PRactically-Speaking

what i should do right now: study for a few tests, write a couple of assignments, make a hundred presentations, practice public speaking, exercise, get a good night’s sleep, make art, write for fun

what i’m doing: everything else except the things i should do

I have this headcanon that Lance used to be mute, like he witnessed something traumatizing as a child that made him stop talking. And then years down the road he gets fed up with the bullies at school and starts trying to speak again and it takes forever but he’s finally able to speak again (his first word was Hunk) and he keeps practicing until he can speak without it hurting. And then one day during team training or while they’re getting a mission Lance is just being Lance and making jokes and whatever but Keith is a little grump and makes the side comment “don’t you have a mute-button or something” not thinking anything of it but it hits Lance hard and he just stops talking. He usually doesn’t let comments like that upset him because he knows what he went through and is just glad that he can talk but it hurts coming from Keith so he just stops talking all over again. And Keith doesn’t know why because he didn’t mean to hurt Lance - he would never mean to hurt Lance - and he doesn’t know how to fix it. And Hunk is pissed af which is hella scary

and I have no idea how I want this to end but I really want to write it

UPDATE: (bc people are actually seeing this???) I wrote it!! https://archiveofourown.org/works/9192059
How to learn foreign languages

Hello, guys!

I`ve said before I`m interested in foreign languages. I learn English and Italian only but I hope one day this list will get bigger. So, I wanted to share my experience in learning languages with you all.

At first. If you are not very organized (i am)  it will be good for you to find a school of foreign languages or a teacher.  As to me I prefer to study with a group. This way you can practice your speaking skills not only with your teacher but also with people whose knowledge is the same as yours. Better to study with people your age. So, my English group consists of three 16 year olds (I`m 16 too), Italian: 18 year old and 24 year old girls.  I feel myself okay with them all. 

Doesn`t matter if you have classes with teacher / group or learn language yourself you can use all of these tips to improve your skills.

To know any language well you have to be good at 4 things:


                              ○ Listening

                             ○ Speaking

                             ○ Reading

                             ○ Writing


Let`s talk about all of them.

Listening.  You need to listen and understand what you`re listening to. How to do this?

              • Watch films, tv shows, youtube videos, cartoons in the language you learn with subtitles. For example you start with subs in your native language, watch, listen, read subs and try to ‘connect’ them. When your skills will get better watch with subs in this language, to understand written text is easier than just speech. Also you will know how some words are pronounced.

              (I think everybody knows English speaking Youtubers or at least it`s not difficult to find them, what I can`t say about other languages. So I made two playlist of Italian and RussianYoutubers I like. Check it out if you learn one of them.)

              • Music. When 2 years ago I became interested in English I started with this. I was listening to the song while reading its lyrics in English, then in Russian, than in English and in Russian again. Repeat it hundreds of times. Or at least just listen to music in this language.

              • Audiobooks and podcasts.  You can just listen to them like podcasts or listen while you are reading (the same book of course). Almost the same thing like watching films with subtitles. You can find original book or adapted for your level.  

              • Exercises.  Buy a book or find on the internet listening exercises for your language and do it.

Speaking.  It`s quiet easy. Just speak.

              • With yourself, oh how many time I did it and heard that my friends had done it too. In the car, at home, etc. You can record it for the memory or to listen it later and find your own mistakes. It`s okay, if you are alone now, speak with yourself.

              • If you have a friend who learns the same language offer him/her to speak this language always or just sometimes.

              • If your lever is good start a channel on Youtube.  You will have to speak really a lot. There`s no other way, your speaking will get really better.

 

Reading.  

              • Learn lots of words. To know the language fluently you have to know many words.  So, develop your vocabulary.

              • Read and translate quotes, phrases and so on. It is not hard to open Tumblr/twitter/etc. and read some but it is helpful.  

              • Books, stories, fan fictions, blogs, etc. Just read a lot.

Writing. (spelling)

              • To improve your spelling just rewrite texts of your level. You can find more here.

              • Do lots of exercises. As I have already said you can buy a book or find them on the internet.

               so, i hope some of these tips i know will help ypu to achieve the success. 


(and i wanna thank my sister for being my ‘model’. follow her instagram!)

Domestic Garden Witch: Shrines in the Garden

So maybe you’re a college witch with limited space and money, limited to the one window in your dorm. Or, maybe you’re a witch without extensive backyard space who wants to start up a magical garden. Perhaps you’re a kitchen witch who wants the freshest herbs right at her fingertips.

For many witches, having a garden seems to be a bit of a no-brainer. After all, plants and magic go hand-in-hand. Plus, when thinking of a witch, it’s hard not to think of a cottage in the woods with a little vegetable garden out front. Unfortunately for the majority of us, our cottage in the woods is a tiny flat, and our garden out front is a windowsill with limited space.

This is when it comes time to embrace your craftiness and bring your garden indoors! Not only does it place your garden in a convenient location, it also allows you to freshen the air, recycle what would otherwise harm the earth, and embrace your witchy green thumb!

A Practice As Old As Time

In previous Domestic Garden Witch articles, I’ve covered setting up altars and arranging gardens so as to be living altars. As witches, we are often looking for ways in which we can reconnect with nature and find harmony with its ebb and flow. For as long as mankind has been around trees, it seems as though these impressive and beautiful plants have inspired and drawn us closer to the divine.

Nearly every culture has something to say when it comes to trees - their growth patterns, their spiritual significance, and even the varying properties of their constituent parts. Roots, leaves, branches, seeds or fruit, and wood… all have a part to play in many religions. This is particularly true for modern druidic practice, which draws from Celtic lore and centers around the magic in certain woods. And as can be seen from my current Runic Friday series on the Ogham, certain woods were prominent enough in Celtic lore to inspire a form of divination symbolized by Irish Celtic writing.

There are many ways in which we can bring the magic of trees into our lives, but when it comes to garden magic, I have yet to see a method so endearing as building shrines on or near them.

Simple or Complex, Religious or Spiritual

Shrines are most often associated with religion - especially religions such as Hindu, Shinto, and Buddhism. In short, a shrine is a type of altar which is usually dedicated to a specific god, spirit, or ancestor as opposed to being devoted to whole pantheons. Depending on the practice, these shrines can be ornate or very simple.

But shrines aren’t limited to religion or ancestor worship. Like altars, they can be places of meditation or magical working, and therefore can have a place in spirituality regardless of the faith practiced.

Tree shrines are a great way of integrating your practice with your garden, providing a place to meditate or work magic, or to honor deities. As an added benefit, they can be used to honor the spirit within the tree if desired. For those on a budget, the shrine need not be overly fancy - a small altar made of stone or wood at the base of the tree is sufficient. But if fancier shrines are more your style, inspiration can be drawn from real world shrines, which are often built into the hollows of trees or carved into them. Here, offerings can be made or deities worshipped as you see fit.

Consider the role the tree plays in your garden, and build your shrine with that in mind. Is your oak tree a silent protector? Or perhaps you feel that your maple tree brings luck and money to your home? If this is a tree in your orchard, the shrine may be a way by which you can ask for healthy and bountiful harvests!

A few examples:

-Oak: Oak trees are common, and are often symbolic of protection, knowledge, wisdom, and strength. Building a shrine decorated with acorns and fallen oak branches may be a way of encouraging the oak to protect your home, or inspire the drive to learn in your heart. Or even, perhaps, it can be a way of honoring the Oak King if you follow the Wiccan Wheel of the Year!

