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Linguaholic

Ideas for practicing Japanese conversation?


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Hi! I've been teaching myself Japanese for about a year now, and I've noticed that my reading/writing skills are substantially better than my speaking/listening skills. Since I'm learning by myself, I don't have any classmates/teachers who I can practice Japanese conversation with.

So my question is: Does anybody have any ideas for places I can go to practice Japanese conversation? For anybody who's been in a similar situation, what strategies have you used?

Thanks so much for any advice you can give!

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Before I officially took a Japanese class, I would record myself singing Japanese songs and then listen to them. I realized that my pronunciation started to get better and better as I did this more and more. If you're a Jpop fan, you can try doing this :D

If you're uncomfortable with the above method, you can try livemocha.com. I think they have a section to help with pronunciation (at least they used to, I'm not sure if they have this feature any more).

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Hey, thanks for suggesting LiveMocha - it looks like they offer online pronunciation classes that might be good to try.

I don't know about the JPop thing... but maybe I should give it a go. At the very least, it will be funny to hear myself attempting to sing in Japanese.  :laugh:

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There are sites like interpals.net where you can meet people from all over the world and talk with them on Skype, for example. I haven't had much luck with those sites, but then again, I haven't been trying to hard. It's also a good way of meeting new people.

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I'd recommend the polyglot web site... I've met a lot people who are also interested in practicing the language I'm trying to learn right now.  The best part  about this is the fact this service is completely free. I'd recommend you to connect with students who are interested in learning the language, that way you two will have something in common and this interest might help you to keep the ''friendship'' going for as long as you need to practice. 

Contacting natives is a bit risky, since they have nothing to get in exchange... they might actually want to practice another language.  So the best thing you can do is to pursue a win-win scenario... by contacting a japanese language student.

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Trellum, thanks so much for suggesting Polyglot! I just checked it out and that's exactly the sort of thing I was looking for! I imagine it's true what you're saying about native speakers - I visited Japan for two weeks and people were constantly wanting to practice their English with me. It was kind of frustrating because I really wanted to practice my Japanese, but everybody kept insisting on talking to me in English.  :D

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Hi, I too can vouch for polyglot. It's amazing what you think you know until someone talks to you in japanese and you draw a complete blank on how to talk back to them (It would help if they didn't talk so damn fast over there and gave you longer to think  :tongue:) .

As for listening practice I would recommend watching subtitled videos. Whether it be anime, comedy (check out Gaki No Tsukai - I'm obsessed and keep picking up words from them without realising it like "papatto" from their kiki series), or dramas. It's odd how much you just pick up over time from watching TV. Of course the subtitles are necessary, and can actually help working out weird grammar points. Most importantly, it helps you understand CONVERSATIONAL japanese rather than textbook japanese.

Some anki decks also have spoken voice readings aswell which is very useful.

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  • 1 month later...

There are websites online to help you practice conversation. I forgot the name, but here is a Java site hosted by Rosetta stone where you can opt to chat/call with a person fluent in Japanese (of course there are also other languages). Hope this helps.

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You can mostly chat online with japanese people and see if they are truly worth it. You can easily learn a lot of japanese phrases and text in there and it would probably help you learn to conversate with other japanese.

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  • 1 month later...

I really like the idea of recording yourself. Living in a smaller town, I'm sure I could count the Japanese speakers here on my two hands. I had tried a website which I don't want to name without much success but it just wasn't my style. I know that there are some apps on iOs that you can language exchange on but I didn't have much success with them either. I'm going to have to start recording myself! Thanks for the ideas everyone!

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