I’ve been learning Japanese for years, and I know what works for me and what doesn’t. I want to learn how to communicate and have real conversations in daily life. But most teachers, especially in Japan, take a textbook centered approach from the start, centered on proper grammar and reading. In my case, if I’m not learning to relate with people around me, and that means talking with them, then I lose motivation for the hard, disciplined work of language study.
Here’s a tip for those of you who want to learn Japanese for communication. Try JapanesePod101. You can learn the basics of listening, vocabulary, and conversation on your iPhone or Droid as you ride the train or walk around. I ENJOY it, and that’s coming from someone who really doesn’t like language learning.
The best part is that it’s free to get all the daily podcasts. You can pay for additional features, but you don’t have to. I’d recommend paying if you’re going to be dedicated and use them, but you don’t need the extra stuff to get most of the benefits of this amazing service. Try it and you’ll see.
Here’s what I like most about JPod:
- It’s professionally done with voice actors and fun story-lines.
- The weekly conversations are performed by a cast of characters in a variety of voices and styles.
- You learn Japanese, formal and informal, as it’s spoken every day.
- There is plenty of repetition, including full and half speed versions of the conversations, so you can listen again and again until you understand what’s being said clearly.
- If you subscribe for the paid version, the additional materials are also well done, including transcripts, vocabulary lists, content quizzes, a personalized flash card system, and more. I can use it all or just the parts that suit my own learning style.
- JPod start in Japan, and it’s really well developed for learning Japanese, but you can also use it to learn many other languages. Just go to the website and look for the links for other languages.
DISCLAIMER: You can see I’ve put ads for JPod101 here on the page. I have used the service, both the free and paid versions. I signed up to be an advertiser because I genuinely love the service and wanted to promote something that I believe in.