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u/Virusnzz · 5 pointsr/languagelearning

Yes, but it takes a long time, so I'll copy paste all my past comments here for you to trawl through yourself.

>/r/russian and /r/LANL_Russian are both good subreddits. Someone recommended which is great for beginners. is good for lots of information, but is kind of incomplete. Definitely worth using regardless. Memrise is really good for vocab, but the courses are user-made and not perfect.

Note: LANL_Russian in particular has some great links in the sidebar.


>Interesting, there seems to be an influx of Russian learners lately. Take note, because I'm writing a lot, and I wouldn't do it if I didn't think that every bit was extremely important.

>Stop just trying to memorise by reading. Long story short, you're using a pretty ineffective technique. The good news is there are far better ways of doing it. Studies show that recollection, not repetition is a far effective teacher.

>As I've said to many, I can fully recommend Memrise ( and the top rated Russian course there. It's great at using recollection to get you memorising a lot of words fast using mnemonics. Other than that, Anki is a useful flashcard program that does a similar thing.

>some tips for Memrise: don't use it passively; really try and think about and focus on the word you're learning. Secondly, make sure you've got a mem (their term for mnemonic) that works for you. Getting a word without a mem is harder. Memrise will really solidify your Russian-English, but if you are worried about the English-Russian part, just go though each level with a strip of paper covering the Russian words on the screen and work your way down. You will find it's really easy anyway, because Memrise has solidified the connection in your mind.

>Make use you check the course page and water all your plants EVERY DAY.

>Take note of how Memrise get's you recollecting as soon as possible after giving you a word, and then gradually spreads out the intervals at which you are prompted to recall a word, and in groups of 5 words at a time. Take this technique and use it to make yourself some flash cards. Write the English on one side and Russian on the other (you might like to include the pronunciation too). Now you can take these around with you day by day (I have some on my desk by me right now), memorising other words you've read whenever you have a spare moment. You can even have your own personal mems for them. I'd recommend buying some cards to use, because just cutting up printing paper is pretty flimsy and easy to mess up.

>I personally find I memorise better when focusing at my desk, because I'm a lot less distracted. If Memrise is done then feel free to use your flash cards at your desk. It is still more effective.

>If you ever do go back to word lists, don't just look at them, cover one side up and do a few at a time, really relying on recollection.

An extract from what I'd consider my best writeup:

>What galaxyrocker said is just as true for me. My interest in the language led me to try learning it, as opposed to wanting to learn a language and then finding one. I always thought the Cyrillic alphabet looked awesome and the Russian language sounded awesome, so I decided to try it and I've been going ever since. I was always interested in the history of eastern Europe and socialism so I guess that in some way led to it. Along the way I've discovered a completely different and interesting culture and now I am learning a way to interact with it.

>One bit of advice would be to find a buddy who is a native of your target language and get in regular contact. If you're doing this online, there are plenty of resources, but I found mine on the Skype forum. The time spent teaching him the more precise aspects of English and in turn getting a more interactive source of knowledge has been invaluable to both of us, and at the same time I've been prompted to think a little about my own language, especially regarding grammar. It helps only a small bit if you share interests, because the two languages provide such a huge range of topics and conversation. Since you're going to be a beginner, look for someone experienced but looking for regular practice, to them, teaching you WILL be the practice, and any insight into English you can offer a bonus.

>Secondly, relate your studies to subjects that interest you. No doubt you'll be different, but DotA 2 has a large scene in eastern Europe, so I often tune in there just to immerse myself. Find resources to attempt to read that are about a topic of your interest. If you don't enjoy the benefits somewhere, you'll lose interest. If you surround yourself with media relating to your language, you'll always be motivated to go back to the books and continue learning.

>Also, always go back and go over words you learned, otherwise you forget them fast. Recollection is a far better teacher than repetition, so make flash cards or use Memrise (it's amazing).

Now especially for you; Resources:

Pimsleur has an audio only course that teaches you basic conversational Russian using spaced repetition and simulated conversations. It's good for getting you speaking and pronouncing Russian, but I got bored pretty fast and didn't really have the opportunities to use it. The course itself is huge, split up into many lessons. This one does cost a lot of money, you you should PM me for a "sample" first.

Penguin Russian is like a giant grammar book. It will teach you the basics as well as the advanced. While not interesting or engaging, it does have everything you could ever need to know, and so is a good resource if you have the patience. This is another one you'll have to buy, but I have the PDF form if you'd like to "sample" that too.

Lastly, trying to read Russian books is a good way to learn once you have some words down. A heads up though, unless you have more than 1000 you'll be running into a lot of words you will be unfamiliar with, at least to begin with. One staple of language learners is Harry Potter, since its been translated to pretty much every language there is. That's the last "sample" you'll be needing to PM me about.

If you want to speak, the best way is to find a Skype (or real life) buddy who speaks both. There are huge amounts of Russians online who speak passable English who could help in return for some English help.
If you're not doing it that way, you'll need to practice speech to yourself while studying.

u/weab00 · 12 pointsr/languagelearning

The decision is up to you, and your final choice should pertain to your situation/interests, but if you do choose to learn Japanese, then I can give you some pointers:

Learning Material

Start by learning Hiragana and Katakana. This should take you 2 weeks tops. You can learn it through apps like Dr. Moku (apple and android), and practice with Drag-n-Drop.
After that, use the Genki textbooks I and II (make sure that it's the 2nd edition, which has more features added to it), which are the most popular by far within the Japanese learning community.
Japan Times, the company behind the books, also made some pretty neat apps to side with the book. Available for apple and android. There's also a workbook, which is a bit of a drag to buy after buying two $50 textbooks, so I uploaded the PDFs here.

Supplement your studies with Anki SRS (Spaced-repetition-system), which is essentially virtual flash cards.
There's also Tae Kim's Grammar Guide, which is pretty good as a reference, but not so much a sole learning material. His website is another good reference resource.

Please realize that it's okay to forget words and grammar points, and you're definitely going to have to revisit some of them along the way.

I should probably mention Kanji. Kanji are characters imported from China during the 5th century, although many have divulged from their modern Chinese equivalent. Genki I+II will teach you 317 kanji (image for scale (sorry for bad quality!!)), and Tobira (the textbook I'm about to mention) will teach you another. There are officially 2136 "Jouyou Kanji", or kanji used in everyday life (e.g. a newspaper). Some people use Heisig's Remembering the Kanji, which I wouldn't recommend since it only teaches you the meaning (which it sometimes lies about), and doesn't even teach the reading or any words that use it. I'd recommend learning words and then the kanji that they use. That way you're getting more bang for your buck. While I personally don't use WaniKani to learn kanji, I have used it in the past, and it's really good. Sleek interface, gets the job done, forums for questions. All the good stuff you'd expect out of a kanji learning site. The first couple of lessons are free, and then it's something like $8/month. Despite WaniKani and all its greatness, the creator behind it (named Koichi) also made an "online Japanese textbook" called Tofugu, which I definitely wouldn't recommend. It waaaay too much around the bush, and half of it is just "motivational talk" (which I'm pretty sure is just trying to get you inspired for a night or two, pull out your wallet, pay for a lifetime subscription, and then give up once you get to the 〜ます forms).

Edit: I also feel the need to mention that, despite what pop culture might tell you, only a tiny portion of kanji are truly pictograph (e.g. 川 (river), 山 (mountain), 人 (person), and 大 (big)). The more conceptual ones have almost no tie to their actual meanings, which is why kanji teaching resources that use mnemonics fall apart pretty quickly. After being written with a chisel on turtle shells (called "oracle bone script"), imported to Japan 1500+ years ago, written 1,000,000s of times from people in prefectures miles away, and reformed numerous times, almost all of them lost their original pictographic quality. Just take a look at 働, 色, and 起. What do you think those mean? The answer is: to work, color, and to get up (in the sense of waking up).

Edit 2: Learn the stroke order for the kanji, since it makes them much easier to break down in the long run. For that matter, learn the radicals, or parts, of the kanji. There's a list here.

To clear up any more misconceptions, Japanese is not like Chinese in the sense that a character alone can be a verb. The kanji "起" doesn't mean "to wake up" on its own; only when you add the "き" and "る" hiragana does it turn into the verb. This is called "おくりがな" (okurigana). There are also many different readings for each character, unlike Chinese where there's usually only one or two. For example, the character "日" (day, sun) can be read ひ (or び), にち, or じつ. One kind of reading is called 音読み (onyomi), literally meaning "sound reading" because when the Japanese came into contact with the Chinese, they didn't yet have a writing system (their language was called "和語" (lit. "native Japanese language"). So, they "borrowed" their characters and transcribed the Chinese pronunciation based on their phonetic system. The other kind of reading is called 訓読み (kunyomi), which literally means "riverside reading". This type of reading is native to Japan and was prescribed to the kanji that corresponded with the meaning. On the more extreme side, some kanji can have 10+ readings. Don't sweat it though (心配ないよ!), as you'll learn all of these different readings through context in your vocabulary.

Now to bridge the gap between "beginner"-ish to "intermediate"-ish, use Tobira (which literally means "bridge"). The book assumes you to have a certain level of knowledge, some of which might overlap with Genki and other words/grammar that you may have to look up. It's an uphill battle, but you'll come out triumphant in the end.

