【Japanese Language】Listening and Speaking ability

Today, we would like to introduce you about how to practice Japanese Listening and Speaking ability.

Everybody wants to talk Japanese as fluently as possible, right?


First and foremost, listening is the most significant factor when studying a foreign language.  “Listening” could be the first and the biggest obstable.  Although you have learned the meaning of some new words or a grammar pattern, and its pronunciation (by phonetic symbols), but if you do not have the listening ability (If you do not know actually how does the sound reach to our ears and what does this sound mean), then we cannot do communication.

Let’s think about how does the little kids start learning their mother tongue, shall we?  Dad and mom are repeatedly talking to their babies, even thouh their babies have not understood or replied anythinng yet.  But through this process, there have been a huge data accumulated by sound in a baby’s brain.  Then, kids gradually learn how to “listen” and  “speak,” then next will start learning “read” and “write” at school. That is to say, studying a foreign language starts from “Listening.” If you have the listening ability (the situation you listen and undesrstand what you have just listen), then the words will come out from your mouth naturally. 


Then, these are three practice methods for listening:

Listening(Listen CD or practice materials for a certain amount of time everyday) 

Dictation (Do listening, and write down the thing you have just listened)

Shadowing(Do listening, and speak out the thing you have just listened )


This is my personal experience.  While I was studying TOEFL, one day reached a plateau of listening (No matter how hard I try, but I could not improve my TOEFL listening points anymore), and then I thought I should go back to the basis, must practice listening a lot, and do it everyday.  Then, I started listening NHK Radio English program 15 minutes, everyday twice, on the way to school and on the way back home. I continued this for a year. Then, suddenly my listening has improved a lot, and got a high score on TOEFL listening. This was very imppressive experneice to me.

Depends on your current level, you can pick up the practice mateirlas or the methods. Besides, dictation or shadowing, you must stay in front of the desk, but you can work on listening anywhere, enytime, even while you are walking. You must practice listening everyday, as your routine, this is the most important thing. By listening foreign language for a certain amount of time everyday, you become accustomed to the sound of English, and at the same time can learn how to enhance your concentration.  After learning how to get focused, then do practice dictation or shadowing. Practicing these two are tougher, but unconsciously your will be able to listen to Japanese, come up with the words, and talk.

【Speaking ability】

Then, how should we improve our speaking ability?

Speaking ability does not directly related to the exam’s points, and I guess everyday does not spend time on this, do you?

As one of the frequently-happened situation is that a student who had already got the high score on JLPT etc., Japanese exam, but could not communicate with local people here in Japan, and felt a big shock. But do not worry! This is the path almost everybody has gone through.

I would like you to think this again,,,If your speaking ability gets better, you will get more relaxed while you are in Japan, get much easier to find a part-time job, can make Japanese firends, and can build wider interpsersonal relationship. Above all, you will do the best performance at the interview of vocational schools, universities, graduate schools, and companies, and thus it is going to be the shortcut to the bright future for you.

First of all!  Speak up with big voice.

・Read aloud “Oral Practice” and “Sentence Pattern” on your Japanese textbook, and practice speaking it with the natural speed!

More concretely, how should we practice…? (Even outside of “the classroom,” you can do it!)

Solioquies…Let’s start “talking to yourself” (mumbling)  「みんなの日本語」”Oral Practice” might be the best material!

Be (whatever) geeks… Let’s watch your faviroite Japanese drama or animation repeatedly many times, then if you get used to, watch it without a caption!

Dive into the Japanese communnity…It is the toughest way, but you can put youself into all-Japanese environment!  Do interact with Japanese people by doing a part-time job etc., and work hard to catch up with their conversation!

Through these methods, your speaking ability gets skyrocketing!

These are very effective studying methods. Just relax, learning foreign languages takes time. It is not only you. If you continue your routine everyday, then one day definitely your continuous efforts will be paid back. Do not get nervous, do not give up, and just keep working!

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