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Self-Study : I'm a bit lost

Joined
Jan 17, 2015
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Hello, everyone !
This is my first post, I hope I'm in the right section.

I've been learning japanese for almost two years now, and I'm studying at home. I've started with free lessons on a french website (because I'm french :embarrased:), where I learned the very very basic sentence structures and vocabulary. After, I bought a book written by Kunio Kuwae (I think this book is only available in french). There were a lot of dialogues for each lessons (+ audio for all dialogues), and texts with the vocabulary learned in the lesson. When I finished it, I bought Nihongo so Matome N3 (vocab and grammar). I also finished them 3 months ago.

Meanwhile, because I really like Jmusic, I've started to read blog entries of my favourite bands (a lot are translated by fans, so I could check if I understood its correctly or not). For several months, I also read NHK easy. I listen to japanese radio (FM Jaga) more for fun than "learning" because I didn't make any listening improvement by doing passive listening.

Two months ago, I decided to watch drama for my listening skills (I didn't work it actively until now). I watched "Ohitorisama". I used the japanese subs and the english ones. What I did is this : I watched the episode with japanese subs and when I didn't understand something, I looked at the translation. After each episode, I added the vocab in Anki to review it.

Beside, as I said above, I use Anki to review sentences picked from drama but also from blogs and the grammar books.

For the past 2-3 weeks, I was thinking about what I can/should do now. Even if I do self-study, I'm very focused and I didn't miss one day since I've started learning japanese, so, motivation isn't a problem. I usually spend 2 hours a day learning japanese (drama for practicing my listening, anki for reviewing, blogs and online grammar ressources reading. But learning by myself, I wonder if my method is good/optimized, or if I do something in a wrong way. The only thing I'm sure now is that I will start to use Lang-8 for creating my own sentences.

Maybe way more experienced members here have advices for me.

(Sorry if my post was long, but I thought it would be better to explain my japanese "background").
 
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First of all, welcome to the forum.
I see you are trying very hard, and I can understand that after a while you lose motivation so it's time to set some new goals.

My 2 cents:
* Plan a trip to Japan
* Take the JLPT test (which you can take in Paris, Lyon or Strasbourg)
* Meet Japanese (Maybe there is a Japanese community in your area? For Japanese that are new to a country they struggle, as we all do so now and then, with the language and need help with their French. How about becoming a host family... not sure if you are still living with your parents or if you are living alone and your age, though)

Hope to hear more from you.
 
Joined
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It sounds like you do have good focus and that's the most important thing. If you start to struggle with two hours a day, do less a day but try to do something every day.

You may be finding the issue is that you're now at a level where it's difficult to monitor your own progress, because it's incremental and there's no longer easy things to check off like "learnt hiragana". Sometimes it can be a bit of a boost just to go back over your more basic books just as a confirmation about how much you have learnt since the beginning.

Since you have an interest in music, in addition to blogs, you might try reading entertainment news, or reading/watching interviews (search インタビュー + the singer's name).

When you're doing your reading/listening practice, try to do some self-assessment about where your weak points are. If you're reading your blogs, do you run into a lot of unfamiliar vocab? Unfamiliar grammar points?

Lang8 sounds like an excellent idea to practice writing, since you will get feedback. You might be able to meet a few Japanese friends interested in studying French that way, too.

You might find the JLPT useful as a target, even if you just do some practice tests and don't take the real thing. Or you could try J-CAT Japanese Computerized Adaptive Test which will give you a rough idea of level.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2015
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My 2 cents:
* Plan a trip to Japan
* Take the JLPT test (which you can take in Paris, Lyon or Strasbourg)
* Meet Japanese (Maybe there is a Japanese community in your area? For Japanese that are new to a country they struggle, as we all do so now and then, with the language and need help with their French. How about becoming a host family... not sure if you are still living with your parents or if you are living alone and your age, though)
*I hope I will be able to go soon to Japan. But before, I have a Japan related event in April ( a concert with "VIP" tickets for an handshake). Even if it's a small thing and not really a travel (I go to Paris though :) ), it brings something nice to my studies (I don't really know how to explain).
*About JLPT, I didn't see it as a goal until now, more like a guideline for vocab and grammar. But it could be a good idea, some kind of challenge.
* I checked near my place but as I live in a small city near the Belgium border, there is no japanese community for what I've seen (I did some researches online and except japanese restaurants, there is no language exchange community). That's why I tried to find language partner online but even if it was nice, I didn't really find someone with the same hobbies. So, the discussions weren't very various. Plus they were not learning french but english. So I stopped trying to find partners since August.
Becoming a host family is a great idea, but I still live with my parents indeed. We have enough space for having visitors but since I don't talk about my "japanese activites" to my parents (it's another problem haha), it's difficult for now. I'm 22 ;)


@nekojita
In fact, I think that 2 hours isn't enough. I would like to do more but for now I can't. On weekend, I do a bit more (reviewing an old grammar point for example).

It's exactly that. Lately, I read some parts of my first book and I was like "wow, that's really easy. Why I was so shocked when I opened the book for the first time ?".

I subscribed to Digital Asahi few weeks ago. I found an article about an idol band that I like so I challenged myself to read it. Of course there were words I didn't know, but the grammar wasn't hard, so I saw how I progressed. It was a nice feeling.

For now, I think my weak points are "long sentences" and "listening". Long sentences because sometimes I have to read again the beginning because I "forgot". Listening I get "lost" because I don't know the vocab I guess, because I often understand the word but I don't know the meaning. I also need to learn lot more vocab (that's why I bought the N3 vocab book few months ago, there was a "situation" and vocab that you could use for speaking about the subject). I was looking for what can I do for my vocab and since I use Anki, I thought about Core6k optimized japanese vocabulary.

I have a Lang8 account for several months but I didn't write until now. The website seems really good to practice indeed.
 
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Consistency is more important than having very long study sessions. If you feel up to it, go ahead, but remember to take breaks! (Proper sleep and exercise helps with memory, as well).

You could try putting some audio material (pod-casts, audio lessons) onto a portable music player for use when commuting, or if you have a smartphone, read things on that (see also this thread). Short, quick things you can read while in a queue, on a coffee break, etc. It all adds up.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2015
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Yes you are right. In fact, I do japanese at 3 different moments during the day (morning, early afternoon and in the evening).

Thank you for the app thread, there are also suggestions for youtube channels, I will look more in details;
 
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I would say that the answer to the "what should I do" question depends what you're studying Japanese for. If you want to read stuff, focus more on that, etc. I'm doing only self-study too and I focus on reading because that's what I'm interested in the most. Of course, keep doing all 3 (reading, listening, writing), but focus more on the area you're interested in.
You said that you do 2 hours per day, in that case, better cut down on the extra stuff you don't need. 2 hours is not a whole lot of time and if you're planing to, for example, practice writing on Lang8 and you're not interested in "learning to write", better don't burn a whole lot of time on it. Also, don't let Anki take away too much of your reading/listening time. Be smart with your time.
 
Joined
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At the beginning, I've started studying japanese because I wanted to know what people were saying in music interviews (yep, I'm not a person who started with anime). But soon, I've realized that I wanted to be able to enjoy various things : reading (not books but magazines or blogs, "short" things), watching videos, talk (text or if possible with audio).
Maybe it's ambitious but I would like to reach the same level that I have in english (my english is far from being perfect, but I'm able to chat with people online, watch videos on youtube, read various news topics).
 
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