The Language Journal of Jinx

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Jinx
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Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:56 pm
Location: Germany
Languages: English (N), German (adv), varying levels of French, Esperanto, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Croatian, Catalan, Mandarin, Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16835
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Re: The Language Journal of Jinx

Postby Jinx » Wed May 19, 2021 9:11 pm

18 May 2021

Italian:
- read chapter 7 of “Sette Robinson” on OPLingo (2134 words known).

Japanese:
- reviewed Assimil lesson 12, did lesson 13.
- finished lesson 3 of the katakana course from japanese-lesson.com.

ASSIMIL:

In this lesson, at one point I thought “Okay, now this language is really starting to go over my head” – but then just a few seconds later I was thinking “Wow, I got that right? I don’t even know how I knew that!” Not to boast – I don’t think it was my accomplishment. I think it’s due to the incredibly carefully crafted structure of Assimil. These courses really are brilliantly designed.

When it comes to my Japanese listening skills, I’m annoyed that I’m having trouble distinguishing certain consonants. For instance, I often mix up “T” and “K” sounds. Perhaps because they’re less aspirated than in English?

JL.COM KATAKANA COURSE:

At the end of each reading lesson there’s a video quiz that mixes hiragana and katakana, showing them in various fonts, and you have to read them and type them in rōmaji before the timer runs out. When I was first learning hiragana a couple of weeks ago and doing these quizzes at the end of each lesson, they moved way too fast for me. I had to hit pause every time to give myself enough time to work out the characters.

Today I noticed how much easier it’s gotten for me. Even without hitting pause at all, I can type each answer and then grab a few bites of food while waiting for the timer to run out and show the answer. And I’m also making next to no mistakes now, whereas before I made several mistakes during each quiz. It’s so motivating to see concrete progress!

The lessons from japanese-lesson.com are rather long and exhausting – each lesson introduces a set of five new characters and is divided into three sections (reading, writing, and typing) with between one and three quizzes per section – but it’s clearly well-designed and really helps the characters sink into your memory.


19 May 2021

Japanese:
- did Assimil lesson 14 (revision lesson), reviewed lessons 8–13.
- learned all katakana on https://kana.icann.se/

French:
- read about four pages (Le Japonais revision lesson).

Despite the fact that I really like how thorough the japanese-lesson.com courses are, I suddenly got impatient and learned all the rest of the kana in one go tonight, using the much simpler flashcard-type web app linked above. I’ll probably keep working through the JL.com course at a slower pace, because the quizzes are good (especially the writing ones, and the reading ones because they show you the characters in various fonts). But when it comes to the kana, I just… had to get the learning part done, so that everything from here on can just be reviewing. There’s too much else to learn with Japanese to waste time plodding slowly through the kana.

Last night I also spontaneously did the German "productive vocabulary" test (basically, active vocab as opposed to passive, I guess) from ITT Leipzig. It's supposed to take about half an hour, and I was punch-drunk with exhaustion and flew through it in 15 minutes, so I was expecting a pretty low score. I actually didn't do too badly though. And amusingly enough, the only level I got flawless marks on was the hardest one (out of the five) – or rather, the one that used the rarest vocabulary. Probably due to my predilection for reading as my primary foreign-language activity, I guess? Still, I haven't done much reading in German for a while... I'd like to return to it. This test was rather easy; I think it may have been overly generous to me.

test-results-small.png
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golyplot
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Re: The Language Journal of Jinx

Postby golyplot » Thu May 20, 2021 1:35 am

Wow, you did way better than me!

Screenshot 2021-05-19 18.33.04.png
Screenshot 2021-05-19 18.33.04.png (218 KiB) Viewed 588 times


I really wish they let you see which answers you missed and what the right answers are. I suspect that I missed most of the first level due to mispellings, because the first level questions all *felt* easy. It wasn't until level 2 that I started running into questions I didn't know and not until level 3 that I had to leave most of the answers blank.
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Jinx
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Posts: 80
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:56 pm
Location: Germany
Languages: English (N), German (adv), varying levels of French, Esperanto, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Croatian, Catalan, Mandarin, Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16835
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Re: The Language Journal of Jinx

Postby Jinx » Thu May 20, 2021 7:07 pm

golyplot wrote:I really wish they let you see which answers you missed and what the right answers are.

Oh how frustrating, I could have sworn they did indeed offer that option, at some point... but now of course I can't access the results page without going through the whole test again, haha. In any case, I'll take your word for it that they don't. That's annoying! I always appreciate the opportunity to be able to learn from my test results, no matter what score I got.

EDIT: I may be wrong – I just remembered I also took a Dialang test on the same day, and they let you review what questions you got wrong. Maybe I'm mixing that up with the ITT test.
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anestrom
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Re: The Language Journal of Jinx

Postby anestrom » Thu May 20, 2021 10:05 pm

I can confirm that the test does not show detailed results. I think it's fairly common with tests used in research to not reveal scoring details, because it compromises the validity of future tests (e.g. due to skewed results from people who have seen the correct answers).

