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How long should it take me to speak Japanese fluently?

Pierrot le Fou

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I'm sure others will explain better than me, but fluency is not a measure of knowledge, it's related to be able to communicate with fluidity. If you're able to let loose a stream of Japanese without pausing to think about it, you're fluent, even if your grammar isn't perfect and you don't know a lick of Kanji. Children, despite not being literate, also tend to be fluent.

Proficiency on the other hand...
 

chedie

chedie
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The fact that you are learning a new language, it would take years to be fluent in one. Just think of it, besides learning the grammar structures, just how many words and phrases do you think there is in one language? And to use them all correctly would take constant training and memorization to get to the level you could converse correctly as if speaking your native toungue.

As for the timeframe you plan on being fluent, I guess that would depend greatly on your commitment. So just do your best ne? 👍
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
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I will give it a try then, but I think I will first try building up some vocab. I know hiragana and did try my hand at reading some words in hiragana . But, with my limited vocab, it wasn't helping me to learn anything which is why I dumped it.

It is very similar to pushing a car which has run out of gas.

It takes a lot of effort to get it moving, but once it's rolling it doesn't take as strenuous an effort to sustain the motion.

Familiarity with kanji can help you pick up new vocabulary items on the fly during conversation. Many is the time that I've heard some new word, considered the context, given thought to which kanji may comprise it, and been able to understand and use the new word correctly. The really sweet thing about it is that the other person has no idea you just heard the word for the very first time.
 

jmwintenn

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i plan on taking a japanese language class in college next year(wanted a year off since i just graduated highschool)but i'm already ordering books and interactive cds and what not because i've considered living there.I plan on studying abroad in japan,or sometimes you get sent to the country where the language is spoken to learn/better comprehend it.

I had a goal of 3 years to carry on a "small talk" conversation(ive always had trouble with pronounciation due to my pesky speech impediment) and be able to hold my own in a day to day conversation in 5 years. I've always been able to understand(hear) better than I can communicate when it comes to different languages. Though if I dont understand anything they say I'll use tone,facial position and what I've/they've done to ascertain the "jist" of it.

I hope my own learning experience doesn't take 10 years,hell,learning english didnt take more than 6 years.
 

Haruspex

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Well its a bit confusing for me, you say 10 years, is it with or without all the commonly used kanji characters? I mean, there's a point where you can speak fluently so you only need to chew kanji right? Learning the spoken language can't take 10 can it? Well im talking about a case where you sacrifice most of your free time for the "cause" :D I personally was bilingual from the start, so i managed to learn english relatively easly thanks to the similarities even if only the order of the words was a bit similar, but its no help to me now is it? Since hungarian (finnugor) doesn't resemble japanese and neither does armenian(indo-european). What a pity. Please tell me your opinion.

Umm yeah about what Shou said... how is that possible, i mean im just a mere beginner when it comes to japanese, but i see japanese speaking people say that its rather time consuming to learn japanese. If you were in touch with your roots Shou i'd say its possible, its easy, but you yourself denied that. I don't get it, how did you achieve that much in 4 months? I don't say its impossible, i don't really know if it is, and i won't go as far as openly doubting what someone said, but i must say you're either very talented when it comes to languages or very talented when it comes to bragging.
 

Charles Barkley

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I had a goal of 3 years to carry on a "small talk" conversation(ive always had trouble with pronounciation due to my pesky speech impediment) and be able to hold my own in a day to day conversation in 5 years. I've always been able to understand(hear) better than I can communicate when it comes to different languages. Though if I dont understand anything they say I'll use tone,facial position and what I've/they've done to ascertain the "jist" of it.
I hope my own learning experience doesn't take 10 years,hell,learning english didnt take more than 6 years.

3 years starting from when? Studying in college? Studying on your own? Or living in Japan? I study very hard but I am not a particularly social person, so my speaking/listening skills lag behind my reading/writing. But I would say that after one year of living in Japan (and working as an English teacher), I'm somewhere between small talk and hold my own--I couldn't participate in a native-native conversation at normal speed, but I can talk about most things I want to say in somewhat broken japanese. If you're talking 3-5 years living in Japan, don't sell yourself short. If you're talking listening to podcasts overseas--well, I have no idea.

ETA: Before I came over I worked my way through 2/3 of the Genki 1 textbook on my own, but had never really spoken the language.
 

Pierrot le Fou

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I'm the reverse of my baketball playing friend. I don't study at all, but I'm rather social, so my reading/writing skills lag behind my speaking/listening. After 4+ years in Japan, I feel perfectly comfortable talking, but only comfortable with reading/writing for day to day activities (reading menus, signs, etc. -- not at the newspaper level).

It depends on what your strengths are and how you study, but with 5 years of hard study and practice, you should be very good at Japanese. The problem is maintaining motivation and practicing everyday.
 

Shinsan

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Yeah,I'm motivated and I study everyday.I actually went to a Sushi bar and ordered all in Japanese.I dunno if I said things right,but i tried.Watashi wa no (octopus) desu?(I want the Ocotpus/I want to have to octopus)By the way,Sushi is delicious!I probably looked like an idiotic american,but I try.:p
 
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nice gaijin

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it was a nice try, but "I'll have the octopus" would be "(watashi wa) tako ni shimasu" I'm afraid that your way of asking would only be understandable because of "me" and "octopus"

we learn the most from mistakes
 

Shinsan

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Ah.Thank you. Haha.Does anyone know of any websites that would help me with my grammar, pronounciation, to learn Japans history, the culture,help me learn how to say sentences? Not all in one site, but seperate ones of course. ありがと!
 

jmwintenn

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3 years starting from when? Studying in college? Studying on your own? Or living in Japan? I study very hard but I am not a particularly social person, so my speaking/listening skills lag behind my reading/writing. But I would say that after one year of living in Japan (and working as an English teacher), I'm somewhere between small talk and hold my own--I couldn't participate in a native-native conversation at normal speed, but I can talk about most things I want to say in somewhat broken japanese. If you're talking 3-5 years living in Japan, don't sell yourself short. If you're talking listening to podcasts overseas--well, I have no idea.
ETA: Before I came over I worked my way through 2/3 of the Genki 1 textbook on my own, but had never really spoken the language.

3 years starting saturday or monday when I get my books from the library(had to order them from the one across town),and I'll be studying on my own until I start college next fall when I plan on taking the class.All I have now is a job and free time,and motivation only lacks when something comes too easily.

I also plan on borrowing my friends japanese text book(he's taking the class at the moment),but what I find odd is the fact that the teacher ordered them from japan,I mean what good is a book in Japanese for students who can't read or write anything?
 
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