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Japanese Language Study Log: tanaquil

#1
I've really been enjoying the various "what I'm studying" threads and journals, so I thought I'd have a go at creating my own. I don't want to get sucked into writing a novel, so it will probably be just small observations at first. Questions and comments always welcome.

I've been studying Japanese since the fall of 2003 (!). I reached girigiri N1 level in 2009/2010, squeaking through with a pass on 1kyuu right before the old test was phased out, but have struggled to make progress since then. Sometimes I study intensely and burn out, sometimes I read like crazy for a few months (mostly manga) while ignoring my flashcards, sometimes I go months without touching Japanese hardly at all because I'm engrossed in another hobby. I would like to find a way to create more measurable, ongoing progress, hence this journal.

I teach and the semester is about to start, always a dangerous time for my Japanese studies. I hope to keep a good routine going through the spring.

Current goals: maintaining my anki reviews now that I've finally cleared the worst of my backlog; adding new material to anki in a way that I can measure continuous progress, but not adding so much that I burn out; consuming much more native material, increasing consumption of novels, news and anime/dramas without subtitles.

The last week has been dominated by my finding and experimenting with study tools through this forum that I've never used before: JTAT, Epwing2Anki, Epwing dictionaries, MorphMan, AwesomeTTT. I know very well from experience that this is a potential trap; I love geeky tools and it is all too easy for me to spend 8 hours on a spreadsheet and 0 hours reading a novel. However, I'm also finding many of these tools useful to point in new directions. 

For a very small example, the fact that MorphMan now displays a small counter in my Anki decks window showing the number of "known" morphemes is a great motivator to keep trying to increase that number. (Current number: K 12632. Ooh, it went up 2 since this morning.)

I hope to keep updating this thread once a week or so, more often if I actually have things to say, but once a week to record what (if anything) I've been doing. It is Sunday, January 15. Novel reading: I have just started (re) reading the second half of the second Fujimi novel. Wish me luck!
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#2
(2017-01-15, 12:05 pm)tanaquil Wrote: I've really been enjoying the various "what I'm studying" threads and journals, so I thought I'd have a go at creating my own. I don't want to get sucked into writing a novel, so it will probably be just small observations at first. Questions and comments always welcome.

I've been studying Japanese since the fall of 2003 (!). I reached girigiri N1 level in 2009/2010, squeaking through with a pass on 1kyuu right before the old test was phased out, but have struggled to make progress since then. Sometimes I study intensely and burn out, sometimes I read like crazy for a few months (mostly manga) while ignoring my flashcards, sometimes I go months without touching Japanese hardly at all because I'm engrossed in another hobby. I would like to find a way to create more measurable, ongoing progress, hence this journal.

I teach and the semester is about to start, always a dangerous time for my Japanese studies. I hope to keep a good routine going through the spring.

Current goals: maintaining my anki reviews now that I've finally cleared the worst of my backlog; adding new material to anki in a way that I can measure continuous progress, but not adding so much that I burn out; consuming much more native material, increasing consumption of novels, news and anime/dramas without subtitles.

The last week has been dominated by my finding and experimenting with study tools through this forum that I've never used before: JTAT, Epwing2Anki, Epwing dictionaries, MorphMan, AwesomeTTT. I know very well from experience that this is a potential trap; I love geeky tools and it is all too easy for me to spend 8 hours on a spreadsheet and 0 hours reading a novel. However, I'm also finding many of these tools useful to point in new directions. 

For a very small example, the fact that MorphMan now displays a small counter in my Anki decks window showing the number of "known" morphemes is a great motivator to keep trying to increase that number. (Current number: K 12632. Ooh, it went up 2 since this morning.)

I hope to keep updating this thread once a week or so, more often if I actually have things to say, but once a week to record what (if anything) I've been doing. It is Sunday, January 15. Novel reading: I have just started (re) reading the second half of the second Fujimi novel. Wish me luck!

Good luck with this. I'd like to know which tools you find most useful.
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#3
I will be posting an update this weekend! I have especially been loving MorphMan, though it is not for the faint of heart, as it has been through several iterations and none are fully documented. But more of that later.
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JapanesePod101
#4
I promised I would try to update once a week.

The semester is underway, but I've managed to both keep current with anki and find some time in the evenings for reading, so that is great. Hope I can keep it up as things get even busier.

ayu_modoki asked about my favorite new tools. At the moment I am working the most with MorphMan, which I love.

[Long rambling about MorphMan follows, skip to the end if you want to see just the update on what I've added this week.]

