Question for Intermediate/Advanced reader of Japanese

An odd question:

I love to read Japanese, but am still around sort of a n advanced beginner. I can read through Tobira without too much trouble, but that’s is about my limit.

When I read in my native language (English), I notice that I am sort of pronouncing the rods in my head as I go. I’m not really thinking bout it, but I know how to read all of the words.

I’m trying to do the same thing in Japanese, and don’t know if it makes sense. Sometime I will see a word and know exactly what it means, but due to the nature of kanji may not know how to pronounce it. Or the pronunciation may come a bit slower.

I’ve seen native Japanese speakers read aloud and, of course, they whiz right through the kanji without missing a beat from having seen the words so many times. Do the more advanced readers on here have the same ability, or do you often read past words without being sure of how to pronounce them?

Hello pgoonghang,

While I don’t consider myself an advanced Japanese reader in any respect, I will say that I barely ever run into words that I can’t pronounce. If I do, I think there’s no shame or issue in looking the word up because there are plenty of words in any language that are uncommon and you cant be expected to know them all.

Also, as for reading speed and fluidity, I have to say that if you expand your grammar knowledge you’ll be able to better know when to pause and what parts of the sentence are actually one word/expression and where to pause.

My advice to you is to keep reading articles, books ,etc because practice and exposure helps alot.

Hopefully this helped you in any way.

I would also like to say that as you go along you’ll have alot less issues pronouncing the words you come across than understanding what they mean but that’s only my experience.

If I skim I notice myself understanding the sentence, but not really subvocalising like I might if reading slow in English. When reading fast in English I don’t subvocalise anyway.

I do notice this more with reading Japanese though, where I may not pause to think of the reading if it doesn’t come to mind straight away. Whereas with English, you kinda can’t avoid seeing the reading. Not sure if skipping the reading is a good or bad thing! It does improve reading efficiency… but likely detrimental to speaking ability :stuck_out_tongue:

If I’m reading slower/practicing, I will look up words I can’t recall the reading for. I’d say that’s the best approach, though I wouldn’t fret too much if you’re reading something for pleasure and understood it without the reading. (Unless of course you have to read something aloud!)

Generally agreeing with the above. My reading is as fluid as my native language now. By the time I hit the higher wk levels had pretty much no issue pronouncing words when reading fluidly.

When I started trying to read a lot in Japanese I did my best to read out loud when I could and personally I found that helped not just with my reading fluency but in letting me read faster (because I couldn’t skip stuff lol). Particularly with novels. Also it’s fun acting stuff out :stuck_out_tongue:

But yeah, like @Larothen said. It’s all just exposure.

And this. if you skip actually reading a word or two it’s not that big a deal lol

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Several studies have shown that people generally read more slowly in their second language if it was learned as an adult, regardless of how advanced they are at speaking it. However, if you are having trouble remembering the reading of a kanji that is a separate issue, and it really isn’t a big deal. You’ll get better at it over time.

I’ve had smooth reading experiences like what you’ve described. I still check a lot of words to make sure I’m reading them correctly tho, and there are plenty of times I’ve been momentarily stumped with kanji that I should know by now. Grammar and pronunciation are strong points for me though, and it seems to help subconsciously predict what words are likely to come up or would make sense, and narrow down likely readings in my head as I’m reading. It happens more when I understand with the general flow and content of the material.

As I’m sure you know there’s no real way around spending a lot of time practicing, but maybe trying different types of reading material and seeing what’s more fun or inherently interesting might help? I’ve been having fun reading cookbooks lately (so many gorgeous pictures) and a lot of the same words pop up, so it’s like SRS. If pronuncing in your head is what you’re struggling with, then more listening practice or doing shadowing might help you read more smoothly?

I usually don’t have trouble pronouncing the word (can usually give good guesses on unknown kanji), but I do need to look up the definition for many words. IMO, WaniKani exists to teach us the alphabet and some words, but we still have to learn a bunch of other words before we can easily read stuff.

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