New Year’s Challenge: Progress Report #002

Hi guys! Well, we’re now well and truly into January, aren’t we? Does it feel to anyone else like 2016 is moving faster than 2015, or is that just me?

Aaaaanyway, it’s been another ten days, so I’m back to update you all on my progress for my New Year’s Challenge. Again, if you don’t know what’s going on, go here. Then here. And then join the rest of us below. 😉

New Year's Challenge Progress #002

So, this is progress made between 11.01.2016 and 20.01.2016.

In all honesty, there wasn’t that much. These were the goals I set for myself:

  • Finish the Tofugu Hiragana guide. – Not done. I have made it through most of the Basic Hiragana 2 deck on Memrise though.
  • Do at least five more Easy Japanese lessons. – Not done. I finished two more lessons, so I’ll be doing lesson six today (the 21st)!
  • Write at least ten sentences using grammatical structures I have learnt and put them on lang-8 for correction. (Probably a self-introduction.) – Nope, though I did add my first independent sentence to my IGLC picture yesterday. This was the sentence: 私は英国人です。I’m assuming that’s right? (But if not, of course, feel free to correct!)
  • Find out how to write Kanji and Hiragana on the computer. – Yay, I did this! I had the Japanese keyboard installed for the last progress update, but writing kanji seems to be a strange process. I appear to have figured it out to an extent, though it is a little annoying. It’s much easier to type on my phone!

My main reason for not studying so much the last ten days is just that I’ve been really wasteful with my time. I’m trying to get back into the swing of things at school, which means getting up early even though I’ve got into the habit of staying up late – and it’s leaving me tired in the evening. However, I’ve fixed this a little: I had been lumping all my language study together as a ‘to do’ item, which meant I was also putting it off (I know 40 minutes – my minimum for a day – isn’t a long time, but it’s not something I always want to start); so I separated Japanese out on Monday and I’ve already noticed a difference! Hopefully this means that by the next update I’ll have studied a lot more.

A weird thing I’ve noticed too: so I mentioned before that I was hoping knowing Chinese characters would help me – and despite the fact that I only know simplified characters, it really has helped me to remember the words and their English meanings.

What it has hindered is my ability to remember the Japanese pronunciation. Like, in a big way.

Take for example one of my words from Easy Japanese Lesson 5: 每日. In Mandarin, this is pronounced: měirì. In Japanese, it’s まいにち (mainichi). They’re not completely dissimilar, but I’m definitely noticing a lot of interference and I’m going to have to drill some of these words to separate them out.

Other than that, things are going pretty well. I’ve learnt some more grammar points:

  • はい、私は日本人です。/ いいえ、私は日本人ではありません。
  • 私はマンガを読みます。(SOV)

I also discovered a couple of cool things about the NHK World website and the extra things they have for Easy Japanese. First of all, you can download the texts for all the lessons (48 of them) in one PDF – there just isn’t the audio for all of them yet. I’ve done that and I’m going to download the audio as I need it – and then if I ever get ahead, I can keep going and just listen to the audio when it’s released.

Second, is that there are vocabulary lists and quizzes for each lesson. I kind of knew this, but I thought they were lumped together (like lessons 1-5, 6-10, etc.) – but they aren’t! I haven’t really looked at the lists (though they’re probably helpful for the extra words that come up in the audio but aren’t on the PDF) but I did the quizzes for the first five levels today. They’re not too hard – you listen to the recordings of three different words and then have to choose the correct translation. One mistake means that you have to try again though, because you can’t pass unless you’ve got all three words correct.

I’m going to carry on with this series of lessons for a while, because I really like them – and I might switch to FSI or something similar after if I don’t feel like I’m making enough progress.

But anyway, here are my goals for the next – well, not quite ten days, as I’ll be on my semester break holiday from the evening of the 29th – eight days or so?

  • Do at least three more Easy Japanese lessons.
  • Write five sentences in Japanese and put them on lang-8 for correction.
  • Finish the IGLC for this month (I might be somewhat behind…).

And here are the links for this update:

Memrise: Basic Hiragana 2
NHK World: Easy Japanese Full Textbook
NHK World: Easy Japanese Vocabulary Lists
NHK World: Easy Japanese Vocabulary Quiz
Jisho.org: Japanese Dictionary

As usual, let me know how your language learning is going – no matter the language! I’ll be back with an update on this in about ten days. 🙂 さようなら!

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