Language Learning The Cheap Way

Oh man, thanks for lang-8 rec. I was trying to figure out how to write in japanese and get practice there.

I love Bunpro. It has been the tool that has made the most difference for me.

I also am considering Japanese Pod but it is more expensive.


Oh I also used lang-8! But I haven’t been in years, so I also don’t know how it is going today.

@Meowkins if you have a PC (probably Mac too, but I only know PC) you can add a Japanese IME as one of your keyboard inputs. When you use it and switch the input to kana, you spell using Roman letters. As you spell words you are given commonly spelled words and are also given Kanji choices from a pick list of common words. It works quite well in my experience.


“sensei” --> せんせい --> 先生

I have Japanese, Polish and US International English IMEs set up (in addition to the regular US English) so that I can spell in Japanese, Polish, and Italian (US Int’l English is easier for Italian because the Italian keyboard is set up differently with letters in different places, whereas the US Int’l English IME just adds extra key combos for accents.)


I do have the Japanese IME set up! By writing I mean, actively writing and getting feedback to develop that mode of communication.

Seems like lang-8 isnt letting people sign up anymore :frowning:


Got it!

Sorry to hear about lang-8… :frowning:

1 Like

I’d love to hear more about how to make anki work. It just seems so tedious.

1 Like

Unfortunately, to be honest, one of the reasons I decided to pay for Fluent Forever is because Anki is tedious and not very “polished” (I mean, it’s free so I get it, but still). You can download decks other people have made, but you still have to set up your own intervals, you have to decide how “well” you remember things when they come up, setting up color coding text and such, it feels like only one step away from raw code, and I found trying to link images and audio a huge pain, and I would consider myself quite tech-savvy.

Maybe someone else here has used it successfully and has some tips to make it easier to use! It is powerful! But, yeah. Hard.


Yeah, Anki was too tedious for me. I used it for … maybe two years solid? It never got less tedious.

I think I bought some of Japanese Pod when it was on sale on Audible and I was really impressed by the quality. The pdf reference sheets that came with it were useful too.


I did persian pod on youtube and some entry level dari home videos that are helpful - especially since a lot of the apps want you to learn the alphabet and that wasn’t my focus


You all are very impressive with your efforts at language learning!


I used the netflix language learning extension last night and it’s fantastic!


Lang-8 doesn’t accept new regs, but if you want to register on something the same/similar run by the same company, you can use HiNative.

I’ve never managed to get Anki to work. Honestly, I just do paper flash cards…

Language background:

Spanish in high school. I can read technical shit in Spanish all day long, but I find conversations – especially everyday ones – much harder. I really ought to start doing the Spanish dubs on Netflix.

Japanese in college. I was pretty decently conversational but my reading is and was a joke. I hate kanji. (There, I said it!)

Scottish Gaelic – very VERY basic and I’ve forgotten all of it.

Old English – very VERY basic, just begun recently.

As a professional linguist, I also have ridiculously narrow and deep knowledge about specific grammar points in many many languages.

I would like this.


OK - language accountability. I do not know what this should look like, but I am going to get started here in this thread and folks can chime in in the way that works for them.

I want to focus on learning Japanese. It brings me the most happiness. The primary exposures to the language I have are 1) anime 2) music 3) haiku. Eventually, I’d love to be able to go to Japan, but that’s probably not in the cards til my 40s. So, based on current exposures and activities, it seems like what is easiest and what is most directly relevant to my life is to focus on reading and listening for comprehension.

Goal: Understand anime without subtitles and consume music + haikus without translation help

How I’m gonna get there (please critique these, friends)

  • Build understanding of grammar with Bunpro 2x per day
  • Build kanji with WaniKani 2x per day
  • Build vocab by identifying new words in songs 1x per day
  • Put it all together by using language app with Netflix and identifying familiar things (to reinforce

I will do this before work and after lunch and check in here after lunch session, starting in the new year!


Hmmm. Ideally, I would have time for all of the following:

  1. 15 minutes a day spent reading Spanish (novels, newspapers) or listening (radio, TV).
  2. 15-30 minutes a day studying Japanese – combo of watching things, working through grammar texts, and practicing reading and writing (especially reading and writing, which I’m so very poor at).
  3. 15-30 minutes a day spent learning Old English from scratch.

I don’t have that much time, alas. I think the easiest of these to pursue is the Spanish option, because it’s essentially maintenance and refinement instead of hardcore learning.

So maybe I just commit to reading Spanish for 15 minutes a day?


Sounds good!!!

1 Like

HAHA DID ANYONE THINK I FORGOT ABOUT THIS? Well. I did and then i didn’t wanna but I am here now. For the record, I still don’t wanna, but that is my natural state of being.

I did my bunpro reviews this morning. Just some of them, but shocked and pleased at how much I remember.


today’s the last day of the wanikani annual sale!

I bought the set of 4,500 sentences to translate. maybe I should actually do some.


I practiced my Finnish in iualia’s journal, did you see??? :grin:


I didn’t but I am impressed just hearing about it!


I have been doing daily practice for both Spanish and Japanese!

My approach has been supremely haphazard, as current goal is just “spend time interacting with target languages.” I’m tracking in 10 minute chunks, and currently am doing a combo of reading La Caseta Magica (i.e. The Phantom Tollbooth) and making and doing flash cards for words I don’t know out of that book; working through a Reading Japanese textbook; and doing bits of Duolingo Japanese practice, which is good for my kanji recall. So far, it’s working and I’m enjoying myself.


ETA: I think part of why I’ve been actually getting in language practice most days is because it is really haphazard. Because I have multiple options available to me, most days I’m willing to spend time on at least one. I think if I were trying to Stick To A Schedule I wouldn’t be doing so well.

(Admittedly, I can do this because I have good background with these languages – I’m not teaching myself new grammar. Still though! It’s good.)