AnthonyLauder wrote:It struck me that the rewind function, to listen to a phrase several times, upon which I rely heavily, must have been extremely challenging with a gramaphone. I just can't imagine how people did it successfully.
I don't know how the average person did it either. But there were some machines specially designed to handle this problem. Here is an account by the late Ken Butler, at one time Director of the "Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies" in Tokyo (administered by Stanford University). He is describing how he first leaned Japanese, largely on his own, in 1956 at Yale: https://web.archive.org/web/20030124165 ... cyber.html
Ken Butler wrote:I also soon found out that the institute had recorded all of the material in the 2-volume "Spoken Japanese" text on special records, and had had a local electronics manufacturer produce a special type of record player which had a foot switch connected to it which when pressed would jump the needle of the record player back one groove. This would allow the user to get a repetition of the sentence the user had just heard. In effect, the machine was designed to do what the native speaker teacher had been trained to do in the classroom in terms of the aural/oral method.
However, the machine was highly inefficient, since usually when you hit the footswitch, the needle would jump back into the middle of the previous sentence, and it required quite a bit of patience to use it. Still, my classroom instruction was not progressing the way I wanted it to, so I determined to use that machine no matter how inefficient it was
So it was possible
Btw, the book he used, "Spoken Japanese" (two volumes) by Bernard Bloch and Eleanor Harz Jorden (he misspelled Jorden), was republished after the war for the civilian market, by Henry Holt and Company. Later, in the 1970's, it was reprinted again by Spoken Language Services, Inc. Unfortunately, SLS closed down a few years ago (c. 2017?). You may be able to find second-hand copies, perhaps even an original army manual from the 1940's. But the audio recordings might be almost impossible to find, limiting the book's usefulness, IMO. Unless you happen to have a very patient native speaker willing to help you
(He says he also used the same method to study Chinese the following summer, but does not identify the book. But I think it may well have been another book in the same series, "Spoken Chinese" (two volumes), by Charles F. Hockett and Chaoying Fang.)