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Monday, September 20th
Pimsleur is well-known when it comes to foreign language instruction. Although their language lessons focus almost entirely on learning by hearing, Pimsleur's Japanese lessons include a reading booklet and three booklets on culture notes; this is especially important given that Japanese is character-based and does not use the Roman alphabet that most learners recognize.
If you'd like to try Pimsleur's approach to learning Japanese, you can get a free 30-minute introductory lesson by entering your name, zip code, email address, and reason for studying the language (for fun, for business, and so on). We found that the free lesson was easy to follow and helped us understand some basic principles, vocabulary, and sounds in Japanese.
Although Pimsleur's Japanese lessons include audio lessons to help students learn to read Hiragana, along with a reading booklet, those components are not likely to leave students with a solid understanding of written Japanese. If your reasons for learning the language include being able to read or write it, Pimsleur's heavy emphasis on audio learning may not be enough to help you achieve your goals.
Another area where Pimsleur comes up short in comparison with its competitors is the satisfaction guarantee, or lack thereof. Pimsleur chooses to offer a Proficiency Guarantee instead, which has very specific terms: users must purchase Pimsleur's Level I program and take a novice-level test after you complete the course. This exam is available through an independent testing company accessed through a link on the Pimsleur website (which, at the time of our review, gave us a 404 error). Only if you fail that exam will you be able to get a full refund.
Finally, Pimsleur costs much more than other providers of Japanese lessons. Although their audio lessons have great reviews, we're not sure that the benefits they offer are worth the hefty $450 and $970 price tags, especially compared with other top-rated programs we considered that offer multiple approaches to learning (audio, visual, speech recognition, and so on). We strongly suggest that prospective customers not only try the audio sample prior to purchasing Pimsleur's program, but also that they check for any special offers or discounts that may be available from time to time.
As one of the 10 most spoken languages in the world, Japanese is a popular language for students of all ages. With more than 125 million people worldwide who use it on a daily basis, the opportunities for using Japanese are numerous, from business owners who are looking for a new partner in trade to middle schoolers who want to understand their favorite anime TV show without English subtitles.
Whether the only Japanese you know is "domo arigato" from Styx's classic 80's song, or you've got a basic grasp of conversational Japanese and want to take your skills to the next level, there are a number of programs that will allow you to learn the language from the comfort of your own home, car, or other location - without having to fit traditional classroom-based lessons into an already busy schedule.
When choosing a Japanese language program, you should explore what each system and method has to offer and whether or not it will help you reach your goals. Some Japanese lessons focus solely on conversational ability, using audio lessons to teach, while others use a variety of ways to teach reading and writing in addition to speaking the language.
Of particular interest with respect to Japanese is the written language. You'll want to determine if reading and writing is a priority, as not all programs include this aspect of language learning in their lessons. There are three basic scripts used in written Japanese:
As you can see, written Japanese is considerably more complex than English and other languages based on the more familiar Roman alphabet (such as Spanish, French, and German), so it's important to know how each program addresses the written component of Japanese if you'll need to be able to read and write it yourself.
In general, there are several things to consider when choosing a program for your Japanese lessons. These include:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Japanese Lessons available today. We hope these reviews help you to move quickly beyond "konnichiwa" and "sayonara" and towards a comfortable fluency level in the Japanese language!
Select any 2 Japanese Lessons to compare them head to head
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