Are you interested in learning Japanese? Perhaps you like to read Japanese comics (Manga), you are planning a vacation or a business trip. You decide how fast you study. Have a look at our website.
Japanese is spoken by 120 million Japanese as mother tongue and offered as an option in school in China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Australia. Furthermore, there are Japanese communities in the United States and South America. It is a distant relative of Korean and East-Siberian languages but they went apart some 1900 years ago. It has a phonetis alphabet and a hieroglyph system, which it largely shares with neighbouring languages. It is the language of authors like Kawabata, the Nobel Prize winner, film directors such as Kurozawa but also of Sudoku-puzzles.
Most people find the pronounciation doable but the grammar and especially the Kanji are intially somewhat more time-consuming. No worries, we proceed on your pace. If you instead want to learn Caligraphy, that is certainly possible. You can have a chat and read the phonetic alphabet within a few months if you study glossary for 30 minutes during the weekend besides class. Your speech progresses quicker than the Kanji-signs but you are officially able to read with 300 characters and the phonetic alphabet. At 1000 characters you can read some 90 % of all Kanji occuring in an average text and you reached the level of beginning secondary school; your actual vocabulary is larger.
We share a large portion of the Kanji with the neighbours, so if you learn one kind, you can read the other kinds quickly. There are, however, differences which one should learn too. The pronounciation is different and sometimes there is a nuance of meaning, but the characters themselves too. The biggest difference is that with Mainland China, which has a radically simplified system since 1949. Taiwan does not participate, so for Japanese it is much easier to read Taiwanese texts than from the People's Republic. Japanese grammar is entirely different from Chinese, which for instance does not have a past tense. Japanese has suffixes allowing a more flexible word order and it is possible to agglotate more and more new words at the end of a sentence. This phenomenon is called Kouchaku-go. In Chinese, word order is highly important since a character (without a Japanese suffix) often could be both verb and noun.