Practice producing japanese

Hi everybody !

In addition to WK, I’m listening to japanese podcasts and reading a little bit everyday. I’m also doing some grammar 3-4 times a week, which equals to 2 lessons of みんなの日本語 per week, I’m almost finished with the second beginner book.

I also try to write a little bit in japanese every sunday, I’m posting what I write on Lang8 for the correction. My problem is that it takes me legit 1 hour to write (digitally) 5 lines :sob:
The words don’t come naturally to me, I feel like my mind is empty, then I try to think about what I want to say in my native language and translate it. And sometimes I have to use google translate to see how to structure my sentence and that feels like I failed…

I have been doing this for 2 months now, and it’s not getting any easier. It’s especially frustrating because I studied in Japan 10 years ago and I don’t remember writing essays being so long and difficult at that time (and I had to write on paper then, not digitally)

I don’t know if it is really worth the time it takes now. But I think I still need a way to practice my “producing” skill. I’m wondering if I should not better translate stuff from my native language to japanese until I get better and try again later.

So any advice is welcome, I really feel stuck :cry:

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How about every day rather than just every Sunday? Two months at 1x per week isn’t a whole lot of reps yet, and spacing the practice out that much probably makes it harder for things to gel in your brain.

It’d be like doing WaniKani only once per week - probably would be a real challenge remembering anything between sessions.

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I think the only advice I can think of is to keep at it. The amount of effort that it takes to produce Japanese will go down with the more practice and feedback you get.

Lang8 (and also LangCorrect for an equivalent service that is taking new registrations) is a good avenue for this.

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I think you’re doing good. Don’t beat up yourself for using Google Translate. As long as it’s not just copy-pasting but you’re analysing the translation (and evaluating if it’s correct indeed…) then it’s fine. Also, don’t write anything too complicated. It should be a challenge, but shouldn’t be a struggle. And one last thing, 3 simple and short notes on Lang-8 per week are better than one longer (also, it’s easier to get corrections).

Maybe try chatting on HelloTalk every day?

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Looks like it’s way to early for you to output. Personally I didn’t output for 18months. Even now, though I do occasionally output, most of my efforts are still on input.
(for the record I have ~600 hours of reading. 200+ of which are reading raw text in the form of novels, rest reading subs).

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I started keeping a diary in Japanese every day, and it has really helped my output ability.

It being a record of what I did that day means I didn’t have to try to think of topics to write about, and it also meant I’ve become far more confident in my ability to discuss the common aspects of my life such as work and my hobbies.

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If your main obstacle is vocabulary, words may not come easily for you. Then it would be best if you prioritized them over grammar and other things. Remember more new words every day and SRS them. Get a realistic goal, for example, 2000 words in a year.

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Thanks for all your answers !

I’ll try to write a little bit everyday instead of only once a week. I am not sure I will be able to write absolutely everyday, but it will still be more than once a week.
I’ll also try to SRS some vocabulary. I have been thinking of making my own deck of new words I encounter instead of using a premade deck.

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I give myself ‘sentence creation’ lessons

I write down a ton of phrases in English and then try to translate them. Sometimes they’re something that happened that day or plans for the weekend etc a good way of deciding what sentences to translate is by basing them on different grammar topics you’re learning. It could be using certain verb forms or conjugations etc

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The structure of Japanese is very different from English, so don’t feel too bad if it takes a while for you to pick it up! That’s pretty natural. Also keep in mind that google translate often produces erroneous results - sometimes you might be more correct than it is. It can help when you find some Japanese text and have no idea where to even start and you need to understand it fast, but I wouldn’t recommend relying on it to tell you how to produce proper Japanese.

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I’m a heavy subscriber of immersion when it comes to learning a second (or third etc.) language, therefore I wouldn’t worry to much about output if I were you.

When you have enough input, you’ll start outputting automatically and it will feel natural. I’m at a stage now where I can output very comfortably, and when you get to that stage you can’t help yourself! At least that’s what it’s like for me. I talk to myself in japanese constantly.

There’s a thing called the “silent period” of language learning through immersion. During the silent period you focus on immersion and second to no production (just like a baby, or an immigrant in a new class), and it can last for months. Don’t sweat it. Starting too early with production can be damaging to your long term goals and might cause you to get weird habits that can be hard to break. Of course it will be fixable so if for some reason or another HAVE to produce some broken japanese that’s fine, but don’t feel stressed to do it before you feel ready.

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I call this the “callus problem”. Let’s say you played guitar up until 10 years ago but then stopped. If you picked up a guitar again it would be a struggle because you may still have the muscle memory but the calluses haven’t had time to build up.

You may not be doing it frequently enough to get those calluses to form. :wink:

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a small note but i can recommend using deepL instead/as well as google translate !

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DeepL definitely does seem to handle context much better, and just lead to better translations overall.

That said, translation services are inherently flawed, so you should probably take what DeepL comes up with with a grain of salt. When I use it to check I mostly use it to plug my own sentences into it and see if it comes up with something sensible, not so much to produce a Japanese sentence for me and see if it roughly matches what I have.

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I see that google translate is not often correct, I use it as a base to point me in the right direction when I don’t where to begin, like for complex sentences. I think it’s because when I see a grammar point, I recognize and understand it, but I hardly can recall one when I need it, unless it’s something really basic or that I learnt it not too long ago.

Maybe I need to SRS grammar too :sweat_smile:

Yes, maybe I’m too impatient. I’m just beginning to read, but I’m a bit afraid that my output will suffer in the long run if I don’t try to add it to my study plan now.

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Is there any program or platform like Grammarly for Japanese? I used Grammarly a lot when I was studying master degree

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Bunpro has been working wonders for me. It’s not for everyone, but it’s taught me more grammar than anything else.

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I heard good things about it but since it’s not free I was considering using it after I finish my textbooks

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It’s been more than worth it for me. It’s basically the only reason I have a decent grasp of N5 and N4 grammar is Bunpro, but I’ve never been good at learning from textbooks. Obviously YMMV.

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Reading is great! Don’t worry, it wont. If you’re outputting make sure to have a native speaker to correct it or at least talk to. Before the summer holidays I paid for a tutor every monday on iTalki, very affordable.