10 difficulties in learning the Japanese language


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In this article we will talk about the biggest difficulties in learning the Japanese language. Knowing this can help us to face this difficulty, so don't try to look at the difficulties and think about giving up. Learning Japanese can be quite a challenge, but it is quite fun and satisfying.

By clicking on the title of some of the difficulties, you will be redirected to a special article on the subject.

1 - Other language

Those who think that learning a new language is simply learning how to say a certain Portuguese word in Japanese is completely mistaken. The Japanese language has a totally different vocabulary. There are words that only exist in Japanese and words that exist only in Portuguese. Some Japanese expressions may not make sense to those who are studying the language, sometimes you will really have difficulty understanding some expressions.

2 - Kanji

I think that everyone who thinks about learning the Japanese language, knows the Chinese ideograms present in the language, it is one of the biggest difficulties. You have to learn at least 1,000 kanji to be able to achieve some fluency, or 2,000 to be able to read anything in the language, but the total kanji is over 4,000. In addition to the huge amount of ideograms and features, a Kanji usually has several pronunciations. Other than that, there are still many kanji that are similar to each other, making studies more difficult.

10 dificuldades de aprender o idioma japonês

3 - Small words

Japanese has only 106 syllables, so many words are usually just 1 syllable, this can end up confusing students with no experience. Words like 目 (me, eyes), 手 (te, hand), 愛 (ai, love) 名 (na, name) may end up mixing with other syllables and you may think you are hearing another word.

4 - Similar words

Japanese has many words with the same pronunciation but different meanings. This can drive you a little crazy if you haven't paid attention in context. Words like "Kami" can mean God, Hair or paper. There are pronunciations that can mean up to 50 different words.

Diferentes formas de escritas do idioma japonês.

5 - Speed of conversation

In addition to the words being similar, the Japanese speak very fast. For you to understand and speak Japanese at standard speed is a big challenge. Trying to read a text in Japanese and a text in Portuguese, you will take a long time in Japanese, because you cannot read at the correct speed. Japanese really has more words than Portuguese in one sentence, sometimes you’ll hear thousands of anata and watashi in a text.

6 - Grammar

Although Japanese grammar is simple compared to Portuguese, it is still difficult. You will have to record the particles and know when to use it. Come across thousands of peculiarities. Japanese grammar is really simple, but different from Portuguese, this can cause a good difficulty in the beginning. Word orders, sentence completion, the fact that there are no genders, plural and future, all of these can make it difficult to understand the language.


7 - Keigo - Formality

Japanese is an educated and polished language. In addition to the standard spoken language, there are polite and polite ways to speak to certain types of people, known as Keigo. It is used to talk formally with people at different levels. It uses a totally different vocabulary, structures and grammatical expressions. It is like an intellectual Brazilian who speaks complicated words that we do not understand.

8 - Dialects 

Even if you learn the standard Japanese language, dialects can become a nuisance in certain regions of Japan. The country is divided into 47 states, each with its different dialect or accent. The problem is that these dialects can change many words and grammars of the language, making it difficult to understand a conversation.

9 - Numerical counts

Another challenge that can be tackled is when it comes to learning numbers. It is easy to learn to count from 1 to 1,000. but the Japanese use a form of counting for each object or thing. They use a suffix after the number to indicate that they are counting something, in addition to changing the pronunciation of some numbers. Examples: 五匹の猫 (gohiki no neko - 5 cats) 二人 (futari - 2 people).


10 - Words with the same meaning

Japanese has many words with the same meaning, which may or may not be used in certain situations. For example, there are several ways of saying "me" and other pronouns. There is an Americanized version of some words, such as milk: ミルク (Miruku) or 牛乳 (Gyūnyū) and several other words that can have the same meaning and different pronunciations, especially words in kanji, some of them usually have their reading abbreviated in just one syllable.


No matter the difficulties that follow, learning Japanese is very satisfying and fun, if done correctly. If you have difficulties studying, our website is committed to helping you with articles about the Japanese language and Japan. It is up to you to put into practice, dedicate yourself to some method of study, and never give up!