The World’s Greatest (and Free) Language Learning Resource (Listening)

The Best Language Learning Resource

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 are reading this post, then you are in the right place. My entire blog at 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 a language efficiently but with realistic expectations. (If you want more information 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 has 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, its 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 has 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. 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 has 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 the internet, and you have 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 emphasis 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! It is seriously that easy.

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 you’re still not satisfied and 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 keywords. 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 and get it yourself.

If you want to get YouTube content on to your phone, ipod or mp3 player then check out this post:

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!

Click here for more Language Learning Advice and Resources



By Matthew Hawkins


Here are some of my favorite tools and sites for learning Japanese

Thank you for reading this blog post, which I hope you found useful for learning Japanese. Here are some of the most useful websites that I’ve found for finding Japanese content to use for immersion as well as some really useful learning tools to help you through your Japanese studies. Some of these are affiliate links which just means that if you decide to use these sites by clicking the following links, then I will earn a commission. But honestly speaking, these are the sites that I use and recommend language learners, even my friends, to use anyway.

Anki Tools: To get started, I really like Migaku for Anki. By itself, Anki is already a super useful tool for language learners but Migaku allows for integration with websites like YouTube and Netflix, allowing it’s users to create flashcards from the shows and videos that they are watching, as they are watching them. If you use my link you can get an extra month for free.

Speaking Practice: For this I absolutely love iTalki. There are thousands of Japanese teachers on the platform that are available at all times of the day to have conversations with you, in Japanese. Some teachers take a more traditional approach while others are just there to chat, these are the ones I would recommend if you are looking to improve your conversational Japanese. Lessons start from just $5 and there’s no long term commitment, I highly recommend them.

Immersion: I’ve used a lot of different earphones / headphones over the years but by far the one that has come out on top is the NENRENT S570. This is a singular in-ear earphone that matches your skin tone to keep it discrete, meaning you can listen to the language you are learning while at work, or school. For a full list of tools and gadgets I recommend for maximizing your immersion time, check out this blog post.

9 Replies to “The World’s Greatest (and Free) Language Learning Resource (Listening)”

  1. Pingback: Earn Money for Learning a Language | BritvsJapan
  2. Thank you for this post! I was actually planning on trying to ask you about input sources, but this pretty much answers the questions I had. I’ve been having trouble finding audio sources (other than music) to listen to while on the go, which has been the main thing preventing me from entering the so-called “hardcore phase”.

    I’ve been varying degrees of softcore for a few years now. I can read a manga, watch a show, or play a video game and understand probably 80% of it (have to brush over some kanji words, unless I see them several times in which case I learn them). TV and news articles I understand a little less, mainly due to knowing fewer words though sentences should take care of that. I finished RTK for the first time around four years ago, and am currently going through it for the final time before starting sentences. I’ll be graduating from college soon and intend to reach fluency within two years of graduating, which should be super possible knowing what you’ve done in 18 months and knowing that I have a bit of a head start.

    Regarding the post, do you happen to have any quick recommendations for channels on YouTube? I’m a Software Engineering major so anything related to computer science etc is welcome as well.

    Thanks again!

    1. By youtube channels I am assuming you mean content creators so I will just rattle a few of the bigger youtubers off for you. The last few are gaming channels.

      はじめしゃちょー –
      東海オンエア –
      ワタナベマホト –
      桐崎栄二/きりざきえいじ –
      ぷろたん日記 –
      PDRさん –
      love movie ch –
      ポッキー / PockySweets –
      ホラフキン –

      For software I mainly just have reading material but I found some channels on programming and stuff so might be useful.
      An insane programmer who shows you him programming live –
      Useful for php and mysql basics –
      Video quality is not the best but some lectures on various software and programming related topics –
      Information processing –

      Also these sites might be useful for you

      Hopefully that will get you started 🙂

    2. If you want reading material then I remember having a list of recommended books a while back. I can try and find it again but if you just google things like ソフトウェア工学入門 or ソフトウェア工学の基礎 you should find enough material (this is introductory and basics, if you want more advanced you might have to search around a bit).

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