Warning: Tool mainly for Intermediate and above learners of Japanese
Simply put, Quora is a free website where you can ask questions about anything you can imagine and obtain answers, usually from experts in the field your question is from. You can also search for questions, follow specific topics, comment on answers, etc.
What has this to do with learning Japanese?
Until last year, Quora was mostly a community using English for communication. But guess what: they started sending invites for their Japanese edition of Quora and it’s THE BEST THING EVER. For those of you that don’t feel like reading news or fiction, here you have an opportunity to read and communicate in Japanese with real Japanese people about subjects that are of your interest. Here’s an example of a question about space and an answer by an actual 宇宙飛行士 (astronaut - yep, I just learned that word):
Which platforms is Quora available?
I’m in - How do I proceed?
I would suggest to first sign up for the English edition of Quora or for your native language’s edition, if available. Why? Because you only need to create an account to access Quora in all the different languages available. Since JP Quora is completely in Japanese, it might be easier for you to have your first exposure and figure out how everything works in English/your native language first. You can then easily subscribe to Quora in the other languages available in a matter of seconds. For example, I’m subscribed to the English, Portuguese and Japanese editions:
Languages available at the time of writing this: English, Portuguese, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Indonesian and Hindi.
How do I add languages to my Quora account?
If you're on desktop:
- Step 1: on the top right corner of the page, click on your profile picture’s circle.
- Step 2: click on “Settings”.
- Step 3: on your left side, click on “Languages”.
- Step 4: Click on Quora日本語版へ参加.
Direct link: https://www.quora.com/settings/languages
If you're on the app:
- Step 1: click on “You”.
- Step 2: click on the tree dots.
- Step 3: click on “Languages”.
- Step 4: Click on Quora日本語版へ参加.
Obs: I’m using the Android app, but after some research, it seems that the steps on iOS are very similar, if not the same.
Any suggestions on how to use Quora towards learning Japanese?
You can do three main things:
- Use it as you would use the English version: ask, read and reply to questions. Comment on others’ answers and interact with natives in Japanese. Get new perspectives from Japanese in Japanese.
- Whenever you have questions about Japanese, maybe dare to ask on Quora instead of using apps like HiNative Since answers on Quora tend to be quite detailed, you’ll probably find better answers. 日本語 is a legit topic there.
- Be the flashcard geek: whether you are using your computer or your phone, take notes somewhere of the words/expressions you have yet to know but want to learn, and add it to a flashcard system like Anki or Kitsun. Personally, I use the dictionary app Akebi (android only) where I can make lists of words/expressions inside the app and come back later to export them directly to Anki/Kitsun. For iOS, there’s Midori which I believe has a flashcard system in it, but not sure about exports. It’s also a paid app.
Any extra suggestions on how to use Quora?
Quora not only serves to learn new things, but also to read stories from other people. It is that special place where you can easily turn procrastination into the most memorable lesson of the day. Because of this, I suggest you to take full usage of the tools like upvoting answers, following questions and topics, etc. The more Quora knows about you, the more it will show you the things you want to read. This will definitely help with keeping you interested in what you’re reading, therefore helping you improve your language skills.
I’ll be updating this post if something worth adding crosses my mind.