Learning Japanese vocabulary is hard (as opposed to writing it, which is double hard) because you have no frame of reference. A French or German word will normally have some kind of resonance for you, even if it is not the exact meaning. For example, the word 'deep': in French 'profond' - sounds like profound, meaning deep but in a different sense, in German 'tief' can be traced onwards via phoneme correspondences (German t = English d, German f = English p) to deep, but the Japanese 'fukai'? You can't even guess, you just have to learn it! The grammar is also harder to grasp than the European languages: subject-object-verb 'watashi wa hon o yomimasu' as opposed to subject-verb-object 'je lis le livre', 'ich lese das Buch'). But on the other hand there's no future tense to learn and no tiresome feminines and masculines (or neuters!). And aside from it's topsy-turviness for European speakers, Japanese grammar is also consistent and relatively straightforward. Speaking it is also quite easy.
I did French and German at A level, and went on to do a degree in Japanese. It *is* harder...but worth it!
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