And I can also confirm that my knowledge of German seems to be strangely lopsided towards rare words. Although all my exposure is in a technical or academic context, so maybe not that surprising...

results.png
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golyplot
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Re: The Language Journal of Jinx

Postby golyplot » Fri May 21, 2021 5:12 am

Maybe the first section just has a bunch of trick questions for whatever reason. (Probably unintentional)
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Jinx
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Posts: 80
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:56 pm
Location: Germany
Languages: English (N), German (adv), varying levels of French, Esperanto, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Croatian, Catalan, Mandarin, Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16835
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Re: The Language Journal of Jinx

Postby Jinx » Mon May 24, 2021 10:38 pm

I was sick for about four days, in pain and having trouble sleeping, so my studies suffered a bit this weekend. But I'm sticking to it.

20 May 2021

Japanese:
- did Assimil lesson 15, reviewed lesson 13.
- did Pimsleur lesson 3.

It feels like this lesson – the start of week 3 – suddenly got a bit harder! For several lessons now, I’ve been feeling the urge to put some of the words and phrases I encounter in Assimil into flash cards and start actually memorizing them (no rōmaji allowed). But I’m restraining myself. I’m awfully interested to see how well I will be able to handle the active wave if I follow the Assimil method to the letter – it’s almost a scientific experiment, at this point :)


21 May 2021

I was busy all evening so didn’t really have time to study today, but I did manage to review all the katakana on the icann site. I was pleased to see that I’d managed to retain probably nine out of ten.


22 May 2021

Japanese:
- did Assimil lesson 16, reviewed lesson 15.

I think yesterday was the first day I’ve skipped a lesson of Assimil since starting it. I was glad to discover today that one day off doesn’t appear to make much of a difference to my recall.

This was the first lesson where I twice saw verbs ending with 行きましょう translated as the first-person singular, rather than the first-person plural. (The first time, it was “I will telephone Mr. Tanaka and Ms. Yamamoto immediately” (田中さんと山本さんにすぐ電話をかけましょう), and the second time, it was “I will bring sandwiches” (サンドウイッチを持って行きましょう). I am not sure if this is a mistake in the translation (or a “free” translation), or if I was jumping to false conclusions by assuming all -mashō verb forms are first-person plural.


23 May 2021

Italian:
- read chapter 7 of “Sette Robinson” on OPLingo (2270 words known).


24 May 2021

Japanese:
- listened to about an hour of Noriko’s podcast while in the bath.
- did Pimseur lesson 4 while knitting.
- did Assimil lesson 17, reviewed lesson 16.

Despite being underslept and exhausted, I found that today’s Assimil lesson still made sense, and I got all the quiz questions at the end of the lesson right. It’s amazing how well Assimil seems to work if you just follow the method (and I even skipped two days recently, so this course must be particularly forgiving!).
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Jinx
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Posts: 80
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:56 pm
Location: Germany
Languages: English (N), German (adv), varying levels of French, Esperanto, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Croatian, Catalan, Mandarin, Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16835
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Re: The Language Journal of Jinx

Postby Jinx » Thu May 27, 2021 9:19 pm

25 May 2021

Japanese:
- did Assimil lesson 18, reviewed lesson 17.
- briefly reviewed katakana on icann.


26 May 2021

Japanese:
- did Assimil lesson 19, reviewed lesson 18.


27 May 2021

Japanese:
- reviewed all hiragana and katakana on icann (until I got 50 points in each; took 35 minutes total).
- did Assimil lesson 20, reviewed lesson 19.

For the first couple of weeks of Assimil, I was flying through the lessons, but since they’ve started getting a little denser, I’ve upped my study time/effort for each lesson, and it’s really paying off. I’m learning so much from each lesson, and feel much more secure in my understanding when I finish each daily session.

I study each lesson this way, more or less:
1. I listen to the audio first, book closed, just to see how it sounds and whether I recognize any words.
2. I read all the French at my own pace (with no audio) just to get the “story”, and also read all the notes and the comic. This also naturally involves glancing over at the Japanese to a certain extent.
3. I listen to the audio again while following along with the rōmaji, in order to help myself recognize syllables and sounds I know.
(I’m hoping I’ll be able to drop this step eventually, but right now it’s important, as long as I’m e.g. still not hearing the differences between ‘ta’ and ‘ka’, or getting mildly thrown off by the fact that some speakers pronounce ‘g’ as ‘ng’ and others don’t.)
4. I go through the lesson again with no audio and match the French parsing to the Japanese words, element by element. For example, I match “librairie / [relation] / voisin / c’est” to “honya no tonari desu” and translate it to myself as “bookshop / ’s / neighbor / it is”. (Real meaning: “It’s next to the bookshop.”)
5. I listen to the audio again while reading the French parsing (this is hard, but probably the most helpful step for me).
6. I listen to the audio once more while following along with the Japanese (not the rōmaji).
7. I close the book and listen to the audio one final time, noting the difference in my level of understanding between Step 1 and Step 7.
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Jinx
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Posts: 80
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:56 pm
Location: Germany
Languages: English (N), German (adv), varying levels of French, Esperanto, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Croatian, Catalan, Mandarin, Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16835
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Re: The Language Journal of Jinx