MorphMan is discussed extensively in this thread:

http://forum.koohii.com/thread-7486.html

But, beware, the thread is extremely long, very technical (I kept losing it somewhere between the python programming jargon and the discussion of mathematical statistical modeling), and reflects the fact that the tool has been through no less than four major versions, so the description of what it was doing at the beginning isn't very much like the current tool at all.

After a lot of hard work and excellent development, the original anki add-on seems to have been abandoned by its creator, and ChangSpivey has picked up the torch and is working on a fork with much better gui support.

Old version of the wiki is here:

http://rtkwiki.koohii.com/wiki/Morph_Man

But at this point it's better to grab it from the new fork, here:

https://github.com/ChangSpivey/MorphMan

(Scroll down to the read me for relevant links and an explanation of how to install, I don't think it's currently available from anki's shared plug ins page.)

The simplest way is to follow the instructions to install the plug in, then use the gui manager inside anki to edit the preferences pane to tell it which card models you want it to manage. I have learned that it is best to start slow: let it index one or two of your most-used decks, and see what behavior that produces before trying to add more. I am currently letting it monitor and modify my vocabulary and most of my sentence decks, but excluding my kanji decks. You need to add the field "MorphMan_FocusMorph" to a card model if you want it to re-order new cards in that model.

The goal of the plug-in is to monitor how many morphemes (sense-units) you know and, when viewing new material, always show you n+1 cards - cards that have exactly one unknown or recently-learned word. That way, you pick up new vocabulary much more quickly by seeing how it is used in the context of a sentence you already understand.

It is absolutely revolutionizing how I learn vocabulary. I was getting so hung up on sentences that had half a dozen unfamiliar words all at once, and it was so demotivating. Now I get a steady stream of manageable new cards that are continually reinforcing what I've just learned. Plus, it adds a little counter at the top of the deck window that shows your current "known" morpheme count (this includes all words you've seen long enough for them to pass through the initial learning stage).

Last Sunday, my count was 12632 when I was just starting to play with it. Over the week, however, I realized that I had initially made the mistake of feeding it too much material, so it thought I knew more than I did and was trying to give me words that felt too difficult. I had reached a count of 12859 (+227) before I decided to reset the database and start over. Now I'm at 10212, and I think the add-on is tracking my knowledge more accurately. I love watching the number slowly creep up.

There is a handy feature that lets you hit "k" whenever you see a new card that contains entirely of words you already know; this tags the card as already-known and skips to the next new card. A lot of those initial +227 morphemes consisted of me telling MorphMan I already know the word for e.g. "Hawaii", but at least 10-20 a day were entirely new words. Pretty cool.

Hint for anyone who's trying to decide what to feed it: if you feed it all your known kanji, it may try to give you more new words spelled with kanji you don't know, and since I know all the joyo, this was resulting in a lot of crazy kanji words showing up. Also, if you let it analyze decks which are long overdue (I have several in my "deferred" pile, mostly stuff I stopped reviewing but plan to get back to at some point), it will count words from those decks as mature even if the cards are suspended and haven't been reviewed for years. Don't let it see those decks.

If you download the latest dev version (click on "clone or download" instead of following the link to the latest stable version), it has the ability to check off whether you would like it to skip over new cards related to words you've just learned, or show them. I prefer to show them because it helps reinforce learning for me. If you click skip, you'll get more new words and fewer repeats, so that can be good if you need the challenge.

Anyway!! Highly recommended.

It is Sunday, January 22. MorphMan count: 10212. Kanji in current rotation: 2215 (currently adding about 1/day). Novel pages read in last week.... about 350, I think? I'm just finishing the third Fujimi novel.
Edited: 2017-01-22, 10:19 am
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#5
I never could get Morphman to work for me so I just gave up on it. Maybe I'll try again today and see how it works Smile
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#6
(2017-01-15, 12:05 pm)tanaquil Wrote: Sometimes I study intensely and burn out, sometimes I read like crazy for a few months (mostly manga) while ignoring my flashcards, sometimes I go months without touching Japanese hardly at all because I'm engrossed in another hobby. I would like to find a way to create more measurable, ongoing progress, hence this journal.

He, that sounds very familiar! It's motivating to see that you made it to N1 and beyond even with lots of on and off learning, mixing crazy study periods with off times and dropping your SRS reviews and then picking them back up and stuff. I think I'm in the same boat, but I still got some more miles to sail Wink But it's cool to see that not all hope is lost! I'm definitely going to follow this thread, and I wish you the best of luck with your goals!

