How to practice free speaking?

Hello people

I have the following problem:
When it comes to listening comprehension, I am relatively happy with my progress. Since I’ve been watching anime and dramas in Japanese for over 10 years now, I’ve already built up a certain level of comprehension.

What I always have trouble with is speaking myself. For example, when I listen to a conversation or podcast, I understand quite a bit, but would have a hard time speaking myself.

How do you practice this? Do you have any specific tips or tool recommendations?

Thank you and best regards
Nadarina

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You could try Instantaneous Composition Method, which is a method of hearing a simple sentence in English, thinking what the equivalent would be in Japanese, saying it out loud, then repeating back the Japanese used in the lesson’s audio file. The idea is that through repetition, the time it takes for you to think of the Japanese and say it out loud becomes instantaneous.

There’s an article with a more detailed write-up as well as links to audio files used to practice.

here’s also a YouTube video with another chance to practice

Another approach would be to start narrating your day in Japanese. Think and/or say quietly to yourself what you’re doing at the moment you’re doing it as you go about your day. This gives you a chance to practice speaking Japanese as well as recall words you know.

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I didn’t start really improving in this area until I started regular one-on-one tutoring with a native Japanese speaker on italki. It’s one thing to try to answer questions or form sentences on your own, but it’s a totally different experience to have someone try to help you out when you get stuck in real time, or ask you simple/guiding questions when what you’re saying doesn’t make sense.

It was scary and embarrassing at first (and it’s expensive! for me anyway), but the experience has been worth it. Even now it feels like all of the vocabulary I know when I’m reading or listening is hovering just beyond my reach when I’m speaking, but after trying all sorts of tools and programs on my own, actual human interaction has been the only thing that really seems to have helped me improve.

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Do you know where I could find anymore Instantaneous Composition resources, like books or other YouTube channels? I liked that video, but I’m struggling to find any more like it.

for books, there’s two that I have, but I haven’t used them in a while:

for YouTube channels, I haven’t found anything exactly like that (the video I shared was also new, so remains to be seen if the creator does more in that style), but here are some recommendations for similar types of practice:

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Let’s speak Japanese with Tanaka san was exactly what I was looking for. Yuki and Helen Gilhooly look good, too. Thank you!

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Step 1. Be American
Step 2. Say what you want.

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Resurrecting this thread to say THANK YOU for posting these resources, especially the Wasabi site. I’ve been worrying about my lack of improvised verbal output practice, but was finding it difficult to start because I didn’t want to think up a bunch of scenarios which would probably require a ton of vocab I don’t already know (which wouldn’t be a problem except I’m already maxing out my brain’s capacity for new things every day.) It was making it difficult to make grammar points stick! Use 'em or lose 'em, y’know?

This completely removes the initial hurdle and makes everything bite-sized so I’m not overwhelmed or distracted by another short-coming. Thank you so much!

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So happy to hear you found them useful :grin: Best of luck on your continued learning journey. がんばって!

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You’re a lot farther ahead of me in fluency, so I don’t know if this will be helpful, but I use a youtube channel called mikurealjapanese, and she incorporates a lot of talking into her practice. She also has a Kajabi podcast will even more speaking practice. Of course, just shadowing a book or podcast is suppose to really help with speaking.

I use RocketLanguage.com. They have spoken conversations with each lesson so you can practice. You can repeat and listen to your recording of the conversation. I was recently astonished to realize that I was able to make up independent sentences of my own, more than I had ever inagined being able to do. These conversations really help you to start thinking and using various vocabulary and grammar points on your own.

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My method was to walk around and listen to short podcasts for beginners: Sakuratips with Mari and Nihongo con Teppei for beginners. After an episode (they are only about 3 - 5 minutes long) I would then try to imitate the style of the speaker by speaking freely about the same topic. Today’s theme is all about bread. Minna san, do you like bread? I’m from New York, which is famous for bagels. Now, when I take long bike rides I spontaneously talk to myself about all sorts of topics in Japanese. Occasionally I record them, and sometimes I leave voice messages for my language exchange partners.

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This is really helpful, thank you!~

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