The Language Mastery Blog
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As Plato said, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” I would add yet three more benefits of music in the context of learning Japanese: ① Music is fun, meaning it will help you get your daily dose of Japanese no matter what (and actually enjoy the process along the way). ② Music makes repetition more enjoyable, allowing you to master Japanese vocabulary and grammar without the boredom that other forms of repetition entail. ③ Music improves memory, increases retention, and provides a scaffolding for new information. So that’s the “why” of music. Read on to see the “how” of the music approach using the Apple Music app. And let me know in the comments if you want me to do a similar write up for another app or streaming service.
Whether you find Duolingo to be a green-feathered friend in your pocket or an intimidating monster lurking outside your door waiting to pounce on you for not meeting your daily study goal, there’s no denying the app’s ubiquity and widespread cultural influence. Even Saturday Night Live has done a skit about it! Given its popularity, I am frequently asked whether I use Duolingo myself and what I think about it as a path to foreign language fluency. The answer to the first part of this question is easy: yes. Every single day. The answer to the second half, however, is far more nuanced and chock-full of caveats. Read on to see why Duolingo (alone) won’t get you fluent in Japanese, but why I think you should use it anyway…
Once upon a time, you had to two choices if you wanted to get fluent in Japanese: ① Take Japanese language classes. ② Move to Japan. I did both and had a (mostly) great time doing so. But while I think classes can be great for those who can afford the time and tuition and that living abroad can be a profoundly transformative experience, neither undertakings are a requirement for learning a language. Today, anyone with an internet connection, a little creativity, and sufficient discipline can reach a high level of fluency anywhere in the world if they design the proper environment. Read on to see exactly how to create a fun, effective Japanese language environment no matter where in the world you happen to live.