Learning Japanese

Oral Japanese


(for old-timers: "Podcasting is the distribution of audio or video files, such as radio programs or music videos, over the Internet using either RSS or Atom syndication for listening on mobile devices and personal computers.")

Online radio

One neat solution is to listen to online Internet radio stations like NHK, record streaming audio from the Net into a file using Total Recorder, and listen to it at slower speed using CoolEdit (Transform | Time/Pitch | Stretch... | Slow Down).  Other applications to slow down and/or repeat segments are available at Ronin (Musician's CD Player or Amazing Slow Downer.) If you are using WinAmp, you can download the Slow Me Down plug-in. Other utilities are available here.


Made-in-Japan DVDs come with the soundtrack and sub-titles in Japanese

Grammar books

Word dictionaries

Note: I'm peeved by most Japanese dictionaries, because they..

  1. Are typically edited with Japanese readers in mind, so do not provide information that could be interesting to  foreigner learning Japanese, and expect you to be able to read Japanese at a native level, which is mutually exclusive with learning the language in the first place
  2. Mix fundamental, spoken vocabulary with words that you will only find in high-level writings (if ever); The result is that you may end up learning complicated Chinese compounds that people just don't use in everyday life, and not learn indispensable words and expressions that people actually use around you
  3. Do not indicate the language realm in which a word is used (eg. slang, colloquial, formal, antiquated), forcing students to adjust their vocabulary through trial and error

That said, here are dictionaries I would recommend:

Kanji Dictionaries

Andrew Nelson

Jack Halpern