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Thread: Tips for staying motivated

  1. #1
    Eishuu
    Guest

    Tips for staying motivated

    I just wondered if anyone else struggles with motivation and keeping going with language study sometimes? I don't mean your overall motivation for doing it, rather keeping the momentum going. I find when I'm going through new material, there's so much excitement, but the hard process of revising and going over stuff can make me a bit bored and sometimes I have a lot of resistance to it. I know it's necessary. At the moment, I've just finished Genki 1 and am going through the workbook again to check what I've missed and forgotten. But I really want to get on and start Genki 2 with all the exciting new grammar.

    Does anyone have any tips for studying? I read an article the other day that talked about having a 'study plan' and sticking to it; deciding what you are going to do each day and doing it however you feel. I'm never that rigid. I did like the tip though not to boom and bust - so when you finished what you intend to do you stop for the day and don't keep going until you fry your brain (which I usually do). I've also heard that 'active studying' is better than rereading - so testing yourself rather than just passively going over the same material.

    I've also heard that some people start journaling in Japanese at a certain point...I can see that that would help to integrate what you'd gone through. Does anyone do that? The grammar in particular I am having a hard time remembering.

    I guess boredom arises with most projects at some point. I have a lot of physical obstacles too that make it difficult sometimes, but I don't want to let occasional boredom or laziness get in the way.

    Thanks

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH

  2. #2

    Tips for staying motivated

    Hi Lucy,

    I find that when I have a good reason to do something then motivation is not a problem. I like learning languages. Probably something I inherited from the maternal side of the family as they are linguists. I am 50 years old and I only have so much life to live...

    I rather break dance and do the moon walk while listening to Michael Jackson. It is way more fun then learning a new language. 🕺

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  3. #3
    Hi Lucy

    The only way I know to study something is lots and lots of repetition. That repetition may be in the form of studying the same thing from different perspectives or points of view but it is repetition and reinforcement.

    Like Jishin, if I have good reason to study something then motivation isnít an issue.

    Gassho
    Warren
    Sat today

  4. #4
    I have been able to stay with it over the years, making sure to study a little or a lot each day, by "flipping the switch" inside me to make it fun, interesting, fascinating. If not, it is just a drag and a chore. Even true chores can be turned around if we know that switch (yes, this was a the topic of my talk this week) ...

    Sit-A-LONG with JUNDO: CHANGING HEART, CHANGING TIRES
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...CHANGING-TIRES

    Part of what helped me with Japanese too was (1) an appreciation for small, arcane bits of knowledge about why words mean what they do, why a certain Kanji looks as it does, and (2) appreciation for small small steps of progress, little improvements in skills gain (which, of course, build over time) and (3) self-forgiveness and a sense of humor about my own mistakes.

    Anyway, that is what keeps me going. Japanese is a never ending task, and it is two step forward, one step back. However, it is a great trip.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    Hello Lucy,

    One of the things that helps me is breaking it into manageable chunks, not biting off more then I can chew. I also need to make it fun/enjoyable to learn ... if I am just sitting there reading it for the sack of reading it, I tend to loose interest.

    I also try and studying things that have sections/parts that I don't understand, this way it gets to me go research and find out what it means or what it is about.

    Also try and set a reward for yourself, say a nice cup of tea or coffee when your done. A nice walk or do something that you enjoy after your studies. I have watched some of Thomas Frank on YouTube and I found some very good tips and resources through him. =)



    Also, I believe he also studied Japanese language as well.



    Gassho
    Shingen

    SatToday/LAH
    Last edited by Shingen; 09-23-2017 at 03:09 PM.
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  6. #6
    Eishuu
    Guest
    Thanks all. Jishin, that does sound fun!

    Jundo, I found that talk really useful and managed to flip the switch on something else, so will try it on the motivation. Often I have lots of resistance but once, and if, I manage to get started I do enjoy it, so the boredom and stuff is fairly arbitrary. Thanks for the tips...steady and slow with patience seems to be the gist of it. I do have a tendency to try and do too much and not appreciate how far I've come. Definitely need some self-forgiveness. It definitely feels like two steps forward, one step back!

