All posts tagged: featured

Tips for studying with a book and its audiobook

Having both the book and the audio book of the same work, allows to work in different ways. Here are some ideas: Listening practice First listen to the audiobook several times (I think that 3 times is a good choice) and really try to understand all that you can understand (meaning, unknown words are hopeless but sometimes we don’t recognize words we actually knew, that’s what we want to work on). The best thing should be to limit yourself to a paragraph if they are short enough. Then check on the book. At this point there are two options: If you really want to study this book and improve your vocabulary, search for unknown words and then, listen to the audiobook again, without reading, and try to understand everything. If your objective is just doing some listening practice, don’t bother searching for unknown words, and just check the words you knew but didn’t recognize. You can underline them if you don’t mind writing in your book. Then listen to the audiobook again, without reading, and …

Writing, writing, writing…

The writing skill is certainly one of the most (if not the most) difficult competence to improve. Especially in Japanese, where kanjis are to be taken into account. Let’s try to find some methods to practice writing. No one to correct you? No matter! The first discouraging argument is: “if what I write is full of mistakes, no one will correct me and I will end up getting used to my mistakes”. First, you can find a pen pal on internet or even pay someone to correct your writings but sincerely, I think that it doesn’t matter that much if nobody is here to correct you. Why? The most important thing is to write, write and write. Not to be corrected. It’s the same for speaking, everybody will tell you that it is much better to speak with grammar mistakes than to stay silent. And I would rather discuss with someone who can say at a natural speed a lot of things in French even if it’s full of mistakes than with someone who will …

How to define one’s goals

I already posted about the importance of having several goals and write them down. But what is a goal? and how should we define them? This is my personal advice based on my experience, I hope it will work for you, too! Goals vs to-dos I hate to-do lists. I mean, I love creating to-do lists, I can spend a lot of time writing down all the things I want to do and try all the possible designs provided by the app I am using. But then, when it comes to really do the things, I hate that list. I try to change the design, but no matter if the background image is a puppy or a telecommunication tower, I hate the list. I think that I hate the “to-do” concept, things that have to be done, things that I must do, like you had to do homework at school. The to-do list transforms things that I wanted to do into things that I have to and take all the fun out of it. How …

Stay motivated: Define your goalS

Let your big goal make babies “When I am able to read literature in Japanese, I will start by Nobel Prizes”. Thinking that I will read Kawabata and Oe in Japanese helps me stay motivated BUT if this were my only goal, I would feel discouraged and would eventually give up. Because it will be a long, long, very long time before I am able to read such great authors in Japanese (not only read, but being sufficiently at ease to really appreciate). Having a big goal is great but it is important to feel rewards all the way along. That’s why it’s important to have more modest and quicker to achieve little goals. Those little goals are like shelters on a long trail. Even if the goal of the journey is to reach the peak, the goal of the day is usually to reach the next shelter before night. Set your intermediate goals One of my goals was to read my first novel in Japanese. I achieved it some months ago and I will …

Stay motivated: look back!

Take your measuring tape To stay motivated, measuring one’s progress is essential. Even small progress is worth celebrate. No matter where you are now, one thing is certain, you are further than when you started, you have a knowledge you didn’t have before you started Japanese. Measuring those progress and celebrate should punctuate your learning adventure. But as we look forward, staring at our goal, we sometimes forget where we come from and we don’t look at that path we leave behind us. And one day, it happens. The goal we set for ourselves seems out of reach, it stands so far away we can hardly see it. In those moment, we feel like we are getting nowhere and want to give up. That’s why it’s important to look back and to be proud of what we have done. I think I should set a reminder in my calendar: “time to look back and appreciate the distance covered so far”. Ideas to measure one’s progress Write a blog Some days ago, I would have said: …

Those old-fashioned skills 1: learning by heart

I am not a language learning specialist but learning languages is one of my favorite hobbies and I invest a lot of time in it. What follows is just advice based on my own experience. Learning by heart, a lost skill? I went to a private school and I remember that learning by heart was a skill à part entière that our French teacher wanted us to acquire. We had to learn poems and recite them in front of the class. I know it may sound old-fashioned but my school was the old-fashioned style. I don’t think that they were doing it in public school at the time (I am not sure though), or that they are doing it now. Anyway, I am thankful to have been through those boring hours when, walking in circle in my room, I was saying out loud again and again, first those children-friendly Fables de La Fontaine, and later poems from Verlaine or Baudelaire that I didn’t fully understood. Today learning something by heart isn’t a daunting task to me, …