Any tips on how my Japanese significant other can better help my language learning

Yep YEP. Same here. The joys of marriage means that when the point needs to get across, the stronger and universal language wins… And you know, I don’t mind studying on my own. Sometimes I’ll ask about something in Japanese, and he’ll help, but then we each go back to whatever we were doing.

I think many of us are making the point to not overly romanticize this sort of partnership. Obviously the OP and his future spouse need to figure out what works best for the both of them, but just be chill and relaxed about it.


Lol. I wish it was a hard flex. I don’t know much about Japanese culture. I’m just trying to learn, and I thought I could reach out for help

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As someone who just got out of a relationship with a Japanese person 4 months ago. I’m not sure if marrying them is a good idea if you can’t communicate with them properly yet. I was able to speak the language before meeting them (still can’t read too much kanji) and being able to talk to them about real issues like the things I believe in made me realise that we probably shouldn’t get married. Anyway, keep up the study but I recommend studying a language for your own interest rather than for relationships.

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OP did say she speaks really good English, so that doesn’t seem relevant to this particular relationship, but as a kid whose parents came from different cultures, I agree with the point about communication!


just celebrated 14 years con mi esposa Japonesa/ Japanese significant other and shared this thread title w/ her…to say the least, she wasn’t extremely impressed with the wording as others have mentoned.
We usually converse in Japanese but more often lately I will try to just speak natural English with her replying in Japanese as her English is not bad at all. I will ask her often to give me a hint with a language question…but if I just blurt the, "What’s that mean, honey?, Wha’s this kanji? “i.e., use” her as a dictionary…obviously she gets annoyed, but she is kind enough to reply w/…“調べなさい!”
How about trying a language exchange? I have been fortunate enough to do Japanese ⇄English and Portuguese⇄English. Both were very rewarding experiences!


What was the original thread title?? lol

Look at all these Thought Police telling you what and what not to say. Don’t waste your time listening to them. I understand the motivation for your question, and being married to a Japanese woman myself I have this recommendation.

Invite her to openly correct your mistakes. Saving face is a big thing in Japanese culture, and even someone with whom you are extremely intimate, it might be uncomfortable for them to point out flaws or mistakes in a direct way.

Show gratitude for her willingness to help, and ask graciously for any help she is able to give. Afterall, a marriage is about teamwork and togetherness. If you can’t effectively communicate with each other, you will have a world of miscommunication and pain. Lol

Good luck to you bud, wish you the best!


I just have my Japanese wife talk to me in Japanese as much as possible, eventually you start picking up on words easier and also know how to reply easier but I don’t have her specifically teach me or anything.

What? This is literally a thread about asking advice to people in a similar situation. What else were you expecting?


Geez, I pity whoever ends up with you if you genuinely think that someone who cares for you is meant to do whatever you want regardless of how much burdened they already are. Asking a SO to become a personal language teacher is a delicate thing, and it can create tension in a couple, as pointed out by other replies.


I started by just texting in Japanese (and speaking English) to my SO because I was too nervous and shy to speak. Texting is pretty easy to get comfortable with, you can look things up while you type etc. + it’s a good reading / writing practice.
After that we started with him speaking to me in just Japanese and me replying in awful English mixed with Japanese until lately where I’m a bit more comfortable speaking actual sentences.

An extra that we do every once in a while is we read children’s books / manga together (I read out loud, he corrects me when I’m stuck). This was his idea and I guess I’m lucky he has the extra patience.


I’m the lucky one because my wife rarely speaks English and 95% of the time it’s in Japanese. However, I want her to communicate more easily with my parents and hopefully be able to use English with our kids. (Without making them sound like katakana-Eigo-robots.)

My Japanese level is far better than her English level but we study similar grammar points nonetheless. So if I’m studying "それにしても” I’ll teach her “nonetheless”. Now throughout the day we both have to use those expressions in a sentence. You can compete to see who is able to use them in their target language first. Loser washes the dishes or picks up the dog shit… haha.

