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Monday Mokuso: Who Studies Japanese?


Title of blog post captures in Star Wars-like font

Long ago, in a land far far away...

I lived in Japan for about 5 years and I must unfortunately say: I really focused on teaching English - much to my long-term detriment. Yeah, I picked up Japanese along the way and if someone put a katana to my head, demanding me to reveal my skill level, for one who has never taken any official Japanese language placement test, I would still have to say that I am at the "conversational" level (sorta!).


To start...

To be quite transparent, I have started to study Japanese (again) and I am leveraging the app: Duolingo. And to be totally transparent, Duolingo is in no way sponsoring today's Monday Musing! I just like the app, it's fun and I want to write about it and soft-promote it as an easy way to jump in to learn Japanese.


Japanese attracts learners of many language backgrounds

Cartoon image of character from the Duolingo app and the person is stucying Japanese
Studying Duolingo

In addition to being one of the most popular languages to study in the U.S., Japanese is also #2 in China and #4 in Vietnam, and it's even #4 in Japan (!) — due to the tourists and business people from abroad who are motivated to learn Japanese!


Japanese isn't related to the languages spoken in any of these places, showing that Japanese learners aren't deterred by a challenge, like studying the language's 3 writing systems.

The countries with the highest percentage of people studying Japanese are the Philippines, China, and Malaysia. In the last year, interest in learning Japanese has grown the most in Bangladesh, China, and Nepal. I guess Japanese remains a a global phenomenon!


Learners study Japanese to connect with their interests

What makes Japanese so appealing to such a broad audience? Japanese learners are studying

Graph breaking down the differing motivational fators for studying Japanese

for a non-traditional reason: just for fun! Many people studying Japanese do so to connect with Japanese culture and help them understand more of the language they encounter in anime and manga, and 26% of new Japanese learners on Duolingo say "just for fun" is their primary motivation for learning.


The motivations of Japanese learners are unlike those studying the top 2 languages on Duolingo, English and Spanish. English learners cite school as a top motivation, and Spanish learners cite “connect with people” as their #1 motivation. On the other hand, people studying Japanese are doing so to connect with their hobbies and interests!


Young learners are the most excited about Japanese

People studying Japanese tend to be younger on average than those studying other languages: 86% of Japanese learners are under 30, and 70% are between 13 and 22. In fact, Japanese ranked #3 among this age group in the U.S. last year!


Graphic breaking down the age demographics of those studying Japanese

So... are YOU ready to study Japanese?

Are you already studying Japanese?

HOW well do YOU speak Japanese?

Do you want some resources to help you study Japanese (besides my blatant mentioning of Duolingo)?


Let us know as we are here to help you keep the learning going and while you are at it, check back on my progress and keep nudging me to keep going - I need all the support I can get.


がんばります!


MjH


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