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Posted: June 25th, 2008 4:08 pm
by Belton
untmdsprt wrote:Just how would you measure fluency? Would you measure all four aspects of the language? Or would you measure certain ones? ...

...As for me my strong skills are reading, writing, listening and then speaking...


Well I think fluency usually refers to an ability to have conversation, so an ability to listen and speak. Literacy is the ability to read and write. They are the two main aspects to a language. It is perfectly possible to only have one and be very good at it and have almost no skill in the other.
Indeed with Japanese because of the challenges of the writing system there could well be many second language learners who are fluent but illiterate. But in the history of languages universal literacy is relatively recent if you think about it and most people got along ok.

The order of your skills in Japanese I'd say is also the order of your skills in your first language.
Consider a difficult academic topic in a subject you are unfamiliar with. You could probably read it, at a push you could spend the time to write a paper, might lose track at a lecture, and would falter at delivering an off the cuff speech in the same style. Your vocabulary and grammar usage drops as you go from reading through to speaking, from active to passive, own time to real time.

Practice, exposure and perseverence is all I can say. Make the effort to speak (and make mistakes). A lot of speech is rehearsed even in your first language. You are recycling and reusing the same words and phrases all the time. Eventually this starts to happen in a second language as well. You start using the phrases you know and adapting them to suit your purpose, picking up the vocabulary you need rather than the words a textbook suggests you need.
Nor would i discount reading and writing. It's a very good place to pick up new words and practice using them. This will then trickle down into your listening and speech.

The trick with your friends is to not let the conversation lapse into the easier option of English (often at a mutually higher level) too quickly or to make friends with people who have poor English skills.

Posted: June 25th, 2008 4:37 pm
by untmdsprt
I've been trying to spend more time listening and repeating what I've heard. I've forced myself to get back into studying with the learning center, and repeating each line over and over. This is strengthening my listening ability since I'm already strong in the reading.

As for the friends and other people, even if I start off in Japanese, they will switch to English. I can only assume they have a mental block that I can only speak English. Yet, when we email they will respond in Japanese. :shock:

Posted: July 10th, 2008 9:14 am
by dat5h
I picked writing. I suppose I feel most confident in my ability to write than I when I need to speak. I feel it may somewhat come from my training in technical writing, which is simple and succinct (get to the point already). I also have the age old stage-fright that makes me freeze up when I need to speak Japanese.
自己紹介するのは難しいですね~!

Ok Ok, I really need to go and study now :cry:

Posted: December 25th, 2008 10:10 pm
by jazzbeans
With any language I've learnt a little about, I am much better at writing..
I don't know why. I can't even read as well as I write.. ha ha!

Reading -- I read Japanese a lot, nearly as much as I listen to it. Listening is easier because I don't know all of the kanji yet ~ so often I have to find an online dictionary to hiragana it for me.

Handwriting -- People find my English handwriting quite hard to read when I join the letters, but with Japanese, I don't do that. So, it could be better. But, it looks messier to me. So, bad, I guess.

Listening -- Good, but some people's accents might throw me off from time to time. I listen to Japanese podcasts the most and play them over and over again (which isn't boring, surprisingly..) and after a few times, I might think, "Oh!! I know what they just said now, I can't believe I didn't understand that before..."

Writing -- Okay, I make many mistakes though. Started learning in October, so I don't feel too bad about that, I hope to get a lot better. I have Japanese e-pals and a Japanese blog, so that should help. I got a Japanese dictionary yesterday for Christmas too, so my vocab should get stronger now!

Speaking -- I've spoken to no one but myself in Japanese. So, I don't know. Probably very poor! Ha ha! I try not to put an accent or any pitches on it because.. I worry it sounds stupid, but it probably sounds worse. Japanese in a monotone British accent.

Posted: February 2nd, 2009 3:29 pm
by oneredice
oh man, i completely envy the 3 people that voted speaking as their strongest skill.
reading is my strongest skill. listening is totally dependent on how fast ppl are talking in japanese. and speaking...i can ponounce things, but trying to bring to my mouth what im planning to say in my head is tough task for me for now.
oh yea n i luv writing japanese.

Posted: February 8th, 2009 10:51 am
by JohnnyPr1827x
Mine would have to be listening, i can't read and actually learn how to pronounce the word the way i see it, idk why but listening is much more easier all i have to do is copy what they say :D