Depending on your relationship, you might want to compete even more than that.
Take the Japanese N whatever test and have her take Eiken or TOEIC or something. Compare how much you improved. (Don’t compare levels as you’ll get smashed) You could even work as a team and compete with another couple. That couple could be a close friend and on Xmas events or something you could have an award for the most-improved couple. (Oddly specific, but such things have worked for us)

A frustrating thing for me is that she is used to my 片言 and always knows what I mean. It really stands out when her friends are over and I say something to them and then they turn to my wife for a better explanation. I pay really close attention to how she reexplains it and ask her to tell me what I did wrong. (If it doesn’t completely distract from the conversation, of course!)

Have fun. The argument can be made that couples who don’t understand each other completely can have even more rewarding relationships than ‘normal’ couples. Ignore the haters.


Am I the only one feeling a bit disturbed that he seem to treat his GF as a “Japanese GF possession/object”?

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Yes, I actually do have an awesome relationship, thanks mostly to her. I hope one one day you’ll be lucky enough to find the same. Though you’ll have to lose the rudeness and arrogance first I guess.


Just be careful. I think my wife got a kick out of it at first, but now a couple years down the road, there is zero Japanese spoken between us. It doesn’t help that I am a glacially slow language learner. One critical piece of advice I can give you is this: When she is trying to speak with you in either language, PUT DOWN the wanikani. I learned that the hard way. Everyone is different though, culturally or otherwise. Some people would love to help, some people would be annoyed by it. So openly discuss what you’d both be comfortable with/enjoy doing, as others have said.


It’s not like you’re going 200 percent on having your SO help you. There’s a level of how much time one should be asking that needs to be balanced, like anything else in the relationship. If one goes all in, then of course it can be a mess. Something like that is to be expected. Honesty is good too.

One can start with things like “おやすみ” and “where’s the 洗濯物”. That is why I said this :point_down:

When there’s an unbalance in skills, one can insert random words they know in the English conversation. That won’t effect the overall communication, it’s practice, and adds a scent of caring to it. I don’t see how it will hurt tbh :slight_smile:

That is fine too. It’s not always workable. But that’s something that you have. People doing self-study/not living in Japan don’t have this at all. It’s not the holy grail, but it’s someone which opinion you care about and that can add their 2c to it.

This is all my opinion, of course :slight_smile:


I’ve been married over 14 years and while there was some teaching of languages both ways in the beginning and ideas of we’ll speak x language at this particular time, it got impractical quickly as life changed, especially once we added kids to the mix. My Japanese actually went downhill after kids because English was the priority and I will only speak English with my kids. Nowadays, if it’s just hubs and me, I make more effort to speak Japanese, but generally, for life and general communication we speak the language the gets the point across so that means I speak English and he responds in Japanese (our listening is really good!).
Every couple is different and you’ll find something that works for you, but that will likely change with time and circumstances. Be flexible but don’t expect too much from each other.


I really like this quote :point_up: Any help that may come from the SO can be viewed as something to appreciate, but not something we take for granted. If they can help you, great. If they can’t because they’re busy/tired/focused on something else, they deserve their own time and everything is fine.


I totally respect it :+1: Please take my response as light-hearted @jprspereira , I mean no harm :open_hands:. I do admire that having a positive/fearless attitude toward communication with others is the most healthy if possible.

But I was serious about a SO being ‘honest’ and I what mean is brutally honest. So I found language/study recommendations can easily devolve into ‘personal’ recommendations of “your problem is…”…these are not really conducive to language progress IMO (nor good for relationships either) even if it’s well-intention’d advice. This is a line that wouldn’t likely get crossed in a teacher/partner situation. To echo what @Jzon and @marcusp mentioned, it can be a more productive experience to converse with language partners and teachers.

Got to respect these language learners as well for everyone out there, I still have a very fortunate situation in terms of studying. For anyone that is studying for a SO, I found it’s healthy to at least have a personal motivation for learning (not just ‘to survive in-law/extended family conversation’).


I did take it as light-hearted, no worries on that department @s1212z :slight_smile: Hope you took my words the same way :grin:

I do feel like there’s something positive to take out of a situation like this (I happen to have experience on it too :stuck_out_tongue:). It’s just a matter of how much both are willing to give. It’s fair for OP to test the waters and see how far they can go with their SO so that learning Japanese becomes a positive experience for both. If it stops being for any of them, then that’s the limit and should not be crossed.



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