Learning by Reading (Japanese)

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Learning by Reading (Japanese)

Postby ロータス » Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:45 pm

From here.
aokoye wrote:
ロータス wrote:
aokoye wrote:Do you have a link for this quote? I ask because I essentially want to do that with Japanese (and to an extent Mandarin) but the other way around. I have no major desire to learn to verbally speak the language but am interested in learning to read. I mean there are likely plenty of ways I could figure that out myself, but reading whatever source you took that quote from would be interesting.


My log is me doing this (for Mandarin). All you have to do is read with a dictionary. There are at least a few people I have seen do this with Japanese. If you want, I can send you my past links I have saved.

That would be great! It's funny I was actually just skimming through some of your log the other day and noticed that you seemed to be doing that.


Guides:
Reading Strategies (Vocabulary Acquisition without Anki)
Guide to Japanese
How to Learn Japanese Through Reading: A Survival Guide
How to Read Visual Novels in Japanese in 2 years time (or 1 year if you are fast)
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Re: Learning by Reading (Japanese)

Postby ロータス » Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:46 pm

The two people I know that learned Japanese by reading:
http://ask.fm/ZephyrRz
https://ask.fm/ionDivvy

Going to have to do some scrolling because they mostly talked about it years ago but here are some answers I saved awhile ago.

ZephyrRz:
When learning Japanese, did you study with Anki and if not, how did you study vocabulary? I'm also curious if your focus was more on reading Japanese than anything else. I want to read JP but also write(type) it as well but cant decide if it is good to study/practice both at same
When learning Japanese I heard about Anki being this "great new thing" but never tried it myself. I studied vocabulary first by going over JLPT study lists (for levels 4/3), learning common words associated with the kanji I was learning in kanji books, and then finally, reading a whole ton.
The entire reason the reading comprehension section of the JLPT N1 was rather easy for me, was because I read all the time. If I didn't know a word or two I could get it by context. Whenever I read a book and didn't know a word I'd look it up and write it down. If I wasn't sure on what a word meant exactly, I'd look it up, but not necessarily write it down.
Writing, to a mediocre level will come along with reading ability. You up your reading ability you get a very basic writing bonus - then you have to work on making that better by actually writing (and it's best if you have someone Japanese around to tell you how you screwed up, or even if you didn't screw up, that this or that "sounds funny"). What I wish I would have done more earlier was translate from English into Japanese. Because the language really really doesn't translate directly very well it really pushes you to write-write more than you'd think. Of course you should never write something yourself in English and then translate it to Japanese, but when you translate other people's stuff from English to Japanese, it helps to broaden your writing past things that you would think or use often.
Those are my recommendations.
As for practicing them both at the same time - that's best. Reading and writing are not the same, but they go hand in hand and help each other out. I almost exclusively studied reading, and so it took a bit of work to bump up my writing, it's like studying one gives a little bonus to the other side, so doing both should be good.
As always, if you're looking for words, or already pretty much know the words that pop up, or you're just starting out, it's okay to use an English-Japanese dictionary, but you should really really strive to learn your vocabulary from a J-J dictionary. (You can use http://www.weblio.jp - they also have a J-E ejje.weblio.jp that's better than the jisho/jwpce/jim-breen one).

