Konnichiwa! I’ve been learning Japanese on my own for three years and today I’m going to tell you tools you’ve never heard of before that are VITAL to learning a foreign language well. And it won’t cost you much at all! Click here to watch the corresponding video!
The first time I went to Hawai‘i I knew I wanted to live there one day. And one way to get a good job there is to learn Japanese because there are a lot of Japanese tourists. My local schools don’t offer Japanese, and even though I go to an accredited online school, even they didn’t have a curriculum to offer me. So I got a fast education on ways to learn Japanese that you may not know about. And what I learned can apply to any language.
First… I use Rosetta Stone. I know, I know. You’ve heard about it, and you might know already that it’s expensive. So the first thing I’m going to tell you is to go straight to your library and get a library card. Many counties, including mine, offer Rosetta Stone for FREE. And you don’t have to do it on their computer. You can do it right at home. Even if they don’t offer Rosetta Stone, some libraries have similar immersive language programs that you can access for absolutely free.
So, tip number one: Get to your library NOW!
Next, get ready to do some clicking. I use lots of apps to supplement my learning and most of them are free as well. For myself, I use Memrise and also Duolingo. I love these apps and while I have found they won’t get me to fluent as quickly as I’d like, I think they are a great addition to my curriculum and I can use them on my iPad or iPhone anywhere I go.
Now the next tip I’m going to tell you about is absolutely critical. You need to talk to someone who IS fluent in whatever language you are learning. That’s where I use verbling.com. I absolutely love this. I can meet face-to-face with a tutor online and it doesn’t cost nearly what it would if our meeting were in person. Seriously, my mom priced an hour long in-person tutor in our area and the cheapest she could find was $80 an hour. On Verbling, I found a native speaker who will teach me for just $14 an hour. It’s so fun and really important when you want to actually become fluent.
Finally, find yourself some great books. For learning Japanese especially, or any language that has a different writing system than what you grew up with, you need to really have some great books and workbooks to practice. Because you don’t want to just learn how to speak it. You need to know how to read and write your language.
For Japanese, Chinese, or other languages based in Asia, I highly recommend checking out Tuttle Publishing’s books. I’ll put links to my favorite books below in the description. These are all the Tuttle books I have at home. I know I said I’d tell you free or cheap ways to learn a language – so let me point you straight to your library again. But for things like workbooks, I’ve found I really need to have the actual book on-hand. And that’s why at Christmas or on my birthday, I’ve always got some Tuttle books on my list.
So that’s how I have been learning Japanese for three years and plan to continue until I can boast that I’m fluent. I hope this helps you learn the language of your choice!