On a side note, I'd recommend as your go-to online dictionary, even if some of the example sentences are riddled with errors. "Imiwa?" is a great Jp<->Eng dictionary for android and iOS. If you're really serious, then get "Kodansha's Furigana Japanese Dictionary".
Also check out /r/learnjapanese. There's a lot of great questions/resource links on there, and you can ask any questions you might have.

Duolingo has opened up alpha testers for its Japanese course as well. I'm so-so on the quality of Duolingo, since it doesn't even really teach you grammar, but just in case.

There are a lot of great resources posted up on the Kanji Koohii forums, which is where I found ヨミちゃん for Google Chrome.

To go further, read 4chan's /int/ guide.
Oh, and in case you didn't know, stay away from Rosetta Stone!!

Native Material

After Genki II, give a go at よつばと! (Yotsuba!), a simple children's manga with furigana, which is kana above the kanji (intended for little kids). There's quite a bit of slang in it, and almost always uses the casual form. Even in a simple manga like Yotsuba, there will still be words and advanced grammatical constructs you haven't even touched yet. You can get the "Yotsuba Learning Pack", which consists of an Anki deck and vocabulary list here.

You can practice speaking with native speakers on a wonderful app called HelloTalk (available for apple and android). It's pretty great.

There's also iTalki, where you can write journal entries in your target language (so you can do this for Italian too) and have them be corrected by native speakers. You can also correct journal entries in English.

About the JLPT

The "Japanese Language Proficiency Test [Number X]", commonly referred to as "JLPT N[X]", is the standard Japanese test. N1 (Number 1) is the highest and most advanced, while N5 is the most basic. You can see how ready you are for each one here. Honestly, N5 and N4 are so easy, they're really not worth the money you have to pay to take it. N3 is a good warm up to N2. Passing N2 will look pretty damn good on any business related Japanese job. I wouldn't worry about these tests until a good way into your studies.


While Japanese might not be the easiest language for an English speaker to learn (far from it, it in fact), and quite daunting due to the scores of kanji you're required to learn, the rewards are numerous. For one thing, you get 130,000,000 more people to converse with on this planet. You're also opened up to the world of anime (Japanese animation) and manga (Japanese cartoons), and the original language of the haiku (俳句). Not only that, but you're also introduced to the literature world Haruki Murakami and other such Japanese writers. Most importantly, you should enjoy it. After all, nobody who doesn't enjoy learning something gets very far into it. If you ever feel incredibly discouraged, take a break for as long as you need. Revisit the material when you feel ready. Never study something if it pains you to do so. PM me if you have any more questions.

u/SuikaCider · 446 pointsr/languagelearning

Edit: Apparently I had nothing better to do than this evening, so here's a wall of text. Hope it's useful for you.

EditII: Didn't expect so many people to look at this, either.. so I'll say: this isn't an in depth zero-to-hero guide for Japanese, this is just a tidy gathering of the path I took to learn Japanese to my current level (minus a few textbooks), which is definitely still very far from fluent. I'm personally learning Japanese for its literature, and the vast majority of what I did was aimed at getting into books as fast as possible (cough Heisig cough) -- if you don't care about reading, I'll be the first to say that a lot of what's here might not be interesting to you. Google around and see if my suggestions fit your learning style or not. Japanese is weird in that there are literally resources for everything, so I'm sure there's something that fits you.

EditIII: Just wanted to link the DJTguide, a library of tons of resources organized into different skills and stuff. If you don't like my suggestions, I'd personally start here to find something else.

intro -- textbook stuff -- post-textbook stuff -- tutoring -- loose timeline

I have lived in Japan (for school) for two years, speaking nothing before I arrived (fully intended on going to Spain instead lol)...and am now somewhere between N2/N1, which is the level of fluency required to work with Japanese businesses/join a Japanese-conducted program. At this point no conversation is a problem, I can read modern literature for enjoyment (older stuff literally employed a partially different language and requires its own study), and follow movies/comedy shows/anime without subtitles if I'm pay attention.

I didn't try nearly as hard as I could have, so I honestly think you could reach my level of "fluency" if you make a religion of it -- a research student at my university came speaking nothing one year ago and now speaks notably better than I do across the board (on behalf of being forced to communicate with people for like 12 hours a day). Granted, you don't have the luxury of multiple Japanese people needing to communicate with you in order to do their job, and thus adjusting their language to your level to communicate with you all day every day... but I still think you can learn enough in a year to thoroughly enjoy yourself, at the very least.

Here's how I'd do that.

Textbook Stuff

  1. Read The Kanji -- don't use this for kanji. Make a free account, use it to learn the Hiragana and Katakana (two of Japanese's three alphabet systems; 48 characters each and phonetic. One is for Japanese-origin words, the other is for loan words and other random things). It just throws flash cards at you with each of the symbols; you can probably commit them to memory in a few hours. It's okay if you forget a few or several or even most of them at first; you're going to see these things so often that they'll be impossible to forget before long. We're just shooting to prime your passive memory so that you'll see a word written, have your curiosity irked, and be able to work it out, connecting that forgotten information to more and more recent memories to help remember them. Plus, this is a model for your year as a whole -- contextually acquiring passive understanding that stretches your boundaries, then diving back inwards and working to solidify passive knowledge that has become useful for your current situation or will allow you to express something you want to express currently, into knowledge that gradually becomes active.

  2. Buy Genki I, its workbook, Genki II, and its workbook. This will walk you from knowing absolutely no Japanese at the beginning of Genki I, and while mileage varies, I was personally able to make sense of ShiroKuma Cafe (see the link in the next section) upon completing Genki II. I'm currently taking the first "advanced" level Japanese course at my uni, meaning that I have had the opportunity to talk with other "advanced" (apostraphes meaning take with a grain of salt, looking at myself) learners about how they learned Japanese, and the Genki series is by and large the crowd favorite.

  3. Buy Heisig, or you can probably find a version somewhere on the interwebs....... make an account at Kanji Koohii (a site where people work together progressing through Heisig, mainly by sharing the mneumonics they make for the kanji), and otherwise follow the instructions on Nihongo Shark's Blog. He suggests to completely put learning Japanese on hold till you finish the 2200 Kanji in this deck in 97 days, but I think that's ambitious as is, and eats too much of your year up. So I personally would say learn 15 a day, every day, until you finish -- that will have you finishing in around 5 months, you'll be on target with the 6 months I'm plotting out for Genki I + II even if you miss a few days. (see below).

  4. Others might disagree and you can make up your own mind, but I personally think learning the Kanji is essential. They take time to learn at first, but repay you dividends later on when you accumulate vocabulary basically without thinking, passively, by reading or watching subtitled shows. Plus, any resource you'll use past the beginner stage will require kanji.. meaning if you don't learn them, you can't use these resources, and gimp yourself down the road. They're incredibly logical and like legos; the resources in #3 basically talk about the most efficient way to build things out of those legos (to help remember what each lego is). Also look into Moonwalks with Einstein if you'reinterested in memory in general. The thing about Kanji is that they unlock Japanese, as every single Kanji has a unique meaning, and Japanese words are basically simple definitions of themselves. Take fire extinguisher, for example: 消火器。It literally means extinguish-fire-utensil/tool. Good luck understanding a random word like that in any other language at first sight, but it's easy in Japanese, and the vast majority of Japanese words are exactly like this. Learning the Kanji allows you to take a word you've never seen before, instantly have a reliable guess as to what it means... and depending on your familiarity with the Kanji, maybe even how to read it. This happens to a lesser extent in conversation, also. Kanji are a new system of logic, but once you adjust to it, it's pure magic -- eventually, you sort of stop needing to study vocabulary, because you can just read and passive understand most any word (which you'll eventually work into your active vocabulary). I talk about "The First 2000 Words" in #5, and basically, words give you diminishing returns -- they're a lot of bang for your buck at first.. but past 6,000, 10,000, 20,000 ... learning 10 or 100 or even 1,000 new words might not give you noticeable improvement.

  5. This anki deck is Genki in Example Sentences; pace your daily reviews so that you'll be going in time with your progression through chapters in the book. I really, really wanted to link you The Core 2k(the first 2000 most frequent words of Japanese) because I really liked it and the first 2000 words make up a significant majority of daily conversations (we repeat a lot of the same things over and over, the same bread and butter structures, laced and spiced with more rare nouns, then descriptive words, and the occasional verb)......... but I also think that context is the biggest key when it comes to language learning, and the 2k doesn't have that for you right now. It's eventually going to outpace your Kanji studies (if I'm recalling how I studied accurately), and more importantly, the word order does not follow Genki. You're going to be spending a lot of time with Genki for 6 months, the pace that I want you to complete these words in. You're already going to be stretched thin, so I guess I'm going to recommend you take that Genki deck and use it as a supplement to help you get more out of Genki -- it looks like it's going to take, on average, ~25 cards per day. I don't know if that's ideal, but then again, I stuck with Genki until I finished Genki (no other resources, began Hesig - also below - about 2/3 of the way through), and I began watching Shirokuma Cafe (below) immediately after Genki II, able to (at first, painfully) understand it... and I think I'm just a normal dude, if you're also a normal dude -- or, better, a better than average dude -- I guess Shirokuma should be good for you, too, after Genki II and this Genki Deck.
u/Luguaedos · 11 pointsr/languagelearning

If I were you, I would approach this in a practical way. I'm assuming that you are a monoglot English speaker with maybe the equivalent of a US High School introduction to Spanish or French. You number one problem right now is that you don't know how to learn a language on your own. It doesn't matter if it's Spanish or Mandarin, it is most likely that what you will do is what you know: get some books, sit down an hour each day studying like you did in school, maybe use an app and after 6 weeks you'll start to question the process you are making. At first the voice will be small and in the back of your mind. And then one day, you'll come home form a bad day at work or school and you won't feel like studying so you'll skip a day. And your downward spiral to giving up will have started. By your 12th week you might still make token efforts to study, maybe you'll use an app (Duolingo, Memrise) for 15 minutes or reread one of the chapters in the book you bought (a chapter you've already read, so you should review it). At this point you are all but done as a language learner. Plug in your Chrome Cast and fire up Netflix because you aren't making the progress you thought that you would. You'll conclude that learning a language is hard, or Arabic was too hard, or that you are not good at languages, and you'll start binging on Supernatural because if you start now, you might be done with seasons 1 - 9 just in time for season 10 to be released on Netflix.

