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Speed Racer
June 6th, 2009, 11:31
How do you guys stay motivated?

Right now I've started about a dozen different Japanese learning things (books, games, blogs, online lessons, etc.) over the past two years, but I can't stay motivated long enough to really push through a learn more than the first few lessons. If I do make it through a book, it's only superficially learned.

I learned a lot more when I was able to take a class (much more hands on and engaging), but now classes are infeasible and self learning looks like the best option.

How do you stay motivated, and how do you keep things from getting repetitive and boring?

AliDimayev
June 6th, 2009, 11:33
How do you guys stay motivated?

Right now I've started about a dozen different Japanese learning things (books, games, blogs, online lessons, etc.) over the past two years, but I can't stay motivated long enough to really push through a learn more than the first few lessons. If I do make it through a book, it's only superficially learned.

I learned a lot more when I was able to take a class (much more hands on and engaging), but now classes are infeasible and self learning looks like the best option.

How do you stay motivated, and how do you keep things from getting repetitive and boring?

First quick question: ARe you already a JET?

Speed Racer
June 6th, 2009, 11:37
I've got one more year in college, so I'll be applying next year. I plan on doing some teaching, even if I don't make JET, so I don't want to be the n00b pointing to things from a phrase book like I was during my study abroad in China.

bizarrojosh
June 6th, 2009, 12:09
I think one of the big ways to stay motivated is to not get overwhelmed. Sure there are thousands of Kanji to learn (see thread "Like Heisig?") but as long as you take it one day at a time you will eventually get there. I might be giving you contradictory advise with what I'm about to tell you, but do with it as you will. The first thing I might try is not to get too bogged down with how much study material you have and just focus super hard core on one or two of the things that you have. Its not about the quantity but the results. That being said you might want to try and find something else that keeps you motivated. If that means dropping language text books and start sentence mining regular books, tv shows, manga, whatever it is that gets you off then go for that. So try out lots of stuff and if something gets your interest then stick with it as long as you can. If it doesn't work for you then drop it and seek something else out. Just my thoughts.

dombay
June 6th, 2009, 17:31
This is going to sound a bit nasty but I've never understood the 'motivation' thing. If you're using it as an excuse to not do things isn't that just a manifestation of procrastination? And if so shouldn't you be looking for ways to solve that problem and/or how realistic your goals are?

I mean you either do it or you don't do it. I find that if I just start that's the hardest part of getting things done and once I've started procrastination ceases to be a problem and excuses for it, like motivation, do too.

wicket
June 6th, 2009, 19:39
I think part of your problem might be that you've started too many different things.
Find a system you like and work with it.
See if you can get a Japanese conversation partner or even penpal - using the language in real situations is the best motivator [or was for me, anyway].
Small amounts of study often [say an hour a day] is better than setting aside the whole of Saturday for Japanese.
Keep charts and track your progress by doing online tests or practice JLPT tests - hard figures motivate some people.
I agree with Dombay that you can't wait until inspiration strikes and you need to discipline yourself to just get into the hard graft and get it done; but if there's any way to make it fun, do it.

PC812
June 6th, 2009, 21:07
Getting a penpal has helped me a lot. Whenever I e-mail my Japanese friends, I try to use as much Japanese as possible. When I started out, I asked them if they could write only in hiragana and to put spaces between words so if I saw something I didn't recognize, I could easily look it up. Little by little, I'd incorporate what kanji I learned.

Try printing out kanji charts and post them around your place and look at them as often as you can to keep them in your memory.

If you go to japan-guide.com, you can find a lot of Japanese people who are looking for penpals.

Virus FM
June 7th, 2009, 00:17
Sentence mining is a good idea. Buy some children's literature and try to read through it. It's better than rote memorization alone because you get the desert at the end of not only understanding the story, but also having a hard line goal completed, rather than just swimming endlessly in a sea of arbitrary kanji lists.

Also mentioned already, try to study often in short bursts rather than rarely and in large chunks. Set a goal that you FORCE yourself to stick to. Like studying for an hour a day for 100 days. If you can force yourself through that initial period, afterwards it won't be nearly as hard to crack open a book. Think of it like a boulder. Hard to get going, but once it's moving it's almost effortless to keep it going.

