In your study of the Japanese language
Have you ever thought “I want to learn how to speak Japanese quickly. or I want to speak Japanese fluently”?
You study Japanese grammar and vocabulary every day, but when you try speaking in Japanese, the words and grammar you have learned don’t come out at all.
Even if you have the opportunity to talk with Japanese people, you may have experienced that your mind goes blank and you are at a loss.
I am sure that some of you have experienced this.
If you feel that no matter how much you continue to study for your Japanese language skills, you are still unable to speak it, perhaps you are not learning enough to speak Japanese.
In this article, I will tell you how to learn to speak Japanese, how to motivate yourself to learn to speak Japanese, and where and what resources you can actually talk to Japanese people.
I decided to go to college in the U.S. when I could not speak English at all even though I studied English as my second language in middle and high school. I enrolled in and graduated from a college in the U.S. in about two years after doing a lot of trial and error on my own by researching various methods of learning a second language.
Currently, I run an online Japanese language school and support many students who are learning Japanese, providing lessons to help students learn to speak Japanese quickly and giving them opportunities to interact with Japanese people in real life.
- 5 ways to learn to speak Japanese fluently
- 1. Repeat words and phrases until you can speak them unconsciously over and over again
- 2. Remember sentence patterns until you can speak them unconsciously through repetition
- 3. Create time to think only in Japanese and switch from your native language brain to a Japanese brain
- 4. Talking to yourself in Japanese and feedback by recording
- 5. Get experience speaking with real Japanese people
- Places where you can learn to speak Japanese with real Japanese people
- Ohanasi Japanese Language School for learning to speak Japanese
5 ways to learn to speak Japanese fluently
I came to the conclusion that these 5 learning methods are necessary for learning to speak Japanese through my study of English, my second language, and through teaching Japanese to students who are actually learning Japanese. In this article, I will share them with you one by one.
1. Repeat words and phrases until you can speak them unconsciously over and over again
First of all, the 1st way to learn to speak Japanese is to repeat words and phrases that you can surely speak over and over again so that you can speak them unconsciously.
I have seen many students who focus only on understanding words and phrases and continue to study by simply reading and understanding a vocabulary book and that is it.
No matter how much you can understand the meaning of the words when you study, you need to work on remembering the words and phrases you have learned over and over again in order to be able to recall them on an unconscious level from there. In particular, it is very effective to be able to visualize and feel Japanese words and phrases just by looking at them, without translating them back to your native language, so that you do not have to translate them from your native language to Japanese every time you speak Japanese.
There is no need to memorize a lot of words and phrases. If you can concentrate on learning only the most commonly used words and phrases, you will be able to express your intentions to Japanese people with words even if you have not memorized grammar. Learning words and phrases that you can use unconsciously is the first step to learning to speak Japanese.
We have created our original vocabulary books, which are designed to help you memorize words with images and example sentences. You can download them for free.
2. Remember sentence patterns until you can speak them unconsciously through repetition
The 2nd way to learn to speak Japanese is to remember grammar and sentence patterns over and over again until they come up unconsciously and automatically.
There are a number of grammar and sentence patterns in Japanese. By learning these patterns, you can easily create sentences by simply putting the words you have learned into the patterns.
For example, in the Japanese passive form, there is a sentence pattern “Noun に Verb られる”. By learning this pattern, you can create sentences like this “こども (child) は はは (mother) におこられる(angry) by putting words into the sentence patterns.
Your Japanese speaking level depends on how many of these sentence patterns you can use.
However, you may find someone around you who seems to speak Japanese fluently. But in fact, that person is just using the same sentence patterns that the person has used and acquired over and over again. I myself use only a few English sentence patterns that I have learned when I speak English. You don’t have to memorize all the patterns, just a few that you can use with certainty will make you seem like a fluent Japanese speaker to others.
3. Create time to think only in Japanese and switch from your native language brain to a Japanese brain
The 3rd way to learn to speak Japanese is to intentionally make time to think only in Japanese and switch your brain from your native language brain that you normally use to a Japanese brain.
In your daily life, you always use your native language or a language you are familiar with, and you think in that language in your mind.
