I've always loved anime, and I've picked up a couple of Japanese words from watching. Then I got Obenkyo for Android, to help me learn the hiragana and katakana. (Seriously, folks, Obenkyo is awesome.) Now I can read Japanese, but not understand it; nevertheless, it's always interesting to find the hidden English words in Japanese videos.

Six months ago or so, my parents found a Pimsleur Japanese CD set laying around, and brought it over for me.

Today (see how my spare time goes?) I started listening to it, with my daughter, on the way to the grocery store.

It's pretty neat. The only problem is that you're getting actual native speakers, so sometimes what you hear is different from what you're supposed to hear.

For instance, "English" sounds like "Eigo" on the tape. But later, when they introduce "Japanese" (Nihongo), the narrator talks about the "ng" sound. Then he asks if you heard it in "Eigo".

Well, no. No, I didn't. But now I think I do! Is it there or not?

It makes sense: "Eingo" would at least sound a little bit like "English".

A second listen convinces me it's not there, but my daughter swears it is. Great. Now we have to go consult The Oracle (that's Google, in case you didn't know).

Turns out it's not there. Wonder what Pimsleur meant for the narrator to say.

I'm also worried about the "wakarimas". Japanese doesn't have any syllables ending in a consonant, except "n". So "wakarimas" is probably "wakarimasu". But it sure doesn't sound like it's got an "u" on the end.

On the other hand, native speakers often slur words together and drop ending sounds. When was the last time you pronounced the "g" at the end of "working"? Especially in "I'm working late tonight" or similar?

And that's what Pimsleur is supposed to be about: sounding like a native.