Your Audio Flashcards

Since most of you hate reading my beautiful charts, let’s take a different approach.

I'd like you to download this collection of .mp3 tracks:

Assuming you actually download the files and listen to them (I can't do everything for you), they will show up in your audio player in the following order.

First, the pronunciation of each kana character, looped 8 times:

Second, a few words containing each kana character, each of them looped 8 times, too:

Now, the important part: Each set of vocabulary words will only introduce one new kana at a time:

Then we’ll repeat this process about 50 times. Since the track names for each audio file show the word in kana, romaji, and with its English definition, you can just listen to these files while trying to guess the kana, write them down, etc. (The files also show the word in kanji―how a Japanese person would write it―but you don't need to learn these just yet.)

Just by listening to these files, looking at the titles, and repeatedly referencing the charts and printouts in the upcoming lectures, you will be able to master not only the sounds of Japanese, but also several hundred vocabulary words.

Usually people just drill hiragana and katakana in isolation, matching them to English sounds. Doing it this new way, however, we can learn all of hiragana, all of katakana, and over 700 high-frequency vocabulary words in addition to learning the sounds and writing of each character.

Motivated students should be able to get through all of these in under a week. Lazy kids can get through all of these whenever they feel like it.


What you should learn from these "audio flashcards":

For example, when we learn the ka sound, here are all of the things you should learn/be able to do:

  • See or hear ka and…
    • Be able to write か (the hiragana for ka)
    • Be able to pronounce this correctly as "kah."
  • See (the hiragana for ka) and…
    • Be able to write カ (the katakana for ka).
  • See or hear kau and…
    • Be able to write かう (the hiragana for kau).
    • Know that かう (normally written with kanji as 買う) is the verb “to buy” in Japanese.
      • Note: At this point you will (or should) be able to write う (u), because we will learn it before encountering か (ka).
  • See or hear akai and…
    • Be able to write あかい and…
    • Know that あかい (normally written with kanji as 赤い) is the adjective “red” in Japanese.
      • Note: At this point you will (or should) be able to write あ (a) and い (i), because we will learn them before encountering か (ka).
  • See or hear kao and…
    • Be able to write かお and
    • Know that かお (normally written with kanji as 顔) is the noun “face” in Japanese.
      • Note: At this point you will (or should) be able to write お (o), because we will learn it before encountering か (ka).
  • See all of those kana written above and…
    • Be able to pronounce them accurately.

Let’s hope that these crazy bulleted lists make sense to at least 1% of the people reading this. The rest of us can just figure it out as we go.


By the way, here's how you pronounce か ・ カ ・ ka:

And here's 買う ・ かう ・ kau ・ "to buy":

And 赤い ・ あかい ・ akai ・ "red":

And 顔 ・ かお ・ kao ・ "face":




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