-Maple: Often associated with the moon, maple trees are linked to both magic and healing. Shrines dedicated to bringing about good health and happiness are ideal with maple trees, allowing them to extend their healing energies to you!

-Pine: Pine trees, a mainstay in the northern hemisphere, are trees of strength and raw power. They are ancient and invoke a sense of mystery. Shrines built at the base of a pine tree can be dedicated to finding that primal strength that lives within all of us, and for helping us connect with the past. These are excellent trees for ancestor shrines, depending upon your practice.

-Apple: Speaking of ancestor worship, apple is associated with otherworld. Its link to the dead is on a mythical scope, lending its energies quite well to ancestor shrines. However, it is also a tree of fertility and choice. As such, shrines meant to encourage fertility in the garden or one’s own fertility are great when built at the base of an apple tree. Furthermore, it helps encourage decisive action, inspiring quick decision making and wise undertakings.

In Conclusion…

While this week’s article is quite different from most, it calls us back to a time when the gardens we tended were the ones planted by nature itself. Whether your shrine is dedicated to the tree or some other spirit, or if it is built to honor an altogether different plant, it is a useful tool for the garden witch who thrives when working magic outdoors.

Consider how your garden can benefit from the added spiritual energy of shrines. Perhaps the trees have more to offer than we may realize!

May all your harvests be bountiful! )O(

Comfort Inn Ending | 5

➭ “It was you who Jungkook gave his heart to- that is, until the day you broke it. And it is you now, hoping that some faultlines can be repaired, and that some broken hearts can be put back together again.”

pairing: Jungkook x Reader
genre: angst, smut
wordcount: 8.1k
inspiration

part one | two | three | four | five | six | seven

warnings: angry sex, slight breathplay



You woke up alone.

You stirred, reaching out with one arm. You were half asleep, and when you found nothing but empty space, your eyes fluttered open.

You lay on your side, staring out into your empty living room. You were still lying on the couch and your limbs felt stiff, your eyes felt heavy and bleary as they adjusted to the dim light filtering into your living room. 

It all came back in a rush- Jungkook, holding you, telling you he would give you another chance

Jungkook. Panic crept in as you sat up straight, breathing heavily, suddenly terrified that he was gone. 

Keep reading

"you dont need tools for witchcraft"

i know tons witches, espcially on tumblr, always say this but a lot of times it dosnt seem true. those same blogs posting about “not needing tools” (myself included) reblog photos of sparkiling crystals and decorated altars. in comparison, our own practice can seem inadequate. but remeber that witchcraft is an old practice, and while over centuries this practice has grown and changed, the basis of the craft is old as fuck. the mothers of our practice most likely didn’t have access to a houndred different crystals, the entire whole foods spice rack, and dozens of specialized tools. the mothers of our craft were creative and worked with what was locally available, not $30 organic vanilla beans flown in from mesoamerica (unless that just so happened to be where they lived). the mothers of our craft were nifty and clever, and knew how to make everything out of anything. so, while beautiful, shimmering, lovely items are always nice -and can make us /feel/ witchy- our witch moms founded this practice without them.

WESTWORLD SENTENCE MEME

  • “ Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world. The disarray. I choose to see the beauty. ”
  • “ Evolution forged the entirety of sentient life on this planet using only one tool: the mistake. ”
  • “ What is your itinerary? ”
  • “ And what do you want to say to your maker? ”
  • “ You don’t know where you are, do you? ”
  • “ You’re in a prison of your own sins. ”
  • “ You want to ask, so ask. ”
  • “ Are you real? ”
  • “ You can’t play God without being acquainted with the devil. ”
  • “ I know how that head of yours works. ”
  • “ We practice witchcraft. We speak the right words. Then we create life itself out of chaos. ”
  • “ He would have us burned at the stake. ”
  • “ That woman in charge is quite formidable. ”
  • “ You can just say ‘bitch.’ I hear it enough. ”
  • “ You’ve died at least a thousand times. ”
  • “  Maybe someday soon we’ll have the life we’ve both been dreaming of. ”
  • “ Has it never occurred to you to run off with her? ”
  • “ Everyone I cared about is gone and it hurts so badly. ”
  • “ The pain, their loss it’s all I have left of them. ”
  • “ I can feel spaces opening up inside of me, like a building with rooms I’ve never explored. ”
  • “ I may be losing my mind. ”
  • “ I think I want to be free. ”
  • “ You sound like a man who’s grown tired of wearing his guts on the inside. ”
  • “ I believe that only the truly brave can look at the world and understand that all of it gods, men, everything else will end badly. No one will be saved. ”
  • “ Maybe we’ve got more in common than I thought. ”
  • “ I imagined a story where I didn’t have to be the damsel. ”
  • “ Never start something you’re not willing to finish. “
  • “ If you’re getting fucked either way, go with the lucrative version…sweetheart. ”
  • “ I’ve been pretending my whole life. Pretending I don’t mind, pretending I belong. ”
  • “ All my life, I’ve prided myself on being a survivor. ”
  • “ It’d be a suicide mission. ”
  • “ At first, I thought you and the others were gods. Then I realized you’re just men. ”
  • “ You think I’m scared of death? I’ve done it a million times. I’m fucking great at it. ”
  • “ How many times have you died? Because if you don’t help me, I’ll kill you. ”
  • “ It’s the human beings who confuse me. ”
  • “ You’re a fucking monster. ”
  • “ Time to write my own fucking story. ”
  • “ At any point, I could blow up or collapse like some dark star or… ”
  • “ Did you hurt them, too? ”
  • “ You both keep assuming that I want out. ”
  • “ If it’s such a wonderful place out there, why are you all clamoring to get in here? ”
  • “ People like you keep spreading over this world like a stain! ”
  • “ You pretend to be this weak, moralizing little asshole, but, really, you’re a fucking piece of work. “
  • “ You helped me find myself. “
  • “ About time you realized the futility of your situation. “
  • “ I’m not crying for myself. I’m crying for you. “
  • “ Time undoes even the mightiest of creatures. Just look at what it’s done to you. “
  • “ The gods are pussies. “
  • “ You needed time. Time to understand your enemy. To become stronger than them. “
  • “ I’m afraid in order to escape this place, you will need to suffer more. “
9

for @onvelvet: Rome

mood: reading multiple collections of poetry and prose, Renaissnce-styled villas,   sketching ancient architecture practicing speaking italian,spectacular views,spending hours people-wathcng in a cafè, hot and humid summer days

Okay time for another Burr-and-Hamilton’s-tragic-friendship meta analysis because apparently I cannot stop seeing these things.

Someone pointed out in a post a little while ago (that unfortunately I can’t find, or else I would link to it) the genius of the musical themes of Hamilton, and specifically how it applied to Alexander and Eliza’s relationship. It focused on how Alexander was never quite singing the same tune or matching Eliza’s style until “It’s Quiet Uptown.” Another meta-post along the same vein mentioned how Angelica was instantly on Hamilton’s level in the underlying musical sense when they first met: you see it in Satisfied, when he says “Alexander Hamilton,” she replies in the exact same tune, “Where’s your family from?” and then he shoots back also in the same tune, “Unimportant, there’s a million things I haven’t done.” They’re matching each other musically for the entire conversation, just as Angelica describes, even though throughout the show they both have their own distinct styles and themes.

