Speak Japanese like a Native – Natural Japanese Pronunciation – Mistakes to Avoid and Good Habits to Adopt

If you would like to learn to speak Japanese like a native – there are several things you need.

  • Listening Practice
  • An Opportunity to Speak with Natives and get their Feedback

Listening Practice

In order to speak Japanese like a native – you will need thousands of hours of listening practice.
Is all listening practice is equal?  Far from it.
Firstly, and most importantly – why you should NOT use anime as your primary form of listening practice.
Anime is very interesting and fun to watch, and there are many topics and subjects covered with many different types of vocabulary. So this should be a great resource for listening practice, right?  Well… not exactly.
Imagine if you learned English by only watching actors perform Shakespeare – you would probably speak English very dramatically and with a certain flare that seems unnatural – You will develop the same issue if the majority of your listening practice comes from watching Anime.  Anime represents a hyperbolic version of the Japanese language.
So what can you use for Japanese listening practice?
There are many Japanese listening resources that will help you to improve your Japanese pronunciation and expose you to real world Japanese that you would likely encounter in a daily situation.

  • Podcasts such as Bilingual News
  • Japanese Talk Radio such as NHK
  • NHK Easy News A news portal with a flash player that will allow you to listen to Japanese news articles with furigana.
  • Songs of Japan   This website allows you to listen to Japanese songs at your level of listening ability.
  • TBS Radio Podcasts Aimed at Native Japanese Speakers – this is a great resource to challenge your listening ability if you are an advanced learner.

Opportunities to Speak with Natives

Outside of living in Japan – it may be hard to find opportunities to speak with Native Japanese Speakers – there are websites that will allow you to match with Native Speakers for listening and speaking practice in Japanese online, but the best place to practice this is in daily life with real people.
If you are in Tokyo – we highly suggest you enroll in Classes at Coto Japanese Academy.  Classes at Coto Japanese Academy are focused on giving students an opportunity to Speak Japanese and have their pronunciation corrected by a native speaker this will allow you to become comfortable with speaking Japanese.
Often times, it is a mental handicap that prevents learners from speaking at a natural pace – and the only way to overcome this handicap is with consistently scheduled practice. You must commit to sounding like a Japanese person – and this can often seem strange / like you are trying too hard to mimic / mock the native pronunciation, but it is commonly said that imitation is the highest form of flattery and in this case – overimitation is better than not trying to sound natural at all.

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