Postby Jinx » Wed Jun 02, 2021 7:11 pm

28 May 2021

Japanese:
- reviewed all hiragana and katakana on icann (until I got 50 points in each; took 30 minutes total).
- listened to about an hour of podcasts (Nihongo con Teppei).


29 May 2021

Japanese:
- reviewed all hiragana and katakana on icann (until I got 50 points in each; took 30 minutes total).


31 May 2021

Japanese:
- did Assimil lesson 21, reviewed lesson 20.


1 June 2021

Japanese:
- thoroughly reviewed Assimil lessons 15 and 16. It’s amazing how much more I understand of them now!


2 June 2021

Japanese:
- thoroughly reviewed Assimil lessons 17 and 18.
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User avatar
Jinx
Yellow Belt
Posts: 80
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:56 pm
Location: Germany
Languages: English (N), German (adv), varying levels of French, Esperanto, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Croatian, Catalan, Mandarin, Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16835
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Re: The Language Journal of Jinx

Postby Jinx » Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:49 pm

3 June 2021

Japanese:
- thoroughly reviewed Assimil lesson 19.


4 June 2021

Japanese:
- reviewed all hiragana and katakana on icann (until I got 50 points in each; took 30 minutes total). I’m getting faster and faster at reading!


5 June 2021

Japanese:
- listened to the first three episodes of “Nihongo con Teppei” again. It’s amazing how much more I understand now! I’d say I understood well over 50% of everything he said in each episode. It was all very simple topics like “Where are you from?” and “What time is it?”
- thoroughly reviewed Assimil lessons 20 and 21.

French:
- listened to four episodes of the podcast “Avant Demain” – exciting and inspiring content.


7 June 2021

Japanese:
- did Assimil lesson 22.


9 June 2021

Japanese:
- did Assimil lesson 23. (very late and exhausted; will review next time)


11 June 2021

Japanese:
- reviewed Assimil lesson 23.


12 June 2021

Japanese:
- did Assimil lesson 24, pt. 1 (review next time).


13 June 2021

Japanese:
- reviewed Assimil lesson 24.


14 June 2021

Italian:
- read chapter 9 of “Sette Robinson” on OPLingo (2399 words known).


15 June 2021

Japanese:
- reviewed Assimil lessons 22, 23 and 24.


16 June 2021

Japanese:
- did Assimil lesson 25.
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User avatar
Jinx
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Posts: 80
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:56 pm
Location: Germany
Languages: English (N), German (adv), varying levels of French, Esperanto, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Croatian, Catalan, Mandarin, Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16835
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Re: The Language Journal of Jinx

Postby Jinx » Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:52 pm

SIX WEEKS OF JAPANESE

I have now studied Japanese from scratch for six weeks, and wanted to write a quick overview. I have to start by openly admitting that I have never been particularly enthusiastic about the Japanese language or culture, so this “scientific experiment” was all the more interesting for that reason. I’ve never tried to learn a language before without either having a practical use for it, something I specifically wanted to accomplish using my knowledge of that language (e.g. French, Esperanto) or simply loving it as a language and enjoying spending time with it (e.g. Croatian, Mandarin).

Six weeks of Japanese has not made me any more interested in Japan. But I do have a certain mild fondness for the language now. It’s so intriguing, so different from anything I’ve learned before – and yet so much more accessible than I always assumed it would be! (I’m very much the “pleasantly surprised pessimist” type.) Even with the more challenging Assimil lessons, I’m consistently delighted by how much I can understand during my first audio-only listen-through of each lesson’s dialogue, and how much I can pick up while listening to my podcasts.

As I think I mentioned earlier in this log, Japanese strikes me as being exceptionally easy to understand by listening, similarly to Croatian, and quite the opposite of French. By this I mean it’s easy to hear people speak and “see” the syllables in my mind, and repeat them. Maybe a better way to put it would be “easy to transcribe from audio”. Is it because the syllables are so defined and the rhythm is so staccato? I’m not sure. Whatever it is, once I’ve learned a word, I’ll probably recognize it almost every time I hear it spoken from then on.

I may continue Assimil for now, or I may not. Same deal with the other resources. As rewarding as this project has been so far, in the end I can’t get away from the fact that I would simply rather be doing other things with my limited free time in life than learning a language I’m not passionate about. But it’s been very nice to get to know you, Japanese :)
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