Wanna learn how to speak Japanese? Well, first of all, it is not easy unless you have a great teacher who is honest enough to teach you how Japanese do speak instead of text book nonsense. Learning how to speak Japanese is basically learning how to become Japanese. If you want to speak like a native you need to learn how Japanese behave. You ‘ll need to adopt many Japanese customs and mimic Japanese behaviour as well.
Most students learn Japanese the wrong way for several months or even years. Text book lessons at school and university can only give you a basic understanding of the Japanese language – grammar structure, vocabulary, the kana syllabaries and maybe a few hundred kanji. Learning how to speak Japanese involves a lot of cultural understanding and social conformity.
Japanese use very few words to express their thoughts and feelings. You’ll hear Japanese say the same things all the time. More often than not Japanese express interest, surprise, happiness and other emotions with only a few quirky phrases and sometimes with wordless cries and grunts. If you watch a game show you’ll audiences scream out the same wordless expression in unison when something shocking is presented to them. Very bizarre.
You’ll discover that for the most of their time Japanese don’t speak politely at all. For example, Japanese has no equivalent for “Pardon”. Instead when something is misunderstood in a conversation the confused listener will just blurt out “Ha!”. Sometimes my wife speaks to me and I have to control myself from feeling a little abused or offended. She’ll “rudely” blurt out one word and expect me to understand whatever it is she is trying to tell me. I used to get home from work and the first thing she would say to me as I walked in the door would be an aggressive “Gohan ha?”. This basically means something like “Do you want dinner?” or “Have you had dinner?”. However, if you translated the expression it would be just “Dinner!!?” . It would often give me the impression that my wife wasn’t happy to see me return home and that getting dinner was something she wanted to get quickly out of the way.
To be Japanese you got to do what everyone else does. I am often amazed at how easily Japanese can be assimilated and culturally conditioned. The peace sign is a classical example of this. Every time a Japanese has a photo taken of themselves they will do the peace sign. I found this to be extremely frustrating when having photos taken with Japanese. I went to great lengths to prevent my 4 year old son from being peace sign brain washed while he attend kindergarten in Japan.
How To Speak Japanese Like a Native
To speak Japanese like a native you’ll need to have a split personality. You can be yourself for most of the time, but when you meet acquaintances or work colleagues you will have to put on a bit of an act and meet certain social criteria – being polite or ass kissing.
And finally speaking Japanese will mean you won’t be able to say what you feel or believe for part of the time. The worst thing you can do is cause any kind of conflict or trouble for anyone. So you have to learn to hold back your real thoughts and bite your tongue. So the challenge for speaking Japanese is learning who Japanese are and how they behave. Accepting the culture and learning not to be always yourself is what it takes to be a good speaker of the Japanese language.