The Best Way to Study Japanese Vocabulary

By OptiLingo • 10 minutes read

What is the best way to study Japanese vocabulary?

What is the best way to learn Japanese vocabulary? The definition of vocabulary is a set of familiar words within a person’s known language. It serves as a fundamental tool for communication. Acquiring a large vocabulary is the most challenging part of learning a new language. All languages we as humans speak, are comprised of thousands upon thousands of words or better known as our vocabulary. To be considered conversational in any language you should know an estimated 2000-3000 words. To be considered fluent in a second language or any language for that matter, it is expected that you should know around 20,000 or so words. In this article, we will go over some techniques that can help you to find an easy way to learn Japanese vocabulary.

Anything that can help you to save time during this process is crucial. Even a 10% reduction in the time you spend studying a language would mean an exponential amount of free time that can be devoted to more pressing or enjoyable things. Also, you don’t want to get burnt out trying to memorize words back to back for extended periods of time. It will become a daunting task.

Drill books are designed more for a repetitious type of studying to memorize phrases and words to pass a test. The books only give you what you need to pass the test and nothing more. This type of system will have very limited value when it comes to conversing in the real world. In order to truly understand a language, you need real exposure to being able to have real conversations. Learning just words back to back but not implementing them into conversational speaking will not be beneficial.

What is the best course of action? There are two main options that have both advantages as well as disadvantages when it comes to the easiest way to learn Japanese vocabulary.


SRS may be the best

SRS or Space Repetition Systems, are apps that help to remind you of something and help to store a ton of information in a short amount of time. This is an easy way to learn Japanese vocabulary. These types of systems are great at creating links in your mind between English and Japanese. The system does use scientific theory in their functionality. There are premade lists that are structured and allow you to start anywhere you like in the language making coordination’s between words.

On the other hand, there are some points regarding this system of learning that are not so beneficial. It can be very difficult to link one Japanese definition to an English one. Some Japanese words do not translate into English easily. There can be drawn-out definitions for certain words in the Japanese language which makes it harder to memorize and learn words using this system. This can also be true for many languages. They can be very different in their understanding of meanings and definitions. They can also be very different when it comes to their use in a conversation or in saying or using an expression.

An example of this is the Japanese word (chijin). It can loosely mean acquaintance or friend. The more specific or accurate definition is maybe someone you don’t spend much time with and is used more in business situations or settings. This would be very hard to get from an Anki card. So in these terms, the cars sometimes would not be too beneficial in executing the proper definition for a word.


Vocabulary Notebooks are better?

What is the best way to learn Japanese vocabulary? The notebook system is thought to be useful in training your brain to learn new words by using a notebook to write them down. As you would hear or learn a new Japanese word, you would write down the definition in a notebook and by doing so it helps you to remember the word better. You can write anything that will associate the meaning to that word, it does not have to be just the definition. It helps by adding a picture if applicable as well. Many feel this is the easiest way to learn Japanese vocabulary. It can help to do this as you do everyday things. By writing things you see or come in contact with in your everyday life it can help to get you more accustomed to the word in the real world. This system becomes more relative to your brain by associating words to things you actually do or see. This may help you to retain these words and definitions for much longer periods of time than using flash cards or other studying systems.

Studies show this is an exceptional way to learn a language. Students who use this practice tend to do better on tests and remember the words for longer periods of time. As productive and successful as this system may be, it has been shown that this practice is usually only done when a student is forced to keep a vocabulary notebook. This way is more time consuming and not usually done voluntarily. However, if someone is truly interested in learning a new language that is more difficult to learn relative to English. Rather than just trying to memorize word after word this system will start to make connections in your brain with common everyday sights, sounds, and words. Before long you can begin to hold a conversation without even realizing it.

