Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Worst Thing You Can Do When Learning Japanese (or Any Language)

The very worst thing you can do, and which a lot of people will unfortunately find themselves doing in this age of the internet and downloading, is drowning in resources.

I've seen torrents and download packs of things like "120 Japanese Learning books" etc and had to wonder why anyone would doom themselves to failure before they've even begun.

If you get stuck on something difficult when studying, which most people do - frequently - then you may find yourself blaming yours tools in just the way we were all taught not to. You might think "oh, I guess this textbook/website just isn't that good. I'll try another one."

Not only will you backtrack and cover the same ground again if you change resource, but you will also enforce within yourself the idea that it's okay to quit, and doing so isn't your fault.

Learning Japanese is hard. Learning any language is hard. If you want to do it successfully then you need to do the following things:
  1. Research and find what resource suits you best. If you're looking for a particular style/presentation of book, then do what you can to find it before you start. Read as many reviews/guides as you can before making your decision.
  2. Stick with your chosen resource until you have mastered it.
That's it. If you hang in there, you will get it eventually. Even a terrible textbook can be used if need be. That doesn't mean that you absolutely can't change your book even if it doesn't work for you; different people respond to different teaching methods. Bear that in mind when choosing your resources and hopefully you won't have to revise your decision.

The most important thing is to trust your decision, and your resource. Keep your focus tight, and don't get distracted by new miracle solutions.

Like I said, not everyone will respond to the same materials, but we've put together some guides for the different aspects of learning Japanese:

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