Japanese Language Log

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genini1
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Japanese Language Log

Postby genini1 » Mon Aug 24, 2020 1:36 pm

About 10 years ago now I started a language learning log on the old how to learn any language forum. At that point I'd had a year of German in high school a year of French in college and had on and off self taught myself Japanese, but to a not very high level. I had very ambitious plans where I would learn Japanese quickly before also taking on French, Italian, German and more. And as is a very common story in this community my plans fell apart after less than a month. A large part of it being due to new obligations from work, but another large part being despair at the slowness of my progress. Multiple languages meant I was making little progress in any of them.

Over the years I would, once a year or so, pull out my old language materials so lovingly stored. Clean up my desk, get everything set up just right, and really buckle down and study thinking that this time would be different. And inevitably it wasn't different. I usually made it a few days maybe a week before giving up. I never even consciously gave up. It was just that I would sort of stop and the thought of learning just wouldn't occur to me again for months.

Recently (about two months) I made the decision to begin learning again. My work situation had become one where I had more free time than I previously had and I had found a cheap ticket to Japan for next year. I now had a definite end date for learning and I had the time to devote to the process. Even still I had burned myself enough times before that I wasn't sure I wouldn't quit again so I decided to wait two months to make sure I was dedicated this time.

And so two months later here I am. Still not fluent after ten years, but I'll get there eventually. I hope that by creating this log I can keep a record of my progress for my future use as well as get various help and/or resources from the community at large.
がんばって
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genini1
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Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby genini1 » Tue Aug 25, 2020 1:44 pm

To restart my language studies I began with revision to regain what I had lost and try to figure out where I was at overall. Even without having used the language much my grammar was still mostly intact and so I read through my old books (Genki 1/2, Japanese for Busy People) to get back to where I was. Unfortunately my vocabulary had decayed quite a bit and my listening comprehension had fallen even farther. My hearing is not the greatest as it is even in my native English so I set my goal on improving my vocabulary and improving my listening comprehension. To that end I've been doing the following:

Assimil-Japanese without pain: I got up to lesson 25ish with no problem, but after that I had to slow down and intensively study the lesson. I've been doing only 1 lesson a day which usually takes right about 30 minutes but I want to begin doing 2 a day.

IKnow: This is a word frequency list program that is basically anki. The Anki core 2k/6k actually comes from this program, but I prefer this version as it tests the words in multiple ways. English to Japanese, Japanese to English, you have to enter the word how it is spelled, and even how it is used in the sentence so you have to make them past tense or negative sometimes. When I came back I was at around 600 words, but I've been focusing on my vocabulary so I'm up to around 1700 now. My original goal had been to hit 2,000 and then go to native materials, but there are still so many useful common words I'm learning I will probably go to 2500 or possibly 3000. For example I just learned the word for president of a country last night which seems fairly likely to come up if I ever read new articles.

Pimsleur: Other than those two programs I've been using Pimsleur to fill any down time I have that can't be actively used otherwise. Driving around in the car, running errands, etc. Since one of my weaknesses is listening comprehension it's been pretty helpful for that even though the program is kind of slow. I just hit Unit 4 (of 5) yesterday and usually do between 2 and 4 lessons a day (I drive a lot).
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Xenops
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Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby Xenops » Tue Aug 25, 2020 6:16 pm

Welcome back to Japanese! :D This language, in particular, takes a lot of work to feel progress. Probably the one thing that made me feel like I was making good progress was learning and handwriting kanji. The Let’s Learn Kanji book is the one I use the most: I memorize the radicals by group, and the kanji that has the radicals.
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devilyoudont
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Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16424
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Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby devilyoudont » Tue Aug 25, 2020 7:39 pm

I am also learning Japanese while my hearing is not terribly great :) Just to let you know, Netflix has Japanese close captioning for many series (especially Japanese Netflix Originals)
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genini1
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Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby genini1 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 2:35 pm

devilyoudont wrote:I am also learning Japanese while my hearing is not terribly great :) Just to let you know, Netflix has Japanese close captioning for many series (especially Japanese Netflix Originals)


I appreciate you letting me know about the closed captioning. I've mostly been using animelon to stream anime as it has all the subtitles in Japanese and even has transcripts for all the anime. I'm not at the level and can even still really use it yet so I've put it on the back burner until I can use it without English subtitles.
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genini1
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Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby genini1 » Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:16 pm

The past week has gone quite well for my studies I feel. I'm up to 1900 of the Core 2k and finished lesson 12 of Unit 4 of the Pimsleur Japanese series (which seems to have spiked in difficulty, but that's a good thing) and I am on lesson 54 of the Assimil series. I've stopped using the Assimil series as intensively and am now mostly just using it for shadowing purposes. The course made several choices I'm not a fan of in terms of vocabulary and grammar and most importantly when I got to the last part of the first book it congratulated me on being, 'inseminated with Japanese.' It's sort of difficult for me to trust the decisions they are making when it comes to learning Japanese when they use English like that. I definitely don't want to go around Japan and tell people the equivalent of 'I'm inseminating you' by mistake.