>A poor craftsman blames the tool for what his hand cannot do.

If you don't want to follow the cycle I described above, you should take some time out to learn how to learn and to understand that there are certain tricks and traps that your mind is going to use in an attempt to get you to put in minimal effort while making you think you are making maximum progress. Before I go on, I want you to understand that there is a reason why the first paragraph seems strangely specific. It was my story with a number of languages (Russian, Welsh, etc). I think the best advice that I can give you is to get Make it Stick and read it before you pick a language. Then buy Fluent Forever and read it. Then pick your language and start studying and remember this: value people over process, process over goals, and goals over material. What I mean is that the course or books that you use are the least important factor in your success and that people with whom you surround yourself are the most important factor. Too many people emphasize finding the "right course". It just doesn't exist. Find some decent material and be done.

  1. Spend more time forming relationships with native speakers of your target language and do this from the beginning. If you feel reluctant to do that or you immediately start making excuses about wanting to learn the basics before you do this, stop beeing a whiny little brat and do it any way. ;-) Look at the people who are the most successful language learners. They all have relationships with people that they pursue through the target language.
  2. Develop a study process and integrate it into your day. For example, do the parts of learning that you like least in the morning so that you won't be too tired or stressed at the end of the day. Make friends and pursue interests in your target language. This way learning is not so subject to your emotions. Always keep in mind that your learning process is far more important to your success than the material that you use. Use techniques like spaced repetition, interleaving, and -most importantly- remember that you have to practice what you learn in a real way. Meaning you need to increase your output. Write summaries of grammatical rules in the target language and get feedback. These things are hard and frustrating but you will get far more out of learning this way (see 3rd link at the bottom of this post).
  3. Set SMART goals and use quizzes and testing to help measure and evaluate your goals. Use services like iTalki to chat with random tutors or exchange partners to put yourself in uncomfortable situations that mimic real world conversations. If you can, and it's OK with the other person, record the sessions and give them to a friend or your primary tutor to help evaluate your progress.
  4. Get some good material to use but don't allow this to take up too much of your time. It's just not as important as many people seem to make it out to be.

    And now for the science so you know I'm not just making this all up:
    Learning Painting Styles: Spacing is Advantageous when it Promotes Discriminative Contrast
    Learning Concepts and Categories from Examples: How Learner's Beliefs Match and Mismatch the Empirical Evidence
    Spacing enhances the learning of natural concepts: an investigation of mechanisms, metacognition, and aging
u/riff71 · 3 pointsr/languagelearning

In order to get anywhere with Russian, you need a invest in a good grammar book. For complete beginners, I always recommend Nicholas Brown's New Penguin Russian Course which is dirt cheap on amazon.

To help you get comfortable with the language in terms of reading, listening, and pronunciation, I'm a big fan of the Assimil series. If you're not familiar with Assimil, you can read up on their method. The Assimil Russian is a nice complement to the Penguin course and I'm actually half-way through it myself (for review purposes).

You can find lots of good learning materials on I've found that some of the best learning materials are made by Russians for foreigners, but those are generally more advanced.

Immerse yourself in the language as much as you can outside of your formal lessons (i.e. Penguin, Assimil, whatever). You can find tons of Russian music on youtube. If you prefer to stream music online, check out Many of the Russian stations play English music, so if you just want Russian-language music, try the Russian Radio station.

You can watch tons of old Russian movies with English subtitles on Mosfilm's website for free. If you know where to look online, you can find all the latest movies for free (pretty easy to find with google). One of my favorite things to do is find a Hollywood movie that I know really well, and then watch it dubbed in Russian. The quality of Russian dubbing is generally pretty high, and the advantage to watching a movie you're already familiar with is that you can focus on the language. Once you get to a higher level, it's interesting to compare the English dialogue to the Russian translation.

Do you have an ipod? One way to tune your ear to a language is to listen to the rapid-fire delivery on news broadcasts or opinion programs. I like to listen to podcasts from the Echo of Moscow radio station. Here's an example program you could subscribe to Culture Shock with rss link.

As difficult as the alphabet and grammar seem at first, I can assure you that it's nothing compared to acquiring a good vocabulary. Everyone has their own method for learning vocabulary, but my advice is to make some flash cards and carry a stack around with you wherever you go. In any odd, spare moment that you have, review them. You should aim to get to 1000 words as quickly as possible. As others have said, that's a key threshold. If you do the Penguin Course and/or Assimil, be diligent about learning the vocabulary for each lesson.

Anyway, good luck! Удачи!

u/adventuringraw · 24 pointsr/languagelearning

I can't believe no one's said this...

listen, I struggled with anxiety, depression, low energy, and low motivation for a very large chunk of my life. I've been told I'm fairly intelligent, I got most of a programming degree, and as long as a class or an assignment didn't trigger my anxiety I did just fine. Got all the way up into vector calc, made some cool water simulations, you know. Other classes I failed outright because I got increasingly more nervous about the subject and eventually stopped going to class. I even had a recurring dream for many years after college that it was a month or two into a semester, and there was a class I'd signed up for and forgotten about, and in the dream I deliberate on what I can do to salvage the situation.

So listen, if there's only two things you get from this post, that you can write on the wall, tattoo on your arm, whatever, it's this:

1 - Objectively, passing Spanish II, with the right tools and the right emotional support, is something you are 100% capable of.

2 - Your real struggle right now, has nothing to do with your intelligence, it has to do with your emotions. The right practical tools will help you limp through, the right emotional tools will help you fly through.

I've been working on myself in a pretty big way for the last three years especially. I saw an herbalist and got some herbal support, I started seeing a counselor, I started working on being a lot more open and transparent with my friends and partner instead of struggling through things alone in my head... I don't know what would be best for you, but you really should consider finding a counselor to help with this, or at least treating acknowledging that this is going to take as much emotional growth as it will linguistic. You will be challenged doing this, it will be painful at times, but none of that will come directly from the Spanish. I haven't personally gone down the mainstream psychological meds route, but there's no shame in that either... it's about exploring, and finding what you need to do to succeed in life. Hell, go to Peru for two weeks and take Aya even, practice your spanish while you're there, whatever. Just don't lose track of the forest for the trees. Seven years on the border of unemployment because of one class you genuinely can pass in a few months worth of work is a mental health crisis, not a struggle with language.

Now, in practical terms... again, I can't believe no one's mentioned this, but would you like to know the secret to passing Spanish II? I'll give you a hint... take the average student coming out of Spanish II (even with an A in class) and test their speaking, listening, reading, and writing abilities. I bet you anything it's going to be pretty shit. You are likely not going to need to actually learn to function in the language, all you're going to need to do is learn how to adequately pass the tests. What textbook series does the class use? What series did Spanish I use, and what will you be expected to know? If you narrow your focus down to what the class is based on, you'll find you have far, far less to learn.

Here's your secret weapon: learn to use anki. It's kind of a pain in the ass to get started since you need to make your own cards, but it's worth it. Closed deletion cards (a short spanish phrase on front, with a ___ missing word, with maybe a one word english hint as to the nature of the missing word, and then on the back, your missing word) are my personal recommendation. Other people might recommend pictures on one side, and a spanish word or phrase on the other, a short english phrase on one side and the answer spanish phrase on the other, or a short audio clip in spanish on one side, and the meaning on the other. Until you have reason to experiment though, stick with close deletion. It's good enough to get you through the class with an A, even if that's the only kind of card you use. The one caveat though: ALWAYS make el or la part of the answer with noun cards. You will be required to know the gender on tests. Close deletion cards are great too, because you get used to seeing words in context. It will make grammar and actual use much easier, vs a 'front: pero, back: dog' type card. The english phrase on front, spanish phrase on the back is a good way of learning grammar by the way, make a few of those cards if you're struggling with a grammatical concept.

