Hearing Japanese

Does anyone have any trouble hearing and understanding Japanese? If so, what do you do to help yourself distnguish the words being spoken?
kurisu0502 Aug 2, 2008

17 comments


Aug 19, 2008 daniels
For me, it's just been practice. When Japanese is spoken at full speed, the most that I used to be able to pick out were the start/end works like kedo, soshite, desu, etc. But over time, I think I've become more accustomed to the rhythm of the language and I'm picking up much more of the sentence than I used to. My biggest problem now tends to be recognizing the verbs.

How do I practice? I listen to Japanese podcasts. Mostly talk shows from the big radio/tv stations. It was really hard at first, and even now, I'm lucky if I can get more than the topic of conversation out of the podcast.
Aug 19, 2008 Kurisu
Yeah practice is your best option. Take a Japanese class, if you are not already doing so. I just started mine today, however it did feel a little awkward when I knew everthing my teacher taught on the first day. It was quite reassuring that my self taught Japanese had been going in the right direction.
Aug 26, 2008
Watch anime and movies in their original japanese audio. Eventually, I do it without the subtitles, and see if I can still follow what's going on. I listen to songs, too, but songs have odd rythms that can jumble words a bit.
Aug 27, 2008 kordek24
moro_teiro wrote:
"Watch anime and movies in their original japanese audio."
I dont think that's the best idea.
Aug 27, 2008
lol, no it's not the best idea for straight learning. However, it helps when viewing some relationships and learning conversational idioms. Of course, I do double-check everything with my Japanese teacher. The usefulness really comes in when I'm able to keep up with the japanese audio and not actually need the sub-titles. I watched Eiken without subtitles and I was able to pick through most of it to figure out what was going on most of the time. Aside from the massive amounts of ecchi involved, it was a lot of fun being able to follow the conversations.
Nov 24, 2008 Mooze
I have a friend who's learning Japanese and for some reason he could never seem to catch what our teacher's saying. We later found out he was dyslexic. I've always knew this term, but I've never actually come across someone with dyslexia before.

After we pointed it out to him, he tailored his notes to his suit his learning style and now he's much better at it!! He said that now he knows this, he can take much better control of his learning languages. Hopefully this helps someone out there who might have dyslexia and who doesn't know it. Cheers.
Dec 1, 2008 Nayeli
Soooo....does anyone know here any concrete pages were you can listen to podcasts?

Maybe someone got some internet-links?
Dec 6, 2008 W.Hammer
I listen to the language at its full speed. So, something like Kat-Tuns television
show or the Fashionsnap podcast are things I would use. But, since those are
both male dominated, I do not always get to here the female part of the language.
But, then I also listen to TV shows (I'm hooked on SCANDAL) and movies (I loved
Tokyo Boy) without subtitiles.

At this point, my listening and understanding is much better then my reading and
writing. So, I can hear it and understand it but read it and go "What..?"

But, thats understandable since i just started (like..yesterday), messing with the written language again. I need to relearn my 800 kanji! Oi.
Dec 7, 2008 卑弥呼
Hi, I'm Japanese and I have a website to recommend. It's ポッドキャスティングジュース. This podcast directory is for upper intermediate learners, I think. There are more than a dozen of interesting categories on it's top page including sports, comedy, and business.

http://www.podcastjuice.jp/
Dec 8, 2008 rsm
> When Japanese is spoken at full speed, the most that I used to be able to pick out were the start/end works like kedo, soshite, desu, etc

I know exactly what you mean. For the longest time, after hearing the first few syllables, the rest of the sentences would just disappear.

I eventually got past that, but it took me a long time.

I'm not sure exactly how I got over that, but I listened to a lot of Japanese dramas. I would play them in the car. When I got to a phrase that I thought I should be able to understand but couldn't, I would loop on that short phrase until something clicked and I could hear it. Then I'd move on to the next problem phrase.
Jan 20, 2009 darikuri
I have the same problem! I hear those "no de", "soshite" all the time, but not so much the actual verbs.

What has helped me a bit was I downloaded the MP3 files from the JLPT 2007 listening exercises, and they have an XML page with a transcript on it. I listen to the audio, and read along with it. I am usually better at reading than I am listening, so I am using one skill to complement the other.

