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Ondoku

Ondoku literally means ‘out loud’ in Japanese and although this task may seem very simple and of not much value, it can really help with your fluency as well as reading speed. The best part is that it doesn’t really require much focus, so that you can easily find time to do this activity.

The basic idea behind ondoku is to practice the mechanical moving of your lips at a higher speed. Although, at first this may seem rather robotic, it can actually make you more comfortable with the speaking process. The higher the speed at which you can speak, the higher the speed at which you can probably read and listen.

I tend to do Ondoku almost every day on my walk to the train station. I do it while looking at my iPhone which probably isn’t the safest option, but allows me to do two things at once. Try to work it into your normal routine if you can, it will greatly speed up your speaking confidence as well as reading and listening speed.

Steps:

1) First off, listen to the listening you have chosen paying attention to the pronunciation. Pay close attention to any kanji that you might not be completely familiar with.

2) Read the script out loud as fast as you can and time yourself.

3) Underline the parts that you had trouble saying quickly and any other difficult to pronounce Japanese words.

4) Listen to the listening again, pay attention to the parts that you had trouble with.

5) Practice the parts of the dialog you had trouble with. Repeat them multiple times until they roll off your tongue.

6) Read the script out loud as fast as you can again and time yourself again. This time try to beat your previous time.

7) Listen to the CD a third time. This time though, pay attention to the intonation of the dialog.

8) One last time, read the script out loud as fast as you can matching the intonation as best as possible. Try to act out the script as much as you can.

9) OPTIONAL: One last time, play the listening and try to match the dialog as best as you can. You want to speak at the same time and speed as the speakers in the listening. This will help you get a feel for native-speaker speed Japanese.