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Tips on learning Japanese!

Hey Guys! Just started learning Japanese right here on Duolingo! Any tips on the best ways to learn a language would be much appreciated! Many thanks, ShinjiCaluma

October 26, 2017



You can learn grammar and vocabulary through Duo, but it helps learning a language (or Japanese) if you:

Know all of the Hiragana and Katakana (quiz yourself often until it is second nature to just read it).

Speak out loud as often as possible. This will help you with quicker recall.

Make up mini stories to the best of your ability with the grammar you know. When learning in school we would write stories about hungry elephants going to the supermarket to buy salads because they didn't want to gain too much weight before the festival. It doesn't have to make sense, but it helps if you try to put into use what you have learned in any way possible.

Use other materials to support your Duolingo app (denshijisho, textbooks, online friends, real life people, etc.).

Try reading children's stories.

It could be difficult, but try to learn at least 3 words with kanji a day (i.e. 3 kanji a day). This will quickly become too much, so taking a day off sometimes is good. It would also be helpful to make yourself little quizzes for the kanji. That way you will know if you can move on.

Once you get further along it is great to read as much as possible. It helps if you read about things that you have an interest in or something that you already understand. I bought a Japanese middle school science textbook way back when. I love science, so I already knew what the book covered, and reading through it was helpful as I could see how topics were explained. From there it was just finding new vocabulary.

Just have an active imagination and try to speak out loud!
Good luck!


Thanks for the great advice. Very useful.


I agree with B_bethany. I am going to do what she says.


I use AnkiDroid with a JLPT N5 deck. This makes learning on Duolingo go very smooth.

If you have learned some words, you can try to read the manga Yotsuba. It’s easy to follow and a lot of fun. Reading will be very difficult when you do it for the first time and you will have to look up a lot of things, but in turn you will also learn a whole lot.


Practice writing. This is especially important for kanji, but it shouldn't be neglected for hiragana or katakana either (though, you should be able to completely skip writing practice for hiragana and katakana a little while after you start, since they should be ingrained into your head, and something as simple as those will not be forgotten easily).

Print out one of those sheets that has many columns of individual boxes, and use those. They should be easy to find. I would say, you haven't fully mastered a character, unless you can write it in about a half a second (for hiragana, katakana, few-stroke kanji), or one second (for intermediate kanji, maybe 5-9 strokes?), or longer for more advanced kanji. And of course, it has to be clearly legible. Now, this is my personal opinion, and I guarantee that this will differ, depending on who you ask. But learning to write will definitely help you learn to read, and therefore comprehend, faster.

Writing practice is forgotten about too much, in my opinion. Off-topic, but many people in Japan are unable to write certain kanji, even though they can read it, due to technology making it easier.

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