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Sacrificing Results Now for Results Later — 6 Comments

  1. So, I learned a reasonable amount of beginner vocabulary by listening to japanesepod101.com, which meant I came in to JALUP beginner knowing most of th vocabulary already, but also knowing all the numbers and days of the week

    (I still couldn’t have conversations, though).

    The thing is…learning those things by themselves from a vocabulary list is SO DULL. “And this week we’re going to learn how to go to a restaurant and order!” Right, yes, but I’m not going to understand most of what’s said to me, so it’s not really a conversation, and memorising a list of food vocabulary is unbelievably boring.

    Enter JALUP beginner. Since starting this method I’ve picked up a huge number of words for food without having to sit down with a vocabulary list, and I *actually care about them* because I learned them by reading a book I was enjoying. One of the benefits to JALUP is how much sooner, compared to traditional methods, you can start reading. Now that I’m reading books my enjoyment is up 1000% and my learning speed has increased too. I feel like reading is so important for language learning, especially in japanese, because you’ll never remember the kanji if you don’t read them regularly.

    You can blast through JALUP beginner and Kanji Kindgom’s first few parts in a few months, and if you’re picking up some vocab through immersion then it’s not long until you’re far enough into Intermediate to start reading, which is absurdly fast and so worth it.

    I suppose I have the benefit of having learned french previously – even when I was very good by traditional method standards I still couldn’t have conversations until I started reading french stories online and actually went to france and fumbled my way through a bunch of conversations with patient french children at the beach. So I know how important reading is (REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT, GUYS, READ BOOKS) and knowing that, despite how awesome it might look/feel to be able to rattle off a bunch of [language] in your oral exams, you still can’t communicate for sh*t outside of that setting.

  2. There’s a big difference between seeing a Japanese word and learning what it means in English, and seeing a Japanese word and learning what it means in Japanese. Obviously you need some kind of foundation to stand on before you can switch to JJ (Jalup Beginner) and yes, it does take a while to get to JJ, but it is worth it.

    From my experience JJ is extremely powerful and really helps with going from Japanese to understanding, instead of Japanese to English to understanding. I would much rather learn vocabulary in Japanese.

  3. Yes, I do worry that the methods described here will never work as I’m in the middle of it and haven’t gotten any real payoffs with conversation. It was disappointing going to Japan last month and not being able to speak much more than after my introductory Japanese course. However, there were some cool experiences as well like being able to read a sign written entirely in Kanji that make me hope that the japanese level up method will eventually pay off. I’m sticking with it as I don’t have any opportunities to take classes and hope in 1-2 years I’ll be one of those posting back how great the method is. :) I will go back now to continuing to struggle through new J-J cards.

    • The thing is, what you need for conversation is vocabulary. Which you don’t really have enough of until, say, the end of JALUP Intermediate.

      In the meantime doing shadowing will help, chatting to your furniture or the dog or whatever, and if you really want to get conversation going ASAP you could start listening to japanesepod podcasts *while* doing the JALUP method. That’s how I started and I kept it going for a good while, just because I was enjoying them. There’s no rule that says you can’t combine methods.

      Still, my progress is definitely much faster now I’ve switched my focus to native japanese immersion and JALUP cards. Also – if it helps – for the first 200 cards or so of J-J I kept having crises of faith as I grappled with how new and difficult it was and how I felt like I wasn’t learning anything and my japanese wasn’t improving at all…

      It does click, though, and the J-J cards come faster and easier, and you stop feeling quite so useless.

  4. 2.5 years in and it works with a bigger pay off than I ever thought was possible in that time. Just keep cracking at it!

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