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Nihongo Online School > Tips for More Effective Studying > What should we do to be able to speak Japanese fluently?

What should we do to be able to speak Japanese fluently?


There are many people who are working hard to study Japanese  everyday and feeling confused and wondering, “When will I be able to speak fluently?” without having a concrete goal in mind.  Even if you memorize and get to know more vocabulary and grammar patterns,sometimes it can be difficult to have a free conversation.

Now, it is said that it takes about 3000 hours to completely master a language (to a business level). 3,000 hours of immersion in that environment is equivalent to 125 days. It’s about 4 months. Those who have lived abroad will know that if you spend 3 to 4 months in that language environment, your ears will get used to it, even if you still don’t talk, you’ll start to feel like you understand what’s being said. 

Considering this, if you want to improve your conversational skills as quickly as possible, studying abroad and living in the language environment is probably the most effective way.

However, due to time and money constraints, it may be difficult to change your living environment right away. In such cases, let’s take a look at other ways to improve your conversation skills.

Language is like a mixed martial art. In order to develop your comprehensive language skills, you need to evenly train the four skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. However, listening and speaking skills are especially important in conversation, so after building a foundation with input, the key is how to make time for output and practice.

Then, What and how much should I input? 

The number of words normally used in Japanese is said to be 30,000 to 40,000, but there are approximately 1,100 to 1,300 words that can be used on a daily basis (called basic words).. It seems that this number of words is enough for everyday conversation, so you should first aim to increase your vocabulary. Once you have memorized the basic vocabulary and grammar, you can start outputting as consciously as possible.

Now, I will introduce four ways to practice input and output at the same time efficiently at home.

1. Shadowing the movie

Shadowing requires you to accurately capture every word and its pronunciation, so you can intensively train your speech perception process. Once your speech perception is trained you can do it instantly without thinking, you can free up working memory resources for comprehension, improving your listening skills.You can also improve your output power with practical phrases

2. Read the Japanese  article and summarize it in Japanese

Through summarizing practice, you will acquire the ability to compose sentences that are easy to understand. This is an exercise in paraphrasing a sentence in your own way without significantly changing its meaning. When you can’t think of the right expression right away, you will strengthen your vocabulary and expressiveness so that you can instantly rephrase it in the words you know.

3. Write a diary in Japanese

It is important to keep writing a Japanese diary every day and make it a habit, so instead of trying to write difficult things, start by creating a few simple sentences using the words you already know. 

Unlike writing in a text, a Japanese diary allows you to express in English what you experience, what you feel, what you think, and other things that are in your head, so you can express what you want to express. You will acquire the ability to create sentences about things.

4. Online lessons

Having a real conversation with a native Japanese person is the best way to improve your skills.

With online classes,you can have flexible schedules such as early mornings and late nights, and no need to prepare textbooks, you can easily feel closer to Japan. Your motivation will be maintained as the lessons will follow the curriculum under the guidance of the teacher. Recommended for those who want to achieve their goals by the target time.

There is a saying that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but the more you practice steadily, the more your conversation skills will improve.

However, if you find it difficult to stay motivated alone, try taking online lessons. At our school, native teachers will teach closely with you to help you achieve your goals.

Teacher YUKI wrote this article

Qualifications:Completed 420-hour Japanese language teacher training course
I started my career at a Japanese language school in Bolivia and have been teaching at Nihongo online school since 2019.

Experience:I myself am interested in foreign cultures and languages, so I find it very stimulating to meet students from different backgrounds and share lesson time with them.
I am always happy when students are able to express themselves well in the Japanese they have just learned, and I feel happy to be teaching.

In the future, I would like to be able to teach Japanese through Japanese anime, manga, and traditional culture as well. I would also like to constantly research how I can learn Japanese more efficiently, using my own experience in learning foreign languages.
I try to explain words and sentence patterns using a variety of examples so that students can easily understand under what circumstances they are used. I also provide many opportunities for students to speak up, so that they can learn in a participatory manner with a focus on output.

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