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jwkelley
February 16th, 2015, 09:40
I was wondering if anyone has any advice for fixing butchered speaking? My vocab is wider than when I started but my speaking is absolutely a butchered mess compared to when I began.

Gunjumero
February 16th, 2015, 09:55
I was wondering if anyone has any advice for fixing butchered speaking? My vocab is wider than when I started but my speaking is absolutely a butchered mess compared to when I began.

Your pronunciation ?

You could find an audio book in Japanese, maybe of something you are already familiar with/ read in english years ago, and put it on your device of choice and repeat after the reader.

That way, being familiar with the content, might make it easier to recall,remember and that might be more interesting than picking something you might not understand half of it (I don't know your level)

Or pick the paper version and the audiobook, it's probably much easier to follow doing that, you'll most likely understand a larger part of the book and you know what comes along instead of repeating what was just said.

BONUS : you get to take silly voices for the dialogs

coop52
February 16th, 2015, 10:03
Practice. Go down to the bar and make friends.

Zolrak 22
February 16th, 2015, 10:26
Do you know a language like Spanish?

The pronunciations are basically the same, so it'll help if you have that mindset when talking.

Jiggit
February 16th, 2015, 11:12
Large amounts of audio input seemed to help me. If you can hear in your head what it's supposed to sound like it should help you while speaking.

Cbill1
February 16th, 2015, 14:51
Is it your pronunciation, or your grammar when speaking?

If it's the latter, that's a normal part of language acquisition. It'll eventually go away; the only thing to really do is practice speaking and listening as much as you can.

If it's pronunciation; have you considered hiring a private tutor?

jwkelley
February 16th, 2015, 14:54
More grammar when speaking. I have a lot more information in my head than when i gan, more words, more grammar patterns, ect ect and it confuses everything. When i first started I just had a shtload of pimsluer sentences memorized audio lingual style and could pop those out easy. Now when I speak it tends to come out like insane gibberish. My listening is far better, but my speaking has collapsed.

Cbill1
February 16th, 2015, 15:56
More grammar when speaking. I have a lot more information in my head than when i gan, more words, more grammar patterns, ect ect and it confuses everything. When i first started I just had a shtload of pimsluer sentences memorized audio lingual style and could pop those out easy. Now when I speak it tends to come out like insane gibberish. My listening is far better, but my speaking has collapsed.

Then you're good.

It's frustrating, because there isn't really anything that can fix your speaking quickly. Learning a second language is kind of like a "u" curve; after you pick up the basics of grammar and vocabulary, your speech looks like it's deteriorating as you start to figure out and try out the more complex grammar. It sounds counter-intuitive, since you don't want to be making mistakes with grammar, but it's a sign that you're learning.

The best advice I can give is to keep speaking as much as you can, and in situations where you're really worried about offending someone/something coming out wrong, use the most simple Japanese that you're sure of.

Apollo87
February 27th, 2015, 18:04
Definitely going to bars or other social events where you are forced to speak to locals in Japanese. It's super important to put yourself into a lot of situations where there is no option to fallback on English. I sometimes used to bring along a little notepad I got from Daiso and jotted down notes immediately after a conversation. Like if I picked up some new words or if a grammatical structure was unfamiliar, or if there was something I wanted to say but I couldnt - I would immediately write those down and go back and study them later. That's how you sort of figure out what "tools" in your grammar tookbox you need the most.

For every hour you study Japanese, spend at least another hour trying to actually use the language with people. Study at night and between classes at school. Then talk to your co-workers. Then after work go to bars and strike up conversations with random people. Go shopping and strike up conversations with shop clerks by asking for recommendations. Instead of studying at home, bring your study materials to a cafe and strike up conversations with people around you.

After awhile, the grammar starts to click, and your toolbox of grammar and vocab becomes large and familiar enough that you can express yourself/at least make yourself understood. That's when you start to pick up the nuances of specific words and phrases and how they all tie-in together. That's also when you start to realize that though you can express yourself in Japanese, you can't yet do so as a native speaker would. That's because at that stage, you're still thinking in English and translating it directly to Japanese. Just keep going, dont fret the mistakes and miscommunications.

After a certain amount of input, you come to hear sentences patterns, turns of phrases, and specific sayings enough that you develop a feel for the correct word or phrase to use in the correct situation. You'll know that you're saying the correct thing for the situation because you've heard it before.