    Great videos...thanks Shingen. I like the point about rekindling the interest before going into the details. Manageable chunks sounds like a good idea and rewards. When I was revising for exams I used to reward myself with jelly babies, a trick one of my teachers used. A cup of tea sounds healthier though.

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH

  7. #7
    Hi Lucy,

    My main motivation is that little by little I understand more words and phrases when watching anime or listening to j-rock. That is pretty exciting.

    Just the other day I was watching Natsume Yuujinchou and realized I wasn't reading the subtitles! Granted, it's going to take some years until I can hold even a basic conversation with a Japanese person, but feels nice to just listen and understand.

    So for me, anime and music are a reward and motivation.



    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Sat/LAH
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    Hi Lucy,

    My main motivation is that little by little I understand more words and phrases when watching anime or listening to j-rock. That is pretty exciting.

    Just the other day I was watching Natsume Yuujinchou and realized I wasn't reading the subtitles! Granted, it's going to take some years until I can hold even a basic conversation with a Japanese person, but feels nice to just listen and understand.

    So for me, anime and music are a reward and motivation.



    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Sat/LAH
    Man, I wish they would put subtitles in order of the Japanese sentences, not English . It would sound like Yoda, but would help learning.

    Lucy, one thing I learned since the last time I made an attempt to restart a learning plan is
    1. Make it pertinent to you - I didn't need to know the different college majors, but anatomy and talking about it, yes
    2. Slow but steady immersion - I am going to start carrying post it's and writing the Japanese for objects and putting the post it on it - only one or two a day don't burn yourself out

    合掌
    座りました
    Marc Connery
    明岩
    Myo̅ Gan - Bright Cliff

    I put the Monkey in Monkeymind

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I have been able to stay with it over the years, making sure to study a little or a lot each day, by "flipping the switch" inside me to make it fun, interesting, fascinating. If not, it is just a drag and a chore. Even true chores can be turned around if we know that switch (yes, this was a the topic of my talk this week) ...

    Sit-A-LONG with JUNDO: CHANGING HEART, CHANGING TIRES
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...CHANGING-TIRES

    Part of what helped me with Japanese too was (1) an appreciation for small, arcane bits of knowledge about why words mean what they do, why a certain Kanji looks as it does, and (2) appreciation for small small steps of progress, little improvements in skills gain (which, of course, build over time) and (3) self-forgiveness and a sense of humor about my own mistakes.

    Anyway, that is what keeps me going. Japanese is a never ending task, and it is two step forward, one step back. However, it is a great trip.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    Yes, I forgot one more. Reading and watching stuff (manga, magazine, tv shows, films) that one really finds interesting in themselves.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #10
    Eishuu
    Guest
    Kyonin, thanks. Reading what you said about it being a couple of years before you thought you could have a conversation with a Japanese person, I realised that I have been having unrealistic expectations! I find speaking and listening particularly difficult and slow to develop. I've just got hold of the first of the 'Shadowing' set of books/CDs, which are specificially to help develop correct pronunciation and confidence in speaking. Don't know if you've heard of them or whether they might be useful to you as well. I looked up Natsume Yuujinchou and like the look of the comic, so will explore that. That's fantastic that you didn't need the subtitles!

    Thanks, Myogan. I like the idea of the post-it (although might be a bit annoying for my husband if I go berserk with them) and keeping it relevant. I agree it would be so much easier if English subtitles were in Yoda-speak...flipping back and forth between English and Japanese sentence structures is hard.

    Thanks, Jundo. That's a really good suggestion. I sometimes find manga and Japanese TV a bit overwhelming as I understand so little, but they are a great motivation. I probably need to get back to that as textbooks on their own are a bit dry. I find Netflix has a lot of Japanese TV, but often the English subtitles are atrocious. They'll stick one in every few minutes but miss most of what's said. The ones with the Japanese subtitles are more useful.

    This has been really helpful. Think I just need to make a few adjustments to my attitude, expectations and approach and to incorporate some more fun materials.