I didn't know morphman could do so many things. I've heard of beginner decks ordered by morphman (so when you are starting from zero with 0 morphemes known) but didn't really know that you could use it to analyze existing decks and work from there. Pretty cool! Though I'm currently not really touching anki (doing other srs stuff tho) but maybe some time in the future I'll get back to it. Your post was definitely an interesting read Smile
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#7
well for the anime/drama without subtitles you could compromise in various ways like make the english sub lag 1 second, watch with Japanese subs ( if you can't read fast enough then i wouldn't bother with it.... once you read enough, you will read fast enough), watch with English subs but then go through lines in a specific episode or scene so you can learn from the anime or drama (or write down specific words or parts that you want to go over while you watch the show), run the ep through sub2srs and then join the audio into 1 file by using MakeitOne MP3 Album Maker so you can listen to the ep over several times efficiently.  I
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#8
Just a quick update this week.

I posted my results in another thread, but to make it easier for me to find this info again later, my JLPT N1 results:

Language 43/60
Reading 44/60
Listening 33/60
Total 120

Vocab A, Grammar B

I need to think about when I'm going to take the JCAT to establish the optimal number of test intervals. In early April, maybe?

Continuing to work on both Anki and extensive reading.

Kanji: 2222 (+7)
Vocab: 10,653 (+441)
novel pages: not as many last week, about 200 maybe? Now half way through fourth Fujimi novel.

I struggle to balance the temptation to add lots of new words, and the need to keep reviews from being overwhelming.
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#9
(2017-01-29, 1:17 pm)tanaquil Wrote: I struggle to balance the temptation to add lots of new words, and the need to keep reviews from being overwhelming.

Same. I'm adding 20/week again, and waiting to see when Anki Exasperation™ sinks in.
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#10
Super short weekly update:

Kanji - 2229 (consistently adding 1/day, following the order of "kanji in Heisig that are not in the joyo")
Vocab - 10854 (+201)

Finished up Tadoku month just over 1000 pages, which I'm happy with. Not quite as much reading this week (a lot of late nights at work); currently more than half way through the fifth Fujimi novel.

gaiaslastlaugh mentioned setting up a spreadsheet to track pages read a la Tadoku, and I'd like to do something similar. Tracking was definitely motivational for me.

Anki reviews are verging upwards of two hours a day, which is really too much, but I'm enjoying adding new vocabulary so much that it is hard to cut back. Will continue to walk the razor's edge.

(Incidentally, I am adding new sentences, ordered by Morphman n+1, in equal measure from the text of the first Fujimi novel, and the Core10K. There doesn't seem to be much vocab overlap between the two at the learning stage I'm at, but both are useful.)
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#11
Super brief update today!

Work has been brutal, but I've been keeping up with minimum Anki at least, and doing a little reading in the evenings, when I can stay awake long enough.

Kanji: 2236 (+7)
Vocab: 10954 (+100)... 11K so close

Reading: Sixth Fujimi novel (Accident in Blue), p. 57, only about 1/4 of the way through. So, not quite a whole novel's worth this week, but hanging in there.

I just discovered a Japanese movie ticket from 2010 being used as a bookmark in my (paper) copy [lately I've been reading on Kindle more]... let's hope I can get past 2010 next week.
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#12
(2017-01-29, 2:10 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote:
(2017-01-29, 1:17 pm)tanaquil Wrote: I struggle to balance the temptation to add lots of new words, and the need to keep reviews from being overwhelming.

Same. I'm adding 20/week again, and waiting to see when Anki Exasperation™ sinks in.

No such thing exists! Something something mental fortitude.
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#13
(2017-02-12, 8:02 pm)Flamerokz Wrote:
(2017-01-29, 2:10 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote:
(2017-01-29, 1:17 pm)tanaquil Wrote: I struggle to balance the temptation to add lots of new words, and the need to keep reviews from being overwhelming.

Same. I'm adding 20/week again, and waiting to see when Anki Exasperation™ sinks in.

No such thing exists! Something something mental fortitude.

Something something self-discipline!


@tanaquil
I don't remember if you said already, but where are you sourcing your words? Purely from reading? Maybe it's because I have strict standards for what I add to Anki, but I'm not even managing to come up with 20 words a week, let alone 20 per day.
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#14
I mentioned it in the last post, but I didn't talk about it much. Originally, I was working from a deck of single words taken from the old 1kyuu list, but now the only ones I have to review are the stubborn, stubborn leeches. Really hate the leeches, but I'm too stubborn to suspend them.

For new material, I have two decks I'm working through. One is the Core 10K, the other is a deck of sentences I made myself by taking a text from the first Fujimi novel and breaking it up into sentences, one per card. I'm working through both using MorphMan to give me N+1 sentences (so that I don't waste a ton of time on sentences I already know). I have it set to give me five new sentences from each automatically every day; if I have time, I try to do more, especially on the Core10K (because I have to do more tweaking with the Fujimi cards to make them work, but the Core10K are premade). But I have to be careful about overloading myself with new cards, it's something I have done too often.

