Studied in the Past?
I'm just curious to know who here has studied Japanese before. If you have, how long did you study, what methods did you use, and how would you compare the Duolingo course to those methods? Does it seem easier, harder?
Personally, I've been studying for about four years on and off using various online resources like Japanese Pod 101, Lang-8 and YouTube. I've got to say, the Duolingo course is definitely different than what I'm used to, but it seems to be working better for me than the others did. Though, that also might just be because I'm already somewhat familiar with the language.
Wow, well done for making it through as a beginner! :) I can't imagine learning Japanese for the first time with just Duolingo, at least not in its current format. Perhaps the lessons associated with the eventual web version will make things easier for beginners... and more helpful to everyone in general.
I studied it for six months approximately once a week about 18 years ago. It was during my last year of uni, so I literally just turned up at the evening classes and didn't study much if at all in between times. I remember very little, although I think there are a few bits of information and structure in my brain, which is making it a little easier for things to stick on the Duolingo course.
I studied it for a few years (wanna say 5+) on and off, but haven't messed with it in a long time till duolingo. Did try Wanikani for a bit though a year or so ago...
Books were my main go to way back then. I used "Japanese for everyone!" as main textbook, which is old now. I would also browse sites made for Japanese children for reading, kanji practice worksheets, etc (Yahoo!Japan kids was good for this). Pretty much I had the few resources for grammar, then I'd just wonder around Japanese sites until I figured out what was what and looking things up as I went.
As for comparing methods, my way was sorta just a natural exploration kinda method, which for me is easy. The Duolingo course was actually challenging at times for me even though I knew the grammar etc, for the pure fact that how I translate and simplify it in my head does not include "the" and "a" so I tended to want to not include words they wanted me to lol.
I studied in high school using whatever books, audio guides, and dictionaries I could get my hands on. I was entirely self-taught and had very few opportunities to practice with anyone actually fluent in Japanese. End result: I mostly dropped it after graduating, studying a little here and there, but nothing consistent enough to make things stick.
The draw for me with Duo is twofold. One, I'd already used it a little for French and knew/liked the system (especially once we get the web version with its--hopefully--more insightful lessons). Two, it's easy to carry Duo around in my pocket to "study" on the go, then follow up on what I'm learning when at home.
It's kick-started that fire I had to learn Japanese again and made me want to develop a decent and more consistent "curriculum" for myself. Hopefully this time I can keep it up!
I'm right there with you on Duo kick starting my fire. I was in a Japanese slump for a while because none of the other methods I'd tried really did anything for me. I love Duo, though, so when I realized Japanese was finally available (even in its current form) I got super hyped to start studying again.