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question in Start! on 2016/05/25
Where'd all the Italian courses go and can someone help bring them back or recreate them?
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question in Start! on 2016/05/22

So according to my understanding,
もらう always go with からlike:
彼女からプレゼントをもらいました。
and くれる would go with “が”- to marked as the subject in:
友達が誕生日プレゼントをくれた。
I cannot come up with a literal English translation for this one… I sensed that it is something along the line of “I got the birthday present which my friend (gave?).” If so, is this sentence correct?
彼は彼女が誕生日プレゼントをくれた。
(He got his birthday present from his girlfriend.) Thank you and have fun learning!
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Thanks for the reply, toeicoo!
Yes, the passive voice as in "I was given a birthday present by my friend" sounds awkward. Anyway, I think もらう have a strong contextual meaning to it... 
Like this sentence "友達が娘にクマのぬいぐるみをくれた。" it would be clearer to use the verb くれる because if we use もらう , then 娘 would be someone's daughter, not necessary the speaker's? 

I think your English is very good. Try reading The Atlantic, The New Yorker, or the blog called Wait But Why... they're not that difficult to understand! Be confident with yourself.
I've been learning and using English for about seventeen years anyway... I can handle a conversation but my grammar is too broken for someone who has been learning for that long.

To be honest I wanted to learn Japanese because I love Kabuki theater and Japanese literature very much. I have a loooong way to go ;-)
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Hmm, maybe it's beyond my ability to explain the difference between もらう and くれる.

The sentence "友達が娘にクマのぬいぐるみをくれた" (My friend gave a stuffed bear to my daughter.) would be rewritten by using もらう like this.
"娘は私の友達からクマのぬいぐるみをもらった。"(I added 私の here to make it clearer that the friend is speaker's.)

くれる is usually used when we or our family or people in a close relation ship to us are given something.  While, もらう can be used for both cases that the recipient is the speaker (or their family) and the person who gets something is someone else. It means to get, receive or have.
e.g.
誕生日に プレゼント を もらいました。
I got some presents on my birthday.
田中さんは山田さんから誕生日プレゼントをもらいました。
Mr Tanaka got a birthday present from Ms Yamada.

So もらう can be used in the situation where you're (or your family) not the one who gives or the one who receives something.
から is used with もらう, when the speaker wants to clarify from whom they get the thing. 

Thank you for the kind word and advice. I checked the blog and watched the TED talk video too. It looks fun though I couldn't follow his speaking speed very well. I think I need more practice for reading and listening in English.
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Hello!

I think I'll stick with もらう, it seems like a more straightforward word. You've made your point clear enough, it's only because the nature of Japanese is very different and heavily contextual. Moreover, the fact that I'm a beginner may make it more difficult for you to explain things to me.
About Tim Urban (author of Wait But Why)'s TED talk, it's very entertaining. If you find it hard to follow, try reading the script (I believe it's available there on TED, I am not sure, but other TED talks have scripts). 
Displaying comments 4 - 6 of 6 in total show all
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question in Japanese Core 1000: Step 2 on 2016/05/18
Hello iKnow folks. There is this sentence:
すてきな色のセーターですね。
Which was translated to "I like the color of your sweater." 
However, I thought "すてきな" is supposed to mean "lovely" or "nice"? Is it ok to understand the sentence as "Your sweater is in a lovely color." even though that sounds awkward and unnatural for a compliment?Thanks for your explanation.
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More precisely, すてきな色のセーターですね means "Your sweater is in a lovely color, isn't it?"

> though that sounds awkward and unnatural for a compliment
I have a question. I'm Japanese and not an English speaker.
Does "Your sweater is in a lovely color." sound awkward and can't it be a compliment?

"すてきな色ですね"  is a free translation for "I like the color" considering the speaker's intention to admire the listener's choice. The speaker uses すてきな(lovely) because it can be a complimental adjective in Japanese. You know, people usually like すてきなもの (lovely things) so something すてきな means something they like. "すてきな色ですね" is a modest compliment for Japanese people. By using すてきな, the speaker indirectly says "I like it".

>I like the color of your sweater.
I would translate this sentence as 私はあなたのセーターの色が好きです, but it's just a literal translation. It's grammatically correct, but some people might call it a textbook style. I think すてきな色ですね is better and more natural in Japanese.

I think your confusion and the awkwardness of my translation are caused by a cultural difference between the western and Japanese. In Japanese language, being ambiguous is often thought to be graceful or humble. We sometimes avoid expressing our likes and dislikes directly because it sometimes hurt the listener's feelings.
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Hi there! Thanks for your answer.

