Community's Opinion on whats the best way to learn grammar? Have you Used LingoDeer? Can you share you experience with LingoDeer?

What is the Community’s opinion on what appears to be the only contenders, 1.) Tae Kim’s guide 2.) Bunpro 3.) LingoDeer 4.) BunPo(Not BunPRo) 5.) Genki

At the moment im using LingoDeer cause it didn’t have that much prior vocab knowledge necessary and they teach the vocab thats being used along the way. My only complaint so far is that it dosnt test you as vigorously as WaniKani. They have the English translation of the sentence right above the Hiragana that you cant get rid of(ive tried). And they dont test your ability to produce what you just learned, Only recall(so far that im aware of). And i wish they were more detailed with the explanation of the grammar points, Like は(WA), They Just “Topic Marker”. What does that even mean? and for another example あの, They list it with more examples with a 5 word line explaining the usage of the grammar point. 5 words to explain a grammar point that there is no equivalence to it in English. But still i like it mostly if not all for the fact that there is no prior vocab requirements for it.

It seems that whichever option you go with your going to be doing all right, but from people that have and/or are currently studying grammar and/or have experimented more in depth with the all the different routes you can go to learn grammar. Which route have you decided to go with? and what are the Pros and Cons in your opinion? And how much prior Vocab and Kanji did you have before you started? What would be your recommendation for a WaniKani beginner thats looking to get a head start on grammar?

For me personally, I went through all of LingoDeer (before they expanded with paid content, so I don’t know how much they changed) and didn’t retain one single thing. It was… fun? But useless for my overall grammar skill. Far too much multiple choice. Very, very simple multiple choice. I feel like you really have to sit down and take notes and create your own sentences if you want their method to yield long-lasting results. But maybe it works better for others. :slight_smile:

Edit:
At the time, I think I also wasn’t using their Anki-esque review feature that much. Maybe I would have gotten more out of it if I spent an extra hour a day using that? That’s certainly possible. I do remember liking those “story” lessons – some better reading and listening practice than the actual lessons offered.

I pesonally use BunPRO and the youtube channel KawaJapa CureDolly. I’ll spare people two long CureDolly posts two days in a row, so I’ll just link to this thread where I talk about my opinion.

If the audio-visual situation of the videos isn’t your thing, she also has a website with articles.

These two things together (plus being in the 30s of WK levels at the time) are the reason why I’m now replaying a VN in Japanese. It made a massive difference in my ability to read.

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BunPro, BunPo and LingoDeer are my go to learning tools. Tae Kim and Maggie Sensei for Reference. I should give Cure Dolly a go but I don’t really like Video content, personal preference.

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She has you covered. :slight_smile:

She also has a 5 USD ebook on Amazon, if you ever feel curious.

Edit: not saying you have to want to check it out - just that she doesn’t only have video stuff. ^^

So I used Lingodeer a long time when it first release, and I also have the paid Phase 2 set.

You can definitely turn off the English, I know because I even turned off furigana after the initial lesson that introduces kanji. You can even adjust it mid-lesson, it’s in the little gear in the top right of the screen when you’re in a lesson. It’s got some other aesthetic options as well.

And maybe I’m remembering incorrectly, but I remember it explaining the grammar fairly thoroughly in the “Learning Tips” section at the front of each lesson. It doesn’t start there by default, you have to swipe to find it. Have you missed that portion?

I agree there’s very little true recall, usually just one or two questions at the end of the lesson. That being said, between LingoDeer and Pimsleur, I felt like I had a really solid foundation when I started Bunpro and did their extended readings that they’ve curated from around the internet. I also recently started wathcing Nihongo No Mori (日本語の森) on Youtube, and those have been absolutely crucial to deepening my understanding of the grammar I’m studying.

I haven’t used Tae Kim’s much outside of the linked readings on Bunpro, I’ve never used a textbook, and am unfamiliar with BunPo (seen it, haven’t tried it), so I can’t speak to those. But as for LingoDeer and Bunpro, I’m an avid user of both and think they work very well in conjunction with other resources.

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I have major misgivings with Genki, but I think it’s still probably the best elementary game in town just by virtue of being the only reasonably thorough textbook/workbook series. The advantage that has over sites is the ability to easily figure out how much to cover in a day, and to test and drill yourself. The advantage it has over SRS applications like Bunpro is the depth of its examples and included readings. Plus the fact that it ties in newly introduced vocabulary each chapter, so you’re getting a more comprehensive elementary program overall.

