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Japanese Language

by Rosetta Stone
Daigoji temple in Kyoto, Japan

At first, the thought of learning Japanese may seem very intimidating. However, once you have started your journey, you’ll find that learning and beginning to speak words in Japanese comes rather quickly. The reason for this is that most characters in Japanese have only one correct pronunciation. This characteristic of the Japanese language simplifies things for many beginner learners.

Just like the English alphabet, Japanese has five vowels. And once you’ve learned the Japanese vowel sounds, you will be able to easily pronounce some basic Japanese words. Japanese also has only 14 consonants, and each of those only has one accurate pronunciation. This means a limited number of letter combinations is possible, and you’ll be able to quickly pick up all the variations of sounds that can occur when speaking Japanese.

Kanji is the written script for Japanese, and that will be a bit more complex to pick up. In order to read and write Japanese, you’ll need to learn this system which is adapted from Chinese. For instance, 今日 is the kanji character for “today.” But the radical in the second part of the character, 日, means “sun” or “day.” This same radical also turns up in phrases like “good afternoon” 今日は.

Learning Japanese with Rosetta Stone

To truly learn any language, it’s more than just about word memorization. Rosetta Stone’s Dynamic Immersion® methodology teaches you to speak the language. Our approach is effective in preparing you to use Japanese in your everyday life, and handle any situation with ease and confidence. With over 25 years of language learning experience, we are confident that anyone can learn a new language.

As with other languages, there are few “quirky” things you will need to learn in addition to regular vocabulary and grammar rules. For example, to say “hi” in Japanese, the standard word is “konnichiwa.” But if you are on the telephone, you would use “moshi moshi.” If you’re addressing someone that you’ve not seen in a while, you would say “hisashiburi.” This is not unlike the flexibility we have in the English language when expressing hello as “hello, hi, or hey.”

Pronunciation in any language is key to your success. In Japanese, the syllables of words can also be easier to pronounce than other languages because they are given equal stress, with some slight differences in intonation of low and high pitches. But some pronunciation can be a bit more complicated and varied from region to region. Given that, it’s best to mimic fluent local speakers. It’s also very important to know that the pitch of a spoken word in Japanese can change its meaning. This means you’ll need to listen carefully to spoken Japanese to make sure you get it right.

Because pronunciation is so important, especially in Japanese, receiving immediate and accurate feedback while you are learning is going to be essential to your success. Rosetta Stone embeds our patented and proven TruAccent™ speech-recognition engine into every language lesson. TruAccent will provide you with precise and instant feedback allowing you to match your pronunciation and accent with that of veteran Japanese speakers. It’s a powerful tool which will help you succeed in your goal to understand and speak the language.

Try Our Award-Winning App

Surround yourself with Japanese whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app .

Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation .

The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.

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