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Improving your conversation skills

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Improving your conversation skills

Postby Triddy » Fri 01.18.2008 1:35 am

Hey everyone, been a while since I asked a question here.

Anyways, my Japanese 11 class just wrapped up, my mark a fairly low 92%. This, along with seperate study, makes me fairly confident in my reading and writing for my level. I still couldn't hope to read a novel, or even a light novel.

However, aside from the skits we do in Japanese class, I have no real way of speaking Japanese. I don't know anybody who speaks the language, except for maybe my cousin who lives 5000km away from me. My Japanese teacher refuses to carry on a conversation in Japanese, even though she speaks it natively. I can say something to her in Japanese and she'll answer in English and ask why I am not doing the same.

I find that when I speak, I make a bunch of stupid, simple errors, without even considering my probably horrible pronunciation.

So for the people who have successfully learned Japanese, how did you get through this problem? How long was it before you felt confident enough to hold a SIMPLE conversation?
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RE: Improving your conversation skills

Postby AJBryant » Fri 01.18.2008 2:15 am

Why does your teacher do that? It's phenomenally counter-productive and borderline malfeasance.


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RE: Improving your conversation skills

Postby burstandbloom » Fri 01.18.2008 3:14 am

Triddy wrote:
Hey everyone, been a while since I asked a question here.

Anyways, my Japanese 11 class just wrapped up, my mark a fairly low 92%. This, along with seperate study, makes me fairly confident in my reading and writing for my level. I still couldn't hope to read a novel, or even a light novel.

However, aside from the skits we do in Japanese class, I have no real way of speaking Japanese. I don't know anybody who speaks the language, except for maybe my cousin who lives 5000km away from me. My Japanese teacher refuses to carry on a conversation in Japanese, even though she speaks it natively. I can say something to her in Japanese and she'll answer in English and ask why I am not doing the same.

I find that when I speak, I make a bunch of stupid, simple errors, without even considering my probably horrible pronunciation.

So for the people who have successfully learned Japanese, how did you get through this problem? How long was it before you felt confident enough to hold a SIMPLE conversation?


This is EXACTLY my problem, everything you said holds true with me except for the teacher not speaking Japanese...that is weird.
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RE: Improving your conversation skills

Postby hungryhotei » Fri 01.18.2008 4:58 am

I was in a similar situation of not having any access to speaking/conversation practice. I didn't worry about it. Instead I concentrated on other skills instead. Of course my conversational and pronunciation skills were and still are weaker than people who learned through experience in Japan (even if my reading, writing and listening are much stronger) but that's only to be expected. If I had easy access to normal conversation opportunities of course I would have taken them, but instead I just made the best of the other resources I did have. Working on the other skills did give me enough speaking ability to get by too.
天気がいいから、散歩しましょう。
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RE: Improving your conversation skills

Postby coco » Fri 01.18.2008 8:40 pm

Hoteiさん、すごい!
Hoteiさんは確か、04年に日本語の勉強を始めて、
06年のJLPT1級に合格なさったんですよね。

参考までに伺いたいのですが、enough speaking ability というのは、
「母国語で話すのとほぼ同じ速度で問題なく日本人と会話ができる」
という状態でしょうか。
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RE: Improving your conversation skills

Postby hungryhotei » Sat 01.19.2008 12:01 am

coco wrote:
参考までに伺いたいのですが、enough speaking ability というのは、
「母国語で話すのとほぼ同じ速度で問題なく日本人と会話ができる」
という状態でしょうか。


滅相もない。 残念ながら、それほど上手ではまだまだありません。 私の言う「enough speaking ability to get by」はむしろ、「なんとか会話ができる」とか「英語は使わなくても大丈夫」のような「すごい」と言われるほどのものではないと思います。
天気がいいから、散歩しましょう。
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RE: Improving your conversation skills

Postby coco » Sat 01.19.2008 2:20 am

充分驚嘆に値します。^^
Hoteiさんにしても、Paul_bさんにしても、とても常人とは思えません。

PaulさんはSkypeを通じて定期的に会話練習をなさっていたようですが、現在 Hoteiさんはどのように会話練習を行っているのでしょう。差し支えなければお聞かせください。 :)
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RE: Improving your conversation skills

