Hi guys, so every few days I try to speak to a native Japanese speaker and I feel like I’m not improving whatsoever🥺 I learn new word s and grammar points each day but when I speak it’s like my brain goes blank. Any advice?
In between when you meet with the native speaker, practice talking out loud to yourself. Narrate your day (what you’re currently doing, what you plan to do, and what you just did, to get in multiple verb forms), talk to your pets/plants, read manga or your textbook or easy news articles to yourself, etc. Read things out loud multiple times, trying to speak at a faster/more natural pace with each repetition. Say your Wanikani words and kanji out loud (both meaning and Japanese pronunciation) while you’re doing reviews, so that they stick in your head and you can recall them better in the future when you’re speaking.
To remember new words and grammar you learn, write out a new sentence of your own creation using each term daily, and then read the sentences aloud multiple times. Keep this up until you feel like you can confidently use the words/grammar points confidently.
EDIT: If you feel like you need more speaking practice, check out Meetup.com for virtual Japanese eikaiwa groups. I’ve attended one for my city that has people from several states and even other countries. Because it’s virtual, you can attend a meetup even if it’s not located near you geographically!
I agree with what @saga said.
Let me add, the “every few days” is the key problem here. You need to integrate the Japanese you are learning into your automatic memory as much as possible. Just like quickly recognizing kanjis, you need to get those basic grammar points from knowing the structure to being able to flow into using it in conversation. I can do basic sentences no problem and string them together, but I blank when I try to remember complex sentence structures. The stuttering ensures and the nice Japanese person waits patiently for my gears to turn in awkward silence.
Be brave, fail faster, fail better, and reflect later in your conversations. Get messy and get it wrong so you can fix your mistakes and work on that fluency like you do here with the crabbigator. Luckly, real life doesn’t smack you down from Enlightenment to Guru II when you mess up ~ながら in your daily life.
Do you only learn those J-> E (i.e. you can understand them when you encounter them) or also E->J (i.e. you can produce them when needed)? Some people are fine with just learning J->E while still being able to remember the other direction - I for one am not among those lucky dudes, and I could only improve my speaking ability when I started to learn my vocab both ways.