I mentioned that I would make some learn Japanese videos and here is the first one. There was a ton of video, but I tried to edit it down to make it simple and short. Most of the Japanese words are pretty simple ones, and some are repeated several times. I have a ton more video, so there will be more on the way! Please leave comments and feedback, and please subscribe to my Youtube Channel. I have some free gifts to give out once the channel reaches a certain number of subscribers.
For those of you who came here to learn a few tips to speak more like a native Japanese speaker and then be on your way, make sure you read to the end. There is a bit of a surprise.
Okay, first a few tips to speak like a native Japanese speaker.
Make a ton of mistakes
You can’t expect to get everything perfect on your first try. To learn to speak well you are first going to have to suck at it. Let your pride go and just try to speak. Make mistakes, sound stupid, be goofy, have fun. You will make much more progress if you are trying again and again rather that not speaking because you don’t know if you can do it perfectly.
Be a copy-cat
Did you ever mimic someone as a kid or try to sound just like an actor. I did. I used to do Jim Carrey impersonations as a child. When I started learning Japanese, I put those skills to work. When I would hear a native Japanese speaker say something, I would repeat it to myself in the same tones, speed, inflections as the person who said it. Pretty soon, rather than stringing together Japanese words, I was stringing together Japanese phrases.
Make big mouth movements
Your mouth is used to making certain movements. When you are learning Japanese you will use different muscles. Exaggerate your movements when you practice. When you actually speak they will get smaller, so don’t worry. But if you practice regular they will be too small when you actually speak and you won’t speak as clearly.
A very important tip to Speak Japanese like a native
Don’t! What I mean is that this shouldn’t be your main goal. Yes, you should always try to improve your pronunciation as much as possible, but don’t loose sight of the goal.
Someone who can count to 10 perfectly in Japanese isn’t going to do nearly as well as someone who doesn’t have great pronunciation, but can converse with a Japanese speaker.
Just remember that the goal is communicating with a native Japanese speaker, not sounding like one.
For those who would like a little more information on this idea, check out this article on the Times website here.
This post is for anyone who has an interest in learning Japanese. For both the people who are just starting and for those who have already started, and especially for those people who may have given up.
I am going to say something that you probably won’t hear very often….wait for it….Learning Japanese takes a lot of hard work and perseverance.
Does that mean that it’s not worth it? Definitely not! My Japanese ability allowed me to study in Japan and and eventually live and work in Tokyo. I now live in the more tropical Okinawa. I speak Japanese on a daily basis and still enjoy doing so. But it wasn’t always this way. There was a time when I could barely count to 10 and would get flustered if someone asked me 元気ですか？(how are you?). So how did I get from there to here? Hard work and perseverance.
I have written a ton of articles about how to learn Japanese faster, easier, and have more fun. I still believe that all of those things are true and that the advice I have given is solid. I have used these tips myself. However, while they may be more fun and efficient, you will still need to put in the time and work.
Why am I going on like this? Two reasons. The first is that if you think that learning Japanese will be too easy, then you will probably give up after a short time. The other is that I want to let anyone who is getting frustrated with their learning speed know that it does eventually get easier. Though it may not seem that way for you yet, if you keep going there is a time that things will just start to click. Things will start making sense without you having to think about them so hard.
It’s also important to realize that it’s never too late to start learning. This is true for age and also for those who may have given up.
I myself am back actively studying Japanese. Though I am for all intensive purposes fluent, I decided that I would like to expand my vocabulary and grammar.
It’s never too late to start learning! Start doing something today. Go watch a movie in Japanese or fire up Anki to review your Kanji.
I have also attached a sign up sheet to a free trial of Rocket Japanese. Give it a try and at least go through the free lessons. For those who are just getting started it will teach you the basics. For those who are already studying it will be a great review. If you do decide to purchase then a portion of that sale goes to keeping this website up.
(update 5/3: I have taken down the form, but if you are interested in the Rocket Japanese product, you can find it here.
While I was at the beach this morning I wrote a post on my personal blog about the importance of getting away from your computer and office to get work done. I figured I would write a bit here on Japanese Words about how important it is to do the same thing when you are studying.
When I was a college student, I spent a lot of my time studying near a computer or studying while I listened to music. While this is something that most of us do, it isn’t actually very effective. The problem is that it is difficult to focus and easy to get distracted. Most of us will look up when we hear an e-mail hitting the inbox. Or start singing our favorite song if it comes on.
Learning Japanese isn’t just about the amount of time you spend studying, it is also about the quality of that time. Find yourself a nice quite spot where you won’t be bothered and can really focus. You will be able to learn much quicker.
Also, remember to take small breaks. If you study for too long without breaks your concentration and ability to learn weakens. Small breaks aren’t a waste of time, but a method to keep you studying strong.
The second Japanese class on Edufire ended today and Eri had a lot of fun teaching it. Thank all of those who attended. I hope you enjoyed the classes and learned some new Japanese.
Eri has posted a couple new classes as well. One for those wanting to learn to read and write Japanese (hiragana and katakana) and another class for practicing conversational speaking (this class is limited in size so if you are interested I recommend you sign up soon). You can find the classes here:
For those serious about learning Japanese, learning hiragana and katakana as fast as possible is very important to not only reading Japanese, but for pronouncing it correctly as well. The sooner you get away from the English alphabet the better.
In the class, Eri will be showing you the correct way to pronounce the characters and how to write them. The class will be recorded, so those attending can watch it over and over again for review.
If you already know how to write and read the characters, then you are ready to sign up for the conversational class and start speaking Japanese.