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sat 01.19.2008 10:33 am

私も、ほとんど自習していて、会話練習はあまりしませんでした。日本に住んでいたとき、もちろん毎日会話していたけど、直されるチャンスはほとんどなかったんです。だから、今でも読むのは大丈夫だけど、話すとき、初心者みたいな間違いしちゃいます。

EDIT:「日本で住む」じゃなくて「日本に住む」。言ったとおりの初心者みたいな間違いです。:)
Last edited by Yudan Taiteki on Sun 01.20.2008 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Improving your conversation skills

Postby AJBryant » Sat 01.19.2008 3:04 pm

Ditto. :)
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RE: Improving your conversation skills

Postby skrhgh3b » Sat 01.19.2008 6:53 pm

The only way to improve your conversation ability is to talk with native speakers. I studied abroad in Japan this past summer, and although my reading and writing abilities were fairly advanced after three years of university study (I could communicate with pen pals through e-mails and letters without much trouble), my actual conversation ability was almost non-existent. I could struggle to articulate myself, of course, but never very well. Anyway, while I was studying abroad, I met a lot of new people, many of whom understood far less English than I did Japanese, and it really forced me to speak in Japanese to an extent I never had before. To be honest, I didn't learn much new grammar over the summer, and I didn't learn many new words, and I certainly don't remember most of the 30 or so kanji I was being tested on daily, but my conversation ability grew by leaps and bounds in a matter of weeks. So my best advice is to study as much vocabulary and grammar as you can right now, because the more you know before you actually go to Japan, the better prepared you will be.
Last edited by skrhgh3b on Sat 01.19.2008 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Improving your conversation skills

Postby hungryhotei » Sun 01.20.2008 8:32 am

coco wrote:
PaulさんはSkypeを通じて定期的に会話練習をなさっていたようですが、現在 Hoteiさんはどのように会話練習を行っているのでしょう。差し支えなければお聞かせください。 :)


実は曙獅ゥらオックスフォード大学院に入学したものですから、今はちゃんとしたクラスに通っていますし、日本語で話す機会が結高?ります。 しかし、オックスフォードに来るまでは、週一の初心レベルのクラス、あるいはたまにはの家庭教師との会話ぐらいしかしていませんでした。そのときPaulさんみたいにSkypeをも利用すべきだったかもしれません。Paulさんは久しぶりに投稿していませんね。元気にしているといいですね。
天気がいいから、散歩しましょう。
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RE: Improving your conversation skills

Postby coco » Sun 01.20.2008 12:59 pm

なるほど。その環境なら美しい日本語に更に磨きがかかることでしょう。 :)

Paulさんのアバターを目にしなくなってから半年ほどでしょうか。
どこかのサイトで精力的に怒濤の書き込みをなさっていると信じていますが TJPにも、あのいかつい髭面(のアバター)で、また戻ってきていただきたいものです。 ^^
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RE: Improving your conversation skills

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 01.20.2008 1:22 pm

The only way to improve your conversation ability is to talk with native speakers.


Although do note that if you possibly can, you should seek out conversation opportunities where the other person will correct your mistakes (make sure you set this up beforehand, don't just assume it will happen). Practicing conversation will increase your fluency, but if you have no correction whatosever, it tends to develop fluency in incorrect Japanese. Now, of course any fluency is better than nothing, but most people do not have the ability to detect and correct every single mistake they make.
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RE: Improving your conversation skills

Postby richvh » Sun 01.20.2008 1:30 pm

Paulさんはまだsci.lang.japanというニュースグループで参加しています。
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RE: Improving your conversation skills

Postby Gundaetiapo » Sun 01.20.2008 2:51 pm

そのときPaulさんみたいにSkypeをも利用すべきだったかもしれません。


ホテイさんのほうが日本語力がずっと上手けれども、「をも」が伝わらないと僕は理解しています。少なくとも、「をも」を「も」と取りかえることは普通の文法形式だと思います。

Since my Japanese is probably incomprehensible: "Though Hotei's Japanese is far better than mine, it's my understanding that をも is not used. Or at least having も replace を is more the more common form."
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