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My Experience of Learning Japanese Language

I am learning Japanese Language as I am preparing for JLPT N4

"Kon'nichiwa, Watashiwa Chaitali desu" Isn't that sound declamatory? Well the meaning of this flowery sentence is "Hello, I am Chaitali" One day my dad called me and said that there was an advertisement of Japanese language class and he advised me to visit the classes. That phone call sparked my curiosity towards Japanese language and I was more than delighted just to have a thought that I would be speaking Japanese. Being a Marathi medium student, I always used to wonder about English medium students, their culture. When I did my schooling, English was the only typically known foreign language amongst the society in which I have been raised. Unintentionally, there was an inferiority complex that I was carrying within me, but however that complex itself drove me to come out of it and the journey was started towards learning English and now it has become a distinct medium of my day to day conversations. So when I heard about Japanese language class from my dad, I was more than happy and curious again and this time there was no inferiority complex at all. Instead, there was an obligation, choiceness. This is how my journey towards learning Japanese has started.

So basically Japanese is an East Asian language spoken primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is the examination conducted, particularly by Japan government and it tests our language knowledge, reading ability and listening ability. JLPT has total 5 levels as JLPT N1, JLPT N2, JLPT N3, JLPT N4 and the very basic JLPT N5, which you need to clear to get proficiency in Japanese language. I am preparing for JLPT N4, so it's just a start and long way to go. In Japanese, there are 3 scripts named Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji and this is where people find it difficult even so I. It requires lots of practice and patience to even get familiar to these scripts. According to me, when it comes to write Japanese, the easier script among the 3 is Hiragana and even Katakana to some extent. In Japanese language Katakana is used to write the words in foreign languages such as English, French, etc. So there is a slight change in the pronunciation say "Sandals" becomes "Sandaru" or "Cake" becomes "Keki".

Writing Kanji in Japanese is a bigger challenge. Basically Kanji is the embraced Logographic Chinese characters. You need to draw it with a proper stroke order. Reading of the same kanji variability in different words and even different kanji has same readings. Each kanji consists of radicals and learning kanji with the help of radicals is the absolutely right technique. But one needs to know what a radical is. So basically radical is a pattern or symbol that appears inside each kanji. Radicals are said to be building blocks for creating kanji.

If we talk about Japanese Grammar I must say that it is not only difficult but also complicated.We can relate Japanese grammar with grammar of English and even Marathi. It is said that we can more relate Japanese grammar with Marathi than that of English. It's again all about how you practice it and try to use it in day to day conversation. Some Japanese slangs are quite interesting such as "Ossu" which means "What's up?" or say "Ichi touchy WA" means "Say cheese" but that when you say it with Japanese intonation.

In order to improve the intonation I usually listen to their poems for kids, small conversations in Japanese just to get used to with their accent as well as to increase vocabulary which is a key factor in learning any language. The poem which I loved a lot and that I can actually sing in Japanese is "Kira Kira Hikaru" which is "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in English.

The most amazing thing which I love about Japan is their traditional clothing that is Kimono and that even distinguishes Japan from all other countries around the world. Being a Japanese learner one should be enthusiastic towards Japanese Culture, its Literature, Visual arts, Architecture, Cuisine, Sports and leisure etc.

Hence forth learning a new language does not only mean that you are learning different words with other script having different grammar rules. It itself is a beautiful journey. Learning another language is just like becoming another person with a different vision of Life.

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© 2018 Chaitali Vijay Tajane

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