https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew-Macdonald

How do you guys learn completely foreign alphabets?

When I say "completely foreign alphabets" I mean ones like Arabic, Hebrew, Armenian, Hiragana, or Devangari which share no resemblance towards the Latin alphabet, not ones like Cyrillic or Greek. I am personally studying the Yiddish (Hebrew) alphabet and I would say I know a bit more than 50% of the alphabet (reading and writing), and I only started 3 days ago! Personally, what I do is open up the Wikipedia page about the alphabet, and then start writing something IN ENGLISH with that alphabet on paper. I personally feel like it helps you a lot, especially with writing.It which is really chllenging thing to learn to write a new alphabte by just looking at a letter and typing it's English phonetic equivalent. Granted, the Hebrew alphabet doesn't contain as complicated looking letters as those in Arabic and Devangari. So, how do you learn a completely foreign alphabet? Tell me below.

2 years ago

22 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Tamuna10
Tamuna10
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I write names down in that alphabet, and get used to writing it. :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/truelefty
truelefty
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First of all, I learn how it's read. Korean is a quite curious one, so is Hebrew. And also if it's from left to right, if it has accents as in Spanish, etc.
Then I start learning the sounds of the letters, and make sure to check if you say as you read, or if not, as in English or French (although the alphabet is the same).
Then start reading. And if I don't remember one letter, I just search it and that's it :)

PS: This is an interesting guide to reading Korean: http://www.ryanestrada.com/learntoreadkoreanin15minutes/

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Olja.
Olja.
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I've studied Hebrew since 2010. First weeks were terrible :) I could not understand their script while learning new words, so I wrote the Hebrew words in Russian... for example the word "shemesh" (sun in Hebrew) I learned via the sequence: shemesh (in Hebrew) = шемеш (shemesh in Russian) = солнце (Russian sun). But! After all that I realised that I still cannot understand the Hebrew words in writing. I understood them only in speaking. Well... then I finally started to learn the word in the way how it is written in its original - Hebrew - script :) Now, after almost 6 years of active learning and after a 1-year living in Israel, I speak Hebrew rather good. And what can I say - it was a mistake to learn new words only in their spelling not in writing... it took very much time for me to change my learning into a new way, so I lost some time for that. It is better to learn all the words in their original writing - and - if we talk about Hebrew - with all the punctuation marks :) I wish you luck in your learning! :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mr_Eyl
Mr_Eyl
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Learn 5 items of said alphabet in a day.

The next day, revise those 5 and learn 5 more.

The third day, revise the first 10 and learn a further 5.

If 5 seems like too many, you can always try a smaller amount. Best of luck!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew-Macdonald

Yeah that sounds like a pretty good idea. Sometimes when I learn a foreign alphabet Online they'll overwhelm me with 10 letters in one lesson which I, personally, can't do. Going slow is a very good way to learn an alphabet.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut
flootzavutPlus
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Writing English in the alphabet/writing system is good, also I write names in the alphabet.

I like also just copying out correct pieces of writing (say, from a textbook) in the new alphabet. I think writing by hand is really valuable.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo
mizinamo
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Though it's good to find some source on how the handwriting looks like first!

I used to write Cyrillic that looked like printed Cyrillic for years, before I did an introductory Russian course and found out there was such a thing as handwritten Cyrillic.

Handwritten Hebrew is also rather different from printed Hebrew, and when I once asked someone to write in Arabic, I couldn't read it until she had written it in what she called "kindergartner Arabic" because I was only familiar with printed Arabic, not handwritten!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut
flootzavutPlus
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Oh, true - I always (attempt to) write 'properly' in a given language. For me, part of the practice is seeing the print and reproducing it in actual handwriting!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Xefjord

I learned all of Kana for Japanese within two days. I downloaded an anki deck and spent about 5 hours each day working on Kana until I finally got it. I also wrote it down on paper flash cards and went through the letters I struggled with on those. I did all of this at my grandparents house were I had no distractions. A few months later I tried to tackle Kanji using Hesigs method. Within about a week I had learned 500 kanji (1/4th of the way to the 2000 kanji goal) but I was so burnt out and Hesigs method doesn't actually teach you how to READ Kanji, that I gave up on that method. I think I have a better method to learning Kanji thought out, but I have been unable to put it into practice as of yet.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew-Macdonald

