Japanese is easy? An alternative viewpoint on the language


My Japanese is not that great. I know enough to get around the country and understand the basics of simple conversation. For me, reading kana is fine, but not kanji so much. It's one of those things where I knew if I committed more time to study, I'd be better. This is all especially sad for someone who grew up in Japan and has since been immersed in the language.

It's easy to write off learning another language as too difficult. While I personally haven't, I can totally appreciate those who have. And all of the excuses sound like good ones to me. Maybe we're just looking at it wrong.

The Victory Manual says that we are. Japanese Is Easy, they say. While my instinct is to disagree, they make some really good points. They say that you have to get your head to throw out the Western ideas of language. After that, communication can be easy. Here's some bulletpoints on why the language is easier than we make it out to be:

  • a rarely wavering grammatical structure
  • a limited number of sounds, most of which are in English
  • lots of sources are available to study from
  • and Kanji is "like having a cheat sheet in the words themselves"

I'm not totally feeling the last bulletpoint, but the rest make sense. The article goes on to talk about the other strengths of the language, including the Heisig method and a reminder that there's plenty of manga to study from.

Interesting viewpoints, I'd say. They close by saying that "if you go into the game expecting to lose, you’ve already lost." I'd agree. For a lot of us, we're already pretty familiar with the language's sounds and rules. I think that actually setting aside to practice is a hurdle they don't mention here. Of course, that's all up to the learner.

What do you think? Is Japanese "easy" to you?


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Dale North
Dale NorthAssociate Editor   gamer profile

I am Destructoid's Editor-In-Chief. I love corgis. I make music. more + disclosures



Filed under... #learn japanese #otaku culture



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