Difficulties in Learning Japanese as a Foreign Language: The Case of Filipino Learners


Filipino student, listening and comprehension, Nihongo, reading, speaking, writing


This quantitative research study discusses the specific challenges in learning Nihongo as a foreign language, which was drawn from a sample of 481 randomly selected Filipino college students from 18 Nihongo classes offered at a state university. This study utilized a modified questionnaire. Data were statistically analyzed using mean, frequency, and percentage distribution. Findings revealed that limited Nihongo vocabulary and lack of cultural context of presented materials cause minimal retention and understanding of the topics that students are listening to. Poor listening comprehension thus leads them to have difficulties in responding and expressing themselves in class through speaking the language. Their challenges in pronunciation related to un-Nihongo syllable, stress, and intonation usage stem from the high deviation of Japanese from their native linguistic influence. It consequently affects their reading and writing skills; unfamiliar foreign characters cause them to have limited text knowledge and linguistic proficiency. Therefore, it is needed to rationalize the teaching and learning of Nihongo among students. While these data are informative for strengthening the instructional material for learning Nihongo, it also highlights the need for the university to consult with Nihongo experts on how to best teach and learn it, such as using the latest and cutting-edge technologies and innovations.