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy View Post
    Thanks, Jundo. That's a really good suggestion. I sometimes find manga and Japanese TV a bit overwhelming as I understand so little, but they are a great motivation. I probably need to get back to that as textbooks on their own are a bit dry. I find Netflix has a lot of Japanese TV, but often the English subtitles are atrocious. They'll stick one in every few minutes but miss most of what's said. The ones with the Japanese subtitles are more useful.
    Manga are great because (assuming it is a manga set in a realistic setting such as real Japanese society) it will tend to be real spoken conversational Japanese written down (as opposed to written Japanese, which can be much more formal, sometimes completely different vocabulary and just different way of speaking). One can take time with a manga, work with an electronic dictionary, to learn new vocabulary and such (I read about 12 pages of manga each day. I just finished this one, about young "hikikomori" ... ひきこもり or 引き籠り ... shut-ins who are afraid to leave their rooms, and it was very good, although very dark and sad at times ... )

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welcome_to_the_N.H.K.

    However, one really needs to be beyond basic Japanese grammar and Kanji reading to be able to handle adult manga. On the other hand, there are many manga for young people of all ages, so you may find something at your level. For example, Doraemon is for kids but still funny for adults.

    https://doraemon.mangawiki.org/read-...emon-Manga-v01

    Another that is a bit more risque (surprising the jokes sometimes in a kids story) is the Dennis the Menice of Japan, Crayon Shinchan ...

    http://mangakakalot.com/manga/crayon_shinchan

    As to TV, yes, Japanese subtitles are recommended, not the English. However, you can watch with a pause button. For example, I sometimes watch a Japanese drama with the Japanese subtitles, pausing every sentence to figure out what is being said, and going back a few times to listen. Again, one needs a pretty high level to do that, but there are TV shows for kids and at all levels, with easier grammar and vocabulary.

    Just find some stories that you like.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  12. #12
    Eishuu
    Guest
    Thanks for the pointers, Jundo. I like the look of Doraemon.

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH

  13. #13
    What are the "shadowing" books. And will it explain why when I hear 女の人 it sounds like 'onnanoshto' instead of 'onnanohito'? I wasn't sure if if was my hearing issues or a dialect thing.

    ありがとう

    Gassho
    Sat
    Marc Connery
    明岩
    Myo̅ Gan - Bright Cliff

    I put the Monkey in Monkeymind

  14. #14
    Eishuu
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Myogan View Post
    What are the "shadowing" books. And will it explain why when I hear 女の人 it sounds like 'onnanoshto' instead of 'onnanohito'? I wasn't sure if if was my hearing issues or a dialect thing.

    ありがとう

    Gassho
    Sat
    Hi Myogan,

    I came across them a while ago when I read a review raving about shadowing as a new thing in the language learning community. Can't find the original article, but here's something on the technique. https://www.mezzoguild.com/language-...arning-method/

    Here's a review of the 'Shadowing: Let's Speak Japanese!' series (which actually I found out is only 2 books).
    http://japanesetease.net/review-shad...peak-japanese/

    And here's one of the actual books from the website I use http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/product/NEOBK-898011 (advanced one).

    I haven't started mine yet, but flipping through it I can see it is literally just Japanese conversation with translation, which you repeat until it goes in. There is maybe a page of explanation after each section but really not much. I don't remember 女の人 sounding like that on the Genki 1 CD and I just checked it on the Google translate audio and it does sounds like 'onnanohito' so maybe it's a dialect issue? I don't know.

    In terms of pronunciation, I did come across what looks like a very thorough but hard-going set of books from the 1980s, which have much more explanation. They are called "Japanese: The Spoken Language" (in 3 parts) by E H Jorden and M Noda. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japane...poken_Language You can buy the CDs but I managed to hunt down the audio files on the Ohio State University Foreign Language Library website https://languagelab.it.ohio-state.ed...0?nodeId=34867 It does look like it may be one of the only textbooks to systematically teach intonation. I bought them all second hand, but they look a bit intimidating so am saving them for a rainy day!

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy View Post
    Hi Myogan,

    I came across them a while ago when I read a review raving about shadowing as a new thing in the language learning community. Can't find the original article, but here's something on the technique. https://www.mezzoguild.com/language-...arning-method/

    Here's a review of the 'Shadowing: Let's Speak Japanese!' series (which actually I found out is only 2 books).
    http://japanesetease.net/review-shad...peak-japanese/

    And here's one of the actual books from the website I use http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/product/NEOBK-898011 (advanced one).

