A New Coffee Shop
Shadowing practice for improving your Japanese pronunciation, vocabulary, and listening.
Note: This is our first attempt at creating a resource to help with pronunciation (as well as vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure, and listening). The text (and most of our other material) could be read by males or females, but in the future, we'll do these sort of casual speeches by gender. If you are male, it's best to practice shadowing other males. If you are female, it's best to practice with female sound files.
Do you have suggestions for improvement? If so, please write them in the comments below. Thank you!
- Dialogue: A New Coffee Shop
- Style: Casual
- Gender: Suitable for Men or Women
Recommended Steps - Read Me First
It is critical to keep your ears open while repeating and shadowing. If you follow this page from top to bottom (with the occasional tab left to right movement), you'll go through this multiple times from multiple angles.
Pre-Shadowing Listening and Comprehension Exercises
- Step 1 - Listen to the sound file (without reading the text)
- Step 2 - If you didn't understand well, review the vocabulary and grammatical notes. If you understood perfectly, continue to Step 3
- Step 3 - Listen once more, but this time read along
Shadowing Parts and Whole
- Step 4 - Let's break down each line into parts (区切り) and master the pronunciation, accents, and sentence intonation of these parts. Note: we'll add a graphical representation of a native intonation, but different speakers might say the same sentence a little differently. Use this as a guide.
- Step 5 - Repeat each line after the speaker
- Step 6 - Putting it all together - Can you shadow the entire text?
Steps 1-3 (Pre-Shadowing Listening and Comprehension Exercises)
Hear and Read the Paragraph
Listen and Understand
First, listen to the sound file. Do you understand it well? If so, go to Step 3. If not, don't worry and go to Step 2 (click the tab above to jump there).
A New Coffee Shop
Now, listen again but this time, read along. Use the audio players to hear individual lines. If you need any help, use the toggle to reveal vocabulary and grammar notes. Mouse over any kanji to see the furigana.
Vocabulary & Grammar Notes
I recently found a new coffee shop.
- 最近 recently [an adverb that modifies the verb that follows]
- 新しい new [an adjective that modifies the noun that follows]
- コーヒーショップ coffee shop [the object of the verb that follows]
- 見つけた found [the past tense of the verb "to find" (見つける) and is the main verb of the sentence.]
- よ (emphasis added) [used to add emphasis or to soften the tone of the sentence.]
The atmosphere there was very good, and the coffee taste was also authentic and delicious.
- そこ there (meaning the coffee shop) [the は marks そこ as the topic of the sentence]
- とても very [an adverb that modifies the adjective that follows]
- 雰囲気 atmosphere [the が marks “atmosphere” as the subject of the clause]
- 良くて good (atmosphere) [the て form connects two clauses together]
- 雰囲気が良くて the atmosphere is good and
- コーヒー coffee
- 味 taste
- コーヒーの味 coffee taste/flavor [this is the subject of the second clause]
- も also
- 本格的 authentic; genuine [an adjective that describes the coffee taste.]
- で (de) is a particle that indicates the method, manner, or state in which an action takes place. In this case, it indicates the state of the coffee taste.
- 美味しかった was delicious [the past tense of the adjective 美味しい which means "delicious" or "tasty". It describes the coffee taste and is the main verb of the second clause.]
Inside the shop, it had a bright and calm feeling, and I was able to relax slowly with my friend.
- 店内 inside the store [The は marks it as the topic of the sentence]
- 明るくて bright [The て is a conjunction that means "and" or "also" and connects two adjectives together.]
- 落ち着いた calm; peaceful [An adjective that describes the feeling of the shop.]
- 感じ feeling
- で [a particle that indicates the method, manner, or state in which an action takes place. In this case, it indicates the state of the feeling.]
- 友達 friend
- と [marks the “friend” as a companion or participant in the activity.]
- 一緒に together [an adverb that describes the way the action is done.]
- ゆっくり slowly; leisurely [an adverb that also describes the way the action is done.]
- くつろぐ relax [main verb of the sentence]
- こと (turns the preceding into a noun phrase)
- できた was able to [past of できる (able to; can)]
- し (indicates a non-exclusive list of examples)
Especially, there was a skilled barista who made a cappuccino with a cute heart-shaped pattern, which was very impressive.
- 特に especially [an adverb that emphasizes the following part of the sentence.]
- ラテアート latte art
- 上手い skillful; good at [modifies the noun バリスタさん]
- バリスタさん barista [The が marks the barista a the subject of the clause.]
- いて [is a conjunctive form of the verb いる, which means "to exist" or "to be present."]
