I’ve written before about whether or not you can learn a language well using smartphone apps. The short answer? It depends. Some language apps can help, but none can replace the primary tasks that will actually get you fluent: tons of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Moreover, most language apps teach languages indirectly and out of context. Not exactly a recipe for fluency. But there are a few apps that do a pretty good job of providing contextual, direct practice. Clozemaster is one of them. Instead of trying to teach you words in isolation as many apps do, the gamified app teaches you vocabulary in context through mass exposure to complete sentences. So how does Clozemaster work? And how can you get the most out the app and ensure that you aren’t wasting your time? After thoroughly testing the app, here now are my best tips for how to use Clozemaster and maximize its effectiveness.
Khatzumoto is the man behind the popular Japanese learner blog All Japanese All the Time (or AJATT for short). While attending university in the United States, he figured out a way to immerse himself in Japanese language and culture nearly 24 hours a day. In an extremely short amount of time, he managed to reach an impressive level of fluency despite not living where the language was spoken and even without many of the learning tools and resources now readily available (he began his journey in 2004).
Have you been so busy working, studying, or downing eggnog lattes that you forgot to get a gift for that special someone in your life? Read on for some great last-minute gift ideas for those you know (including yourself!) learning Japanese. All of them are digital products that can be emailed to the recipient, so there’s no need to worry about shipping times. I’ve also made sure to select gifts that focus on action and application, not theory and academic study. Have a wonderful holiday season and a fruitful New Year!
Skritter CEO Jake Gill on How to Level Up Your Mandarin & Learn to Write Chinese Characters the “Write” Way
Jake Gill (高健) is a Chinese educator, former “Teaching Chinese as a Second Language” graduate student, and the CEO of Skritter, an innovative language learning app that helps Japanese and Chinese learners master characters through active production (i.e. writing on the screen) instead of passive recognition. In the interview, we talk about how and why he learned Mandarin Chinese, why traditional language classes won’t get you fluent in a language, what he would do differently if he were to start learning Mandarin over again, the limitations of app-based learning and following “the golden path,” the importance of following your passion and curiosity in languages, how to learn to write Chinese characters the “write” way, Jake’s current language learning routines and favorite resources, and the importance of daily habits and focusing on process over outcome.
Skritter has been on my radar for quite some time, but the need to sit at a computer was less than ideal. With the release of their iOS apps, however, Skritter has finally been given the touch-based format it deserves.
Luke & Phil from the Mandarin Blueprint on how to learn Chinese from home during quarantine, why you should focus on listening first, and how to crack characters & tones
If you have a burning desire to learn Mandarin Chinese but feel overwhelmed at the very thought, then today’s podcast is a must-listen episode for you. Yes, to the uninitiated, Chinese characters look like a random pile of squiggly lines. True, the wrong tones could lead to you inadvertently calling someone’s mother a horse! But don’t let this scare you away, because today’s guests, Phil Crimmins and Luke Neale, have created an innovative language course called the Mandarin Blueprint designed to take these worries away.