All posts filed under: motivation / daily study

Unclutter Anki

I am struggling with Anki lately, and I have, therefore decided to do something to make Anki fun again (at least, if not fun, associated with positive feelings). There are two reasons why I hate studying Anki now: I have too many cards a day There are a lot of cards I actually don’t like From now on, I will try to improve Anki every time I study it. This means clean it a bit by removing some notes, make it more efficient by adding tips and changing the settings to find a studying pace that suits me. Unclutter my deck I think that I have been obsessed with numbers: how many words do I know, how many words do I have in Anki, can I reach 10,000 words at the end of the year, and so on… My deck has now a little less than 8000 words. I would never have thought of deleting notes because my goal was to see the number growing, not decreasing. When one is self-studying, numbers can be very rewarding and …

Monthly review: April

I started writing a monthly review last month, and I find it very beneficial. This month, too, I will look into what I have done and not done. Anki I guess that we all experience ups and downs with our SRS, Anki or other… I have been experiencing a total breakdown during the whole month of April. I have been busy at the beginning of the month and spent some days without studying Anki, with the result that I found myself with a huge deck. What happens in this case, is that I stop learning new cards and try to bring my deck to zero during the following days. After that, I was not in the mood to learn new words, and I had no fun at all studying my deck (not that it is very funny at all). I try to get Anki over with as quickly as I can, and I got into the bad habit to dismiss cards I don’t know with the “difficult” button even though I should have tagged them “again”. …

One year blogging anniversary!

It is hard to believe, but on Wednesday (April 18th) this blog will be one-year-old! 😄 To celebrate, I want to write a post about how blogging helped me to learn Japanese. Positive energy First of all, I love my blog because it is mine, and I am sure that we all feel the same. Having your own personal virtual space somewhere is exciting! I have just finished reading The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing, and I was struck by how the protagonist Anna felt after buying her new notebook: “It gives me pleasure to touch it and look at it, but I don’t know what I want it for” and “I have been sitting looking at the new pretty notebook, handling it and admiring it”*. Somehow, I have always thought that my getting excited about a new “productivity tool” was a little childish. That’s why I was struck to see the same kind of feeling described in a novel that I deeply admire. So yes, even if you don’t have a clue what you …

About the books I gave up on

Today, I would like to talk about the Japanese books I bought or received and couldn’t read because they were too difficult for me. When I first wanted to read books in Japanese, I bought mangas. The problem is that with exception from One Piece and Case closed that I love, I don’t much enjoy reading mangas. I guess that I am simply not a manga reader. And then I discovered 益田ミリ(ますだ・みり)and her series of yonkoma manga すーちゃん. I read them all and love them. She has also written several books (not manga) that seem to be personal thoughts on everyday life. I bought one, which is 「今日も怒ってしまいました」. I chose this one because I understood the title, it was short (but they almost all are), and each portion of text inside the book was very short too, with dialogues. Also, the book alternates between text and yonkoma. But I bought it too early, it was still challenging to read a full page of Japanese at the time. So I put the book aside and went on studying. …

Motivation: ups and downs

I was not very productive this weekend concerning both Japanese and English. I haven’t even read much. This made me reflect on the reasons why I sometimes feel demotivated, and I tried to find ways to snap out of it. Japanese is hard I start with this because I think that it is a red herring. It is easy to blame Japanese to justify our quitting learning it. But me, for example, I learned Japanese more efficiently and with a lot more fun than Spanish, although I am French. Our lack of motivation should not be put on Japanese being hard but should be found within ourselves. Low self-esteem The times when I am not productive are these days when I have a bad image of myself or am not happy with what I am. Of course, low self-esteem is not intrinsically linked to Japanese, but it affects my desire to study or to do things in general. I don’t have a magic solution to feel more confident, but I found that these things have helped …

Bullet Journal, 5 months later

In October of last year, I started a bullet journal for the first time. It was dedicated to studying Japanese. I promised that I would come back some months after to see if this method worked for me or not. Though I am not strictly bullet journalling anymore, it did immensely improve the way I organise myself. The daily log: the greatest improvement of all times The main feature of the bullet journal is to create daily lists of tasks with bullets. This is called the daily log, but if we get rid of fancy terms, it really is just a to-do list. Although I never have been able to stick to any to-do list, going through the whole bullet journal system and create a “daily log” allowed me to plan my day and stick to my plan for the first time in my life. I have started numerous systems to have my tasks done, mostly with apps, but would do it for a week or two at most before giving up. I would systematically …

Trying to remember Japanese Onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeia is probably one of the fun and recreative aspects of the Japanese language, and I have always been assuming that most Japanese learners remember and use these cute words effortlessly. The problem Now, I don’t think that I have a childhood trauma relative to onomatopoeia (but who knows?), but the truth is that I can’t remember them. I know some of them, of course, but only the most commonly used. Not being able to learn something that almost every text on the subject qualifies as “easy to remember” has been annoying me for a long time now, but I have done nothing to tackle this problem. The only way I dealt with onomatopoeia until now, was to add these words to my Anki deck as standard vocabulary. But I have come up against a few problems: It is a real struggle to guess an onomatopoeia through its English translations. Some share a similar meaning, and translations hardly convey the differences between related onomatopoeias. As a result, when I see the “English” card, it is a hassle …

Some thoughts on language learning and emotions

Emotions can influence the way we learn a language. Positive emotions and motivation go together, but it took me a long time to realise it. Being aware of how we attach particular emotions to our target language is the first step to building a better long-term motivation. I consider that learning a language is an activity closely linked to emotions. I am sure that there are studies out there that have covered this subject, but I am not familiar with them. I will use my own experience to see how these emotions can be used to maintain our motivation. How negative emotions can influence language learning I am not an expert, but I feel that there is a difference between learning a language and learning something else. If I learn cooking, for example, and someone tells me that what I made tastes funny, it won’t prevent me from going on studying recipes. There are things that we learn and stay, somehow, distinct from us. If what I cook tastes awful, I would feel annoyed but not depressed or …