Learn Japanese With Anime – For many foreigners, learning Japanese is a wild and exciting but often daunting ride. Many people will delve into the world of anime for the first time and be utterly fascinated with the language. This, of course, always comes with the passion to learn and understand what some of their favourite characters are saying!
However, with huge pronunciation differences and phonetic disparities with the English language, Japanese is not exactly easy to pick up. If you’ve tried to study this language before, you know exactly what we’re talking about!
An innovative way that many people have attempted to learn more Japanese is via anime. Now, we know this may sound super fun and exciting at first, but it’s not quite like that.
Watching anime and picking out some well-known words such as ‘kawaii’ and ‘senpai’ is completely different to actually trying to learn the dialogue and ultimately the language.
If you’re keen to try and learn Japanese with anime though, here are some helpful tips!
1. (The Scariest Tip!) Remove English Subtitles
This is by far the most daunting thing you can do whilst watching anime, especially if you’ve never tried to properly study the Japanese language before. However, just as with many new hobbies and activities, throwing yourself into the deep end may just do the trick!
If you’ve just started watching anime, we recommend watching a few series’ before attempting this.
If you’re a seasoned anime-watcher, this is for you!
Whilst you definitely won’t be able to understand much of the conversations going on, you’ll be amazed by how many little phrases you’ll be able to pick up. Watch their expressions, interpret their body language, understand the situation, and you’ll find that you’ll likely understand what they’re trying to saying even without fully understanding the words just yet.
But don’t worry, it will come!
2. Language Shadowing
Language shadowing is a learning technique that people use to practice how to pronounce words better. It involves listening to the audio, in this case. of the anime, and attempting to simultaneously verbally echo what they hear.
This technique is designed to force you to focus on the sounds of the Japanese language and over time, develop the correct pronunciations that mimic the language.
Be warned, though, that many characters in anime often speak in an outlandish and comical way, so be careful about how you learn to say things!
3. Write Down New Words
Another way to learn through anime is pausing and writing down new words that stand out to you. Whilst there may be no rhyme or rhythm to this method, if you listen carefully to dialogue over time, you might be able to pick out what words are used for conversation flow and what words have specific meaning.
By writing down the word and its meaning, you have already subconsciously imprinted it into your mind. If you pop them into a spreadsheet and keep referring to them over and over, you’ll eventually be able to understand it as characters say it out loud in anime.
4. Create Flashcards & Make A Game Of It
If you’re the type to learn things through fun and games, take the previous tip and bring it a step further. Create flashcards and make a game out of trying to learn how to read the word, how to say the word, and what it means.
This is a great study technique that has helped many students learn a variety of topics, languages included!
5. Be Selective With Your Anime Genre
This might not be an obvious one, but it is an important one! If you’re setting out to try and learn Japanese with anime, it will definitely help you in the long run to be selective about the genre.
For example, learning from sci-fi genres could leave you sounding weird, and learning from fantasy anime can influence you to sound young and childish.
We recommend delving into the slice of life, detective/crime, or sports genre instead. Make your experience even more effective by watching a number of the same-genre anime in one go.
6. Read the accompanying manga to the anime (if possible!)
Many anime series will have an accompanying manga. Take your language skills to the next level by purchasing the manga and reading it out loud.
By watching and reading the same anime/manga, you will learn to associate the same words to the same situations via two mediums – effectively reiterating what you’ve just watched visually through reading and learning the words.
We hope you find these tips helpful in learning Japanese with anime. Whilst it may not be the most effective way to learn it, it’s definitely up there as the most fun! Let us know if you have any other tips or tricks to share.