I am not a native English speaker either, so I am not quite sure if it is really unnatural. Nevertheless it passes as a compliment, even though I do not know if people do talk like that in real life! I think I'll try asking a native speaker.

I think the English translations are sometimes a bit off to make it more natural to English speaker... well in casual situations like complimenting someone's sweater it's no big deal though. But as a beginner I am quite concerned about the literal meaning.
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> as a beginner I am quite concerned about the literal meaning.
I understand how you feel. The example sentences of the course look very natural and helpful. My English is not good enough, but I want to help people who learn Japanese. It's also a good opportunity for me to write in English and think about my native language.

Thank you for answering my question. 
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question in Start! on 2016/05/18
Hello. I have tried to download the course 5.9 for more than one month on my smartphone. I always receive the message: "The server cannot find the course. Please try again later". Is anybody could explain me when will be "later"?
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Hello.

I have a similar problem on an older iPod. I get the error:
"Server error
Not found
Sorry for the inconvenience. Please wait and try again later"

Version is 3.4.3
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Be careful, the audio of 塵箱 ( ごみばこ) seems wrong
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actually the problem is probably that it's usually written as ゴミ箱 or sometimes ごみ箱. I've never seen it as   塵箱 though (it seems to be right, at least rikaikun knows it, but it's still rather unusual I'd say)
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question in Japanese Core 1000: Step 1 on 2016/05/17
Hi guys, so there is this sentence:

誰かに聞いてみてください。
Which was translated to "Please ask someone"However, I suppose "- te mite" should be translated as "please try V-ing" so I think the English translation changed to "Please try asking someone"Is my understanding correct? Thanks for your explanation!
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As you mentioned, "te mite" is usually translated as "try V-ing".
However, in this case, I think "Please ask someone" is not so bad.

誰かに聞いてみてください is often used when someone ask you a question and you're not sure of the answer. In the sentence, 誰か means 'someone else'. You can't be included in the 'someone' because you don't know the answer. It means 'I'm not sure. Could you ask someone else?'.

When you say, "田中さんに聞いてみてください", it would be taranslated as "Please try asking Mr Tanaka". In this case, 'you' think Mr Tanaka knows about the question better than you, and you recommend the 'someone' to try asking him (Mr Tanaka). You're advising the 'someone' to try asking him.
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Thank you for the explanation!
So "田中さんに聞いてみてください" would mean "Please try asking Mr. Tanaka", right?
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Yes, you're right.
"田中さんに聞いてみて下さい" is a specific advice. The speaker tells the listener to 'try' asking.

While, when you say, "誰かに聞いてみて下さい", you just imply that you're not sure of the question. It means "I'm not the right person to answer the question because I don't know about it."
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question in Start! on 2016/05/11
For some reason, at some point my study courses started to all get stuck at 99% complete. I have over 14 hours on one course, though the items are not all in the 'mastered' category, it used to not be a requirement because I have many courses in my review section which aren't 100% mastered on every word.

What is going on here?
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iKnow is based on 'the forgetting curve' which hypothesizes the decline of memory retention in time. You have to wait until they recommend you to review the remaining words. If you make mistakes at the 'review time', you have to wait again for the next review time they recommend. So 14 hours on one course doesn't work for this system. It's said that it takes about  6 months to complete a course.

However, many users have experienced the 'getting stuck at 99%' frustration and iKnow have noticed our complaints.
According to the following blog, they improved their system lately. So you'll complete those courses soon.

Anyway, I think you'd better start a new course, when you have many courses which are mastered more than 90%.
http://blog.iknow.jp/en/
 
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question in Start! on 2016/05/09
Hi, I started using iKnow on my PC the other day and everything was fine. I then tried using it on my laptop and encountered a problem where I can hear everything except the reading of the words. Has anyone else had this issue, or know how to fix ? Ive all ready tried changing drivers and configuring audio devices and nothing has worked.
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question in Start! on 2016/05/08
I am currently strapped for cash and am considering putting iKnow on hold, and studying purely from textbooks. I have the resources to continue, but I felt the convenience and easy usability of iKnow was worth the subscription. If I cancel my premium now, then come back in a few months, will my data all be saved? I would rather not have to manually edit the program or re-take the entry test as I already know the kanji, so test scores aren't entirely accurate as I can guess most of the answers without knowing any vocab. Thanks!
?
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You need to ask this question to Support. Scroll down, it's at the bottom right of this page.
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I've not renewed my subscription before and then came back to the site later with no problems. I've been doing this on and off over the past 3-4 years so it should be fine. I got a lifetime subscription a year ago, so if there have been any recent updates that would change this, I don't know about them but I think you'll be safe.
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question in Start! on 2016/05/08

Could you help me understand the * *part, please?