Now, go through the book Spanish I in your online series was based on, and make anki cards for things you don't know. Start with 20 cards a day. That'll end up taking you around 30~40 minutes a day to learn new cards and review, though it'll take at least a month before the review cards to stack up until you're actually hitting the full 30ish minutes. Total, you're looking at under 6 hours a week, including time spent making new cards. If you can get through the whole Spanish I book before class starts, you'll be starting with absolutely zero things you're supposed to know that you haven't already gotten at least comfortable with. Now all you need to do, is keep making new cards as you encounter new words and concepts in class, and keep up. If you can finish the Spanish I book and start into the Spanish II book before class starts, so much the better.

The really nice thing about anki, it tells you when you need to review. Even if you have 10,000 cards words in your deck, as long as you keep reviewing everyday (even with 10,000 cards, it's scheduling might have you only reviewing a few dozen in a day, depending on how long ago you learned those cards) you'll never forget what you've learned. In other words, if your fear gets the best of you, or you come down with an unexpected illness, or whatever else, if you use anki like this, you'll be able to come back and try again, and very easily ace the class next time, as long as you keep up with your deck in the meantime.

Now for my own recommendation: once you pass the class, keep going with it. Nothing like a big 'fuck you' to your old stumbling block to get fully comfortable with spanish. My own favorite learning method is with reading. Get a spanish graded reader (possibly in tandem with prepping for your upcoming class, if you finish with your anki for the day) and read through it. I used this one. This isn't for class, so you don't need to remember every new word you see. All you're doing is exposing yourself to the language, getting a 'feel' for how it flows, seeing your new words in context, and just... getting through the pages. The book has words meanings as you go, so just look up what you need and puzzle out the meanings as you go, that might help build your confidence a lot. That particular graded reader is easy enough you can start basically from day one too. If you find you enjoy the process of reading and looking stuff up, then keep going. Get more graded readers. Maybe even get some YA fiction for the kindle (word lookup is very easy and comfortable on the kindle, lets you start reading way before you could with paper books). I taught myself German just by reading a bunch... took around 10,000 pages to start getting comfortable enough that I could understand spoken language without running into new words, but I didn't even need to use flash cards, or review, or do anything other than just read and lookup stuff as I went. It's kind of what I do to relax, as strange as that might sound. If that appeals to you too, here's a picture I'll paint real quick:

It's the end of August. With consistent use of Anki, you very comfortably pass Spanish II, maybe even with an A. The relief is overwhelming, along with a really intense feeling: 'I put myself through hell for seven years to avoid THIS? Why the fuck didn't anyone tell me about anki before? WHY DOESN'T EVERYONE KNOW ABOUT THIS?". You can now get your first job in the industry with zero anxiety about being 'found out'. There's nothing to be found out. You're a competent worker with full accreditation. You can get on with your life. But, you find that reading's kind of enjoyable, so you start working your way through Harry Potter for shits and giggles on the kindle. You keep going. It's not a study thing, no one cares if you fail or succeed, maybe you don't even bother telling anyone. It's just a private thing you do in the evenings for yourself. Months pass, books go on the read pile. You start noticing you're seeing less and less new words. You start noticing you can understand spoken spanish even. At some point, you decide to get a tutor, just for shits and giggles, and find you can actually hold a conversation, as crazy as that sounds. Maybe you'll even want to head to a spanish speaking country for a few weeks, live all in spanish for a bit, just as a fuck you to your old fear.

You don't have to do all that of course, I'm just saying it's more on the table than you think. You're not bad at languages, and while there is an enormous amount to remember, you don't actually have to try and put the pieces together manually. Exposure doing something you enjoy (or at least don't mind much) will eventually do the work for you. You learned English after all, so it's not like it's beyond you. Our culture just fucking sucks at helping people learn languages, but there are other methods that work much better.

Anyway, I hope some of this ranting helped... good luck! I've had my fair share of battles with feeling helpless, incapable, afraid, struggling with procrastination... it's brutal, but I promise it's got far more to do with how you're thinking than it does with any actual weak spot in your brain's ability to do the work. You've got this, 100%. Hit me up too if you'd like an accountability partner or whatever.

u/emk · 3 pointsr/languagelearning

How much study time do you have available per day? Have you ever learned a foreign language successfully before? Do you speak any other Romance languages fluently?

Assuming you can study at least two hours per day, I would recommend:

  1. Get Assimil's New French with Ease with the CD, and do two lessons per day. Spend 30 minutes on each lesson, following whatever variation of the Assimil Dutch instructions pleases you. In 25 days, this will give you a good, basic intuition for how French works, and teach you some useful vocabulary. The nice thing about Assimil is that if you follow the instructions, it works well for almost everybody, and it produces solid results. If you want a grammar overview to go with Assimil, get Essential French Grammar, which is dirt cheap, focused only on the essentials, and an excellent complement to Assimil.
  2. Since you need to speak very soon, get Benny Lewis's book, which has some good advice on efficiently mastering survival stuff and polite conversation starting very early on.
  3. A week or two before you leave, skim How to Improve Your Foreign Language Immediately, which is the bible of dirty tricks for faking a better level than you have. Definitely do his "islands" exercise, and prepare 10 or so islands, getting them corrected on lang-8.

    If you think of yourself as a hardcore geek, and you're generally good with languages, there are also a couple of ways to boost your listening comprehension substantially in 30–100 hours.

    Total cost: Less than $100, plus some money for iTalki tutors if you follow Benny's advice. But expect to work really, really hard—faking intermediate French after 30 days is a bit like sprinting straight up a steep mountain with a heavy pack. You're trying to compress 350 classroom hours into a month, which means working very hard and efficiently.

    Anyway, if you can spend an hour a day on Assimil, and an hour a day on Benny's speaking advice, then you'll get some pretty useful survival French under your belt by the end of the month. Going further than that will probably require studying obsessively.
u/its_ysabel · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

As a Latin student, I'm obviously biased, but you should choose Latin. Latin is a really fun language, and it's really not that difficult. Since you've studied Russian, you already have a background in declined languages, and your Spanish will help with the vocab. English will help too, regardless of the fact that it's a Germanic language.

If you pick Latin, look into Wheelock's Latin. I use this book, and I think it does a really good job of explaining everything. It's also loaded with examples and practice work, and has a nice answer key in the back if you get stuck. Since it's a course "based on ancient authors," many of the passages are excerpts or adaptations from authors like Cicero or Caesar. It teaches you about Roman history and culture in addition to the language, which I think is nice.

I've also heard plenty of good things about Lingua Latina per se Illustrata, but I haven't used it very extensively.

There's also the Perseus Latin Word Study Tool, which is really helpful. They also have a Greek version, if you decide to go with Greek.

Wiktionary can be useful as well, as it gives full declensions or conjugations for tons of Latin words.

If you progress to a high enough level, you can read the news and tons of ancient authors in Latin.

Also, if you study Latin, we can be language twins. :P

u/cantinee · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

Alright, here goes nothing! Kinda Long list, sorry for wall of text!


u/Muzjik · 6 pointsr/languagelearning

I'm just starting to learn Russian myself. I'm using this website and this book which supposedly gets you up to an A-Level grade. I think it's a great book but found it a little tough for an absolute beginner so I also got this book which is just basic phrases really, doesn't go into grammar in any real detail but it gives you a lot more confidence to be able to speak something rather than getting completely bogged down in grammar as soon as you've learnt the alphabet imo. As soon as a got a couple of chapters into the phrase book, I started using the Russian course book I linked above to understand the grammar and handwriting better. Can't recommend the penguin one highly enough and I'm sure it will be a great help that you will have a teacher to help you with the grammar.

You're correct in thinking that the alphabet is the most important beginning. DON'T try learning a language using English phonetics, that'll just confuse you (which i can confirm) and give you a weird accent (according to my Russian speaking ex-girlfriend). Next up is where the stress goes on words, how changing stress can change the meaning of a sentence, and how some letters can change sound depending on where they are (called [un-]voicing) but this will come after you have the alphabet and some phrases under your belt.

I also found it good to listen to a few songs to pick up how words flow together, and music helps me think anyway, personal favourites of mine are traditional songs such as Kalinka, Ochi Chernye and Katyusha. Just look on youtube and you will find plenty of them even some with the lyrics in English and Russian.

This is the alphabet, the kids version for when you're more confident and want to learn it in order, and this video has some starter words and phrases.

I hope some of that helps you out, but I'm just a beginner myself so hoping to pick up some more advice myself by watching this thread closely!

u/Eric_Wulff · 1 pointr/languagelearning

>And how on earth do you think that saves you time?

It would save me time because I would be learning only comprehension, while not spending any time focusing on developing the ability to speak. You disagree that ignoring the speaking component of language acquisition would be an effective way to save time, but that's of course the fundamental issue that we're talking about here. It doesn't help to repeat your position without any support, as if it's a new point you're making.

Iterating the process I mentioned for several years sounds like a large time investment, but there's no getting around that when trying to learn a language to a standard that I personally would find useful in my life. If not learning how to speak would cut the nevertheless lengthy process to about half of what it would have otherwise been, that would be useful to me. I'm basically trying to solve the problem of, "How could I learn French to a decently high standard for the specific objectives I have, namely gaining a reasonably deep understanding of the politics, science, and literature of the modern and historical French-speaking world, while cutting every other corner as much as possible, since my time is limited?" Learning to comprehend without practicing speaking seemed like a possibility, since I've heard of plenty of people who can understand a language without being able to speak it.

