[Course Forum] Let's Learn Japanese course series (formerly SGJL)


That should only be required for the tedious learning portion that does reverse choices, after that it stops and reviews are audio prompt to sentence selection. It’s less tedious on mobile as you just tap on the button to play it. Memrise should make the desktop emulate that since it does it anyway if I had activated the “audio testing” in settings. You can submit a bug report if that’ll help since I agree it is annoying (more so when it offers up to 8 audio selections).

I’m hesitant to add audio -> Japanese vocab since kanji actually gives away a lot when you get enough under your belt. You’ll know how to pronounce it but not really know its meaning. What you can do is do self testing bias where in you guess the kanji word and its pronunciation when given the English prompt. If you don’t know the audio for sure, just select “show answer” even if you know the kanji part of the answer. On mobile you purposely select the wrong answer. This is similar advice I offer to those that want writing input testing. Instead of making the test hard for everyone, the individual makes it hard for themselves. I still have audio testing activated, but based on my personal experience I might remove it later.

The sentence part ultimately is training the student for the upcoming immersion courses which are more so audio to Japanese sentence (I figured a way to add new vocabulary so that’ll also be added). While tedious, it’s good to test your ability to understand spoken sentences and select the correct text.

Fair warning, after level 10 there are no more English -> Japanese sentences. If there’s a big call for it, I can duplicate the levels and change those to be English -> Japanese, but I do ask you at least give it a shot. In the long run, you want to be able to hear Japanese and find the correct Japanese sentence instead of forcing translation every test.

EDIT: Ok, I notice it’s fairly easy to “suspend” parts of the course. As such, it is possible to duplicate both Sentences and Vocabulary. One will test English -> Japanese. Second would test Audio -> Japanese vocabulary. That’ll allow those that like to keep it “Japanese Only” a good option and those that prefer to translate the other. A third group would do both.

I’ll experiment with adding those lessons and give a note that people can suspend the levels they don’t want.

I also want “writing input testing” by the way. Even if you add audio<->vocab, noobs still won’t learn how to spell things exactly if you don’t test for it. For a random example, one word I recently got wrong was 出発, where I remembered the sound as shuupatsu instead of shuppatsu since they sound identical to me. If I had to trust myself to check whether I actually knew how to pronounce this word I probably won’t even notice a problem. There are countless other examples like this where I might forget a little tsu, mix up shu/su/zu/tsu, etc and don’t realize I had memorized something slightly incorrect until the right kanji doesn’t show up in the IME.

It’s incredibly useful to have a typing test check you.

You should look at how JLPT N5 does things. It has plenty of flaws (which is why I want to switch to over) but the test formats are okay.

@fta2012, sorry, but I think you have to get used with being tested on audio/audio review first. You hoover the mouse and click the right answer. I find the UI behaviour your described just “normal”


I decided on the course concentrating on literacy and fluency with respect to reading and listening. I cannot force a student to vocally repeat each word, but that’s exactly what a student should do to force themselves. When you see 出発 do you think “departure” or at picture the concept? When you hear しゅっぱつ do you think of “出発” or picture the concept?

Now, I’m actually going through the SGJL 05 course now as I finished SGJL’s 01-04 (including the ADoBJG SGJL 04). After I fix problems with possible duplicate answers I’ll test activating the typing tests. Part of me is worried about making vocabulary take too long. However, grammar and kanji and even immersion will take additional time with learning so perhaps it’ll balance out. As it seems a tad silly to add typing to the Audio -> Japanese Vocab portion, I’ll likely just have it on the English -> Japanese Vocab. I also notice in settings users can disable typing and touch tapping all together much like they can disable audio tests temporarily. Be warned it’ll make things much more difficult (in your case) and slow things down (in my case).

By the way, can you cover some of the flaws of the JLPT N5 course? Also, have you done the grammar courses?


Ok, you convinced me after I had a chance to review a bit. With the typing test one does have to have the pronunciation down pat in order to input the correct word. That in turn makes the audio -> Japanese Vocab pretty pointless. In addition, by activating typing test it activates it on audio -> Japanese.

This won’t be easy but in the end it’ll be pretty important. The sentences will still be audio -> sentence which even if you don’t think is important or can be side stepped, I think will lead to the immersion courses. If one feels the need to “cheat” in a self study course, they can do that. Again, I recommend giving it a fair shot. While Grammar and Vocab have to have English in the mix, the vocab sentences and immersion sentences should just be Japanese.

Thanks for adding the typing tests! I think they are super important.

To answer your question on how I learn, since 出発 is still a fresh word I still remember it by a mem: “When a train starts its departure, it will ‘shoot past you’.” When I hear the word I can associate it with the concept of departure but if I had to type it out, I can’t really remember if it was shupatsu/shuupatsu/shuppatsu and of course the input editor is unforgiving of these typos.

For the JLPT N5 course, some of the things I personally didn’t like were:

  • They separated words into english<->kana then again with english<->kanji. I didn’t like this because you end up relearning the same word twice, just the next time you need to tab through to find the correct kanji when typing. And they will test you on the kanji version even if it’s obscured (for example 其れ instead of それ) and you don’t really know which one you should use in the real world. I would much prefer testing just the canonical form with an auxiliary note on rare kanji instead.
  • Confusing order. I learned the word for wednesday at the start of the course but didn’t know how to say the rest of the days of the week until near the end of the course much later. Ditto for numbers, colors, sono/kono/ano/dono, etc. This is the main reason why I want to switch to your course since it seems to have sane groupings for related words.
  • No example usages for the word. I mostly just want example sentences when learning word definitions like how http://jisho.org/ does it. Having audio for that sentence is just cherry on top.