Don’t teat young adults as teenagers

Over the past dozen years, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued several landmark decisions affirming that adolescents and adults are fundamentally different in ways that justify treating minors less harshly when they violate the criminal law. The court, drawing on psychological and brain science indicating that people under age 18 are not yet fully capable of controlling their behavior, abolished the juvenile death penalty and greatly restricted life without parole sentences for crimes by juveniles. As scientists and legal scholars who specialize in these issues, we have welcomed these changes with enthusiasm.  

But in recent months, a number of advocates have sought to extend the developmental immaturity argument to young adults, proposing that the age of juvenile court jurisdiction be raised to 21 from 18, *where it now stands in almost all states*. This idea has gained some real-world traction. Late last year, for example, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut called on his state’s Legislature to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction, and Illinois and Vermont are now contemplating a similar change.  

Questions  

1 What does this 'it' mean? 2 What does the phrase 'stands in' mean?  3 I don't understand the usage of the relative adverb 'where'. I think it's to do with the place 'it stands in', but where does it stand in?  
Thank you.
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@sbreyak
How did you know that I was really bad at listening in English? :D
Thank you for the link! The podcast is helpful for me to learn about brains and practice listening.
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Haha, I'm sure it's better than my listening in Japanese. If you like the episode, check out some others. Usually they put together some great interviews. Another NPR podcast on par with Fresh Air in topic and language level (and just being a great podcast) is This American Life (thislife.org). Enjoy!
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Thank you again! The podcast looks helpful to prepare for eiken test I'm going to sit for.
Displaying comments 5 - 7 of 7 in total show all
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question in Start! on 2016/04/27
How is it possible to "activate" the Sentence Trainer?
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It's an option when you're studying the Japanese Core courses (and probably any other courses that have sentence examples. It's definitely not an option when studying courses that don't have sentence examples, like the Hiragana or Katakana courses.)

When you have Japanese Core courses in your "Studying" list, and you choose one of those (or choose Study All), then 4 choices pop up (iKnow, Rapid Choice, Self Check, or Sentence Trainer.) The Sentence Trainer option should be enabled if you're studying a course with sentence examples.
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If I'm reading your question right, I think you might be using the "Study All" button. If you study courses one by one the Sentence Trainer kicks in at every 10 or 20% of progress. But I use Study All as well and just do the Sentence Trainer occasionally.
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question in Start! on 2016/04/25
I had some item lists from other non-Japanese languages some years ago but now they're gone.
The items I started from them however are part of my Started Items total.

I managed to find 17 of them recently from newer lists (French) that had these missing items in them but there are still 139 missing, so I added 61 other non-Japanese items to make it an even 200 so as to make counting my Japanese total easier.

Is there an easier way I can find these missing started items so I can reset them and see my true Japanese Started Item total on the Home page?
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question in Japanese Core 1000: Step 6 on 2016/04/23

This example sentence (for 答え) is given the translation, "He doesn't know the answer to the problem."

What if you actually wanted to say that he doesn't understand the answer to the problem? Like, if he was given the answer and doesn't understand it?

top comment

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"He doesn't understand the answer to the problem? " would be translated as
彼はその問題の答えが理解出来ない。
(理解出来ない rikai dekinai)

理解する means to know AND understand.
分かる means to know OR understand, and when it is used with the word 答え like 答えが分かる, it doesn't always mean to understand the answer. So when someone says, "答えが分かる", there's a possibility that they just know the answer, but they don't know how to solve the question.
view in context
3
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"He doesn't understand the answer to the problem? " would be translated as
彼はその問題の答えが理解出来ない。
(理解出来ない rikai dekinai)

理解する means to know AND understand.
分かる means to know OR understand, and when it is used with the word 答え like 答えが分かる, it doesn't always mean to understand the answer. So when someone says, "答えが分かる", there's a possibility that they just know the answer, but they don't know how to solve the question.
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Thanks again, toeicoo! :)
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You're welcome.
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question in Start! on 2016/04/22
I've seen いちどに translated everywhere as "all at once" but in this sample sentence from Core 3000 it seems to have a slightly different meaning. Can someone take a stab at either making another translation or explaining the use here a bit more clearly?

