Hi Lifehacker!!!

I’ve done just about everything I can to ensure the site will stay up and running, so let me know if something doesn’t work and I’ll try to fix it asap!  Also, feel free to ask questions over here, and I’ll answer them as soon as I can.  I’m not sure if I’ve gotten a Lifehacker login, so I don’t know if I can respond to comments over at the original article.

Thanks for visiting and happy language learning!


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21 Responses to Hi Lifehacker!!!

  1. Bella says:

    Hi Gabe,
    Brilliant article on Lifehacker. It has given me the motivation I needed to learn Spanish. I felt overwhelmed by where to start before.

    I have many questions though. I’m interested in the details of using anki for learning grammar…how do you structure the flashcards? Or is it just a matter of using sentences? And do you use anki to learn verb conjugations?

    I’ve watched a few of your youtube videos and they’re great too. Again, thank you so much.

    • gwyner says:

      Thanks for the kind words! Grammar is mostly a matter of fill-in-the-blanks, like you’d see in any grammar workbook, just copied into Anki. You won’t need as much as a full grammar workbook because Anki takes care of repeating it enough for you, but you will need at least one example of each thing (how feminine nouns change the adjective, for example). You can do verbs that way, or with verb charts (just do one or two conjugations max per card, not all 6.)

      • Bella says:

        Sorry, one more question/request.

        I downloaded your English pronunciation Anki file, but can’t seem to install the media files on windows (it’s not playing any sound). I followed the first steps in your mac tutorial but it didn’t work.

        Can you point me in the right direction for a pc tutorial? …I couldn’t find one.

        • gwyner says:

          I’m not sure if anyone’s made a pc tutorial and I haven’t done one myself yet (need to borrow a friend’s PC at some point). Try this. Make a new deck (lets say you call it “IPA” and add a card with a picture on it. Close the deck and somewhere on your computer you should have an Anki folder with IPA.anki, and next to it a folder called IPA.media with a single image file in it. Copy all the English pronunciation sound files into that folder, then import the English pronunciation.anki deck into your new IPA deck.

  2. Jason Paris says:

    I found your site via your article on Lifehacker. My wife and I are wanting to learn modern Hebrew. You mentioned that you knew some Hebrew. Do you have any Hebrew resources you would recommend? I’m specifically interested in pronunciation resources, but am open to anything that might be helpful.

    Note: The “Learn Everything Else” link on the languages page is broken.

    • gwyner says:

      Hi Jason! I haven’t researched resources for Hebrew yet, but I will. Do let me know if you land on something you like before I finish that section!

      PS: Thank you! That link sure *looks* like it’s going somewhere. Fixing it…

      • Jason Paris says:

        I’ve got one more question if you don’t mind. As your probably know, Hebrew is written with and without vowel points. I currently can stumble my way through a vowel pointed word, but I have no idea how to transition to non pointed text. Any suggestions?

        • gwyner says:

          Yeah, it’s a straight vocabulary thing; you have to memorize it just like you would for an English word. Nowadays, I find it convenient to use 3 fields in my Anki decks, where one field is ALWAYS on the back of the card, even when I do the cards in both forward and reverse directions. You can see an example of this in my English IPA Demo deck or in my Russian deck (and you can just take the model and delete the cards and use it). I’d put the hebrew word without any vowels on one side, the picture or definition in hebrew on the other side, and the hebrew word with the vowels on the permanent back side to remind you about the proper pronunciation of that word. Let me know if that’s unclear (but look at one of those two decks first, since it might clear up any questions once you see it)

  3. Joshua Cook says:

    Thanks for your hard work and for sharing your successful methods =)

  4. Jeff Hagkull says:

    Loved the article and am very impressed that you took language learning into your own hands — and are succeeding.

    I especially like the idea of watching American shows dubbed into another language. I’ve been looking online, but have had tremendous difficulty tracking anything down. Where did you find 24 dubbed into your target language? I’m looking for Spanish and having no luck.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Jeff Hagkull says:

      OK, I looked a little harder and found that some tv series offer additional dubbed language version on the same DVDs. Thanks again for the good ideas.

  5. Amy says:

    Thank you for the Lifehacker article and all the resources on your website. Small question: I bought your Anki deck for IPA and now am looking specifically for sound files created by a native Spanish speaker pronouncing only the IPA sounds used in Spanish. Do you have any suggestions? I found this list http://web.uvic.ca/ling/resources/ipa/handbook_downloads.htm but there’s no Spanish files available.

    • gwyner says:

      You could try getting someone to record them on rhinospike.com, but getting the pure sounds alone typically takes someone who knows what they’re doing (saying /t/ instead of “tuh” with a vowel on the end takes a bit of practice and awareness, for example). You could *definitely* get recordings of example words with each of the sounds from a variety of sources, and that is a pretty good substitute. I’m going to be making more IPA decks, but Spanish is relatively low on the list, since it’s not one of my languages (yet! :) )

      • Amy says:

        Thanks for the suggestion of RhinoSpike! A nice Argentinean recorded example words for me from Wikipedia Spanish IPA. Here is the link in case others are interested: http://rhinospike.com/audio_requests/rhodochrome/10469/

  6. Avi says:

    Hi Gabe,

    Great source of ‘knowledge’ your website is. I found your article Lifehacker three days ago and was very impressed. In search for more detail instruction jumped on your website and this time I was completely astonished by your work. I learned a lot within past few days and that’s just beginning. Journey just started!

    The main reason I am writing this, is to suggest/request some improvement in website. For example I bought your English IPA Anki deck the other day and was watching your walkthrough video on deck, which I left halfway through and come back today to complete but finding it again was a real pain. I went to video link it wasn’t there, I went all around the website and no luck finding it, after spending 15-20 minutes searching and looking everywhere, I found it listed on The Store page just under the deck itself in link. The idea is some of the resources are bit scattered.

    I said before and I’m saying it again, your website is great, it just needs little organisation. I like things at one place and still arranged in well manner, so when I need something, it becomes very handy and time saving in other sense. I would very much like to help in this matter. if you prefer. :)

    • gwyner says:

      Hi Avi! Thanks for the suggestions! I’ll put a link to the Anki deck video in the video section. Let me know if there’s anything else that’s hard to find!

  7. Andrew says:

    An interesting post which certainly has me more motivated. In my case is Japanese.
    I’m interested in your opinion on how to tackle the kanji, which is a big obstacle. French and German use the English letters but Russian is different. Is Russian at all similar to how one would learn kanji? Thanks

    • gwyner says:

      Hi Andrew! I’d learn the Kana like the Russian letters - making flash cards with the letters and their sounds. Kanji is different - you need to do it like Chinese. Check out the article on Non-phonetic languages like Chinese and let me know if you still have questions!

  8. Andrew says:

    Thanks Gabe, I’ll check out your post.
    In the meantime, I’ve tried to create Anki cards with pictures and words, yet on the iPhone app, the pictures don’t show. Is this a bug in the app or am I doing something wrong here?

    • gwyner says:

      Did you do the whole Dropbox video tutorial?

      If so, do you have a PC? Follow the link at the bottom of the tutorial to set up the FixDropbox plugin - you may have two dropbox folders, a real one that syncs and a fake one with your pictures in it; you need to tell Anki where to find it. (This will get fixed in Anki 2.0, but it’s not out yet)

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