If you want to get crafty, write down the names of the items in your household on a piece of paper, cut them out, and tape them to the items. You'll get to learn some item names prety fast simply from daily routine and being around them. The tough aspect of this is knowing how far into detail to go. Like labeling the refrigerator, then deciding to also label the door, the handle, the shelf... Maybe allow yourself to go into detail only when you feel you passed "Level 1 (Name)" for that particular object. It's just like developing magic usage trees in Final Fantasy! I'm so corny.

Having a well structured plan is essential though. When you're in Japan, it's not so essental to be a dictator to yourself, because you can bolster a sloppy structure with IRL Japanese that hits you daily, but while you're still in your home country, you have to really have a plan.

mteacher80
June 7th, 2009, 09:01
yeah i say find a friend (boyfriend? girlfriend?...or just friend) that doesnt speak english. and if you want your conversations to go further than the weather and what you had for breakfast you will be motivated to learn more stuff.

Speed Racer
June 10th, 2009, 09:40
I don't usually study in large chunks, just about 45 minutes worth of vocab and grammar after course work. Dry, boring stuff. It's also hard to keep some of the more obscure vocabulary it when it's not used everyday. So far my goals have been to learn x grammar rule/lesson and 10 vocabulary words associated with a particular task/event a day, which has not been working in terms of long term commitment to memory. Works for math, not for language I guess.

Sentence mining and reading children's books seem like good ideas to keep things from getting boring and having an actual penpal might be better for me than waiting on getting something corrected on lang8. I think I've been approaching it a bit too formulaicly.

AliDimayev
June 10th, 2009, 09:42
yeah i say find a friend (boyfriend? girlfriend?...or just friend) that doesnt speak english. and if you want your conversations to go further than the weather and what you had for breakfast you will be motivated to learn more stuff.
A girlfriend who doesn't speak English? How would that work unless you are already fluent in Japanese?

elleohelle
June 10th, 2009, 09:47
i've heard it's better to date someone who speaks no english, that way you know you aren't dating an english bandit.

Virus FM
June 10th, 2009, 09:55
english bandit.

lol amazing.

Speed Racer
June 10th, 2009, 10:09
Wouldn't that make me a Japanese Bandit?

dombay
June 10th, 2009, 10:25
Yep!

Welcome to Japan. During your stay may start to suspect certain things about why certain people, particularly white men, come to Japan ...

Language banditry is one of the reasons you might consider at first but it gets more complex the longer you stay at the pub and observe the gaijin male and the Japanese slut at work.

Abide
June 25th, 2009, 15:20
A girlfriend who doesn't speak English? How would that work unless you are already fluent in Japanese?

Have you ever had a girlfriend or boyfriend that doesn't speak English? Perhaps you're married to one?

Even if you have a very basic understanding of Japanese you can have a girlfriend that speaks no English. Rather presumptious on your part that you couldn't. Human beings have ways to communicate beyond words and my first girlfriend in Japan not only spoke zero English but my Japanese was truly pitiful.

Body language, patience, and caring for another person goes a very long way. Thanks to our mutual understanding, the months I lived with her, despite being arduous, full of grammatical and cultural mistakes, and often times questioning my own ability to learn resulted in my current ability to speak quite well.

Give love a chance Ali.

Spore13
July 1st, 2009, 17:40
maybe I'm just being cynical, but I actually like to talk to my boyfriends during a date. Maybe find out something about them besides "you're hot." A friend to chat with/ maybe trade lessons with would be great though.

lazarus
July 2nd, 2009, 08:56
yeah i say find a friend (boyfriend? girlfriend?...or just friend) that doesnt speak english. and if you want your conversations to go further than the weather and what you had for breakfast you will be motivated to learn more stuff.

Unless you want an interactive cum rag as a bf/gf (if you want to kid yourself and call them that), definitely just stick with trying to find friends that don't speak English. It's already pain in the ass enough to bother keeping in touch cause it takes so much work.

Anyhow, if you move to Japan, it changes the game as far as learning the language goes. IMO study at your own pace, and if you come to Japan you will learn Japanese whether you want to or not. :)

lazarus
July 2nd, 2009, 09:09
double post