You know that people say one of the best ways to learn Japanese is by speaking… well that is pretty obvious.
One mistake that I fell into while I was studying at home was that rather than saying the words out loud, I would just think them in my head.
For me it felt like I was doing the same thing.
Without saying them you don’t get to hear what you sound like. You also don’t become confident with saying the words.
If you are at home in your bedroom and concerned someone can hear you – just blurt them out! There is no point being embarresed out what you sound like.
Just thinking the words in your head or writing them will lead to not being able to speak down the track.
I went through a phase where I would be in a situation where I could use my Japanese. I would make the sentence in my head but then I ended up being too scared to say them in case I made a mistake or sounded strange.
Rather than get to this point, you need to start vocalizing the Japanese language from the moment you being to practice. This will make is some much easier for you in the long run – I know this from experience!
I hear it a lot these days… people saying that Japanese is really hard to learn.
YES – It is hard to learn… wait.. didn’t I say that it was a myth? Well.. that part is not a myth… Japanese is hard to learn!
BUT BUT BUT
So is everything other language out there! The thing is that learning a language, whether it be Japanese, English, Spanish, French etc is hard work. It certainly isn’t as easy as learning to ride a bike.
BUT BUT BUT
That being said it isn’t THAT hard… all you need to do is apply yourself.
One of my strongest suggestions is that when you start learning a language you need to dedicate some time EVERY day to ensure that you can reinforce the information you are learning.
It only takes 15 minutes a day. That would be a great amount of time. If you do that every day you will be amazed at how quickly and easily you remember things.
The problem is when people only study once a week or even worse than that!
Finding 15 minutes a day isn’t that hard and if you are really serious about learning Japanese then you will find it with easy!
So remember – learning Japanese is hard – but if you apply yourself you will learn it quickly and easily.
When you are trying to learn a language one of the options to help improve your language skills for free is to do a language exchange with a native speaker of the language you are learning.
That is 50% of the time you speak in your language (in my case, English) and the other 50% of the time you speak in their language (in my case, Japanese).
Sounds great… you get to speak with native speaker, improve your language skills and maybe even learn some of the local culture. Well I am sorry to say, but for most beginners Language Exchange isn’t a great idea to improve your language.
Why? Well… the problem you will most likely find when your native language is English and the language exchange partner’s is Japanese is that in most times their language skill in English will be far greater than yours in Japanese.
It is compulsory for Japanese school students to learn English from junior high school. So even if they haven’t spoken for awhile, they will still have a good foundation to fall back on.
If you are a beginner in Japanese then you will most likely find that the other person’s English skill is much better and what usually tends to happen is that most “interacting” language (e.g. hello, do you want a coffee, how was your day etc.) will be done in English and you will only get a small amount of Japanese in.
The problem only gets worse if you are not organised. If you just arrive to your language exchange hoping to build your skills but without any preparation or plan then the dominant language learner (the person with more skill in the foreign language they are learning) will be able to dictate the proceedings of your meeting. While you struggle to think of things that you can talk about the other person will be happily chatting away in English getting excellent value out of the exchange.
In some cases you will feel uncomfortable and embarressed if there is a large gap in skills and you will end up speaking less and less and it will almost be like you are giving free lessons to the language exchange partner.
So… are Language Exchanges a waste of time then? Yes, they can be. But if you PREPARE for the exchange then it can be a positive experience for both you and your language exchange partner.
What do you mean by prepare? What should I do?
Write a list of topics that you can talk about and learn vocabulary for them!
In order to use the topics make sure you can actually “talk” about them. There is no point listing down “politics” if you don’t have any political vocab. Before the language exchange meeting do your best to learn vocab that is suitable for the topics that you have chosen. By learning them in your own time the language exchange then becomes a chance to reinforce those new words and hopefully you will embed them in your memory.
If you are only a very beginner then your topics could be just simple topics. Such as: Ordering in a Restaurant, Shopping, Meeting someone for the first time, Buying a Rail Ticket etc.
These simple topics can get boring very quickly, but if you write down some scenarios then you will be able to role play them effectively with your language exchange partner.
For more effective tips for your Japanese Language Exchange and anything else to do with learning Japanese then visit the Japanese Language Guru.
ようこそ！(YOOKOSO! | WELCOME!)
Hi and welcome to my home on the internet!
I created this page to share my knowledge about Japan and the Japanese Language. I have been studying Japanese for quite some time and have enjoyed it immensely along the way.
I sure know how hard it can be sometimes and I have made my fair share of mistakes. Hopefully I can share some of those experiences with you on this website and in this blog specifically.
When you decided to learn a language it can be a great thing. It opens up all sorts of opportunities and can be a great way to meet new people and also keep your mind active.
Research shows that it is easier to learn a language when you are young… oh I wish I would have started when I was young… but I can tell you – it is not too late! Everyone can learn and I believe that every one can build enough skill in Japanese to communicate effectively in the language.
Well, welcome to the website and I hope you can get some valuable information from the site during your visit!