It's been a very modest start. Khatzumoto, our 'guide' in the program and creator of the AJATT blog, has us doing a LOT of passive listening. I'm enjoying it and doing it most of the day and even night with podcasts. I know there are questions over the usefulness of passive listening, and I can see both sides. Fluent in 3 Month's Benny Lewis doesn't like it, but he also spends no more than three months on a language, giving passive listening far less of a beneficial effect. I see how it can help when used over a longer period of time and alongside other methods. It's a multiplier, though a small one. If it's your only method of learning, you're multiplying against 0, giving you 0. If you combine it with other methods, it has a cumulative effect over a long period of time.
The other technique we're using is called shadowing. Basically, you copy what a native speaker is saying exactly how they're saying it. It's said to help you with tonality, which Japanese admittedly has little of, making you sound more like a native speaker. Again, I'm seeing this as a small multiplier that also helps build good speaking habits. I'm not enjoying this quite as much as passive listening as native speakers seem to speak very fast. I know this will become easier later on with more experience, but it's still frustrating.
Along with a quick glance at the Kanji, which we will focus more on next month, that's about it. It can all be summed up with Khatz's Three Laws of Language Acquisition:
- The Prime Directive: Have fun
- The Promise: Suck less
- The Path: Make contact little and often