Language exists in the world of sound, we perceive sound as a means of communication. We use it to receive information and distribute the proper response. Regarding language learning, sound is the first building block to solidify an individual’s language core . Here are four tips to help you learn Japanese by audio.
- Actually Listen: I know it can be difficult to actually focus when you are listening to your favorite J-pop band or watching your #1 anime, but the truth is…passive listening doesn’t work. Certainly, in the beginning of any language learning journey, the sound of a language has not yet registered with your brain— its simply noise. However that doesn’t grant you the excuse to be lazy and throw on a pair of headphones and go to sleep hoping you will magically absorb the word for “phantom” or “heartbreak”. Paying attention to the audio is 80% of the battle.
- Find Interesting Content: Imagine a lecture in your native tongue on a topic that you have ZERO interest in- naturally you will lose focus and maybe even fall asleep. You need to find engaging content to keep your attention. This can be anything from politics, morality, human nature, space, the fishing industry…keep your options broad, because language is not stagnant. The broader the topics, the better the exposure you have to the outside world. Furthermore, the more interested you are in what you are listening to, the better the chances of retention.
- Listen to yourself: This is disturbing to say in the least, because when you hear a Japanese native speak and then compare your subpar nothing of a voice to theirs you question why you even started to learn the language in the first. The trick here is to listen to your failure of an accent so many times, that your brain gets sick of hearing you, Literally, tick yourself off with your own voice and see how much better your pronunciation will improve.
- Record yourself on a smartphone app.
- Listen to yourself speak about a topic of interest for a few hours or so.
- Record that same topic AGAIN but after you’ve listened to yourself and note the differences.
- Music Videos: Often, our eyes snag our attention away from the world before our ears do- lets be honest, in music videos are you watching the video or listening to the music? If you answered both then you are on the right track! Music videos don’t only provide audio, but they provide a story to go with the audio. Meaning you can pair certain audio to their actions in the music video (a bit harder if you are watching an anime op), but regardless you will be picking up on certain things you didn’t even know was in the lyrics. This passive recognition of the language is an essential key to fluency. In a conversation between two native speakers even, the key content is held in their mind even after being blasted with a barrage of context. For example, if you watch a music video about a relationship struggle and the lyrics are going light-speed, chances are you can assume the vocabulary is going to be based around betrayal, loyalty, caring, heartbreak etc … if you actually manage to stick to #1 mentioned earlier.
Some of my favorite Japanese Artists are :