>If you spent the very small amount of time time just learning how to speak French - the FSI Phonology Course is a very good base, takes 10 hours - you'd understand what I'm talking about. You can finish that in 2 weeks rather than spending years of iteration.

I don't think you understand what my goals are here. It will take years of iteration no matter what to learn what I want to learn. I'm trying to be efficient, not spend a small amount of time as if it's going to just be a hobby that I play around with here and there.

>In German you half the time you have spaces between words in writing and the other half you don't, and whether you get a space in speech will depend on whether the word starts with a vowel or not. That's not particularly straightforward either, it's just different.

Why did you say that learning to understand without learning how to speak would possibly be doable in German, and that French in particular is the issue here? The only way I'm able to make sense of that claim is to assume that it's easier to take knowledge of the written language in German and translate it into listening comprehension, than it is in French.

When you were having trouble with listening comprehension in French, were you at a level where you could understand a lot more in writing than in speech? If so, was that because you spent a while memorizing vocabulary and grammar in writing? The main difficulty I'm having with your claims is that everything you're saying could be explained by something I've seen an almost endless supply of: language learners picking up a lot of vocabulary and grammar in writing, and then having trouble translating it into listening comprehension. Methods like what's explained in this book solve that problem entirely, and I can't tell why French couldn't be addressed with similar methods, though tailored to its peculiarities.

I see that you're native in English and Swiss German, and that you're C1 in German. That sounds like a result of your upbringing. It also seems that you're A2 in French, which I imagine is a language you've intentionally decided to study as an adult. Are there any other languages that you've studied as an adult to a decent level?

>No. There aren't a huge number of speakers who are literally native in more than one language regardless of the pair. It's fairly uncommon. Especially so with French - you won't even find it that often in Quebec.

It's incredible the degree to which you just seem to want to quibble. Look, there's not going to be an issue finding people who know about French politics who would be happy to speak in English. Some of them will be individuals who are native in both languages (since such people surely exist in high enough numbers that I could readily meet them), and some of them will be people from other backgrounds.

I don't have as much first-hand data on this topic as you, so it's easy for you to quibble with my relatively imprecise statements. But my goal here isn't to see who's able to be more technically correct within the realm of interpretation strained for the purpose of tribal argumentation. My goal is to figure out what may or may not be a good idea to pursue, and you're giving me little confidence that your statements are optimized for that purpose; you seem above all concerned with winning arguments.

u/apscis · 1 pointr/languagelearning

Of course you are not hopeless. Do you think everyone learning a language jumps into it with full understanding of all the terms involved? You learn as you go, just as in any discipline.

When I was an English major in college, I decided to enroll in Old English. I was unaware, somehow, that I had chosen "Old English II." The very first day of class, I show up and we are given photocopies of the first 50 lines or so of Beowulf and asked to translate to modern English with the help of the glossary in our textbook. I stared at this incomprehensible text, confounded as to how my other classmates could be busily working away. I looked up one of the words in the first line in the glossary and it had the modern English equivalent, and "Nom." next to it. I went up to the professor and told her that I had never even seen Old English before, and how was I supposed to do this? She pointed at the "Nom." and said, "This means it's nominative, see?" As if the light was supposed to dawn, and it would all be clear to me now. But for me, this just explained an incomprehensible OE word in terms of an equally incomprehensible piece of linguistic jargon, as I then saw it. Needless to say, I went straight to the registrar after that class and withdrew from it.

This was about 13 years ago. Subsequently I took some Latin and French in college, which gradually introduced me to grammatical terminology. Today, I can read Spanish and French virtually without a dictionary, have reached an upper intermediate level in Polish (grammatically similar to Russian) with the intention of becoming a translator, and am happily beginning with Japanese. But if I had judged myself linguistically hopeless after that ill-fated Old English class, I would have done none of this.

"Cases" simply describe different ways in which nouns change form based on their function in a sentence. You already know cases in English. Consider the first-person pronoun "I."

"I like dogs" - "I" is the nominative case, because it is the subject of the sentence, it is 'doing the liking.'

"He likes my dog." - "My" is the genitive case. We wouldn't say, "He likes I dog." This would be a case error. The genitive usually indicates possession. In Russian, it has more functions, but they can be learned in context.

"Dogs like me." - "Me" is the accusative, or direct object case. It indicates the receiver of the action (the 'liking'). In English, this is also the prepositional case. Prepositions are words indicating position or direction, e.g. to, for, by, of, behind, etc. All these words take "me": behind me, for me, to me, etc.
Think of cases like this: where meaning in English sentences is usually determined by word order, languages with more cases (Latin, Polish, Russian) can have a more free word order, because the way the noun changes, and not its position, determines the meaning.

Articles are easy - "a" (indefinite object) and "the" (definite object). Good news, Russian has no articles!

Conjugations are to verbs what cases are to nouns. They simply involve the verb changing form based on person, tense and/or aspect. In English, verbs in the present tense only conjugate in third person singular: "I walk, you walk" but 'he walkS". Likewise, verbs conjugate for past, "I walked." Russian verb behave quite differently from English, so learning how they work will give you greater insight into conjugations as a whole.

Lastly, gender is a feature many languages (including Russian) have. It is simplya means of classifying nouns based on how they because grammatically. Often people (usually native English speakers who are not used to it, though English used to have gender) complain about gender, but this is pointless. It simply exists. The good news is, there are rules defining which words have which gender, and you can simply learn as you go along.

I would recommend that you buy Nicholas J. Brown's New Penguin Russian Course. I found this book helpful during the ~3 months or so I dove into Russian, and plan to return to it when I resume studying Russian (it conflicted with my Polish!). It will introduce you to these concepts gently while also teaching you Russian.

u/Strakh · 21 pointsr/languagelearning

I mean, as long as you are having fun - that's the most important part! =)

But for what it is worth, my advice is to not worry so much about finding the perfect book. Working through a mediocre book from beginning to end will typically put you further ahead than reading a chapter here and there in other, possibly better, books.

When I start a new language I look for a few resources:

  1. A nice grammar that I can use for reference.
  2. A frequency dictionary.
  3. A graded reader (or any good selection of shorter texts).
  4. A "course book" (possibly both textbook and workbook) that gives me some kind of structure.

    I only need one of each. It's not necessary to have the perfect books, as long as the books are decent and easy to understand. For example, this is my selection for French:

u/castillar · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

Wheelock's Latin (link to the seventh edition on Amazon) is an excellent place to start, and at US$15, it's a pretty good deal, too, as textbooks go! I had six years of Latin in middle and high school, so if you need a hand, feel free to ping me. It's a fun language, and learning it taught me as much about the structure of English and other languages as it did about Latin. Best of luck!

u/AshNazg · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

The best way to do that is supplement your "going around and talking to just about anyone you see" with some Assimil French exercises.

You're going to do great, just don't be afraid of sounding like an idiot at first. Another French curriculum that many people praise is the Pimsleur method. I loved the Pimsleur Vietnamese course I took, and it worked out great; I'm sure French is much better, being an easy language to learn.

Remember, you can "buy" these from the internet for an extremely low "price".

u/strawberryketchup · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

Here are some things that have been helpful for me while learning new languages:

  • Anki: There a lot behind how it works, but it's a flashcard program/App that uses an algorithm that is very good for retaining new information (I originally read about it while reading Fluent Forever, by Gabriel Wyner.
  • Duolingo: You've probably already heard of this one, it's a quasi-Rosetta Stone (but free).
  • Rosetta Stone: Opinions may differ, but imo I learned and retained more with Rosetta Stone than using Duolingo (there's also Memrise but I haven't used that one much, so I can't offer a good opinion on it). Maybe the pictures or more natural audio, not sure. I used the free trial.
  • Labels: Putting labels on everything around your house. This is good for learning nouns [unfortunately, we can't put labels on verbs :( ]. Different nouns have different genders (female/male/neutral) and it's important to know which one is which gender.
  • Keeping a daily journal/diary in the specific language (Greek, in your case): This is really helpful if you do it carefully and go over what you've written correcting your mistakes or clearing-up doubts. It forces you to use the language and think.
  • Traveling: this is obviously not as accessible as the previous ones, but full immersion is by far the best approach. If you have the time/resources, get on a plane and spend some time in Greece :)

    Edit: Also, this sub's wiki has a bunch of resources.
u/etalasi · 1 pointr/languagelearning

/r/learnjapanese's Getting Started Guide

> ###Online Guides
> Luckily for the modern language learner, the internet is full of free resources for study. When using them, however, make sure that you are using a credible source. One extremely popular and quality guide is Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese. Written, and even available through Amazon, as a book, Tae Kim’s Guide covers everything you need to know to get started learning Japanese.
> Another great choice is Pomax's Introduction to Japanese.
> If you’d like to follow a different path, you can follow the subsections below.
> ###Textbooks
> If you’re interested in a more traditional form of study, you may be looking for a recommendation of a textbook. In /r/LearnJapanese, the most commonly recommended textbook series is Genki. Currently available in its second edition, the Genki consists of two textbooks (GENKI I: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese and Genki: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese II) with companion workbooks. The books and associated media are designed to be used to help in learning speaking, listening, reading and writing skills, with additional segments for cultural information. These textbooks are commonly used in college and university settings and cover the first two years of study at a common pace.
> These books are available for purchase from many sources, such as ( Purchase Links: Genki I | Genki I Workbook | Genki II | Genki II Workbook ) and traditional brick-and-mortar resellers.
> Additional choices for textbooks, such as the Nakama series, can be found on the Resources page of the wiki.

u/Aksalon · 6 pointsr/languagelearning

I tried Rosetta Stone in Korean briefly. It sucked. Like really, really sucked. It wasn't just that it did a bad job of teaching things, it taught some things in a way that was incredibly misleading and would result in you speaking some pretty absurd Korean. If you didn't know any better (I did, but obviously a complete beginner wouldn't), it would actually be harmful to your acquisition process if you used Rosetta Stone. It doesn't go up to a very advanced level either.

