February is the shortest month and I got a bit busy again, but overall I reached most of my goals:
- 500 Kanji [Heisig + Kanji Study App]
- Review N4 grammar ✔
- Quizzes N4 grammar ✔
- Quizzes N4 kanji ✔
- Quizzes N4 vocab ✔
- Listening practice ✔
- Reading practice
Interestingly I forgot about all my goals again except for the kanji goal. And this is the goal (well besides reading practice) that I didn’t achieve. I went from 1220 kanji to 1575 kanji, so I learned a total of 355 new kanji. Compared to how many kanji I learned in the months last year it’s a LOT, but compared to the previous month where I did 320 kanji in about 2 weeks, it’s much less.
So what happened? Probably the same thing that happened to me when I started with Heisig. At the beginning I’m extremely motivated and do about 20 new kanji per day. But after a while I just can’t keep up with this. It’s not necessarily because I become less motivated (now I really understand how much I appreciate knowing the meanings) but it’s simply too much.
Learning 20 new kanji every day is way too much. Maybe it’s possible if you’re less busy and have a lot of energy for it, but I can’t do it. And I think this is completely fine. Of course I would like to finish things faster because then I’d be able to read/understand written texts faster. But I think it’s better to take it a bit slower than to do too much and then get burned out soon.
Last month I started tracking my Japanese study time and this month was the first full month so I can post my monthly statistics:
Overall I studied 51 hours, that’s 1.8 hours per day. I hope I can increase my study time a bit in the next few months, but for a quite busy months this is fine.
As expected, about half of the time went into kanji studies. Another big chunk went into vocabulary studies (which I really neglected in the last 1-2 weeks…). Reviewing grammar, doing quizzes and listening isn’t too much, but I didn’t specify exact goals here so just doing something some hours here is fine for now. Reading practice was not even 1 hour, so I wouldn’t say I really reached this goal.
I didn’t do as much for Spanish as the week before, but I was still distracted by it and couldn’t do as much Japanese as I wanted. I’m still quite content with how the week turned out:
I studied Japanese for about 12.5 hours, that’s about 1.8 hours per day. This week my pie chart looks really colorful! That’s because I tried to do more things which I usually neglect, like more listening and some reading.
About half of my time went into kanji studies and I’m progressing a lot here. The rest is a mix of reviewing grammar, doing some vocabulary stuff, doing some quizzes and some listening. The reading part is very little but at least I did a bit.
As for listening I tried different things: listening to Japanese only stuff, which is obviously the hardest thing. I also watched some anime with subtitles, trying to understand as much as possible, which is a lot of fun. I also watched some JP/EN videos (for example videos explaining grammar or words). The mix is really nice and a lot of fun.
In my previous post I was thinking about restarting my Spanish and French language studies. So last week I put a considerable amount of time into reviewing Spanish on Duolingo. I got 2695 XP last week, which is a LOT. Obviously I had less time for Japanese because of this.
I could still find 11 hours to put into my Japanese studies, so not too bad actually! That’s about 1.5 hours per day.
Half of it went into studying kanji. I think I won’t be able to make the 500 new kanji goal until the end of the month but I should get pretty close to it.
Another big chunk of my time went into vocabulary studies. There are still soooo many of the N4 words I have trouble remembering…
Since listening is my biggest weakness I tried to listen a bit more. I wouldn’t say it’s really a lot, but it’s better than nothing. I think I just need to actually find time to listen to stuff more often.
Last year in October I decided that my language learning focus will be on Japanese. I had actually even less time in the following months than expected. I did 1-2 very short French review lessons every day but I did absolutely nothing for Spanish in the last 4 months. Zero. Nada.
Then my situation changed a bit and I have now the chance to go to free language classes again during the next few months. So I thought this might be a good time to restart Spanish and French.
I already registered for a 3 week French course in March. It’s a beginner course and it will cover the CEFR A1 level. During the summer I will go to another course that will cover the A2 level.
With Spanish it’s not so easy. I already did the A1 and A2 courses some years ago (both of them twice) and I reviewed the stuff on Duolingo quite a bit. So I don’t really feel like going back to yet another A2 course and spending money on yet another set of books (I already bought so many for these courses… it’s always a new one…).
I was once in a B1 course and it was like hell. Everyone could speak so well and I was sitting there and didn’t understand much. The jump from one course to the next one is enormous in our Spanish courses. I feel like they’re more designed for people who already speak the language quite well, either from several years at school or from being abroad. As someone who is just learning the language it feels incredibly frustrating to sit there and see how everyone enjoys talking while you’re struggling like crazy.
I’m hesitating to try the B1 course again, because I didn’t have that much practice in the last few years, especially not at speaking and writing longer texts. On the other hand I really want to move forward with my Spanish, I feel like I’m stuck on A2 forever and that it’s impossible to advance.
So I’m planning to try to prepare/review as much as possible in the next ~2 months and hopefully after these 2 months I will be able decide what to do. I might just try to go for B1 but have A2 as a backup option.
Specifically I plan to do:
- Going through the entire Duolingo tree again
- Going through chapters 1-8 of my latest Spanish book (A1+A2)
- Doing the exercises in the latest workbook
- Checking my other Spanish books for stuff I’m missing
- Doing the exercises in the other workbook
- Finishing Extr@ and rewatching it
- Watching Spanish videos
- Reading Spanish stories
- Writing in Spanish
Oops, that’s a lot. I really don’t want to stop losing the focus I have on Japanese so I will see how it goes. If I struggle too much I might just decide to continue studying myself and getting help from a tutor/native speaker.
Ok, this week was terrible. I was very busy with work so I didn’t have a lot of time/energy to study. On Saturday I did a bit more but on Sunday I couldn’t really focus and just ended up watching a lot of anime.
Overall I did a bit more than 12 hours. That’s a bit more than 1.7 hours per day. Not too bad actually, but I’d prefer to do more.
I didn’t look at grammar at all, which is bad. Well, at least I did some JLPT grammar quizzes.
Kanji study still takes a lot of my study time which is fine. I started going over N4 vocabulary (to review it but also to find out if I’m missing words which could be on the test). The balance compared to the rest looks fine.
My reading time is… basically non-existent. I still haven’t found a good way to incorporate it into my studies.
I added a new category for listening: listening to Japanese with subtitles. As the name says I will use this when I listen to Japanese videos that have any kinds of subtitles (en/jp). This includes anime. I will only use it when I’m watching anime with the goal of understanding as much as possible with the help of the subtitles, not in general. So when I just watch anime for fun or know I won’t understand most of it then I won’t track it as study time.