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How long did it take YOU to learn Japanese?

Shinsan

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Hey, I've been studying Japanese for 2 years, I've been lazy though throughout the 2 years, but now I'm really hitting it off and devoted myself to studying every day if possible. I plan to learn Hiragana, then Katakana, then the spoken language then Kanji. I plan to teach English in Japan after I'm through with College which is in 7 years. I'm 15 now, but I know what I want, and know where I belong, and teaching in Japan is my Goal AND my dream. =) Anyway.. think it's possible for me to become atleast somewhat fluent in the language by 7 years? Arigatou Gozaimasu.

How long did it take you and what did/do you want to in Japan? How long did it take you to learn each individual thing? Thanks and I look forward to your responses.
 

Charles Barkley

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You don't need to be fluent before moving to Japan--they won't kick you out if your japanese isn't up to snuff when you get over.

Outside of Japan, obviously it will take much longer to meet your study goals. I taught English in Japan for 2 years and studied for about 6months before coming over and am 'somewhat fluent.' Hopefully after another year in Japan, this time as a student instead of an English teacher, I will be able to drop the 'somewhat.'
 

AJBryant

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How long did it take you and what did/do you want to in Japan? How long did it take you to learn each individual thing? Thanks and I look forward to your responses.
I first started with Japanese back in 1978, and I'm *still* learning. :)

Lived there for six years (1986-92) and worked as editor of Tokyo Journal and an editor at the Mainichi Daily News.


Tony
 

Shinsan

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Your still learning? Is it the Kanji that's taking so long? Also, if I wanted to get a LONG TERM(Like.. maybe 20-30 years, maybe my whole life) teaching job in Japan is it possible or am I going to have to move around alot every few years?
 

Glenn

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No, he means that it's a lifelong venture to learn anything. Japanese people are still learning Japanese. There's always something you don't know. Unless you've just shut your mind down you're still learning English.

The problem is in how you define "learn" in this context. Does it just mean be able to survive in Japan using Japanese? Does it mean being able to converse about everyday things in Japanese (of course that brings up the question, "what are 'everyday things?'")? Does it mean being able to discuss politics in Japanese? Does it mean being able to discuss business? science? current events? Does it mean being able to read and understand Classical Japanese? in the original? in modern kana (or I guess I should say just "kana")? Is it all of those things combined? The question's a lot more complex than most people seem to think it is.
 

Kirakira1232

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Learning a language isnt something you master in X amount of years. Language constantly changes so you are still learning whether you have lived there 1 year, 10 years or 30 years!
 

slaughterj

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Not to mention the fun you have when exploring various dialects, like Kansai/Osaka-ben!
 

Mikawa Ossan

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In my case, after one and a half years I was just proficient enough to make friends using Japanese only. But that was in a closed college situation. In the real world I would have known just enough to get a bottom rung job someplace.
 

slaughterj

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In my case, after one and a half years I was just proficient enough to make friends using Japanese only. But that was in a closed college situation. In the real world I would have known just enough to get a bottom rung job someplace.
Is that after one and a half years in Japan, with no study beforehand?
 

Mikawa Ossan

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No, that was studying at university for one and a half years before going to Japan on a study abroad.
 

Davey

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basic Japanese took me about 1.5 year with around 5 hours study per week. It really depends on the person. But i guess with an hour study for about 1 year would get you pretty far.

Becoming fluent in Japanese without living in Japan (or having a Japanese surrounding) is almost impossible I think.
 
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Amigo

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Not "almost impossible" but just "impossible".
One cannot manage to speak a language fluently just studying. Even though you study all your life you'll never speak it fluently, unless you could speak it almost everyday with native people!
It happened to me with English. I had studying English since I was 11 and never could speak it well enough to keep a normal conversation till went to England with 26 years old! Well, ONLY 2 WEEKS AFTER THAT I could speak it quite fluently with the friends I got. My dream came true in 2 weeks just because I went to England to study it. As I was speaking it I was taken aback because I really could do it at last! After 6 mounths there I returned to Spain and I was so happy saying at work that I could speak English. However I had to keep going to English conversation classes because I was frightened that I could lose skills.
The same thing is now happening to me with Japanese language. I have been 5 years studying it, but I cannot keep a conversation at all. Even though I Study it every day . So I go to class once a week.
I'm planning to do in Japan the same thing I did in England, but Japan will be much more difficult about paper-works and so on.
 
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Charles Barkley

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@Davey before this week, I too thought that becoming fluent in Japanese before arriving was impossible. But I have met a couple people in the international student house where I am living who are pretty damn good despite having never lived in the country before. They tend to be the types who speak 3-4 other languages fluently as well I think...
 

Amigo

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It took me 5 years to master 1000 kanjis and basis grammar...

Six years ago in my hometown there wasn't any chance to study Japanese, so I felt always frustrated.
But I was very happy when I could get information thanks to Internet, and begun to study it excitingly by my self.
I wanted to point something...
I practiced and practiced Katakana the first 'cause I thought if I started by Hiragana, after that I wouldn't have enough motivation to study Katakana, since it is less used.
A year after that, when I settled in my country's capital, a Japanese teacher told me that it was a very good idea, because her students normally used to lose interest in learning Katakana after learning Hiragana. So she had changed into that method. It was a plesant coincidence for me. I did well.
I could mastered both "Alphabet" as long as grammar with total motivation.
Even now sometimes I study grammar only with Katakana (although it isn't correct) just to practice Katakana. I can always write Hiragana later on with genuine Japanese.
So that you can keep a good level at Katakana as well.
 

bian

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kanji is really hard for me and also memorizing the vocabulary is really tough
but now i am using this website japaneseclass.jp
it helps me a for kanji practice to memorize them:)
 
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