Another tip is that watching Japanese TV and movies really helps a lot. I'm often like "Oh, thats how you would say that.", when the way I would say it might be completely different. I'll often shadow the dialogue while I watch TV alone - that is, talk along with characters. If you turn on the subtitles, its excellent reading practice as well.

The thing about fluency is that its really situational. You might be perfectly functional and capable in a certain situation - you have the correct register (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Register_%28sociolinguistics%290), have enough vocabulary, and have been in that sort of situation enough times that you sound really fluent, even native. But in a different and rarer situation, you might simply not have the requisite vocabulary set or know how the socially correct way of speaking. For example, its still really hard for me to sound natural when I'm angry and trying to express it in Japanese. That's why watching TV and paying attention to when like your JTEs or other teachers yell at students is so important, I think.

Last tip, I found that my language ability improved dramatically from texting a lot in Japanese. Find yourself some Japanese cuties or ikemen and text on LINE with them in Japanese. You learn sooooo much that way.

webstaa
March 2nd, 2015, 08:17
Practice. Go down to the bar and make friends.


Don't expect Japanese people to fix your speaking directly - unless you say something crazy or stupid that is obviously mistaken. However, you will improve by having to talk and listen.

weepinbell
March 3rd, 2015, 00:07
For those of you who went over with minimal Japanese, how was the barrier/how long did it take you to get even just sort of comfortable with speaking to people in totally broken Japanese? I've been studying on/off like 2 years and I'm in finishing up another school year of elementary right now... so I'll be going over with like end of Genki book I level Japanese lol.

hiddenlee22
March 3rd, 2015, 03:39
For those of you who went over with minimal Japanese, how was the barrier/how long did it take you to get even just sort of comfortable with speaking to people in totally broken Japanese? I've been studying on/off like 2 years and I'm in finishing up another school year of elementary right now... so I'll be going over with like end of Genki book I level Japanese lol.

Minna no Nihongo is where it's at man!

Also, to add to weepinbell, how hard is it going from the ridiculously formal (and not very colloquial) Japanese, to a more practical/functional level of Japanese?

I know the Japanese we learn in school is not typical of Japan. Same with every other language offered by universities/colleges (I'm looking at you Spanish and French!)

weepinbell
March 3rd, 2015, 04:22
Minna no Nihongo is where it's at man!


Is that the one that's all in Japanese? I actually have really liked Genki and I'll prob invest in the 2nd set because I really click with how it explains grammar, but I'm sure immersion to supplement would be super helpful....

coop52
March 3rd, 2015, 09:04
I studied by myself using books at home, never taken a formal class, and it took me only a little while. Alcohol helps.

weepinbell
March 3rd, 2015, 23:30
I studied by myself using books at home, never taken a formal class, and it took me only a little while. Alcohol helps.

How long did you self-study? Did you get a good amount of practice talking to people before you went or just kinda jump in? I'm in a class right now, so we kinda talk to each other but it's mostly like 'senkou wa nan desu ka' lol....

Apollo87
March 4th, 2015, 19:45
For getting up to speed with conversation from scratch, I cant recommend the Michel Thomas Japanese course enough.

In-class lessons just sort of introduce you to vocab or a grammar, and even if you do guided convos, I find that it barely sticks in your head until the next class. I would self study, read through Tae Kim's Grammar guide at Japanese Grammar Guide | Learn Japanese (http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar) , then just try to find a situation you can talk to a Japanese native speaker. The things you come across in a real life convo will be 10x more sticky in your brain, and then when/if you come across the vocab and grammar in-class or in your studies, you will be significantly more likely to retain it because you can peg it to a real-life occurance.

Edit: To answer your question, just jump in, as soon as possible.

coop52
March 4th, 2015, 22:30
How long did you self-study? Did you get a good amount of practice talking to people before you went or just kinda jump in? I'm in a class right now, so we kinda talk to each other but it's mostly like 'senkou wa nan desu ka' lol....

My only speaking practice before I came was singing along to Sailor Moon songs in high school. You'll be fine.

mothy
March 4th, 2015, 23:49
I don't know if you should be shot or your teacher, but this atrocity shall not stand!