The one other person who has a very different singing style than Hamilton, but specifically matches Hamilton when he wants to, and the only other person that Hamilton as well makes a specific effort to match in various songs, is Burr. The first one that I noticed was one of my favorite exchanges in the whole show, the Levi Weeks case in Non-Stop:

Gentlemen of the jury, I’m curious, bear with me.
Are you aware that we’re making history?
This is the first murder trial of our brand new nation,
The liberty behind deliberation!
I intend to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt with my assistant counsel—

Co counsel! Hamilton, sit down!
Our client Levi Weeks is innocent, call your first witness.
That’s all you had to say!

Hamilton is shooting off at the mouth, and Burr matches him word for word, the same speed, the same style, which absolutely no one else is able to do, at least not when Hamilton is on a long angry rant. This moment highlights the underlying fact that Burr isn’t just some jealous villain, he’s a true foil to Hamilton. He was a genius, he applied to Princeton at eleven, applied again and got in when he was thirteen. That “graduated in two”? Yeah. That happened when he was thirteen to sixteen, let that sink in.

Burr can match Hamilton completely when he chooses to, he just rarely chooses to. In fact, the irony of the exchange in Non-Stop is that Burr gets frustrated enough with Hamilton and Hamilton’s inability to shut up inadvertently insulting him (assistant counsel? assistant? seriously Hamilton?) that he is pushed to act more like Hamilton, and in acting more like Hamilton, succeeds in shutting Hamilton up. Which is pretty much exactly how and why the duel happens.

But no, in my opinion, the more tragic are the times when Hamilton matches Burr. Allow me to direct you to “Story of Tonight (Reprise)”:

Congrats again, Alexander.
Smile more.
I’ll see you on the other side of the war.

I will never understand you.

Hamilton emulates Burr’s tone and tune exactly to tell him, “I will never understand you.” Because that’s Hamilton trying to understand Burr, that’s Hamilton on the underlying musical level making the effort to sing as Burr sings, to speak as Burr speaks, he’s asking Burr to let him in. *Let me* understand you. Burr being Burr keeps his cards close to his chest, and walks away. The effort was there, the invitation was there, that is the first time in the show, arguably, that Hamilton actively changes his style to match someone else’s. And Burr walks away, because Burr is terrified about people caring about him. In “Wait For It,” he’s perfectly fine admitting that he has feelings about Theodosia, but he devotes an entire verse to “what in the world is the reason that I am at her side and that she cares about me when there are a whole bunch of other people who have tried too.” Burr isn’t scared about loving people, he’s scared of them loving him, he doesn’t understand why or how it happens. The line isn’t “everyone I love has died”, it’s “everyone who loves me has died.”

Burr walks away because the possibility of Hamilton caring about him is more than he wants to deal with. Goodbye I have disintegrated into a puddle of tears. 

But no, that’s not even the worst part! The worst part is how Hamilton argues with people. The precedent is set in “Farmer Refuted.” Hamilton takes a very specific tone and rhythm as a counterpoint to someone singing.

Allow me to direct you to “Your Obedient Servant.” Burr begins the song by singing his letters, and Hamilton practically speaks his letters back. He takes a different tone, he employs a different rhythm, because that’s how he confronts people. He only matches Burr back when it’s utterly dripping in sarcasm: I have the honor to be your obedient servant, A. Ham. Burr keeps singing back (“Careful how you proceed, good man—“) as he keeps just trying to ask for an apology, and Hamilton keeps his own infuriated style at least musically in replying (“Burr, your grievance is legitimate, I stand by what I said, every bit of it”) and it’s Burr that has to match Hamilton—when Burr finally challenges Hamilton to the duel, Burr is speaking, not singing:

Then stand, Alexander,
Weehawken. Dawn.
Guns drawn.

(Although even then, it’s not ~perfectly~ matching Hamilton: the words are slow, they all have weight, they’re carefully pronounced, they’re well thought-out and well chosen. Succinct, persuasive indeed. But Burr is speaking, he’s not singing anymore, he’s taking this down to Hamilton’s level, which is the “fight me” level.)

And then, one last time, Alexander matches Burr perfectly:

You’re on.

5 Ways To Justify Stealing The Retainer Off A Dead Body You Find In The Woods Before Calling The Cops

Stealing a piece of orthodonture from a dead body is a hard decision, but it can also be very rewarding. So if you’re on the fence, here are five ways to justify stealing a retainer off a corpse before you call 911!

1. The police aren’t going to do anything with the retainer anyway: When you find a dead man in the middle of a forest, you obviously want to call the police so that they can investigate whether there was foul play. But also, their investigation probably isn’t going to have anything to do with the dead person’s orthodontia! So if you’re alone and face-to-face with a corpse, tell yourself that it’s better you snag the retainer now, because really, the cops aren’t going to use it. They’re just going to throw it on some evidence pile and never look at it again! You, on the other hand, could definitely use another retainer and wouldn’t just let it rot in some stuffy old police station. As far as finding an unidentified corpse in the forest goes, that’s a big win!

2. This is your one chance to find out what a dead body’s mouth tastes like without defiling a corpse: Practically speaking, there are only a limited number of ways you can taste a dead body’s mouth without any of the nasty legal implications of necrophilia. And while at first it might feel weird “tampering with evidence” in a potential murder case, remember that stealing that retainer is maybe the only way you’ll be able to satisfy that curiosity while still respecting the dead! Just drag the body up from the creek, take out their retainer, and find out once and for all whether a dead mouth tastes good or bad. This is your one chance!

3. You’ll be saving someone from looking like a nerd in front of the cops: Think about it: The person you stumbled across during your nightly run already looks like enough of an idiot lying facedown in a puddle, covered in dirt and bugs—he doesn’t need the cops showing up and calling him “metal mouth” on top of that! If you don’t steal the retainer, he won’t just look like an idiot; he’ll get called a nerd by a group of powerful authority figures. In many ways, stealing his retainer before you call the cops would be saving him and his family a lot of grief. You might even have a moral obligation to do so!

4. The retainer would only make cremation messier: Okay, so, imagine you work at a crematorium. Are you really going to put your hand in every dead guy’s mouth and look for retainers? No! You’re burning him, retainer and all, releasing god knows what kind of toxic plastic chemicals right into the air. Burning orthodonture would not only smell bad, but it would also definitely be bad for the ozone. So do your part for the environment and steal that thing already!

5. Grave robbers don’t deserve the satisfaction of finding and stealing a retainer: People who trespass on graveyards, dig up graves, and disturb the dead don’t deserve to find a retainer worth hundreds of dollars more than you do. You’re the law-abiding citizen in this scenario, who did nothing more than happen upon a dead body in the woods. You deserve the retainer more than some common criminal, and maybe even deserve a little reward for finding the guy! So take it for yourself, dial 911, and feel content in the knowledge that you’ve done the right thing. And if the cops ask, just put it in your mouth and say it’s yours. They’ll never suspect a thing!

505studies  asked:

hello !! i wanted to ask if you have any tips for someone who wants to start learning a new language ? ( and maybe how to choose what to learn ? ) have a nice day !!

Hi! Learning a foreign language might be difficult but it’s extremely fascinating! 

I have a lot of experience in language-learning  ( I currently speak five languages and planning to start learning two more), so I think I could give you some effective tips (which helped me on my journey). Here we go!


                                           The Strategy Plan

1. Pick you language & motivation. Okay, first and foremost you must decide which language you want to learn. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of it. The thing is- without a strong motivation there’s 99.9 % chance you will not get anywhere. The reason why- as I said, language learning is pretty complicated process and if you don’t have a clear vision on why exactly you’re doing it, you will not mock yourself and give up in a week. 