Depending on your studying style and what system works for you, either of the mentioned studying techniques could be beneficial. Each person is different and every individual would need to decide for themselves which style would be the best approach to studying for a new language. Once you decide what language interests you or you have an upcoming test in a certain language you can then test out each of these approaches to determine what works best for you. Regardless if you go with an SRS application or a vocabulary notebook, as long as you apply yourself to the task at hand you can successfully memorize a substantial amount of words and phrases. Give both techniques a try and see what works best for you to retain the information the best.


Another great way to learn Japanese is using language shadowing. What is language shadowing? It is when you read aloud along with audio in the language you are learning. This method can greatly increase your speaking ability and comprehension. Learning to speak and comprehend the language is a must when learning a new language. You do not want to be able to only read and write a language. You really want to be able to speak and communicate with others in this new language as well. This is a great method to work on the speaking and listening part of learning a new language. This will also build your confidence when having a conversation in the new language. The more you practice this the better you will get. It will also greatly build your confidence. Imagine how you will impress others when you communicate in a new language.

Learning tools

Pibo is another app you will want to check out for learning Japanese. It is free and helps you learn basic language skills. In fact it has over 320 picture books geared towards kids. This is a great way to learn a new language. Remember, you are a true beginner so why not use what kids use when they are learning their language. There is a limit tot he amount of free books you can use daily but there is plenty available to you for free.

The Japan Foundation has a great website called Hirogaru. It has simple articles with audio tracks. The great thing about this website is it has articles on everyday things! It is another great way to learn a new language and it is not centered on children’s books or stories. You can learn and talk about things that people like to do everyday. This method is a wonderful way to work on your new language skills in a way that feels more adult like. This method should certainly be used when you are working to learn Japanese.

EtoEto Kuma is another great tool to look into for learning Japanese. It is simply one of the best shadowing experiences. What makes this so wonderful is it is created by native speakers. This makes it authentic and gives you a better feel for the language. You can turn off the English translations as you work. This is a great way to customize your experience. There are many different levels and many of the levels are great for advanced learners. Just do not let it scare you away. With plenty of practice and dedication you will be able to handle the advanced levels. This might only be around for a limited time so make sure you check it out now!


You also need to check out a high quality online Japanese dictionary. While there are options the best one is Akebi. It has a great search feature and it is all connected. This allows you to dig deeper into your learning of Japanese. I eel this gives an immersive type experience. It also has a flashcard system built on which allows you to practice over and over. All of these a great methods to learn Japanese but this last one is a lot of fun!

Manga is a great way to add fun to your learning routine. We all know learning something new is so much more efficient when we are having fun. Manga does the trick in this area. This allows you to find a great story that you enjoy. You use this story as a basis for learning Japanese. You can do all kids of things – you can read the story, look up words from the story, write out words from the story and so much more. You can read and reread your favorite mange story. Before you know it you might have all the words and their translations down pat from using Manga to continue your learning. Remember nobody said learning Japanese is easy, but it can be done. Find a way to develop habits and keep practicing. This will give you all the confidence you need to learn Japanese. You will find a great deal of satisfaction from learning a new language. You will be able to communicate with and learn so much about different people.


Users who use Waniki report that they learn a lot when using Waniki. The key here is consistency. You must use it on a regular basis and practice all the time. This is perhaps the best program out there to use to learn Japanese. The key is to make using the app a habit. Once you make it a habit you will remember to use it consistently. You can use this on your desktop computer or the app. Try to think of a time each day when you can use this app. Let’s say you take the bus each morning. Make it a habit of using the app when you wait for your bus and during the bus ride. If you do this every time you are waiting of the bus and riding the bus it will become a habit. This is a great way to use this extra spare time. Just remember not to get discouraged when you make mistakes.

Everyone makes mistakes when learning a new language. Make sure you use these mistakes as a learning opportunity. You might also want to use drawings to help remember words and phrases. The drawings do not need to be elaborate or beautiful. Just short, quick drawings that will help you memorize something. This strategy helps in so many areas of life, not just learning a language. How to learn Japanese tofugu is a great option for everyone!


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