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Japanese is an interesting language to learn. It’s considered to be a language isolate, meaning that it doesn’t share roots with any other known language. This can make it difficult to learn since it doesn’t share many similarities with other languages. It does, however, make use of many loanwords from various languages particularly Chinese and English. The quickest way to learn new vocabulary, and master the pronunciation, however, is by talking directly with native Japanese speakers.
In addition to the complicated writing system, and lack of similarity with other languages, Japanese makes use of honorifics to indicate the social status of the person you’re speaking to. This means that the language you use amongst your friends could vary drastically from the language you’d use with your teacher or boss. While many Japanese people will forgive a foreigner for mistakenly using the wrong honorific, it can be quite disrespectful to address your superior using informal language. The best way to avoid accidentally offending someone is by practicing your Japanese with native speaker.
Thankfully, there are a lot of Japanese people who are eager to practice their English, as most of the younger generation have grown up learning English in school. Right now on Tandem, you can find thousands of Japanese speakers who are willing to help you learn their language. If you’re planning a trip to Japan for either business or pleasure, many Japanese people will be delighted that you can speak even a little bit of their language, and it will make your trip that much more enjoyable. It’s super easy, and you don’t have to schedule a time, just log on and start talking.