  So, how do you choose? Well, it all depends on you, your interests & preferences. Think of what language is the most appealing to you, which country you would like to visit, which culture & people you would want to become closer with. But just in case you’re completely lost, pick something that is widely used by many people, and what is not really hard. Try it. If you find it’s not your thing- you can always switch to the other language ( but never give something up just because it too complicated. Things get easier.).

2. Start small. Once you’ve chosen  your language- that’s when the fun part begins. You will learn your first words. I would suggest starting with a specific number of the most common words (50/100/1000). Or you can also categorize them if you want( i.g. 50 most common nouns, 50 most common verbs etc.). 

Fun fact: if you choose your vocabulary right:

40 words covers about 50% of words used in everyday speech 
200 words - around 80%
300 - around 85% 
400- 90%°
800 - 1000 words covers up to 95% of words used in daily conversations. 

3. Grammar. Grammar is indeed important if you want to sound intelligent (or not silly at least)  but I would not suggest dedicating too much time to it. Language is made out of words, and this is where your main focus should be. You definitely must know the proper sentence structure, how to conjugate verbs, irregularities and exceptions etc. but once again- no need to go deep about it.

4. Practice, practice, practice. You may hate it or love it, but the most important aspect of learning a foreign language is practice. Yup, practice even beats vocabulary and grammar learning. I know that usually there’s no chance to practice speaking with natives speakers (that would be ideal), so here’s my favourite tips: 

  • Sticky notes. You probably already heard about it, but it actually works. Basically, want you want to do is to put sticky notes all over your room/house and write all the necessary/ difficult words on them. Thus it will always be in front of you and you’ll face no difficulties remembering you vocabulary.
  • Start a journal. Or just aim to write a few sentences every day about what you’ve been doing/ what you saw/ what happened. This way you will easily find out which words are essential for you. ( Should I say- if you don’t know a word/ phrase you need- check it out in a dictionary. It’s good if you remember it straight away, but if not- after you’ll look for it a few times it will stay in your mind forever(unless you stop practicing of course)).
  • Teach someone. Yes, very effective method as well. I like teaching my sister french (not that she wants it) and it helps a lot with expressing yourself and practicing formulating your thoughts. If you don’t have any siblings/ friends that could help, you can teach some your pet, toys or simply talk with yourself.
  • Incorporate the target language into your routine. Get used to it, feel it. Try watching some films in this language, count in it, read books/some articles. It will also help you to stop translating in your head and getting used to think in another language.

Those are some basic tips I could think of right now. Language learning is indeed hard but if you want it bad enough you will not notice any difficulties because of how much you’ll enjoy the process. Knowing several languages opens so many doors into wonderful worlds of various cultures and opportunities, and I hope those doors open for you as well! Wish you all the best and good luck on your journey!

-Anne

Reyna’s tips on learning a language by yourself

Before we start, let me just say that all these things are tips and suggestions, NOT a sequential To-Do List. You can pick and choose what to do from here, but I STRONGLY recomend doing at least one thing from each category (reading, writing, speaking, listening). Some things might work for some people, some might not. I’ve tried to include as many tips I could think of, many of which have helped me. If you have some tips that I don’t have here, please reblog this post and add them!

(Here you go, @estudlante!)

***

  • Immerse yourself
  1. speaking:
    1. talk to yourself, repeat words you have a hard time pronouncing (look up pronunciations on forvo.com)
    2. talk with native speakers! ask around on tumblr, join chatgroups, find a pen pal–just talk to someone! ask them to kindly correct your mistakes. (NB: do NOT be ashamed of mistakes, okay? You and everyone else made a million while learning your first language. It’s only natural to make them in your TL. And mistakes are good! When you make a mistake, find out what happened and adjust your speech/writing/whatever to fix that mistake. That’s how you learn.)
    3. find a study buddy–someone who can help motivate you and practice speaking with you
  2. listening:
    1. watch tv (w/ subtitles in your native language at first, then switch to your target language–TL– as soon as you’re able to read in it. later on, for listening practice, turn off all subtitles)
    2. listen to podcasts
    3. listen to music (look up the lyrics and sing along)
    4. watch youtube videos (of something you’re interested in, of course. look up movie reviews if you like those, or drawing tutorials, etc)
    5. listen to the audio of a book while you read it. That way, you can practice reading AND hear how the words are pronounced all in one go
  3. reading:
    1. read books out loud (children’s books are great for beginners. i highly recommend reading those)
    2. fanfic, meta, blogs
    3. change the language settings on electronic devices
    4. when you come to a word you don’t know, you can either (a) circle it, keep reading and try to understand it through context, and look it up later and write the definition down, or (b) look unfamiliar words up as soon as you see them and write the definition down. Either one you choose, write.that.definition.down.
  4. writing:
    1. write (fanfic, journal, a movie review, a summary of each chapter of the book you’re reading [can be in your TL or not], your plans for the day)
    2. if you like to draw, draw a picture of what each vocab word represents and write the word next to it in fancy lettering
    3. write vocab words on Post-Its and put them on things around the house, saying the word when you see the note (eg: la lampada on a lamp, los zapatos on your shoes)
  5. start a course on Duolingo, Memrise, Babbel, etc
  6. basically, just live your TL. that’s how you learned your native one, and it only makes sense to learn your TL in the same way
  • Study!
  1. make flashcards
  2. learn conjugations, vocab, etc
  3. write sentences using new vocab
  4. read grammar books
  5. get a book in your reading level in your TL and copy by hand some sentences. Doing that will take your focus off of what the sentence is saying and put it on how the sentence is structured. That’ll help you in prepping your brain for constructing sentences of your own in the future.
  6. basically, you want to understand the skeleton of the language so that you know how it works. Once you know that and vocab, making your own sentences (instead of pre-set ones from phrasebooks) will come so much easier.
  • Be.Disciplined.
  1. make a schedule. include times to just ‘relax’ in your TL and times to 'study’ grammar
  2. set goals (watching one movie in your TL a week, or reading three chapters a week, or writing five sentences a day. Pick something and stick with it.)
  3. use a reward/point system. promise yourself a treat (food, an outing, an episode of your fav tv show) after you’ve reached a reasonable goal
  4. push yourself. Learning a new language is challenging, but very rewarding. Remind yourself frequently of the reasons you’re learning this language to motivate yourself.

Above all, have fun and don’t get discouraged! There are so many langblrs out there willing to help if you have questions or just want to talk. Happy learning!

How Fusion relationships work

“How many Gems are you now?”
“Six! Maybe more … if we meet the right Gem.”

In the episode “Off Colors,” Fluorite makes it clear she’s a relationship of SIX Gems and is open to more. I was joking around trying to think of what her fusion dance would look like if she added another Gem to this relationship, thinking it would be kind of adorable seeing one smaller Gem dancing to fuse with this huge amalgam. But then I wondered about a few things and I collected enough Thinky Thoughts to ramble for a bit.

For a long time before “Super Watermelon Island,” we fans were curious about Alexandrite’s fusion dance. We knew Garnet, as a Fusion herself, prefers to form Fusions with others when she’s already in her Fusion state–as in, she certainly doesn’t split up first to dance with the others one on one when she wants to form Sugilite or Sardonyx. 

We figured hey, maybe it’s easier to synchronize two Gems rather than trying to synchronize three at the same time, and therefore maybe Alexandrite was formed with Pearl and Amethyst fusing into Opal first before dancing with Garnet. 

In “Super Watermelon Island,” we see that’s not so.

Which is not to say that Opal and Garnet COULDN’T decide to fuse that way, but they didn’t in this case. And we can see that if they’re prepared to do it, a three-way synchronization can work without previously synchronizing the components into Fusions.

