Is "Speak Japanese!" beneficial?/Recommendations for casual Japanese

Hey guys,

Has anyone used the Speak Japanese! series? Is it good? After years of taking Spanish in school, I’ve come to find out that what they’ve taught us isn’t really how people speak in everyday conversations. I definitely don’t want the same to happen with learning Japanese. So, I’m looking for good resources that would assist with learning natural, casual, every-day conversational Japanese instead of just the normal textbook kind of conversations.

Anyway, thanks! Any other resources would be very much appreciated.

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I’ve used it a little, and my Japanese wife does think it looks like real Japanese. I bought a couple books from it after reading the Kristen article you’ve linked, which gives a hearty recommendation.

The only thing is that I haven’t yet developed a good study plan for it.
Personally, I’d also recommend a combination of textbook + Speak…! Check out Kristen’s review of Minna no Nihongo as a further reference…


Well I haven’t used it, but from those few pictures, nothing looks wrong. One common thing I know about textbooks is they always default to using desu, and don’t teach much about da. The first image looks like they are showing you casual speak though, doesn’t look bad at first glance imo


I’ve heard about Minna no Nihongo, will definitely check it out. And that gives me more confidence since your wife gave it a thumbs up. Thanks!

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Didn’t know there was a lack of “da” in textbooks. Will keep an eye out and find some other resources for it. Thanks!


It’s usually in there somewhere, it’s just a prioritization choice about what you teach first and what you teach later. You can make reasonable arguments for both ways, IMO, and I don’t think it matters much in the long run because you get to the same place in the end whichever way round you do it.


There’s a lot more than 4 books in this series FYI. I own 5 of them and I do think they are immensely useful. IMO anything that approaches language learning from a sentence pattern perspective is pointing you in the right direction.

As for casual Japanese? Sure, you’re going to see a lot of informal sentences with a lot of sentence-ending particles for emphasis or de-emphasis.


I love those books! It sounds like other people posting here have more knowledge of how accurate the Japanese is, but I’ve learned from the books for years and they seem very solid to me. I think I have the complete set of the books. I use the CDs in the car and study the text when I’m at home. Personally, I think the layout of the pages is great - visually interesting and very clear about what concepts are being taught on each page.

Miku has a course that focuses on plain spoken Japanese that is very good, as well:


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