If you have read through the About page, and glanced at the previous posts, you have probably discovered by now that I love to learn new things. One subject that I find truly fascinating is foreign languages. Looking at my bookshelf, that fact would be obvious to you – since I have multiple books on learning Chinese, Dutch, Spanish, and German. The problem is that I haven’t read any of those books. It’s almost like I think I’m going to learn another language through osmosis. Maybe if I just keep these books next to my bed, I’ll wake up one day and be fluent enough to actively hold a conversation with a native speaker. That, obviously, is never going to happen. Every now and then, though, I’ll get on a new kick and rediscover the excitement of languages. One of my favorite languages (currently?) is Japanese. I love the beauty of the written kana and kanji, and the overall kawaii of Japanese culture. If you are interested in learning Japanese (or any language of your chosing), there are two sites I would like to share with you…
The first is Mahalo, a human-powered search engine. I would like to say that you could think of it as a type of ‘wikiGoogle’, but that wouldn’t be accurate. Each page on the site is written/edited by a Mahalo Guide, who locates and organizes the best links for the term you are searching for. The pages for the search terms are usually clearly written and relevant. To see the Mahalo page for how to speak Japanese, click here.
The other site I would like to share is for Mango Languages. I absolutely love this site! Mango is a free, Flash-powered language learning site that currently offers lessons in English for Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, and Spanish (and Pig Latin if you’re looking for something a little light-hearted). The Japanese portion currently contains 101 lessons, each with numerous interactive slides. Lesson 1, for example, contains 91 slides. Mango’s features include native speakers, color coded translations (with an amazing interaction feature that includes phonetics), note slides, and memory building excersises. One slight downside is that the site now contains sponsored ads on both sides of the learning environment. Although they are not really distracting, I was using the site before the ads were installed and the change makes them stand out a little more to me. You probably won’t be bothered by them (I’m not), I just wanted to mention it.
Feel free to check out the sites when you get some free time. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll actually use these sites to learn Japanese instead of writing a post about them!
After you learn some of the Japanese language, where are you planning on practicing it? How about taking a trip to climb Mount Fuji?