What would you recommend for someone who wants to learn Japanese, but doesn't know where to start?
It makes me feel like a sponsor every time I say this, but I started learning via Tae Kim's guide ~10 years ago. I tried a few books before that but they were mostly useless to me. Most books that even universities use try to start you out in "how to be polite", but Tae Kim starts out like how a Japanese kid would learn the language, which is far better.
Here are a few other tips:
1. Learn hiragana and katakana before you do anything else. No exceptions. You will trip yourself up bad if you start learning anything using romaji. It may seem like a lot, but if you take a look at them every day you shouldn't have a problem mastering both in about a week.
2. Don't put off learning kanji. It is very important for your vocabulary and understanding of Chinese-based words (of which there are many). Especially at first, you don't have to have a perfect understanding of any one character; it's more important to have a vague understanding of many characters. Most Japanese majors won't know how to pronounce 玄人 properly, even if they know what both characters mean. I did daily drills where I would just write lots of kanji until my hands grew tired. Kanji used to be my worst "subject", but after doing those drills I was known as a "kanji master" at my university. It was kind of embarrassing.
3. The best - I might even go so far as to say the /only/ way to learn vocabulary is to learn by encountering the words by reading/listening and not "proactively" trying to learn new words, but in the very beginning it's tough to not have a foundation. It is worth your while to look at the JLPT4/N5 vocabulary list. - apart from that, pick up new words as you learn new kanji, and new kanji as you learn new words.
4. The Jim Breen WWWJDIC dictionary is a decent Japanese/English dictionary and it is used by many, and the core of many dictionary tools. It is not always very accurate. I have found ejje.weblio.jp to be better, but the best is weblio.jp (Japanese/Japanese dictionary). Don't worry about using WWWDJIC - especially at first, but it's something to keep in mind.
5. Japanese grammar can get pretty damned complex, and a lot of people moan about it, but it's not -that- bad. Tae Kim will give you a very good foundation, though almost any manga will trip you up with accents and sayings not covered by it. But the internet is filled with people struggling with the same problems and you will find answers - or you can ask me. ^o^
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Re: Learning by Reading (Japanese)

Postby ロータス » Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:48 pm

ionDivvy:
Should I just learn grammar and jump into reading? I'm frustrated at myself because I tried picking up Japanese almost 2 years ago but never really knew where to go. Fuck /djt/ and anki reps circlejerk...
Yeah. I never used Anki and didn't even look at grammar guides aside from the first little bit of Tae Kim, yet in a year I've gotten to the point where I can play JRPGs and moege without any aid and things like Muramasa with a texthooker. It's a completely valid method of learning.
DJT would probably be burning with jealousy if they found out, lol. There's people on there who've been learning for the same amount of time as me yet struggle over babby-tier things like Yotsubato and Flyable Heart because they've never read anything and spent all their time learning useless words on Anki. Basically, my advice is to not become one of them because those people never get anywhere with the language. If you're interested in visual novels at all then learning through reading is the way to go.

How exactly have you gone about studying grammar? You said reading, so do you simply read and refer to the grammar guides for things you are not getting or have you read all of Tae Kim and Imabi?
I learned the kana, read like half of Tae Kim and then immediately jumped into reading simple VNs with a texthooker. That was a year ago. I honestly haven't looked at grammar guides since. The most I'll do these days is google weird shit like ~でがんす and other regional/slang things that I've never seen before.
I never did Anki, never bothered handwriting or anything like that either. I just read. Read. Read. Read. Constantly. Five, six hours a day. Sometimes twelve on a weekend. I'd be consuming so much Japanese that I'd get headaches and even forget English momentarily. That's how I got used to the language.
My vocab still sucks, though.
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Re: Learning by Reading (Japanese)

Postby ロータス » Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:49 pm

Others I found:
gaiaslastlaugh
A lot of it comes down to what kind of learner you are, and you're going to receive advice based in people's own learning preferences.

Some people hate ambiguity, and find sludging through texts with lots of unknown grammar and vocab, or listening to programs where they miss chunks of text, to be a real trial. If you're such a person, you may be better off taking a more textbook-based approach, using SRS to build vocab and grammar, and possibly creating sentence decks based off of simple reading material.

Myself, I find SRS as enjoyable as licking dry paint off of a splintered fence. So my approach has been to use texts as study materials, looking up words and understanding grammar in context. I started out with things like reading primers, samples from textbooks, and then slowly graduated to 昔話 and NHK News Easy. Within my first year, I was working through simple manga like 謎の彼女X. In the second year, I started to tackle fairly straightforward ライノベ, eventually working up to things like Death Note. I used Rikaisama (a lot) to understand online articles until I got to the point where using it became less and less necessary. I'm now at the point where i can read Murakami and most online articles without too much difficulty. I do use SRS for grammar, but beyond that, my approach is completely reading- and listening-based.

Using this process, I've found that I'm able to decide for myself whether I'm "ready" to tackle a particular manga or article. If the work is so hard that I dread returning to it, and I don't feel like I'm enjoying it at all, I judge it as too hard for my current level, and I set it aside for later reading. (A number of Wikipedia articles, particularly history-related articles, still fall into this category for me.) I buy a lot of reading and listening material, and work through it item by item, depending on my current Japanese abilities and personal interests. It's actually very satisfying to return to an article about an anime I love that I couldn't read two years ago, and realize that it's become 朝飯前.

But, that's me. I'd encourage you to take the various divergent advice offered here, try the different methods, and decide for yourself which one is both most enjoyable and most effective for you.
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Re: Learning by Reading (Japanese)

Postby ロータス » Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:51 pm

kaitomonogatari
I usually just read them. When I learn new words by reading I usually read the passage once, then re-read it writing new words in my notebook, then I read the words I wrote down with their example sentences carefully and finally I read the passage again, so I usually remember them without memorising (;
When I read Japanese articles, I always do in this way:
  • First of all, I read the article and underline the words I don’t know trying to understand as much as possible
  • I look up new words on Jisho dictionary and write them in my notebook with the English meaning and an example sentence, while re-reading the article. I really like writing unknown words because it helps me to remember and I can focus on the radicals of the kanji I don’t know yet (:
  • I read carefully new words with the meaning and the example sentences without checking if I can remember them
  • I read the article for the third time. At this stage, I usually understand 95% of it at least
  • I take a look at the words written down to verify if I remember them
Since I have a short term memory, I review the word list for 2/3 days.
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Re: Learning by Reading (Japanese)

Postby ロータス » Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:55 pm

Fgilan The whole thread is worth a read.
My approach has basically been the exact opposite; if I had to spend that much effort reading a light novel I would hate it. I simply read through and look up words I don't know. Having a kindle makes this very easy as you can just highlight the words.
I started reading light novels pretty much as soon as I could, which was about a year after I started Japanese (although there was a long break within that year of no studying). At first I was looking up words pretty much every sentence, but now (about 2 years later) I can go many pages without coming across an unfamiliar word. If you stick with the same series (my first was やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている) you'll pick up the vocab and phrases that author likes to use and it'll become easier.

More from mseffner:
The thing with intensive reading is that if you do it long enough, it stops being intensive. I did extremely intensive reading when I started out. I made sure I 100% completely understood the grammar and vocab of every sentence I read, sometimes spending 30+ minutes on a single sentence to make sure I understood it. I never really stopped doing that, but over time, it started taking less time and effort to understand each sentence, and I didn't have to look up as many words and grammar points. Nowadays, depending on what I'm reading, I can often read for 5+ hours without ever seeing an unfamiliar word, and I understand every sentence intuitively without really thinking about it. And so, my intensive reading has effectively evolved into extensive reading.
Personally, I feel like doing extensive reading from the beginning would be less effective, but I never tried it, so I don't know for sure.
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Re: Learning by Reading (Japanese)

Postby ロータス » Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:57 pm

solarwings
I'm at around N1 level and I've never really done Anki or flashcards.

I read a lot(blogs, manga, light novels etc) and listen a lot(anime, drama, radio etc). When reading novels, I use online dictionaries to look up words(on my phone). When reading on websites, I use rikaichan to help me though I do go to the dictionaries if I want more detailed explanation/examples.

