TEACH YOURSELF JAPANESE CONVERSATION REVIEW

teach-yourself-japanese-conversationAn independent language course review by Sarah Maddocks

Teach yourself Japanese Conversation is a 3-hour, 3 CD, all-audio language course which is aimed at complete beginners or people who want to refresh their Japanese. Don’t even think about trying to do the course all in one go – it would be near impossible not to mention brain frazzling!

The CDs follow a couple called Chris and Sarah (I know, original names!) whilst visiting an ex-colleague in Japan. The idea of the CD is to learn the language through 20 conversations that Chris & Sarah have with native speakers. The course is accompanied by a booklet containing transcripts of the conversations; the key vocabulary is in bold.

The content of the CDs differ. CD1 & CD2 have 10 real-life conversations about things that you’d be doing on a weekend break or a short holiday or business visit to the country. For each conversation, there are two dialogues in three sections: the first section is listen and repeat, the second section is using the language in context and the final section is practising the conversation again. The CD3 is a recap session and gives you lots more real-life conversations.

When I first started listening to CD1, the first thought that sprang into my mind was ‘why on earth had I decided to even attempt to learn Japanese’. I stupidly (stupidly as in for future reference don’t do this) made the mistake of opening the booklet before I pressed play and thought I was way out of my depth. Still, I carried on and am glad I did. From the start I knew I had made the right decision with this course. The narrator is not irritatingly bland like on some courses – in fact quite the opposite as she is reassuring and easy to listen to.

The fab thing about the CDs is they are repetitive (in a good way) and the narrator often advises you to pause the CD which is easy to do. Throughout the sections some basic grammar rules are explained, as well as when to use and when not to use certain constructions.

CD2 continues on from CD1 and the level remains the same throughout, which is great as it doesn’t progress too fast or too slow (in other words just right).

CD3 is what would be called the revision CD. All the conversations in the booklet are replayed at normal speed and then a different version is played, with a kind of question time at the start. I found this a great way of recapping and actually testing what I had learnt (seeing as in the past I think I have mastered a self-study tape but in actual fact I really have no idea about the language!).

The booklet offers explanations of what to do in certain cultural situations. This is particularly handy if you go to Japan. The last thing you’d want to do is blow your nose, offend the whole room and have no idea why!

This 3-hour course is absolutely fabulous (excuse the quote from the television programme!). To me it seemed like a great 3-hour exam preparation course. Instead of boring me slightly (GCSE German memories flooding back!), it was very entertaining and made me feel that I would be able to handle myself in any one of the situations played out in the conversations and more importantly understand what was being said back to me.

I especially recommend this to people who have done language courses before and found them dull and uninteresting, as this is completely different. You actually come out of this course with a real sense of achievement.

I would recommend this to everyone who wants to learn a more adventurous language and who isn’t scared of challenges along the way. I especially recommend this to people who have done language courses before and found them dull and uninteresting, as this is completely different. You actually come out of this course with a real sense of achievement and a feeling that you could now go to Japan and find the train station, and more importantly order a beer and a sake!!!

to buy Teach Yourself Japanese Conversation [UK]>>
to buy Teach Yourself Japanese Conversation [USA]>>
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