My Hovercraft is Full of Eels - The Language Learning Thread

Are datives making you dizzy? Can’t tell your kana from your kanji? Do you just wish Latin America would settle on one single word for something, anything? If that’s the case, then feel free to vent here in the language of your choice!

I’ll try to keep this thread updated with general language learning resources as I find them. Feel free to post your own findings and I’ll stick them in here! If you have any language-specific questions or rants or whatever, feel free to put them here as well.

General Online Language Learning Resources

Duolingo: A pretty popular game-like language learning tool.

Anki: Anki is a powerful tool for making flashcards. You can also make “intelligent” decks that automatically show you more difficult flashcards more often.

Memrise: (thanks @frozentreasure) Memrise offers curated, community-created courses on a variety of languages. It combines flashcards with mnemonic devices to help you memorize words and phrases more quickly.

German Language Learning Resources

Deutsche Welle: DW is Germany’s answer to the BBC, and it has a massive database of online lessons and podcasts for would-be German learners.

Deutsch Perfekt: Online magazine with news in simple German and additional German lessons. The magazine itself is paid, but it has lots of media that can be downloaded for free.

Verbito Verb Conjugator: Pick a verb, any verb, and this site will show you all possible conjugations for it. Quite useful!

Japanese Language Learning Resources

Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese: (thanks @frozentreasure) Your one-stop shop for Japanese language guides and resources.

The latest language I’m learning is Swedish (one class a week) and it’s pretty hard to grasp word pronunciation. Grammar doesn’t seem too bad. The course is until May, so hopefully it all works out. Even though everyone in Sweden speaks English, I still want to learn enough to not use Google Translate all the time.

I tried Duolingo for Swedish specifically and there were some really weird examples and very little explanation, so after two months I dropped it. Wasn’t really satisfied.

I might be also too old to learn new languages properly. I learned English and German as a kid and studied some Japanese in college, but I’m hoping the Swedish things that are intimidating me are just a first impression.

Take it from me, you’re never too old. I didn’t start studying Japanese until I was 16, and I started with self-study. Aside from a 101-level college class, which I already knew all the kana for, it’s all been self-study. Partly because I’m too poor/in the wrong place to do it any other way, but mostly because I really got into it. Now I’m fluent! :grinning: How fast you become fluent depends entirely on how much effort you put into it, but don’t worry if you’re not learning at the “standard” pace or whatever.

I’ve also taken German and Spanish classes, though I’ve fallen far behind on both. On the subject of age vs. language-learning, I had a 79-year-old classmate in my German class. Seemed like he didn’t absorb things as fast as the younger students, or just approached it differently, but he mastered the same lessons as the rest of us in the end. So don’t let your age get you down. :slight_smile: If you want it, go for it!

I’ve just started trying to learn japanese (i’m 33, 34 in a few weeks) and I’ve been using an app called memrise which seems pretty decent to me.

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I also just started with Memrise a couple of days ago for Japanese, and my only issue with it that I can see is that the standard Japanese 1 course doesn’t have any cheat sheet-style resources for the characters, so it’s easy to forget which is which.

Another Japanese resource a couple of people have pointed me to is Tae Kim’s guide to Japanese, which also teaches Japanese grammar, and I’m planning on checking that out once I get more comfortable recognising hiragana and katakana.

Well, I happen to be german, and also studied german language and literature, so I’ll be able to help out with questions there I guess. I would also like to point everyone’s attention to Mark Twains brilliant Essay “The Awful German Language”, which is the most accurate thing that has ever been written about the german language ever.

I’ve been trying to improve my spanish myself, but I have very little time for it. I should really do a few classes for it at the university, but they take place at bad times for me. I have some friends who speak spanish, but my level is still kinda too bad to actually speak it properly. I can read it fine with a dictionary more or less, but I’m missing a lot of vocabulary for conversation. I’m interested in improving my spoken comprehension though, so if anyone knows some cool spanish language series or something, I’d be curious about suggestions.

It’s yust the set of pronounciakhons you never foryet about.

I’m working on German on Duolingo. I took a couple years of German in college, so I have some basis to start with. I wish I could find a real course to take here that won’t be crazy expensive. I live in a town with a major university, but courses there would cost me a ton.

Right now, my main issues are just remembering vocabulary and remembering how articles change for the accusative and dative cases. I just need to keep drilling that stuff.

Incidentally, studying German in college helped a ton when I was learning Old English in grad school, so that was nice.

I had the same feeling about learning old German. My spanish and english skills helped out quite a lot there. Depends on the level of old German though. Anything older than, say, 1000 AD is basically a completely different language and has to be learned that way.

Incidentally, if you’re interested in improving your comprehension of spoken language, take a look at this:

This is a pretty old german children’s show from around the 50s and 60s. It’s a puppet show with a long standing tradition. They used to do it in Augsburg in theaters before it got picked up by german state owned television in the 50s. I think it’s still presented on stage in Augsburg occasionally. It’s a thing I show a lot of my friends who are interested in learning german, because for one it’s made for children, so the language is simple, but not insultingly so, and two, because it’s absolutely charming and hilarious. It’s actually still super popular among older folks in Germany, because they remember it from their childhood. There are a bunch of different series of Augsburger Puppenkiste. This one, Jim Knopf, is probably the most well known.

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