I was wondering if LingQ is enough to train for gender. For example German, that has 3 genders without any “specific logic”.
Knowing the gender is mandatory for writing in the correct way and also for speaking in the correct way. In German lots of words could change based on the gender of the substantive.
And of course there are lots of different plural forms as well.
I know that some of you doesn’t worry about it but I’d like to have a more thoughtful answer if it’s possible. I’m not training the language only for reading and listening, but also for writing and speaking correctly. At least at a good level.
So, do you think LingQ is enough and it’s a just a matter of time and quantity that will give the understanding of the sound of the language to nail the gender?
Or do you think it’s better to add some parallel tool to train this specific topic at the same time. And in this case, what would you use?
When I was learning German and other gendered languages, I tried to be mindful of what gender each word was and I often checked gender/plural. It also helps if you lingq phrases in which the gender is apparent, rather than just isolated words. Being mindful, checking and getting exposed is what really works. After that, begin speaking and, again, try to be mindful of the correct grammar, while accepting that you’ll make lots of mistakes.
I never used separated tools to learn gender for pural and I don’t think it’s necessary or particularly helpful, but I did repeat from time to time, say, “Das Gewehr, die Gewehre” when I came across the word and checked the inflexion. Same with “lesen, liest, las, gelesen” and such.
Thanks for your insight but I’m not really sure about what you mean for being mindful.
Do you mean paying attention to the gender of the word when you encounter it by reading or listening? Like you said, sometimes repeating the gender of the word and so on?
Lots of mistakes are good at the beginning but not forever. Of course, I don’t aim at perfection but I don’t want to write or speak all the time with lots of mistakes. At least not in 1 or 2 years time.
Of course, speaking correctly and with the right grammar, including declension, gender and so on is one of my priorities. I don’t think I make many mistakes in that area in German, French, Italian or Russian.
By being mindful I mean to stop and think as you read “so what gender is this?” What would the plural/singular be?", “Can I tell by the sentence?”, if I can’t “Can I remember it, guess it?” If not, I woud often (not always) look it up and try to remember it for the next time. In difficult cases I may consider editing the Lingq to add that info, so I would have it available next time I encounter the word.
When Lingq’ing I try to select the popular translations that have the article. If I’m creating a different translation I probably have been lazy about that, but it is something I’ve been doing lately.
Regardless, I’m not doing anything extra. As you read you will encounter the correct articles and just like everything else you should learn them to some degree just through input of reading and listening. You’ll also notice patterns for gender…There are a few patterns. Not 100%, but pretty good I think.
Other than that…I’m not worrying about it. I think it will sort itself out with more exposure. If you watch Steve Kaufman’s videos on when he learned german (he’s got several), he’s said that he didn’t really start progressing until he stopped trying to remember all those declensions. Essentially, it’s a waste to do extra work…you will forget them again anyway in this isolated separate work.
I’ve asked my German gf’s father about the article genders before…whether I would be understood if I got them wrong. He’s said many times that a native would understand. There are some situations where it might be a little ambigous but much of it can be gleamed from context. Or clarifying questions or statements.
I forgot to mention something else. When I read on Lingq I usually have a god online dictionary open on another tab (I tend to read on my laptop) and I routinely look up words whose grammar I am unsure of. I sometimes write that info on my Lingq.
So, the main takeaway is that I don’t just read on, especially in the beginning. I often stop, and check the grammar By checking and rechecking and being mindful you end up becoming very familiar with the vocabulary.
There are two different questions here: one is how you can master the grammar, which was OP’s original doubt. A completely different one is “How much improper grammar can i get away with?”. The latter depends on your goals. If all you want is communicate at a basic level, sure, you can get it wrong most of the time.
However, be aware that this is similar to someone not minding about when to use plurals in English or the “s” for the third person of verbs or the past tenses, or eschewing articles and so on. Sure, native speakers can still understand most of the time but it demands making an effort and it doesn’t really sound good or give a good impression. It also often makes people believe that you can’t speak very well and they may either stop trying or reverting to English in the case of a language such as German.
I do the same with grammar or dictionaries. I’m just wondering that I will forget most of the gender words compared to using another parallel tool to train them at the same time. Not sure which method is “faster”.
I definitely share ftornay answer to this. It’s true what Steve does but he always says that he does train himself more for reading and understanding texts. He doesn’t focus on writing for example.
ftornay gave the exact feeling on how you hear other people using your language and missing “s”, eliminating articles, using verbs only at the infinite form and so on. Sure, as tourists there’s no problem with that but if they keep talking like that after years studying the language or living in your country you’re not gonna have a good impression about it. It’s inevitable, it’s unconscious.
