Language Learners' Library

8 posts were split to a new topic: Pokemon Go!

LOL, I’m lurking, how did you know???

I’m not actively learning any languages now, I’m behind in all my lessons and materials. So, I can’t really participate.

However, since I was so kindly invited, I’ll share what I’m doing to try to keep at least some familiarity with languages:

  • I’ve subscribed to daily words in French, German and Korean by Transparent Language (I don’t use any other material by them).
  • I’ve subscribed to daily korean sentence by LearnwithOliver (the site seems like it has lots to offer to a more serious learner than me).
  • I watch the odd TTMIK YT video, I find the teachers likeable. Their site also has lots of good content (some free, some paid), but they also have some pretty old videos/ audio, I don’t know if they updated those during their recent site revamp.
  • I watch the odd Charlie Danger YT video, but a. She doesn’t post much and b. I maybe understand a word per sentence.
  • I watch kdramas regularly and try to at least recognize the words I’ve learned. But I won’t watch just for learning purposes.
  • I watch the odd Parisiang YT video, he’s fun and it feels a bit like a meta experience. :yum:
  • I listen to kpop almost daily at work, it’s at a low volume so I don’t really listen to the lyrics, but it keeps the language “fresh” to my ears.

I haven’t found any good German or French series to watch and that’s my preferred way of retaining a language (Deutschland 83 was great, haven’t come around to watching second season yet, though).

For the record, I support all your efforts and will pop up to cheer for you from time to time. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Feel free to update the word of the day posts with Greek words. I’d love to learn a few :slight_smile:

If you want, I mean. No pressure

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Today I’m going to start off by rereading all my notes from the Latin Primer and Cornelia. Then I’m going to take a first look at So you really want to learn Latin, which I never got round to reading before. After that I’ll take a look online for free resources (I know there’s a collection of public domain Latin and Ancient Greek books somewhere).

March 4, 2020: The Word of the Day is two. I thought we would go up to eleven.

Language Word
Latin duo, duae, duo
Japanese 二 (に ni), 二つ (ふたつ futatsu)**
Spanish dos
Chinese 二 èr, 两 liǎng (two of something)
Esperanto du

** note: the pronunciation is reported in Romaji which is the standard to transform phonemes from Japanese scripts to Roman alphabet. Essentially the consonants must be pronounced as in English while the vowels as in Italian/Latin.

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For anybody learning Japanese, here’s how I’m learning:

I used to start learning Japanese from a textbook, but the book had all the Japanese written in romaji, i.e. the Latin alphabet. This is something I would very much advice against: the first step is learning the 平仮名 hiragana and the 片仮名 katakana, which is the basic alphabet that Japanese uses. There are 46 of each of them, so it will take a little more than learning the Greek or Cyrillic alphabet, but it’s not as bad as Chinese, which doesn’t have an alphabet. The way I practiced is repeatedly trying to write the whole table from memory. I found that writing things down will help a lot in keeping it in your memory, and it will also train you to have an eye for detail. I decided to throw away my textbook and only use Japanese characters for Japanese writing. Forcing the characters to be used, meant that it was necessary to learn them. I also took time to learn the kanji radicals, which will help a lot with learning the kanji later.

I learned a lot of grammar from Tae Kim’s Guide, which is a friendly introduction to Japanese grammar. More recently I discovered Imabi, which is a lot more thorough and arguably more correct than Tae Kim’s guide. The only “problem” with Imabi is that it is a little on the technical side: it’s a tough read for a beginning learner, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience with learning languages. On the other hand, this might be a bonus to some other people (like me, who want to understand the fine details).

Whenever I have the need to look up words I use Jisho.org. You could also find kanji reference (writing order, readings), sentences using the vocabulary (from the tatoeba project), names, and several other things.

