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At the dawn of learning Japanese

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This question may be too vague, but I will try to make my points clear.
How hard is it to learn Japanese? What is the most difficult part of learning this language?
For you non-native who already reached a sufficient level of Japanese to conduct daily conversation, how hard you effort was and how long does it take you to get to your current level?
Is a 6 month long self-study sufficient to at least bring you to the middle part of the beginner level? By this level, I would describe as being able to ask directions and a short talk with a convenience store employees (e.g. asking for the availability of certain thing).
Do some of you also learn from watching Japanese shows (e.g. drama, anime, etc)? If yes, how well does it work?

Thank you.
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
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People often report that the most difficult part is maintaining their motivation and dedication to continue studying.

Media are good supplementary learning materials. People who use it as their primary learning material tend not to do as well.

How much you can learn in six months will depend mostly on the time and effort you devote to your studies. You may learn a lot or you may learn very little. It is impossible to say up front.
 

mdchachi

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First of all let me say, it's not too late to give up this idea of learning Japanese. What's the point? It's only used in Japan, after all. Why waste your time on such an endeavor??

How hard is it to learn Japanese? What is the most difficult part of learning this language?
Generally people have the most difficulty with the written language.

For you non-native who already reached a sufficient level of Japanese to conduct daily conversation, how hard you effort was and how long does it take you to get to your current level?
Hard to judge difficulty. I learned Japanese simply for the challenge and "fun." I've never learned any other languages. After six semesters (3 years) of a not very intense program in college, I knew grammar basics. I couldn't hold a conversation to save my life. After a year in Japan, I was comfortable for daily life. After five years in Japan I was at my peak. I've been mostly at that same plateau for last 20 years. Of course I've learned a lot of vocabulary since then (also forgot a lot). Still can't read a book or newspaper. (It's just never been a priority to me.) Even now if I watch the news or TV shows, there are plenty of words I don't know.

Is a 6 month long self-study sufficient to at least bring you to the middle part of the beginner level? By this level, I would describe as being able to ask directions and a short talk with a convenience store employees (e.g. asking for the availability of certain thing).
It should be pretty easy to get to the level of asking for directions etc in six months. The hard part will be understanding the answer.

Do some of you also learn from watching Japanese shows (e.g. drama, anime, etc)? If yes, how well does it work?
I know some people do this. Certainly it would have been nice if I had had such a resource 30 years ago.
 
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Thanks for all the answers.
Actually, it's not like I want to learn it out of a mere curiosity or interest. I am going to do my PhD in this country. The language of instruction will be in English though.
 
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It's exceptionally easy to learn Japanese. Just put in a couple hours per day of appropriate study for the next ten years and you're virtually assured of learning some Japanese.

Survival level should be perfectly possible in 6 months if you put in the time and effort with a competent teacher.
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
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Thanks for all the answers.
Actually, it's not like I want to learn it out of a mere curiosity or interest. I am going to do my PhD in this country. The language of instruction will be in English though.
And the quality of every other aspect of your stay outside the classroom/laboratory will be most strongly influenced by how well you are able to function in Japanese. Your program will take most of your time and brain power, so it is very important that you try to make as much progress as you can before your program starts. But I suppose you already knew that.
 
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I've talked with my Japanese students about this and they all told me not to rely on anime when learning their language, the reasons they cited were too much slang and the exaggerated intonation that people who watch anime tend to pick up. Also, how many languages do you already speak? The more languages you speak, the easier it will be for you to learn one more, no matter family they belong to.
 
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I've talked with my Japanese students about this and they all told me not to rely on anime when learning their language, the reasons they cited were too much slang and the exaggerated intonation that people who watch anime tend to pick up. Also, how many languages do you already speak? The more languages you speak, the easier it will be for you to learn one more, no matter family they belong to.
Thanks for the advice. I won't be using the animes as my main learning source, though. It's just for the "sweetener" for my learning process.
I am not very good with languages actually. Despite having lived in Germany for 2 years, I am still not fluent with the speaking.
 
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Ich verstehe :) If you want, I can send you some workbooks for beginners in English and Japanese that I intended to use myself.
Edit: Is English your mother tongue?
 
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