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How to Speak Japanese (Complete Beginners Guide)

Out of all the second languages for native English speakers to learn, Japanese may be the most valuable and rewarding. Of course, as with anything truly rewarding, learning Japanese is challenging. But by no means is it impossible.  

Becoming fluent in Japanese, like any language, comes down to your mindset. And the fact that you’ve found this page is a great news. It shows you’re being proactive, seeking out the right path.  And what you’ve found here at Rype is an amazing set of tools, a community of teachers and supportive fellow learners.

Let’s dive in!

Common Obstacles Holding You Back from Speaking Japanese

Wee tend to start any new endeavor with optimism. It doesn’t matter whether it’s getting in shape or learning Japanese. We fantasize. We imagine the end result. Meanwhile,  the actual process of learning, training, working towards our goal: that’s the part we tend to omit in our fantasies.  When it’s time then to actually begin working towards our goal,  that first step of getting started often feels insurmountable.

The key to is to put it into perspective. All big ventures have the same common challenges:

  • Resources – What will be your method for learning Japanese? How much will it cost ? How does it fit into your budget?
  • Time – What about your schedule and availability?  Where will classes fit into your schedule?
  • Accountability – Honestly assess your character traits. Are you a self-starter? How much do you need an accountability partner, coach, or tutor?

In digesting these obstacles, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But take a step back for a minute. When we created Rype we considered each of these challenges. We realized that by teaching you Japanese online with native speakers around your schedule, we could develop a model that helps you easily overcome these obstacles. Rype’s Japanese teachers are leading educators, hand picked for teaching and communication skills. And our platform allows you to schedule classes online whenever you have availability.  

You just choose which teacher you want and they’ll help you stay on track.  And when you compare all this to either a group language school (where you don’t get one on one attention) or private lessons (which are expensive and lack scheduling flexibility), Rype truly reduces the amount of time and energy it requires to speak Japanese fluently.


The Benefits of Speaking Japanese Fluently

Each person has their own personal motivations for wanting to speak Japanese fluently. Perhaps you’re seeking more business opportunities. Or you may simply want the amazing cognitive benefits of speaking Japanese as a second language.  Whatever your goals are, consider these common benefits of learning Japanese:

  • Access to one of  world’s most important business languages. Being conversant in Japanese has massive implications as far as your ability to connect with one of the most important international markets..
  • Increased attention.  Learning a second language increases attention span, as studied by Scottish scientists. It’s one off the many cognitive benefits of bilingualism.
  • Career opportunities.  This doesn’t even necessarily mean living in Japan, but simply being a more valuable job candidate in today’s global marketplace.
  • New sense of confidence. There is a direct link between mastering a second language (especially one as challenging as Japanese) and increased confidence. Why? Consider the big picture of what you’re learning. It’s not just the language but the broader aspects of learning to better communicate, express yourself, and connect with others.
  • Deeper relationships. Being able to speak another’s native language, creates a depth of understanding and new layers of relationships with others that simply aren’t available when you’re monolingual.

Speaking Japanese Fluently: 8 Quick Tips

Get started on your path to speaking Japanese fluently with these 8 quick tips:

1. Travel with an All-Japanese Crew.

This is the most radical shortcut to fluency you can make.  Yes it will push you out of your comfort zone, but if your travel crew is 100% Japanese speakers with no other English speakers, you’ll expedite your Japanese fluency more than anything else you could do, hands down.

2. Stop Being a ‘Student’ in Japanese.

Becoming fluent is all about changing your your mindset.  At Rype we like to point out the world’s greatest language learners: babies!  Babies don’t really “think” at all when it comes to language. They don’t “try.” Their language acquisition is so fast because they essentially inhabit all sounds, words, and rhythms in their environment. Make this your model. Let go of thinking of yourself as a a student in Japanese and instead “live” in Japanese as much of the time as you can, and in every way you think of.

