Best method for improving speaking

Hi all!
So I actually passed JLPT2 many many years ago and then my Japanese stalled and then I forgot a lot. So I’m currently working towards JLPT1 next year with the help of Wanikani!

BUT studying for JLPT does not help my spoken, which has always been the most difficult aspect of Japanese for me! I have lots of methods for learning vocabulary and grammar, improving reading etc, but none for speaking. I have a one on one lesson today with a Japanese teacher, and in the past I have used articles to form the basis of a debate but I don’t know how much this is helping. I prefer structured conversation lessons to free conversation, but I don’t know what structure to impose! They’re volunteer teachers with other students so aren’t an expert teachers themselves so I need to help them out with suggestions!

Please let me know your methods for reaching upper intermediate and advanced speaking skills! Arigatou!

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Best method for improving speaking: Speaking. A lot.


Ok… so I’m comfortable with 日常会話 but am looking to move up and use Japanese in a business setting, which is difficult to do just by talking to a student teacher.

I was looking more for ideas like roleplays, presentations followed by questions etc or recommended resources.

It doesn’t seem like you’re short on ideas. Speaking really is mostly about the amount of time you put into it.

Unless you mean that you need help with the keigo or something.


I think roleplays are good but I don’t have the material. When I used to do more expensive lessons we had print outs and guides telling us what we had to achieve in the roleplay etc but I guess even asking the student teacher to try one out would prove more useful than free conversation!

start a kaiwa club or something, and set subjects every sessions that you want to talk about. Either with preparation or without. In lassevery once in a while we’ll do a convo only lesson, where we all vote on a subject to talk about and we just talk, ask eachother questions. If we’re stuk on vocabulary or something, it helps that the teacher an put the word up on the screen, without disrupting the conversation too much. Last week we talked about movies and tv shows we have been watching recently, but in the N2/N1 level class the teacher says the topics can become quite niche. We usually decide on the topic the day of.


Ah, thank you that’s a good idea. It reminds me when I studied in Japan long ago, as students were talking the teacher would listen and silently put grammar/vocabulary on the board that we were struggling with!


Language shadowing for you pronunciation.

Lots and lots of listening practice. Between half hour to an hour of active listening exercises followed by hours and hours of passive listening throughout the day. When your listening comprehension reaches near native levels you feel compelled to express yourself because you understand things so well that you’ll want to put your 2 cents in.


Learning Japanese songs really helps too! You learn to get the words out faster and it helps with remembering phrases and improving pronunciation!


check out They have teachers that teach business/formal japanese. You can find all kinds of teachers there. Everything from community tutors (which are folks who basically do conversation practice). To people who are masters level trained language teachers who have taught at the university level.

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Thank you everyone! Out of interest, has anybody ever tried talking to themselves? Have you ever found that useful?

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I used to talk to myself, but I’m not sure on the efficacy of it… I got lucky I didn’t teach myself some weird pronunciation.

I would highly recommend language exchange. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find someone in your area who knows business Japanese and wants to learn English etc. Can try HelloTalk to find these people.

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Shadooowing, lots of shadowing!

And yes, I’ve talked a lot to myself… :stuck_out_tongue: Personally, it helps me a lot just figuring out what words I don’t yet know. I think up converstations I’d like to have, and then find the words I couldn’t say in this imaginary conversation, find them and study them. It’s also just good practice for your talk muscles, heh. I also tend to remember things I’ve said out loud better than things that I’ve just read.

To learn correct pronunciation shadowing is still a million times better alternative, though!

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