Don’t Talk About Your Study Methods

How often have you been asked “How are you studying Japanese?” only to get stuck in an annoying conversation with someone trying to explain your methods.  Multiply this irritation when you are talking to someone who is a Japanese teacher or a Japanese person who studies English.

Dont Talk About Your Study Methods

Unless you are talking to close and understanding friends or family, you want to avoid this exchange at all costs.  Why?  It inevitably turns into questions about where you went to school to study Japanese, what textbooks you used, who taught you Japanese, etc.  When someone hears  your answers to be not what they expected, it has the potential to turn into an argument about language learning methods.

If you are using this website, or any other non-conventional study method that doesn’t involve textbooks, a classroom, and a teacher, people unfortunately will have a tendency to doubt you, argue with you, and convince you of what others have convinced them of.

Discussing methods with other people is irrelevant.  Whatever brings you results is all that matters.  Once your Japanese is good, who cares.

Save yourself the time, and come up with a simple answer to escape this mess.  I like to answer with: “You know, the usual methods.”  Every wasted moment you save by avoiding these situations will get you fluent that much faster.

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Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese.


Don’t Talk About Your Study Methods — 9 Comments

  1. I can relate with this. When I first started using the immersion method, I talked to a Japanese professor of a potential school I was looking into. He doubted the method, boasted about the method he uses to teach and said, “It’s okay for you to do a little studying, but perhaps you should wait until you get to college before spending so much time on it.” It really confused me and for a couple weeks, I was completely discouraged from studying. But I pushed through it and now people are asking me for tips on how to study.

    I think it’s fine to share if someone asks because they want studying tips. Most often though, people who ask for studying tips won’t apply what you’re saying (sometimes they will though). Perhaps because they don’t have enough confidence in their abilities, aren’t that dedicated to the language or realize they are content with their own methods. My friends think I’m really good at languages. But the truth is, whatever they see in me is it’s not my abilities, it’s just the method at work.

  2. Good advice and not only with language. I’ve been vegetarian for over a decade now and this kind of bash-your-head-against-the-wall conversations seems all too familiar!

  3. I fully understand this my friends mother told me that it was impossible to learn a learn language in two years. All I can do is use that as motivation and keep pressing on >:D

  4. I think it depends on the attitudes of the people who are having the conversation. If someone wants to tell you how to study, then yes, better to avoid the situation. But if both people are just genuinely curious, what’s the harm? I’ve discovered some interesting and useful study methods and resources by comparing notes with other Japanese scholars.

  5. I’m inclined to disagree. Most Japanese people I’ve spoken to are really intrigued by the learning process, especially the Heisig Kanji method. They think it’s a good method to associate Kanji in so many ways via the parts and their meaning.

    • Maybe in Japan. But, in America, Latin America, and Europe, the people are extremely conservatives about methods of study.

      • Overgeneralizing much? You somehow know that almost half of the worlds surface is inhabited by people who don’t like to share study methods? None of us can know this for a fact, but at least I, would disagree. I base this on my knowledge of the human species (regardless of country) and countless encounters with people from many parts of the globe.
        Either way, it’s such an overgeneralization I had to comment on it.

  6. Amen! Although I don’t think I ever encountered this situation. Especially from Japanese people. Also my friends around me think I’m like super good at Japanese because they know I study everyday but I’m always confused cuz I hardly speak Japanese around them lol. They do know I understand a lot when we go out in town and talk to strangers.

  7. I dunno, people usually find the methods I’m using quite interesting, and I like discussing learning and hope that they can gain something from hearing about these methods. I think we should talk about anki and grammar from native materiel and immersion and all that, I think its awesome stuff and we need to spread the word. You sound kinda bitter here Adshap! Did you get dismissed at a dinner party or something? I agree it can be annoying have to explain it over and over, but I take it as an opportunity to re-evaluate my current stage in my learning. Then again, I guess as a vegan I’m used to answering the same annoying questions over and over (“but what do you EAT?”), and being doubted for all my answers (“but where do you get PROTEIN FROM???”). I actually just tell people I’m vegan because of allergies half the time now…

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