Community Language Learning

Yakkue

ʕ·ᴥ·ʔ
Sep 6, 2018
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The thread for everyone endeavoring to learn a new language!

Which languages do you learn or want to learn, what problems are you facing and how are you studying?

While there is no tool that can singlehandedly teach you a language, they can be a great supplement to language classes and self-studying from various resources. So here is are some helpful ones:


Spaced Repetition Memorization / Flashcard Tool

Anki

Intelligent flashcard program with lots of possibilities and add-ons. You can create flashcards where you have to type the answer, there are add-ons where you can automatically create flashcards based on subtitles of shows you are watching or based on books you are reading, etc.


Online Apps

Duolingo

Courses for lots of languages, bigger focus on grammar and structure.


Memrise

Courses for lots of languages, bigger focus on vocabulary retention.


Lingodeer

For learning the basics of Japanese, Korean or Chinese

(I only listed free tools above)
 

brau

huh?
Sep 20, 2018
87
104
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I have been trying to learn more Finnish. But I am actually more interested in soon starting to learn Russian.

I will check those tools out and see if they can help with these languages as they tend to be very complex already. Good thing libraries have workshops to teaching them so I will look into those during the winter and maybe summer.
 

brau

huh?
Sep 20, 2018
87
104
33
I have been trying to learn more Finnish.

you should get Nahkapukki to help you learn Finnish ;)
All he does is grunt and get upset at salads.... but wait... maybe that is what Finnish is all about.

Kidding aside. The other day i got together with the 3rd eye crew, they were very impressed with my Finnish. My mastery of 'mitä' and 'noniin' got me plenty of praise. It was great.
 

Schnitzelfee

Token German
Sep 6, 2018
1,041
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Outer Space
It actually really means that lashman
brau is absolutely correct, it's my favorite word
Post automatically merged:

And to be a bit more on topic, I have used that Anki app that Yakkue mentioned in the OP in the past, it's really useful
 

Nahkapukki

Finest Finn
Sep 7, 2018
673
1,038
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The Iciest Hole
Kalsarikännit... That's a very precise wording for one of the most intricate actions a Finn can do in his own home.

But... Check this out, kumarreksituteskenteleentuvaisehkollaismaisekkuudellisenneskenteluttelemattomammuuksissansakaankopahan.

That's one word.
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Tho it's not really a real word you can toy with Finnish language to create these monstrosities. You wouldn't hear that being used by anyone really.

This tho... This is a singular word that's in use in the army: lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas
 
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GonarcH

MetaMember
Sep 25, 2018
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Hi everyone! New to the forum and very glad to have found this little community : )

I have to admit it's been ages since I last saw a post like this in the other forums I use to visit and since learning languages is one of my hobbies...

So yeah, right now I'm building up my Japanese vocabulary. Got the grammar basics back at the university and since then I've been trying not to forget what I've learned and building up on that. Right now I'm using an app called "Drops", it offers many languages and ironically the free version seems to be more effective than the paid one (although the paid one obviously has many more options).

The thing is that with the free version you can only use the app for 5 minutes a day (or some fixed amount of hours, don't remember really), and you have to keep using it on a daily basis to unlock more topics/words. It won't teach you anything about the grammar or the culture, but for a basic vocabulary I find it very useful

Lately I've been thinking about starting to learn Dutch because it could open some very interesting options professionally speaking, and since I already know German... well, it doesn't seem like a very big challenge. Not so big as learning Japanese :p
 

Parsnip

Riskbreaker
Sep 11, 2018
723
1,134
93
Finland
Kalsarikännit... That's a very precise wording for one of the most intricate actions a Finn can do in his own home.

But... Check this out, kumarreksituteskenteleentuvaisehkollaismaisekkuudellisenneskenteluttelemattomammuuksissansakaankopahan.

That's one word.
Post automatically merged:

Tho it's not really a real word you can toy with Finnish language to create these monstrosities. You wouldn't hear that being used by anyone really.

This tho... This is a singular word that's in use in the army: lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas
I like yliesierikoisapulaisvaravaurioraivausvuorovarausratkaisupäällikkö.
 
