Finding Out How You Don’t Like To Study — 11 Comments

  1. One thing that wasn’t clear to me at first is how things change over time. Different approaches are good at different stages of the journey. It can be worth revisiting things you don’t like from time to time, and sometimes dropping things you do like.
    For example I really didn’t get passive immersion for the first few months, but now I feel uncomfortable if there isn’t Japanese playing in the background.

    • Good point. It can definitely be useful to briefly return to some previous dislikes to see if you still dislike them.

  2. I don’t like reading sentences in Anki. I can drill through lists of vocab in no time with flashcards, but reading and re-reading the same sentences gets old very quickly. I haven’t really found a good alternative to it yet, though.

    • Try going faster and being a bit more liberal on passing cards so you space them out more quickly and get more variety in what you are seeing?

    • I personally try to attach an emotion to a sentence (Memory Technique). Try imagining a scene (or different scenes) where the sentence would be used each time you read a sentence. This might be tough in the beginning, but after a while it would happen automatically.You’d amaze yourself how fun it makes doing sentences.

    • As edubkendo mentioned, picking up speed after your first readthrough can make things go quicker. Also you could stop saying them out loud (or writing them) to make things go faster.

      And if for some reason you still really dislike doing sentences, then switch it up. If you are using a deck with sentences, just replace them with the target vocabulary word. Or you can just go directly to decks with single vocabulary words.

      • I did sentences for two years prior to stopping them, and I’ve found myself multiple times skimming over the sentence without really reading it because I knew it by heart, but not well enough to recall it without making grammar mistakes. So basically it was a bit pointless.
        I should mention that I’m currently studying Japanese as my major at a French university so I got most of my sentences from my textbooks and the example sentences the Japanese teachers gave us. Same goes for the vocabulary deck, but for some reason learning boring vocab by itself is way less painful than boring sentences.
        I’m at a lower intermediate level right now, and I know I should start reading in Japanese and enjoying native material, but I just can’t find the time to do so because of uni, what a paradox !

        Right now I’m at the point where I don’t feel like I’m learning Japanese, but more like I am just learning school requirements. I’m sorry my response got a bit out of hand, on top of that I’m currently on a study break studying 8 hours a day for uni because I failed my semester and I have to retake the exams. I’m kind of heartbroken to see how learning Japanese has become a chore to me right now.

        Btw is there any way I can be notified by email when someone reply to my comment ?

        • Sounds to me like the source of your sentences is causing you problems. If you’re only lifting stuff from textbooks, then you’re going to get bored pretty quickly.

          At first I was only making cards using sentences from a single grammar textbook. Needless to say, I got to about 800 cards before I deleted the deck and started fresh, deciding to only add cards from native sources. That was nearly 5 years ago now, and I currently have a deck with 12,000 self-made cards, mostly from my favourite manga, books and magazines. I use the branching methods recommended at JALUP, so a good amount of my cards are short dictionary sentences, but I also supplement my deck with examples from JLPT grammar books. With cards from native materials, the enjoyment comes from picturing the scene again and all the contextual information that comes flooding back to you. This is why I could never stand having someone else make my cards for me, no matter how good they might be.

          Example sentences from textbooks are designed to teach specific grammar points; they’re contrived, not “real”, and don’t fit in to any wider context. In my opinion, they should only be used to help you understand the grammar, and shouldn’t be considered as all there is to the language.

          I hope you kept your old textbook cards, because I suggest you try out some native materials, and add some sentences from there. If you suspend all the cards from your old “boring” deck, you could reintroduce them, say 10 per week, as you go along adding cards from your native materials. That way, you’re still getting all the grammar you need for your uni course, but now as a drip feed that punctuates all the fun stuff, and all the effort you spent creating them in the first place won’t have gone to waste.

          Reading in the language you’re trying to learn counts as studying in my book. You’re encountering the exact same grammar patterns, kanji, vocab, etc. as you would in any textbook, so what’s the difference? Creating new cards counts as study time, too, by the way!

          Sounds like you’re in a tough place at the moment, but if you can find inspiration in a comic or novel you love, it could change everything! I hope you can find a way to start enjoying Japanese. Why not try challenging yourself with JALUP’s “Achieve Your Japanese Goals”? It might work as a good kickstarter.

          • I realized I never properly answered you. Thank you for your advice ! Thankfully I kept the old decks, because I’ve been using Anki for quite a long time now and I’ve been guilty of deleting entire handmade decks, only to realize 6 months later that they could have been useful.
            I added a field on my cards with example sentences on the verso that appears every time I turn the card, so that I could still be in contact of Japanese grammar while cramming vocab.
            And I also followed your advice to make monthly goals, I hope it’s going to help !
            I will leave the “create cars from material you enjoy” to next summer because of time limits, but I’m definitely going to do it !

  3. For me it was realizing that I dislike trying to make enough new cards on my own to make progress. I battled this for a couple years and made little progress in my previous attempt at learning Japanese. To procrastinate actually making sentence cards, I would instead experiment constantly with new card formats and tried all kinds of silly stuff.

    When I came back to studying a year ago, I immediately jumped on iknow. And while this solved that particular problem (all the sentences are pre-created for you) it was too slow, and the SRS system isn’t very good. So I was thrilled to discover the JALUP decks, where I get the best of all possible worlds.

    Interestingly, since I began doing the JALUP decks, I’ve found myself mining cards of my own far more frequently than I ever used to (as many as 5-10 a day sometimes). I think by the time I finish Expert, I’ll be in great shape to continue forward on my own.

    • Very happy to hear that!

      With your renewed mindset, by the time you finish expert, in addition to your own cards and your own immersion, your Japanese is going to be pretty damn awesome.

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