3. Overcome the “Mistake Fallacy.”

Breathe a little easier. Realize the mistake fallacy, which is the faulty belief that your success in learning a language equals your ability to speak or write free from mistakes. Why is this a fallacy? Two reasons. First it can hold back your progress.  The key is to approach your learning with  a sense of humor, just like a child.  Ultimately your “mistakes” will only endear you all the more to locals, who understand that you’re trying and will respect and admire your willingness to learn their language.

4. Speak Aloud.

Speaking Japanese fluently means SPEAKING! Take any and every possible way you can practice speaking, whether than means repeating phrases Japanese shows, podcasts, or music. The degree to which you’re enjoying speaking aloud determines how quickly you’ll incorporate Japanese into your brain.

5. Connect with Japanese Speakers anywhere and everywhere.

This is true both in IRL and on the internet. Look for ways to connect with Japanese speakers and strike up even the easiest conversations, both aloud (most important) and written.

6. Practice with a Japanese conversation partner or teacher.

It’s so important to to have a conversation partner (or teacher / coach) because doing so pushes you out of passive learning and into actively speaking, forcing your mind to work inJapanese.  At Rype, our model emphasizes this proactive approach to learning. When it comes to working with a conversation partner or coach, you can’t fake it.

7. Switch Your devices to Japanese.

Fully “inhabiting” the language means your devices work in that language as well, right?  You should constantly challenge your brain to process information in Japanese. Switching your phone’s system to Mandarin reinforces.  It will begin to feel normal before you know it.

8. Learn about Japanese culture.

To truly appreciate a language you have to have context. And withJapanese, you have one of the greatest cultures in the world to learn about.  Incorporate Japanese music, architecture, philosophy, cuisine, and poetry into your studies and you’ll realize deeper insights into how it’s expressed.. You even get a new sense of how Japanese approach life. This can be one of the most profound aspects of learning the language.

Classic Learning Tools for Japanese

Having outlined the 8 quick tips for speaking Japanese fluently,  let’s compare and contrast various learning methodologies.  After review, consider which best fit how you learn.

Private Japanese Tutors

Immersive learning means interacting with real people in real time.  Passive learning is the opposite. It’s learning by yourself through memorizing or individual study (with no speaking partner). It can also mean simply listening to someone without actively engaging.  Learning is expedited 5-10x more rapidly if you’re forced to engage in real time with other people.  This is where live coaches come in. They also help you with higher retention levels and accountability.


Japanese Learning Apps

There are many language apps out there for learning Japanese. We’ve reviewed two of the most popular,  Babbel and Duolingo.  While these apps definitely have their place, they’re best as a supplement. They shouldn’t take the place of a teacher.

Japanese Audio Courses and Programs

This is the old school way of learning. Language tapes and other audio programs are convenient, and they help you memorize useful travel phrases, but they’re not proactive.

Conversation Partners

Conversation exchanges can be great; they’re a proactive approach to learning. That said, finding the right partner can take time. And with conversation exchanges, teaching and learning is split 50% – 50%. This can make it a bit slower than you’d expect.

Learn to Speak Japanese Online

Let’s look at  Rype now that we’ve considered these different methods and tools. To speak Japanese fluently what’s required is immersion. That’s backed by research.  Through the benefit of learning with private teachers, we’ve helped 10,000+ members speak a new language around their busy lifestyle. And best of all, our rate is way more affordable than a private language school. Here are the highlights of the major benefits we offer to our language students:

  • You can enjoy Japanese lessons from anywhere you are in the world (no commuting).
  • Your experience is with a native Japanese speaking teacher that you choose, (all of whom are handpicked and pre-vetted).
  • You’ll learn Japanese online at any time of the day, any day of the week.
  • You’re only paying a fraction of the cost of a private language school.
  • You’ll be retaining more information and learning Japanese faster.
  • You’ll be part of an exclusive community of fellow Japanese language learners and global citizens.

If you still have any questions about how Rype works or want to share any feedback, feel free to reach out at help@rypeapp.com.

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