Learning to read and speak the language is essential no matter what language you are studying. However, most people have to choose between learning to read and learning to speak the language. Becoming fluent in a new language, including Japanese, is fascinating and rewarding. You may wonder, “Should I focus on reading and speaking Japanese first, or vice versa?” when you begin this linguistic journey. Reading and talking fluently is essential for linguistic competence, but where to begin might be a puzzle.

So, when you first start learning Japanese, you could find yourself conflicted between reading and speaking. Learning Japanese will open up more doors for you socially and professionally. In turn, this improves your grasp of the language generally. In the end, you’ll better grasp the middle ground between the two, setting you on the path to fluency in Japanese communication. Which comes first: learning to read or speak Japanese? We should find out!

The Value of Being Able to Read and Communicate in Japanese

Reading

Increasing the amount of reading you do will help you become a better writer and provide you access to a much larger vocabulary. You may wonder why reading is crucial to your Japanese language education. Reading books, articles, and novels may not seem as exciting as other activities.

The reason for this is that reading increases one’s vocabulary. Why? New words and expressions can be learned by reading. Consider the reading material’s overall difficulty level and balance the most accessible and challenging selections. For instance, starting with Japanese, it’s best to stick to materials written for beginners, such as manga, short articles, or textbooks. Reading novels, newspapers, and scholarly articles will help you advance your knowledge of Japanese if you are at the intermediate level.

Tips for Strengthening Your Reading Abilities

  1. Pick the books that you would like to read the most. Reading should be a pleasurable and engaging experience.
  2. Create a “special” reading space and time. You can do it anywhere and at any time, but that also means you’re vulnerable to interruptions like a blaring radio, a buzzing phone, the aroma of your favourite meal, or the sight of your favourite devices. Reading can help you learn a new language, but only if you set aside time and a quiet area. It needs to be neat, bright, and peaceful. You’ll be able to read with greater focus with this.
  3. Also, pose questions to yourself as you read. The more you probe the text for significance, the more you learn from it. In this manner, you may test your comprehension of the material. If you’re having trouble paying attention, try asking yourself, “What’s happening now?” or “What does this situation mean?”
  4. Be a regular reader. Make reading a daily habit. Doing so will be a mental workout to keep yesterday’s lessons fresh in your memory. Twenty minutes a day for a week beats five hours on a single day, any day of the week.

Speaking

Speaking, speaking, and more speaking is all it takes to become fluent in Japanese. Put what you’ve learned into practice as often as possible.

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Speaking the language aloud is a great way to work on your word pronunciation, intonation, and accent. Even if you have excellent oratory skills, you might still need to correct grammatical errors. You have excellent communication skills if you can carry on a discussion and respond appropriately.

Tips for Honing Your Speaking Abilities

  1. For a while, at least for an hour a day, try not to speak your native language. You may still hone your communication skills even while alone at home. How? Okay, this may seem strange, but you can converse with yourself. Explore your surroundings, recall the day’s events, or create a story to entertain yourself.
  2. Get some help from your loved ones and try it out. They don’t need to be fluent in the language you’re studying with them. The important thing is that you can communicate with another human being. They can speak to you in your native tongue but should also understand when you speak to them in the target language.
  3. Recite what you hear. Hear a foreign word spoken, then try to replicate it. Repeat the process until you feel comfortable saying the term. You can learn a new language by listening to audiobooks and podcasts. Indeed this is less embarrassing than talking to oneself.

A vocabulary of 500 words is considered minimal for communicating effectively in the target language. With a vocabulary of around 3 000 words, you should be able to follow and contribute intelligently to most conversations. If you commit to learning ten new words daily, you can become fluent in a year.

The Pros and Cons of Beginning with Speaking vs. Reading

Reading in your own tongue comes after you have mastered the language’s spoken form, which differs from the case while learning a foreign language like Japanese. Learning a new language can be daunting if you need help knowing where to begin. 

Learning to Read and Write Japanese First

Some people, it seems, find it much less challenging to master the written word before tackling the spoken tongue. While reading allows you to take in the material at your own pace, speaking often presents challenges due to varying speech rates. Learning to read a new language is an individual process; you can take as much or as little time as you need, and you can pause to look up words and phrases you don’t know if you need to. Reading an article written in the target language will likely have a favourable impact on your progress towards fluency.

If you take your time learning to read, you’ll be exposed to more sentences and have a better grasp of the language’s norms and syntax. Expanding one’s vocabulary and mastering basic grammar rules makes one a better communicator. Most online resources for learning a new language focus on teaching students how to read and write the language. Furthermore, if you are a competent reader in your first language, you will have an advantage when learning to read in another language. This makes sense, but the more time you devote to reading and writing, the more you’ll need help filling the gaps in listening and speaking in Japanese.

