The Language-Learning Thread

Fed up talking videogames? Why?
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Knoyleo
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Knoyleo » Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:51 pm

Egg Knog wrote:I started a GRcade club in Duolingo, now that that's a feature. Let's all join and laugh and peer at each other's progress.

Club code is VMHJE8

I hadn't realised at the time, but the clubs are one language only. Shame, as it would be nice to see how people are progressing in whatever.
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Rex Kramer
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Rex Kramer » Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:15 pm

Egg Knog wrote:
Egg Knog wrote:I started a GRcade club in Duolingo, now that that's a feature. Let's all join and laugh and peer at each other's progress.

Club code is VMHJE8

I hadn't realised at the time, but the clubs are one language only. Shame, as it would be nice to see how people are progressing in whatever.

Signed up for a French class today and the only GR club is in French. Bonus!
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Rocsteady » Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:34 pm

Someone join me in.the Hungarian club. Most useful language in the world :shifty:
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Lotus
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Lotus » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:42 am

I've just begun looking into learning Japanese. Man, it's a daunting prospect. Even hiragana and katakana seem really complex and like a huge task, let alone kanji. :slol:

I've downloaded a couple of apps, and am looking at getting Genki 1, but at the moment it feels like it's going to be a huge undertaking. Anybody else in the same boat? :dread:
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Parksey
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PostThe Language-Learning Thread
by Parksey » Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:38 pm

Yeah there are a few of us in the boat, rowing against the tide. There's me, StayDead, Jay (who's MIA) and lex-man to name just the ones off the top of my head.

Righty might also be learning it as his wife is Japanese, and a few others have lived here as well.

We're all likely learning it for different reasons. StayDead listening is likely way better than mine, due to him watching a lot of native TV programmes. I don't have much interest in anime and the like, and I've been studying for the JLPT N2 recently so I'm knee deep in quite formal grammar at the moment. But there's no speaking on that test so I'm still pretty crap there.

I tend to learn purely through a textbook, which isn't for everyone. If you're thinking of studying towards the JLPT N5 level (the lowest one) I can point you in the direction of some.

The Yes Japan/Japanese From Zero textbooks are pretty solid starting points. The have a lot of English in them, but they're helpful at explaining the absolute basics. Just try and rattle through them quicker than I did, as I should have moved up sooner.

I never bought Genki I, just got the second one, and as I didn't move up quickly enough, it was redundant before I'd even bought it.

It seemed decent, though also seemed like a textbook that is meant to go alongside a proper course or classes. So make sure you supplement it with other stuff.

People also recommend Minna no Nihongo or something like that. Again, I never used that.

I basically used the Japanese from Zero stuff, Tae Kim's Grammar Guide and just hammered that. I also learned kanji from the off. Quite a lot of resources put off kanji for too long in my opinion, and you don't need to wait that long.

For example, you could learn that dog is いぬ or you could just learn the kanji at the same time (犬). Later this speeds up your reading in my opinion as say you learn the kanji for child is 子then when you see something like 子犬 you can guess the meaning pretty easily.

I've simplified it and obviously words can't always be read so easily, but if you build your kanji up you'll gain literacy much first. It takes more time at first but in the long run it should pay off.

You can also try Remembering the Kanji or Wanikani for mnemonics to help you remember them. I didn't like that but it works for some.

This is all if you're wanting to read to a decent level. As you're in the UK you might prefer to be a better listener. In this case, anime with subtitles is a good shout (but you always should treat it like studying and not just watching TV) as would listening to some pop music. Both are things that aren't really my preferred methods but they work. Or you can try playing some games with the native Japanese voiceovers.

There are a tonne of YouTube channels and there's always a free trial for Japanese Pod 101, though I didn't use that. Heard some good things about Nihongo no Mori on YouTube too. There's loads of stuff like that.

You can also try some stuff like the Hello Talk app or Italki to chat with natives. The former is a phone app and really easy to use, and you get Japanese people wanting help with English too. If you're in a big city you can also use Hello Talk to meet up with Japanese people.

If you're in the UK, one thing I wouldn't bother with would be writing out kanji dozens of times to get muscle memory. If you do bother with it, definitely learn how to write hiragana and katakana, and learn enough simple kanji to know stroke order, but that's as far as I would go.