So now that that's out of the way:

  • If there is a Korean class available anywhere near you, take it. Korean isn't easy, and self-studying it certainly doesn't make it any easier.
  • Integrated Korean is the most widely recommended textbook series I've seen. I've never used it myself, but you should get a textbook, and it seems that theirs are good.
  • Talk to Me in Korean is a great site to practice listening. It has lessons starting from complete beginner (including a few Hangul lessons).
  • To practice speaking, you should find real-life Korean people to practice with once you've studied it a bit and have something to work with. Unless the person is a Korean tutor/teacher, don't expect them to do much in the way of teaching you though. You can try or classified ads like Craigslist to help you find Korean people if need be.
  • Here's a list of other various resources I use.
u/TimofeyPnin · 13 pointsr/languagelearning

Former employee, linguist, and guy-who-is-pretty-ok-at-russian checking in:

It is decent, but you'll want to make sure you actually understand the concept of grammatical case, and how it works and is marked in Russian.

I would highly recommend pairing it with the New Penguin Russian Course.

Definitely use studio as much as possible, and take notes case endings. RS will show you something like на невысоком мужчине черный костюм, and it will help to know that невысоком is declined for the prepositional/locative case. Well, really, it will help to know that that form is not the "default," and how to 1)figure out what the default is and 2)transform the word as you need to when speaking.

A friend of mine did just RS, and she has a problem with basically just saying a word in whatever case she first heard it she might say невысоком when trying to say невысокый, or what have you.

Finally, evaluate after 5 months, and if you're not using it, it's not working, or whatever, send it back and get a refund. Mark it on your calendar, and decide before you miss the deadline.

u/robobob9000 · 4 pointsr/languagelearning


  1. Use this with Anki to learn Hangeul/Pronuncation:
  2. Do TTMIK Levels 1-3 with this Memrise course:
  3. Learn 1000 high frequency words. Use this book to make a word list:, and then look up example sentences on Naver Translate:, and then learn the words in Anki, using the methodology described in this book:
  4. Do TTMIK's Korean Verbs Books:
  5. Do KGIU Beginner:
  6. Use this Youtube channel to start developing fluency:
  7. Sprinkle in other TTMIK products that you might be interested in. "My Daily Routine In Korean", "Korean In Action", and "Real Life Conversations" are all pretty good options.
  8. Sprinkle in other Youtube channels that you might be interested in. GoBillyKorean:, SweetAndTastyTV:, Margarita:, FnE Korean: and PinkPong: are all good.


  9. Do TTMIK Levels 4-6 (links above)
  10. Learn 2000 high frequency words (total of 3000 words) (links above)
  11. Do Glossika:
  12. Do TTMIK's "My Weekly Korean Vocabulary" set:
  13. Do KGIU Intermediate:
  14. Start getting corrections from native speakers. Italki for speaking:, Lang8 for writing:, and HelloTalk for casual speech:
  15. Sprinkle in other TTMIK products that you might be interested in. "IYAGI Translations", "Situational Dialogs In Korean", "Korean Slang Expressions", and "Everyday Korean Idiomatic Expressions" are all pretty good options.
  16. Sprinkle in other Youtube channels that you might be interested in. SKCouple:, EveSojin:, DeevaJessica:, Yumcast: HoneyTV:, HeoSam: Sadly there's a lack of male Korean youtubers that use Korean subs.
u/kyobumpbump · 4 pointsr/languagelearning

I started learning to read and write Korean with Hangul Master, then the basics with the Integrated Korean series. Because Korean grammar can be no bueno, I used Korean Grammar in Use as well. All of those books were super worth the price and really helped me understand how the language worked.

If you're looking for something free, Talk To Me In Korean is always a good option, or if you wanna learn Hangul on your own, YouTube has a lot of good videos!

Good luck!

u/that_shits_cray · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

It's not crazy. I'm a fluent English speaker who has learned conversational Korean over the course of two years, albeit in a classroom setting. I've found it to be a pretty simple language when compared to other East Asian languages such as Chinese and Japanese. The best thing to do is get some books and learn the grammar patterns. I recommend [these] ( because they come with listening resources and teach you the basics well. Once you get the basic grammar patterns and memorize the elementary vocabulary I would recommend getting yourself to the intermediate level with the same line of books. Supplement your education by listening to Korean pop music and watching Korean dramas (super fun). There are also many websites and apps that are willing to connect you with people that speak Korean fluently.

My biggest piece of advice is to focus on reading fluently and getting grammar patterns down. Once you have this down you will only have to learn more vocabulary to expand your grasp on the language. Going to South Korea will also help you learn, although a lot of people will only want to speak English with you. You will have to actively seek out people that are willing to speak Korean to you. If you have any other questions about learning the language or going to Korea, then don't hesitate to PM me.

u/kctong529 · 1 pointr/languagelearning

If what you want to achieve is A1 and nothing beyond, you best bet would be getting one of the many course books:

u/shuishou · 1 pointr/languagelearning

I have always used the Chinese Link textbooks. I also see Integrated Chinese everywhere. Also, I highly highly highly recommend all of the Demystified books! I have both the Chinese and German and they are fantastic! Also Heisig's books are really popular and they also come in traditional. Hope this helps! I am pretty experienced in trying out tons of different resources for Mandarin! :)

u/pending-- · 1 pointr/languagelearning

Would love to recommend this book to you:

Integrated Chinese. You can use this in conjunction with the book you are looking to buy (glossika). When I first started learning Chinese in middle school they used much more juvenile books, but for my friends who continued Chinese in university, this is what they used. I've seen the book in real life and I really like it and would recommend it. Let me know if you have any questions :)

u/psaraa-the-pseudo · 0 pointsr/languagelearning

Why do you want to learn French? The answer can have an effect on what kind of course materials you should look for.

If you're main focus is conversation, than Language Hacking French would probably be the best fit for you in conjunction with italki lessons and videos on youtube.

If you're main focus is reading (to read literature and that sort of thing) than something like French for Reading would be a better fit, in conjunction with something like Duolingo stories.

Language learning, as I once heard, is like travelling. There are planes, trains, cars, and boats, and whatever you pick is based on what you want to experience/personal preference.

u/mtwara · 15 pointsr/languagelearning
  • Master the alphabet as soon as possible. Just hammer it in.

  • Starting with numbers after that is a great way to get the alphabet solidified.

  • Try Memrise for vocabulary, and this book for grammar.

  • General language tip: Go hardcore until you know around 1000 words. That's the number I've found is what you need to have your grasp be stable.

  • Another General tip: Discipline is everything. You need to study every single day (until the 1000 word mark) in order to get anywhere. Do not flounder.

  • If you have Stalker: Clear Skies and/or Call of Pripyat on Steam, then play them in Russian. Same with Metro 2033 and The Witcher 2. You can usually change the language setting under properties in your game library.

    Good luck. I've definitely got a bunch more tricks, so just send me a message if you want them. These are just some good beginning ones.
u/uufo · 1 pointr/languagelearning

I don't like these novelty-approaches to language learning like duolingo, they seem like a waste of time.

I think the most efficient way is to study the basic grammar structure, acquire a good vocabulary, and get as soon as possible to a point where you can read written text. If you decide for German, I suggest the book "German for reading" by Sandberg or "German quickly", combined with the daily use of Anki to acquire a basic vocabulary (say, the most commonly used 3000 words).

If you choose French, French for reading + Anki.

Even if you want to speak or listen, I still suggest your first move must be to reach reading competency as soon as possible. It can be done in 2-3 months (read the reviews of those books), and after that it will be very easy and enjoyable to work from there toward your other goals. And if you lose your enthusiasm, you can keep on practicing by just reading books or sites you enjoy, instead of just quitting and forgetting what you have learned.

u/ramblagir · 1 pointr/languagelearning

In my opinion, apps and software don't tend to be of much use; they don't let you advance quickly enough and don't expose you to enough material. If you're serious about learning Russian, grab a good book and study each text or dialogue until you understand it both in reading and aurally. There's Teach Yourself Russian, Routledge's Colloquial Russian, the FSI FAST (Familiarization and Short-Term Training) Russian, Assimil Russian (if you speak French), and I've heard good things about the New Penguin Russian Course. In all cases, be sure you get audio along with the book, or have a native speaker who is willing to help you learn. Good luck!

u/krnm · 1 pointr/languagelearning

I've heard good things about The New Penguin Russian Course. I also like to have plenty of reading material, like readers and parallel texts to help build my vocabulary and work on comprehension.

