Posted by Tracy Poff on March 31, 2011
On Sunday, I made a post discussing briefly what had gone wrong with my Japanese studies and what I was currently doing to fix these problems. Today is a good day I think to discuss what’s gone right over the past few months–what I’ve learned and how I’ve improved.
I mentioned that I learned very little, but I guess that’s only partly true. I learned very few new kanji or words, but I did get much more familiar with the ones I already knew and saw often. As a result, I’ve found that I’m now able to understand quite a few of the definitions given by goo, and so I’m trying to use Japanese definitions now instead of English ones, wherever possible. It does take me quite a bit longer to decode (‘read’ would be too strong a word, in most cases) the Japanese definitions, but it’s good practice and I learn a fair bit doing it.
Which brings me to a related point: the EDICT, excellent and valuable resource though it is, is in fact somewhat incomplete. Of course, I knew it wasn’t complete, but I imagined that its incompleteness lay in missing words entirely. In the brief time I’ve been using goo’s dictionary, I’ve revised that opinion. Actually, even those words that are present in the EDICT are often lacking senses given by goo (and, I guess, other Japanese dictionaries). I have read very little Japanese, so I can’t say how commonly used the missing senses are, but it’s a little troubling. For example, I was adding a flashcard for “話し手” to my deck the other day. The EDICT lists (or listed, rather, since I’ve submitted a correction) the definition as simply “speaker” (as in, one who speaks). However, goo includes an additional sense of “one who is skilled at speaking”.
In addition to becoming more familiar with what I already knew, I collected lots of words and kanji to learn. This is perhaps more of a neutral thing, but I’m still happy to have a list of words I’ve actually seen to learn. Sometimes when I’m just looking at vocabulary lists full of words I’ve never encountered, I feel like I’ll never come across something like “共産” in reality–how often am I discussing communism? Of course I do need to learn it, and now doubt I’ll see it more often than I think, but it’s more fun and more obviously useful to learn words I’ve actually encountered. So, I’ve got a nice big stack of words queued up to be turned into flashcards at my leisure.
Briefly, on current status: I continue to re-enable the cards I suspended while clearing my backlog, and I’ve been enabling new sentences and creating kakitori cards from them. I’ve also been adding a few vocabulary cards from the aforementioned queue. Progress continues apace.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: EDICT, japanese | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Tracy Poff on March 28, 2011
くノ一 (kunoichi) is a Japanese word meaning “female ninja” or “woman”, written as a combination of hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Why is it written this way? According to goo, the answer is simple: have a look at 女 (onna, “woman”). If you decompose its three strokes, you get く, ノ, and 一. I hear that the 広辞苑 also supports this theory. The Japanese Wikipedia isn’t so sure, though. I don’t know, either, but I’ll accept goo’s explanation, and consider it one of the little quirks that makes Japanese fun to learn.
Posted in japanese briefly | Tagged: japanese | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Tracy Poff on March 27, 2011
Week 17? It’s been seven months since week 16! What gives?
Well, as I mentioned in several of the previous weekly summaries, my flashcards were getting totally out of hand. Ultimately, I wasn’t even remotely capable of completing the necessary number of flashcards each day, despite spending nearly two hours a day doing nothing but flashcards. This pretty much discouraged me and, despite several attempts to clear the backlogged cards, I didn’t have much success. My Japanese study shifted away from using flashcards and towards just hoping I’d remember the things I read without any help. For those words and kanji I saw very frequently, this was fine. For the others (which were the bulk of them), I was getting nowhere. It ended up being a period of about six months where I learned less than I learned in the average week using Anki. Dark times. Given my general lack of progress, I’m just gong to call this week 17 and proceed from here.
So, I’ve spent the last week or so aggressively clearing my backlogged cards in Anki. I did this by suspending every card I failed, and just plowing on through until the queue was empty. This left me with a couple of thousand suspended cards and a much clearer conscience. I’m basically treating the suspended cards as though they’re new cards, and re-enabling them a few at a time so as to keep a reasonable work load. I hope I can finish with these fairly soon. I must say, it’s been pretty nice the last few days, being able to finish my daily reviews in a reasonable amount of time. It reminds me why I found this fun originally.
Doing this ruined my statistics, making them fairly useless as a measure of my progress, so no more stats-heavy summaries for now. Just one statistic: I currently have 1989 suspended cards. I imagine it’ll be a few weeks before I’ve got them cleared up, though it should be faster than if they were actually new cards. I’ve been mixing in a few actually new cards as well (currently, at a rate of five per day), just to keep myself entertained. I’m only adding new vocabulary, sentence, and fill-in-the-kanji cards for now, and I don’t think I’ll start adding kanji again until I’ve cleared my suspended cards. Still, even this slow progress promises to be more than I was managing without the help of Anki.
Well, enough reflection. Perhaps I’ll have something more useful to say next week.
Posted in weekly japanese review | Tagged: japanese | Leave a Comment »