I also copy out example sentences for vocabulary and grammar from textbooks and other materials into notebooks. I have had many notebooks over the years.
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Re: Learning by Reading (Japanese)

Postby ロータス » Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:03 pm

adventuringraw This person has many post about learning through reading but you have to dig for them because they don't talk about language learning much any more
I definitely second reading. I used to use anki a ton (and paper flashcards before that with my first language learning adventure) and with German, I've switched over to just reading a bunch. With Spanish I tried reading a few books and just learning 'from context' but turns out I learned WAY more, way faster looking everything up as quickly as possible and moving on. Readlang can be a good way to do that, but I used a kindle. Worked alright, though some parts of the German language (verbs that can split and scatter across the sentence, nouns that can get lego'd together) make the kindle flat out not able to handle some kinds of questions. Readlang might not be able to handle that either though.

With Anki, I found that words would often be something I'd recognize, but just as a word that I 'should' know. Not something I'd instantly and intuitively understand. With reading, words sink in... and not just that, but they start to take their proper place in phrases and expressions. Think about it after all... there's a lot of actions even in English that have strange verb pairings. Just learning the action or the verb in isolation won't really help you.

The downside of reading a ton, is that it (obviously) won't get you very far towards active use. At this point I'm extremely comfortable reading in German, fairly comfortable listening (I can comfortably watch Daredevil dubbed, and I tried transcribing for shits and giggles... could get about 80% word for word on first pass, and at least understood almost all of it) but my speaking and writing is kind of shit. Now that I can passively understand as much as I do though, it's really easy to get into active use.

As far as vocab... don't worry about it. You'll learn specialized vocabulary in some places and have holes in others, but it'll all fill in. I love to read, and I'm about 20 books in with German, and there's still some holes but not as many as you might think. And yeah, maybe it's not useful to know midwifing related vocabulary (Mists of Avalon) or words relating to political philosophy (1984) but as long as you read the kinds of things you're interested in talking about, it'll more than balance out.

If you don't enjoy reading though, then don't read... I think the real key is to spend good time learning the language doing something you enjoy, so that you look forward to doing it every day. I personally hate using Anki and memrise and such, and I'd much rather be enjoying a story... so that's what I do, but everyone's got their preferences.

Here's my number one tip though: Don't spend too long to prepare for using the language. At some point (sooner than lately hopefully) find a way to stop preparing, and to just start living. So, if you were farther along in French, what would you be doing? I tend to be a little introverted, so most of what I switched to German is videogames, media, and books, but everyone's got different lives they like to live. Just don't spend too long studying in preparation for actually living it.


More from adventuringraw:
I'm going to offer a completely different perspective than what other people here are recommending.
Drop Anki entirely.
Anki is great in my view for two things. When you're first starting out and your vocabulary sucks, it's the least painful way to hit that minimum level needed before graded readers/easy young adult fiction become approachable. I'm begrudgingly getting up to speed in Russian with anki using recognition cards only... in part because Russian has vastly less graded reader resources available than German does.
Anki is also amazing for active use. If you're speaking/writing a fair bit as part of your studies, writing a card of some sort when you're searching for a way to express a thought is a kick ass way to expand your active vocabulary. Same as above though, I wouldn't bother with both sides of the card... here I'd only bother with an active recall card.
So... how should you study then?
Read a holy fuck ton. In my experience, it takes about 6 or 7 times encountering a new word before it solidly enters your passive vocabulary. If you have books for class you have to read, you can spend time reading other work by the same author, since most authors have very similar writing styles and word choice across books. I absolutely promise than if you were to spend 2 hours a day reading vs 2 hours a day laboriously making notes and studying anki cards, you'll end up a much stronger reader with a better vocabulary because of it. Words won't enter your active use as easily, but if you're studying literature, that's less important anyway.
One caveat. I've pretty extensively tested 3 different ways to read. One where I make an anki card for every unknown word, one where I read without looking anything up, and one where I looked up every single thing I didn't understand, but did it quickly and made no notes at all. The last method by far worked the best for me. I know some people are all about learning from context and just reading, but I ended up expanding my passive vocabulary much faster by taking those 5 seconds to do a super quick look-up before moving on.
Also, you'll find that your problem with similar words will be solved, since each word will be colored by the dozen situations you've encountered them in. Every word does have pretty subtle nuance (gemütlich and bequem for example) and trying to get at those nuances by using a different english word for each entirely misses the point, and just gives you the illusion of knowing the difference.
Obviously if writing is more important than reading for you though, ignore this... but this is by far the best way I've found to blow up your passive vocabulary. I can read whatever I want now in German with 98%+ known words, and anything easier than a college reading level I go pages without seeing anything I don't instantly know. I've read about 10,000 pages worth of books in German, for whatever that's worth.


