Study Guide for Learning Japanese

Over the years Suki Desu has randomly published several articles on the Japanese language. Many do not know how to use such articles. in order to make everything easier, we have created a Study Guide to help you learn Japanese in a simple and definitive way.

This Study Guide will be constantly updated with new tips, articles, information and more. The last update of this post was on 07/14/2020. I hope you like the article and share it with friends.

The Right Order to Learn Japanese

There is an order in which people must learn Japanese, but many do not follow that order. Some students want to learn just how to speak the language, ignoring their writing, saying it is too difficult or unnecessary.

Others study the language by learning to write all the features of the alphabet and the ideograms one by one. The way you learn the Japanese language is important, because it will affect the speed and quality of your Japanese learning.

We recommend that you first learn at least to read the Katakana and Hiragana alphabets that we will mention below. It is not necessary to learn to write such words, just learn to read the Japanese alphabet, this will greatly facilitate your learning.

Do not waste time writing ideograms, it is not the most practical way to memorize and learn them. Don’t even try to memorize Japanese words, because they depend heavily on contexts. For this reason it is important to learn the alphabet.

We have also had other articles on the site that address this guide theme:

Study guide for learning Japanese

How to use Suki Desu to study Japanese

The vast majority of articles on the Suki Desu website are lists of vocabulary and words or in-depth studies of certain expressions or functions of the Japanese language. These articles are intended to answer questions from students and the curious.

We do not recommend direct memorization of Japanese words, we prefer that you study entire sentences. We also recommend the use of spaced memory systems as Anki. So your results will be better.

We do not have a correct study order, this study guide will only indicate where to start and what is best to do. The guide mentions several articles published on the site that answer common Japanese language questions.

Here is a list of Suki Desu articles that give study tips:

Study guide for learning Japanese

Online Japanese Courses

Although the guide will help you learn Japanese correctly, our site is not rich in materials and does not teach you in detail with video lessons. That's why we have several partners of online japanese courses that can help you study Japanese.

If you want to learn the Japanese language permanently, we have 4 main courses that can help you to reach fluency permanently. The normal thing would be to indicate these courses at the end of the article, but I personally want to quote them first.

Kenji Sensei Academy - A basic and super cheap course that will teach you everything you need to walk alone in learning Japanese. All of this using anime and manga. Click here to access the Kenji Sensei course.

Nihongo Kakumei Club - This is a Japanese content and video lessons area with a very low monthly payment, with an annual option. The content ranges from basic to advanced Japanese. Click here to access the Kakumei course.

Japanese Online Program - Without a doubt the best online Japanese course. However, their vacancies are only open for some time, sometimes a year. Main partner of the site, offers several free content on its social media and a definitive guide.

Ricardo Cruz - Nihongo Premium - Another great partner of the site, another great complete course that teaches from basic to advanced, also using elements of Japanese POP culture such as anime, manga, dramas and tokusatsu. Access free.

You can see other courses in our article on Free and Paid Online Japanese Courses!

Study guide for learning Japanese

Peculiarities of the Japanese Language

Before learning the language, you need to know some peculiarities. The Japanese language is quite different from the others, we can list some peculiarities like:

  • The Japanese language is not usually plural;
  • The Japanese language has no space between words;
  • The Japanese language consists of phonemes;
  • The Japanese language generally has no feminine and masculine nouns;
  • In the Japanese language, verbs go at the end of sentences;
  • Japanese mixes many foreign words;
  • The Japanese language is very formal;
  • Many suffixes are used mainly in people's names;
Study guide for learning Japanese

Japanese Alphabet Hiragana and Katakana

The Japanese alphabet consists of 3 scripts, hiragana, katakana and kanji. The first step in learning Japanese is to study Hiragana writing, composed of 46 characters that make up a total of 109 sounds or syllables. The same is true with Katakana.

The 3 scripts coexist together, they are used to differentiate words. Hiragana is the main script used in almost all words, katakana is used in the writing of foreign words or foreign names.

Kanji are Japanese ideograms that serve to detail, separate, specify and identify Japanese words, which are mostly similar, as it is a language with only 109 syllables. For example: Kami could mean God [神], paper [紙] or hair [髪].

For this reason it is impossible to learn Japanese without knowing how to write or memorizing isolated words. The first step is to learn the hiragana alphabet, followed by katakana and gradually memorizing the ideograms, don't be alarmed by them.

To learn this definitively the Japanese alphabet, we have the following articles:

  1. Definitive Guide to Hiragana and Katakana
  2. Can I use Hiragana and Katakana in the same word?
  3. Kanji or Hiragana - How to know which one to use?
  4. Dakuten and Handakuten - Accents in Japanese
Study guide for learning Japanese

Japanese Language Particles

The second most important thing after learning basic writing is particles. They serve to define a grammatical function in the sentence, like articles in English. They have specific functions over the words that precede or follow them.

There are thousands of particles in the Japanese language. Learning them is essential to start taking off in the English language. As there are many particles, and they usually do a lot of things, the best way to learn is to study phrases in which they apply.

