Hi! If you’re seeing this, you’ve probably purchased my Japanese Pronunciation Trainer (if not, you can get it at the store). I’m going to be using this page to keep track of changes, to provide instructions for repairing problems, and to have a central place to keep the instructional videos that you should watch before using your trainer.
Instructions for using your trainer effectively:
If you’ve never dealt with Anki before, follow the tutorials here. Basically, you’ll just download Anki, install it, and doubleclick on the Japanese_(Whateverversionitis).apkg file that you’ve gotten by email. You should see a note saying “Cards Imported!”. At that point, you’re free to start studying. I go through this process from start to finish (and show you how to get it working on your mobile device) in Tutorial 5, so if you feel comfortable skipping ahead, I’ll provide that video here, too:
Anki Tutorial 5: Getting Anki synchronized across your various devices (Laptops, smartphones, etc.)
Japanese Video 1: The Japanese Writing Systems (and Pitch Accent)
Japanese Video 2: The Japanese Consonants
Japanese Video 3: The Japanese Vowels
Japanese Video 4: Some quirks of the Kana Spelling Systems
Note: If you’d like more info on phonetics and the IPA, check out this series of videos.
Some Modified Versions:
Make your ear-training cards play BOTH recordings when you hit ‘Show Answer’:
And how to do it [note: I include a pre-made version of this in your download!]:
Current version: 2.01
Update, 2-2-16: My Anki card models for Japanese (and the ones I’d use for Chinese) have been evolving over the past year. I’ve been posting new versions in a number of blog updates, but I figured it’d be good to combine everything into one deck. You can download that model deck here. The minimal pairs, spelling cards and basic mnemonic cards are the same as my normal model deck, but I’ve added Mnemonics for Radicals (explained here – and you might want to switch up the pictures and mnemonics if you’re learning Chinese, rather than Japanese), an extra type of mnemonic card that better supports mnemonics for Kanji/Hanzi characters, and last, an All Purpose Japanese/Chinese card that you can use for Picture Words and sentences alike (explained here).
Update (2/19/16): We have added minimal pair animations to the trainer!
I’ll put all bug reports here. Make sure to check here before sending me an email, as I may know about it already!
Recent Bug Reports (and Notes on Fixes from Gabe!):
For spelling rules, the card with the sort order 23.95. It’s asking to spell the word for lion (in hiragana). When it reveals the answer, the answer is in katakana. Got it.
Minimal pairs 171 and 173. The English word “ski” isn’t recorded properly. Sounds more like “sgi” making the minimal pair test far too easy. I’ll keep this one in the to-do list until I get a chance to re-record with another bilingual. Her “ski” is technically correct (after “s”, [k] in English is unaspirated and sounds a lot like [g]), and yet it’s still kind of weird sounding in terms of the timing.
In the Japanese pairs package, there are some cards where it is impossible to know the right answer, because both answers look identical when written in hiragana. For example, one card has 2 words both pronounced ‘すき’ with no other orthography given. It should show you the IPA underneath…let us know if it doesn’t.
I believe the drawing for the FTSE card is incorrect. Shi is drawn instead of tsu. Fixed
Why the イ is pronounced as j(a)? This sounds strange! Can’t find this!
In Japanese v1.04.apkg, I notice that the “Good” time is two minutes, which is much less than the “Again” time of 8 minutes. See http://imgur.com/AS1WFYi, for example. My other Anki decks have a shorter repetition time for “Again” than for “Good.” The ‘good’ time is actually 8 minutes, then 6 minutes, then 2, then 2 for first-time minimal pairs. It does that so that you’re likely to see new minimal pairs and get exposed to them before you start reviewing the old ones, but after that happens and you’ve gotten them correct a couple of times, then you start seeing them more often, so you’re likelier to test them back-to-back or nearly back-to-back with other pairs.
I think there might be an error on one of the minimal pairs. The card asks you distinguish if you heard “ひよう” or “ひょう”. However, the recording for “ひょう” to me sounds more like “しょう” (with a clear “sh” sound). The recordings are accurate, to my ear. What I think is going on is that the lip rounding and the raising of the back of the tongue (to prepare for the う) are creating so much restriction in the airflow that it’s sounding a lot like しょう (which makes me think that ひょう & しょう would make a really interesting pair.
Japanese Beta v1.01:
Fixed some spelling issues (mostly Katakana words that were written in Hiragana) in minimal pairs 28,32,50,54,58,62,57,61,99,103,105,109,115,119,155,159,37,40,144. Replaced some of the picture words: 1813,2011,2026,2151,2251,2255.
Japanese Beta v1.02:
~On the “Tsar” card, the drawing order is wrong (shi not tsu) [FIXED]
~ In the minimal pair deck (beta 2), びん/bean: the Japanese [bʲi] is too long [FIXED], and for たい/tie I hear, most of the time (but not always), かい/kye instead. [LEAVING THIS AS IS]
~ The pronunciation of ク has none of the vowel sound (only the sound of breath), but the pronunciation of キ does include the vowel sound. [LEAVING AS IS]
~ Use Sukiunvoiced2 [FIXED]
~ Replace suitcase IPA with “su” [FIXED]
~ タバコ shouldnt be in hiragana [FIXED]
Recent Bug Reports (as of October 2015):
~ The sound card for “pollution” (“公害”), seems to be wrong. FIXED
~The image showing the stroke order for the word, “jogging,” seems to be wrong. FIXED
~In beta 1.02, card 5.3 FIXED
パ (pa) sounds like タ(ta).
~In beta 1.02, card 5.3 FIXED
Sound should be パ (pa), but seems to be タ(ta) instead.
Japanese Beta v.1.04: No bug reports yet!