Learn 4 honest reasons you need Japanese slang words and why they are so vital to truly learning and mastering the language.
Teachers may normally cringe at the thought of their students learning Japanese slang words. After all, slang words and phrases are typically defined as being grammatically incorrect. So why would your teacher want you to spend time learning the “wrong way” to speak Japanese? Here are 4 of the top reasons why you should study slang words and expressions when learning Japanese or any new language.
1. Native Speakers Use Slang Expressions in Everyday Conversation
If you are going to study a foreign language and plan to use it to speak with native speakers, then you have to learn slang words and expressions. Otherwise, just using formal expressions and grammar may alienate you from native speakers and make it more difficult to establish a real connection. So it is best to at least learn some common slang words and expressions if you’re planning to meet or speak socially with someone.
2. Slang Words Are Used All Throughout Japanese Culture
If you turn on any popular Japanese TV show, listen to any song, or watch any movie, you are quickly going to see the value of learning Japanese slang phrases. Just like everyday conversations between native speakers, Japanese culture is filled with slang phrases and expressions. Without at least some knowledge of the more common slang phrases, popular culture and most conversations will be very confusing and potentially alienating.
3. Slang Expressions Help You Better Express Your True Thoughts and Feelings
Only relying on formal grammar and vocabulary is very limiting, especially in social situations. Just like in your native language, using the appropriate Japanese slang words can help you express a broader range of emotions, thoughts, and feelings.
4. Proper Use of Slang Makes You Sound More Natural
We’ve all met foreigners who technically used formal language perfectly but still sounded odd and well….foreign. But when you use the right slang words and expressions, you will sound more natural and like a true native speaker. If you notice, even most politicians include a sprinkling of slang expressions and words throughout their speeches to help them sound more natural and to better connect with the audience.
The Dark Side of Slang Expressions
Learning Japanese slang words can indeed help you sound more natural, better understand the people and culture, and make integration much easier. However, there is a dark side: using the wrong slang expressions can also make you look foolish, uneducated, and potentially disrespectful.
But how do you know which slang words or phrases to use and when?
The truth is that you can’t learn the most modern and appropriate slang words in textbooks or formal classroom settings. By the time the information gets incorporated into a formal curriculum, it’s already outdated and no longer in use by actual Japanese people. And while you can learn current slang expressions from Japanese TV shows, movies, songs, and games, you may not understand the context. If that happens, you may use the right Japanese slang words but in the wrong situation and still look like a fool or possibly even offend someone.
So where can you learn current slang expressions and the right context in which to use them?
At JapanesePod101, native speaking instructors create audio and video lessons that can include slang expressions and words. Our instructors provide context and examples for all the Japanese slang words used in any lesson to make sure students understand the right time and place to use them.
Japanese slang words and expressions may be grammatically incorrect but they are vital to truly understanding and immersing yourself in the culture. In fact, it will be very difficult to fully understand any movie, TV show, song, game, or even 1-on-1 conversation without knowing a few of the more common slang expressions.
However, it is important to learn the proper context and use of even popular slang expressions or you may come across as confusing, disrespectful, or uneducated.
At JapanesePod101, you’ll learn how to use slang phrases and words to draw the right attention and avoid these problems.
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