Want to learn Japanese online? It just may be the best decision you’ve ever made. College classes tie you to a particular campus at a particular time; with online learning, you’re free to study when and where you like.
Wouldn’t you rather study Japanese online in a way that works for you? But if you type “study Japanese online” into your favorite search engine, you’ll get too many results to try each one. So let me help you!
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First, make sure to choose a program with a good, clear audio track. I don’t mean to imply that reading material has no place in language instruction, because it most certainly does.
I’m just saying that a program that is completely (or even mostly) reading, with little or no audio component at all, is not a workable way to learn a language. Why? Because there’s no way to learn a living language except by hearing it. So there’s a reason for those dialogues!
But dialogues aren’t the whole story of studying Japanese online. After all, Japanese isn’t written using the Roman alphabet we use. Some Japanese language programs write Japanese using “Romanized” characters – the alphabet we use – especially at the beginning stages.
It’s absolutely fine to learn online using Romanized spelling, but as soon as possible you’re going to want to learn the writing systems used by the Japanese.
You’re right – learning Japanese online isn’t easy, but it is do-able. A third important component of any good Japanese instructional program is some kind of support system. When I say support system, I mean a forum or listserv where you can post questions that a native Japanese speaker will answer.