previously Part 0: Introductions
When you start learning any language, I think it’s very important to get used to the way it sounds. If you start this now, it will make everything easier later on. You can get used to the way the language sounds by simply listening. A lot.
I recommend setting up an “immersion iPod“. I recently went out and bought an iPod shuffle for this purpose. All you do is download your favorite native media (music, TV shows, movies, podcasts) and listen to them throughout the day. This let’s you get accustomed to the sounds of the language and the way people talk so that when you start learning words and phrases, your pronunciation will naturally fall into place. You won’t have to worry as much about developing proper accent because you’ve spent months listening to native content. Now, you can do this with any device that can play mp3s, but I like using my shuffle for 3 reasons:
1.) they’re only $50 dollars
2.) they’re small and portable
3.) if you set it up like mine, you can just turn it on and go about your day.
All I’ve done is take TV shows that I enjoy (and you really have to enjoy them. You’re going to be listening to them many many many times over), and rip the audio from them. You can use any sort of method, but Audacity is free, cross-platform, and really easy to use. I generally like breaking down each episode into 3-minute chunks, because going about your day and listening to an entire 30-minute anime or 45-minute drama can get tedious and boring. Break them down into smaller bit-size components to keep it fresh and interesting. Also, don’t forget to change out your listening material frequently. If you find yourself getting bored with that one episode of Fullmetal Alchemist, then don’t listen to it! Your priority here should be having fun and staying interested. It doesn’t matter how beneficial you think it is, if you’re bored you are not going to learn.