Are you studying Japanese?
Do you want to know about spoken Japanese?
Do you want to speak Japanese better?
Here, I will bring you some of useful information of spoken Japanese.
I am going to explain what is "spoken Japanese", and share common words in spoken Japanese, and then describe some features of spoken Japanese.
Before going to the detail, let me introduce myself briefly.
I am a native Japanese speaker, and also an English learner. As a language learner, I know how hard it is to study other languages. For me, it's a bit harder when I have verbal communications compared to when I write and read.
I presume that some Japanese learners are struggling to speak Japanese, and to listen to native speakers. So I want to share with you guys some of spoken Japanese, which might help you learn Japanese.
If you want to speak Japanese, you have to know spoken words.
Why do I keep writing "spoken" Japanese? That's because there's a big difference between written and spoken Japanese — there's the same difference in other languages.
You can tell what is the main difference if you read the link page below. The page is telling you the English case though.
PICKING UP COMMON WORDS
I picked up common words that we often use in our conversation. Let's see how I did it.
To pick up common words in spoken Japanese, I used a text analysis tool and analysed Japanese subtitles of 11 YouTube videos of mine, where me and my friends are chatting.
* The subtitles for those videos are created by myself, which are not automatically created by YouTube.
The text analysis tool that I used is a free morphological analysis tool for morphology (linguistics). You can see the tool from the link below (the language of the web page is Japanese though).
You can see the detail of the results on the Excel file below.
The table on the file shows what words are frequently used in order, which includes "Parts of Speech", "Basic Forms", "Meanings", and "Occurrences".
FOUR FEATURES OF SPOKEN JAPANESE
When I was analysing, I noticed the four main features of spoken Japanese.
- Informal Words and Pronunciation
- Incomplete Sentences
- Questions and Tag Questions
We use a lot of exclamations, such as "あのー", "えーと"、 "んー", "えっ" to pause our speech or to express a range of emotions. These words have the same meaning as the English words like "well...", "Uh...", "Um...", "Oh".
Informal Words and Pronunciation
We speak informal words, and sometimes we pronounce the words in a informal way. Let me give you a few examples.
The meaning of the sentence below is "Do we have a test today?"
In this sentence, the word "ある", which is the same meaning as "have"( or "is" in other cases), changes to "あん". The formal word is "ある" but sometimes we say it "あん", especially in a formal conversation. When we write the word, we never use "あん" though.
The meaning of the word 言う is "say".
Formal: 言（い）う /i. wʊ/
Informal: 言（ゆ）う /juː/
We sometimes pronounce it "/juː/", which is informal.
There are a lot of incomplete sentences (also known as sentence fragments) in our verbal communication. Here is an example.
The meaning of the sentence below is "What does that mean?"
On this example, subject and verb of the sentence are omitted, which is like "What the meaning?" in English.
We omit subject of the sentences very often when we speak, especially the subject is obvious. It must be confusing for you but you'd better know the omission to understand our conversations.
Questions and Tag Questions
We ask questions in our conversations more often than in our writings. Also, we use lots of tag questions, such as "だよね？", "するよね？"、 "じゃない？", which are the same as "..., isn't it?", "..., did you?".
In this article, I gave you some information of spoken Japanese. As I mentioned, the written and spoken languages are very different. You must feel improving your speaking skills is a bit tricky because there are a lot of informal expressions, and you can't get them from the Japanese textbook.
To be a good Japanese speaker, you must have to know what spoken Japanese is like, and must have to speak a lot. I hope this article helps you guys when you speak Japanese.
By the way, I post some videos for Japanese leaners, and that might help you improve your Japanese better. If you are interested in it, please check it out.
Thanks for reading!!
This web page below gives you lots of important points of Japanese pronunciations, from basics to detailed tips.