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  • I wanted to say a big THANK YOU for the Anki decks you have been doing in the last months/year! I am doing them every day and just with this one I saw how many words I learned in the last year, even difficult expressions became more easy to read and to understand. I am learning all by myself so I have no outward motivation like tests to keep going and your Anki decks (and of course Makoto) are incredibly helpful :)! I learn the vocabulary first and then proceed to the text. It is much easier this way.

    • Awesome! I’m very glad to hear that. I think building vocabulary is the most important thing for effective communication, even more so than grammar, and Anki is the fastest way, that I’ve found, to get words and phrases to stick.

      If you aren’t already doing so, I would encourage you to shadow with the audio and pay attention to the pitch accent diagrams (if available). That way, not only are you learning vocabulary, but you are also improving your pronunciation. It takes an extra few seconds, but if you have the time, it is worth it. Anki looks simple but it is amazing.

      • I totally agree!

        Thanks for the advice but pitch accents are still a mystery to me. I never had any difficulties with the pronunciation, I just listen to the audio or Google translate or Forvo if there is no audio version in Anki. It seems to be enough since Japanese people understand me, lol. However, I noticed that native English speakers usually have problems with the pronunciation. Most other European languages have a similar pronunciation as Japanese, in my case German and Romanian native speaker, there is no big difference.

        • Being understood is the most important thing! It sounds like you have good ears and knowing more than one language helps too, I’m sure. Not me. I’ve had to work really hard to distinguish between pitch accents. Native English speakers often get a little lazy with vowels too since there are far more vowel sounds in English than in Japanese. かわいい becomes こわい and すわる becomes さわる (dangerous), for example.

          • Ahhhh, now I see!! It must be a nightmare for native English speakers to learn Chinese :D!

            I don’t think that my ears are that good, I rather think it’s a matter of training. German has both, long and short vowels and consonants, so you have to train your ears very well in order to write correctly. Japanese pronunciation is really a child’s play when you have a German background-or let’s say Italian. These languages also have in common that they are perfect for barking orders :P…just because of their rough tone.

            However, what’s really difficult is the English pronunciation-I even have to concentrate on the word “pronunciation” if I have to speak it out loudly! Apart from the years it takes to speak a decent “th”…I have been learning English since 30 years ago and it is the default language of science-I used to work as a scientist and had to speak and read English every day. But even after all those years I still have to look up the pronunciation of words! Especially if they are Latin or Greek based, I just never know for sure-for example the very tricky word “fungi”. Or I hear words and don’t get their meaning unless I see them written…

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