I try not to eat sweets as much as I can.
That seems like an odd way to start off a post about learning Japanese, doesn’t it? And it’s an odd sounding sentence anyway. I’ll come back to it.
Memrise glitched up on me. The way it normally works is that it shows you a word (or a sentence). Then it has you pick the translation out of a multiple choice list, sometimes giving you the Japanese and having you pick the English or vice versa. After you do that a few times, it will give you the English and you will have to type out the Japanese.
However, for the sentence I try not to eat sweets as much as I can it skipped all the preliminary stuff. It didn’t show me the sentence, it didn’t have me do the multiple choice thing, that sentence just popped up and it asked for the translation into Japanese.
Okay…oh, and it’s on a timer. Did I mention that?
Well, I figured I might as well type something, so I typed: できるだけ甘いものを食べないようにしています。 As I’m typing it, I’m saying to myself, “I’m sure this isn’t right…”
Only, it was right.
Now, the chapter uses certain grammatical structures, so I had a clue in which direction to go, but still…I was able to take a sentence that I had never seen before with a slightly complex grammatical structure, and I figured out how to say it in Japanese.
This doesn’t make me a wonderfully talented speaker of Japanese, but it does give me a nice little motivational boost. Anything that shows that my studies are paying off gives me a nice little motivational boost.
Grab on to every little sign of progress and use it to motivate yourself. There are all kinds of signs of progress, and every one can be useful to you in keeping yourself motivated. If you read through the Learning the Kanji posts, you will demonstrate that you are a glutton for punishment, but you will also notice that I talked a lot of about very small and easily reachable goals and how I used them as a tool to keep myself studying.
This is just a variation on that theme, but it really works for me, and it might work for you.
When you learn a new language, you are embarking on a long term project. You will probably need a push now and then to keep you going, and those pushes will often have to come from inside you. You will have to find what keeps you motivated and then exploit it, because those days when you just don’t want to study will come, and it is crucial that you don’t let them stack up and derail you.
As Niko from Nihongoshark says: Keep swimming. You are crossing an ocean.
And, as Japanese Language Journey says: