Fran is a Japanese teacher based in Brighton, where she runs the fantastic Step Up Japanese language school.
As Fran and I have recently got together to put on Explore Japanese, two events for anyone looking to get their first flavour of the Japanese language, we caught up so I could ask her a bit about the Japanese language and the tips she has for learners.
(Fran also interviewed me over on her blog!)
Do you have a favourite kanji?
My favourite kanji is 笑 (laugh) because it looks like a laughing smiling face.
Was it hard learning Japanese as an adult?
Some things about learning Japanese as an adult are really hard! If you don't know any kanji before you begin, then learning to read Japanese is a long process. So, my advice is to find ways to make that process fun and engaging, so you can stay motivated and stick at it.
What tips do you have for anyone thinking of starting to learn Japanese?
In my experience, the biggest mistake students make is trying to understand everything they hear and panicking when they don't understand. Not understanding everything is normal, so don’t worry about understanding everything you hear; just concentrate on whether you understand the gist of what’s being said. And try not to worry about making mistakes. The most important thing is to make yourself understood. If you ask a question and the person understands you, it doesn’t matter if your question had a mistake in it – you’re communicating! That’s the objective, after all.
Do you have a favourite Japanese saying?
失敗は成功のもと (Shippai wa seikou no moto), "failure is the basis of success". To succeed at anything you need to make lots and lots of mistakes!
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