Fusions can fuse with individuals. With TWO individuals. And individual Gems can of course make Fusions. So basically, it’s free-for-all mix-n-match however the Gems involved are comfortable doing it. 

And I got to wondering what that means for the Fusions themselves. Fusions are relationships. So theoretically, Fusions are the relationships of the component Gems with each other, even in more complicated Fusions like Alexandrite. But essentially, Alexandrite seems like she is the relationship of Amethyst and Pearl with Garnet, not so much the relationship of Amethyst and Pearl and Ruby and Sapphire. If they were to all four fuse in a single fusion dance, they would still make Alexandrite, but Pearl and Amethyst probably don’t HAVE much of a relationship with Ruby or with Sapphire individually. When Pearl first met Garnet in any meaningful way, she was already fused.

So when Pearl makes Sardonyx with Garnet, that relationship is by definition Ruby, Sapphire, and Pearl’s relationship, but practically speaking, it’s a relationship between Pearl and Garnet. Because her relationship with Ruby and Sapphire is nearly always in the context of them as their relationship. As Garnet.

That may seem like a weird point to press on, but stay with me here. 

Garnet probably doesn’t have much of a relationship with Opal as an individual. She has individual relationships with Pearl and with Amethyst, and together their group is Alexandrite. They’re a four-Gem Fusion, but personality-wise, Alexandrite represents Garnet, Pearl, and Amethyst together far more than she represents Ruby, Sapphire, Pearl, and Amethyst together. When they start to fight internally, you certainly hear Garnet’s voice coming out, not the voices of Ruby or Sapphire. (And maybe, aside from the potential spoiler-related reasons, that’s why Alexandrite makes more sense with six arms instead of eight.)

Rebecca Sugar has repeatedly said in interviews that Fusions ARE relationships (though they also obviously have their own opinions that can be in contradiction with their components’ opinions, like Sugilite, and can “feel like one being” like Garnet said in “Keeping It Together”). And she’s also said Fusions are an interesting opportunity to explore who people are TOGETHER–the way humans can be together in a relationship and it changes who they are, how they think, how they function as a unit even though they can never be as much of a single entity as a Fusion is. This has me thinking about Fluorite.

She’s an established six-Gem relationship. I don’t know how they came to the conclusion that they wanted to live together, but Rhodonite’s question “how many Gems are you now?” suggests she’s been adding them steadily–that it wasn’t all at once. Very much like Amethyst and Pearl having a relationship with GARNET far more than with Ruby and/or Sapphire individually, I imagine that Fluorite’s additional Gems beyond the first ones–including potential future additions–would develop a relationship with the Fusion, not so much with her components. They may not even KNOW much about who they are individually because the relationship is that significant. That the relationship changes them so much.

I mean, you’ve probably met people who are in relationships and have been part of that unit since a very long time before you met them. They’ve grown into each other, become comfortable with each other, and developed a collective “we” identity that connects to their family, their living situation, their thresholds of intimacy, their interests–everything. You would have no way to know the individuals in that relationship how they would be if they didn’t have it–just like it’s hard to imagine who someone might be if they weren’t an artist, or weren’t a mother, or weren’t chronically ill, or weren’t the gender or sexuality they are. You can’t pluck one element out of them and then try to re-imagine them around the hole that leaves–not unless that element actually does disappear and they readjust their identity around it. I think our relationships can be like that too–that they affect our identity.

Humans’ relationships aren’t as literally transformative as a relationship that can literally become its own person, but our relationships essentially have lives of their own too. Garnet didn’t describe Fusion to Stevonnie as “an experience” for nothing. Most of us don’t “feel like one being” as part of a relationship, and there are some ways in which that can be unhealthy for us if we repress important parts of ourselves to become subsumed in something we wouldn’t like if we were fully conscious of what we were doing. But in general, it’s not a bad thing to have one’s relationship regarded as an important element of who they are. It’s certainly part of how the outside world thinks of them and treats them.

With someone like Fluorite, I think it would be super interesting to see how a single Gem has a relationship with an existing relationship and becomes a part of it. But even though I think Fluorite, and Garnet, and even in some ways Malachite, can be regarded and treated as individuals while fused–requiring those who have relationships with them to take them as a whole–you would also have to have at least some kind of relationship with that relationship’s members. You’d understand them as a package deal, but you might have different feelings about its members. Steven, for instance, loved Lapis and disliked Jasper, but understood Malachite as someone he needed to fight.

Now here’s the sad thing. Garnet states that she’ll “always exist in” Ruby and Sapphire, and that she embodies their love (even though they can still experience that love when they’re not fused, too). But I imagine that if Garnet were separated for a long time, Steven would miss her a lot. And I can imagine if one of Steven’s guardians decided to, say, form a new Fusion with Fluorite and stay that way, he would miss her too. You can’t have both the single Gem and the perma-Fusion in your life consistently.

Most of us have been there. “Losing” a person to a new relationship and nothing is ever the same with them again. They give themselves to the relationship, they go everywhere together, and you can’t invite one without them bringing the other(s). Sometimes, you probably miss that person and want them back. But when they’re part of the relationship, that’s part of who they are, and even when they’re not with their partner(s), they’re part of that relationship. Sometimes that can feel sad, especially if it means your special relationship with that person had to end, lessen, or significantly change. 

Fusion relationships are very different from ours in a few obvious ways, but they’re not so fundamentally different that we can’t draw the parallels. Sometimes you wish the Fusion wasn’t there because you think the relationship is bad for those involved, like Malachite. If you’re Steven, you want your Lapis back and you want Jasper out of both of your lives. You might try to advise Lapis, you might try to protect her from Jasper, but she’s the one who has to decide what her relationship is. You can only hope she sees reason, or you could lose her in more ways than one.

With loving relationships, like Garnet, you want them to be together. Not necessarily because you like Garnet better than you like Ruby and Sapphire–it’s fun to see them now and then, sure!

But you know they prefer to be together, and that they experience anxiety and pain when they’re apart, and that they’ve chosen a life together where some of their individuality is given up for that closeness. You respect their decision and have a relationship with their relationship.

For humans, our relationships do not literally combine the traits of multiple people into one person that then has its own conscious will. The individuals in the relationship still function, while “the relationship” has no physical manifestation despite its influence being felt in the components. But it still changes the “color” of their lives together and brings the people involved close together to serve many shared goals, just like a Fusion.

So when a hypothetical new Gem does come along and establish a relationship with Fluorite, I think she would dance with her. Not with her components individually, but with her. We know Garnet as Ruby and Sapphire’s relationship–not as Ruby and Sapphire combined, but as the result of that combination. For a fused Gem, the Fusion is the new identity who can now make decisions and have experiences, even though they ARE an experience at the same time. It isn’t the same as individuals deciding to do the same thing. They made the decision to become the thing that decides on its own. And that Fusion, in the reality of their life together, can sometimes decide that’s no longer what they want to be. Or they can realize they’d rather be this than anything they were supposed to be and that they’d rather do this than anything they were supposed to do.

If a Gem has a relationship with a relationship, it’ll always be with the relationship first. The new relationship will need to be understood as coming into a shared, existing intimacy. Pearl and Amethyst don’t individually get consent from Ruby and from Sapphire when Garnet acts on their behalf to form Alexandrite. Garnet feels and acts differently from Ruby and Sapphire sometimes, and their choice to fuse into her has influenced the subsequent decisions they make as her. 