Start with reading and writing if that’s where you feel most comfortable. Know that genuine speaking practice is necessary to become fluent in Japanese.

Learning to Speak Japanese First

Let’s switch roles now since not everyone can become competent in Japanese simply by reading the language. To learn Japanese, some people have chosen to dive right in and immerse themselves in the language.

Reading and writing are symbols for the sounds and signs of a language. But that’s all it is; just a symbol. The ability to read and write well is not always an indicator of spoken fluency. This is a common shortcoming of language teaching materials. Sometimes, all it takes to understand something is to break it down into bite-sized audio pieces, listen to them repeatedly, and then apply what you’ve learned right away.

Repetition and attentive listening are reviewed. When you hear a sound frequently enough, your brain begins associating it with a particular concept. You will be fine connecting Japanese sounds with their meanings the more you speak the language.

When students start speaking Japanese, they have more agency over their learning pace, more incentive to pay attention, and more chances to receive constructive feedback. Those who learn best through talking or writing might expand their minds and vocabularies through reading. Learning Japanese beforehand is a good idea if you want to have better conversations with locals. In turn, this improves your grasp of the language generally. There are many good reasons why you should learn to speak Japanese first.

Communicating Verbally Is a Great Assistance in Any Conversation.

The most excellent way to learn Japanese (or any other language) is through natural conversation. Talking with locals is an essential part of the conversational method of language study. Talking to people is the most effective technique, without a doubt.

Learning Japanese through conversation with native speakers is the best way to acquire fluency and a firm command of pronunciation. 

Some experts also advise having discussions in Japanese as a means to improve one’s grasp of the language. This is because putting what you have learned into practice is essential. However, learning to read Japanese will not prepare you to converse in Japanese.

Learning to Speak Can Help You Learn a New Accent

Most native Japanese speakers strive to acquire a specific accent. If you merely read, though, you won’t pick up the accent very well at all. If you want to learn how to pronounce words before you can read or write, start by learning how to talk.

Speaking Is Simpler and More Upbeat Than Reading.

Trying to understand Japanese can seem impossible if you’re starting. Kanji, Katakana, and Hiragana are all affected by this. To master it, you must put in a lot of time and work. In addition, your success may not materialise for a good long while. There are a lot of Japanese characters you’ll need to memorise before you can read Japanese. These massive time and effort needs might be depressing if you aren’t careful.

Speaking Japanese, on the other hand, is more straightforward than reading. If you want to master the language, all you have to do is start with the fundamentals. Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals, you can carry on discussions with anyone. Furthermore, learning to speak the language can help you understand it when it is spoken to you.

Learning to Read Better by Simply Talking About It

There will always be many words you need to learn when learning a new language. But if you keep talking to people, you’ll learn a lot of new terms and expand your vocabulary. Since you now have a more extensive vocabulary, you will be more comfortable using these words in your reading thanks to your increased speaking ability. Therefore, learning Japanese will improve your reading comprehension of Japanese.

Speaking Japanese May Stimulate Your Mind to Think in Japanese

Mastery of any language requires constant mental practice in that language. Thinking in Japanese signifies that you are beginning to use the language in various contexts. The more you use Japanese in conversation, the more you think in Japanese.

Using Speak to Stimulate Your Japanese Imagination

When communicating with others, you must get creative with your limited Japanese language skills. That’s because the topic of discussion may shift to something outside of your expertise. Because of this, you’ll have to think of phrases you’ve never used before. If you have to use the wrong words, the other person may still correct you. This will put things in perspective, making recalling the appropriate phrases to employ in future circumstances more straightforward.

Communicating Your Thoughts and Findings Is a Great Way to Learn and Grow

You should realise first that reading in Japanese is a great way to assess your language comprehension. However, it does so less effectively than speech. When you talk, you force your brain to focus on remembering words and phrases. This challenges your ability to communicate effectively and your general understanding.

The Ability to Communicate With the Natives Can Be a Huge Advantage

Unless you plan on permanently settling in Japan or another Japanese-speaking community, learning the language won’t benefit you too much. Speaking, on the other hand, is helpful in situations like these. This is because most native Japanese speakers will be kind and willing to communicate with you even if you have a limited grasp of the language. As a result, communicating with native speakers can facilitate daily life.

The most excellent way to learn Japanese is to converse with native speakers. This further illustrates why it’s better to focus on speaking Japanese than reading it at the outset of your studies. Even if it’s best to get a handle on Japanese orally first, reading the language is still valuable. You may need help grasping even the fundamentals of the Japanese language if reading skills are lacking. This further demonstrates the significance of reading the language. In addition, reading and speaking Japanese are inseparable skills that every student should have.

