Grettings everyone. Hope you enjoyed my latest video on what I called “Hyper Referencing“. If you didn’t see it, please check it out!
Okay so as I promised planet earth, I would be doing an extensive almost insane step by step review of all things Core2000 as I am going through it. I hit a mental hurdle recently and I actually slowed my progress down because I am still finding it difficult at times to keep motivated studying Japanese outside Japan. I took a two day break from any SRSing, but felt pretty good after PwNing about 500 SRS reviews without forgetting much of what i’ve learned.
What’s Step 5 Like?
Compared to steps 3 and 4, which people bemoaned on the internet, step 5 felt a lot different. There were a ton of words that are Katakana words stuff like “テーベル”（table) and that sort of thing. Also in step five I experimented with a memory system I developed, but I am not 100% confident in it yet before I put it out there.
So I learned some cool words like 農業（のうぎょう）agriculture、振る（ふる）shake、平和（へいわ）peaceful、雑誌（ざっし）magazine, and a ton of others. But instead of boring you with words I learned I’ll give some insight into what’s really happening.
Words Feeding Words
Many sentences which were not 100% readable before are becoming 100% readable. 飾る（かざる）which means “decorate” is in a few sentences that talk about decoration. I’m also noticing that in many new sentences a key word introduced will be in the sentence of the next new word introduce, as a form of quick reinforcement. This section seemed to focus on stuff like exams, students, and family. 試験（しけん）examination, 少年（little kid)、選手（athlete), 相手（opponent), are a few words that i can think off the top of my head that I learned.
As i’ve said before, some of the readings of certain Kanji I was mixing up before are getting easier to read simply through exposure. So say the word for “Earth” which is 地球（ちきょう）I know “land”,土地 “region” 地域” which all have 地（ち）”chi” in there. Of course, not all the Kanji are that common, and I have to get creative with other words, or just revise them more often. Stuff like 訪れる（otozureru) which means “to visit” or “call upon”. I just have to say it out loud a few times and make phantom sentences in my head.
私の母の家におとずれった。- I visited my mother’s house.
Anyhoo, as I said before many new Kanji are using Kanji from the earlier sections so a lot of the time half the damage is done. It’s much easier to learn a Japanese word if you can read half or 80% of it. Words like 事務的（じむてき)(jimuteki) which means “office”.
I already knew “ji” from 事件(jiken)、事故(jiko)、食事(shokuji)、事実(jijitsu)、
I knew “teki” 的 from 具体的(gutaiteki)、目的(mokuteki)、産業的(sangyouteki)。
So for the middle of 事務的 which I know from Heisig as “task” learning “MU” was just a matter of seeing the word a few times and filling in the blank.
This is happening with many new words and I can see why people say that after Step 4 it gets easier because the words and sentences build on each other to allow you to move a little faster.
The coveted 1000 sentences!
I just remembered that finished step five means technically being able to read 1000 sentences in Japanese! What i’ve found is that this is half-true. being able to read a 1000 sentences in Core2000 sort of allows you to read many more than a 1000 similar sentences elsewhere. I still need to work on my grammar a bit more so that I can feel comfortable operating fully monolingual in Japanese, which very slowly seems to be happening.
But REMEMBER, I only started the Core2000 one month ago. One month! and all my observations and learning new words happened in that time. Previously, when living in Japan I had never done anything like this and I’m baffled that a month of consistent work has brought me to this mental point. A few cool things to note about the halfway mark.
Thinking in Japanese: improving : p
I was reading on someone’s blog the other day (don’t want to quote the wrong guy) but on it he was saying that there was a study done on students learning a new language and that 80% of all the mistakes students made were vocabulary-based and had nothing to do with grammar. I mean this makes sense. After all as i’ve said many a time, probably the hardest entry hurdle for any new language learner is vocabulary. In fact a reason why I used to be so horribly frustrated with trying to speak Japanese when I was in Japan was that I constantly got stuck when I was speaking, and would never remember any new words I learned. This developed what I later found out from Dr. Stephen Krashen something called “laconic aphasia” where the fear of speaking became much greater than the desire to speak.
But now, should I think of something I would like to say in Japanese I have this monstrous arsenal of words to choose from. Grammatically I don’t have the strength to seriously expound on various topics yet, but as I observed many moons ago, once you have a solid base on vocab, you can focus less on learning new words and focus on actually speaking proper Japanese. As obvious as that sounds, and though i’ve written it a few times in previous blogs, this is my point.
I’ve only spent one month studying new words, one month that if I had done this in Japan I would have not only felt better about speaking to people, but I would have had less fear, more speaking leverage and so on.
I’m building armour here, armour that allows me to plough through the inner workings of grammar and reading with reduced stress. So now I can think of a near future where when I really start my “grammar attack” I’ll have this base of 2000 words as a bulwark towards that goal.
Can you go monolingual yet?
Yes and no.
if you take a look at my blog post on using Google Chrome in Japanese, there are definitely a few words that were on the google menus I couldn’t read. Stuff like 編集（henshuu – editing), 表示（hyouji – view) and a few others like “print”,etc. I am not sure if these words will come later on in the Core2000, but I could read most of the words on the menus without freaking out. I also write in that blog post about my observations etc.
I am also quite pleased to see that my Ipod menus (my Ipod has been set to Japanese since the year of naught ) I can read everything on the first page. I didn’t realize that until recently, but because I’ve been reading and learning so many new kanji, that basic menu stuff that i thought was super difficult is now quite readable.
So technically, I can function monolingually in a certain way without too many issues. I edit videos and so on in Final Cut pro, and I was losing too much time trying to figure out small menus and I keep having to switch back to English to do work. I think i’ll need a couple hundred more words in my data bank before I can beast using technical programs in Japanese. For day to day stuff, it seems like I can manage using browsers and what not, but i don’t understand everything yet. This is fine with me, because I am not stressing myself out about 100% comprehension anymore. I couldn’t navigate a browser menu two months ago, and i can now, that’s huge progress.
So what’s the final word?
I’m 50% of the way done with this program and I’m seeing all the benefits come to life. Just to recap.
1. After only two weeks, I read my first 200 page volume of Manga.
2. I could use my operating system in Japanese with regular programs with no problems, but struggled with very technical software.
3. I was able to somewhat navigate and understand about 40% of what was happening in a Japanese video game, a game I previously could NOT play at all.
4. I switched my PSP to Japanese and can use it with few problems.
5. The process of doing 1000 sentences in less than thirty days was not as taxing as I thought, it was tough in the beginning then got easier as time passed.
6. Many sentences are quite easy to read once you build the base of the first few hundreds.
7. Repeated Kanji feed themselves and help you ease into learning new words without the same entry hurdle.
Basically I will keep doing the Core2000 and see if I can finish most of it in this by the end of September. It’s pretty cool to have done the first 1000 sentences in 28 days.
My plan is pretty simple.
Next 30 days – finish Core 2000
Then Start Core 6000 (or create my own sentences) + heavy Grammar study. I think 2000 words and sentences should give me a good bit of leeway to start actively studying grammar. By that I mean I will focus on grammar ONLY for the majority of my time for a month or two. So i’ll work on creating stories and situations around the vocabulary i’ve learned with specific grammar points as the focus of my stories. This is part of something I am working on, but I cannot test it until I’ve finished core2000 and done a bit of grammar study, so my research will continue for a bit longer.
Till next time, cheers