As others have said, there's plenty of free and usually legal stuff out there, so give those a shot too. While materials can help or hurt your motivation, the specific brand or program isn't as important as doing something every day to improve your Russian.

u/[deleted] · 3 pointsr/languagelearning

Practice translating? Three months into learning a language is way too early to be worried about translating. Your goal should be to immerse yourself in the language as much as possible -- that means avoiding English when you study French. Speak French, listen to French, write French, and read French (and when you read, try to turn off the voice in your head that murmurs a running English translation).

Consider downloading some free French-language podcasts (try the iTunes store). This book might be worthwhile. I haven't used it, but the same publisher's Spanish readers are good. Since you said translating, though, I'm wondering if your primary goal is reading French. Even so, I would still say to speak, listen, and write as much as you can -- it will help your reading. But if your primary goal is reading, this book is fantastic. I started using it after two semesters of college French (which were indispensable for helping me internalize the basic structures of the language) and it took me the rest of the way to doing research and reading literature in French (with a dictionary, of course).

u/ChungsGhost · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

Your choices as a foreigner to get going are between titles that contain either "Croatian" or "Serbian" (if you find older material, it'll be likely advertised as "Serbo-Croatian"). "Bosnian" stuff is still pretty much restricted to this book which might actually be overkill as a total beginner learning independently.

The most important thing is to get started with a decent course. Teach Yourself Serbian, Beginner's Croatian and Beginner's Serbian are good starting points if you're really motivated (FWIW, I've used all three). You could also get a taste of the language(s) in everyday life by watching short videos involving Croats and Serbs.

If you learn the basics of any of Bosnian, Croatian or Serbian, you'll be able to start communicating with him. If he plays along and speaks to you in his native tongue, he might adjust somewhat by using fewer features/words characteristic of Montenegrin or speaking more slowly or clearly and using a slightly more formal register than he would when he's with his friends or family.

u/jared2013 · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

What I did was duolingo and a grammar book (I used this , not free obviously but I think it's worth it to make sure you get an analytical knowledge of the grammar) to get started, eventually move on to listening to people on youtube like this guy who makes videos for learners

Then I moved on to reading fables and passages from the Bible. Lingocracy is useful for that. I also started adding the words I didn't know onto memrise and using that daily.

I haven't pursued Italian as much as I should but I gained a moderate amount of reading comprehension doing that within less than two months.

u/ghostofpennwast · 3 pointsr/languagelearning


Also, there is a very good croatian textbook on amazon that is only like 40 bucks used:

Memrise on laptop/phone is free and pretty efficient just for vocab.

Do you have any advice for learning croatian for someone who is in diaspora and didn't grow up speaking it in the home.

u/AmazonInfoBot · 1 pointr/languagelearning

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u/FranzUndAnti-Franz · 1 pointr/languagelearning

You'll need a solid grammar, and I wholeheartedly recommend Hammer's. Very comprehensive, easy to use, clearly written, tons of examples, great at pointing out differences between formal, colloquial, and regional uses.

The list of verb principal parts could be a little longer, that's what Wiktionary or "500 German Verbs" are for. Otherwise, it's a very solid resource for you. Find grammar points that are tricky for you and work on those.

u/rkvance5 · 3 pointsr/languagelearning

I had fun reading through this BCS textbook. I keep meaning to go back through and do the exercises and use the workbook, but I've been tied up. It's fun seeing all three presented side-by-side-by-side, though, and you could certainly focus on one (I was particularly interested in Croatian).

u/spiritstone · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

I am no sure if a single text can help you achieve your goals for self-study.

However, I have heard great things about the "Erkundungen" and "Begegnungen" Deutsch Als Fremdspreche series from Schubert-Verlag for existing self-study learners, which also has an online site for grammar exercises,

Alternatively, an English and progressive teaching grammar like this well known one may suit you better:

"English Grammar for Students of German"

u/stevozz · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

Check out a book called Fluent Forever. The author goes into detail about various techniques to make the language learning process more efficient.

If you don't want to read the whole book I guess you could just note down the key points at the end of each chapter and then skip to the practical techniques part at the end. However, I found it an easy and informative read and highly recommend it to any beginner or improving language learners.

u/WildberryPrince · 1 pointr/languagelearning

This textbook, combined with the accompanying grammar, provides a pretty comprehensive introduction to the language and with enough study should get you to a satisfactory level. Plus it includes examples of not only Serbian, but Bosnian and Croatian as well, which are pretty much the same with some slight differences in vocabulary and grammar that you'll start to pick up on as you study.

u/anagrammatron · 5 pointsr/languagelearning

> I've read that you should learn like a child

Your brain is not like child's brain, you have adult's brain. You can try to imitate the environment but you can't replicate what goes on in child's brain/mind. Take "learn like a child" advice with grain of salt. As for children's books, IMHO these are far from ideal for learning because for and adult it may be difficult to relate to the stories and they rarely elicit emotional response that would facilitate remembering.

Integrated Korean is widely used popular textbook series, you might want to look into that, perhaps your library has a copy.

u/fatalfred · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

Link to free serbian flash cards
Link to android app for these flash cards (iOS also exists):

Probably the best book for learning the language:

But if you're really serious I'm sure you can find a local school or culture center that has classes.

u/p0lar_ · 1 pointr/languagelearning

If you need a grammar book, I highly recommend Hammer's German Grammar and Usage, along with Practising German Grammar if you want a workbook.

I was totally blown away by the quality of these books, it's super complete and easy to use.

u/tendeuchen · 3 pointsr/languagelearning

Depending on what language you want to learn, there may be a book that explains the grammar you'll need for that language by connecting it to English. For example: German,
Spanish, Russian.

If there's a term that you're unfamiliar with, you can also poke around on Wikipedia to get a better idea behind some of the concepts. But when things get too technical, just keep looking up unfamiliar terminology and you'll be on your way.

For a little bit of fun, check out:
Split Ergativity,

where you can see this gem of a sentence:
>An example of split ergativity conditioned by tense and aspect is found in the Hindustani language (Hindi/Urdu), which has an ergative case on subjects in the perfective aspect for transitive verbs in the active voice, while in other aspects (habitual, progressive) subjects appear in the nominative case.

u/cwf82 · 7 pointsr/languagelearning

Find a copy of Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata. Libraries sometimes have copies, or you might be able to find a cheap, used copy. Even better if you can get the audio with it. It is a good, intuitive way to introduce you to the language, and makes learning basic declensions a bit more fun, because you are following along with a story, instead of just rote memorizing tables.

u/rawizard · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

Yes it is. But it also has some vocabulary and other notes included to help develop your Italian beyond the grammar.

Practice Makes Perfect Complete Italian Grammar

u/dzhen3115 · 5 pointsr/languagelearning

Definitely stick with only the Cyrillic alphabet. The transliterations used on Duolingo don't really convey the sounds very accurately. To practice Cyrillic reading I used to go on a Wikipedia page with lots of celebrities' names (e.g. Best Actor Winners ) and change it to Russian and go through reading the names.

I had a look at the Duolingo course when it came out and I found that it was really lacking in explanation of grammar (cases in particular). I would strongly recommend getting a decent book to follow along with to teach you the grammar. I have found that this has quite a nice progression and explanation. YMMV but, for Russian, I have only found Duolingo helpful for practicing putting sentences together, nothing else.

> Sometimes the words end in one way and then another, but make the same sound

I'm not sure what this is referring to, could you give an example?

u/vminnear · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

I would highly recommend the Penguin Russian Course book. It's really useful for beginners, it goes through each case and other grammar points with plenty of examples and exercises. It's very reasonably priced and I find it much easier to refer to a book than trawling through web pages.

u/learnhtk · 0 pointsr/languagelearning

I don't believe that you truly learned French.
Start anew. This time around, make sure that you can actually "speak" French. Focus more on speaking, instead of passive listening comprehension.

As for the "best" way, I believe Assimil French with Ease is a very popular course. I am not sure if it's "best", whatever that means, for you. You will have to find out what works "best" for you.

u/dem4 · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

Here's a link to Assimil. You can find the book + the audio easily on torrents. And I think you should read the reviews on amazon, and generally reviews about assimil about what makes it so great. They probably word it better than I do, however even though assimil claims to take you to B1, I think A2 level is more likely, and after finishing the book, you can immediately continue with their advanced book which should take you above B1 called "Assimil Using French".

u/FlamingTaco7101 · 3 pointsr/languagelearning

You can definitely afford language textbooks, especially pre-used ones.

The best latin textbook out there for $7. New for $12.

u/WOULD_QUESTION_MARK · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

[shoutout for /r/VeganForCircleJerkers]

um i'm unfortunately not sure what to say that could help. so it's really to make your application more appealing?

if you didn't hate it more than French, i'd just say you should skip learning french to help with latin...and just dive into latin instead. i wish i could lend you some of my feverish adoration of/passion for french.

you could also maybe just take a French-for-reading approach, which would be faster and easier. There's a book with that title, but i also just mean studying in such a way that you're only going for reading comprehension.


u/dont_fear_the_memer · 1 pointr/languagelearning

look on amazon, i'm pretty sure they have kindle versions for languages besides french


u/pissygaijin · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

> Can anyone give me some advice, as well as any websites/books that I can read up on to improve in my understanding of the language?