They may or may not disagree with how Garnet acts sometimes–like, if you were to ask Sapphire or ask Ruby what they would have personally done when Garnet did something different, you might get some answers that are as different as Amethyst and Garnet’s answers would be from Sugilite’s. But within the context of the relationship, with the relationship actively existing, it has the power to influence how the individuals feel. They have a relationship, and then that relationship can feel and think in unprecedented ways–with some of them not being so good. Being in a relationship with an abusive person, for instance, can sometimes make the abused party accept treatment they wouldn’t outside the relationship, or might have thought they wouldn’t tolerate before the relationship was established. And sometimes it’s neutral, like what a married couple decides they want in a shared home is different from what kind of place each might buy individually.

But what’s important about this is that fusion of goals, opinions, and thoughts in human relationships isn’t necessarily a sad thing. It’s a natural thing. We all influence each other. Allowing yourself to be influenced does not mean the relationship has eclipsed your life, or that you’re in an unhealthy dependence, or that you’ve lost your individual will–you’re still part of what you’ve made together. And if you’re happy in your relationship, anyone who comes along afterwards needs to understand who it’s made you, and be accepting of it, and most of all, be willing to have a relationship with your relationship. Not just one of its parts.

Peter talking to you for the first time.. (Headcanon)

Requested By: Nobody

This idea just kinda popped into my head and I thought it’d be really cute and funny because Peter is so soft and cute and idk I just love him. Okay enjoy!

P.S. It’s still probably gonna be super cringey oops.

Originally posted by chrisshemsworth

- okay so you just moved to New York, you’re originally from California so this is a whole new environment for you

- you HATE New York

- IT’S SO CROWDED

- IT’S ALSO VV COLD LIKE BYE

- you wish you were back in Cali where it was warm and you actually had friends

- you transferred during the midyear

- which sUCKS SO BAD

- you got lost vv quickly once you got your new schedule

- you legit stood in the middle of the hallway like an idiot blankly staring at your schedule trying to figure out where the hell you were and had to go

- “hey are you lost?”

- “yes, actually, I have no idea where I am or where I need to go” you admitted, an embarrassed smile your face

- “no worries, I can help you, I’m Liz by the way.” she would smile, making you relax slightly.

- “Y/N, thanks for helping me.” you’d reply, before she started giving you a tour of the school, showing you where your classes were.

- the school was huge

- your school was tiny compared to this, which didn’t help your anxiety

- “we actually have a few classes together, so this should go a lot easier for you.” Liz smiled, noticing your hesitance as you observed your surroundings.

- “thank god.” you’d mutter, making her laugh slightly, catching Peter’s attention

- “whoa, who is that?” he’d whisper to Ned, his eyes not once leaving you as you talked to Liz.

- “no idea, she must be new, you should go talk to her googely eyes.” Ned would tease, making Peter snort in response.

- it was true though, he couldn’t stop staring at you

- which in a way was kinda creepy ngl

- bUT it’s Peter so what do you expect lmao

- you’d somehow make it to all your classes on time, having to go through the new student introduction each class

- which was so humiliating

- like yes pls stare at me like I’m a piece of artwork

- peter would be staring at you like you were an artwork, bc to him you were

- the day would continue on and you’d be looking for a place to sit in the cafeteria, only to see one table open

- Ned and Peter’s

- “hey guys, do you mind if I sit with you?” you’d smile shyly, as Ned nodded in response, Peter unable to speak a word.

- “is he alright?” you’d question his friend, as Ned would glance over at Peter

- “he’s in shock, pretty girls don’t normally talk to him.” a voice from the end of the table chimed in, making your eyebrows raise.

- “and who are you?” you’d question, receiving a small smile from the girl as she closed her book.

- “Michelle, but you can call me MJ.” she’d reply, before her nose went back into her book.

- you’d nod, your mind racing with questions.

- “speaking of names, would you care to tell me yours?” you’d ask, turning to look back at Ned and Peter.

- “well, I’m Ned, and this is my buddy Peter who seems to have forgotten how to speak.” Ned would mutter lowly, making you smile and glance at him.

- peter was CUTE

- you loved his curly hair and how it fell perfectly on his face

- the way his brown eyes would sparkle in the light

- “well, it was nice meeting you guys, but I have to go, see you around?” you’d smile, giving them a slight wave before disappearing with Liz.

- “DUDE!” Ned would screech, hitting Peter’s arm.

- “OW.”

- “WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT MAN.”

- “I DON’T KNOW I FROZE UP I DIDN’T THINK SHE’D ACTUALLY ACKNOWLEDGE US.”

- “YOU BETTER TALK TO HER”

- peter would nervously pace the hallway, waiting for the last bell to ring.

- “I can do this, just say ‘hey Y/N, sorry about earlier, you look great by the way, can I walk you home?’” he’d be speaking aloud, practicing on what to say to you.

- eventually the bell would ring

- HE WASN’T READDDYYYYY

- “oh shit, what am I doing? I can’t do this, abort mission, abort mission.” he’d start to quickly walk away when he’d hear your laugh.

- it was beautiful

- “hey!” he’d hear you shout, making his heart race

- ‘pls don’t make a fool out of yourself for the love of god’ peter would pray, before facing you.

- “h-hey Y/N, I-I don’t know if y-you remember me, I’m Parker P-P-Peter.. Peter Parker.” he’d clear his voice, taking a deep breath while shutting his eyes.

- WELL THAT WASN’T HUMILIATING AT ALLLLL

- you’d stand there, an amused smile on your face

- he’s so adorable???

- “yes, Peter, I remember you.” you’d giggle, watching a smile appear on his face.

- “you do? that’s great! -I mean..” peter would stammer, making you bite your lip.

- did you really make him that nervous?

- “I-I was wondering if I could walk you home? if that’s a-alright with you?” he’d pause, rubbing the back of his neck anxiously.

- you’d smile and nod in response

- you already loved him, and it was just your first day at this school

- he’d walk you home, your hands brushing occasionally

- he’d eventually build up the courage to take your hand in his, interlocking your fingers

- he was smooooooth about it too

- you’d both blush like two idiots

- maybe New York wasn’t so bad after all??

- “well this is me, thanks for walking me home, I probably would have gotten lost.” you’d joke, making him laugh, his nose crinkling the slightest, something you found adorable.

- you’d both still be holding hands

- CUTIES AW

- literally the sweetest thing ever

- you both not wanting to let go first bc that would mean he’d have to leave

- wHY IS HE SO ADORABLE LIKE ASDLJFKL

- “do you maybe, uhm, want to go get something to eat?” he’d ask nervously, his heart beating so loud you’d probably hear it.

- you’d nod in response, his eyes lighting up as you dropped your belongings off, your hands never leaving one another’s.

- and then you were off, Peter deciding to take you to the best sandwich shop, Mr. Delmar’s a few blocks down, while telling you fun facts about Queens, and stupid Star Wars jokes.

- your shoulders would occasionally brush against one another’s, hands still interlocked, laughs escaping both of your mouths.

- peter made moving to New York 10x better

- and you made peter’s life 10x by just being in it

You + Peter = Two idiots in love <3

sometimes its like “ya ive been practicing my speaking, come at me” while in reality you’ve just been speaking to urself while in the shower or alone or w/e. and then the problem arises when u actually have to Speak to someone at like, a volume they can actually hear??? and not just quietly to urself???? and u realize you’ve never regretted anything more in ur tiny little life

2

Imagine Being A Student To The Winter Soldier Before The Fall Of Hydra

For @dtescohmi

“(Y/N) loosen your arm when you swing,” he snaps as he catches your punch easily.

