Using English Even when in Full Japanese Dictionary Mode — 9 Comments

  1. One thing you should probably add: The more concrete an image is, the better it is.

    The whole ‘image’ method is used exclusively by Rosetta Stone, and we all know where that goes. Images would probably be better for concrete nouns (table, rose) and simple verbs (run) than adjectives (big, resourceful).

    Still, images are a lot better than the alternative (English).

  2. There a couple additional circumstances when I look up words up in English. I am aware I am sacrificing a little of my study quality here, but in these cases it feels like I’m sacrificing only a little quality for a large amount of being able to continue on studying in a more enjoyable manner; that is, reading and srsing things other than dictionary. (Enjoyability and quality are very much intertwined–regardless of which is the primary motivation, quality is important because it increases one’s ability to enjoy Japanese, and enjoyability is important because it increases one’s inclination to focus on studying.)

    ・When the context/definition/picture of my word suggests a particular meaning but I don’t understand enough of the definition to know whether that’s the actual meaning. This means that if I put it in a card it will work fine for reviewing if I’m not actually reinforcing an incorrect guess. I can save a lot of branching by checking whether I’m right and stopping if I am. I try to refrain from “confirming” a definition I really do pretty much understand.

    ・When my branching process has gone in a direction where I don’t even know what the subject matter is anymore. I find my comprehension goes way down when that happens, so looking up a word in English and rereading the definition with this context really helps. In this case I try to still do enough branching that I would be able to understand the definition in the future.

    I’m still experimenting with the best way to progress from struggling with a J-J dictionary to using it comfortably.

    • I agree some of it is personal and you never want to use a valuable tool if it is going to destroy your enjoyment of studying Japanese. Still, just be a little careful because it is so easy to get into bad habits. Please comment again to let us all know how your switch and full adjustment goes!

      • I will post an update when I feel like I have achieved a noticable level of comfort with the J-J dictionary, but it could be a bit because a combination of life and another interest are interfering with my Japanese study more than usual.

        I try to be on the lookout for standard slippage regarding when I look things up in J-E and I really don’t do so terribly often, but I figure that even the rule of never looking a word up in J-E before J-J saves me from the only bad habit that would be completely fatal to learning to use J-J; as long as I’m actually using it my ability will be increasing at some rate.

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