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CptCheshireKasper

Any good websites to aid learning different languages?

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11 hours ago, hazeh said:

Wanted to drag this topic back up because I decided to go forward with downloading Duolingo and giving Korean a go. :D So far I think I'm doing okay, but conceptualizing the alphabet is really hard since I'm a native English speaker, and it's an entirely different alphabet/ lettering system etc. A lot of the vowels sound the same to me :( But if I end up doing well with the app then I'm considering getting a private tutor or taking classes (depending on my schedule). 

 

Has anyone else had experience going from a Germanic-based language (such as English) to something completely different like Korean or Chinese? What were your struggles like?

 

I only got so far into Japanese with duolingo before I just felt I was missing something the app wasn't telling me :( Mostly when it got into kanji. I've been meaning to take a physical class.

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Hi there!

 

I am a native English speaker and took 4 years of Japanese in college - because I needed something completely different than anything I was familiar with. I also initially tried learning German, because I know some people who speak that language natively, but found that book learning and conversational language learning is quite different, so my tiny familiarity with the language actually had me at a disadvantage.

 

I don't know anything about the Korean language or how it's structured, so I can't advise on that, but because Japanese has 3 distinct alphabets, I'm guessing at least one of these may be similar for learning (from a native English speaker perspective).

 

In Japanese, in the first two alphabets, the 'character'  operates as phonetic sounds to form words, much like letters in English. For these, we just memorized the image,  much like how you learn how to write letters in any language that uses the Roman alphabet. The third alphabet is Kanji (Chinese characters) which operate as a complete concept or idea, rather than a sound/letter. For these, the character has a history about why it looks the way it does and knowing that information can help non-native speakers to remember the symbol/shape of the character. 

 

My biggest struggle was in levels of formality and gendered language specifics. There is no masculine/feminine/neuter in Japanese (similar to English), but the language gets more or less formal depending on to whom you are talking to or about and their relationship in comparison to you on a social scale. Additionally, certain terms, in conversational Japanese are used primarily with one gender or another (and yes, this was very binary for this culture at the time I was studying), with a different word choice swapped out for use by the opposite gender. People would understand what I was trying to say, but I definitely sounded non-native and would have to be told to use a different word choice because it was the common way of speaking, for my gender.

 

For what it's worth, I think you will learn more by finding someone to practice your language learning with, as opposed to just book/online website learning. This is why there is a much higher success rate with immersion type language learning, versus classroom (tradional or online) type learning.

 

Hope that helps.

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I forgot to mention, some work aquaintences also interested in asian languages learning hyped up this site called italki. It's talk based (through Skype and the like) and inexpensive, although not free. I haven't used it myself, but since my language skills are rusty and deteriorating from non-use, I am considering checking it out for Japanese when I have some more structured free time. The reviews seem promising and it offers conversational tutors in Korean as well. Let me know if you do try it.

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