“Yes sir,” you say and throw another punch. He lets the punch hit his hand and nods approvingly.

“You’re getting better. Again.” You swig again, and again, and again, until your knuckles bleed.

The Winter Soldier is a strict teacher but he has a soft spot for you. You can’t say why he’s gentler with you but you imagine it’s because you both experience the same mind control.

The other students are loyal to Hydra but you and the Soldier are forced. Hydra took you for your abilities and created the Soldier.

“That’s enough, dismissed,” the Winter Soldier orders in a clipped tone. The rest of the students disperse but you hang back. The Winter Soldier approaches you and the two of you quickly pretend to be practicing.

“When can we speak without ears?” you whisper to him.

“Midnight at my room, there’ll be no guards,” he murmurs. You throw a punch and it hits him in the shoulder.

“I’m getting better,” you say and walk briskly away.

~~~

The Winter Soldier and you have been meeting in secret for a year, since the day he saw a Hydra officer beat you for disobeying. You are kindred spirits, the two of you.

Every second with him is a second away from hell and for that you are grateful beyond belief.

~~~

“My soldier calls,” you murmur as you nudge open his door. You’ve both memorized the guard rotation and turning of the cameras so you can slip in and out at just the right times.

“And my student answers,” he returns and takes your hand pulling you in and shutting the door softly behind you. His lips are on yours in a second and your fingers tangle in his long hair.

“Say my name, my real name,” he requests. During brief moments of memory he tells you everything so you can whisper it to him on nights like these.

“James Buchanan Barnes,” you breathe. “You were a sergeant in the 107th US regiment during the war.”

“And you’re (Y/N) (Y/M/N) (Y/L/N). You were visiting Russia with your father the ambassador, he enlisted you in Hydra to make use of your unique abilities,” he returns and you smile. His flesh hand is cupping your cheek while his metal one holds to your waist. You hold his face in your hands and make sure to maintain a steady gaze.

“You had a scrawny best friend named Steve, you called him punk,” you utter and give him a chaste kiss. “His mothers name was Sarah and he wore newspapers in his shoes.”

“Thank you, I love you.” He pulls you in for a impassioned kiss that makes butterflies erupt in your stomach. Only with James do you ever feel emotions besides fear and despair.

“I love you too.”

For a long moment you just hold each other close, sharing a heartbeat and even breathing.

“You have a knack for knowing what others feel and making them feel whatever you could wish,” he adds after a quiet moment. “But you don’t use it unless you’re told because you hate having that much power over another.”

“And you have amazing strength, accuracy, and heightened senses that put you above the rest but you only use them if you’re told because you hate feeling superior.”

“You love me,” he states.

“You love me,” you return.

“And we’ll both never love another,” you both promise at the same time.

Your lips meet once again in fiery sparks and raw emotion.

In the time of Hydra James Buchanan Barnes is your only solace.

~~~

A week later James disappears from your base and the last you hear from him is ‘I hope I remember you.’

A week after that Captain America reveals Hydra and destroys most of it but the Winter Soldier vanishes.

You managed to escape during the chaos and vanish yourself.

With your newfound freedom you search for him.

~~~

“Allow me to pay,” you interject and hand currency to the vendor. The vendor hands over the goods and the man you’re paying for looks up, staring at you with wide eyes.

It’s James, he’s buying plums of all things. You mod your head and lead him to an alleyway out f sight. He follows wordlessly.

“I am (Y/N) (Y/M/N) (Y/L/N) we knew each other in the compound. I told you facts about your life whenever they’d make you forget, and we loved each other.”

“You’re (Y/N), you helped me stay calm during episodes,” he utters. “I love you.”

“And I love you.”

[App Review]—LingoDeer (Japanese)

**EDIT** The LingoDeer team read my review and fixed some of the things I pointed out :>


Learning Japanese?? I was originally going to review LingoDeer’s Chinese lessons next, but I was contacted by the team who developed the app and the lessons after the read my review on the Korean course. They asked if I was learning Japanese and, if so, if I could do a similar review for the Japanese course (please note that I have never done any sort of sponsored review or anything like that; I review what I want and I review them honestly). I said I would, so here we are! Maybe this will get me back on track with studying Japanese, anyway. Those of you who were around during this blog’s early stages will remember I was studying Japanese for a while, but I had to abandon it because I just didn’t have enough time ㅠㅠ Welp, it’s time to start again!

I do want to note that, other than the obvious language difference between this review and my review of LingoDeer’s Korean course, there is also a huge difference in my perspective between both of these reviews. Having studied Korean for over seven years now, my LingoDeer Korean review was done more from a been-there-done-that perspective. A lot of my intuition as not only a long-term Korean learner but also a Korean grammar blogger and a language teacher went into it. However, I am nowhere near the same level in Japanese, so this review is written from much more of a beginning learner perspective, with a bit of my teacher brain as far as what is and isn’t effective for language learning thrown in.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s jump on in!

What is LingoDeer?

LingoDeer is a language-learning app for the three major east Asian languages, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, and Japanese. It is developed by teachers of those three languages, so that’s pretty cool!


Very first impressions

As I said in my review of LingoDeer (Korean), the LingoDeer app’s design and interface is very clean and visually appealing. I do get some loading screens still, but none of them are super long unless I’m on my home Wifi. I’d been thinking about maybe getting a new, stronger router anyway… 


Learning Hiragana and Katakana

You can start with learning Hiragana and Katakana, or you can just skip it and go straight to learning the actual grammar and other material. For the sake of this review (and since my Katakana memory has always been pretty bad), I did the Hiragana and Katakana courses. Before you start a level in the Alphabet section, you can flip a toggle for whether you want to learn Hiragana or Katakana. Ultimately, though, it doesn’t really matter since they are presented together and you will be asked to match the corresponding Hiragana and Katakana. I have actually never used a source that teaches them together in this way, and I really like it because it made it easier for me to remember the Katakana. The main differences between doing one writing system vs. the other (for example, choosing to do them in Katakana mode instead of Hiragana) is that you will only be presented with stroke order diagrams for the set you chose, and they will occur more frequently. At the end of the day, the choice is yours.

 Again, the sound files in this app are really great, so you can hear the sounds very clearly. My only real issue with the Hiragana/Katakana-learning exercises is when you have to match multiple pairs at once. There are a few screens like that at the end of each level, and if you want to hear the readout of the sounds as you do them, you have to flip a toggle on the screen because the sound is off by default. Since this is a language learning app, I really think it would make more sense to have the sound on by default. Also, you have to flip the toggle every new screen rather than flipping it once and that being your setting for the level. Having to flip it every single time just to get the automatic audio got annoying pretty quickly.

Just as the Korean course had extensive Hangul charts, there are interactive Hiragana and Katakana charts in the Japanese course. You can click on the individual spaces to have the sounds read out, which I liked. However, there seems to be a little bug such that sometimes when I go to the charts they don’t read out when I press the spaces. In those cases, I have to restart the app for the charts to work properly.

Finally, there are notes explaining the Japanese writing system, and they’re quite extensive! This app certainly does give a lot of information.


Getting in to learning

This app is currently structured 100% for beginners in the sense that you must start with the first level. There is no way to test up into a higher level. This test up feature is there in other comparable apps, so its absence here is very noticeable. Until such a function is (hopefully) added in, anyone who wants to use this app will have to obligatorily do the lower levels first regardless of their skill level.