Most of my time I spend on learning new vocabulary. For this I use spaced-repetition programs. I learnt the first 1000 or so kanji with Tagaini Jisho, but that application is more a dictionary than a spaced-repetition tool. Recently I have switched to Anki, but the drawback is that I have to create my own flashcards. On the other hand, during the creation of flashcards you automatically practice the vocabulary for the first time, so it’s actually not a big problem. There are also decks shared by others, but I don’t trust them as much as I would myself. Anki is also very useful to learn other stuff, by the way. I’ve started to use it to review grammar points and even mathematical proofs. If you’re decent at coding / css / latex, the possibilities of Anki are almost limitless, since flashcards can be styled with css, support latex, and anki itself allows for user created add-ons.

The way I learn vocabulary is as follows: I started with learning the JLPT vocabulary from the easiest level to the harder ones. Both Tagaini and Jisho will tell you which words belong to which JLPT level. Generally when learning a new word, I would learn the kanji simultaneously. In order to truly remember the kanji, I would recommend to put effort in learning how the symbol is composed of radicals (small tangent: technically only one part of a kanji is the radical of the kanji, decided by which part gives the Chinese pronunciation of the character. However, I use radical just to mean any of the parts that the kanji is made up of). Learning the stroke order is also important to have readable handwriting, and it will greatly help with remembering the character if you practice writing it a lot. I would also learn a few other words that use the kanji, to be able to place the kanji in a larger context. Finally I don’t think it’s useful to memorise the reading of a kanji; that knowledge will come naturally with learning the vocabulary.

As an example, suppose I decide to learn the word for “school”. Then I’d go to Jisho to find out that “school” in Japanese is 学校, pronounced as がっこう. I would then learn the kanji 学 and 校, as well as some vocabulary that uses these kanji (and does not use kanji I don’t know yet). For I would recognise that it is composed of three radical parts: ⺍ at the top, ⼍ in the middle and 子 at the bottom. For each of these radicals I already know their official meaning, or if it’s too vague I have made up one. In this case ⺍ means “small”, ⼍ means “roof” and 子 means “child”. I could then remember that 学 means “study” by making up some story, for example “studying is what happens in a classroom: a group of small children under a roof”. I would then look at some other vocabulary that uses 学 to make sure I truly understand its meaning. Of this vocabulary I choose a few to put into my spaced-repetition program, as long as these words do not depend on kanji that I haven’t learnt yet. For example, I could put 学ぶ, pronounced as まなぶ “to study (in depth), to learn” in my study program. Finally, for each word I take a look at how they are used in sentences to get a feel for the word in a natural context.

Once I knew some Japanese I started some reading practice. A good place to look for Japanese texts is Aozora, a library of public domain books. It could be difficult to find something of the right level, though. Easier things to read are often graphic novels and manga, but they can be hard to find outside of Japan.

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I think you forgot to make the day 2 post a wiki

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boring
скучно
詰まらない

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In general, for all language learners, I’d recommend using Anki, which I talked about above as well.

Great detailed post! I have also tried to learn Japanese using Anki, which had… some effect. Today, perhaps I’ll try to make a basic Anki deck for Latin. One idea I might try is to make a collection of simple sentences using a small set of, say, fifty words and showing how the nouns and verbs inflect. Some commentary on the answer-cards would probably be helpful there.

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I have to say, I wasn’t personally able to maintain a significant Japanese vocabulary with just Anki. And I think that may have been because I wasn’t practicing the use of these words in sentences, since I was having difficulty with the grammar.

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langweilig
nudny
enuiğa

Concerning Japanese numerals, they are really quite tricky. Different uses of numbers require different pronunciations of the kanji. Furthermore, to count things, which is how numbers are usually used, there are a myriad of suffixes you have to know.

As an example, here are some sentences featuring the number 4:

Japanese English 4 is pronounced as:
4人でいいですか。 Is four people okay? yo, 4人 = よにん yonin, four people
人形は四つを買った。 I bought four dolls. よっ yo + pause, 四つ = よっつ yottsu, four
本は四冊を読んでる。 I’m reading four books よん yon, 四冊 = よんさつ yonsatsu, four + counter word for books
来月は4月です。 Next month it is April shi, 4月 = しがつ shigatsu, four + counter word for month, i.e. the 4th month, or April

So, in short, I would consider the japanese numeral system to be more a part of grammar than of vocabulary.

