The Great Filter of Learning Japanese and Some Numbers to Cheer you Up — 10 Comments

  1. Great article for motivation. I have found myself doing this more informally in my head before to keep me motivated. Sometimes I will think to myself “how many people have even made it to jalup ______”. I think it is important to play mental games with yourself to keep your motivation and confidence up.

  2. Somewhat motivating but also somewhat depressing as thinking I could easily be one of the intermediate learners who doesn’t make it past. After all I’m sure many of them were very hardworking too and why should I be any better than the ones who didn’t make it past?

    I’m making a push this year to finish the first 5000 of your cards (660 to go) to add to the 850 other J-J cards I have in my deck from tutoring sessions) Still frustrated by how poor my abilities are and feeling that after a few years Anki has become a grind so I’m not adding any new tutoring cards. After I finish your 5000 cards I won’t add anything new. I’ll continue daily reviews and hope as the reviews go down and do more immersion I can make it over the hump and post as a success study here in a few years.

    • You’ll make it Greg. I’ve seen you work hard here for a long time, and you haven’t stopped yet. That shows me that you’ll keep going.

      The great intermediate filter isn’t about natural talent. It’s about whether you can keep moving forward despite hitting a confidence-busting plateau.

    • Don‘t worry too much you will make it. Of course many people work hard and don’t make it but the activity of learning japanese is not the main battle that decides if you make it or not. The main battle is the emotional battle between your dreams and goals against your doubts.

      Even if you dont add new cards your old cards will get so much stronger over time it souldn‘t be underestimated.

      There are many levels for each card from only understanding it when seeing it in anki to Understanding it when you see it in the wild without any concentration. But as long as you keep up your immersion and your anki reviews I guarantee you you will reach that level for a lot of the cards in your anki deck and that will get you over the intermediate hump or even further.

      As someone who was at the mid level blues for 5-7 years. Let me tell you you can make it as well. and it was more than worth it.

    • A key factor as with anything is how badly you want it. If you desperately want fluency, you will get there. Do a ton of immersion a day if possible and a few cards and you’ll reach your goal as long as you are consistent and don’t miss days.

      If it helps you any, I stopped for 7 months (don’t do this lol) to learn Spanish with this kind of method and by the end I was getting very close to fluent listening and reading. It gave me perspective and a massive motivation boost because I knew first hand that it works. Since coming back to Japanese my progress feels much quicker! (Probably because, unlike before, I’m doing much more active immersion and far fewer anki cards and just looking up what interests me as I go). This way there’s no burnout chance.

      You can do this. It’s all mental games. Everytime you hear in your head that you are going to slowly or…will this really work, ignore it. It’s a waste of time and your enemy. As long as you’re getting tons of active immersion (2 hours minimum? I’d say 4-5 if possible) per day and also plenty of semi-active/passive and are adding a new cards this WILL happen.

      If you’ve already done thousands of cards it may be a good idea to pause for a little bit and just review and immerse.

      Also, enjoyment is key and will become much easier as you get better.

      Sorry if what I said sounded forceful at all, I just wish to help you stay motivated.

      I hope it all works out for you!

      • No this this great advice, thanks for sharing. My biggest immersion worry is picking things that are level appropriate that I understand enough and it benefits me. Any specific advice on that?

        • The more words you don’t understand in your immersion, the more chances to learn something new. If you understand 90 percent, only 10 percent has something to learn (except nuances). If you understand 40 percent, you have 60 percent of the material to learn a lot more new things. Of course, there’s the “context” side of things, but that’s why you semi active immerse in what you’ve already seen. I’d say just immerse in what interests you most. But on the other hand, I think slice of life anime or dramas are probably best for a while so that you are hearing more natural speech and you are drilling grammar patterns into your brain. (Because they are simpler so you aren’t focusing so much on vocab and more on patterns and grammar).That’s for semi active/ passive though. Watch what interests you for active.

          Finally, I dont think you should worry about the difficulty level. I remember listening to sword art online back in the day and it being really hard, but over time I understood more and more until it became much easier. It was “above my level”.

      • Thanks for the encouraging words. I did study Spanish before Japanese and got to an okay level (could have 10-20 minute conversations when traveling in South America) before switching to Japanese. I was thinking if it put the same amount of time into Spanish I’d probably be fluent by now. Not giving up on Japanese but would eventually like to know both Japanese and Spanish so if my Japanese gets better in 1-2 years will add back some Spanish study.

  3. It reminds me when I took a Japanese language course at college. I think like two thirds of the class ended up dropping out. It was just a semester long class at introduction level.

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