But I’m also a stickler for books, and have stuck with them as my main source of grammar learning all the way through N1 study.

I have no experience with LingoDeer. I tried Bunpro for a bit when I was studying for the N3 JLPT, but decided it wasn’t for me. (Not a knock against it; go with what works for you.)

Nihongo no Mori videos are really good (at least they are at upper levels; no experience with their elementary ones, but I assume they’re the same), but I feel like they’re better for review than as a main learning source, since they don’t provide the ability to test yourself.

Apologies for the wall of text, oops. :sweat_smile:

I actually use a couple of the resources you’ve got listed and have tried a couple more.

I use Lingodeer primarily as a way to introduce myself to a grammar point. I don’t expect to know the grammar very well or be able to properly use it when writing my own sentences, but it gives me a halfway decent chance at recognizing the grammar point if i encounter it somewhere else. It’s been a really nice way to introduce myself to the concepts in small, easy to digest chunks without staring at a whole page of grammatical explanations. Lingodeer does rely a lot on multiple choice questions or other question forms where it’s easy to identify the correct answer or put the words in the right order. That’s not the most ideal way to learn, but it’s not aimed at being very in-depth, so the method suits the app’s purpose, I think. If you’d like to get a bit of actual typing practice, the last couple of questions in each lesson should have an option to let you switch to keyboard input rather than selecting the kana from the bottom of the screen in the right order. It’s not a fantastic way to practice production, but it’s something.

Beyond Lingodeer, I’m using the Genki textbook and some of the Japanese From Zero video resources at the moment. The Genki textbook is set up for a classroom environment and some of the exercises reflect that, as they require you to work with a partner, but even skipping those particular exercises, I’ve found the textbook and accompanying workbook to have good explanations of the grammar and plenty of options to practice reading, writing, translating, and producing content to practice the lessons. A lot of people in the community have used Genki, so there’s a lot of support and help here if you run into trouble with understanding something in the textbook, though so far I’ve found it to be very easy to use. The only other downside is that it’s a physical textbook and requires more time and focus to use.

I’m using the Japanese From Zero videos in much the same way as I’m using Lingodeer, as a way to be introduced to the grammar point, get some explanation of it, and be able to practice it in the space of ten to twenty minutes. The videos are done by the author of the Japanese from Zero textbooks and I actually really enjoy the way he breaks down the grammar and builds on what he’s taught previously. The videos also provide examples and practice with the grammar point. They’re intended as companion lessons/practice to the books, but I like them on their own as supplemental learning. I also have other resources, such as Nihongo no Mori, Game Grammar, and JapanesePod101 on YouTube that I have yet to check out properly, but which I’ll most likely use in a similar way.

I have Tae Kim on my phone as an app (free on Android and I think also on iOS?) and I’ll reference it occasionally if I’m trying to find a particular grammar point that I know exists, but haven’t learned yet. I haven’t sat down to read through it, though, as it explains the grammar points and provides examples, but doesn’t have any way to practice that knowledge and that’s much less interesting to me than using Lingodeer or Genki.

My minimal experience with Bunpro is that it would probably be good for practicing grammar points I’ve already learned, but I found it difficult to actually learn through that platform. Bunpro does offer an SRS platform for practicing grammar, though, which none of my other resources do.

tl;dr - I use several of the resources that you mention in tandem, as each resource has strengths that correspond with another resource’s weakness. If you were to select a single resource to use of the ones you listed, I’d probably recommend Genki or another textbook, like Minna no Nihongo or Japanese from Zero, as that will give you the best combination of detailed grammar explanation with practice in reading, writing, and probably speaking in a linear manner that builds on previous lessons. Otherwise, play around with different resources and figure out which ones work for you, then use those.

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If you don’t mind me asking, what are your “misgivings” with Genki? It’s the only phsyical textbook I’ve used for intro level Japanese, but I thought for the most part it was a great resource. I’ve heard others say they don’t like it but I’ve never actually heard a reason so I’m curious.

It basically boils down to the way it simplifies explanations in a way that downplays the differences between Japanee and English, which sets you up for potential unlearning later. (For example, I don’t recall it being very clear with what is actually happening in 彼は○○があります-style sentences in a way that sets you up for your own similar constructions down the line; it’s occasionally obtuse about what is and isn’t a noun, etc; several connections that help parse advanced grammar more quickly are kind of left up to you to grasp.) There were a couple of other specific points where I remember thinking it backed away from more detailed grammar discussion to its own detriment.