Conclusion

Language proficiency necessitates learning to read and speak Japanese, but making the decision to do so might be difficult. While both reading and speaking are necessary for expanding one’s vocabulary and idiomatic expressions, it is the intermediate stage that is most important for consolidating one’s knowledge of the language.

To improve as a writer and get access to a wider vocabulary, reading is essential. Making reading a daily habit requires setting aside time and a peaceful place for reading, as well as asking yourself questions about what you’ve read. The only method to truly master the Japanese language is through conversation. Speaking the language aloud is a great way to work on your pronunciation, intonation, and accent.

The best way to improve your public speaking skills is to practise by talking to yourself, with the support of friends and family, and by repeating what you hear. Effective communication in the target language requires a vocabulary of at least a few thousand words. It is generally agreed that a vocabulary of at least 500 words is necessary for functional communication in the foreign language.

Reading and writing Japanese are the first skills to acquire, and it helps to be able to study at your own speed. It is likely that reading an article published in the target language can help you become more fluent in that language. One’s communication skills will improve when he or she learns new words and grammar norms.

Speaking Japanese allows you to use the language in a variety of circumstances, which can help to excite your mind into thinking in Japanese. Having to come up with phrases that you have never heard before also helps to spark your imagination.

Sharing your ideas and research is a fantastic approach to develop as a person. In comparison to speaking, reading in Japanese is an excellent approach to test your language skills. Native Japanese speakers are helpful and willing to communicate with you even if you just know a few words of their language, so don’t be afraid to try.

Content Summary

  • Learning to read and speak the language is essential no matter what language you are studying.
  • Becoming fluent in a new language, including Japanese, is fascinating and rewarding.
  • Reading and talking fluently is essential for linguistic competence, but where to begin might be a puzzle.
  • Increasing the amount of reading you do will help you become a better writer and provide you access to a much larger vocabulary.
  • You may wonder why reading is crucial to your Japanese language education.
  • The reason for this is that reading increases one’s vocabulary.
  • New words and expressions can be learned by reading.
  • Reading novels, newspapers, and scholarly articles will help you advance your knowledge of Japanese if you are at the intermediate level.
  • Reading can help you learn a new language, but only if you set aside time and a quiet area.
  • Put what you’ve learned into practice as often as possible.
  • Speaking the language aloud is a great way to work on your word pronunciation, intonation, and accent.
  • The important thing is that you can communicate with another human being.
  • They can speak to you in your native tongue but should also understand when you speak to them in the target language.
  • You can learn a new language by listening to audiobooks and podcasts.
  • If you commit to learning ten new words daily, you can become fluent in a year.
  • Reading in your own tongue comes after you have mastered the language’s spoken form, which differs from the case while learning a foreign language like Japanese.
  • Some people, it seems, find it much less challenging to master the written word before tackling the spoken tongue.
  • If you take your time learning to read, you’ll be exposed to more sentences and have a better grasp of the language’s norms and syntax.
  • Most online resources for learning a new language focus on teaching students how to read and write the language.
  • Furthermore, if you are a competent reader in your first language, you will have an advantage when learning to read in another language.
  • Know that genuine speaking practice is necessary to become fluent in Japanese.
  • Reading and writing are symbols for the sounds and signs of a language.
  • The ability to read and write well is not always an indicator of spoken fluency.
  • Learning Japanese beforehand is a good idea if you want to have better conversations with locals.
  • The most excellent way to learn Japanese (or any other language) is through natural conversation.
  • Talking with locals is an essential part of the conversational method of language study.
  • Learning Japanese through conversation with native speakers is the best way to acquire fluency and a firm command of pronunciation.
  • However, learning to read Japanese will not prepare you to converse in Japanese.
  • Furthermore, learning to speak the language can help you understand it when it is spoken to you.
  • But if you keep talking to people, you’ll learn a lot of new terms and expand your vocabulary.
  • Thinking in Japanese signifies that you are beginning to use the language in various contexts.
  • The more you use Japanese in conversation, the more you think in Japanese.
  • When communicating with others, you must get creative with your limited Japanese language skills.
  • You should realise first that reading in Japanese is a great way to assess your language comprehension.
  • This challenges your ability to communicate effectively and your general understanding.
  • This is because most native Japanese speakers will be kind and willing to communicate with you even if you have a limited grasp of the language.
  • The most excellent way to learn Japanese is to converse with native speakers.
  • This further illustrates why it’s better to focus on speaking Japanese than reading it at the outset of your studies.
  • You may need help grasping even the fundamentals of the Japanese language if reading skills are lacking.
  • In addition, reading and speaking Japanese are inseparable skills that every student should have.

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