Speak faster or else

Hey there!

So I’ve been talking to a few Japanese people on Tandem (an app which lets you chat with native speakers of the language you’re learning) and whenever we get on a call they always talk REALLLLLLLLY slow.

Like of course they think I won’t be able to understand them and they’re trying to help (why wouldn’t they after listening to me speak). But my listening abilities are better than my speaking and I really want to tell them to speak normally. But I feel like I’ll come off as cocky or something if I ask them to.

I’m aware that I won’t understand everything they say and I will be asking them what certain words mean, but I don’t want them to think I don’t understand because they’re talking fast. How do I approach this :eyes:

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I also had this exact problem, until I myself could speak a little faster/smoother… It frustrated me to no end.

The closest I got to solving it was to ask them lots of questions, and use the typical “I understand you” interjections. I.e. often saying はい, following a surprising statement with そうなんですか or an information statement with なるほど, etc. It naturally leads to normal conversation.

Another thing I did was preface conversations with “I understand more than I can say. When I don’t understand something, I’ll stop to ask you” (this one only worked rarely–usually only after I stopped to ask them something and they realized I wasn’t kidding haha)

Now, the issue I have is that I can hear people using more simple ways of saying normal everyday things. Like, someone will start to say “延長えんちょうされました” but quit halfway to say “長くなりました” instead. My current strategy is to use えんちょう to show I know it… But I wonder how many other words everyone is holding back from me :sob: :rofl:

Wonder what the next set of issues will be beyond that… Hope someone else has more advice for you (cough and me cough)! Let’s hang in there!!


OMGGGG this happens so much and I sit there twiddling my thumbs wondering what on earth I should do :sob::sob: I once got too excited and almost shouted out with desperation that I knew the word that they were about to use. The guy just paused and continued doing the same thing. Safe to say I keep my mouth shut now :joy:

I think I’ll actually try this hmmm

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You could just tell them that you want to practice listening more and so it’s okay for them to speak a bit faster.

But understand that it’s uncomfortable for someone to speak quickly to you and then watch you struggle to respond, even if the reason you’re struggling is not related to the speed they were speaking.

So it is probably just a fact of life that until your speaking improves it will be tougher to get people to speak at a more natural speed with you.

There are other places to practice listening that don’t depend on interaction anyway.


Ahhh now that you mention I looked at it from my perspective if I was talking to someone who doesn’t speak English well. Maybe this will just make me practice harder!

Thanks for the reply!!