what I talked about. 6000 core sentences with which you learn the most important Japanese words. Now were using this system and put some sentences from Anime into a special Anki deck which we create. Along with a fitting translation you can use it to learn some slang expression and sentence patterns. If you heard a grammatical expression in a sentence you instantly understand how it can be used.
What do you think about this? Are you watching Anime and if yes how do you think does it supplement your learning? Would love to hear other imp onions about this.
In this article:
Why Learning Through Naive Immersion Does Not Work
I wish it were true that you could just watch your favorite anime shows and absorb all of the Japanese you find there. Sadly, thats not how language learning works. You do need to put the effort in and try to understand what is going on.
A few years ago, I tried to learn Korean by only watching Korean dramas. It didnt work. But, from that, I learned a valuable lesson. Naive immersion, which involves blinding watching or listening to try and pick up the language from the environment, does not work. To truly learn languages, you need to understand what is going on. And no, English subtitles do not count.
When doing the research for my book, I found that the linguist Stephen Krashen was saying something very similar:
explains why it practically impossible for someone to acquire a second or foreign language merely by listening to the radio This requirement also explains the apparent failure of educational TV programs to teach foreign languages. The input is simply not comprehensible. My own children watched programs such as Ville Allegre faithfully for years, and acquired about as much as I did.
When learning, you need to be good enough at Japanese to understand 50% or more of what is going on. The material can be challenging, but it should not be impossible to understand.
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Learning Kanji Will Take You Longer
If you want to reach an advanced level of Japanese, youâd also have to learn kanji. If you only focused on kanji, and learned about 30 a day, you could learn all 2200 jouyou kanji in about 3 months, tooâ¦ With the right methods.
To pass the Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1, which is considered fluent Japanese? You would have to know all the jouyou kanji, 10,000 words, and know hundreds of grammar patterns. So, to reach near-native levels of fluency, youâd need at least a year of full-time, immersive studying. That doesnât mean youâd have to live in Japan, but you would definitely have to create an immersive environment at home. Even still, the average time it takes someone to reach this level with intense, but not full-time, studying is 3-5 years.
The reason itâs so hard and takes so long is because you have to learn kanji on top of everything else. It segments your learning between speaking and listening, and reading and writing. But if you have the motivation, you can do it with effective study habits.
So donât let those big number of hours discourage you. Thatâs focused on inefficient study hours. If you know how you learn best, you have amazing Japanese resources, and you put in real study and speaking time, you can get there fast.
How To Learn Japanese Using Anime
Make certain Japanese words important to your brain.
How do you do that?
You first study them in isolation, that is, not while watching anime. And then you watch the anime afterwords to hear the words that you studied in action.
Here are the steps:
Get a list of the most common words used in the specific anime that you watch to watch.
This part may be a challenge;if you want the words used in anime thats not very popular , but you can always start with this list of the 100 Most Essential Words in Anime and then branch out to a specific anime later on.
You will want to study and learn those words on your own so that you brain knows that these new words are important to you. In other words, your brain will know what to look for;.
Then when you watch the anime, you brain will recognize the words that youve been studying and say hey, I know these words! They will just pop out to your conscious mind when you hear them.
Its a pretty cool feeling when youre watching anime and you actually comprehend what the characters are saying for the first time! Its also super motivating!
Watch the anime with subtitles once, then turn them off and watch it again.
Let me clarify this one so that you can see how its different from the methods that dont work that we talked about earlier.
You watch the anime once and you read the subtitles. Go ahead and fully read them without worrying at all about connecting it to the Japanese words that are being said.
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The Key To Learning Through Anime
The key is the amount of passive vocabulary you already have. Its all the vocabulary you understand when listening to or reading Japanese, without having the need to search in the dictionary. Our brain has limited capacity and if it doesnt recognize 70-80% of the words in a sentence, it will be incapable of filling in the blanks to give a sense to the unknown words based on the context.