    I haven't started mine yet, but flipping through it I can see it is literally just Japanese conversation with translation, which you repeat until it goes in. There is maybe a page of explanation after each section but really not much. I don't remember 女の人 sounding like that on the Genki 1 CD and I just checked it on the Google translate audio and it does sounds like 'onnanohito' so maybe it's a dialect issue? I don't know.

    In terms of pronunciation, I did come across what looks like a very thorough but hard-going set of books from the 1980s, which have much more explanation. They are called "Japanese: The Spoken Language" (in 3 parts) by E H Jorden and M Noda. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japane...poken_Language You can buy the CDs but I managed to hunt down the audio files on the Ohio State University Foreign Language Library website https://languagelab.it.ohio-state.ed...0?nodeId=34867 It does look like it may be one of the only textbooks to systematically teach intonation. I bought them all second hand, but they look a bit intimidating so am saving them for a rainy day!

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH
    I am not sure about "Shadowing," but I am a big believer that Berlitz type books and courses, which are just fixed Japanese phrases with accompanying English translations to memorize, with very very limited explanations of grammar rules, Kanji components, variations in context and the like, are not very useful in any way even for tourists. Even one small variation in conversation from any of the model sentences, and the speaker/listener is already lost. ("Where is the library?" as "Toshokan wa doko desu ka?" is very nice until you want to ask if it is open today or carries a copy of the War & Peace). One must do the basic work of learning detailed grammar rules, the Kanji as word components and the like (In fact, it is not hard to do so, and to get to a very nice lever of speech in a few months, with a little effort. Understanding a few hundred Kanji, for example, can allow vocabulary to grow exponentially). If one does that, then perhaps listening to a Berlitz or similar recording of set phrases might be a little extra listening practice.

    As long as it is kept in that role (which is what you seem to be doing), then it may be helpful if one has time and money to blow.

    Otherwise, most of those "remember the phrase by rote" courses are totally, absolutely worthless, in my experience.

    I am reminded of this old language learners joke ...

    A man had trouble with his English, so his friend taught him
    how to say, “Apple pie and coffee.” So each day, day after day, he
    could order some food at the local restaurant during his
    lunch hour. This was fine with our man, and he was grateful
    to his friend, but after several weeks he wanted a little
    more variety in his fare than "Apple pie and coffee."
    His friend was glad to oblige and
    taught him how to say, “Ham and cheese sandwich.”
    The man proudly walked into the restaurant the next day and
    said to the waitress, “Ham and cheese sandwich.”
    To which the waitress responded, “White, whole wheat, or
    rye?”

    With shoulders sagging and the smile gone from his face, he
    answered back, “Apple pie and coffee.”
    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-24-2017 at 11:29 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    Eishuu
    Guest
    I totally get your point, Jundo. I'm not planning on just parrot-fashioning lots of phrases (although I did do that when I lived in Turkey and managed to have a lot of conversations, probably mostly the same conversation!). I like to understand the grammar and vocab. It's partly just approaching it from a different angle to keep up interest and improve my pronunciation - which is absolutely dreadful! I'll report back as to whether it's any good. I was a bit disappointed at the lack of explanation to be honest...I thought it was going to be a more rounded textbook. One thing I find hard about the spoken language is that the women seem to soften their voices a lot...I find it difficult to talk like this but when I do it does sound more authentic... A friend who had been to Japan explained to me that men and women speak differently...I think I speak like a man!

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy View Post
    ... A friend who had been to Japan explained to me that men and women speak differently...I think I speak like a man!

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH
    Oh, yes, quite different. There is an old joke that foreigners who learn too much Japanese from a wife or girlfriend, copying their speech, end up speaking as women. Many women even make their voices "Minnie Mouse" cute in public (how they speak in private is a different matter!)

    For one small example, the "I" form, for example, girls and young women seem to say "atashi" often (a version of Watakushi). while men and boys will use the rougher, informal "ore" but a woman would not.

    Gassho, J

    STLAh
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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