500 Kanji in a week?!?! Damn that's impressive.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Xefjord

I forgot it all in a week too. It is better to study a little bit at a time consistently for a long time than it is a bunch in a short amount of time. The faster you study the longer you have to review the same material.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RamiroSotto
RamiroSotto
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Are you still learning them? I am studying Kanji since 7 months ago and I know already 750. I try to learn 5 a day. Some days I get tired and I don't learn them that day. My problem is that I know the meaning of that 750 kanjis but I only know the readings of aprox. 70 :/

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Xefjord

That frustrated me to know end about Heseigs method. It doesn't even tell you ALL of the meanings and some of the meanings are even wrong. He is just trying to help you REMEMBER the Kanji, Not actually learn them. I learn Kanji sporadically. But I am trying to get into the groove of learning Kanji through vocabulary and in the context of words instead of individually. This is what Tae Kim (Author of the famous Tae Kim's Grammar Guide) suggests

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RamiroSotto
RamiroSotto
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I agree, that's absolutely true. I learnt several Kanjis that, when making a word, the meaning of each one is lost. Not a common thing but when happens it's frustrating.

I never actually tried the Heseig's Method, I did only for 5 o 6 kanjis. And yes, the Tae Kim's Guide is great.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dcarl1
Dcarl1
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There are a ton of resources on Devanagari, both online and in print. It's relatively easy to learn as it is the most rational lettering system I have ever encountered. I learned it within a few weeks.

Interestingly enough, there's a fair bit of "Hinglish" floating around in India, and so sometimes I'd be carefully sounding out some text in Devanagari script puzzling over what word it could be only to find out it spelled out "chicken" or something like that.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aaditsingh8
aaditsingh8
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That is really common here. Writing English loan words in Devanagari scripts makes the pronunciation weird though.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/duedeluee

I learned the Korean alphabet 'hangul' 7 months ago. I watched some YouTube videos and wrote them down. And now, I don't have problems with reading Hangul. For me,it's even easier than Cyrillic or Greek.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Matt_R_Duolingo

You can learn the alphabet pretty easily if you use the system Memrise uses. Then use duolingo afterwards

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chilvence
chilvence
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Re-type every one of your phone contacts in the alphabet you are trying to learn.

You'll find that you wont take long to get used to it, if you value knowing who you are talking to on the other end of the line. You'd be surprised at how your brain decides that it is actually capable of absorbing new information easily after all :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jessica4201
Jessica4201
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I used images that incorporated characters to learn both Japanese kana and Devanagari(the former from a book and the latter from my own creations). The next script I want to learn is Hebrew(though I may do Armenian or Georgian first), and I'll likely use a similar method.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Demon-Kiyomi

When learning Kana (hiragana and katakana) I would try to write out the entire alphabet whenever I had a moment to do so. Any one I had to skip I'd look up at the nearest possible convenience and practice it a couple of times and then try to re-write the alphabet again a few hours later or the next day.

Oddly enough Kanji has been a much simpler endeavor for me. I can learn and recognize Kanji symbols quick without having to ever physically write them down on paper. Though, at work when I have a spare moment I will try to write down as many new kanji as I can possibly remember. :3 After all what's the fun in just being able to read a language and not write it too. Today I added 鳥 鴨 鶏 卵 飼 and 性 to the list of Kanji I can solidly read AND write.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lisa4duolingo
lisa4duolingo
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I recommend making a song out of it, which is the way I think many of us learn it as children, regardless of what language we first learn to speak. You can even search for videos of such a thing and if the language you are trying to learn is spoken by many, you're likely to find a video that does this. For example:

ABC Songs for children (you should know this one)

Russian Alphabet Song

Arabic Alphabet Song

And, if you can't find a song online, you could always make one of your own. Then practice it throughout the day until you know it cold. Rote memorization can be so boring. And sometimes nothing really takes the place of repeating something over and over or writing it down so many times that you never forget it, but every once in a while, you need to make it fun.

2 years ago
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