Today I studied about 500 cards with Anki. In my previous post, I spoke about getting frustrated with trying to find the perfect system, when now I realize that whatever takes you closer, is something that takes you closer.
In other words, if someone were to take the 26 letters of the alphabet, and teach you a way to learn each letter that’s say, 30% faster than just reading and writing them individually, then that’s an improvement. But regardles, 99% of people will still learn the alphabet the way people always have. This is how i sometimes look at Japanese. With all the information out there now, with spreadsheets, people studying for the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test), people trying to tailor their studies based on their level of listening comprehension, etc, there is no longer a “one track” method of learning Japanese. It’s very fluid, very customizable, and some aspects of what you learn are wholly up to you. But then, as a person who grew up in the usual academic structure of semesters, classes, grades and summers, how do you appreciate a “loose” structure to whatever you are doing?
Well for me, I’ve realized that all learning is good learning
but more importantly, a good system that already exists, is a good system that already exists.
So basically, if I’m studying the Core2000 sentences, which a team of dozens of people spent years researching and creating, then by extension, if I use that system (even if others have “tweaked it”) then I am still learning at an acceptable rate.
So as i’ve said before, my blog has nothing to do with teaching people Japanese, or explaing what ちょと means. These are my detailed observations on insights into language learning as I go along through my ups and downs. But what i’m seeing is that learning is simply learning. I hate painfully slow systems like Rosetta Stone, or Pimsleur sometimes, because they are so repetitive that it makes my skin crawl at times. But I realize this is my own extreme impatience, and has nothing to do with the system. Learning a verb is learning a verb, even if it’s in Anki with a picture association that is quite questionable, as you can see below.
Either way, as I’ve said learning is learning. For some reason I keep trying to think there is some other way to rapidly learn words and phrases in context, but my mind is getting ahead of reality. The system I am using has 200 sentences (or more) per “step” and there are 10 steps. This means that by the time I finish, I will have had to read, understand and occassionally memorize over 2000 sentences or expressions in Japanese. Which means that at the end I will DEFINITELY be able to read A LOT more Japanese and have A LOT more vocabulary and so on in my speaking arsenal.
It’s an aspect of language learning that’s a given. If I speak three hours of Japanese per day, I must improve if I am speaking with perferably a high level speaker or a Japanese native. I MUST improve.
If I write Japanese each day, even if it a few sentences, I MUST improve my muscle memory and retention of specific Kanji.
Likewise, if I study, read and practice understanding 2000 Japanese sentences, then I MUST improve my comprehension and reading ability, and retention of certain words and phrases.
If I do NOT do any of the above, then of course I MUST see that I will not progress or improve.
That said, I’m going to stick with the Core2000 for now and see how it goes when I hit the higher levels. It felt painfully slow because I was reminded of Rosetta stone, seeing a picture, then a word, then “maybe” a sentence. But it has been getting more complex, and there is an actual structure to the sentences. Pictures show differences between similar sounding words, im’ constantly learning new words that I didnt’ know before, etc. So as much as I already ” think I know” I will accept 100% there is a “ton I don’t know so well” and that is how I will move forward as I try to gain the ability to read 1000+ sentences in Japanese, leading up to the eventual goal of being able to read 5,000-10,000 sentences which equates to basic fluency.