This is Ken Cannon and I want to address the second main reason learning Japanese the conventional way proves to be quite difficult, the relevancy of the vocabulary. The hours and hours you spend learning the hundreds of words most programs include in their curriculum, often end up completely useless. I recently completed an analysis of the popular textbook “Genki” (the textbook used in about 60% Japanese classrooms nowadays). And out of the 1189 words taught throughout their 2 volumes, only about 637 words were found to be used in everyday casual conversation. And a mere 291 words I discovered were used in popular anime shows.
So a little over half of the words you learn become completely useless. That’s an entire 2 years in a high school, or a year in a college course down the drain.
And if you’re the average anime watcher like most of my expected readers probably are, only 1/4 of all the words you learn actually become useful.
I’ve done similar analyses on “Rosetta Stone” “Pimsleur’s” and “Lets Learn “Japanese” and they rank about the same, with “Lets Learn Japanese” fairing bit better than the other two.
Now I don’t mean to say that these programs are themselves useless. Personally I bought and benefited from all 4 of them. And if you plan to use these programs to actually move to Japan or to do business there, my analyses don’t hold as much water.
However, for the average anime/Jdrama viewer or just somebody who plans to communicate with close friends, these findings are quiet de-motivating. And you’ll soon feel it as you begin to learn the language, if you haven’t already.
In fact I think that’s another reason why people often say learning Japanese is hard, or becomes boring. The material taught isn’t really relevant.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! There is a better way and I’m going to share that with you guys in the next post, see you then!