It is said that in this day and age that nothing is free anymore. Well what if I told you that’s a lie.. kinda. People assume that nothing is free anymore and that to be able to get something that is worth a lot, you must spend a lot of money. This is so not true and it really hurts me to see people spend thousands of pounds/dollars/yen on products that literally do not help them at all.
When it comes to language learning, the market is saturated with products trying to sell you “the quickest way to fluency!”, charging extortionate amounts for courses and classes that simply do not work. These courses are so good at advertising themselves to the masses that they make a hell of a lot of money. They do not, however, actually get anyone to fluency. I have never heard of a person becoming fluent by using just Rosetta Stone. In fact, knowing what I know now about language learning, I realise that it is impossible to become fluent from such courses as these.
Fluency in a language comes from spending your entire daily life around the language. Unfortunately there is no short path. Mass input is the only solution. These language courses are all built to just get money from the masses that are desperate to learn language but that don’t do enough research into actually how to learn languages. You need quantity when it comes to language. Courses and classes do not provide that.
If you landed on this blog though, then you are in the right place. This entire blog is written to show you my experience of learning Japanese in 18 months (I can now understand natives and read native material perfectly fine) as well as providing you with excellent advice on how to learn language efficiently but with realistic expectations. (If you want more then subscribe to my newsletter).
Today, I am going to provide you with the one true free resource that will allow you to become fluent in any language. It contains so much quantity, that it would be hard not to become fluent if you used it. I used/use it. Me and my friend are now using it learn German. An international Japanese student I met last year used it (and his English was impeccable). This is the resource to rule all resources. It is more powerful than any language course or class.
This resource is
That’s right, it’s Youtube folks.
Sorry for getting your hopes up, but really, hear me out.
I am pretty sure anybody reading this will have heard of Youtube but for those of you who have not (where have you been for the last 10 years?) Youtube is a massive video sharing site which is now available in most major languages in the world.
The site literally contains so much content that if you consumed all of it, it would take roughly 30,000 years. That’s insane! And all this content isn’t just in English. The content consists of blogs, music, podcasts, TV shows, films, content creators, game plays, streamers and tonnes more. All in nearly every major language in the entire world. If you consumed all the content on Youtube you would be fluent in over 100 languages, I am certain of it. All it takes is time (although none of us have 30,000 years so lets stick with one or two languages for now ;)).
Now, of course this service isn’t entirely free. Youtube gets its money from adverts and these can be quite frustrating (get an adblocker if you can’t stand ads). You also do need a stable internet connection as well as a mobile or a computer to view the content. So it does indirectly cost you some time (adverts) and money (internet + tech) but the service is essentially free. All that content for free and you are complaining you don’t have listening material? Are you mad good sir?!
Not only is Youtube a free resource but the amount of content that it contains is definitely enough to get you to fluency in a language. Unlike courses or classes where you would need to make use of other materials to get to fluency, Youtube by itself is definitely enough. Combine Youtube with a piece of software that allows you to download and convert videos from Youtube, and you have got yourself an infinite supply of listening content 24/7 (tip: you are probably going to need a large external hard drive).
I know I may be speaking the obvious to some people here but seriously, Youtube is THE best language resource. I have learnt so much from the TV shows, Films, Anime, Music and Japanese content creators on Youtube. If Youtube (or a similar site) did not exist, my language skill wouldn’t be where it is today.
Now, I always get the question “Can you send me links to content related to __________” or “I need listening material but can’t find any, help!”. Although I don’t mind questions like these, the answer is literally as simple as go and search. I think AJATT puts too much emphasise on “no output” that people are scared to google in their target language. Don’t be! Youtube and Google are just search engines that take keywords. You therefore do not need to know any knowledge of your target language to search in the target language. Simply get a dictionary such as jisho, search terms related to a topic area you are interested in, get the Japanese equivalent and then search for it! It is seriously that easy. You need to learn this basic skill if you are going to succeed. Of course you can always ask a native for content but lets face it, not all natives are going to know about topic areas such as アルゴリズムとデータ構造. You are going to have to search for these things yourself.
Okay, now you have enough listening material to become fluent in any language. Are you happy now? If not then, well, there’s not much I can do for you. If you need more resources then check out this page, Language Resources – Matthew Hawkins, for more. Other than that, use a dictionary or the knowledge you have of the language and search Google/Youtube with key words. It’s the only real way around the “lack of content” issue that a lot of immersion learners have. Basically what I am trying to say here is you need to actively search for content. Japanese will not hand itself to you on a plate. You have to go find it yourself.
I know it was a simple idea and a simple blog post but hopefully this has helped some of you (I apologise if it didn’t). Also, again, apologies for the lack of blog posts and activity recently. Learning German, programming coursework and exam revision has been really taking up my time.
Anyway, thanks for reading!