How long does it really take to master Japanese : Hey everyone and welcome to todays online Japanese lesson. Today we are going to be discussing how long it really takes to master Japanese.

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How long does it really take to master Japanese

Obviously, this will depend on the amount of effort you are willing to put in and will essentially vary from person to person. However, we are going to imagine that you have the ability to put in 1 – 2 hours per day and are pretty serious about learning Japanese. We are also going to discuss which methods will help speed up this process and also what techniques and habits you can put in place to help shave years off it.

What do you mean by “master Japanese”?

What we mean by “Master Japanese” is the ability to have conversations at native level and a JLPT N1 comprehension. This includes knowing over 2000 individual kanji and over 10.000 vocabulary words, yikes. From experience we believe that this can take around 3 – 5 years with the right attitude and determination. We are now going to break up this journey into 3 phrases starting from a complete beginner perspective.

Setting up your 1st stage routing  

As a complete beginner you of course need to spend time with textbooks. This is the number one starting point before trying to speak etc. You need to build your knowledge of Japanese first through reading and understanding. Starting with the hiragana and katakana for the first 2 weeks, then completing both Genki books over the next 6 – 8 months.

This will give you a great foundation and provide you with about 300 kanji, 600 vocabulary words and around a JLPT N4 level of understanding. Assuming you are employing tools like anki daily to remember the words and kanji you are learning you should be able to tick off all the boxes here for a solid foundation

You should then pend the final 5 months of this stage talking, writing and reading as much as possible to get what you know into practice and make 1000s of mistakes without hesitation.

Setting up your 2nd stage routine:

This will now move you onto you second stage, which is essentially more of the same. You need to go back to your books and learn all the grammar, kanji and vocab to take you up to an N2 level. You can do this through the soumatome series and minna no nihongo (intermediate level). This will require a lot of daily habitual study routines and a lot of perseverance to get through it.

Once you have completed that stage and have worked up to around 1200 Kanji and 5000 vocabulary words you should be now at a stage where you are ready to partake in more complex conversations. You should try and log at least 2 hours of conversation a day using to implement what you have learnt in your study period. Do this through friends, language platforms like Italki or apps like hello talk. You should at, the end of this stage, be proficient enough to comprehend at communicate at an upper intermediate level. This means you will be able to enjoy daily conversations with your Japanese friends, oh yeah!   

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Setting up your final stage routine:

Now you have reached the final stage, creating an Immersion environment there are now 5000 more vocabulary words and 800 kanji left to learn. With your foundation, the best way to spend the next year or two will be committing to learn 7 – 8 of these per day whilst integrating everything into an immersion environment. Switch you computer and phone to Japanese, listen to the radio and watch only Japanese TV, think in Japanese, create a friend community of Japanese speakers and live your live like you were there. Once you get used to this you will be approaching the point for complete Japanese integration.

If you’ve come this far then odds are you are definitely going to be able to stick it out and master it. At the end of this you will have reached N1 level, be able to communicate to a near fluently and enjoy your Japanese to the fullest.  

Methods to speed up the process

If you are someone who is really hungry and determined to give this 100% you can speed up this progress by simply increasing the amount of hours you put into this daily. The key is effective study and time exposed to the language. If you can even start thinking in Japanese, you will adapt faster and be able to learn faster and more efficiently.

So guys that’s it, we hope this has given you some insight into how long it can take to master Japanese as a ball park figure. Of course, a major factor is your own determination, it’s all down to you. 

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