It’s a very popular course with 108k users so they make up for these faults by having a lot of good mems. There are regular mems like “shoot past you” (like I mentioned before) and “nietzche gets callous suavely mocking kinsmen dogma” (nichi getsu ka sui moku kin do). And also lots of mems containing example sentences and grammatical/cultural/historical notes. But it’s very inconsistent and I would rather rely on good course design rather than mems.

Thank you for pushing to have the switch. I’ve gone through a few of the lessons and it’s working well. There’s a couple of hick-ups with deleted cards to remove uncertainty in answers, but hopefully that smooths out.

Reading your issues with the N5, I can understand your frustrations as I had similar issues with other course versions of Core 2k/6k. That’s a big reason I’ve sorted these in the manner I did. I also do not like the idea of going Japanese -> English cause there’s so many variants that could be correct. Plus, I like to put notes on the English prompt especially when there’s no one to one translation and also ambiguity.

Feel free to leave a little feedback after each course. If this system works, don’t forget to suggest it to others.

I just tried it out and it’s working out great (though I haven’t tried learning any new words yet. I was mostly just quickly watering words I already knew from other courses).

Do you prefer leaving a message here or creating a topic on the course forums for feedback/bugs? For example level 8 of core 2k/6k has wrong audio for both 海 and 海外.

Thanks again!

Posting here is best for now. I’ll create a Course Forum specifically for the Core 2k/6k Optimized courses so this doesn’t get as clogged up. Audio can be easily fixed, but it doesn’t update on mobile unless you delete all data from the app in the phone settings. Stupid but such is mobile app life.

I just did some time testing. Takes me about 8 to 10 minutes to finish a vocabulary lesson and 15 minutes to finish a sentence lesson. Given there’s 50 lessons, that’s about 10 hours for me to speed through this course. That’s not taking into account time spent fixing typos and errors. Both the grammar courses took about 15 hours together and the Kanji course took 20 hours (most of that was adding Memnotes for others). With the planned four Japanese Drama Immersion courses, that means it’ll take me about 200 hours to speed through these basic courses. Considering I basically did all of this already, that’s tracking with my estimate 400 hours for new users.

Starting the Intermediate section will be the real test as that’s the area that I stopped studying 6 years ago. That also means I depend heavily on feedback from others to know how well this course is set up for Basic. Yes, I’m doing the courses myself, but these are easy for my level (very hard when I first started).

In addition to wrong audio for 海 and 海外 in level 8, 本 in level 7 is also wrong.

Did an edit end goal of projected course. I spread out the ADoJG to be about 300 sentences per part (6 parts for Intermediate, 10 parts for Advanced) and added the Core 10k vocabulary/sentence list in 8 parts.

As stated, I have all this material. It’s a matter of editing it to be uploaded in a Memrise friendly manner in addition to adding audio. I expect few to follow all the way to the end, but I want the material ready for those that seek it.

It looks like the new forum layout has disabled the course-specific forum threads. Do you plan on creating course-specific threads for feedback, or is it more ideal to keep everything grouped up here?

That’s been my plan. It’s better to have a one-stop shop for question and answers for the overall course here. I also have sub-series threads for each of the individual types (Kana, Kanji, Tae Kim Grammar, ADoJG and Core 2k/6k/10k). Much better than looking over 50 separate threads with likely repetitive questions.

On another point, as an update, I just finished creating a cross index between Kanzen Master 1 &2 books and the A Dictionary of Japanese Grammar books. I’ve also sorted entries of A Dict. of Intermediate Japanese Grammar and should be uploading those along side the rest of Core 2k/6k and RTK+2k1KO.

SGL08 has been having some issues lately. Not sure why. At first you could only access it through going to the homepage of it and clicking on the lesson you were on and clicking learn (as opposed to just clicking learn on the dashboard which just took you to “page does not exist” page) Now it seems like lessons are all showing as learned (even though the words are marked as still to learn) and there’s no way to access it.

I’ll check into it.

Edit: You’re right. I can’t even get one lesson to load. There’s only two options (restart and stop) as well. Submitted it as a web bug. Hopefully it gets resolved.

Only just started working though these again after letting my Japanese deteriorate for a long time (delighted to find so much is still familiar!), but alright mightily impressed with the learning route you have charted here. Thank you so much for putting such considerable effort into this.

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Greetings from the Philippines! I absolutely love this course series! I’m still on Hiragana, but boy I still have a long way to go! More power to this course, and to you, Charles.

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Would it hurt to anticipate an Anime Immersion Course? :slight_smile:

Though it isn’t animated, Hana Yori Dango in the JDI section is so full of anime tropes that it may as well be one! It’s always a bonus to have learning material be entertaining, and that show didn’t disappoint.

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My hope is that eventually people create their own immersion courses (including Anime) and I link to those. I might create a video to demonstrate how one can go about both the subs2srs and creating the vocabulary list.

Part of me wants to do the first 8 episodes (four hours worth) of Death Note for some reason. I have the videos and subtitles.However, if I do it’ll be in the Intermediate I or II section given the level of vocabulary. If you have a good slice of life style Anime, I’m open to suggestions. That said, I prefer live dramas as the voices are not as exaggerated.