I've also come across a bit of a problem. My original plan had been to complete the core 2k, finish reviewing my Genki grammar books, and then finish Assimil before starting on native materials. Unfortunately looking through some books/manga I want to read and some tv I want to watch I am not really ready to start yet. I can read roughly 60% of the page in a Harry Potter book, but the grammar still goes above my level quite often so I am going to have to put another step in before I go on to native materials. To that end I have acquired the Tobira Gateway to Advanced Japanese textbook (and grammar/kanji workbook) and will be working through that. It's quite a bit denser than Genki and offers no English translations for the conversations so the textbook itself will take awhile particularly in addition to the workbooks. There's 15 units and I'm hoping to do 3 per week, but this may be too ambitious on my part.

Goals for the upcoming week:
Get to 2200 of the Core 6k
Complete Lesson 25 of Unit 4 in Pimsleur
Complete lesson 70 of Assimil (I'd drop it entirely, but when I bought it I promised myself I would finish it. I buy too much stuff I don't use)
Complete lesson 3 of Tobira.
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genini1
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Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby genini1 » Mon Sep 07, 2020 1:56 pm

Unfortunately I couldn't meet all of my goals this week. Some things came up at work and that took all of my time over the weekend, but still did a fairly reasonable amount I feel. I completed up to 2100 in the Core 6k, finished lesson 25 of Pimsleur's Unit 4, completed though lesson 3 of Tobira (and the grammar/kanji workbooks, and completed lesson 65 of Assimil. I've mostly been skipping through assimil just shadowing over the text once so I don't even know that I'd really count it as completing the lesson at this point, but it's either that or just drop it entirely.
It really is amazing to me how often the words I am learning in the Core are showing up in my other materials. I know that is sort of the point of a frequency list since those words are more likely to come up in other places, but words like 技術 (ぎじゅつ technique; skill) showed up in Tobira Chapter 2 and I sort of brushed it off and then it showed up in the core. Or assimil had a lesson about a factory tour 工場 (こうじょう) and about 10 of those words showed up in this last weeks core lessons. I'm still not sure if I'll complete the entirety of the 6k, but I'll be doing oat least 3k.
Goals for this week:
Core 2300, I feel that paring down how much vocabulary I learn is a good idea and 30 words a day seems like a good mixture of not focusing too much on vocabulary while learning quickly enough.
Pimsleur Unit 5 Lesson 10
Tobira Lesson 6
Assimil Lesson 72
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genini1
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Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby genini1 » Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:06 am

Another week come and gone and it's time to reflect and improve. And for that we may as well start with the failures and work our way up.

I've abandoned Assimil entirely. I would like to go back and finish it eventually, but it's just a drain on me right now. I don't want to do it and so when I force myself to I simply spend my time wanting to do something else or skipping through it and not learning anything. The concept of the program is nice though so maybe I'll try again if I ever get to French. I imagine that would be their best version of the product.

I completed Unit Four of Pimsleur rather than getting to lesson 7 of unit five. I had quite a bit more trouble with the last seven lessons of Unit Four than I expected to I listened to them twice each rather than just once. I didn't get as far as I wanted, but I feel like it was the right call.

I finished core 2300 which is somewhat sporadic in difficulty. The last thirty words I learned included words like 'hinto (hint)' and 'alcoho-ru (alcohol)' which are trivial, but also includes more difficult words either with kanji I haven't seen or pronunciations I haven't learned. Or in some unfortunate cases words with the same kanji only flipped like 段階 vs 階段. I've never been dyslexic before, but keeping those two straight is difficult for some reason.

I made it through chapter 7 of Tobira instead of chapter 6 as I had originally planned. The time I was going to spend on Assimil seemed better spent here and I'm glad I did. I don't think I can do 4 chapters in a week again, but it was nice to be productive and the chapters were quite interesting in terms of reading. In particular one chapter was on religion in Japan and had a short work on the origin of Amaterasu. Since one of my goals in learning the language is to eventually read classical and mythological stories it was nice to see what is in store for me.

Goals for the Week:
Lesson 7 of Pimsleur Unit 5. If I can I'll do more, but I think one lesson per day is a safe bet.
Core 2500. 30 words a day is working for the moment still. The reviews are building up, but I think I can keep up the pace until at least 3k.
Tobira Chapter 10. One chapter of Tobira every other day with a chapter of grammar exercises/kanji exercises on the other days.
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golyplot
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Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=12230
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Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby golyplot » Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:34 am

genini1 wrote:段階 vs 階段


In case it helps, the mnemonic I came up for them is "dankai => Don Quioxte => stage play => stage => phase (and stairs is the other one)".
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Brun Ugle
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Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby Brun Ugle » Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:11 am

Your story seems so familiar. My own on-again-off-again relationship with Japanese has lasted over 25 years. I often regret not just learning it properly in the first place, but there’s always something that comes up.
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