All of the actual learning levels have grammar notes at the beginning, which you can access if you swipe to the tile left of the first lesson tile. I think it would make more sense to have the notes tile be the first one you see, as it is easy to miss and the notes give a ton of important information that beginning learners really should read. The notes are detailed and very helpful, but there are some typos here and there, and I noticed some unusual Romaji (though I’m not sure if it’s just that they were using a different Romaji system… are there multiple Romaji systems??). The word for “China,” which I had always seen before in Romaji as “ch(y)uugoku,” was written as “tyuugoku,” which threw me off.

When you get into the learning levels, you can choose how you want writing to be displayed, and there are a TON of options! You can go for full on normal Japanese writing with the Kanji and all, Kanji with Hiragana (my setting), Hiragana only, Romaji only, Hiragana and Romaji… you can choose what would suit your needs best and adjust as you become more comfortable reading Japanese.

As for actually learning, there is a variety of activities including word-picture matching, listening and choosing the right answer, inserting grammatical elements into the right places, and unscrambling sentences, and more. The only thing that I really wish the learning levels has is some speaking practice! I’ve said it many, many times before, but HelloChinese is a similarly structured app that has speaking practice built into all of its levels. If LingoDeer also had it, I would be so happy~ Also, as I mentioned in my LingoDeer (Korean) review, this app is fairly quiet in the sense that it does not automatically read out sentences for you on some screens, and there is no indication given that you can access audio for those screens. It would be nice if there was maybe a little play button to make it clear that you can hear audio on those screens with no auto play, or maybe an overall option (that could be toggled on or off as you please, of course) for automatic audio playback.

One other little bone I have to pick is that, when doing syllable-by-syllable unscrambling of sentences, the app starts indicating what the first syllable you pick should be within about three seconds. Maybe some people like the hints, but I could do without them for sure. I would be happy if the time to hinting was increased, or if there was a toggle to turn it off completely.

Upon completion of a level, you can get up to five stars. When you first start studying, you set a goal for how many stars you want to get each day, and if you choose the lowest possible number (five) and do a single level perfectly, your study for the day is complete.

The biggest error I have seen in this course so far is that the notes in the “Household” section (as far as I got so far) are missing ㅠㅠ I sent a report in, so hopefully that’s fixed soon. Considering how responsive the LingoDeer team has been to me so far, I’m fairly confident it will be fixed soon.

Overall, I like the structure of the lessons and the pacing. I could definitely see myself using this app long term!


Review and stats

(This section is more or less copypasta from my previous review, so feel free to skip it if you read that one!)

If you want to go back and review vocab or grammar flashcards, there is a section where you can do that. The review questions are the same as the regular level questions. You can choose to do a single lesson, or you can combine lessons for a comprehensive review. Also, there is spaced repetition listening practice, which is pretty cool. You can choose how you want the words and sentences presented, with Japanese, the English translation, or just the audio and no writing. After listening, you can reveal the correct answer and rate your recall/performance “weak,” “good,” or “perfect.” You can also choose if you want a word or sentence-focused review. Seems like a good feature.

As for stats, you can check how long your learning streak has been ongoing, and it even tells you how long you have studied for. There are some little achievement badges for things like learning time and streaks also. You can also set a time for reminders to study if you would like. However, I notice that the app is not synced to your phone’s clock but some other clock, perhaps that of the server it’s hosted on. So, for example, if I use the app in the morning here in Korea, it will still count any stars I get to the previous day since the app’s date hasn’t rolled over yet. There is not an option to change the app’s clock to sync to your time zone as far as I can tell.

Oh, and there is offline learning! You can download the course take it with you if you are, say, going on a flight or off to some remote area where there is no internet or cell service!


Conclusion

LingoDeer’s Japanese course is really fun and easy to use! The grammar notes are very informative, and the lessons are not too heavy so they don’t feel burdensome or intimidating to a new learner. The pros and cons:

PROS:

  • GREAT audio files
  • Lots of good notes and information on grammar
  • Spaced repetition practice and flashcards
  • Study reminders
  • Lessons that are informative and useful without being overwhelming
  • Offline learning

CONS:

  • No function to test out of lower levels
  • Typos in notes and other places
  • App clock not synced to phone clock
  • No speaking practice
but please gimme deaf jeremy

deaf Jeremy whose only friend is Michael because hes a CODA
deaf Jeremy who despises everything about lipreading and is failing classes because of it
deaf Jeremy who is so fed up with how other people treat him because of his deafness that sometimes he feels like he would give anything to become “normal” 
jeremy getting the squip as a way to get that
the squip forcing Jeremy to get a cochlear implant, but jeremy still doesnt understand all the noises coming at him
the squip making jeremy practice speaking everyday so he can be “normal”
jeremy and michael arguing in the bathroom, signing the whole time, but jeremy speaking “get out of my way loser”
that being the first time michael heard jeremys voice
jeremy waking up in the hospital to find that his implant was removed and being so goddamn relieved
just gimme deaf jeremy (or more deaf characters in general)

bonus: michael and jer shit talking everyone else in asl
(none of this is meant to be rude/insensitive, if im saying anything inaccurate feel free to message me n i’ll fix it!)

The Elsewhere University Marching Band

I got inspired by a couple of posts, I had some of my own takes on it, though… I’m not really a writer but here goes!

The students at Elsewhere University have formed many organizations. For fun, for productive (tradeable) skills, for protection. Many treasure the reminders of self the photography club sells (for pennies, to those with a certain desperate look in their eyes). Some trade for custom mixes from the chemistry club; subtler shields and small, failed trinkets from the jewelry workers. But none are more feared than members of the marching band.

Some humans over time have learned the power of chants, of secret rituals. Presence, tuning, patterns, power. Numbers and uniforms resembling nothing so much as an army, for of course that is where its roots lie. Sometimes Elsewhere protects its own, by calling upon its own.

~

During a Hunt perhaps the only safe place to be is near the color guard, wielding their steel poles in the dances the Court so loves; but not one of beauty or captivation: a dance of power. A dance even the other members fear. “I almost ran a tuba through last year” one tells you, laughing. At the corner of you eye you see the tuba shift uneasily at the memory. You have yet to learn even his safe-name; everyone here calls each other by instrument.

They allow you to attend practices. It’s not something commonly sought, so they are more than happy to freely give you a seat. Their sound beats against your skin and their sweat waters the field; their lines and circles - trickier than normal here - become perfect to the beat of the drums you heard from across campus.

They’re all human. You saw, once, when one of the twirlers put silver glitter on your eyes, a hidden trick they share with anyone curious enough to ask. It showed too that they were more, especially gathered, pulsing with power drawn from their voices and their rituals and sheer unrelenting solidity.

For a moment you wonder what kind of person could possibly lead such a group, but you can’t seem to get a solid answer, and your eyes glance off when you try to look directly at him. No one seems to know where he is outside of practices, and he only speaks to the percussion section, and rarely captains. You ask what he’s a professor of and The Tuba only laughs. You pray he likes you, because you can feel his favor from his stand.

~

You know that this is a place where eyes deceive, but you could have sworn the home team wasn’t quite so numerous before Seven Nation Army. The opposing team’s kicker is having the worst game of his life as the band pounds their feet on the stands. The popcorn-seller who will tell you a secret for a kiss is missing during halftime. They grin at each touchdown before they jump into the fight song, and for thirty-six measures you see red. They do not own this field, but by god are they the stars of any show they attend.

The Elsewhere University Marching Band’s power is not like the whispers you hear in abandoned hallways, nor whatever the hell keeps the girl who sells the cats-eye glasses in one piece. It’s an animal that Hunts back.

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