But when I asked on the forums last year if any other good elementary book series had come out recently, it seemed like the others backed away from this kind of stuff even more, so Genki’s still the best there is. I just wish there were something even better about combining an upfront attitude about the unique structures of Japanese with Genki’s practical examples and overall solid structure. I think it does a really good job of introducing elementary points, but I wish its explanations set the student up for intermediate grammar a little better, I guess.

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I actually have the Japanese from Zero 1 book and at first glance it appears to only teach phrases or sentences? I know it looks like a kids book but the reviews led me to believe that it was in depth without being overwhelming, I found it to be overwhelming without being in depth. To be fair i didn’t go through it only a skim but by the glance of it, it seems as if it doesn’t go in depth enough on the grammar points and there’s allot of vocabulary words that are used. Which is why i shelfed it for the moment while i learn the vocab so i can better study the material in it. You wouldn’t know of a Japanese from Zero 1 Vocab Deck?

I haven’t used the textbook or even looked at it yet, so I can’t actually speak to that part of it. You’ll likely be able to find a vocab deck using Anki or maybe kitsun.io. Based on the videos I’ve watched, it seems like the author does take a little bit of a slower approach than Genki does, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

As for using a lot of vocabulary, any textbook will do that. Genki has two pages, sometimes more, of vocab for each chapter that it teaches and uses. You’re not expected to learn, memorize, and perfectly recall every word after using it in a lesson, but the textbook wants you to have enough words to work with the grammar it’s teaching you without restricting both itself and you to a few set phrases the way Lingodeer does. You can flip back a few pages or a couple chapters to look at the vocab that you want to use. And using the words terms to help you get them into long term memory, anyway. I wouldn’t let the amount of vocab stop you from starting grammar.

And this just occurred to me, but I do remember the author mentioning that he started the first textbook off with learning some set phrases in Japanese, so that might be what you mostly saw? Genki also does this, teaching greetings, apologies, and other stock phrases at the start of the textbook before moving into actual grammar. And if that’s not it, then can you provide an example of what a page from the textbook looks like? Mostly for my own curiosity, because the way the author approaches the videos doesn’t seem like he’d only have the student learning set phrases or sentences in his textbook.

ETA: apologies if I don’t reply again for a while, it’s quite late where I am, but I’ll reply when able.

It Appears i found a good JFZ1 deck on Memrise. I really like how they broke down the sentence structure for は but they don’t continue with the same grammar lesson structure. For the most part it does the job its intended to do but i feel like its lacking when it comes to a more in depth explanation when it comes to the grammar. For some people that’s gonna be a plus. But for me i like a more textbook approach. It’s not a deal breaker but i think its best used as an introductory tool like you mentioned. Then using other resources to drill it in. Where can i find the more in depth style explanation of the grammar points? Would prefer not to have to google every grammar point. Would that be Genki? or Tae Kims Guide? and is Genki your main form of drilling them in?

Thanks for indulging my curiosity! I can see the same sort of set phrases as Genki has the in the first picture you have. Without seeing the whole textbook, I can’t say for certain, but looks like the textbook at least does break down grammar with more detail than just providing set sentences for you to practice with.

I’ve found Genki to provide a fair bit of explanation, though not exhaustive, since it - like most beginner resources - keeps some things simple for the sake of not overwhelming the student with more information than needed. I can take some pictures of my textbook, if you’d like to compare to JFZ1, or Amazon might have a preview option for it that’ll do the same thing.

Tae Kim tends to be the go-to recommendation for a grammar resource that explains things, but it does have a couple of things that may or may not work for you. For one, it starts teaching grammar using casual forms. Casual forms will be very important to your grammar, but other resources start with polite forms and teach casual forms further down the road, so this may clash with other grammar resources. Second, it still has the simplification of not teaching a grammar point exhaustively, same as Lingodeer, Genki, and JFZ. (I specifically looked at the は and が particles for this.)

If Tae Kim doesn’t feel exhaustive enough, then there are a couple other resources that also come up, such as Japanese the Manga Way (a grammar book that uses manga panels to help explain grammar points along with examples and text explanations), but you may still run into the issue of simplification for beginners. At that point, you’re probably going to have to do a search and find various resources on Youtube, here in the community, on the learning Japanese subreddit, or elsewhere to find more in depth explanations if you’re wanting a truly exhaustive lesson on that grammar point.

