Resource to express yourself

Hello everyone !
So, one of my biggest trouble in Japanese is expressing myself (speaking or writing). My expression skills are far under my comprehension skills (not that they are especially good, but that’s not the point). I mean it’s a pity if I can pass N2 this December and I can’t express myself as near as I should be able to.
That’s why I am looking for advices to express myself on a regular basis. It can be speaking or writing, I think the both are linked. However, I need a solution that’s free or very cheap. I already have 2 lessons a week with a private tutor (which is not enough to my opinion) and can’t afford more x)
I also tried Hello Talk but I rarely get replies and never get beyond the “Hello” and hobbies topic. Maybe it’s me being too awkward ? I don’t know but I never got a satisfying experience on there x)

Thanks a lot for your help :slight_smile:

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While I don’t use it myself, considering your level, would Japanese twitter be an option for you?

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Mh, won’t it be the same problem as Hello Talk ?
On top of that, how is the Japanese Twitter ? I don’t use it in France because there is way too much drama on there XDDD

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Like with all things social media it really depends on who you follow / engage with. It works the same as Hello talk in that you can engage with natives and that they might correct you if you ask, but it differs from Hello Talk both in the reach (amount of people you can communicate with) and the fact that it’s a communication tool instead of a learning tool, which at your level I think would be more apt anyway. It will provide you more chances to express yourself in varied ways, while the character limit makes it so that you won’t need to spend too much effort in crafting your posts.

Just start writing and joining discussions about things that you are passionate about and put a small disclaimer in your bio that you are open to learning opportunities and corrections. I think things will probably sort themselves out quite well ^^ (And if not, the beauty of these things is you can always drop them :stuck_out_tongue: )

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I guess it’s worth trying. I don’t really expect people to correct me (though that would be great) but maybe if I interact, think about what I write and read other people write I guess I can still make some progress anyway :slight_smile: Nothing to lose !

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I was not too happy with Hello Talk either, but I found two long-term language partners on Tandem (and had quite a few short-term chats that lasted from one-time-only to maybe a week or so?). I think that’s a pretty normal thing, just like in real life - if you find something you can use to keep the connection alive, like common interests, then that’s great, and if not, it will die out after a while. (Also I’m not very good at keeping in touch with others, so there’s that.) Anyways, I can recommend Tandem.

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depending on where you live, you might be able to find language exchanges or guided conversation groups on meetup.com

the upside is it’s generally quite relaxed and it’s free or very cheap. the downsides are that it depends on whether there are enough japanese people living near you, it might take a few goes to find a decent group (assuming there are more than one), and what you get out of it really depends on how much you choose to engage and push yourself

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There’s this (free) website that I like a lot called langcorrect.

You can make a post in your target language and have native speakers correct your writing. You can write about whatever you want, and they also have prompts available to write from. In exchange, you correct people who are writing in your native language. The community is very small and respectful.

This doesn’t help with speaking unfortunately, unless you make friends with other users and do language exchange offsite.

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If you’re not great at expressing yourself, but your comprehension is good, you could see how others express themselves and try to copy the main points. Like listening to casual conversations, anime clips (of the more subdued slice of life kind), and stuff like that.

Eventually you should be able to piece together some topics and get your foot in the door when it comes to actual conversation.

Of course, finding a language partner is ideal, but it’s harder to start and you won’t get very far unless you’re willing to maybe phone it in a bit at the start, maybe using set phrases but changing some stuff up, or maybe going out of your way to tall about stuff you’re not particularly passionate about just to get some practice.

You could always also try the Japanese sentence threads here, you could start a conversation in a safer environment where there are a bunch of people around to check if there’s anything you missed or fumbled a bit. Of course, not native, but still a good start, imo.

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Thanks everyone for your replies !

@NicoleRauch I started using it. Well, didn´t get good results for Japanese but got a few tandems for German, at least hahahaha I think I need to persevere a bit more though, as I haven´t conctared that many people.

@denzo Okay. I wish I knew about Meetup when I first came here. I struggled a lot when I first came to Germany to find friends. This would have probably made things simpler. But I will make use of it quite soon when I move.

@shoujodog Don´t worry, I think writing will be enough for me. I need to learn how to express myself and use Japanese. If I can write correctly, I believe that speaking will become easier as well.

@Kazzeon While you are not wrong, I think seeing how people use Japanese is not enough. I think, in my personal case, I need to practice. I need to express myself and compare with others to understand what is wrong in what I wrote/said. There is a saying in French “You become a forger by forging”, wchi basically means that you become good at something by practicing it and I completely agree with it. That is, of course, my opinion and also, what works for me best :slight_smile: However, the Japanese sentence thread is actually a good idea. I will try to gather my courage (I know I will make mistakes or sentences that won´t be well constructued) and try it

Again, a big thanks for your replies, it really helps ^^

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You might try finding Japanese people learning French (or any other language you speak) on Twitter and helping them in exchange of them helping you.

I see these practice techniques as nice, free or low-cost exercises you can use on your own. Of course they are not the same thing as having direct experiences with native speakers (having a conversation with them, or having them read and correct a text you wrote), but they are still useful.

They might seem silly, but I do see a point, especially with the read-aloud method. Musicians and athletes often talk about muscle memory, and I believe the same idea also applies to language learning, especially when learning to speak a language with a different set of sounds or sense of rhythm. In this case, using a combination of native text + corresponding audio to practice reading aloud and shadowing could be helpful.

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