Language Learners' Library

These people usually have immediate contact with what they are trying to learn and they learn it full-time during the day. They also allow for many mistakes, more mistakes than the average learner is allowed to do. Would you ever say that ‘‘as long as you can place the stones with at least one liberty you are ok, no need to learn all those pesky rules about eyes, ko, ladders and corners’’? I don’t think so. Same goes for languages. (Silly syntax follows) ‘‘You speak ever you put the rock with the one liberty and you nice?’’ (This kind of sentence is supposed to be acceptable as far as those internet gurus are concerned)

If you needed to learn for some specific reason (job, exams, Go tournaments) you’d have learnt your material already. You can try giving yourself a goal, e.g. an exam or a competition.

My advice, however, would be to keep doing what you are doing, because you’re obviously doing it for fun and deadlines don’t matter.

On second thoughts, don’t take my advice. The exam system for HSK has changed since July 2021, it was all over the internet for a very long time and I only realised it just a few minutes ago. My advice leads to no progress. :frowning_face: :frowning_face: :frowning_face: :frowning_face:

Nah, that’s people trying to sell you something. There’s no shortcut to learning a hard skill, except for putting a lot of time and dedication into it. Of course there’s things that make it easier, like teachers, focus, repetition, etc., but in the end it will just take years and years of work (especially at a leisurely pace) to become really good at something.

People who get good at something quickly just have put a lot of effort into it. You can get fluent in a language in a year, but that means you’ll have to completely immerse yourself in it for the majority of your time. Most people simply don’t have time for that.


Veritasium had a nice video on that: success may be based on hard work… or something else! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

So hard work isn’t necessarily involving success, since misfortune or other issues may have influence on it.

Throwing blame at those who aren’t successful isn’t just fair.

Cho Chikun’s voice soothes my wary spirit.

Omicron /ˈɒmɪkrɒn, oʊˈmaɪkrɒn/[1] (uppercase Ο , lowercase ο , literally ‘small o’: όμικρον < ὂ μικρόν - ò mikrón , micron meaning ‘small’ in contrast to omega ) is the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 70. This letter is derived from the Phoenician letter ayin Phoenician ayin.svg. In classical Greek, omicron represented the sound [o] in contrast to omega [ɔː] and ου [oː]. In modern Greek, omicron represents the mid back rounded vowel /o̞/ , the same sound as omega. Letters that arose from omicron include Roman O and Cyrillic O.

1 Like

ΟωΟ, what’s this?


For the variant of the virus causing COVID-19, see SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant. For other uses, see Omicron (disambiguation).


Sounds like a great thing for people with hearing problems, but why is it presented as a language learning device…?

1 Like

It probably belongs in the “learn a language under 5 seconds” movement?

The only possible use I can think of is helping with intonation and accents. eg how to pronounce g gh gg gue in various situations. I admit I didn’t really check their published findings.

So today I passed by a shop or something that had these fancy letters on its sign:


Took my a while to figure out it meant “Lehner” in faux Greek/Cyrillic.


I’m going to read that, sounds exactly like what I like (and I also don’t know why I keep watching / reading things that make me feel bad).

If you love this kind of stuff, I highly recommend reading some of Asano Inio’s manga (which I incidentally have been reading in the pursuit of my own Japanese knowledge). His stories aren’t thrillers or about crime, but the description you gave is like I read a description of his manga. I especially recommend Oyasumi Punpun, which I consider one of the best things I’ve ever experienced, be it manga, comics, literature or movies; it had an impact like a bomb-shell on me. Don’t read it if you suffer from depression, though.

It’s great for learning the language too, but Oyasumi Punpun is pretty literary, containing a lot of text in between conversations. Perhaps some of his other works are more conversationally oriented.

The drawing style is great too, by the way.

1 Like

Have you seen Chinese books before punctuations are the norm?

Readers in the past had to break up phrases and sentences, even paragraphs on their own.


The same is true for the Greek and the Latin script.

1 Like

This happens in many languages, I believe. Like racehorse versus horserace. I bet you can find some in Russian as well.

In Japanese, the latter symbol gives the main meaning, the first symbol is the qualifier. 王女 is the woman (daughter) of the king, while the 女王 is the king who is a woman (the queen), and 本日 is the day that is current (today), while 日本 is the origin of the sun.

So, look at the last symbol :slight_smile:


In general, but not always. Like 切手 and 勝手 both have nothing to do with 手, 水虫 is not a 虫, 大丈夫 is not a person 夫, 往生 and 先生 have thing to do with 生.


Exceptions make a language beautiful.

Well, I’m not certain that your examples really are counterexamples if one looks at etymology.

切手 is an abbreviation for 切符手形, where 切符 means “note that is cut” and 手形 is “shape of hand”. The first refers to a ticket, which tends to be cut in order to be validated, and the second refers to the custom of making a stamp of ones hand to validate bills (and thus 手形 means bill). So although the etymology may not be clear on first sight, it does obey the rule that the latter symbol gives the main meaning.

勝手 originates from 弓道, or archery. Here the right hand is referred to as 勝手, and since the right hand is the hand that is used to pull the string, it is the hand that is free to move. From this the current meaning of “selfishness” is derived.

水虫 is relatively easy to guess: people thought that 水虫 was caused by insects in the water. I can find this etymology mentioned some places, at least, like here, or here.

大丈夫 literally refers to a large man. 丈 refers to the height of 1.7m, hence 丈夫 refers to a full-grown man. When introduced to Japan, it received its related meaning of “exceptionally strong man”, and this in turn became to mean only “exceptionally strong”, from which the current meaning “allright” can be derived.

往生 means death, but more literally it means “life that passes”, which even in English means the same as dying. It refers to being reborn (going to a new life), which fits with the idea of reincarnation from Buddhism.

For 先生, the original meaning of 先生 seems to be that of “elder”, rather than “teacher”. It’s not hard to see the connection with “earlier life”, i.e. someone who was born earlier.

Perhaps better examples that break the rule of the last symbol carrying the main meaning, are 当て字 where the characters refer to phonology instead of meaning. For example 寿司 meaning “sushi”, or 沢山 meaning “many”.


It’s the same as components in Chinese characters were originally the whole word, and then combined with simple rules of one side to indicate the main meanings and the other to describe the component, and then evolved to one part to indicate the sounds with an associated component for related meaning, to complicated borrowing other words and indirect references, and much later just indicating completely different things when loan words were used or combined.

Japanese kanji utilizes the same principles, but at word levels when they introduced Chinese characters.


A kingly woman can be either, but a female king cannot be a princess.

Seems like it does, pretty ironic I used that as the English example :stuck_out_tongue:


講義 (こうぎ), basically commentaries and lecture notes written by teachers with details for students

the numbers are most likely how many tesuji problems solved correctly out of the total. And given a score out of 100 (点 is usually the unit for score). The first one is likely 108/150 = 0.72 (72% solved). 179/200 = 0.895 (rounding to 89% solved), and the last 138/150 (92% solved).

Overall, a very hard working student indeed.