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What aspect of learning Japanese has been the most challenging for you?


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Hi! I thought it would be interesting to see what aspects of Japanese other non-native speakers have found the most difficult to learn.

For me, my biggest hurdle so far has probably been Kanji. I hate how even though I know Hiragana and Katakana, when I read most Japanese text I have no idea what it says because it's all in Kanji I don't understand. I'm currently forcing myself to study my Kanji every night though, and slowly but surely I am improving.

So what about you guys? What's the biggest hurdle you've faced in learning Japanese?

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The most challenging aspect for me is Japanese Grammar and Japanese honorific forms. I am not struggling with Kanji as I already know most of the meanings from Chinese :=)

There are a lot of very helpful websites when it comes to learning Kanji. Please browse the Japanese forums and you you will be able to find very helpful resources.

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The most difficult for me is using Keigo.

I also suck at using particles.... they confuse me because if you use an incorrect particle, the sentence will still be grammatically correct, but the meaning will be different. .___.

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I'm bad at listening/conversation. Other than that, I think kanji. I don't have problems learning kanji, but I don't know nearly enough just yet and it really hinders me when I try to read something.

Grammar can be difficult too...

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  • 2 weeks later...

I find reading to be really difficult. Not only do we have to handle the kanji, hiragana and katakana but the kanji can have several pronunciations depending on the context and this I find to be the most difficult aspect of learning Japanese.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My biggest hurdle is finding the time to study properly. Being a stay at home father, I try to read or watch a lesson when the little one is asleep but I can't get a proper routine down. What little time I get is better than nothing when I'm trying to learn but it holds me back a little.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with others who have difficulty with Kanji. When i had my final exam on Nihongo, the questions or topics are all written in Kanji before we are asked to deliver the piece extemporaneously. That was hard but luckily what i prepared on the night of the exam was the exact piece i was able to pick when the topic was raffled on.

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I initially thought it would be the Kanji, and the thought of memorizing hundreds of characters seemed dreadful, but after a while learning those characters became easier and took a lot less time. After a while I stopped thinking of them as tiny drawings and started viewing them as meaningful letters which really helped. Now the hardest aspect is learning the correct grammar and usage of verbs in their oh-so-many forms.

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  • 2 weeks later...

When it comes to learning new languages, I start with Speaking and Pronunciation First then Reading/Writing the last. That way I can focus more on communicating by Word of Mouth so I can communicate with the People faster.

And when it comes to Japanese, I have great challenges in mastering honorifics, grammar and all the other nuances. Also, I noticed that in Japanese, the language isn't very straightforward so I have to deal with many turnarounds too.

Regards,

The Antiquarian.

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Japanese has been a challenging language for me learn, although there are some kanji that are similar to Chinese characters. I still find Japanese is confusing because I would have to write between kanji and characters at the same time. I would like to write in unison, means only one form is considered plenty in a language. I think kanji is the Chinese form of Traditional Chinese, which I sometimes can't remember the meaning of the words.

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Nothing was really overly difficult for me. Kanji is time consuming but if you have the right tools it isn't bad. I used Heisig. But I'm still new so difficulty is probably up ahead. Right now I'm trying to determine the best study method on getting more complicated sentences. I'm pretty good at basic sentences but I need to start studying more intermediate structuring now.

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For me it's really using polite Japanese. I am so used to casual Japanese that I forget to shift to polite! I don't use Japanese at work, but as I want to use it to earn money (perhaps via translation), this is truly becoming a challenge.

Kanji is also difficult. There are just so many of them and sometimes words usually written in hiragana are kanji-nized (hahahaha)

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As someone who is taking advanced Japanese classes, I think the hardest part is reading. There are so many vocabulary words that I don't know, and reading it for the first time is pretty difficult. The kanji is difficult as well. The strokes have to be in a particular order, and you have to write it several times in order for the stroke order to stick.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Kanji is difficult for almost everyone, myself included, but the thing I've noticed myself having more difficulty with than anything is counters. Which objects require which counters seems arbitrary and frustrating, and I strongly dislike having to simply memorize them. Japanese has fairly straightforward grammar (usually!) and a few rules of thumb will get you through 90% of it, but there doesn't seem to be anything intuitive or systematic about counters.