You say you've read a lot... how much is a lot? What have you already read in German?
I tend to like esoteric horror and fantasy, and in my experience at least... it doesn't REALLY matter, it's more about reading level. Yeah you might learn some 'obscure vocabulary' as Henkkles mentioned, but... eh. I promise that's not where you'll get tripped up. Learning verbs are always the hardest for me, and you're going to run across those in every book.
If you want relatively approachable German books for your level, check out Michael Ende. Momo was good, and would make a good choice for a first book. Die Unendliche Geschichte of course is the classic fantasy, but that book was a little bit more challenging vocabulary-wise. I'd love to read the rest of his stuff too, haven't got around to it yet.
Anki is a suitable way to learn new words, but I don't use it. You'll pick it up fine just reading a fuck ton. I personally look up everything I don't know, I find I learn much faster than trying to get it 'from context'. Takes a few times encountering a new word before it starts to stick, but it always does. Just depends on how patient you are I guess.
I haven't read much by actual German authors yet... Siddhartha, Der Schwarm, and those two Michael Ende books are kind of it. (I've read another dozen and a half translated books though). I liked der Schwarm, and if you liked the Martian and things like that, maybe you'd enjoy, but I'd save it until you've read at least a dozen easier books, if not more. It would be a slow moving book even in English (it was almost 1,000 pages long) and would be kind of unreasonable if you couldn't just read it like a normal book.
I second the suggestion for graded readers too. Best way to bump up your passive vocab is just to read... a lot. Every single day. Worked for me at least. Definitely start with Momo though if you'd like something vaguely fantasy-ish that's approachable at your current level.
For whatever it's worth to you, to get an idea of time frame and all that... I just finished the German translation of the mists of Avalon (interesting book, but more depressing than I needed I think) and by the second half I was maybe looking up one word per five pages on average. Like a wierdo I keep a little log of how much I've read in German, and by the end of that books I had over 11,000 pages read. Even by 6 or 7 thousand though, reading was starting to feel very comfortable. That was around when I started finding I was going a page or two here and there without needing to look up anything at all.
Little aside though... reading is boss for passive vocabulary (listening and reading will go way up) but my speaking and writing is WAY behind. So... if it's a goal of yours to speak it, practice there too, and while reading, pay attention to noun genders. You won't pick those up well just from reading, in my experience at least.
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Re: Learning by Reading (Japanese)

Postby ロータス » Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:08 pm

More from adventuringraw:
[1]exposure is always good, though switching language settings on things like phone and such probably won't get you a ton of mileage.

In high school, I did what you're doing. I still have all my old RPGs and japanese PS2. Just recently watched Howl's moving castle... been a long time since I've used any japanese, and strange how much I can still remember.

If I could go back, there's a lot I'd do different. If your only interest is reading, learning to write isn't always a hugely helpful use of time, though if you find yourself confusing a few kanji, of course you'll want to dig in and make sure you really 'get' them.

It's also really helpful to stop thinking of kanji as independently useful pieces of information. In my view at least, phrases are what's most important in a language, then words, then (in this case) kanji.