The book Genki 1 is often recommended.

u/kingkayvee · 3 pointsr/languagelearning

There won't be anything specific. This is because language learning depends on multiple factors that vary greatly between learners:

  • language goals
  • time available to study
  • materials [being] used
  • fluency in related languages
  • target areas of difficulty (i.e., some people memorize words easier than they learn grammar, some people understand grammar faster than they learn vocab, etc)

    Essentially, though, any amount of time you spend productively learning your language will be beneficial. So with French, you can try:

  • spend 30 minutes a day going through an online course, such as OLI
  • spend 15 minutes reviewing vocabulary you learned the day before
  • spend 15 minutes listening to French music, videos, etc or reading easy French passages

    Then after a month or so, adjust according to how far you've progressed. Or you could try Duolingo in the beginning and then moving onto different methods. Just try to be fluid and don't stress out :)
u/dephira · 3 pointsr/languagelearning

Yes basically writing a text in German without any explanatory notes. It just came to my mind since your approach is so heavy on cognates so students should be able to understand a text made up of those cognates and half cognates.


You can preview some pages of the book on Amazon, maybe it will help clarify what I mean: Amazon link

u/tidder-wave · 7 pointsr/languagelearning

>Best book on language learning?

>Are there any books about how languages are learned for adults?

Yeah, plenty. I think /u/gwyner has the best book on language learning, but I'm a bit biased, since:

  • I learned about it from Reddit when he posted about his book here.

  • The techniques he proposed are very similar to the ones that my teachers in school have used in the past to teach me a language successfully.

    >How much do scientists even know about it? Do people know how we learn languages on a technical level? Or is it all unconfirmed hypotheses?

    Linguists do know quite a bit about it. They've applied psychology, neuroscience and a whole bunch of other disciplines to try to understand language learning. The book that I've mentioned above has cited many studies to justify the techniques described in it.
u/bikemowman · 1 pointr/languagelearning

/r/German might be a better place to ask. The community there is excellent, I've found. But I'm going to second the recommendation of the guy who said Hammer's. It's a tome with all the Grammar you'll ever need. It's great for looking up individual rules and situations, but is probably too in-depth for a beginner student.

u/ChocolateEevee · 4 pointsr/languagelearning

There's a review for the French one on Amazon that's fantastic. I've grabbed a quick excerpt of it that I've found particularly amusing.

"I should mention some caveats. First, this book is not a booty call. It is a fairly intense study of written French. You can't just say to yourself, "Well, I haven't looked at this book for two weeks but now I'm horny for a little French so I'll crack it open." No, you must romance this book, pay attention to it each and every day, make it feel like it's the only book you're reading. If you leave it alone for a week or two, you will forget what you have learned and the book will find someone else who is serious about learning a language. It's that French."

u/Cigil · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

Hey there. I'm learning Croatian/Serbian currently, and have spent a bit of time over there. Being back home it's been tough to get solid content that seems "official" has been hard to come by.

I've picked this series up:

There's a "grammar" and "audio" series available as well, and I have found them to be incredibly helpful! It is one of the only official language series that covers Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian and compares/contrasts them all for their differences.

Let me know if you have any questions...I'm not very far into it myself!

u/Henkkles · 11 pointsr/languagelearning
    1. Glossika
    1. iTalki credits
    1. Do NOT buy Rosetta Stone
    1. SpanishPod101
    1. LingQ
    1. Assimil
    1. Readers with audio (something like this)

      Free resources:

  • Language transfer
  • Memrise (flashcards, try to cram like 25 new words every day, delete all obvious ones like 'legal')
  • GLOSS, download the Spanish lessons and listen to each lesson over and over until you understand it effortlessly, then move on, start with the easy ones

    Okay what I would do:

    August-September: two lessons of Assimil each day, 50 new Glossika sentences, 25-40 flashcards, one SpanishPod101 lesson, Language Transfer on the go

    October-November: one hour of iTalki tutoring every day, one GLOSS lesson (or LingQ, it's paid but less effort) worked to exhaustion (~1-2 hours), one SpanishPod101 lesson, 25-40 new flashcards, fill the rest of your day with working with the readers

    December: as much iTalki per day as you can afford, Spanish language movies, documentaries, radio, audiobooks, TV, news. Use Spanish subtitles for the hearing impaired so you catch as much as possible, rewatch without subtitles etc. etc., 25-40 flashcards every day.
u/xylodactyl · 1 pointr/languagelearning

I actually think this is a great book for German learners!

u/Roskitt · 1 pointr/languagelearning

If you are planning of getting Hammer's Grammar, be sure you also get Practicing German Grammar. You can get it as a bundle just like i did, and i believe the price was around 50-60 euro range.

Hammer's German

Practicing German Grammar

u/ImpressiveRole1111 · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

get a used copy of this and start pounding away.

it is a great textbook. used textbook and workbook should run about 40-50. There are 4 "levels" it is equal to the first 2 years of college chinese

u/rdh2121 · 7 pointsr/languagelearning

If you just want to learn it to read it, there's no better combination than Wheelock's Latin and Hans Orberg's Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata. Wheelock gives you the grammar, and reading Orberg will improve your reading speed and comprehension by leaps and bounds.

u/gndn · 3 pointsr/languagelearning

I read this one so many times I could practically recite it word for word. It's pretty good - starts out at a fairly simple level and gradually gets harder as you go. My only complaint is that it's a bit short.

u/springy · 8 pointsr/languagelearning

There is the magnificent book German for Reading :

Alas, it is out of print, and used copies are horrendously expensive. Thankfully, torrent sites are your friend!

Do not confuse the book with others with similar titles which are vastly inferior.

u/_Qoppa_ · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

Here is a good example for learning French. The first chapters barely assume any knowledge of French, and by the end of the book you're reading (simplified) stories about French history.

Another example would be the Lingua Latina series for learning Latin. Starts off super simple, but by the end of the third book, you're reading unedited classics.

u/Skatingraccoon · 2 pointsr/languagelearning is a great paid service.

"The New Penguin Russian Course" is a little older and not the best order for learning imo but it's a solid book -

LiveLingua also has a ton of materials, including some produced by the government.

u/vk2sky · 1 pointr/languagelearning

I'm finding the book Fluent Forever to be a goldmine of useful techniques. The companion website also has language-specific resources, e.g. Chinese.

u/YourFriendLoke · 21 pointsr/languagelearning

Every Russian learner needs a copy of this textbook. I don't study the language any more, but it is a fantastic resource that somehow makes sense of the ridiculously complicated Russian grammar.

u/Vitium77 · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

Just wanted to add in that if you went with Heisig's method, it wouldn't have to be rewritten for Chinese. He's made books for that as well (for both traditional and simplified.)

u/narodmj · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

it's called, "Remembering the Hanzi". Here's the link to book 1 and book 2 if you're learning simplified characters. For the traditional character books, here is book 1 and book 2. Also, if you don't want to buy a hard copy, here is a link to the 1st simplified book in PDF format.

u/Noct_Stella · 1 pointr/languagelearning
  1. Cry

  2. Essential Japanese Grammar: A Comprehensive Guide to Contemporary Usage, Genki I, and Genki II

  3. JAPAN: Understanding & Dealing with the New Japanese Way of Doing Business

    Even if you disregard my advice on everything else you must must must must follow three in getting some books in understanding how to do business in Japanese.

    Language barrier is easy to overcome if there's money involved, cultural barriers less so. For learning Japanese and/or doing business in Japan culture and etiquette is everything.
u/shiner_man · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

After studying Italian for about 6 months, I decided I really needed to dive into the grammar because there seemed to be a lot of exceptions and general concepts that I wasn't fully understaning. I purchased Practice Makes Perfect and I'm almost halfway through the book. It has helped tremendously thus far.

What I've done is gone through and done all of the exercises in the chapter. I circle the questions that I get wrong and others that I think might be useful and I put them in a Cloze Deletion deck in Anki. When the sentence comes up, I have to type in the missing word or words. Here are some examples:

Front of Anki Card:

Dov'è Diane? Non l'ho [...] per mesi. (vedere)

Front of Anki Card:

Ho dato quegli stivali ai miei amici ieri.

[...] ho dato quegli stivali ieri.

This forces me to type in the missing word to complete the card. It really helps with showing what my grammatical weaknesses are exactly.

u/jobrien458 · 1 pointr/languagelearning ist sehr nützlich für Anfänger.
Die beste Buchkurs ist "The New Penguin Russian Course for Beginners.
Ich finde es ziemlich leicht und einfach.

Ich wünsche dein Mitarbeiter viel Glück mit Russisch! Es ist ein faszinierend Sprach!

u/arickp · 1 pointr/languagelearning

I'm using Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian: a Grammar by Alexander for grammar. The red vocabulary + grammar book by the same authors kind of sucks, it's like:

> Here's the vocative case, it's important. Here's one example that won't cover every word you come across.

> Here's how to say this in Bosnian, even though you'll be staying in Belgrade. (Or: Here's some Cyrillic, even though you'll be staying in Zagreb.)

Obviously the grammar book doesn't have vocabulary, but I use Memrise for that. Serbocroatian grammar is REALLY hard, even the new PM of Croatia struggles with it, as he is from Canada.