yesterday i made a very lucky experience. i met a japanese friend for the first time ever because she is in my country with her class to study in our university. it was my first time actually talking to a native and i wanted to share some personal experiences.
as explanation, my 日本語 level is very low. not even n5 worthy. i’m 赤ちゃん level, as you can imagine looking at my WK level. so my communication skill is very low. my friend’s german was more advanced, but she also struggled a lot understanding spoken german. so we tried to communicate with english, german and japanese.
what i learned:
- when your english wasn’t understood, try to pronounce certain english words in japanese style. it helped a lot in my case!
- when she didn’t know if i understood her, it helped a lot when i tried to translate certain words from her sentences to japanese. or picking some japanese words so she knew i understood her. i don’t know many vocabularies, but even the low amount of words helped a lot to get back on track in conversation.
- humour connects a lot. it was fun to experience similarities in languages and to make word puns between both of them haha
- handwritten japanese looks so different MUCH MORE FLUENT
- having a textbook and pen helped a lot because often we wrote the sentences down to help understanding process
- speaking slow helped her to understand me better. also taking my time to explain things more helped, too!
- my wanikani vocabularies actually worked, i felt like i achieved something in real life for the first time since i’m learning japanese
- having fun made the whole experience so so good! we wanna meet again and i look forward to exchange more fun stuff with her!
what i also wanna improve is to thank in japanese from time to time. i have the feeling a thank you or dankeschön isn’t as powerful as a good ol’ ありがとうございます
do you still remember your first experiences with natives? even with locals, when you were in japan? what was difficult, what did you learn from it?