The first and main particles that you should learn are [が, は, の, て, に, を and も]. We have several articles on Japanese particles, we will list these articles below in the order that I personally recommend learning:

  1. Wa and Ga particles
  2. Wo Particle
  3. Particles No
  4. Particles e, ni and de
  5. Summarizing Particles
  6. 188 Japanese Particles
  7. Order and Structure
  8. Kara and Made particles
  9. Ending Phrases with Particles
  10. ものの - Particle Monono
Study guide for learning Japanese

Japanese Verbs

The third most useful thing to learn Japanese is verbs. They allow you to express actions of different types. Unlike English, Japanese verbs are simple and easy to conjugate, and have only past and present.

A peculiarity of the Japanese language is that usually verbs can also be adjectives and nouns. Both 3 can be an ideogram word, but it becomes a verb if the endings are used. Same as Game and Play, but it has specific rules.

There is a lot of information about verbs, which would need a guide just to learn Japanese verbs. There is a huge amount of articles on Japanese verbs on the website that you can read below:

  1. List of N5 Verbs
  2. List of N4 Verbs
  3. Learn triple Japanese with compound verbs
  4. Turning verbs into nouns
  5. Irregular verbs
  6. Suru and Shimasu - Creating Japanese verbs
  7. Potential Verbs
  8. Verbs of communication and utterance
  9. Japanese verbs in masu form
Study guide for learning Japanese

Japanese vocabulary

At Suki Desu we write several articles that help you increase your vocabulary. Now that you know Japanese writing, grammar and verbs, you can try to increase your vocabulary using the articles below:

  1. Word List N5
  2. Word List N4
  3. Word List N3
  4. Word List of food and food
  5. List of Words of English Origin
  6. List of 1000 categorized words
  7. Glossary of Japanese Words
  8. Opposite word list

Some articles focus on basic and important words for everyday life or tourism. See the basic Japanese vocabulary articles below:

Study guide for learning Japanese

Adjectives, Pronouns and Others

In addition to particles, verbs and nouns, there are adjectives, pronouns, adverbs and other types of words that make up the Japanese language. We have several articles talking about these types of words. Perhaps now is the right time to learn them.

  1. N5 and N4 adjectives
  2. Type I adjectives
  3. Adjectives -sa -am-me
  4. Kosoado - Demonstrative Pronouns
  5. Demonstrative pronouns
  6. Pronoun donna
  7. Acronyms and abbreviations
Study guide for learning Japanese

Kanji - Japanese Ideograms

As briefly quoted, you don't have to work so hard to memorize Japanese ideograms. They are very important, but they must be learned naturally as you learn new words, verbs, phrases and grammar.

Japanese ideograms of Chinese origin are quite complex, they have several readings, a correct order of writing and several meanings. For this reason, we do not encourage people to spend time learning their writing and meanings.

We have several articles on Japanese ideograms, see what we recommend in this case:

  1. Why do Japanese use ideograms in the language?
  2. List of kanji in the order you learn in schools
  3. Furigana - Read Kanji texts using Hiragana
  4. How many ideograms do the Japanese need to know?
  5. RTK Method for Learning Kanji
  6. Pictographic Kanji
  7. Kanji List N5
  8. Kanji List N4
  9. Kanji List N3

Mobile Apps for Studying Japanese

It is always good to have an application on your phone to help you memorize words and learn new things while studying Japanese. Below we will recommend some Japanese apps for you to use:

Anki - Mandatory application for memorizing phrases and sentences created by yourself. There are ready-made decks that can be added, but we recommend using the app for memorizing and reviewing content you've already learned.

Duolingo - It has web version and application for cell phones. The app offers a lot of material for beginners, level tests to help you progress, and different options depending on the weather. It is one of the most popular applications for language learning.

Obenkyo - Without a doubt one of the most popular applications among those who enter the fantastic world of the Japanese language. It is a very complete application (and in Spanish!) That allows you to learn and review the syllabaries of hiragana and katakana with memorization and handwriting recognition cards.

WaniKani - Very popular application for the global study of Kanji and vocabulary. With WaniKani you can learn the official ideograms and more than 6000 related words. It has several levels and features example sentences.

Genki Vocab - One of the best applications for learning and studying vocabulary. There are memory cards with vocabulary tests, pronunciation audios, Japanese sample sentences (with English translation). It is very complete and well designed.

For more apps, read our article on Applications for Learning Japanese

Study guide for learning Japanese

Books to Learn Japanese Alone

Kanji Imagine to Learn - RTK (remembering the Kanji) is a three volume book written by James Heisig intended to teach the 3007 frequent kanji used in the Japanese language. In Brazil he got the name Kanji Imaginar para Aprender.

The aim of the book is to make sure that you do not forget the meaning and traits of Kanji using imaginative memory. RTK teaches Kanji using Radicals and parts composed of ideograms to facilitate understanding.

Genki - A very popular and well-known book among international Japanese students. It is available in Japanese and English, a perfect option for those who wish to learn both languages. Despite its price, it is worth the investment. Just read the comments and reviews on the Amazon page.

Minna no Nihongo - One of the most popular Japanese learning books in the world, with books of different levels. It is all in Japanese, so it requires special attention and commitment to make good use of the book. However it is one of the best Japanese books in the world.

Marugoto - A series of books based on Japan Foundation standards. This means that they are used in Japan Foundation courses worldwide, making them very popular with self-taught students.

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