Inconsistent speaking quality, anyone else?

During this time of quarantine, I’ve been taking advantage of Italki, I think it’s an amazing app. But I’ve noticed that when speaking Japanese with a variety of people, sometimes I can produce words well…and sometimes I can’t. Last night, I talked freely with a tutor and it actually went very well. I could think of what to say, communicate it decently (not perfect, that’s a given), everything was fine.

I did another session today, and it was the total opposite of that other one. I bombed it through and through, and I will own the fact that it was a bomb. It wasn’t even that I couldn’t remember the vocab, it was that I was tongue-tied and I couldn’t say what I was thinking? This isn’t the first time where I noticed that, in some conversations, the conversation flows like champagne on New Years, and other times it’s a mess. Anyone else relate? Like your speaking just isn’t good at some times, while it’s sufficient at others?

Keep in mind, I have no problem socializing and do not have a speech impediment, as a young Japanese guy on Italki thought one or the other, before I clarified that, hahaha. Spoke, like, two sentences of English to him to convince him of that, smh.


Yeah, I’ve found that when I try to speak to real people, all of my Japanese knowledge completely escapes me. And even if I do retain enough to formulate a complete sentence, I get absolutely tongue-tied instead.

Yeah I have this problem too. The other day I was in a group meeting (virtual of course!) at work with customers and I couldn’t formulate my sentences. Basically my coworker had to take over. Embarrasing…

My experience resonates with yours.

I spoke to two different japanese persons on Italki

The first was a registered teacher, a young man, very straightforward about my mistakes, almost cold. Not severe but not really funny either. Talking to him would put me under a certain stress and I could only produce mediocre japanese when talking to him. I would also feel shameful about my mistakes.

The second was a community tutor, a 50 something woman. Cheerful, always smiling, expressive, interested and interesting. We had no lesson plan whatsoever, well we talked about one but once we started talking we just found ourselves chatting about various subjects we had an interest in during the whole hour. Best japanese I’ve ever produced. I surprised myself with how I could craft a legit sentence with the few grammatical tools I have in ky kit, and how I could mobilize some advanced vocab. It was truly an enjoyable experience, and I’m usually not the chatty type.

People create an atmosphere, especially teachers, who hold a certain authority in this context. Gotta find the person who creates the right atmosphere for you. Or at least this is my takeaway from my experience :slight_smile:


Ive been living here for years and this still happens to me. I find it most often happens if I am nervous or tired. If I am relaxed, I usually have no problems at all.
Ive often explained it as I have two different language ‘modes’. I really feel like Japanese and English exist in different parts of my brain, and sometimes it is hard to transition back and forth.

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basically saying it has nothing to do with skill level, and I dont think it ever goes away. I dont know if that is comforting or not :sweat_smile:

I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I’m sure if I actively practice more, I will overcome this problem, so it seems very much about skill level.

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I would agree that as your level increases, your confidence would increase as well, and instances of this kind would decrease.
I should add that saying it is definitely about skill level makes an assumption about me, and implies that my skill level is low. Not saying that was your intention but thats how it reads.
I conduct most of my life in Japanese at this point; I only have one non-Japanese friend here, no one I work with speaks English and my husband doesnt speak English either. I am very confident in my speaking ability. I only posted to express some friendly support for your situation. I wish you the best in your studies, and I hope you reach the level you are striving for.


I find this happens with my reviews too. Some days I’m just flowing, and on some I completely blank.

I’ve tried to keep track of it and a lot of it relates to sleep and stress. Even if I feel fine, I can usually trace it back to less sleep over the last few days or other mentally taxing things I’ve been doing.


That video is the biggest mood XD
(though I wish my Japanese was anywhere near that level)

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