Well, the only way to know what works for you is go on and try but, for me, this is the only method that is effective.
Ich wünsche dir viel Erfolg beim Deutchlernen!
I just had a look at your stats. I am under the impression that German is the first non-Romance gendered language that you learn seriously and your level, although is clearly improving, is still not very high.
It is usual to have many doubts at that stage. Again, try several methods but my own opinion is that you’ll become more confident in a while, even with genders/pluras and so on, if you just keep your current method.
I probably didn’t phrase my reply well. I certainly don’t mean just just forget about the genders altogether or just use “die” all the time =). What I’m saying is that, with enough exposure you will learn them, and learn the patterns. You will likely get a lot wrong early on, but less as you progress. I’m merely pointing out that you are going to make mistakes even if you practice genders separately anyway.
Is it better to spend more time reading and listening where you are picking up the genders anyway as well as lots of new vocabulary and phrases? Or to spend time flashcarding nouns with their genders (maybe there’s a better approach to working on genders separately?). I think I would vote the former. It’s not like the flashcarding is a magic wand that will prevent you from making mistakes.
I also think it’s not accurate that there isn’t “specific logic” to the genders. There are some patterns that can help. Here’s a random link I found that lists some of them:
German Noun Gender: Learn Smarter And Stop Memorizing
BTW…I’m still much in the intermediate stages of my German language learning so I’m by all means, not an expert!
In French and Bulgarian (also 3 genders) I just rely upon my ear to get it right. i.e. input, input, input. If I had to actively study these types of things I think that I would give up language learning. I feel that I can become quite accurate by reading and listening and speaking. When I make a mistake in gender I get a kind of uncomfortable feeling, I just know that I’m wrong, but speaking is automatic so I continue and will eventually get it.
Hey ericb100, yes, I know there is some logic in some gender structures but I didn’t want to elaborate on that. Yeah, you’re right, I could probably write something like: (I know of some).
edit: I’ve just put a couple of quotation marks.
That’s said, I agree with you if reading and listening on LingQ is enough. That’s why I asked that, to better understand from whom did it and obtain great results. I would definitely prefer to simplify my learning method instead of having too many different tools. But only if they are truly effective.
I’m a German native so of course I don’t have any personal experience with learning German genders. However, I’ve worked with some people learning German. I think that I would at least take a look at the rules that exist. For example that all words ending with “ung” or “heit” are female. Also probability is your friend. If you have a word ending with “e” and don’t know the gender you have a good chance of being correct if you assume it’s female. These rules of thumb can be quite helpful. Not everything you need but a considerable reduction of complexity.
yes, exactly. But I’ve just started with LingQ and found many benefits. But I was wondering how gender is handled by learners just by using this method. So I can drop others and focus on this.
I don’t care about my stats for now as I’ve just started using LingQ and I’m not methodic yet. And I do English, Spanish and French just for fun without really thinking about it. But I’m converting more and more on using LingQ.
yeah, that’s is what I was talking about when referring at the ”sound” of the language. Which I believe is the true grammar of the languages.
So, you’re studying Bulgarian without paying attention to the genders with any other method and only using LingQ? Or similar in attitude, let’s say. And this is enough for nailing the most of them?
I’d definitely defer to others who are at a higher level than I. I think for the most part I have a good sense of the articles on many of the nouns I know, but to be open and honest, I’ve not done much output (speaking and writing). So I might have an inflated sense of confidence. I wonder if there’s a website or app that has a “guess the article”. I’d be curious on how well I’d do, even on words that I’m not familiar yet.
Hey locutus, thanks for your insight from a German perspective.
Yes, you’re right, I usually do so already and I learn about patterns or possible “rules”. My curiosity was to understand if LingQ would be enough to get the gender of nouns. So with continuous exposure from reading and listening and creating LingQs.
Without for example using flashcards, or “games”, or other possible parallel methods for learning gender faster.
So I did find an app on German (looks like there are severals).
You can choose the “game” that will give you nouns and you pick the correct article. I chose “Beginner”. I’m not sure what this signifies to be honest because some of the nouns I’m only barely familiar with.
In any event, I scored a 76% (19/25). So not perfect, by any stretch but still hit a decent rate…and again, many of the words I wasn’t familiar with or hadn’t had much exposure with.
I think you mentioned you are on OS? Supposedly there’s a similar app called “German Articles Buster”…but you might also look for “Der Die Das”.