Taking the world less travelled

How Fluent Am I After 18 Months?

Posted by on May 11, 2008 in Language | 3 comments

On All Japanese All The Time, Khatzumoto has posted about how much he knew after 18 months of learning Japanese. I am comming up right now to the 18 month period, and while I don’t know nearly as much as Khatzumoto knew, I am very pleased with my progress.

bullet I know more than what is in Genki I. Way back when, Genki was the original material that I bought to learn Japanese. This time last year I was probably not much past the first couple of chapters. Now I know all the kanji from it, and all the grammar points.

bullet I’m 3/4 of the way through Japanese for Everyone, and I will be finished by the end of the year. In terms of grammar, I think that Japanese for Everyone gets you right into an intermediate level. It is really good and has a lot of bang for what you pay for it. I have started reading some books and I so far understand (most of) the grammar, even for longer, complicated sentences.

bullet I am still getting through learning all the Kanji. Because of university I have had to utilise many different methods of learning the Kanji. If I could start again, I would have completed Remembering the Kanji before I started at university. I hope that I can get through this book by the end of the year.

bullet I am understanding more and more of what I hear. Watching a lot of dramas definitely has attuned me to the language.

bullet The biggest let down for me is my lack of vocabulary. I don’t have a large vocabulary which makes it hard to read or listen and actually understand what is being said. I am at the moment experimenting with some vocabulary learning exercises.

bullet My speaking is also probably not very good. I haven’t had an opportunity to speak much Japanese besides following along with tapes and talking to myself aloud. I am going to Japan in November which will be my first real test of speaking and conversing.

I am very happy with my progress, I don’t think that I could progress any quicker. Even if it is not possible for me to be in All Japanese All The Time enviornment like some people can be, I engage myself in a Japanese language activity every day. It is very much a part of my life now and I will get to Japanese fluency. If you want a more “slow and steady” approach to Japanese learning compared to the AJATT method, I recommend my method: Procrastinating and Looking At Japanese Boys. It seems to be working for me!


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  1. fluxam

    You evidently made greater progress than I have in 20 months. How I envy you!
    FYI, I started with Pimsleur and endlessly repeated it in hopes it would sink in. Didn’t work.
    The two texts you mention are my mainstays (but J 4 Evry is very tedious and his grammar points are far too tersely explained; workbook is good, though). You know J4E cassette is on PirateBay? It no longer is produced or sold. There’s a three-volume (expensive) Human: 90 Days of Japanese Language published by Unicom that I’ll work on next; it has 75-min CDs for each book. I’m trying not to get bogged down by any single text but just move on in hopes another will drive the grammar home. BTW, JPod101 seems a waste of time…
    I’m doing crash work with Kanji in Mangaland by Bernabe, and that seems okay — vocab is tops. Heisig? Better than many others’ mnemonics, but any memory aid system is so dependent on fancies of the originator. Mind you, Bernabe has a squashed cow radical…
    Aah, right now I’m pushing through Walsh’s “Read Japanese Today” in hopes of getting to the end; it sinks in better than others, but doesn’t cement on and kun readings.
    The “Yotsuba” managas are translated fairly literally in English and seem helpful for side-by-side study.

  2. GoddessCarlie

    I find things like pimsleur work better for me when I am just using them to review. Anyway, I’m glad you stopped by fluxam, I love hearing about what other people do to learn Japanese. Keep it up, and I hope to hear more from you and your methods!

  3. jinsei

    Interesting. I’ve had about 3 years of on-again, off-again college study of Japanese and I’d say I’m at about the same level as you. I just started the on AJATT method a few weeks ago, and I’m impressed with the improvement it’s made. I’m wondering if you’ve adopted an SRS into your study habits, and what sort of improvement (if any) that had? It seems to me that’s the core of AJATT; all the other stuff is secondary…

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