Last time I tried to learn a language, we used card catalogs in the library, phones had a cord, and Kurt Cobain was alive. To study Spanish almost required taking a class (though I suppose learning by book or cassette tape were options). My classroom learning in the early nineties was mostly worksheets, and lots of listening and repeating.
A few months ago, I decided to try teaching myself Japanese. On the internets.
And I mean, duh — it has been amazing. Of course learning a language on the internet is the best. I can learn at my own pace. Watch tutorials in my spare time. Play a Japanese TV show in the background while making dinner. Take two minutes to watch a Puni Puni video. Use online flashcards that adapt to help me work harder on words I can’t remember. Listen to podcasts while taking a walk. Rewind a YouTube video over (and over) in order to catch a particular phrase. Or perhaps my favorite time-waster of all, the anime show Polar Bear Cafe.
But. Yes, I’m sorry, a but. Why, oh why, does the internet ignore what I think it the most important language skill … listening??
Just like we can practice speaking using repetition or drill vocabulary with flashcards, it ought to be possible to work on listening comprehension with audio/video. Start with a very limited vocab and simple grammar structures, and say the sentences extremely slowly. (“I want a soda.” “My husband wants coffee.”) Speed the sentences up, swap around different subjects, change simple tenses, slow them down and add some new vocab, introduce a new verb concept.
The videos would haven’t to be boring; it seems like the internet/anime/YouTube would be perfect for this. Something not too far away from children’s videos, but specifically geared toward language learning. Fun to watch, with a narrative, and charming characters.
Please? Can someone make this, for Japanese?