We’re all guilty of using romaji. Even if you know zero Japanese. How? Sushi, karaoke, samurai, and so on are in romaji. It’s been the go-to resource in the language study community for over a century. Why?Because it works fast. Yet anyone how’s had contact with real Japanese knows romaji is not Japanese.
Download Romaji Recovery Checklist
If you learn romaji, you won’t need to waste your time learning kana or kanji. Chances are you already know your ABC’s. You just need to learn how to spell words in their Japanese equivalents. Once you master romaji vocabulary, you’re done – you’re “fluent”. That’s why textbooks dating from the 1800’s to modern times emphasize the use of romaji. If romaji is over recommended by the teaching community, why am I calling it a “Disaster“?
Romaji is the ultimate language nightmare.
The only thing it has going is its ability to attract “Westerners” and promote Japanese tourism.
Then why is it used in textbooks and pushed onto students by universities? Because it creates a higher turnover ratio when compared to the classes that ban romaji. How do I know? I’ve attended those classes. The general rule of thumb is that the majority of students will do the bare minimum to get by in class.
The same can be said for students not enrolled in a language class. Hence, textbooks are designed to make it “easy” in order to generate the most profit. If you poured your sweat and tears into something but weren’t near passing the class, chances are you would dropout or stop purchasing their product.
They wouldn’t be getting much business then would they?
But learning a language is hard, including Japanese. So using romaji in the beginning is fine…right? Wrong! We’ve all heard the stories. Even if you’ve never studied a foreign language and are just reading this to read it.
Sally is a college student. She is majoring in Japanese Studies at a popular university and is in her third year of study. What is her proficiency? It should be JLPT 3 or 2 – she actually barely passed JLPT 5. Why? Because she didn’t learn to read real Japanese.
John went to an international high school. He studied Japanese for the last four years through a specialized program in his district. What is his proficiency? It’s barely better than Sally’s. Perhaps if he got lucky he’d pass JLPT 4.
In a Japanese class I took while in Canada, we had to perform role-plays. On one of those role-plays she required us to write our own script. I wrote a short script on a buyer purchasing a bracelet. My partner wrote a script on someone ordering at a restaurant…in romaji. My “partner’s” inability to read Kana and Kanji held a negative impact on her performance and grade. She wasn’t able to change my script to romaji herself.
How did we end up on our grades? I scored an A. She barely got a C due to skipped lines, jumbled words, and confused meanings. It wasn’t just her. This was the story for over 60% of the class. When faced with real Japanese, they were at a stalemate.
The victims of The Romaji Disaster are not myths but the actual reality of the world we live in.
When push comes to shove, will you be left behind?
Say no to easy. Don’t use romaji.
Are you already stuck using romaji? Don’t know how to get out but want a change? Maybe you don’t even know where to start or haven’t even begun to learn the language.
Whichever the case is for you, I made a Romaji Disaster Recovery Checklist to guide you.
Language freedom is possible!
Download Romaji Recovery Checklist
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