Pimsleur vs JapanesePod101 vs?

I used jpod101 for a long time before I tried Pimsleur. I think Pimsleur is a way more concentrated way to practice. With J101 you only hear any given concept maybe 1 or 2 times, and it’s very hard to remember anything. J101 is a lot friendlier, so it’s nice to listen to when you don’t have your full attention.

It’s going to be hard to say any word naturally if you haven’t already said it 5-10 times in the past, even if you can hear/read it easily. Something like Pimsleur can be rote at first, but it’s a way to get speaking practice without having access to another language speaker.

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Yes, appears that either one is $15/month now.

I like Pimsleur for the commute, as other have said. If there was something else like it I would try it but they strangely seem to be the only ones doing what they do (slowly introducing new vocab and grammar via repeatable conversations).

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I just borrowed Pimsleur Japanese I to III and kinda feel that even though you learn a lot from it, the conversation speed is around N4, meaning nowhere near the speed of normal conversation in Japanese. Also, the situations seem to be mostly about businesspeople interacting with each other.

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I would agree with all of that, yeah.

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I’m a fan of Pimsleur. It got me speaking and helped with my pronunciation. I know I still have an accent, but I’m sure it’s much less so thanks to this. (I dabbled in the Russian one as well, just did one lesson, and my partner, native Russian, noticed a significant enough difference on my pronunciation to comment on it XD So it does really help!)

To not repeat what others have said, while I do recommend it, be a bit prepared for some boredom. Not that some lessons are slow or not challenging, just the topics are a bit dull. I’m not a business person, I’m not married with three kids, etc. It’s important stuff to learn, they just don’t make it super exciting. I finished through the first three levels (I only have the older ones, hopefully the newer versions are better!), and I started going through level four, but am struggling with motivation, so it’s been on pause for a while. I do think level four has been more engaging than the first three though. :slight_smile:

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You can do that?! Might have to try them out in that case!

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I didn’t read the whole thread but I just wanted to say that I used to do Pimsleur while driving and it really improved my confidence when it came to speaking Japanese. For the most part I didn’t have trouble doing it while driving.

I had some CDs from the library with half-hour lessons. They recommend only one lesson per day. If I was driving for over an hour sometimes I’d do it back to back, but it’s actually pretty tiring. So you might want something more passive to fill up some of the extra time.

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I gave Pimsleur a test drive by checking it out from the library and found it useful enough that I saved and used Audible credits to buy it. I think that materials from different sources can be useful if you’re open to all aspects of the language. I know that some comments raise the point that Pimsleur teaches formal/business Japanese but the fact is that’s super useful. In Japan, it’s better to err on the side of polite speech than casual in most settings though most people are just excited that you’re speaking the language in the first place!

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Thanks for all of the advice so far everyone! I have been testing JPod101 for the last week, and I think it is awesome so far.

However, with all of the positive comments on Pimsleur, I think I’ll have to try that as well some time!

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I use JapanesePod and I like it. They have a wide range of scenarios and conversations can be quite useful, and it’s quite enjoyable too. From the beginner level, they use a lot of English to explain things, and as you progress through higher difficulties, they gradually use less and less English which fits well into the philosophy of “+1 learning”.

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I used Pimsleur up to the middle of the second series (about lesson 45) and while it was useful for memorizing certain phrases, the explanations of grammar are lacking

JPpod has some really good programs that can act as a good replacement for a textbook if you don’t have time to study traditionally. If you listen to the whole lesson once, you can also download just the Japanese sample conversation and listen to it over and over or shadow along with it.

Podcasts are also good for if you are tired and just want to passively listen. I found pimsleur was too much on days when I was stressed out from work, so a podcast can be nice for those days.
I recommend Nihongoconteppei for beginners. The audio clips are free, 4 mins per clip, and will help train your ear

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Yeah, I mostly just use it to help me with getting used to speaking the words and forming some sentences. I dont really expect it to get me super far with natural conversations

which is why I have been slacking on it a lot lately…

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Yes, be very careful with Pimsleur’s explanations of grammar and meaning. I realized I forgot to stress that earlier. It seems to be meant to help tourists memorize some phrases, and a lot of the nuance is glossed over. Don’t take any of the translations too literally and just use it to let your tongue get used to the Japanese syllables.

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Hello Paptreek. I don’t know where you live, but where I live in Maryland, United States, most of the county public library systems offer some sort of language learning program for free if you register with a library card.

Sometimes it’s Rosetta Stone, but other times it’s an audio course called Mango. Mango is basically a phrasebook that starts out touristy and gets more general and covers a lot of topics as it goes along. Personally, I like it as a small supplement to ‘real’ language learning, and I can do it while driving. I’m sure there’s better systems, but again ‘completely free, no commitment’ gets a lot of points with me.

Sorry if these sorts of programs aren’t available for you. Hopefully someone reading this can benefit from it.

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Re: Pimsleur.

If you find you aren’t nailing a lesson, should you redo it until you are getting like 90% of it down, or keep going ahead? I know a lot of the lessons review stuff from prior lessons. I always feel like the first time through a new lesson I’m obviously not going to nail it unless it’s stuff I’ve heard already from other sources, so I tend to go through each one twice anyway, but if even that leaves me with a few words and phrases I have trouble remembering, should I keep redoing the whole lesson, move to the next one… figure out the phrases giving me trouble and throw them in an Anki deck? (I’m super lazy about making Anki content but maybe I need to start building that habit)

Any suggestions? Quantity over quality or quality over quantity for a beginning learner?

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I find if you understand the main point of the lesson then you should move on. For instance if you are learning adjectives and now know 今日(きょう)(あつ)いですね means “Today is hot huh.” then you should be good. I’m a perfectionist with ADD so I’m never sure when I should move on, but I feel when I get about 60-70% of what they are teaching it’s time to move on. As you said yourself language builds on itself so it’s not the last time you will encounter that word or grammar point and of course you have the option to go back over it if you find yourself lacking when you see it again.

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Problem with Japanese Pod 101 is that there are a lot of discussion in other language than Japanese and the core dialogue compared to time spend listening is quite sparse. Not sure if it jumps to full japanese with japanese discussion in intermediate levels.

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I’m not really sure but I think most advanced lessons are either japanese only or at least they will hardly speak any english.

I did read somewhere (in this thread???) that the higher level you get the less English they use, but I haven’t gotten there yet. I would have to agree that they really waste a lot of our precious learning time with their banter in English in the beginner levels of JPP101. It deters me from using it and makes me more prone to use Pimsleur, even though Pimsleur doesn’t explain the grammar as much or seem to teach as many levels of formality.

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Yes the banter in English is annoying. It’s too bad because it’s not the worst resource but even at the intermediate levels there is still a considerable amount of English banter. And more troublesome is that half of the time it’s not even relevant. It’s just filler. I can’t completely hate on Japanese pod 101 because it was helpful for me when I was a newbie…but in retrospect it was just soo much English for a Japanese language learning podcast.

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