Learning Japanese

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Japanese is a practical language to learn in terms of global society. Currently there is not as many Japanese speakers, as there is demand for the language.

Why learn Japanese?

Studying Japanese as a second language will give your child the ability to perceive the world in a different way, and explore a cultural heritage beyond that of their own. Finance, career enhancement, travel, personal enjoyment, and cultural understanding are just a few of the areas enriched by the study of Japanese.

Japanese is one of the ‘critical’ languages in that there are not as many speakers as there is demand for the language. Knowing Japanese will put you in a relatively exclusive group with many job and career opportunities. Many other opportunities will become available to you if you are able to speak Japanese, including a unique OE experience in the world’s second largest economy.

Where do you learn Japanese?

You will find a variety of options available for your child to learn Italian. This may be by mixing with Japanese-speaking friends or family, or it may involve enrolling in lessons. Some ways to do this are listed below:

  • Private language schools
  • Universities or polytechnics for older children
  • Local Community Centres, where you and your child could choose to learn together
  • Home Schooling
  • Language Exchange Programmes
  • e-Learning courses

What age can your child start learning Japanese?

A child’s ability to grasp new and multiple languages at an early age is well documented. Pre-school children from ages as young as 3 or 4 can start learning Japanese simply by being exposed to the language at home, or in structured play activities (such as those run by Fun Languages).

However, age is no barrier when it comes to learning a foreign language and it would be a great opportunity for you to learn alongside your child.

How do you progress over time?

The rate of progression will be determined by the child’s age, the amount of exposure to the language, and the amount of time they spend practising. The more opportunities your child gets to practice what they learn in everyday situations, the greater will become their level of proficiency.

Generally it is recommended that older students spend at least 1 year focused on learning the fundamentals of Japanese and then on an ongoing basis continue to maintain the language ability by attending classes or practicing with other Japanese speakers.

What equipment do you need to learn Japanese?

The equipment you choose will depend on the age of your child; some suggestions include:

  • Japanese-English dictionary (electronic or hard copy)
  • Reference books including grammar and vocabulary books
  • Audio CDs in the car
  • Video tapes or DVDs to watch
  • CD-ROMs with the aid of computers

You will also need to expose your child to Japanese speakers whenever possible.

How much does it cost to learn Japanese?

Cost ranges from free (learning from friends or learning from various free websites) to several thousand dollars (for full immersion at an overseas language school).

For regular children’s lessons you could expect to pay anywhere between $12 to $20 per session, depending on the age of the child and the size of the group.

How much time does it take to learn Japanese?

Class times vary but generally most courses meet once or twice a week.
Classes generally run for 1 to 1.5 hours, depending on the age of the child.

Older children would be expected to spend at least another hour outside of class to revise and complete their homework. It would be ideal if a student could spend at least 5 hours per week outside of class to practice, but this is often unrealistic.

Great Japanese Websites

www.asialang.co.nz/japanese/index.php

Background on why your child should learn Japanese and how Japanese courses are delivered

www.japanese.about.com

A must-use resource site with loads of information relating to Japanese language and ways to learn

The Kiwi Families Team

This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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