Lets look at these two cases:1. You are at a beginner level of Japanese2. You are at an intermediate level of Japanese
In both cases, you must expose yourself to a lot of Japanese media: podcasts, videos and so on
In the first case, your brain wont be able to analyze what you hear when youre watching anime because you miss too many words. Of course we dont forbid you from watching anime, but be aware that you are only training your ears to become accustomed to the sounds of Japanese. This is a good start, though. But you will also need to start learning grammar basics and vocabulary. Our Japanese for Absolute Beginners series will offer you the resources you need to quickly understand the foundations of the Japanese language, through entertaining topics.
Anime can be a great learning tool because its fun and there is a lot of it around. Just make sure to do a little extra work to optimize its use! Dont forget to sign up for your Free Lifetime Account to access all our resources and be able to watch anime without subtitles!
When Done Right Anime Can Give You A Boost In Learning Japanese
After you get to a certain level, not only will you be able to understand good parts of what you are watching, but also learn new words even more easily. It will help you get used to listen to Japanese. Doing so with an Anime with a simple language is better, so dont start with watching Steins;Gate for that, though I know it is a masterpiece for many , at a low level, I think it is relatively harder to learn things from it. But you surly can do this after you became good with the language.
One Anime I found particularly easy to learn vocabulary from was Aikatsu. It doesnt take much efforts from me to learn new words from it thanks to the easy language used in it. I guess any similar Anime can be used for that too.
One more thing, in order to benefit from watching Anime, you will need to pay attention to the language while you are at it, not just the Anime itself.
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Learning Through Anime: A Step
In this learning Japanese through anime guide, were going to look at a detailed process for putting all that crazy Japanese deep into your brain. Specifically, well go over:
So Here Are Three Methods You Can Use To Study Japanese By Watching For Favorite Anime:
Learn Japanese Vocabulary Watching Anime;
Today;well;use;Shirokuma;Café, or;Polar Bear Café;as an example.;
Shirokuma;Café;premiered in 2012 and ran a whopping fifty episodes before the series ended;almost a;year later in 2013.;;
Its;a lovely little series following a Polar Bear who owns a café and serves both humans and other animals in a world where the two species coexist peacefully.;;
Shirokuma;Café;is a great anime to watch for beginners learning Japanese because the anime uses the literal names of real-life animals for the characters. This is helpful for building a basic vocabulary most Native Japanese would have in elementary school.;
;;Shiro means white;;;;kuma;means bear;
So;shiro;kuma;is white bear, or polar bear.;
Shirokuma;is written in katakana as;;;in the manga series.;
Katakana is the;Japanese syllabary, or alphabet system used for many foreign loan words or to;denote;emphasis.;;
The manga series;uses Katakana a lot for humor to;accentuate;the Japanese homophones, gags, and bad puns;Shirokuma;often makes.;
The Romanized Japanese pengin sounds a lot like the English;animal;name for penguin.;;
As with Penguin, Panda in Japanese sounds almost identical to the English word for this animal.;
Due to the Japanese syllabary alphabet having no words for L,;it is often pronounced with an R.;So, llama becomes ra-ma.;;
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A Disclaimer About Learning Japanese With Anime
Japanese is an honorific language with different ways of speaking. Think about it this way: You speak differently with your superiors at work than you do with close friends and family, right?
Japanese takes this to another level.
You have to change the way you speak to someone depending on your relationship, but it transcends the straightforward distinction between formal and casual. Your language will change between talking to a friend, family member, work colleague, manager or customer.
Meanwhile, anime characters live in their own universe where everyone tends to use slang, casual language, informal pronouns and even made-up words.
Too often, Japanese teachers encounter eager anime fans who were inspired to learn Japanese from their favorite programs. They sit on the edges of their seats, bursting with excitement to show off the words and phrases they learned while watching anime.
Imitating anime characters can leave you speaking like a child or a rude street punk, but you might never know the true meaning of your words and tone. This can be frustrating for both teachers and peers.
The bottom line here is that you need to be aware of the kind of Japanese youll absorb in anime-world. As long as you dont lose sight of your ultimate Japanese language goalto speak fluently and properly in any situationanime Japanese definitely has a place in your language learning progress.