Observations and tips for learning Japanese.

Weekend is coming up soon…after a long week of work I gotta say I’m looking forward to it.

Hopefully I can put some hours into my gaming backlog this weekend. I’m considering skipping FFXIII and XIII-2 and just going straight to XIII-3 when that comes out, since the fan-service and gameplay intrigues me much more than the prior games. Not to say the last two games are bad…it’s just they aren’t that good…(which more or less equates to the same thing)

I’ll be playing FFXIII-3 Lightning Returns for different reasons…

I also want to start playing some Atelier Totori Plus for the Vita and dabble a bit with Ar Tonelico on the PS2

Not sure why I stopped playing this game! 😛

I think my last post showed some of the difficulties it is in learning a new language. In a nutshell, the traditional route I’m taking in learning a new language is much too slow.

That’s not to say that I shouldn’t read from Genki I or stop practicing from my Learning Kanji book. Those are essential in writing and speaking properly grammatically as well as learning the correct conjugations. But the vocab isn’t enough. Two-three weeks to learn 50 words is way too slow, especially when I know my memory retention is much higher based off previous studies of other learned languages. So I’m now using a combination of two apps.

The first app, Obenkyo taught me Kana when I first started learning a few months ago and gives vocab based off the JLPT; it has Kanji testing too, which is useful should not be used in place of vocab…because you’ll either forget it shortly after, or remember the English meaning but have no idea how to say it in combination with other Kanji. “Oneself(自) + Revolve(転) + Car(車) = Bicycle(自転車)?” I just started it up again a few days ago, added about 20-30 new words a day (not including those I already know, but added just for retention purposes), and I now memorized the entirety of the JLPT 5 Vocab (484 words) and JLPT 5 and 4 Kanji (about 250 characters)

That seems impressive, but it’s not really. Basically I can understand a word by sounding it out with its kana pronounciation and from the overall “look” of the Kanji. For the basics it’s passable, but if your looking at a Kanji reading that looks like an 話 (talk) or an 語 (language), it gets quite difficult…and this happens a lot in Kanji, where the shape looks nearly identical but with the replacement of one or two small radicals. In this sort of example, memorization of the word shape does not work that well to your favor and that’s where writing out and memorizing the Kanji in context with sentences (which is why I go over Genki I Workbook exercises) over repetition comes in extremely handy.

I use another program called Anki in conjunction with AnkiDroid Flashcards, which I can sync from my laptop to all my other devices. The problem is that it’s only as useful as you make it. I’m using it to enter in some Vocab from my Learning Kanji book, which is really time consuming. I’m also using shared libraries for my Genki I and Genki II books. The biggest problem I have is that it’s just not fun…and just as your starting to get into it “You have completed your 20 words for today”. Then next thing you know, the next day you have 20 new words plus 10-15 words to review, then more the following day, 20 new words plus 20 words to review, and so forth…It starts becoming a chore to keep up with the program. Add to the fact there’s no multiple choice options (which Obenkyo has), and your basically guessing with three options: “Bad, Good, Easy”, in where I can “cheat” and just put “Easy” for every card, which eliminates the purpose of the program.

The plus-side is I found a decent Anki Deck that incorporates the Core 2000/6000 most frequent Japanese words, including example sentances and audio…which breaks the monotony of looking at a white card with a word. I’m going to play around with this a bit this weekend to see how well it works.

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