 皆の顔と名前を一度には覚えられません。

みんな の かお と なまえ を いちど に は おぼえられません。

I can't remember everyone's face and name all at once.

To me it sounds like it might be just the word order. Perhaps "All at once, I can't remember anyone's name and face?" Still though, the use seems a bit vague. I mean is this person talking about a shocking trauma or joking about how poor their memory for names and faces is?

top comment

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My English is not good enough, but it would be translated as
 'I can't remember everyone's face and name at one try'.
or 'I can't remember everyone's face and name from one look'.

Imagine you're a teacher and today is the first day for you to meet the new students. In front of you, about twenty of them are sitting. It's quite easy for them to remember your face and name because you have only one face and name :p But you have to remember twenty faces and names because it's one of your jobs.  It's a kind of pressure, but you need to remember them as soon as possible to know them well.
view in context
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My English is not good enough, but it would be translated as
 'I can't remember everyone's face and name at one try'.
or 'I can't remember everyone's face and name from one look'.

Imagine you're a teacher and today is the first day for you to meet the new students. In front of you, about twenty of them are sitting. It's quite easy for them to remember your face and name because you have only one face and name :p But you have to remember twenty faces and names because it's one of your jobs.  It's a kind of pressure, but you need to remember them as soon as possible to know them well.
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Ah! I get it! Thanks, Toeicoo! "All at once" usually means simply "suddenly" but in this case it means something more like "a lot of something in an instant."

You're really good at this! Thanks, again!
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"a lot of something in an instant." 
Yes, that's what I wanted to say!

You're welcome!
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question in Start! on 2016/04/21
Is there a way to put in my own notes linked to specific vocab words? 

For example, I like to create mnemonics for vocab words and I would prefer to do it on the iknow.jp website rather than using another method like googlesheets (similar to Excel). 
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You may be able to get by this by putting the mnemonic in the transliteration portion of the entry, but you wouldn't get sentences that worked correctly going that route.

For mnemonics, I think it may be best to split up how you're practicing into two parts.  For the word's use/definition, compounding words, sentences, etc - use iKnow.  For the mnemonic, itself, use it kinda like it's used in RTK, that being, focus on just the character, and the meaning.

I haven't done this yet, but I can imagine a fairly useful way of doing this is on paper, using real flashcards.  On one side, have the kanji (use a computer, so the balance comes out right).  On the back, have the mnemonic along with the picture of what the mnemonic is intended to be.  Basically you drawing it out from what the book you're using has it as (or better yet, come up with your own).

Personally, I find visualizing the individual kanji at first to help it stick.  Most times, that doesn't really stay for super long, but I've had a few that have.  E.g. 海岸 (かいがん), which I made an example sentence being 'Kaigan on the beach, practicing with his lightsaber'.  Still sticks to this day.  Similar things you come up with may work well...and doesn't really require a second study deck.
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question in Start! on 2016/04/20
Hi,
What is the correct way to say, "Long time no see" (It's been a while) for me (middle aged man) to my friends?
(1) Equal aged man
(2) Slightly younger woman
(3) Child
Thanks!
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You're welcome.
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My friends are usually fine with おおい~

^^
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Thanks, is that for younger people/close friends?
Displaying comments 3 - 5 of 5 in total show all
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question in Start! on 2016/04/13
Is anyone able to reach Level 2 in the Sentence Trainer?
For me. Every single course stops at the maximum count for Level 1 and the progress bar isn't updating anymore.
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All of the courses I started after the beginning of March are still on the first level, but everything from before then has progressed. I have no idea how progression is actually calculated as I hadn't been paying attention to the levels until I read your question, but they do at least appear to work for me.
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I too have noticed the sentence trainer bar moves confusingly slowly.  I have an unanswered question still pending earlier in this thread about it.
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question in Start! on 2016/04/11
What is the difference?

top comment

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The rough picture of each word is;
~を閉める
to block the way which the air, the wind, the light or people go or come throgh.
e.g.
 扉 or ドア door、窓 window、蓋 lid、カーテン curtain、シャッター、チャック(ジッパー)
So you would say "ドアを閉める, 窓を閉める, 蓋を閉める...." 


~を閉じる
to restore objects to their original state (in other words, the state the objects are not used)
e.g.
目 eye、口 mouth、脚 leg、傘 umbrella、本 book、ノート  notebook
You would say "目を閉じる, 口を閉じる, 傘を閉じる..."
For example, when you use (read) a book, you have to open it, and you'll 本を閉じる when you stop reading and put it away.

