Funny thing about learning Japanese

My husband asked me the other day how I was getting on learning Japanese. I said that, I couldn’t read it properly yet, and had learned a few hundred words. I said that, most of what I read or hear I don’t understand, but I can make out the sentence structure (which bit is the subject, which tense the verb is in, etc). I can also pick out words that I have come across, even though I don’t know the meaning of them, and know what they are doing in the sentence (that word makes it a what? question, that word is a conjunction etc). I can write down what I hear in romaji and then go and look up all the words.

He told a Japanese woman he works with about this and she thought it was very impressive for a couple of months of study. She said her husband has been trying to learn Japanese for years but it still just looks and sounds like gibberish to him.

Has anyone else had similar experiences learning a language from scratch with LingQ?

Well, I started Swedish from scratch late February this year, but that is not at all comparable, I think. I have no trouble with reading and understanding what I read, because of my north German background. (A couple of months ago a Norwegian philologist was dead impressed how widely I could read and figure out printed Swedish.) I have deliberately restricted my exposure to Swedish grammar books - normally I’d buy them by the dozen - as I want to follow the LingQ approach as closely as is possible for me and I have, therefore, not yet started to label words. Jeff can tell you that I make some funny mistakes in my writings. My real trouble lies with understanding and pronunciation. I am amazed at how difficult it is to understand Swedish spoken at everyday speed, and trying to get the sounds right is murder! So, your progress seems very impressive, indeed.

I started Swedish from scratch too, only occasionally did I look into a textbook for some grammar explanation, just kept listening and learning vocabulary. There were some podcasts without a transcript and whenever I listened to them again, I picked out more and more details, also on the radio I thought I could follow the gist of what was beíng said. After about three months I had the feeling that I could write something and after about nine months I had my first conversation. I haven’t continued so intensively, though. But I still read podcasts, import newspaper articles and listen to Klartext from Sveriges Radio on a reduced level, because I need more time for Russian and Spanish.

Since September I’ve been working on Chinese beginner lessons (CSL Pod) very slowly. I hope to get to the point where, like Helen, I can pick out words and phrases in podcasts or movies. Reading material other than my LingQ lessons will take much longer, but maybe things become clearer after the first 1000 characters, as Steve says :slight_smile:


Here’s a great link for online radio and TV

just click on China on the map and it will show you a list of sources.

Great! Thanks a lot.