So... my personal favorite way of learning now is just to read a fuck ton, and have a super fast way of looking up unknown words. If you're going to spend an hour+ a day on extensive reading, then stopping to make flash cards would be a waste of time in my view. On the other hand, if you don't have any material that's easy enough for you yet, that's where flash cards can start to be more useful... you have to learn those basics somehow. Plus, all that time spent learning without using flashcards made me realize how important it was to re-evaluate pneumonics. How are you learning Kanji? If you know all the radicals, it's easy to start creating meaning for them, makes them a whole lot easier to remember. Like 接... it's just a bunch of strokes, until you recognize it's hand, 'stand' and 'woman'. You 'touched' the woman when you were standing next to her (pervert!) you won't have to see that too many times before it sticks.

Everyone's got their own method though, and anki's not a terrible way to go either. And while it's possible to make an educated guess about the meaning of a kanji you've never seen before... don't get too hung up on that. I can start to make an educated guess now about certain German words I've never seen before (especially since a lot of words there are just a lego monstrosity made of easier words) but at the end of the day, if it's just one more word you need to take 2 seconds to look up, so be it. Hopefully you're not reading anything with lower than 98% known words anyway, so it's all good.

Oh yeah, last piece of advice... this one's my favorite advice even. So my German's good enough now that I can start to read whatever I want. Even Faust is starting to feel within reach, and I was able to fairly comfortably read through Dune. So... I've got a really solid passive understanding of the language. But it's still an awesome feeling to 'take a break' and read some easy books. I'm reading through Mists of Avalon translated right now (low high school reading level, if that) and it's awesome to be able to burn through 10 pages at a time sometimes without even a hesitation of understanding, totally smooth and easy. In other words... read stuff that pushes you, that excites you and interests you, but take a break too and read and watch 'easy' stuff that's well below the level you're actually at. Nothing beats being able to use the language as easily as you do your native one. Sometimes you just don't feel like looking anything up or taking notes, you know?


[2]There's a lot of options, honestly. I think... one thing that's helped me, is changing how I look at 'learning words', and understanding a little better how I speak. You don't 'know' or 'not know' a word... it's more like a spectrum. First you don't know it at all, don't even know what it sounds like. It's completely alien. Then it's kind of familiar... after you know a language for a while, even a word you're seeing for the first time can already be in that category. Maybe it's related to a word you already know or something. Pretty soon it's easy to recognize, but maybe it's harder to pull up when trying to speak. Then you start noticing that web that connects it with other words... what verbs go with these nouns? What phrases usually surround this? Then it starts filling in with all those subtle shades of association and meaning... that's when the word starts to come alive, though you may have been able to recognize it, and even use it properly for a long time before that level sets in.

For me, I've noticed I have two real rough spots when learning. Going from 'this word is completely alien' to 'oh man, I kind of recognize it... let me think real hard... mm... nope, forgot it, I have to look it up'. That's the hard part. If I can have that experience where it's on the tip of my tongue and I look it up, I'm good. That's usually the last time I need to look it up, it never fades below there again. I have a similar block with with active use... I might recognize a word alright, but it doesn't even occur to me to use it in context actively. Once I have that experience, even halting, of searching and finding that word in that context during actual active use... same deal, that word's cemented in.

So for me, I think at least, that the best possible use of anki, is to help prepare for those two blocks. Using anki for passive recall I think can be most helpful when you're starting out... once you know enough to start reading/watching media/having conversations (and asking what an unknown word is when it comes up) you're gold. Just stay curious and ask/look up any unknown words that you think are important, and you'll pick up hundreds of new words a month. But getting those first few thousand words under your belt is rough... anki can help save a lot of frustration before then.

On the other hand, I think anki to help with actually using the language, and setting yourself up to have that moment of 'aha!' when you're trying to talk and that new word comes to mind for the first time in actual use... that's gold, and any tool that can help you do that is good.

