How to use Free Software to learn Japanese, and more.

Thoughts on reading before listening?

October 27, 2022 — Tatsumoto Ren

Reading is very powerful, but it harms you if you don't have enough phonetic awareness. If I were starting today, I would keep reading at a minimum for the first year.

In this guide we try to balance listening and reading to accelerate progress without sacrificing listening abilities too much. It is recommended to avoid reading for the first year in order to allow listening abilities to mature. Therefore, active immersion mainly consists of watching anime, dramas, movies, etc. Afterwards audio tracks are extracted from the video files and reused for passive immersion.

A limited amount of reading is necessary to grow one's vocabulary. Target language subtitles are used to look up unknown words, but are best kept disabled, hidden for the most part of the playback. Text-based flashcards are used to aid in memorization since audio-based flashcards don't work very well. By listening to the language as much as possible, preferably all the time, the adverse effects of premature reading are minimized.

What's more, by reading subtitles and reviewing text-based flashcards in the SRS one can learn kanji and prime themselves for reading real texts later on. In Japanese literacy is impossible without knowing kanji, and we have to address that.

Tags: faq