For practice, yes, I mostly use Genki and it’s accompanying workbook. I also revisit the grammar points in Lingodeer and with other resources like the JFZ videos. For more freeform practice, reading graded readers or reading/replying to topics in Japanese here on the forums tends to help push my ability to recognize and understand those grammar points outside of a textbook context.

I used Tae Kim when I learned the basic grammar, and I used this anki deck to drill myself on the grammar points.

It worked for me, but then again I haven’t really tried anything else, so I have nothing to compare it against :slight_smile:

Anki doesn’t work well for me, unfortunately. I tried it when I first started learning since it was free and I saw it was recommended, but the self-assessment setup isn’t something I learn well with and, at the time, I didn’t know it could be tweaked to allow for input answers like WK. That and the high learning curve on creating cards and customizing decks turned me off on the app. I may come back to it in the future, but for now I have plenty of other resources that allow me to practice in ways that work better for me.

My statement regarding Tae Kim was just to say that, in itself, it didn’t have a practice aspect, which can make it difficult to use it as the only grammar tool. It requires pairing with another tool, like Anki or Bunpro, to practice what it teaches.

Maybe it came across as such, but I wasn’t really criticising your statement, I just thought I’d put the option out there in case someone else does find it a useful complement to Tae Kim :slight_smile:

I’m super picky when it comes to what methods I use, so I can definitely relate to various things just not being for you!

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I also use Tae Kim’s guide, and im liking his approach to teaching very much.

I have however started to utilize BunPro aswell in combination because the fact that Bunpro engages the brain more than reading a guide is hard to dismiss.

So rather than extensively reading Tae Kim’s guide i set up a plan for myself for which parts im going to read (and reread) every week, i just do this relaxed without too much fuss since the value in it is that i have seen all the parts. So while i cant recall all the parts on the spot, i recognize them when i go to reinforce them in Bunpro.

Personally i feel like its all about finding the different parts to make sure all aspects of learning are covered. As an example my complete strategy for learning Japanese is:

  • Tae Kim - Grammar walkthrough
  • Bunpro - Grammar reinforcement
  • Wanikani - Vocab and kanji baseline
  • Reading - (The most important one in my opinion, the previous ones are preparation for this. I will occasionally probe some literature to gauge where im at untill i feel like i can read without having to look up things too much)
  • Radio / Movies / Anime - Listening practice (not as important at the beginning, comes after reading since its easier to reread a sentence than to rewind speech. Also im biased towards reading for learning)

Depending on where im at one point will have a better return on investment than another one will.
for example, listening to the radio doesnt do much for me yet because my vocabulary and grammar isnt strong enough yet. So untill im comfortable reading, the first three really are the highest priority, but its more their combination than its their individual parts. Call it the holistic approach if you will.

To wrap this wall of text up,
Dont pick one, pick several.
Grammar is a weird size since its partly from dedicated study, partly from experience.
I can almost always pick the right grammar for english, but if you ask me about the rules im likely to have no idea because i learned by just reading and listening to tons of stuff.

I hope this has any value in terms of helping you decide on something that works for you.

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No one else mentioned it, but probably the best resource to learn grammar is another person. Maybe someday someone will invent an AI application to converse with, but until then, it would be hard to beat having a tutor to help you through. Books are great, but it seems nothing can really drive home the ability to learn how to put it all together like another human can.

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Oh, no, you were fine! I just wanted to make sure my own statement was clear, especially since OP was concerned about practice/drilling the points learned. Thank you for providing the input and the link to the specific deck you used!

Anki has definitely been a very useful tool for a lot of people. I’m just not one of them, so it tends to get glossed over when I make recommendations. :sweat_smile:

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@Omun Thank you so much for the KawaJapa CureDolly recommendation here and in the other thread. The lessons I’ve seen so far have been both encouraging and eye-opening in ways that other resources haven’t been.

As for the op’s question, I’ve started just about all the grammar books and then was either stuck/bored/frustrated at some point. My first real foray was with Genki which I found sort of slow in some things and too fast with others. It’s also not the best for self-study.

I did like Lingodeer because I felt I was learning the grammar more intuitively or naturally. e.g.instead of teaching about negative modifiers, it would just be in a sentence and you’d understand that part changes the sentence into a negative. But as others have said, it’s better as a reinforcement than a teacher. But some would argue that if you know how to use the grammar point, but not why you’re using it, that’s better in the long run.

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