What can I do to master my Japanese listening?
Japanese is effectively the sole language of Japan, and almost all of the 128 million natives speak it. It is a member of the Japonic (or Japanese-Ryukyuan) language family, and its relation to other languages, such as Korean, is debated. Japonic languages have been grouped with other language families such as Ainu, Austroasiatic, and the now-discredited Altaic, but none of these proposals has gained widespread acceptance. Japanese is an agglutinative, mora-timed language with simple phonotactics, a pure vowel system, phonemic vowel and consonant length, and a lexically significant pitch-accent. Little is known of the language’s prehistory, or when it first appeared in Japan. Chinese documents from the 3rd century recorded a few Japanese words, but substantial texts did not appear until the 8th century. During the Heian period (794–1185), the Chinese had considerable influence on the vocabulary and phonology of Old Japanese. Late Middle Japanese (1185–1600) included changes in features that brought it closer to the modern language and the first appearance of European loanwords. English loanwords, in particular, have become frequent, and Japanese words from English roots have proliferated.
In this blog, let's look at how you can not only improve your Japanese listening skills but also develop them:
It’s no secret that learning a foreign language can be difficult. Even if you have outstanding reading skills, if you are learning Japanese, you can struggle with listening comprehension. You may also sound apprehensive about speaking Japanese. This does not have to be the case. You simply need to consider how you can improve your Japanese practice by immersing yourself in a variety of Japanese speeds, accents, and situations. Passive listening is a common suggestion. Often classes and texts advise students to listen to recordings or an audiobook. The strategy means that you can progress over time. Passive listening suggests that you listen to while driving to work, lying in bed, or doing other activities. Passive listening suggests listening while driving to work, lying in bed, or washing the dishes. Active listening requires you to interpret what you hear and answer in the same way as you will in a conversation. Active listening requires you to have an active part in processing the sounds. So you can respond as soon as you hear them. So, how do you improve your listening skills?:
- Look for a Japanese speaking partner – To have the most productive and fun listening experience, you can engage in a dialogue with someone who not only speaks Japanese, but is also patient and, ideally, fascinating. When you talk to someone who is also learning a language, they are more likely to understand your language learning needs. That is, they would not order you to hurry up and get on with it while you are looking for a word for more than a minute or two.
- View Japanese television – Japanese language TV has a lot to sell the young Japanese speaker as well. If you are fortunate enough to live in a Japanese-speaking world, begin by watching children’s TV shows or the news, and then progress to more complex shows. Subtitles may also be used to improve comprehension.
- Listen to Japanese podcasts – Podcasts have replaced radio as the new medium of communication. You can listen to them anytime you like, skip ahead to any parts that don’t interest you, and take them with you on your phone or tablet. Listen first to get a sense of what’s going on, and then slowly repeat sections of the podcast and continue and collect facts. If you want to concentrate on listening for information, it’s fine to waste half an hour finding out five minutes of a podcast.
- Watch Japanese Entertainment – Movies, like real life, have the additional advantage of including both auditory and visual clues to help you find out what’s going on. There are many excellent films available to help you progress. In terms of the podcast, you can watch a portion of the movie to get a general understanding and then watch it again to learn more. You can even read the subtitles while listening to the audio and then watch without the subtitles until you’re more comfortable.
- Make a thorough list of your latest Japanese words – After you’ve learned the definition of your new Japanese vocabulary, make a note of it. This could include saving it to your tablet, writing it down with a transcript, or drawing an image of the word in your notebook. In general, you can understand words better if you can recall where you learned them, so writing down the meaning will be a very helpful tools for later remembering what the word means. The more detail you have in your notes, the more likely it is that you will not only understand the expression but will also be able to use it in the future.
So, there you have it: a few ways to improve your Japanese listening skills. It is not difficult to improve one’s listening abilities. It’s simply a matter of time.
While there are many dialects and accents in Japan, experts agree that the largely monolingual status that exists here is very unusual. Most countries have many major languages that are commonly spoken within their territories. According to Ken Machida, a linguistics professor at Nagoya University, there are between 6,000 and 7,000 living languages in the world today, which, if equally spread, equates to around 30 per region. According to a 2006 Japan Foundation poll, 2.98 million people in 133 countries are learning the language at 13,639 institutions outside of Japan. This figure, which is up 26.4 percent from the previous survey in 2003, excludes people who educate themselves or take private lessons.
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