Here is the audio link (they range from level 1 to level 3, just look at the MP3 file name):
http://jlpt.biz/datumcenter/jlpt/questions/listenmp3/

And here are the links to the transcripts. I don't know why but they're cluttered with HTML tags. Still, better than nothing.
http://jlpt.biz/datumcenter/jlpt/questions/listenquestion_level3.xml
http://jlpt.biz/datumcenter/jlpt/questions/listenquestion_level2.xml
http://jlpt.biz/datumcenter/jlpt/questions/listenquestion_level1.xml

Good luck!!
Jun 26, 2009 アライタチ
Well, someone had to bring up Koichi. Don't get me wrong, I like Koichi. But, he has a rather strong dislike for anime geeks that sometimes gets in the way of his message.

(It's kinda ironic really. Koichi loves his J-dorama http://www.tofugu.com/2007/06/17/are-you-a-j-doramaholic/ . Can you imagine what someone who learned English from "As the World Turns" would sound like? Actually, pretty normal, I'd guess, but that's a topic for some other discussion.)

Anyway, the truth is watching anime is better than talking about Japanese in English. (Like we're doing here.) Just be sure to turn off the subs--they make you think in English. Watch and listen to other stuff, too. Find the golden mean.

In short, use common sense.

Much thanks to darikuri, 卑弥呼さん, and richvh. I've bookmarked their suggestions--with the exception of japanesepod101.com .

I don't know how good their paid features are, but the amount of advertisement they'll send you if you only sign up for a free account is so severe, (several e-mails a day) I'm not willing to try.

The rest of this post is kind of a rant. Feel free to skip.
---------------------------------

I'm not too hot on the textbook/classroom approach. I've tried it. I had fun playing with Latin. I can still write out full inflection tables for any word in the dictionary without much trouble and explain (in English) what each form is used for. I can translate Latin to English and English to Latin with a dictionary and a big block of time. I can even (mostly) understand Latin hymns.

In short, I got just about the most I could from that class. What can't I do?

* Read anything beyond my textbooks without a dictionary.
* Express myself in Latin. At all. At best, I can write English, then translate.


Thus, I have no conversation ability, nor can I understand Latin newscasts (yes, they do exist).

But, in Esperanto, I can:

* Read directly, often without a dictionary.
* Use a monolingual dictionary.
* Use a monolingual grammar reference.
* Write, with a dictionary. It's not really comfortable, but it's possible.
* Understand most spoken Esperanto without too much trouble.

No, I'm not fluent, but I'm much better than in Latin. I've never taken a course or bought a textbook and I've spent one sixth the time on Esperanto I've spent on Latin.

The two biggest differences in approach were:

* I used anki ( http://ichi2.net/anki/ ) to manage my vocabulary, rather than paper flashcards.
* I started reading (or at least trying to read) web fora from the beginning.

That's it. Just do it.

So, when I came across http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/ , it really seemed to click. I learned Esperanto where I had failed with Latin because of real exposure. It's that simple.

So, anyway, here's what I'm going to do now: stop talking about learning (in a language I really don't need practice in), watch the same episode of デジモンテイマーズ I watched last night--paying close attention to the words--then peruse podcastjuice.
Nov 26, 2011 Akuma_Megami
movies are better then anime, because anime has weird words they use all the time that arnt used in day to day conversation.And if you happen to pick up one of those words and accidently say it, they will look at you kinda odd,lol.other then that, just try to figure out hich crazy words are in anime, then u will be fine,lol.hope this helps.GANBATTE!
Jul 9, 2012 アライタチ
@Megamiさん

はい
Every genre has it's own way of using words, so if you only listen to romantic comedies or ドラゴンボール or 時代劇, you'll sound pretty weird.

So all you have to do is listen to a wide variety. Anime for grown-ups, children's bedtime stories, news podcasts, comedy-variety shows, dubbed kung-fu movies from China, etc. etc. - they're all good.

僕は変と聞こえるかも知らないが、アニメのせいより母国語じゃないせいだと思います。
Aug 8, 2012 Mper
first I read the word and then I watch anime or dorama. if I can hear the word that the people say I can understand and remember it easily. :)
Oct 20, 2013 suzi
I am new here my name is Susan,I listen to audio all the time, that is what helps me. I use a website called coscom. It has everything there. And of course I use Lang8 my other help.