There are tonnes of resources for Japanese. The trick is to try as much as possible to find your style and then just keep it up. Try and do at least a little bit each day. And try and mix it up. Don't do what I did and neglect listening, as you'll end up with some skills far ahead of others. In terms of the JLPT, my kanji is probably at N1 level (the highest) but my listening is probably still stuck at the N3 level and when I try stuff out for my current level (N2) I find they really frustrate me.

EDIT - SRS apps like Anki or Memrise might be good too.
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Karl » Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:56 pm

Lotus, がんばれ よ!
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Errkal » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:14 pm

Rex Kramer wrote:
Egg Knog wrote:
Egg Knog wrote:I started a GRcade club in Duolingo, now that that's a feature. Let's all join and laugh and peer at each other's progress.

Club code is VMHJE8

I hadn't realised at the time, but the clubs are one language only. Shame, as it would be nice to see how people are progressing in whatever.

Signed up for a French class today and the only GR club is in French. Bonus!


I signed up for French as I liked it in school. How do you join a club ?

EDIT: Found it, is on the app only.
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Rex Kramer
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Rex Kramer » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:18 pm

I think I ended up being the only member and so it closed.
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Knoyleo
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Knoyleo » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:21 pm

It's still going according to the notification the app just sent me.
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Errkal » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:35 pm

Yeah I was able to join it :D
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Kinetic » Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:21 pm

For the Japanese peeps are you looking to take JLPT tests or are you learning for pleasure?

If it`s the former, I`d say just buy the textbooks for whatever level you`re going for and smash through those. It`s a bit of a joke to be quite honest with you. It`s like doing your GCSEs; you can pass with exam technique and zero applicable knowledge. Either way, unless you want to get a job or go to university JLPT doesn`t really matter. In my opinion there are better yardsticks but it all depends on yourself and what you`re looking to achieve.

If it`s the latter then it depends what you want to use it for; reading books, watching films etc, talking to people or a combination of the above. Basically tailor it to what you want to do. I know some academics who just want to read and thus have jibbed off learning much spoken language and others who need to communicate and don`t really give a gooseberry fool if they know no kanji. Horses for courses and all that.
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Lotus » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:12 am

Thanks for that Parksey, appreciate the lengthy post.

I'm really just learning it because I find it interesting, and partly for the challenge as well. I've no real interest in anime either - I find it quite annoying TBH :slol: - but it would be good to be able to read at a decent level and follow a film etc should that need arise. My preference would be to be able to speak and listen well, and then reading as a secondary thing, but I'd wager it's probably best to do both at roughly the same time.

I quite like the textbook approach, and do intend on getting Genki 1, but I'll also check out Yes Japan/Japanese From Zero as another option. I have Tae Kim's Grammar Guide, which is where I've started to look at the Kana.

I spend a lot of time in the car and so podcasts and such would be ideal, and from my days of learning French, I think I'm reasonably good at memorising vocabuary and such. I downloaded a sample of Japanese Pod 101 and have that a listen this morning, and it seemed pretty good. If they're all like this one from today, you get maybe 5 words or so a day and the context (example scenario) in which to use them. I've also downloaded some Yes Japan podcasts, and will try those too. I like the idea of watching TV and/or listening to music, but I'd imagine they may speak/sing too fast to be able to pick up..? I've heard good things about italki.com, so will keep that in mind for a bit further down the line perhaps. I did play a demo of a game the other day and recognised the odd word (spoken) but don't imagine too much conversational Japanese will come up in videogames.

I have Anki on my PC, but am yet to give it a proper go, and I have a couple of apps on my iPad (along with Tae Kim) that I'm yet to really look at; imiwa? and one simply called 'Japanese'. :slol: Would be great to be able to practise the writing and be able to do that, but I'm not sure how practical that is compared to the listening/speaking side.

