I mentioned many different resources in my last posts and in this I will write about the ones I am using as well as what I am discovering in the ones I am using. I will go in the order posted being paid for, optionally paid for, and free.

     As far as the things that cost money I have gotten 3 resources. Those three being Pimsleur Japanese, Michel Thomas Japanese, and and old Japanese textbook called, "Japanese Step by Step" by Gene Nishi. The book I kinda scored for free because I was playing Super Smash Bros. Melee and drinking at a friend of a friends house and found that he said he was studying Japanese(or so he said). This triggered my interests and began talking about it. This guy however was all talk. He said he read and memorized the textbook in one go! I called his bluff and said, "So you obviously don't need this book any more, right? Mind if I keep it?" So even though it's an 11 year old book, it was free and I really don't think that man was at all serious about learning so it was a pure win. The other two, Pimsleur and Michel Thomas I paid for because I learn much better by listening. I tried Rosetta Stone and I retained little to nothing from it and therefore did not like it. There is a big difference between the two audio book programs that I purchased recently that I must point out. Many reviews loved Michel Thomas more than Pimsleur, but I favour Pimsleur for one reason and that is the memorization techniques. I would not go as far as saying Pimsleur has a great technique mastered to memorize, but it is at least straight forward. It uses native speakers to enunciate words syllable by syllable following a definition while being used in context. So for learning vocabulary this is pretty good, eh? Michel Thomas on the other hand is a bit different. I don't think it's for the better either. When introducing a new word there is an English teacher and 2 other students to give you a classroom feel. The female student is not bad at enunciation at all, but the male and the teacher are not the best influences in this department. But that did not bother me. What I found to be troublesome was the introduction and memorization tactics of new words. For example, the word, 彼(かれ/kare) meaning he is to be remembered by thinking, "He drives a very fast car." As for myself, I am not seeing how that is related to remembering "kare" and more so, I am thinking about a car. That being said, this is my only problem with Michel Thomas. It is extremely good for getting your grammar kicking by starting off small and growing and explaining word order very well. In fact some of the descriptions are so well said that I'd take notes even though it is said that note taking is not required to learn through their methodology. So I'd say both programs are Useful especially when used in harmony.
     As far as the textbook goes, it is my first and only J-textbook so I cannot really compare it to anything however, it seems to be a good source of vocabulary expansion and grammar usage. Because it is rather old, I do not know how reliable it truly is to speaking casual Japanese. If anything it will teach you proper Japanese and people will correct you on how to be more casual. So it's good but I need to crack it open a little more...

     As for the category of optional pay, I mainly stick to Tofugu and Lang-8. Tofugu was actually discovered through YouTube among the J-Vlogging community, as was my emergence into intrigue of Japanese culture in general. Seriously, YouTube is one of the greatest windows to reach across the world that the Internet has to offer. But those cat videos and goofy people are okay too, I guess. Although studies with Tofugu have been a bit slow lately on account of my own laziness, Liking it on Facebook will still give you your dose of Japanese news & culture updates so even if I decide to take a small break to prevent getting burned out on studying, I still get the fix to learn something a bit more relaxing. As for lang-8 I find that I am using it more often when I study hard. Simple really, the harder you work the more you can say and read to ask legit questions while understanding a natives explanation. And again these sites have options to pay and get more out of them, I just can't quite afford to.

     As for freebies, I frequent my YouTube digest, Japanese-lesson.com, Rikaichan, and a variety of Linux tools such as Anthy(J-input method), kana test, and Kiten(J-Dictionary). I have found that being a Linux user, I have advantages to getting some of this open source software and so that is a +1 to all Linux users. Then again, if Windows or Mac were my OS, a way to find freebies would surely have been discovered. What else can be said about these other than that they are fantastic ways to learn for free?

     Thank you for reading and if you have questions/comments, please do not hesitate to ask! :D In my next blog I'll talk about whatever my current status/struggles may be. Also maybe I'll figure out how to make pretty static pages and get the other facades of this blog going. . .

Comments (2)

On 17 January, 2012 21:33 , BragonDorn said...

Static pages would be really nice :)

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