The above explanations are just about a part of each word's meanings, but I hope they can help when you talk about the things you use in your everyday life.
If my English were good enough, I could translate the followoing links. But I assume if I try it, you'll be more confused.
https://kotobank.jp/word/%E9%96%89%E3%81%98%E3%82%8B-583607
http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/jn/101073/meaning/m0u/
view in context
1
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I've read a few explanations about this, none of them were particularly helpful. I even asked a native speaker and she couldn't give me a particularly good answer either. This is just one of those cases where you don't understand because you haven't had adequate exposure to the words as they are used. Type the words into Google and read articles to get a real feel for them, try to use them in conversation with native speakers and ask them if there is anything unnatural about your sentences. You'll get it with more exposure.
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To add to the above, which is all good advice, when you consider these words look at the objects and how they "close." And congratulations, you're at a point in your language studies where you're beginning to see Japanese words do not always have a clear English equivalent. Happy studying!
7
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The rough picture of each word is;
~を閉める
to block the way which the air, the wind, the light or people go or come throgh.
e.g.
 扉 or ドア door、窓 window、蓋 lid、カーテン curtain、シャッター、チャック(ジッパー)
So you would say "ドアを閉める, 窓を閉める, 蓋を閉める...." 


~を閉じる
to restore objects to their original state (in other words, the state the objects are not used)
e.g.
目 eye、口 mouth、脚 leg、傘 umbrella、本 book、ノート  notebook
You would say "目を閉じる, 口を閉じる, 傘を閉じる..."
For example, when you use (read) a book, you have to open it, and you'll 本を閉じる when you stop reading and put it away.

The above explanations are just about a part of each word's meanings, but I hope they can help when you talk about the things you use in your everyday life.
If my English were good enough, I could translate the followoing links. But I assume if I try it, you'll be more confused.
https://kotobank.jp/word/%E9%96%89%E3%81%98%E3%82%8B-583607
http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/jn/101073/meaning/m0u/
Displaying comments 4 - 6 of 6 in total show all
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tip in Start! on 2016/04/09

I just wanted to quickly share what I've learned from how I thought of this back when it was smart.fm, vs. how I think of it now.

Back when this was smart.fm, I thought of this as a learning tool, followed by a series of tests, and the goal was to study and progress through each course as quickly as possible. Thinking of it that way, it actually took me a very long time to actually learn anything (after several months, I only got as far as the third step in the 1000 course, and then I burned out), and 2 years later, I'd forgotten pretty much everything and had to start from scratch.

Now, I think of it very differently, and as a result, it works much better for me. I think of it as a learning tool, followed by review, review, and more review, according to how well I remembered it from before. My rule is, if I don't know the answer within 5 seconds, then I don't know the answer. You may think that this adds stress, but it really doesn't, because I don't think of them as tests. And yes, it means slower progress, but it tells the application, accurately, whether I need to review more. And that's really what's important. Not passing the "tests," not getting higher percentages on the bar, but telling the application which things I need to review more.

I've only been at this for a little over a month this time around, and am already started step 5 (of the 1000 series). None of them are mastered, of course, but the important thing is that I'm really learning. And at a maximum of spending 2 hours a day.

So, that's my 2 cents. Please take it for what it's worth, but that's just what I've learned from two very different ways of thinking about this tool. :)
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I think you are quite right. For me, I think that looking at a review session as a test is basically asking for trouble. You risk turning it into more of a chore than it needs to be, at least on a subconscious level. I have been at this for around three months and have not come close to burning out, probably because I have been patient and dealt with whatever reviews the app has thrown at me. As long as I know that nobody is forcing me to keep my review count high by learning new words every day then there is no reason not to keep at it.

By the way, I have laid down some pretty similar rules myself to force myself to learn everything thoroughly. I think one of the biggest problems with the gamification of learning is that for some people the experience becomes more about winning the game than developing a skill. I don't think this would be an issue for me, but I'm not willing to risk it so I am taking a very conservative approach when it comes to assessing my own abilities. If I'm useless at remembering a word then no amount of telling the app that I got it right is going to change that.
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question in Start! on 2016/04/08
I have mentioned this on someones post below.

Would like the app to first show the Kanji Reading only in a quiz
before any other type of question appears, as that means I have remembered the Kanji
reading and have had no clues from previous questions. This is very
important for someone who wants to truly read Japanese, rather than only Speaking only.

Other users might want the questions in a different order, depending on their study aims (listening only, say).