Update: Japanese

I am on day 259 in the Duolingo app; meaning I have used the app for 259 straight days to learn Japanese, but my progress isn’t very far… I’ve mostly been doing my 2 lessons a day, and for the most part, it’s been maintaining my progress…

Recently, they’ve added a “dark mode”, and about a month back, they expanded the Hiragana/Katakana section. I did make the leader board a few time while I finished those off! But now it’s taking effort to learn more/improve. And you’d think with self-isolation and the crap going on, I’d fine more time it… Just need to prioritize it.

I started my journey by listening to a podcast about learning Japanese prior to starting Duoling… It started with the basics, and led me to downloading apps to help learn Hiragana/Katakana — that helped a lot! I have downloaded one for Kanji, but haven’t been working on it as hard… After that, I realized the need to start a vocabulary spreadsheet (seen above)… I’ve spent a few hours here and there to curate the list, but haven’t created flashcards or spent hours of memorization on it yet… And I’ve avoided tackling verbs… something I know I just need to buckle down and do!

Stepping back, I think I’ve got a lot of good resources, including the internet. Between the quizzes and flashcards in the apps, the repetition, the spoken lessons, the spreadsheet, etc. some things are sinking in. I catch myself picking up words spoken in some Anime… feel like I’ve gone from a 0.1 – 1% word recognition to about a 3 – 5% word recognition. Sounding out words in Hiragana/Katakana is still slow, and I still doubt myself, but some small improvement…

What still freaks me out, when I watch a really good art-detailed Anime, with lots of street signs, train/bus time tables, or close-up views of things you’d use for navigation, I’m still like, WTH? Just watched a scene in Love Hina where two of the main characters buy a high-speed train ticket to Osaka — there was a few shots of the tickets used to find their seats… very quick scenes, but I’m wondering if (when we travel) will I be able to understand enough to find our car/row/seat to find our seats? We screwed this up once in France, figure need to make a better effort next time we travel anywhere by train…

One of the things I know I’m going to fail on is pronunciation… I should probably be repeating the spoken Japanese. But a lot of times, I find myself parsing the spoken Japanese for context, and find myself tripping up on spoken contractions… I’ll catch the first few words, then something that doesn’t sound quite right, then ends with a verb… Just like English with contractions and spoken shortcuts, I’ve noticed that in the app with some of the spoken sentences… and slowing it down doesn’t all ways clear it up. it’s taken a little more time to recognize the contractions, especially around how the particles flow from/into the next word… something I think I’d pick up a little better with learning from an actual teacher.

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