Study update

I’ve been ramping up my language study efforts since I got back from holiday and noticed my interest in Japanese in particular has really deepened all of a sudden! I won’t make it to being the best-I’ve-ever-been this year but I’m getting into some good routines now so that I can achieve much more next year. I’m finally getting to appreciate the multifaceted nature of language-learning and getting more joy out of how different parts link together.

  • with Japanese, I’ve been reading a couple of pages of Harry Potter each morning, which doesn’t take too long but usually yields some bits of new vocab and just keeps me in a Japanese frame of mind – I’ve noticed my conversation at work has been much more fluent and I think that comes from having daily exposure to the language in some way.
  • I’m trying to collect 10 new words a day, from books or blogs, and noting them down. If I did this every day that would be 3,650 new words a year – I have no idea what my current working vocabulary is (and of course noting it down is not the same as learning it) but I think this would boost it by a significant percentage! I’m successfully doing this with Japanese and attempting to do it with French and German – hopefully I will have settled into that by the start of next year. It doesn’t take long to find words in German as I know so few! and next year that’ll be my Harry Potter language. French is harder but I have some books and magazines unread from ages ago, and of course there are blogs. Still want to add in Russian and Chinese – ten words a day in five languages would be the ideal here. I collect the words in lists on googledocs while I’m reading at home/work and then do the looking-up at work, which means I can batch them and saves time.
  • The Japanese vocab leads on to a separate collection of as-yet-unknown kanji, which I keep in a separate list – I get about a page (40) every couple of weeks or so. I’m trying to do writing practice
    • – for these new kanji
    • – for the kanji up to grade 4 that I didn’t know and listed earlier in the summer
    • – for all the kanji up to grade 2
  • On that last point, I quite randomly came across a whole bunch of wall posters I’d made while I was in Japan of the grades 4 to 2 kanji (yup, six years on and I’m still trying to learn the same ones!) I marked up the ones I still didn’t know and stuck some on walls and doors around the flat:

…there are still another 67 pages (!!) so the rest I have put on display in the living room and I practice the marked ones in front of the telly, and then flip over to the next page. That works quite well!

(I’m glad I picked colours that I still like now!!)

  • I’ve allocated notebooks (mostly Clairefontaine exercise books from the trip to the underground cave of notebooks) which at a rate of 10 words a day I would hope to fill by around the end of the 1Q 2012 – so obviously another trip to the French Bookshop will be in order 😉
  • For next year, I will hope to get through 1-2 pages of German HP and hopefully 10 words of Japanese from blogs while getting ready in the morning. It’s likely that other languages will be limited to work time unless I set aside study time at the weekends – so 10 words/day will have to be on average.
  • Continue doing writing practice for kanji at work and during TV time
  • I also want to get into the practice of testing myself on bits of vocab on the train home – going to need to do this if I want any of it to stick!
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