One thing I've heard - and I like the idea of - is as you say, doing a bit every day, and 'immersing' yourself in the language. Guess I just need to find the best way of doing that for me, be it podcasts, TV, music, films, manga, anime, etc.
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Karl » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:25 am

Obviously there are plenty of ways to hear spoken Japanese without watching anime, but fwiw there's a lot of anime out there so I can't imagine you'll find it all annoying. We could give you some recommendations in the anime thread if you tell us what your tastes are?
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Parksey » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:48 am

I'm doing the JLPT as basically all Japanese companies or British companies in Japan ask for at least N2 or higher. If you're doing something that doesn't involve global work, it's N1 that's needed. That's where I'd quite like to go next, either working for an international company with ties to Japan in the UK, go into something in the Foreign Office or the like, or work for a Western company in Tokyo. I need to pass the JLPT to do that (slowly worked my way up and passed N4 and N3, but failed N2 on my first attempt last Christmas by 8 ruddy marks so need to wait six months for it to come around again).

It also helps frame my studying and gives me a target to aim for. As a self-learner I need to have that goal and that push towards a deadline that forces me to up my game. It also means I don't dwell too long on something which I did at the lower levels (I skipped N5 purely as I had spent too long swimming in the shallow end and even N4 was way too easy).

It also gives me a qualification at the end of it. I get a bit of time to study here and, while obviously you study for the benefits of knowing the language, it's also nice that you have that qualification. Even if you go for a job unrelated to Japanese, the fact I have self-studied to (hopefully) N2 level might set me apart from someone else in an interview process.

I half disagree that the test is a joke. It's just very... testy. The Japanese love this sort of test and rote memorization so it's not surprise that the JLPT takes on that form. You're right that you can be good at tests and find it easier (I always was good at these). It also has no speaking and is less flexible than the TOEIC which is the English equivalent.

Someone who passes N1 is definitely going to have some skill in the language - they can likely read pretty much anything, but there will be gaps, especially on the social side of things as the listening is really scripted and unnatural too.

What you might find, Lotus, is that listening in a textbook is way different from what you might here in more natural forms.
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by lex-man » Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:17 pm

Hey lotus, it gets easier man. I spent two years living in Japan currently working towards JLPT 3. Japanese is really rough at the start but you'll get to a point where it'll get easier.
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by IAmTheSaladMan » Tue Apr 11, 2017 6:15 pm

I had a bit of a knack for languages as a kid (I got A's at GCSE in both French and Spanish, with Spanish being stronger overall) but foolishly didn't take things further and as such I've fell out of practice over the years. I did a short beginner Spanish course through work a few years back to see if I still knew a least part of what I used to and it turned out some of it was still in there (without wanting to sound like a show off I found the course a little too easy) but again I failed to take things further.

A friend recently recommended I try Duolingo so I gave it a try the other day. It seems a fun app to brush up on my Spanish however I call shenanigans on it's grading system. I decided to give German a try too and after only 2 days it seems to think I am over 20% fluent in German, considering I have never studied German before there is absolutely no way I know over 20% of the language after only 2 days when I don't even know basics like introducing myself yet.
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Kezzer » Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:09 am

Its fluency in what you have learnt. Not in the language overall.
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by IAmTheSaladMan » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:17 am

Kezzer wrote:Its fluency in what you have learnt. Not in the language overall.


That makes more sense I guess but I'm not entirely sure I buy that either. I can say I am a man, she is a woman, they are children until the cows come home so it looks more like a video game completion percentage more than anything lese.

I don't know about other languages but unless I'm missing something German seems to trick you out of health by virtue of they and she being the same word. For example it'll say fill in the missing word in the sentence "sie ____ milch" and you answer "sie trinkt milch" for "she drinks milk" only for the app to say you were wrong as it was actually "sie trinken milch" for "they drink milk".

Is there anyway to tell whether they mean they or she? To compound matters further I also know that to capitalise the same word making it Sie it becomes a formal form of you... this is confusing :?
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Tafdolphin » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:29 am

Trying to learn French at the moment so joined the Grcade club.

Has anyone ever tried Alliance Francaise? They've a beginners course starting in May, but it's pretty intensive: 10 weeks of 3 hourly lessons per week.
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Rex Kramer
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Rex Kramer » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:17 am

Tafdolphin wrote:Trying to learn French at the moment so joined the Grcade club.

Has anyone ever tried Alliance Francaise? They've a beginners course starting in May, but it's pretty intensive: 10 weeks of 3 hourly lessons per week.

Non, je n'ais pas.

Bienvenue BTW.
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