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Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
Nov 12, 2018
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I've (re)started learning Japanese again.
So far I've tried various Kanji learning websites, a course in college and working through (part of) the Genki book, but I've always lost interested eventually.
Especially Kanji, those are damn demotivating..
Though not all has been for naught, I still know some grammar and vocabulary, can read Hiragana and Katakana and still recognize some Kanji.

Recently I decided to tackle Kanji once again and I found a really cool tool:
(There's also an App)

I've been going at it for 8 days now and really like it.
It's essentially a SRS like Anki, that teaches you meaning and readings with example vocabulary.

One thing I really like about it is the unlocking order of Kanji. It will give you similar looking Kanji right after the other to force you to be able to distinguish them (It will also always show you similar Kanji and related Kanji on each overview page). Sometimes when I previously studied Kanji I always tried to find some easy reading material to see if I recognize anything and would often run into the situation where I excitedly thought I recognized a Kanji only to then see it's only a look-alike...

So you get 木本米来 or 九丸力分切 in a row and that has proven to be really helpful to be able to really distinguish them.

And one other thing is that it has the etymology for each Kanji instead of wacky mnemonics and I find that to work much better for me, because I find that stuff really interesting.

It also tries to give you vocabulary that includes Kanji you already know when teaching you a new one. Which obviously doesn't always work, especially at the beginning, but I appreciate it.

And of course there's some Gamification :p
Like a progress wallpaper it dynamically creates. It stores the stats for every day, so you can visualize your progress (you can render it as a video too)l
The color shows how familiar I am with a Kanji, the darker the better.

I still have quite some work in front of me :p


I'v also found Japanese Grammar SRS for grammar, but I quickly realized I don't want to do too much at once and lose interest again, so I've stopped after giving it a quick try, but I likely will use it whenever I get back to grammar.
 

Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
Nov 12, 2018
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女 (woman) = く (ku) + 丿(no) + 一 (ichi) -> Kunoichi. This just blew my mind.
 
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Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
Nov 12, 2018
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Milestone #1: 100 Kanji
The image has gained some color


I also did some grammar on the side (since Kanji alone is still pretty useless in the gand scheme of things tbh), but not too much.

I found this site though and it's pretty great: Japanese Grammar SRS
I'm not sure if I would actually learn grammar via it, but it's fantastic for solidifying and practicing, since you need to produce the grammar and get immediate feedback (and see it used in lots of examples along the way).

I went through the first Genki book a while ago, so what I did was selecting a few grammar points to study now and then. I think this is also what I'm going to continue doing: (re)read the sections in Genki and add them to my reviews in bunpro to practice and solidify the knowledge.

Slowly though, I don't really wanna overdo it (especially since my vacation ends tomorrow, so the real challenge is yet to come)
 
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Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
Nov 12, 2018
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Progress report, it's been 2 months and 201 Kanji* - the picture looks a bit more colorful now :)



*doesn't meant I know all of those perfectly yet

I'm still also slowly going through grammar on the side via bunpro and Genki. Maybe a bit too slow.
I'm thinking of slowing a bit down on the Kanji side for a bit in favor of a bit more grammar maybe.
 

Copons

MetaMember
Nov 12, 2018
314
802
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Brighton, UK
copons.wordpress.com
I've also been trying to self-learn Japanese for the best part of my life and always quit because I'm a quitter.

Some time ago I tried Duolingo, and it was good for the first few lessons, teaching hiragana slowly but surely, until it just starts throwing you katakana and kanji without any explanation.

So for a while I've used other apps to try and memorize hiragana at least and eventually got back to Duolingo with a custom spin, that's working out well for me so far.
Basically, instead of using the default "pick the right characters/words from a short list", I installed both the 12-keys and handwriting Japanese keyboard, forcing myself to actually handwrite the answers without aids (as much as I can).
It's still super hard, but it feels so much better and more gratifying now!

