The number of Kanji review cards that I have to do every day is gradually sinking. There was a time when it was always more than 100 cards, but today there were only 82 review cards. As I learn them, I see them less often. It’s a nice sign of progress. (Of course, there were a couple that were supposedly mature that I had forgotten, so they went back to the beginning of the learning process. Oh, well, you can’t have everything.)
As I mentioned before, the hardest thing for me right now is to see a word or a sentence and know how to say it in Japanese. I might actually know what the sentence means, just not what it sounds like, which is kind of peculiar, but that comes from the Heisig method of learning the Kanji.
My fix for this now comes when I study my vocabulary flashcards. I turn the sound off so that I don’t hear anything pronounced when it first appears. I read it and say it in Japanese and then turn the sound up and listen to it. I am certainly not having 100% success, but my success rate has been a pleasant surprise, as it is much higher than i thought it would be.
This is the next issue with learning Japanese. We all know how important it is to study consistently, but how you study also matters, and I can’t tell you what is the best way for you to study. Heck, sometimes I can’t even tell me what is the best way for me to study. But I experiment, and that’s what you need to do. Keep an eye out for what your weakness are and figure out a way to address them. (Or, alternatively, scout around the intrawebnetthingy and see how someone else has addressed the same weakness and try that method.)
Try it. If it works for you, keep it. If it doesn’t work for you, discard it. Eventually, you will have created your own personalized study method.
And, as soon as you can, speak speak speak speak speak speak speak speak speak! Use every word you know, even if you’re just talking to yourself. That act of struggling to come up with some kind of sensible utterance is the one thing that helps everybody learn a language, no matter who you are. Even if your sentence has to be 2/3 your native language and 1/3 the target language (or any other set of fractions) speak speak speak speak speak speak speak speak speak!
Last week my Cafetalk tutor said, “I think you know a lot of words in Japanese.” Well, “a lot” is a relative term, but, thanks to the Nihongoshark preloaded vocabulary deck (and some Japanesepod101 flash cards) there might be a fair number of words swirling around my brain, but that doesn’t mean that very many of them have settled down and are ready for use quite yet. But it was nice to hear her say that, anyway.
Progress. One word at a time, day by day.