How much practice listening and repeating have you had?

I mean listening to natives speak (in media or whatever not necessarily in real life) and then repeating until your voice sounds very similar to them and you can say what they said smoothly. I feel like without doing enough of that, even my “japanese reading” voice will be off and as I read japanese to myself i’ll be internalizing a very unnatural internal japanese voice. Many high level learners have even made the observation that people who’s input was too biased towards reading in the beginning and didn’t get enough listening and immitating in, end up with the worst Japanese accents when they actually speak (of course no non-native will be 100% perfect).

How much practice have you gotten in this area? Do you feel your listening practice or mimicking/shadowing practice has been helpful in reading and speaking abilities?


Since I will never interact with Japanese people in person, I don’t place high priority on having a perfect accent, though I think I know how to produce all the phonemes properly. I put effort into listening practice, though, since I need to be able to process and understand Japanese at a natural speed.

I only have so much time to dedicate to learning a language, so I put it into the aspects of the language that are most useful to me.


I used to shadow all the time when I first started, and my accent/pitch accent was great. Since I’ve taken a break from Japanese and come back, I haven’t done it at all, and I can definitely tell I am lacking in that area now.

Anyway I will definitely vouch that shadowing is helpful for speaking ability


That’s actually one of my goals this year: do more shadowing drills. I’ve bought a couple books with accompanying CDs to work with. Hoping to better my pronunciation as well as getting down the normal cadence of spoken Japanese.


shameless plug for Learn Japanese Pod

I listen to the Learn Japanese Pod podcast since they break down the grammar of common phrases and have separate podcasts that are purely in Japanese. Onomappu’s YouTube channel is another great resource, what I really like about his videos is that he speaks in slow Japanese and has subtitles in English/Japanese which helps with comprehensible input. Japanese Ammo With Misa has a YT video on pitch accent that I found really useful as well. Then there’s this language exchange app called Hello Talk where you can chat and make friends with natives.

Additionally, when I’m learning a new word on WaniKani, I always listen to how a word is pronounced and make note of the intonation as well.

I hope this helps!

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Late replyyyy but I wanna catch up, Watching anime and Japanese tv shows helps a lot especially if you want to improve your conversational skills. Learning from books is also different from hearing it in actual. Well, to master a language, based on experience, you should use it everyday until you are comfortable with it. Speak the language as much as you can. It is basically an everyday speaking practice.

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100% agree here.

As for another shadowing resource, I find the Learn Basic Japanese Series quite good

Although it’s dated, they speak at a normal speed and use grammar and situations you can expect in real life. Additionally, at some point in the series they start to go through each mora so you can clearly hear and easily shadow how they’re supposed to sound.

Other than that, I would recommend checking out Japanese phonetics/linguistics. I studied Japanese Linguistics before learning Japanese and we talked a lot about where and how each sound is made. It’s really helped me sound natural although I lack the pitch accent knowledge for specific words. I can also tell when/how I’m pronouncing something wrong because of it.

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I have it set to play the audio after every vocab reading review so I kinda hear what I read in Kenichi’s voice rather than my own.

Plus, I’m much more interested in comprehension at this stage. While I keep an eye towards pronunciation it’s not a focus yet.

But my learning journey is not comprehensive by design. I only have so much free time to devote to this so that kind of focus is necessary for me even though I know it’s not optimal in the slightest.

In this video, Akkie-先生 actually mentions that they do this when learning English, at least in the school he went to.

I never concidered doing shadowing and I don’t do it. I mean, I’ve never done “shadowing” for any other language I’ve learned so I just don’t think it’s necessary. :woman_shrugging:

I do however get a LOT of listening practice. I listen to Drama CDs, interviews with seiyuus, Japanese podcasts, anime, and from time to time news reports. Hearing different people speak Japanese in different dialects, with slang, and just talking naturally, is very helpful to get a sense of the range of ways Japanese is spoken.

I don’t have to speak like any specific person, I can just do me. As long as I understand the rules of pronunciation I think it’ll be fine (as in, learning from experience and immersion of listening I just have a good grasp of how it’s supposed to sound - then I’ll just do it).

I’m not sure this makes sense, but I has for any other language I’ve learned and it also seems to work fine for Japanese.

Just doing normal speaking practice (conversation with others) should be fine if you do a lot of listening practice as well. I think you’ll pick up on the correct sounds then.

I use the Shadowing: Let’s Speak Japanese books because I want to practice useful phrases and chunking, and to get the muscle memory down for easy recall later. So far it’s been working and I’m able to quickly say the phrases I’ve learned when I need them.

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its not even about speaking like a specific person (although a really bad gaijin accent can make it harder for you to be understood). its more about developing the muscle memory to be able to say what you want to say easier and more quickly.

at the end of the day, the brain and neural pathways in your mouth are one big muscle. if you’ve never practiced saying something out loud before, chances are you wont be able to say it when the opportunity arises in real life.

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nice, thats great! looks like the intended effect of shadowing is working.

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