Getting used to Japanese spoken at normal speed

I have one Japanese person in my life at the moment. When this person speaks they don’t care that I’m a learner of the language and they just speak to me with their normal speed and it is amazing practice for me.

However, even though I have been studying intensively for 3 years now, I am still not able to accurately pick up all of the words that this person is saying to me. Sometimes when I ask them to repeat what they said, it is most often some very simple word that I definitely knew but just missed due to the lack of pronunciation.

I guess my question is, how did people go from understanding clearly spoken Japanese to having little problem with quicker more casually spoken Japanese? Does it just come with time or should I actively search out more slurred speech and start listening more to that?
I am currently trying out the method of watching things at 1.5 speed when I find that they are a bit to articulate.


I obviously am not at that point yet, but I would imagine the general rule of learning should apply: you should always be somewhat uncomfortable, but not completly lost, at whatever you use to practice. If you aren’t straining to listen at the speed, then try faster. If you aren’t following a decent amount of what it said, then try slower.

Also, try listening to a mix of topics (news, anime, reality TV, sports, etc). Presumably Youtube is helpful here, and maybe use a userscript that gives more speed options.


YouTube has built in 1/4 stop speed adjustment, which does make it good for this stuff ^-^

Yeah but I know some users extend the options. I for example use one that allows up to 16x speed, although I mainly use it for 2.25x and 2.5x speed. I assume there is stuff for like 1/3 speed and such

I would like to add that I’m a native English speaker and there is definitely times where I can’t understand my own language depending on how the person speaks lol Like really fast or if your Scottish (half joke)


Try to branch out in speaking partners, as well. Having more points of reference for how words can be pronounced and slurred, can only help!


I haven’t had this experience in Japanese yet, but when learning other languages I found that it simply becomes easier with time. You gradually go from “wait, I didn’t catch that second part” to “oh, it’s that common expression”.
So if I were you I would try to get lots of exposure to spoken Japanese from various speakers.


No but really. a Scottish guy came into our coffee shop and I had to translate his english to other english speakers.

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What @MasterOfu said. Also, it seems people learn listening comprehension quicker if they just listen at full speed from the start…so yeah, just dive in and listen to as much stuff as possible :+1:

Honestly, your brain will just start to recognize it with time. I’ve been studying Japanese daily for over five years now, and I can hear all words spoken at normal speed now (even when I don’t understand practically any of them, my brain can at least recognize and separate the words). Just keep listening to this person you know talk as well as any other native and natural spoken speech.

Ok I forgot this is really loud warning

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