Learning a language with other characters than your own language

When learning a language as a beginner, we must acquire a lot of vocabulary. Therefore, listening and reading are critical as well as learning these new words. This is the main activity.

I would like to know, however, when do you think you should focus on the writing part, I mean the way words are written. Of course, it is necessary to know the new alphabet, first of all to be able to read. Nevertheless, what about writing these words?

I have learnt Russian alphabet. Even though I still struggle sometimes, I can read but writing the words I know is more difficult, mostly when some letters are not pronounced or pronounced differently as they are written.

Do you spend time at the very beginning to exercize yourself to write the words to know how they are written, or do you just concentrate on acquiring vocabulary and focus on the writting part later in your language learning?

Because I like reading, I have always copied words and sentences straightaway. For example, I can read Cyrillic script quite easily, even if I have no idea what I’m reading. I just like to read! LingQ has now added an extra dimension: rather than copying by hand, I’m now trying to use each language’s own keyboard (thank you Microsoft).The most confusing for me at the moment is the French one, the Cyrillic keyboard is easy by comparison. I guess that is because everything is new and one jolly well has to get used to it, whereas in French I use the keys where I think they ought to be. Frustrating! By finding my way around the keyboard, the words do stick better in my memory and the link between the visual and the spoken word is firmer. Didn’t Steve write something about this a couple of days ago?

I type Russian on a virtual keyboard because I do not often have to type in Russian. For Japanese and Chinese I also type essentially in English. For French, Spanish, German, etc. I type the whole text on an English keyboard and go back and fill in the French or German accents, umlauts and symbols.

If you type french without accents it will be mistakes but you will always be readable and understood as long as you do not make other mistakes

french words that have accent can not be taken for other words when the accent is lost - even for example A - following the position you can say if it is A with or without accent

Thanks Suzanne for your answer. By reading and listening items at the same time, words stick better in our mind. We need both the visual and aural learning.
Regarding the necessity to write the words down to remember how they are written more completely, I have written many times some words I learnt. I should do like you did Suzanne and continue more regularly to write these new words along with reading and listening.
I read in your book Steve that you exercised yourself a lot when learning Chinese characters. Did you focus on that at the very beginning? Reading, listening and writing?

Chinese is the only language (other than French which we had in school) where I made a big effort to write by hand. In the case of Chinese it was because I was going to be tested, and in those days there were no computers allowing you to write in Chinese. I have not been motivated to learn to write by hand in Japanese, Russian or Korean. I do write on the computer and it definitely helps my learning. It is a little more effort, however.

I can write in Georgian without big problems because every letter is written exactly like it is pronounced. I only struggle when it comes to sounds which don’t have to be distinguished in German language: t, k, p, ch, ts with air and without. In German these sounds are all pronounced with something like h after them and the h-less variety doesn’t exist.

I can hand-write Russian letters because I think it looks beautiful and I wanted to learn it just for fun, but I don’t know pronunciation and spelling of many Russian words yet.

Another thing which gives me headaches is transliteration of Georgian and Russian script in latin script which is useful for messages on mobile phones or for computer chats. Unfortunately, there are different possibilities…