Immerse Yourself in Japanese Sounds
As you know, Japanese is a language. So it's a human form of communication in which sounds are made with one's mouth and tongue, which then enter another person's ears and get deciphered by their brain.
If your mouth cannot produce the sounds of Japanese, you'll never be able to speak it. If your brain cannot decipher the meaning of the Japanese language's sounds, then you'll never understand it.
For this reason, get concentrated exposure to spoken Japanese is a crucial part of forming your foundation of Japanese. Specifically, we want to start hearing Japanese people saying things and start mimicking them, too. So how can we do that?
In my experience of studying languages, when it comes to improving our listening comprehension and pronunciation, no tool is as useful as repeated loops of phrases and sentences.
Accordingly, I'd like to introduce you to...
Your First Audio Loops
An audio loop is an audio recording of a Japanese phrase or sentence that is repeated multiple times. Like this:
Later on, I'm going to introduce the Caveman Convo Course, a step-by-step walkthrough to taking your first face-to-face Japanese lesson. In that course, we introduce a number of phrases that are essential when taking a Japanese lessons. For example, we look at how to say:
- What does X mean?
- How do you say X in Japanese?
- I don't understand.
- Could you repeat that?
...and so on.
We'll give you a flashcard deck to help with learning those phrases. Perhaps the best way to learn them, though, is with you very first audio loops:
You'll notice that each audio loop track's title is the Japanese that's being spoken, followed by the English translation. After going through these a handful of times, you'll rarely need to check what the title is, but for the first few listens it's nice to be able to check what exactly is being said in these loops.
Once you get all of those audio files downloaded, starting filling up "low-quality time" with them.
Low-quality time refers to time in which you cannot dedicate your full attention to studying, but you still have the mental space to pick up new information. In other words, it's the time that few of us use to our full potential, including:
- Standing in line at the grocery store.
- Riding the train or bus.
- Lying in bed trying to fall asleep.
If you manage to fill a solid portion of your low-quality time with the audio loops above, I think you'll be shocked at how quickly you can pick up these Japanese words and phrases.
If you find that listening to audio loops gets old, however — which I often find to be the case — you can alternate them with Japanese podcast episodes. Here are some useful podcasts you can use:
I love studying with audio content. There's no pressure to perform, you know? You just get to listen to the voices of fellow humans, daydreaming about how awesome your language skills are gonna be in the future. And, depending on the content, you still learn a lot while you're at it. ^_^