Travel, Teach, Live in Japan
Knowing how to learn Japanese online is no easy task. There are a myriad of online courses out there that claim to be the best, but just how effective are they all? Obviously unless if you've tried them all out, knowing the answer to this question can be difficult.
Japanese is a fundamentally difficult language for native English speakers. It is grouped as one of the languages that is most unlike English, compared to other more similar anglo-saxon or latin based languages, therefore learning it can be extremely difficult for the complete novice.
The thing to understand if you want to learn Japanese, is that you must first learn the kana. The kana consists of both the Hiragana and Katakana alphabets, and mastery of these two forms of writing is essential to developing a good understanding of Japanese.
The Hiragana is used predominantly for native words which don't have a Kanji, or for words which are preferably written in Hiragana. As a new student trying to learn Japanese, it's important you master the Hiragana to be able to read and write basic forms of Japanese. Once you learn the hiragana, you'll start to notice that you can read some more basic Japanese words and phrases.
The next kana you'll want to learn is known as the Katakana. The katakana is used more for loan words and foreign words, and for writing in emphasis. The katakana is important to learn as it will allow you to communicate and read foreign words in Japanese with ease. You may even find yourself picking up the Katakana quite easily, since a lot of the imported Japanese words are from American or other English speaking countries. Whilst they take on slight modifications, you should be able to recognise these modifications with appropriate training and practice.
Some words in Japanese are also a little more complex to understand than others, however one of the great things about Japanese is that its quite phonetic. The way you read a word is the way it sounds, and once you learn and master the basic kana characters, you'll be able to quite easily read these characters aloud, in any word, and get the correct pronunciation first time, without having to hear it. Of course in saying there, there are some simple rules you must follow, however learning these rules is quite straight forward.
So whilst your goal of trying to learn Japanese online won't be an easy journey, know that starting off with a simple goal, such as trying to learn the kana, is what will allow you to see slow and steady progress each and every day to your eventual acquisition and understanding of the Japanese language.
John Hubert is a researcher of the Japanese language and runs a site on how to Learn The Kana http://learnthekana.com/ This site explains in details various ways on how to Learn Japanese Online.