Japanese Language Classes vs Other Language Classes

Learning foreign languages is fun and exciting! You can find things exclusively in one particular language but not in other languages, such as tones in Mandarin and gender for nouns in German and French. Sometimes the language also represents the culture of a country, just like in Japanese. This article will discuss the things you will find in Japanese language classes that you don’t find in other language classes.

1.    Writing systems

Unlike the other languages’ writing system with one single writing system, the Japanese language has three: Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana. Hiragana and Katakana are Japanese alphabets, while Kanji are Chinese origin characters, which is a little harder to memorize. There’s also Romaji, the Latin transcript of the Japanese alphabets. Romaji gives convenience for non-Japanese speakers to learn the pronunciation of Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana.

2.    Unique sentence structure

To memorize the basic English sentence structure, you must remember ‘SVO+A’ (subject + verb + object + adverbial). However, the Japanese sentence structure is a bit different. It uses ‘SOP’ (subject + object + predicate) sentence structure.

Another fun fact about the Japanese sentence structure is that it also represents the Japanese culture as well. In Japanese, the longer the sentence, the higher the level of politeness. It is usually used when we talk with the elders and our superiors. So, if someone uses a long sentence to express simple things to you, it means that they respect you!

3.    Different lengths of the sound might have a different meaning.

Memorizing the writing systems is quite a hassle. However, the trickiest part of the Japanese language is the length of the sound. It is what Japanese language classes have to pay attention to.  Many Japanese words are pronounced almost the same, and sometimes the only thing that distinguishes them from one another is the length of the sound. Some words are enunciated long, short, or with double consonants. For example, the word Joshi means woman, while Jyoushi means superior or boss. Although both words sound almost the same, they have different meanings because one sounds longer than another.

4.    Kanji, the word with two reading methods

If you’re learning the Japanese language, you’ll be familiar with three writing systems used in its language: Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. Hiragana and Katakana are commonly known as the simpler ones, while Kanji is the harder one. There are thousands of Kanji used in the Japanese language! To pass the Japanese language proficiency test N1, you must master at least 2000 kanji. Unlike the other two writing systems, you can read Kanji in two ways: the Chinese reading method (onyomi) and the Japanese reading method (kunyomi).

Those are four things you can exclusively find in Japanese language classes and not in other languages. Happy learning!

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