In this situation, even if you try to speak Japanese, you will always translate your thoughts into your mind, and you will not have time to think only in Japanese. Therefore, at first, try to think only in Japanese for one minute, so that you can think about everything in Japanese only. A recommended training method is to say what you see around you in Japanese anyway or try to speak what you are thinking in Japanese, even if it is slowly. It may feel hard when you are not used to it, but you will feel growth as the amount of time you spend thinking and speaking only in Japanese.
4. Talking to yourself in Japanese and feedback by recording
The 4th way to learn to speak Japanese is to record your own talking to yourself on a video or app and listen to it again by yourself and give feedback.
For me, this training for speaking to myself was very useful for learning English, my second language.
The process is very simple. First, you decide on a topic, and then you talk about it on camera or record yourself using an app and listen back to the recording.
It is a good idea to start with a simple topic such as what happened today, your plans for the day, or something you enjoyed recently. As you get used to it, you can try topics for discussion or express your thoughts on news topics.
And after practicing speaking to yourself, be sure to review the video or audio recording you took or made. Then, make a note of the parts you could not speak well, or the phrases you wanted to say but could not, and look them up as you make your sentences. By doing so, you will be able to focus on the expressions and words that you could not say, and you will be able to learn to speak Japanese more and more.
5. Get experience speaking with real Japanese people
The last way to learn to speak Japanese is to get more experience speaking with real Japanese people.
No matter how many vocabulary and sentence patterns you learn and how much you practice talking to yourself unless you talk to real Japanese people, you will not be able to assess whether or not your Japanese is understandable to native Japanese people.
When I myself was studying English, I experienced that when I talked to an actual native English speaker, the phrases and grammar I had remembered were sometimes understood by him/her, and sometimes not. By doing so, you can build up your data like people don’t use this word in this situation, or you could communicate well in this way, and your Japanese will become closer to the native level.
However, many Japanese learners may be wondering how to find opportunities to talk with actual Japanese people, so I will tell you about places and resources where you can actually communicate with Japanese people later on.
Places where you can learn to speak Japanese with real Japanese people
Many Japanese language learners are wondering how they can get more opportunities to talk with Japanese people when there are very few Japanese people in their area or country, they have no Japanese friends, and they are not able to study abroad. For those people, I would like to introduce 3 free places and resources where you can talk and interact with Japanese people in Japanese.
Learn to speak Japanese at Ohanasi Kagawa
Ohanasi Kagawa is our online Language Exchange event. The event is organized online on weekends and includes 2 one-on-one (or in groups depending on the number of participants) 15-minute sessions of Japanese and English conversation between Japanese people and Japanese language learners.
Not only will you be able to have real conversations with Japanese people in Japanese, but you will also be able to have in-depth conversations with them by talking one-on-one.
You will have time to speak only in English during each session, so you do not have to use Japanese all the time. Even if you are not confident in your Japanese, you can gently teach English to Japanese people, and they will kindly teach Japanese to you. Please refer to the website below for more information on how to participate.
Learn to speak Japanese at Meetup
The Meetup.com website has a variety of Language Exchange events and groups where you can learn to speak Japanese. Ohanasi Kagawa, which we run, is listed on Meetup, but there are many other groups as well, so finding a Langauge Exchange group that suits you is a very effective way to learn to speak Japanese. If there are parties or events where you can interact with Japanese people in your area, you should actively participate.
Learn to speak Japanese at Hello talk
HelloTalk is a very popular language exchange app that mainly uses chatting, so you can chat with Japanese people and even make phone calls.
If you like chatting, I highly recommend this app. However, due to the time difference, some people may find it inconvenient to chat only, so if you want to focus on your speaking, we recommend you meet Japanese people in person and interact with them.
Ohanasi Japanese Language School for learning to speak Japanese
How was this article? In order to be able to learn to speak Japanese, you should not just study Japanese without making the right effort to speak Japanese.
If you are currently studying Japanese on your own and want to learn to speak Japanese, but you are having trouble improving your Japanese or you are wondering how you can become a Japanese speaker, please take a trial lesson at Ohanasi Japanese Language School.
Our experienced school counselors will consult with you to determine the best learning method for you.
For more information, please see the page below.