There are many reasons why you may have decided to study Japanese. Although many believe that this is one of the most challenging languages to study, you can finally achieve your goal easily and learn Japanese quickly.
If you are committed to learning Japanese, you should follow a well-structured strategy. First of all, you need a list of all the Japanese words that you wish to memorise.
Research highlight that studying the first 1000 most used words of the foreign language of your choice will help you familiarize with about 80% of vocabulary in oral speech. The first step to achieve this result is to start from basic Japanese vocabulary or from Speechling Foundations that also collect the popular words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, numbers, and calendar) for each language on the platform, inclouding Japanese. You can start from our list of the top 100 Japanese words for beginners.
Basic Words for Learning Japanese
- 本 (hon) - Book
- ベッド (beddo) – Bed
- 誕生日 (tanjōby) – Birthday
- 時計 (tokei) – Watch, clock
- 名前 (namae) – Name
- きれい (kirei) – Beautiful
- 黒い (kuroi) – Black
- 白い (shiroi) - White
- 英語 (eigo) – English (language)
- 大学 (daigaku) – University
- 電話 (denwa) – Telephone
- バス (basu) – Bus
- 猫 (neko) – Cat
- 犬 (inu) – Dog
- コンピュータ (konpiūta) – Computer
- 服 (fuku) – Clothes
Basic Japanese Food Vocabulary
- コーヒー (kohi) – Coffee
- パン (pan) – Bread
- ビール (biru) – Beer
- 昼ご飯 (hirogohan) - Lunch
- 夕食 (yūshoku) – Dinner
- 食べ物 (tabemono) – Food
- 飲み物 (nomi mono) – Beverage
- 果物 (kudamono) - Fruit
Basic Japanese Words for People
- 男の子 (otoko no ko) – Boy
- 女の子 (onna no ko) – Girl
- 子供 (kodomo) – Child
- 母 (haha) – Mother
- 父 (chichi) – Father
- 友達 (tomodachi) – Friend
- 学生 (kagusei) – Student
- 先生 (sensei) – Teacher
Basic Japanese Nature Words
- 川 (kawa) – River
- 花 (hana) – Flower
- 魚 (sakana) – Fish
- 空 (sora) - Sky
- 山 (yama) – Mountain
- 雨 (ame) - Rain
Basic Japanese Words for Saying Time
- 今 (ima) – Now
- 今日 (kyou) – Today
- 昨日 (kinou) – Yesterday
- 明日 (asita) – Tomorrow
- 毎日 (mai nichi) – Every day
- 毎週 (maishū) – Every week
- 午前 (gozen)* - Morning
- 午後 (gogo) – Afternoon
- 月曜日 (getsuyoubi) – Monday
- 火曜日 (kayoubi) – Tuesday
- 水曜日 (suiyoubi) – Wednesday
- 木曜日 ( mokuyoubi) – Thursday
- 金曜日 (kinyoubi) – Friday
- 土曜日 (douyoubi) - Saturday
- 日曜日 (nichiyoubi) – Sunday
- 今年 (kotoshi) – This year
Japanese Body Parts Vocabulary for Beginners
- 耳 (mimi) - Ear
- 手 (te) - Hand
- 足 (ashi) - Foot
- 目 (me) - Eye
- 口 (kuchi) – Mouth
- 顔 (kao) - Face
Japanese Words for Places and Directions
- 駅 (eki) – Train station
- 北 (kita) – North
- 南 (minami) – South
- 西 (nishi) – West
- 東 (higashi) – East
- 国 (kuni) – Country
- 外国 (gaikoku) – Gaikoku
- 右 (mighi) – Right
- 左 (hidari) – Left
- 入口 (iriguchi) – Entrance
- 出口 (deguchi) - Exit
Japanese Greetings for Beginners
- おはようございます (ohayou gozaimasu) – Good Morning
- おはよう (ohayou) – Good Morning (informal version)
- こんにちは (konnichi wa) – Hello
- こんばんは (konban wa) – Good evening
- ただいま (tadaima) – I’m home (this greeting is used when you get home and want to announce your presence)
- おやすみなさい (oyasuminasai) Good night (used to announce that you are going to bed. However, you cannot use it when you are leaving someone else’s house for the night.)
- もしもし (moshi moshi) – Hello? (used when answering the phone)
- いらっしゃいませ (irasshiaimase) – Welcome! (this greeting is mainly used by business owners or employees to welcome their costumers to their store).
- おげんきですか (ogenki desu ka?) – How Are you?
- おしゃしぶりです (oshashiburi desu) – Long time no see.
- さようなら (sayounara) – Goodbye
- またね (matane) – See you
Common Japanese Phrases for Beginners
- はい (hai) – Yes
- いいえ (iie) - No
- わかりません (wakarimasen) – I don’t understand
- わすれました (wasuremashita) – I forgot
- しりません (shirimasen) – I don’t know
- たぶん (tabun) – Maybe
- だいじょうぶ (daijoubu) – Alright
- よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegai shimasu) – Nice to meet you
- どうも (doumo) – Thanks
- おねがいします (onegai shimasu) – Please
- どうもありがとうございます (doumo arigatou gozaimasu) – Thank you so much
- すみません (sumimasen) – Excuse me / I’m sorry
- ごめんなさい (gomennasai) – I’m sorry
- どういたしまして (douita shimashite) – You’re welcome
- どうぞ* (douzo) – After you
- ごめんなさい(gomen nasai) – I’m sorry
- 助けてください (tasukete kudasai) – Help!
How Can I Learn Japanese Vocabulary Easily?
Learning Japanese can be easy if you have access to the right tools.
With the Speechling method, you can first get acquainted with the essential Japanese words and phrases. This includes common nouns, as well as adjectives, verbs and easy phrases for every situation.
Step by step, you will learn how to use the top Japanese basic words in your everyday life, and you will soon be able to put sentences together.
The Speechling method offers thousands of professional recorded audio from native speakers that you can combine with the study of flashcards to improve your fluency. Learning Japanese's never been easier!
The best way to memorise Japanese vocabulary is to use those words until your brain can naturally link them to their meaning. This is when you can move to Speechling’s Conversations module. Here you will use your new Japanese vocabulary to answer questions, describe pictures and improve, day after day, your fluency.
Tips for Learning Japanese Vocabulary
Several pupils use a method known as rote memorization. It implies stuffing your brain full of your targeted Japanese vocabulary, repeating each word loud until they stick, and you finally feel confident.
However, there is another methodology that has proven to be successful for learning Japanese. This is known as mnemonics. This technique consists of remembering basic Japanese phrases by associating them with something else that you already know.
If you want to learn how to write in Japanese, as well as speak it, you must learn kanji. The easiest way to do so is usually to use the radical name of each kanji to make up a story that reminds you of that word meaning and pronunciation. Otherwise, you can find a keyword in your native language that sounds similar to the Japanese word that you wish to memorise.
These methodologies can also be used to learn Chinese characters, as well as any other targeted languages.
Are Flashcards Useful to Learn Japanese for Beginners?
One of the most useful ways to learn Japanese is using flashcards. You can either make your own cards or download a pre-made package based on your fluency level.
Flashcards can be used whenever you have a free minute. Besides, with electronic cards, you can improve your Japanese wherever you are. You can also record your own voice and add audio content to your flashcards, to constantly work on your Japanese pronunciation.
With Speechling, you can also record yourself and ask a professional Japanese native speaker to review your pronunciation. With these feedbacks of your coach, you will be able to improve your fluency and build all the confidence you need to speak Japanese with eloquence.