Spaced repetition systems (SRS) give us an efficient way to learn a language, but many of us use it in a way that gradually undermines our language studies. We trade enjoyable usage of the language for an endless grind, in the name of efficiency.
There is a more enjoyable and, in the long term, arguably more viable alternative to these systems: we can read (and sooner than you’d think).
Reading is a great way to learn a language. Upon reaching a basic level, finding great material to read might lead to a joyful journey into the language and the culture of a country.
However, progressing from an intermediate level in Japanese to the point where reading becomes enjoyable takes a lot of effort. To become proficient you need to read, but in order to read you must be proficient enough to not spend all your time looking up unknown words. …
Japanese is a difficult language. One of the greatest obstacles is that there are usually not one, but many interpretations of a single word depending on the situation. These differences can sometimes be blatantly obvious and other times remarkably subtle. Even if you have understood the word in question you won’t necessarily understand it in certain idioms or turns of phrase.
Take the word 必ず (definitely). Assuming that you only learned this translation of the word, you might be able to understand it in the sentence 「必ずやります」(I’ll definitely do that), but not in the sentence 「必ずということではありません」(I made no promises). You might directly translate to “It isn’t definite.” or “It isn’t a sure thing.” …
When studying a language, you need to listen to it if you want to speak it well. Listening helps you remember and pronounce words naturally. Even if you just want to read, it helps you get a feel for the language, and if you want to speak too, it is vital.
Different methods of study have different ideas of how to get used to the sound of Japanese, but a problem you might encounter is that your content sources are either interesting, but hard to learn from, or good learning resources, but boring. After all, you want to learn, but ideally the content is interesting enough that you actually want to read it. …
We have recently introduced a text sharing feature in Japanese IO.
Any texts in your library can now be shared with others using the share icon in the reader just in a few clicks.
Clicking Share opens up a small window that creates a sharable link others can use to read the text you wanted to share.
Shared text are accessible to anyone with the link and a Japanese IO account isn’t required to read the text, get lookups, etc.
Also, since the link contains a significant random element it us generally not possible to guess it so you can quite safely share it with only those you wish to be able to read your text. …
This extension works in concert with Japanese IO and provides the same easy access to readings, dictionary lookups, etc. — but on any Japanese page of your choice.
Let’s say you’re reading this Wired Japan article about Blade Runner 2049.
With the extension installed, pressing the JIO icon in the upper right corner will decorate the current web page with various lookup information and show a green ON label.
You can now hover over words with your mouse pointer to get their reading as shown above.
Clicking a word will show you its lookup information, and from here you can get further details on kanji and example sentences. See below for a screenshot. …