Also, there are many irregular uses of numerals (一人 = ひとり hitori instead of いちにん ichinin, which would be what you expect, 一日 = ついたち tsuitachi instead of ひとっか hitokka, 十四日 = じゅうよっか juuyokka, while you would expect じゅうよんにち juuyon’nichi based on other dates in the 10’s or 20’s, and the list goes on)

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Very detailed explanation. I do proceed in the same way. The only thing that I don’t, is to learn other worlds with the same kanji. This can be a good suggestion to expand my vocabulary more quickly.

As repetition system, I used for a little Anki too, but the effort to load the flashcards in it is beyond my patience. In Japanese you need always to do some intermediate step before to reach your goal and this is a little bit frustrating especially if you don’t have too much time for learning. Moreover, consider that in Italian exist few (or none) material to learn Japanese so I must pass through English in both directions.

For the kanji only, I used for one year or so Wanikani. They made a really good job in creating a nice interactive environment that adapt to your progress and errors to repeat kanji until their complete assimilation.

I also use the Tae Kim’s Guide. For grammar, I also got A Dictionary of Japanese Grammar which is more organized for reference and is in semi-pocket edition respect to Tae Kim’s Guide.

As on-line dictionary, Jisho.org - I agree - is the best you can find in internet. On the paper (yes, I still use also paperback dictionaries) I got two dictionaries which use different searching mechanism. NTC’s New Japanese - Engish Character Dictionary introduced a new system for searching kanji based on the character structure (top-bottom, left-right, …) and the counting of strokes. It is an effective method and you can find immediately the kanji you are looking for. In some (a few) cases, if you are not sure about the strokes count, you need to look in two or three different places. The other dictionary I bought is The New Nelson that uses radicals to look at kanji.

Who is starting from zero (not really from zero, but after he learned hiragana and katakana) I strongly suggest the Genki course. It is very similar to the traditional Minna no Nihongo also very appreciated. I have both, and for what I seen till now, the differences among the two is in how they arranged the arguments to guide the learner. Genki has a modern approach but this is not necessarily better. Both courses are full of funny drawings and hand-made pictures as used in any Japanese context.

Finally, my suggestion is to write in japanese without a computer. You will learn hiragana, katakana, and kanji only if you are able to write them. Here repetition is crucial at least for me.

Now, with all this material… I have only to restart studying… :innocent:

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not really true. If you know pronunciation of kanji, you can write it by keyboard while not being able to write with hand.
also its possible to remember meaning of kanji while not remembering pronunciation.

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It depends which meaning you assign to the verb to learn.

I’m going to start compiling a short sentence deck now. I’ve learnt from experience that I don’t learn well when the words are in isolation.

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How about a sentence challenge?

Give us the sentence A mouse is in the house.

Language Sentence
Latin Est mūs in domū.*
Japanese マウスは家にいる **
Chinese 家里有老鼠
Esperanto Estas muso en la domo

(*) I’m not 100% sure what case domum (house) should be in. I put it in the accusative. I’m also not sure if I need another word to differentiate is in from just in. Edit: I realised I needed est. Edit 2: Turns out I needed the ablative case.

Latin script: ESTMVSINDOMV

**マウス - mausu - a lot of words in katakana are from English
Edit: nezumi may mean rat, but it seems it more correct here
は - wa - topic marker, its like title of text
に - ni - place marker, markers are after word, not before like English “in”
いる - iru - exists - for alive objects
And, yes, no spaces while a lot of words are not single symbol ツ

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How about this? We could have

  1. A daily word
  2. A daily simple sentence
  3. A daily complex sentence

What do you think?

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Whoever posted the Japanese mouse sentence: interesting that the Japanese would use a recent loanword for that. Are there situations in which it would be more or less appropriate to use the loanword rather than the native term?

Also, Latin learners just decided to add spaces and diacritics since the Romans aren’t here to complain :stuck_out_tongue:

Real Romans would have written ESTMVSINDOMV

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