EDIT: As if Duolingo was listening, I haven't been getting any writing exercises in a while. 😭
 
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Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
Nov 12, 2018
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Still trucking along with Japanese.
I switched to more grammar as I mentioned. Mainly because it feels like easier "short-term" gains, lol. Like how reading kanji is fine and all but still wont make me understand anything without grammar, but unknown Kanji's/vocab would be easier to look up if they were the only thing I didn't understand in a sentence. In theory, in practice I haven't tried it out :p
I'm still using Bunpro for grammar (subbed for a year) and honestly I think it's extremely helpful. I'm about to finish all the N5 grammar points.

Kanji are a bit behind. Mainly because KanjiGarden didn't want my money. I don't have a credit card and I don't always want to borrow one whenever I want to sub. It has a Paypal option but that's more of a manual process where you're supposed to get an invoice, pay it and then get activated. Well I requested it but never got one, even contacted the guy via support mail and even on Twitter, but haven't gotten a reply in months(!!). Even if such a site is basically self-running after its built anyway, that does not inspire confidence :/ (Also why I focused more on grammar)
Bit of a shame, but might have been a good thing in the long run, because I switched to Wanikani. There are some aspects of KanjiGarden I prefer, but I found the Wanikani mnemonics to be surprisingly work extremely well for me, so it's fine. I'm still early on, so it's a lot of Kanji's I technically already know, but the mnemonics for the readings are still very useful and I get some more vocab as a bonus.
It's only been a few days, so I might find out it doesn't work for me after all, but so far it's been a positive experience.

I found this "guide" for Wanikani: https://community.wanikani.com/t/my-journey-of-368-days-the-ultimate-guide-for-wk/31318/2
I haven't read everything and don't plan to follow everything, since this is all about maximum efficiency and I know myself well enough that I burn out fast if I try learning Japanese with "maximum efficiency". I need a more leisurely approach. Not too slow or I get demotivated, but just steadily trucking along. (Tbh the "gamification" aspects of Bunpro and Wanikani help a lot with keeping motivation (Look at those progress bars filling up :coffee-blob: !)).
It has a section for user script enhancemants though, and those are very useful! Like font randomizitation to get used to recognizing Kanji even if they aren't written in the standard way. And more progress bars and other interface improvements and other useful stuff.

NarohDethan since you're currently studying as well, I'm curious what sites/apps/books you've found helpful?
 
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NarohDethan

日本語の学生
Apr 6, 2019
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@NarohDethan since you're currently studying as well, I'm curious what sites/apps/books you've found helpful?
I haven’t uses any textbooks recently. I’ve seen that the ‘Genki’ books are recommended by a lot of people and a kanji book calles ‘Remembering the Kanji’ by James Heisig.
Personally I’ve been looking for some lyrics of the songs I like, and then look for the Kanji and words I don’t know on jisho.org
Some people say the app WaniKani is great as well but I havent tried it myself.

頑張りましょう
 
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Oheao

Junior Member
Jun 29, 2019
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Oh, we've got Japanese learners here? I'd love to practise/try to re-ignite my studies! I don't know if there's a Discord/group where you practise Japanese or not.
 

NarohDethan

日本語の学生
Apr 6, 2019
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がんばりましよう

Fake edit: hmm? The forum does not accept the word above as a word! This anime discrimination is going too far lashman!!
 

Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
Nov 12, 2018
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Oh, we've got Japanese learners here? I'd love to practise/try to re-ignite my studies! I don't know if there's a Discord/group where you practise Japanese or not.
I'm just leaning it on my own for now, no practicing group or anything. I try things here and there and replace them if I feel like they don't work or I stumble upon something I think is better 😅

That said, I just recently stumbled upon this video series on grammar, and frankly it's astonishingly good.

The presentation takes some getting used to (weird CG head and an artificial sounding voice - but there are non-machine generated subtitles).
But the content is fantastic. Concise, precise and logical in a way that I haven't seen in any textbooks or online resources before. It honestly makes japanese grammar actually seem... simple.
(And it actually frequently goes into detail on how textbooks make learning the language more confusing in many cases because they fail to teach the underlying logic (or are not aware of it to begin with) and instand make things seem seemingly random or reliant on rote memorization, etc)
I've studied grammar here and there before (went through Genki I that NarohDethan mentioned for example), but I had my blown quite a few times watching this. (I started today and am currently on lesson 10 :D)
Do note that you really need to start from the beginning and can't randomly check out a subject, because all the videos build on top of each other and as mentioned the way it's taught is quite different from textbooks.
 