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  • 4 months later...

Since, I've only just started learning Japanese, but what has been challenging to me is learning kanji. Even though I learned Mandarin when I was in college, I still find it difficult since there's just so many of them and most of the time, I'm confusing them with other characters.

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  • 6 months later...

Thus far, the only problem I've had difficulty with relating to learning Japanese is remembering all of the Kanji. I'm not surrounded by it and my memory isn't as good as it could be in regards to the less pictorial characters in the language. Thankfully, I'm still scraping by with what I know so I can still use those to work up and figure out what the others mean.

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Reading the hiragana letters on top of the kanji can be difficult on the eyes, especially if the hiragana is written very small.  Sometimes I would need a magnifying glass just to see the hiragana letters on top of the kanji.  Fortunately, for starting students in Nihongo, we will be taught how to write basic kanji. 

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  • 1 month later...

It's kanji for me too.

I don't have a problem with memorization per se, but it's really hard for me to determine which reading a kanji is especially when the sentence has dropped the subject, which Japanese sentences so commonly do. I know it depends on context but while I know that a kanji can be read a variety of ways depending on what the conversation is, it still takes me a long time. I know there are reasons on why a kanji should be the ON reading and not the KUN reading but I stil need a ton of practise before it can come to me naturally, rather than with intense scrutiny.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Lately I'm having some slight problems with certain grammatical patterns, particularly with regards to time as well as verbs.  We are already in lesson 4 of our Nihongo textbook, but I sometimes have problems with verb patterns.  I guess I need to exert a little more effort reading.  The first three lessons are quite easy to understand, but the next two will be quite challenging.  In two weeks time, we will have our midterm exams covering lessons 1-5 as well as the kanji.  If that is not enough, I will also be taking a pre-employment exam to be announced in the coming days.  This will make my Nihongo learning a bit more difficult and challenging than before.

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I'm still having problems with Kanji but now, the one I'm having the most problems with is counters.

ARGH there's so many counters in the counting system and it confuses the hell out of me! I mean, I just learned that the tuna, for example, has different counting counters depending on what state it is.

一匹 - for the tuna swimming in the ocean

一本 - for tuna that's been caught

一丁 - for when the tuna's first cut in the market

一塊 - for when it's cut into smaller pieces

一冊 - for when it's cut into even smaller pieces like you see in sashimi

一切れ - for when it enters someone's mouth

There's a counter for small things, big things, living things, non-living things, long things, flat things! It's so confusing having to learn them all. And sometimes, I don't know which counter to use because what if it's both long AND flat?

Anyone else had a problem with this?

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  • 3 weeks later...

For me it's been memorizing the Japanese words for every kanji. As someone who can write/read Chinese my mind automatically reads kanji in its Chinese pronunciation and having to relearn them in Japanese has been such a hassle for my mind! I can't seem to memorize the words and I end up reading a Japanese sentence in both languages as I read the hiragana/katakana in Japanese (as it should be) but the kanji in Chinese. It makes me feel so dumb, haha.

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I'm finding it hard to learn from scratch, as with other languages where I could use the alphabet, it doesn't seem as difficult, but when you have specialized characters it just makes for a whole lot more to learn before getting to speak. I once thought I could just do shortcuts and memorize certain phrases but to be really fluent in Japanese it just won't cut it.

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Well, as many of you have probably noticed before, I put a lot of clout into the memorization of words and phrases. However, it's also one of my major weaknesses. It's hard for me to remember one thing or the other when I'm still trying to add to the collection of words, phrases, or kanji that I know.

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