State of the Nation – July 26th, 2009

So I’ve thrown myself headfirst back into RTK, and thankfully it hasn’t atrophied as badly as I first thought. I’m just shy of 1800 in now, so the reviews are starting to blow out (265 on top of the 100 new cards today), but I’m trying to keep on top of them as much as possible. It was easier when I was solely studying kanji – it’s tricky trying to juggle it with Japanese sentence study. でも、今日から一所懸命勉強します。

Also, by virtue of Twitter (via JapanSoc, I think…?), I discovered Learn Japanese Pod earlier this week. How did it take a year of wandering around the Japanese-learning corners of the net to find this?! It’s by no means perfect (still, what is, really?), but it introduces really useful everyday conversational Japanese. Already, after only listening to about a dozen of the 94 podcasts currently available, I’m picking up more of what’s being said in dramas (yay!). And there’s plenty of everyday stuff you’d never think to ask about, at least until you get stuck in the konbini with a cashier asking if you want your bento heated : |I’m going to try and absorb as much of it as I can before heading to Japan in about 6 weeks.

LJP skews a little toward Kansai-ben, but I’m sort of liking that, because I know a lot of the Kanto-ben equivalents already and so it cements my understanding of ない vs. へん, ほんと vs. ほんま and such. All good.

What’s really started to become clear recently is the fact that relying on only one or two sources to learn a language is not the way to go. When I was doing that – and there have been quite a few instances of me falling into the One True Resource trap – it seemed like my learning stalled a bit. By changing things up constantly – Yotsubato!, RTK, UBJG, Learn Japanese Pod, Japanese Accelerator, various RPGs on my DS, heaps of dramas and music – it keeps it interesting, and stops me getting stuck on one track (e.g. all です/ます form, all dictionary form, all casual, all polite, all business, whatever). Repeating the same thing helps, too. I’ve watched Hana Kimi with (sadly unavoidable at the time) hardsubs so often that I know the gist in English of every conversation now, and it’s helping me pick up the Japanese. I was knitting with it on last night, and found that, even while intent on my work and not the screen, I knew what they were talking about and a lot of the vocab clicked into place. So, subs aren’t the devil, but relying on them can be. Here endeth my words of wisdom for today 🙂

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