Zolrak 22
March 5th, 2015, 03:27
My only speaking practice before I came was singing along to Sailor Moon songs in high school. You'll be fine.
A bit random, but I never liked the idea of singing along to something I don't fully understand.

It's the same feeling I get when people use words from a foreign language they can't speak.

Apollo87
March 5th, 2015, 11:44
Going to Karaoke is great for reading and speaking practice though. Plus hey, if it sparks your interest in learning I think that's the most important thing.

mothy
March 5th, 2015, 12:37
Anyone who sings Japanese songs in karaoke should be murdered.

Apollo87
March 5th, 2015, 12:44
haha interesting perspective. why do you think so?

AyaReiko
March 5th, 2015, 14:54
Is this the Saitama in you?

weepinbell
March 5th, 2015, 23:47
My only speaking practice before I came was singing along to Sailor Moon songs in high school. You'll be fine.

Lol thanks. This actually makes me feel a lot better.

webstaa
March 6th, 2015, 08:30
Going to Karaoke is great for reading and speaking practice though. Plus hey, if it sparks your interest in learning I think that's the most important thing.


Karaoke is always better when you're blitzed. Although 90% of the time it degenerates into Queen, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry. Mostly because nobody wants to embarrass themselves by butchering Japanese. Although if your there with some Japanese people, you'll probably get looped into a duet with some shitty jpop song you've never heard...

BifCarbet
March 6th, 2015, 09:17
Karaoke is always better when you're blitzed. Although 90% of the time it degenerates into Queen, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry. Mostly because nobody wants to embarrass themselves by butchering Japanese. Although if your there with some Japanese people, you'll probably get looped into a duet with some shitty jpop song you've never heard...

Pick one Japanese song (preferably something slow like enka) and get really good at it, then expand from there.

coop52
March 6th, 2015, 09:46
Just go with the Evangelion song. Young people will know it from that one robot anime, and all the old dudes will know it from pachinko. Old ladies won't have a clue, but they don't go to karaoke anyway.

You also could go with the "YOU wa SHOCK" song. It's pretty fun.

BifCarbet
March 6th, 2015, 10:01
I say do something that will surprise people.
My go-to is Sake Yo by Yoshi Ikuzo (酒よ by 吉幾三)
Ikuzo Yoshi - sake yo (alcohol).flv - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGeHhcFFKPg)

mothy
March 6th, 2015, 10:06
That doesn't surprise me at all.

Ini
March 6th, 2015, 21:01
Although if your there with some Japanese people

People go to karaoke without being dragged there by the japanese??? What sort of monster does that? Any westerner who goes "hey guys, lets go to karaoke!" should be taken out back and have a bullet put in them

gibbity
March 6th, 2015, 23:50
People go to karaoke without being dragged there by the japanese??? What sort of monster does that? Any westerner who goes "hey guys, lets go to karaoke!" should be taken out back and have a bullet put in them

i have never felt the need to agree so strongly with Ini before. But exactly this.

BifCarbet
March 6th, 2015, 23:52
What do you guys do for fun?

webstaa
March 7th, 2015, 08:10
People go to karaoke without being dragged there by the japanese??? What sort of monster does that? Any westerner who goes "hey guys, lets go to karaoke!" should be taken out back and have a bullet put in them

Occasionally get dragged to karaoke by the DD after ALT events. Also the reason I try to get completely drunk, so I can just sit in the corner like a good little anti-social person...

Ini
March 7th, 2015, 20:38
What do you guys do for fun?

bang chinese hookers

mothy
March 7th, 2015, 21:02
Fun is for children and crackheads.

Ananasboat
March 11th, 2015, 15:53
I like to pull out famous enka song "yosaku" when I'm dragged to nikai at a karaoke snack bar. It's only old men and they think its funny a skinny white girl sings enka.

uthinkimlost?
March 11th, 2015, 15:59
GTFO and get yo mouth drilled!

THE
March 11th, 2015, 16:10
I don't think it's been mentioned yet, but finding a language exchange parter helped me out a lot. sharedtalk.com used to be a good place to find people interested in giving and receiving speaking practice, I'm not sure how reputable it is now. If you spend some time looking for someone and hit things off, try to get them to agree to practicing an on a given day every week for thirty-sixty minutes per language.