Sunday, February 11, 2018

Language Learning Update: Frustration and Procrastination | February 2018

As you may have guessed my last 90 Day Language Challenge didn't go very well. On January 1, 2018 I started my second attempt. I am more committed to this second attempt but not committed enough, I haven't really been making the time for this project which is causing me to ultimately lose. I want to learn how to speak and read Japanese. I want to be able to do this with some amount of fluency fairly soon. Unfortunately with the approach that I have been taking I will never be satisfied with my level and I'll never reach the level that I am striving for.

On January 1st, I started with an elaborate plan for language learning which I "tried" to follow for about 5 days. I was frustrated by the fact that even from day one I was behind schedule and I didn't have the motivation to catch up. I felt like I was never going to be able to follow the timeline that I had set up for myself. I probably had the time to get back on track but I just didn't do it and that was my failure. Something that I am still struggling with a month later. I want to make the time but I am really struggling with procrastinating. Which begs the question, do I really want to learn this language if I'm not doing it?

I want to speak and read Japanese with some form of fluency by the end of 2018. I want to know enough to at least be able to pass the JLPT N5 (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) by the end of this year. Is this possible? Absolutely! I still have 10 full months to dedicate to this adventure and I am going to amp up my learning starting today! Or at least that's what I tell myself on a fairly regular basis. What I can promise is to continue this journey until I make my goals even if I'm being irresponsible and unrealistic with the amount of time I am actually spending on active learning.

What am I going to do about this procrastination business? I don't know and that is my main concern. The answer is ridiculously simple, to make language learning a priority. The realization is simple but the practical application is difficult especially when I am self-sabotaging every free moment. Even this blog post can be added into this category. Do I have the time to learn right now? Well, obviously because I have the time to update a blog that I rarely visit. I have a very strong habit of procrastination that continuously is reinforcing itself. Any constructive help in this area would be very appreciated.

I still feel like I'm language learning even though I know that I'm not putting in the effort. I have been immersing myself in language learning since the beginning of January by living through the people that I see on YouTube. I have been watching the progress of other language learners, listening to their methods, and trying to learn from their own struggles. My main source of information and entertainment in this area have been lectures given by the Polyglot community. (If you want to procrastinate too I recommend checking out the videos from channels "Polyglot Gathering" or "Polyglot Conference".) Very fascinating but not helping my situation since I'm not actually studying Japanese while I'm watching these videos.

I have also been procrastinating through the use of language learning apps. I have never used apps for the purpose of language learning before and so far I have found them to be useful. Or more accurately, I found them to be useful and distracting, I heard a great deal of praise for Duolingo through the YouTube videos I was watching and decided to try it out for myself. Their language course collection is quite extensive and after discovering that Japanese is only a Beta version, I took the liberty of trying out two other language courses to see how they compared. Even with my rudimentary language skills I could tell that there were some flaws with the Japanese course. I am now also learning German and French because I can't stop procrastinating. Both German and French have more extensive courses and, because they aren't the languages I set out to learn in the first place, significantly more fun. I am still trying out some other online courses and apps but now with the added bonus of trying to learn two additional languages. I am fully aware of how ridiculous it is to start two more languages because I am frustrated that I am struggling to learn one.

Now that I've complained for long enough, what do I want to accomplish in the next two weeks towards my goal of passing the JLPT N5 by the end of the year? I am going to:

  • read at least 2 pages of the children's book "Aoi no Tori" every night
  • complete 3 full lessons "Writing and Comprehension" and "Vocab and Grammar" from the Genki textbook
  • complete 3 lessons from Kanji: Look and Learn by filling out 3 pages (front and back) in my kanji notebook
  • keep up my daily learning streak on Duolingo (mostly for German and French) by completing 2 lessons or equivalent every day. 
  • use the spaced repetition feature on the Jisho app for the N5 kanji list and complete at least 1 full round. 

So here we go! Let's try this again!

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