I think the rest isn't all that important in a lot of ways. Fluent Forever says not to use English... I say it doesn't matter. You're never going to 'learn' a word using Anki. Even if you have a phrase instead of a single word, it's still just one phrase. That word won't actually flesh out and take on a life of it's own until you see it in a few dozen different contexts anyway, so I don't think not using English on Anki is all /that/ important. I'd even say it's helpful for setting you up for that first time using it while speaking... if I'm hunting for a word and my mind spits out an English phrase instead, if I happen to have a map to somewhere in German, then that can word too.

Different people think different things, and this might not all be the best advice or worth or ton, but... it's late and I felt like rambling. Maybe it'll kick off some interesting thoughts, either way good luck!

Oh, and it sounds like you're way past needing cards for the 1,000 most common words given what you've already learned. Don't waste time making cards for words you're going to be able to start using/recognizing in the wild already. Even if they're not there yet, you don't need Anki to get you there.


[3]To contrast what everyone else here is saying... I look up literally every word I don't know as I read. I've tried learning from context for three books, and I've tried by looking up everything as I went, and not continuing until I 100% fully understood what was being said. I hands down learned more, faster, with less holes by looking everything up. Both will work, but don't be afraid of experimenting.

I second the suggestion for a kindle... I read paper books now, since I love paper books, but my first 7 at least I did all on the kindle and it was hugely helpful. I tried making notes to go back to later (like if I encountered a grammatical thing I didn't understand, or a more complicated verb or something) but ultimately I didn't ever go back to them. If you read enough, you'll figure out all the basics and then some.

One thing I would definitely suggest though... don't bite off more than you can chew. If you're using paper books instead of a kindle, then you really want to be as close to that 98% known as you can, and definitely not under 95%... and if you ARE under that 95%, then you're not going to be reading at all. You're going to be taking a whirlwind tour of German grammar and vocabulary until you DO get up to that 95%+ level. I've done that in the past and it works, but it can be very frustrating if you're not extremely patient, and there are probably better ways to use that time anyway. So... maybe pick an easier book? I suggest Momo. It was originally written in German anyway, and it was probably on the same difficulty level as Harry Potter... which looks a good step easier than the book you've chosen. Plus, if this book is anything like the other books I've read set in the historic south, the English version probably had a lot of accents built into the language. You do NOT want to be reading a book with intentional accents written in. Even understing 'wie geht's' the first time I saw it was confusing, haha. You don't want to be reading anything that can't be figured out with a dictionary.
Don't be afraid either to read through a dozen graded reader books or something to get into the swing of it. there's a torrent of 88 graded reader books (with audio) all in German that I'm sure you could find somewhere.
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Re: Learning by Reading (Japanese)

Postby ロータス » Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:10 pm

Last from adventuringraw:

Someone else's anki deck is generally not the best idea. Look at it this way:
What level of math did you get up to in school? At least up through high school math I imagine. Some math stacks, you use it frequently as you go, other math you often tend to leave behind. For example, do you remember more trig, or more algebra? You might say algebra is easier so it's natural you remember more, but I'd say that algebra is used in most of trig, it's used all over the place in higher level high school math. You don't have a single math subject that doesn't incorporate basic algebra in some way.

In language terms... anki should be a way to learn more quickly the information you're actually going to be using in your 'real' study time. If you're going to use a course like Pimsleur or Michael Thomas, you should use anki to supplement. If you have a word that you only ever see and review when the anki card comes up, then in my view you've made the wrong card at the wrong time. On the other hand, if you're making cards for some of the things in Michael Thomas, then you're doubling up... you're seeing it in both places, potentially in multiple lessons in Michael Thomas.

