Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bilingual Books, Japanese in 10 Minutes a day

Last summer we had a one-month exchange student from Japan. She spoke very little English, and our Japanese consisted mostly of konnichiwa(hello), and sayonara(goodbye). By the end of her visit we had a number of other words under our belts, but we were still pretty much lost without our trusty dictionary in our hands.

Because we are likely to participate in the program again, my 11 year old daughter showed great interest in learning some more Japanese before our next hosting experience. What a wonderful blessing, then, to have the opportunity to review the Bilingual Books program, Japanese in 10 Minutes a Day~ Book with CD-Rom, for the TOS crew. As you can tell by our choice, Bilingual Books offers more than the standard French, German, Italian, and Spanish. (Yay!) They also offer Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Vietnemese, Greek, Hawaiian, Polish, and English for the Spanish Speaking. (WOW! I wonder if Gaelic is on the horizon...???)

So, what are our thoughts on this program? Well, for starters, I can tell you that my daughter plans to finish the book (She's almost half-way through right now...), AND I seldom have to ask that she do her Japanese work, she picks it up independently most of the time. Thumbs up!

I'm going to list our Pros and Cons, and then give you the rest of the "particulars".

Pros:
*I have to like any "class" that is promoted as a short lesson~ 10 minutes a day! I tried to keep my daughter to that, but she would sometimes end up doing 15-20 minutes.

*The pronuciation helps in this course are very good, and quite convenient. The phonetic spelling is written above the Japanese words, eliminating the need to constantly turn to a glossary in the back of the book to see "How do I say that again???" (Although there IS a glossary in the back for those quick vocabulary "Look-ups".

*There are sticky labels and flash cards included for use beyond your 10 minutes a day. Hey, if I SEE ohayo gozaimasu (good morning) on the bathroom mirror each morning, and oyasumi nasai (good night) near my nightstand at night, eventually I, too, will pick up those phrases without too much effort. (I understand that the sticky labels are removeable. I'm sorry, I haven't tried to "Remove" any yet, so I can't comment on "how" removeable they are. If I decide to take any down, I will update my post to let you know how it went.)

*"Free" words can be found across the bottom of many pages. These are words that are similar in sound to English, so "easy" to recognize, thus "Free". Nice touch!
Examples: otomiru (oh-toh-mee-roo) is oatmeal and korekushon (koh-reh-koo-shohn) is collection. Any guesses on what kukki is??? :)

*My daughter's favorite part of the program has been having fun with things like crossword puzzles and other word games.

*She also enjoyed using the included interactive CD-Rom, which had varying levels of difficulty, so I think it works well as a fun quiz. I should mention that on my MAC, the CD required installation on my machine, and is now a stand-alone product, ie... it runs without the cd-rom in the drive.

*The CD-Rom incorporates (I believe) native Japanese speakers, so that it is much easier to hear how to actually pronounce all the words. There are many syllables that are "shortened" when spoken, which would be hard to figure out using strictly phonetic spelling. Now I understand why we received so many "quizzical" looks from our exchange student last summer. We couldn't even pronounce the numeral 7 correctly, even tho it was spelled phonetically for us! (I recommend buying the book/CD set vs just the book, if available for the language of your choice.)

There were a couple of "cons" that I should mention as well.

*From a homeschool student perspective vs business traveler use, my 11 year old was not interested in learning the words for Beer and Rice Wine which were in the text.. other alcoholic beverages are included in the beverage/menu guide... :\ minor complaint....

*From a teaching/student perspective, there were some pages with blank lines that looked like they should be filled in with "something", but it wasn't clear with what, if anything. However, MOST of the book is very clear and detailed in what to do next, so I didn't find those few areas to be much of an issue.

OK.... those are my lists... so, it's obvious that over-all we have been quite happy with the program, and will be making further use of the tools given.

The "nitty-gritty"
Book and Cd-Rom~ $24.95
Book alone ~ $19.95
CD only~ $14.95
It looks like there's a nifty little foldable "Cheat sheet" for $7.95, but I really can't comment on that as I haven't seen it in person.
There is also an "Audio CD Series" ($59.95) that includes Audio classes that coordinate with the book. Currently these are only available in French, German Italian and Spanish. Check out some of the other TOS reviews to get input on the CD Series

If you are looking for a "taste" of Foreign Language without the "commitment" to a huge, year-long course, Bilingual Books, 10 Minutes a Day might be just the thing... short, sweet, and thrifty!

Blessings~
Lis

2 comments:

  1. I've given you an AWARD! Come and See! www.homeschoolblogger.com/SisterTipster/

    ReplyDelete
  2. We use the German in 10 mins a day and have actually found it to be most beneficial, my daughter says she loves it-so I think for the money, it's a great product. Nice review!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for letting me know you were here. I appreciate "thoughtful" comments. :)

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