Say What?! Beginner's Speaking/Listening Tools

こんにちは Squirrel-friends,

I started my Japanese quest January of this year and have so far loved the WaniKani learning process.
I wanted to be able to read asap and I am so impressed by the speed it enables you to learn!
(Plus I often lol on the bus on the way to work at the mnemonics during lessons/reviews and startle grumpy Londoners, which is always greatly pleasing).

I am nearing level 10 on WK now, and know that because in life I am a shy bean speaking/listening is my current greatest weakness and I want to start blasting it now.

My question to you is- what would you recommend for beginner’s listening/speaking? I have bimbled around online looking at various programs and apps including:


I have also looked around in Anki for sentence practise and have some decks installed that are…ok.
Main thing with the programs is of course £££ and what I am really asking is- are those kind of things worth it? Has anyone had any experience with these, and would you recommend?
Are there any free similar resources?

My main goal with this is to move on from sounding like a retard and to progress to the next level (child), and then attempt to speak in f2f conversations!

Thank you so much!


The core decks for Anki have audio and are great for listening practice. I also recommend listening to Japanese podcasts, even if you don’t yet understand what they’re saying. As long as you’re getting exposure that’s good.


I’ve found Visual Novels make for fantastic listening practice (provided, obviously, that they have voice acting, and the ability to replay that voice acting) because you can listen to the same line, over and over and over again, until it starts to make sense to the ears. They also make excellent reading practice, of course.

Specifically, I’ve found that Little Busters on Steam you can switch between japanese and english interface at the literal press of a button, so you can use it to both test your reading ability by hiding the english, and test your listening ability by hiding the japanese.


The italki site/app i have found useful for speaking and listening.

Have easily found a few native Japanese speakers who want to brush up their English speaking and in return help with Japanese practice. There are also professional teachers on there from a low cost. All through the app and Skype mainly.

You might be able to find Pimsleur at your local library.

Japanesepod101 is also frequently recommended, although their marketing is very aggressive, and if you do subscribe make sure to read carefully, or you may end up paying more than you expected.

For speaking, I think shadowing is a great start, even if you don’t understand what you’re saying, it can help you pick up things like accent, intonation, rhythm, etc. I’d recommend taking this course:

It sounds basic, but actually goes over things like accent, intonation, and such, which is important if you want to sound more native/less foreign.

Definitely highly recommend playing VNs!

Im going through Little Busters and Hoshi Ori Yume Mirai right now in Japanese and its a lot of fun and helpful.

I was going through the Steam release of Little Busters but I found myself using English as too much of a crutch! For now, I fell back on the Japanese edition and use a text hooker to grab the sentences!

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I don’t have any suggestions, just want to confirm that I’m a squirrel-friend.


I have used Hello talk it’s quite a nifty app you can send voice message to each other, and you and your language partner can edit and correct each others sentence with out altering the original (text message) which does come in hany. There is a paid or free version I believe, so u can always try it out and then see if u want to pay for VIP status.

I hope this was helpful :slight_smile:

Thanks everyone! You are true squirrel-friends indeed. σ(≧ε≦o)

For listening, Satori Reader is phenomenal. It goes over grammar constructs and definitions in context too.

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