Help, Please!


#1

I’ve been teaching myself Japanese for awhile now and I’ve reached somewhere in between beginner and intermediate-ish. I can read and write pretty well and my listening’s alright, but I’m REALLY bad at speaking! It’s not that I can’t make sentences or say the words, it’s just that I don’t have any practice. I’m a homeschooled minor and I don’t know anyone who speaks the language, so I hardly have any opportunity to actually speak Japanese. Since I’m not in school I don’t even have a teacher or a club or anything where I can find other people in real life who could speak it with me. As a result, I get really awkward and shy whenever I do get the chance to say something, and I’m bad at thinking fast enough to actually make a sentence (my mind totally blanks on grammar and vocab XD). I can write sentences if I think about them first, but I’ve never had an actual spoken conversation before and it’s really starting to become a problem, considering that being able to speak it is a huge percentage of actually learning the language.

Does anyone have any advice on how I could get some practice or a speaking partner (or maybe even both)? Anything at all would be a huge help ^^


#2

I hear hellotalk.com is pretty good for that


#3

I happen to be in that 0.1% of teenagers who don’t have a phone . . . XD


#4

I need help with this too…and I wish I could offer some easy advice. My problem is less the opportunity – I live in a college town with easy access to Japanese conversation tables and study groups, actual Japanese exchange students, etc. – and more so my shyness that gets in the way.

My suggestion (although I haven’t been overwhelmingly successful so far) is to use the app HelloTalk and maybe find a Discord group you can practice with. Messaging via text is overwhelmingly the more popular option on both platforms, but there’s still the opportunity for that. I, ideally, prefer Discord since it has the opportunity for conversations with multiple people simultaneously rather than back-and-forth comments between two people. But again, I’ve found limited success thus far with either.


#5

Oh. Oof. That’s a bit limiting, then.


#6

Yeah, no kidding! :stuck_out_tongue: I’m hoping to get a phone soon because I’d like to get a job, but my mom doesn’t have the time to drive me around every day so I can’t get one until things calm down a little.


#7

Well, umm, this is awkward to suggest, but get your mom and dad to sign off to you using Tinder region coded to Japan to find women. While it is nominally a mobile phone dating app, they should be available online (literally at tinder.com), and to be frank a large portion of the female Japanese userbase don’t actually use it as a dating resource but as a way to meet foreigners for language exchange.


#8

That’s actually pretty interesting - I didn’t know people used Tinder that way! XD There’s no way they’d ever let me do that, though, and I’m not entirely sure I’d be comfortable with it either to be honest.


#9

I did that too when I was in Japan. :joy:

But unfortunately I don’t think Tinder has a voice chat option?


#10

Hmm . . . well, do either of you know any good (and safe! XD) language exchange sites? I’ve looked into a few before and even made an account once, but I never actually got in touch with anyone. :confused:


#11

Maybe try checking out some of these? They mention app versions, but it looks like some (if not all) have web versions as well.

(Disclaimer: I have totally not tried any of these, because I am a giant chicken and I haven’t gotten up the courage to try to speak to anyone yet. I just saw this a while back and saved it because I’m a link hoarder ^^;).


#12

Thanks! :slight_smile: I actually use HiNative, it’s really useful but there isn’t really an option for conversations. The whole setup of the website is designed for asking and answering questions, but not for holding a conversation. The others look like they’re mostly apps . . .


#13

From my understanding, Speaky and Languing also have web versions. I know iTalki does (although I think you would have to pay for that one if you wanted to do live chatting. A community tutor usually runs $10 an hour or less, but I don’t know what your money situation is, so that may or may not be a good option).


#14

Thank you so much! These look really helpful! =D Now I just have to be brave enough to actually try one, lol!


#15

I’ve been using Italki as well, which I really like. I haven’t been able to practice speaking as much since I got back from Japan, so it’s has definitely helped keep it up.

Unfortunately, it is a service you have to pay for unless you can find someone who will do language exchange for free, which is also available on the site. I just find it’s easier for me to pay, then I don’t have to worry about spending a lot of time speaking english.

You can do 30 minute sessions, which are cheaper, some tutors even offer just ~$5 which I think is pretty affordable.

Here’s my link, you get a 10 dollar credit even if you wanna just try:
https://www.italki.com/i/DDD6ab?hl=en_us

Honestly, it can be a bit nerve wracking at first, but now I love it lol


#16

Thank you all so much, this is helping me so much! I kinda wanna try Italki but I’d have to see about how I’d pay it ($5 is awesome, but I’m a minor so I still have to ask my parents first).

Also, does anyone have any additional information on Languing? I looked it up but I can’t find any reviews or feedback on it ANYWHERE, just more promos and stuff. :confused:


#17

Have you thought about trying to host a Japanese exchange student? Being homeschooled may make it harder to get one (I have been homeschooled, and the group I went to Japan and hosted exchange students for didn’t have much of a problem with it), it may be worth a try. Then you can have fun studying together.
I suggest this because the only person I have actually had a bit of confidence to speak to was an exchange student my family hosted (I found I became more comfortable with her than if I wasn’t spending so much time with her, giving me confidence to talk to her in Japanese).


#18

We don’t have the space or the money to host an exchange student (we have a very small house and a really big family). Otherwise, I would love to do that!


#19

tl;dr

would watching tv help somehow?


#20

I watch anime all the time, but it doesn’t really help my speaking skills. I really need to have a conversation. XP

These language exchange sites looks really helpful though, and I’m going to spend awhile longer looking into them and seeing if they’ll work for me! ^^