I've previously learned some basic Japanese (spoken and written), but obviously while this helps for the written it's not that useful for the spoken!
The main tools I've been trying so far are:
- Heisig's Remembering the Hanzi
- Rosetta Stone
I also have access to the Pimsleur spoken courses although I have yet to try these.
I've found Heisig very helpful in making progress on committing Hanzi to memory, albeit without the actual reading. For spoken, the jury is still out for me on Rosetta stone. By the third lesson I'm concious I can understand some basics of grammar and vocabulary, but I'm also concious I'm not sure what I'm understanding at times. Has anyone used this to any length? For Japanese, I certainly found that for vocabulary Rosetta stone helped a lot, but for day to day phrases Pimsleur was the way to go.
I'm also finding pinyin fairly unhelpful at times - does anyone have any tips to memorising the correct pronounciation of the romanisations?
Finally, if anyone has any other systems or tips I'd be glad to hear them (I note Lang-8 seems popular, which I will be investigating tonight). Thanks!