NarohDethan

日本語の学生
Apr 6, 2019
3,903
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Yup, textbooks tend to be too old fashioned. They will understand you but everyone will think they’re talking with their grandpa.
 

Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
Nov 12, 2018
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Yup, textbooks tend to be too old fashioned. They will understand you but everyone will think they’re talking with their grandpa.
Well that too, but I actually meant that this video series is teaching the actual structure of the language and not just the english translations of various disconnected phrases (that are actually not disconnected if you know the structure behind them).
I can't really explain it well myself 😅 , but it's been very enlightening.
 
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Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
Nov 12, 2018
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I've been steadily trucking along with my japanese learning and more or less switched to that youtube channel I posted above as my primary learning resource.

Once you get past the weird presentation, the content is fantastic. I've mainly worked through the grammar structure course but have been hitting diminishing returns as I'm encountering grammar I haven't encountered in textbooks or in the wild before (which is to be expected, since theory can only bring you so far until you need to see it applied in reality to solidify your knowledge, as she says herself as well).

So I'm thinking of jumping down the cliff and start watching anime with japanese subtitles and (very) slowly work my way through an episode while picking up Kanji and vocabulary along the way and solidify grammar - learning it the "organic way" as she says.
She has a bunch of videos on which sites there are and how to best do this in conjunction with Anki (where you're going to add the new vocabulary and kanjis), as well as videos on how to automatically create Anki cards with a single click and even anime "walkthroughs" that take you through an episode of anime with this method (I haven't watched it yet, but I intend to).
Her reasoning for this makes a lot of sense - learning Kanji and vocabulary in isolation and lists is less effective than learning them as you come accross them in real life (be that anime, manga, children books, websites, etc). I've noticed this myself with Wanikani and various other Kanji apps and Anki decks that I start having trouble sooner or later when I encounter Kanji or vocab that I can't connect with any information I already have.
Thinking about it, it's also how I picked up most of my english as a kid - by reading and watching and playing stuff in english (of course it was easier because no Kanji 😅 ).
Anyway, I'm going to give this a try soon-ish, probably alongside that anime walkthrough video (and I already know it will be brutal and painfully slow at first, but it's kind of an exciting challenge at the same time - I just hope it will not crush my motivation :grimacing-face: but I'm positive)

Before doing that I'm going to learn this Kanji hack though:

Basically she created an Anki deck of about 100 Kanji or radicals that govern the on-reading in any complex Kanji they are part of. (Not always, but so often that it's worth it.) Like for example 白 is はく and so all of these are also はく: 伯, 拍, 泊, 迫, 舶, 狛, 柏, 箔, 珀, and by extension lots of compound words will contain them and suddenly you know how to read a ton of vocab by just knowing this one element.
It's the one thing she says is useful to just learn as a list instead of picking it up as you encounter it in the wild and I'm very inclined to believe it.

So yeah, very recommended channel for now!
We'll see how it is in a few weeks, because I'm aware that I have a tendency of trying something new, going "this is the best thing ever!" only to switch to something else a bit later :grinning-face-with-smiling-eyes:, but hopefully I will keep finding it useful and someone else will also find this useful :=
 

Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
Nov 12, 2018
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I'm about halfway through my first anime episode with japanese subtitles (Shirokuma Café), it only took a few days :p
Seeing how I am able to understand the sentences (after looking up the words I don't know, which are most) feels pretty nice. Certainly a motivation boost.

If it were just about understanding it, I could go faster. But I also want to pick up vocabulary and kanji I come across, so I only go through so many sentences a day. Of course not everything, but if the word is common enough and the Kanji are frequent enough I'll pick them up by using Yomichan's auto-add-to-Anki functionality (I do make up mnemonics on my own though).
It's honestly pretty fun doing it that way, more fun than learning from lists, since it's immediately useful knowledge :p
And while it's pretty slow, it will only get faster as my Kanji and vocab base grows~

Will still take a long time though :D
 
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