"This corner": ここのかど vs このかど
This is from the Directions unit:
ここの かどを 左に まがります。(You turn left on this corner.)
So does the ここの かど stress that it's this corner right here, whereas この かど would just be "this corner"?
(I am finding it quite hard, trying to keep these words straight. See also そちら vs そっち etc. If someone could recommend a good resource, or would attempt an explanation, I'd be very interested.)
Yeah.. It would be. It is right but it is just a slight difference. In the same case Japanese could say ここの English could say 'right here'.
Things like these you've mentioned always can have the same translation to English (and other languages). Sometimes there is other possibility to translate one of them but most of the case it's more about feeling than knowing.
Like: Turn left on this corner/Turn left on the corner right here. Is it have a different meaning? Or something? You just use the one you prefer. Sometimes you are obligated to use the one only if you have to ex. use formal language and one of them is more formal than the other. そちら is more formal.
Translating is one thing and understanding is other. While doing duolingo we use translating, while listening we use understanding more.
There is nothing bad about web-based practice. Maybe you won't use your preferring translation but they teach you the most common ones (mostly). If you will try to be poem translator or translate some literature you have to use the words you feel and suit in the best way to style and context.