Have you experienced that your Japanese aren’t understood very well when you speak Japanese? You could face it even if you are able to write perfect Japanese grammatically. I’m going to tell you why, and how to improve your Japanese.
Not always about your pronunciation
Japanese pronunciation is not that difficult to begin with because it hasn’t bothersome consonants like ‘th’ in English.
So I suppose that speaking Japanese would be way easier than writing Japanese for most of non-native speakers. I mean, it’s basically easy to pronounce Japanese as a foreign language.
I think you don’t have to worry about your pronunciation.
The length of the syllable is very important
You would learn the difference between ‘Oba-san’ and ‘Obaa-san’.
If you don’t pronounce the difference clearly, we may not be able to understand what you said correctly.
Besides that, I tell you what is difficult to understand for us.
You have a very unique intonation
Did you know that? If non-native Japanese speakers try to speak Japanese, most of them have a unique intonation which is based on their mother tongue. I suppose non-native speakers who are able to speak Japanese with a common intonation would be the one in a thousand or so.
Oh, remember. We would be able to understand what you said in most cases even if you have a unique intonation though it’s easy to misunderstand.
Why intonation is important for us
We distinguish the meanings of exactly the same words with the intonation. Furthermore, there are natural intonations to us as the whole sentence.
That means, we speak Japanese as if singing a song. If you speak Japanese with an uncommon intonation, for us, it sounds like you have a strong accent, and the worst case, it’s pretty difficult to understand what you said because of the uncommon intonation. Even if your Japanese is grammatically correct.
Shadowing would be the best way
I would say shadowing is the best way to improve your Japanese because you would be able to catch the natural intonation. The other way doesn’t exist besides that in my opinion.
For example, scripts in animes, dramas and movies would be good for shadowing. You can try to shadowing with them, your Japanese would improve very well. Trust me.
To be a very fluent Japanese speaker
Why? There are less speakers who can do it, you know. Just a simple reason.
Our language, Japanese, rather has a rough grammar to begin with. That’s the reason why we’re able to understand grammatical broken Japanese easily but it’s more difficult to understand Japanese with an uncommon intonation compared to that.
You don’t have to pay attention to the grammar, you should pay attention to the length of the syllables and the intonation.