“To know what we know, and know what we do not know, is wisdom”. Conficius

I started with How to learn any language site  and eyeing the Japanesepod101 site since 2007.

I must say that since 2007, I spent MORE hours reading all sites on learning Japanese, Portuguese or Chinese than actually learning anything. Fair enough, I used to spend at least 50 minutes (2 episodes) of anime per day for a year. You don’t learn much, but I know the opening theme of Naruto and Full metal Panic by heart….

What I did achieve is simple: my ear is trained and copying the sounds is NOT a big deal. However I did not learn anything because there was no real structure. I went to Japanese language classes in 2002 but failed because despite going to class every day and learning stuff, I was learning in an isolated way. The reasons why I was learning Japanese were forgotten. I attacked Japanese as if it were a puzzle, always linking it to the language I was learning it in which was French.

That’s great but in the medium term, you get bored or you forget that you are doing it because you want another tool that you can use to express yourself with and to learn more about the world you live in. There are many words and sentences that crop up that I know or remember but I can’t tell you in what context they should be used which is just proof of how I was learning in class. I was learning like a parrot. The very first day we started Japanese we were encouraged to talk which meant in an hour of class, we spent a good 15 minutes listening to the professor but the 45 minutes I felt were wasted on my neighbour asking me a question, me answering, vice versa until everyone had had a turn. I feel that that did and does not work for me. Dialogue is important, CONTEXT is more important and listening with all faculties is even more important.

Character wise, I can be a perfectionist and I can be a very anxious person. So imagine a class of eight adults and it is my turn after three people. What am I doing? Well I am busy memorising what I need to say and anticipating which of the questions I am going to be asked. In other words, when we get to the exercise section, my listening concentration drops by 50%.

As a learner, I believe I am very much of the visual type. You write something down on the board I remember it, then I have a choice keep it therefore maintain it, OR throw it away therefore forget it. When the environment is fun it is a more automatic process. I simply keep the visual information and all I need is regular recall. When I try to remember my Japanese lessons. I remember very well what the teacher was teaching, however the exercises were suppose to reinforce what was just taught. Well, because of my way of being, I don’t remember the exercises.


Chinese Language diary readers.  Next post: Where do you start? part 2/3.  Previous post: Chinese focus