When learning a foreign language, it’s important to consider which writing system you’ll learn first – it might not be English!, But it’s often the case that the English alphabet is adopted without much thought, and it causes difficulties in later stages of learning. This page will list the various writing systems you might encounter in Japanese and the order in which you should learn them. It’s not a perfect guide, but it’s a good starting point for those who haven’t yet thought about learning to write in Japanese!
Latin is a classical language which was originally spoken in countries such as Rome and Spain and continues to be used today. Despite its age, Latin is still frequently encountered in daily life through dictionaries, textbooks, and newspaper articles, so it still has the potential to be useful. If you happen to have a Latin teacher in high school, this is the perfect opportunity to practice your writing skills!
In most cases, Japanese learners will encounter Latin via the Roman Alphabet, or more commonly, the Latinized Vietnamese Alphabet introduced in the 1800s by the French. You’ll find it commonly used in the titles of books, magazines, and newspapers published in France.
English has been around for many years and continues to be one of the most popular foreign languages globally. The alphabet used to write English was first developed in the 16th century and continues to be used today. In most cases, Japanese learners will encounter English via the Roman Alphabet, and this is also the case with native English speakers who are learning Japanese. In Japanese, the English alphabet is called Bunjingo and is made up of 17 letters: え, イ, オ, ウ, ス, ズ, ゼ, ア, チ, ヂ, ッ, ツ, タ, シ, シュ, ノ, グ, and ポ.
Like Latin, Spanish is a classical language which was spoken in Spain for many years before making its way around the world. Spanish continues to be used today and is one of the most popular languages globally. If you haven’t heard of it before, it might be time to learn more! The Spanish alphabet is similar to Latin’s and is made up of 18 letters: a, ɑ, b, c, d, e, ɛ, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, and t. Spanish has long been considered a useful language for travelers and is even spoken in some parts of Japan as a second language.
In addition to being a foreign language, history is also considered a foreign subject in most countries, including Japan. Luckily, in Japan, this is no longer the case and history is now taught in schools throughout the country. If you’re interested in history, you have a number of foreign language choices to choose from!
Choosing which history subject to learn first can be difficult. It’s often said that you should learn the one which interests you most, but in reality, this is not always the case. If you’re passionate about art and culture, for example, you might want to start with Ancient Greece and Rome since this is what the majority of the literature you’ll come across is in – this is also the case if you enjoy reading novels or autobiographies.
Deciding which language to learn first can be difficult, but once you do, the rest is easier!