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Being a good listener


8 Oct 2003
The hardest part of learning japanese fo rme is trying to follow the speed at which people, especially natives are speaking at. I'm doing a good job with understanding rules and grammar usage, but trying to keep up with the speed of speakers is the most challenging so far. I find myself trying to process each and every word my teacher says, and I end up missing everything else that comes after because my mind is so busy trying to comprehend words little by little. I know thats not the way to do it, because us english speakers dont try to process each and every word we hear from each other.

So, I'm asking, what pointers would you give about listening skills? Any tips, reminders, or suggestions in general? Because I could really use some. :/

Thanks for your time and responses,

Try and put yourself in situations where if you miss a few words, you are not going to be under a great deal of stress. In class you worry about missing something important (understandable) so it seems you put a great deal of stress on yourself, which makes you miss even more words. Listening comes with time and practice. The more relaxed you can be when you are trying this the better. TV is a great way to practice listening (and reading skills). I would not say to listen to a lot of J-Pop simply because the grammar can be odd, and few people sing a conversation! Past that, with time you will start picking things up. If you really worried that you missed something in class, go to the teacher after and ask him/her to say it for you again. Listening is just something you have to get exposure to to get better at. Good luck!
Also very helpful are audio analogues of things you've already read, or at least read about. I often listen to a series of tapes put out for Japanese kids in America, for instance, which more or less correspond to a set of first grade (and up) textbooks I also happen to have collected. Or cassettes friends and tutors have made explaining some manga, our activities together, etc. You have to improvise at times I suppose in the beginning -- but it definately does get easier with exposure. And Japanese honestly do not speak all that quickly compared to, say, Spanish or Italian, or even English (?) I'm not 100% positive on that ;).
Lots of practice and lots of repetition. If you have a favorite movie or anime, watch it over and over until you get it. Stream some audio from Japan and keep it going in the background when you're on your computer. You will gradually understand more and more.
From my own experience I can recommend the books Mainichi Kikitori Vol. 1 and 2 (ISBN 4-89358-396-4 and ISBN 4-89358-405-7) together with the audio cassettes. The idea is to listen to the tape and make some exercises afterwords like answering questions, filling in the missing words, etc. It was fun to use and improved my comprehension ability a lot.


thanks everyone. I'm keeping these in mind

Btw jrichter is there a store online where you can order those books?
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