Personally, my favorite method is reading. I hate review, I like solving puzzles, so every time I sit down I prefer to read something new. The trick, you want content as close to the 'slightly above your level' as possible (too low can be fun, you learn other things, but at your level that might be unrealistic to look for, and too high can be frustrating) but where a lot of people go wrong with reading, is attempting it with slow lookup methods. Paper books aren't going to be a useful resource for a long time. Making anki cards, taking notes, all that stuff takes too long and slows down your actual progress (in my view). Some people like to read through once, pulling what the can, then return through in a second pass to look stuff up... you can try that, but I don't like that either, I find it more frustrating than helpful. I personally just like looking stuff up as I go, as long as it's quick enough.
So here's what I recommend: Get an easy graded reader for the kindle. ... It doesn't need to be marked with word meanings, and it doesn't need to have parallel text. All you need is raw, appropriately leveled text.

Next, check out readlang. Load the text up. You may have to crack it if you bought it from amazon. Readlang costs $5 a month, I suggest you do it for a month to see how it feels.

Now, all set up? Cool. The flow's super easy, if you see a word you don't know, click it. Google translate will tell you enough to figure out the rest yourself usually. Is there a whole phrase that's confusing? You can highlight the whole phrase. Is there a grammar question or some other aspect you don't understand? Confusing conjugation for a verb? When you highlight a word, it also pulls it up in the dictionary. Just hit the little 3 bar menu to the top right and you can see what the dictionary has to say. Don't like the dictionary? You can set readlang to use any other online dictionary you like better. Early on you might prefer something with conjugation tables for quick reference, later on you might prefer something with more sample sentences so you can quickly get a 'feel' for how the word is used in a wider variety of contexts.

And... that's it. Even as a 100% absolutely beginner looking up every other word, I still find I can go quickly enough to enjoy what I'm doing. As you go by the way, you can go into the 'words' tab in that little 3 bar menu, and star anything you'd like to make an anki card for later. I haven't explored it, but I think after a session you can even directly export all your starred cards into anki for review if you like.

I learned German to a very respectable level in about 2 years without ever doing anything other than reading. No anki, no courses, I only looked up grammar on a case by case basis as I had questions, and then I just... read a bunch. If you can get through 500 pages of content, even if that's all you do you'll end up with a very good basic foundation. You may still see a ton of words you don't know, but your intuitive sense of Spanish structure, and your grasp of the most common, frequently repeated words will be very respectable. By 1,000, you won't be seeing any more grammar questions at all likely, you'll 100% be in the 'learn a fuck ton of vocab' stage of the reading. At this point, if you wanted to start working on active production, you'll be in a pretty solid place to start. If you go through 5,000 pages, you'll have enough vocab under your belt that you can start to read paperback young adult fiction without an annoying amount of lookup. You'll be above the 98% known level for easier native material. By 10,000, you'll have 'arrived' in a lot of ways. Even with absolutely no active production work at all, you will be able to limp along in a surprisingly functional way in a surprisingly large range of topics. You'll be able to get your listening comprehension up to speed very quickly (maybe 10~15 hours of extra work to bring that up to speed). It's great getting your listening comprehension up when grammar, vocab, and idiomatic phrases are no longer a thing that'll trip you up. Once you do that little extra work to get your listening comprehension, speaking and understanding the answers you get are going to be a thing... just from reading.

Here's the thing though, there's a pretty serious point of diminishing returns. Your speaking won't be that much better at 20,000 pages read as it is at 10,000, though your reading will be so solid you can recreationally read whatever you want in spanish, no need for english anymore at all. It's pretty awesome that I can do that now in German... I'm halfway through a fatty 1,000+ page book right now, people who haven't seen me in a while are sometimes surprised that I'd attempt something that large in German, but it's like... my 5th or 6th book that length? It's only marginally more challenging than it would be in English even, I rarely even need to reach for a dictionary. It's awesome. With readlang and a bit of patience, I was even able to get a solid foundation in Russian down even without starting with graded readers... though I'd seriously discourage anyone else from attempting the same, haha. That first book was rough. Spanish is a lot easier though, and there's so much graded reader content available... it's a great language to get started this way in.
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Reading in one language | Learn by Reading
步伐多慢无关紧要,只要你坚持不懈。
~Confucius


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