How to improve your Japanese listening skills?
Japanese is an isolated language spoken by 121 million people in the Japanese archipelago. Small Japanese communities can be found in American Samoa, Hawaii, North and South America, Europe, and Australia. Japanese genetic ancestry is being questioned. Because Japanese cannot be easily proven to be a member of any language family, most scholars regard it as a language isolate. The only languages to which Japanese is related are those spoken on the Ryukyu Islands, which are located south-southwest of Japan, but the linguistic affiliation of the Ryukyuan languages is also unknown. According to some sources, the Japanese–Ryukyuan language family consists of Japanese and the Ryukyuan languages (Ethnologue, Vance 2001). It has been proposed that Japanese and Koreans are genetically related, but this has not been proven.
Let's see what you can do to improve your Japanese listening skills
The key to success is concentration.
Remove all distractions and concentrate. Place your phone in another room, sit in a quiet, uncrowded area, and take in the words you’re hearing. Choose audio that corresponds to your learning level and, if necessary, slow down the pace. Don’t try to be too ambitious by delving into difficult topics.
Actively listen with your full attention.
Your brain requires you to highlight things that you want it to remember in order for it to register data. Paying close attention to something and repeating it several times sends a clear message to your brain that it is important and must be remembered. While this is immediately applicable to things like learning vocabulary, it is also true for other aspects of listening, such as sounds, accents, intonation, or phrasing. You must draw their attention to them. That is why it is critical to actively listen rather than passively listening and multitasking. Listen to the audio without the text – just the audio. Don’t read the text ahead of time, and don’t follow along as you listen. The goal here is to concentrate solely on your aural abilities and see how much you can understand without using any visual aids.
Repeat Listening but without the text!
Many students make the mistake of rushing to the text. You most likely would have identified one or two keywords or ideas the first time around. However, as you replay the audio and listen again, you will notice that you are picking up on more words or phrases that you may have missed the first time. Repeating this exercise several times will significantly improve your listening skills.
Listen with the transcript
Examine the transcript to see how much you understood from your listening. Check to see if you got the gist of it! After you’ve read the text a few more times and looked up any words you don’t understand, you should listen to the audio a few more times while reading along with the text. Take advantage of the fact that you are using both aural and visual stimuli at the same time during the process. Make an effort to connect the written words to the sounds, and pay close attention to phrases or groups of words and how they are pronounced.
Let's see what you can do to improve your Japanese listening skills contd.
Find listening sources that include exercises – Many Japanese audio resources include exercises, which are ideal for beginning students. If new words are introduced in a specific exercise of your listening resource, do not simply read them. Take your time learning them at first. The best way to learn Japanese is to keep a diary and write down everything you know. Always keep it close at hand.
Pay attention to the locals.
Listening to a native Japanese speaker will help you understand the accent and pronunciation of each word. Alternatively, make friends with people who are studying Japanese. Allow yourself to be anxious, make friends with other students, and interact; this will help you not only improve your listening skills, but also your speaking skills. Only when you hear correctly will you be able to respond appropriately. You must converse with someone who not only speaks Japanese but is also patient and, preferably, interesting.
View Japanese films with English subtitles. This should help you understand more complex sentences and phrases.
Listening to Japanese podcasts improves listening skills significantly. It will also train your brain to recognise accents and catch repeated words.
View well-known videos
You can watch videos you’ve previously watched (in a language you understand or your native language) in Japanese without subtitles to help you get used to the language.
Listening to Japanese audiobooks is one of the best ways to improve your listening skills. This step should be taken once you have a basic understanding of Japanese.
Recording and Listening
When you believe you understand correct words by hearing them, it’s time to record yourself and listen to yourself. You can record your daily chores or to-do lists and then listen to them whenever you need to.
Listen to the news.
Listening to the news is already a good habit to form. It allows you to stay up to date on current events. Listening to the news in French will also help you improve your listening abilities.
There is no quick fix for poor listening abilities. There is no magic solution to learning a language or any other skill. Improving your listening skills takes time and a lot of focused listening, but if you work at it the right way, you can see significant improvements sooner than you think.
Japanese studies have revealed that it contains both Altaic and Austronesian elements: the phonological system is more similar to that of Austronesian languages (Alpatov 1998), but the archaic lexicon appears to have more Altaic elements (ibid.). This led to the hypothesis that Japanese (or, more precisely, the ancestor of Japanese) arose from the blending of two languages: Japan’s substratum language, which was possibly Austronesian, and the language of relatively recent newcomers, which was possibly Altaic (Shibatani 1992, Vance 2001). According to this theory, Japanese is an ancient creole language.
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