- 可愛い cute
- ハート heart
- の (limits the "pattern" to that of a "heart")
- 模様 pattern
- 入れてくれた put in for me [The verb is 入れる, which means "to put in" or "to pour," and くれた is the past tense of the verb くれる, which means "to give (to me)."]
- カプチーノ cappuccino
- とても very
- 印象的 impressive
- だった was [the past tense of the copula verb だ]
This time, I want to try drinking authentic espresso. Also, I want to go there again.
- 今度は (as for) the next time
- 本格的な authentic; genuine [modifies the noun エスプレッソ]
- エスプレッソ espresso
- 飲んでみたい want to try drinking [the te-form of the verb 飲む (to drink) + みたい (an auxiliary verb that is used to express the speaker's desire or interest to do something)]
- 思ってる thinking [と思ってる is a phrase that means "I'm thinking that" or "I'm planning to." The verb is 思う, which means "to think" or "to plan," and the ending てる (teru) is a contraction of the auxiliary verb ている (teiru), which expresses the progressive aspect or state of being.]
- よ (a sentence-ending particle that adds emphasis or assertiveness to the statement)
- また again; also [an adverb that indicates the speaker's intention to do something again]
- 行ってみたい want to go again
- な (a sentence-ending particle that is used to show emphasis or to seek confirmation or agreement from the listener)
A New Coffee Shop
Listen one more time while reading. Use either the slow speed or normal speed recordings. If you have any questions about the grammar or vocabulary, refer to Step 2. When you are ready, move on to Step 4 to begin repetition practice and then shadowing.
Steps 4-7 (Line Breakdowns, Repetition, and Shadowing)
Repetition and Shadowing
Lines with Breaks + Repetition
Step 4: Study the accents and intonation of each line
Step 5: Practice repeating after the speaker first with the slightly unnatural "with breaks" version and then try the native level version. Refer to the pitch accent/intonation image and imitate areas where the speaker's accent rises and falls. Continue with each line until you can say it fluently.
Note: The audio is set to auto loop. This is to make it easier to practice, but if you find this annoying, right click (or long tap on mobile) and uncheck the "Loop" option.
A New Coffee Shop - Shadowing
Finally, we are ready to shadow with the speaker. Start with the slow version and move on to the normal speed when you feel ready.
Practice makes perfect. It may not be the most fun you've had in a while, but repeating and shadowing a line dozens (even hundreds) of times while keeping your ears open is a powerful way to improve your pronunciation skills.
Please let me know what you think of this. We haven't worked on much to help with pronunciation and so I tried to think of something I would want to help with shadowing. If you have any suggestions for how to format this better, please leave your ideas in the comments. Thanks!
Hi Clay, the steps and the showdowing exercise is really amazing.
Thanks! When I have time, I’ll make more like this.
After so many years of studying Japanese, I still have a problem with listening/understanding and I usually freeze when I have to talk. This is an excellent way to break the ice for both issues.
Yes! I think so. Shadowing is great for getting your tongue used to actually speaking (and also training your ears to hear different sounds).
Another idea is to have a conversation with yourself (preferably when you are alone!). You can pretend someone asks you a question such as 「出身はどこですか？」 (Where are you from) and then take off with a self-introduction with follow up questions by your imaginary interviewer.
I do that but in my head 🙂 I’m too embarrassed to talk Japanese aloud even when I’m alone. I started recently working on speaking out loud what I read. And these lessons are a good way to make a habit of speaking aloud.
I totally get the feeling. Silently in your head is good, but next time you are driving down a lonely road by yourself or when you are in the shower, start a conversation with yourself. I do it all the time and for me the best thing about it is I can quickly identify vocabulary or grammatical patterns I don’t know (I get to control the subject and complexity of the conversation). Plus, it makes it so much easier to actually speak with someone about the same subject. がんばって！
This is what I’ve been looking for. Good job. Is there a series of these?
Great! If there’s a demand, I’ll make more. I was thinking I might do the next one as a series of similar phrases rather than a monologue/dialogue. In other words, I would take a phrase or sentence like 「パッと思いついた」 (In a flash, I thought of… or It just came to me that…) and then also do several similar phrases such as 「ふと思いついた (ふとおもいついた)」 or 「突然浮かんだ (とつぜんうかんだ)」
Excellent lesson and method for pronunciation practise, thank you. Good pronunciation is Number One!
Thanks! It’s also good for getting your mouth used to speaking Japanese. It can be scary to speak with a native Japanese speaker, but by practicing with audio files, it can help get over that hurdle.