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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and simple
I've long been a fan of the Michel Thomas method (French, Spanish and Italian). His method seems to work despite all the irritations of the presentation: the habit of making the female student panic, the smarmy male student. But what is that method and can it function without the Great Man (who died in 2005). I suspect it differs for each of us. To me the Method is the...
Published on 5 Jun. 2009 by Charles Vasey

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3.0 out of 5 stars Simple method, annoying teacher and student
The Michel Thomas method is pretty good and this course is a fair introduction to Japanese.

However I have to say that there are a couple of errors in the audio which I've listened to so far. V minor (i.e. the teacher at one or two points accepts ko-re to mean 'that', when it means 'this'), but still. Also, the very first lesson where she says 'okudasai' means...
Published on 29 Mar. 2012 by reading listener


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and simple, 5 Jun. 2009
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Michel Thomas Method: Japanese Foundation Course (Audio CD)
I've long been a fan of the Michel Thomas method (French, Spanish and Italian). His method seems to work despite all the irritations of the presentation: the habit of making the female student panic, the smarmy male student. But what is that method and can it function without the Great Man (who died in 2005). I suspect it differs for each of us. To me the Method is the marrying of pronunciation (he's a stickler for that) and useful phrases and sentences that allow one to speak at least to some degree in the language. One is not facing a wall of formal grammar which must be o'ertopped before you can ask Armand if the monkeys are amusing. Here you are up and running (well crawling) five minutes in. Additionally, Michel often used similarities in european languages to help you in remembering phrases.

Can this work with Japanese which (loan words aside) has little commonality with english?

I was very impressed: Helen Gilhooly is a rather less rambunctious teacher than Michel but is careful and precise, and her Japanese pronunciation assistant is most helpful. There are differences in style (and I would not know whether this is a good selection of phrases) but I found myself falling in line with the old ways. It helps that Japanese at this level seems a simpler language than the horrors of French.

Recommended
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Start to learning the Japanese Language, 30 April 2009
By 
A. Taylor (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Michel Thomas Method: Japanese Foundation Course (Audio CD)
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Foundation course 5/5
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I had no knowledge of the Japanese language prior to listening to this audio course.

Following the course I have a basic grasp of Japanese language sentence structure and am able to make myself understood to a certain degree.

The way it teaches you is very well done. You find yourself recalling what you've been told far more accurately than any other language course I've taken.

The whole course is audio, no reading materials required.

An excellent beginner course.

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The Advanced Course - 2/5
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Unfortunately I can "only post one review per product set". Which is a shame as the advanced course is far inferior to the foundation. I typed up a detailed review before Amazon lost it for me.

However, in summary it's a different instructor who's ability isn't anywhere near the firsts. She endlessly tells the students their answers are "Perfect", sometimes even when their answers are quite obviously incorrect.

The female student gets virtually every other phrase wrong, with very basic mistakes, which are then explained at length by the instructor. Needlessly wasting time, as it could have all been edited out. It's fine to point out common mistakes people tend to make here and there, but throughout the course all it serves to do is break your train of thought.

The advanced course also comes on 4 disks whereas the foundation is on 8. Another disappointment as it feels as though despite the vast amount of time wasted on explaining basic errors the course is half as long and so feels rushed.

5 stars for the Foundation course. 2 stars for the Advanced course.

Overall I would heartily recommend the foundation course. But in hindsight I would not have bought the advanced course.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good for complete novices, 12 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Michel Thomas Method: Japanese Foundation Course (Audio CD)
I had zero understanding of Japanese before picking up this CD. I found it easy to follow and listened to it each morning and afternoon on my journey to work. You end up picking up sentence structure and grammatical rules in much the same way as a child learns their first language.

I spoke with some Japanese friends and they thought the pronunciation and grammar were fine and I could make myself understood. In fairness you don't learn a huge amount of vocabulary, but then that is not the point of this course, learning how to speak it is. You can pick up phrase books to get vocabulary.

I've tried learning languages in other ways before but without as much success as this. Definitely one to recommend.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Simple method, annoying teacher and student, 29 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Michel Thomas Method: Japanese Foundation Course (Audio CD)
The Michel Thomas method is pretty good and this course is a fair introduction to Japanese.

However I have to say that there are a couple of errors in the audio which I've listened to so far. V minor (i.e. the teacher at one or two points accepts ko-re to mean 'that', when it means 'this'), but still. Also, the very first lesson where she says 'okudasai' means 'please may I have', then later she actually says 'no, it's just 'kudasai'' (i.e. drop the object marker) is quite confusing. Does not bode well for the rest of the lessons...

Couple that with the female student being really really bad at getting the basics right (she forgets the 'o' object marker about 80% of the time on the first CD, making this VERY ANNOYING), and struggles with remembering longer sentences, so the audio takes about 40% longer than it should to get through.

Not perfect, but ok.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable - confidence building, 13 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Michel Thomas Method: Japanese Foundation Course (Audio CD)
Working my way slowly through this - as had started with foundation Pimsleur course from the Library. Am very much enjoying it and have combined it with some apps on hiragana and katakana writing.
the MT course builds up your knowledge through repetition of verbs/ phrases recently acquired in different ways. Helen Gilhooly is credible and pleasant to listen to. One of the students can be a bit annoying at times, but its easy enough to tune them out. I will continue with this as its very easy to do in bite sized chunks and in my own time.
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Michel Thomas Method: Japanese Foundation Course
Michel Thomas Method: Japanese Foundation Course by Helen Gilhooly (Audio CD - 25 July 2008)
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