Japanese is a popular choice for students learning languages at la Academia. Usually students come to us from either an interest in martial arts, manga or anime, but we also get students who are learning Japanese for work, or who are going to Japan on the JET scheme or on holiday and want to get some Japanese classes under their belt before they go.
Very few people in Japan speak English; the English level is much lower than say in Germany. Japan had little contact with outside world for centuries and therefore little reason to learn languages. Being an island race is a strong part of the culture – a feeling that foreign languages are hard to learn, and worry about making mistakes holds the Japanese back. Your efforts will be appreciated, even if you are a beginner.
Since opening up almost zero immigration has meant the Japanese have retained a unique culture. Learning the language gives you an insight into this that you cannot obtain by speaking only English.
Practicalities of learning Japanese
Japanese has straightforward pronunciation: unlike Chinese it is not a tonal language, and in fact has fewer vowel sounds that English, so that’s a good start for learning to speak.
Grammar-wise: Japanese is similar to European languages in some respects, but has some oddities, such as a past tense for adjectives – instead of “it was white”, Japanese says “it white+past ending”. There is also a verb ending to express potential, so rather than “I can sing”, Japanese says “I sing+verb ending that means can”.
Politeness: There is a lot of politeness in Japanese – but don’t worry – our Japanese classes cover a level of politeness that is fine for everyday use. Even if you are in a situation where extreme politeness would be required of a Japanese person it is likely that your audience will be so impressed by your efforts to learn Japanese that any errors you make will swiftly be forgiven.
Vocabulary: Japanese words are completely different to any European language, but as you learn the Chinese characters (Kanji) that will give you clues to meaning in the same way as understanding Latin and Greek roots in English helps understand the meanings of words.
Do something fun and different – sign up for some Japanese classes at la Academia! 0161 491 1444