I thought I was all caught up on my grammar deck, but I just discovered I had a bunch of "easier" cards suspended, ugh. (Of course I've forgotten a bunch of them now.) So, five reviews a day from that deck on top of whatever is due.

The process is never ending!
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#15
how come you're so stubborn about suspending them? for me having the optin to suspend instead of delete is comforting enough for me to suspend away cards that i don't want for whatever reason including being a leech. I would think especially since it's a deck you didn't even make, it'd be that much easier. it's just time that could be put to better use.

(2017-02-12, 9:07 pm)sholum Wrote:
(2017-02-12, 8:02 pm)Flamerokz Wrote:
(2017-01-29, 2:10 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote:
(2017-01-29, 1:17 pm)tanaquil Wrote: I struggle to balance the temptation to add lots of new words, and the need to keep reviews from being overwhelming.

Same. I'm adding 20/week again, and waiting to see when Anki Exasperation™ sinks in.

No such thing exists! Something something mental fortitude.

Something something self-discipline!


@tanaquil
I don't remember if you said already, but where are you sourcing your words? Purely from reading? Maybe it's because I have strict standards for what I add to Anki, but I'm not even managing to come up with 20 words a week, let alone 20 per day.

I have no problem with 20 words a week from mining words from a book I read and tv shows and internet reading. Like you I'm picky so I don't add everything. It's just easier nowadays to make cards with rikaisama and capture2text and the txt import function in anki. I save so much time
Edited: 2017-02-13, 12:14 am
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#16
I used to let Anki suspend them, but this is a deck I've been rotating through since 2009, and I am just fed up with some words refusing to get learned. I'm too stubborn.

I was kind of surprised when I did a search recently and discovered that most of the words from that deck I review regularly are leeches (or former leeches, at least). It is certainly true that a small number of cards can suck too much of your time, but at this point I guess I'm willing to devote the time. I like that anki lets you make the choice for yourself.

ETA: something interesting I've discovered lately about the leeches is that I have more success stopping them from leeching if I look up the word I confused it for, and add that to the notes on the card ("not *blank*"). It has made it very obvious why I keep confusing some of them, and hence helps me to make better distinctions.
Edited: 2017-02-13, 2:13 pm
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#17
(2017-02-13, 2:10 pm)tanaquil Wrote: ETA: something interesting I've discovered lately about the leeches is that I have more success stopping them from leeching if I look up the word I confused it for, and add that to the notes on the card ("not *blank*"). It has made it very obvious why I keep confusing some of them, and hence helps me to make better distinctions.

I didn't do that (sounds like a good idea though), but a couple of cards that kept leeching when I was working through Core were ふだ and さつ. Since they didn't show up right next to each other, it took me forever to realize that they were both 札.
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#18
Work is getting worse and the updates are getting shorter. ^_^;;

Kanji: 2243 (+7)
Vocab: 11055 (+101; I will now be in the 11k range for weeks...)

Reading: I barely made any progress at all. Still on p. 72 of Accident in Blue. Most nights this week I fell asleep before I even finished anki reviews, forget having time to read. A very good illustration of why I need to cut back on the anki so it doesn't take all my study time.

For this week, my one accomplishment was not falling behind on anki.

Well, maybe I might get in a bit more reading tonight. Until next week!
Edited: 2017-02-19, 4:48 pm
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#19
Ugh, my reporting lately has been the worst!

Work is awful, will probably be continuing to kick my butt for another month or so. Hanging on to minimal anki reviews is all I can do for now; if I manage to get in some novel reading in the evenings, that's a bonus.

In that vein, reporting now for the first time in a month...

Kanji: 2271 (+28)
Vocab: 11379 (+324; yep, still hanging out in the 11k range, looks like I'll be here for another two months)

Listening: trying to listen to NHK news in the car whenever I commute. Still don't understand much, but it's something.

Reading: I just finished the second story in Fujimi novel *Violin of Gold, Violin of Wood* last night, which puts me... I'll count the pages later. About two novels (maybe 500 pages) ahead of where I was a month ago? I still have to read the extra story in this volume before I can go on to the next one. Not much, but still, that puts me well ahead of where I was when I stopped reading the series in 2010 or so, so, go me. Only 30+ more novels to go.

BTW anki reviews are still too high at 70-90 mins per day (and that's just in-app review time, I think actual review time is longer), but it's down from almost two hours a month ago, so that's good. I'd like to get it down below 60 mins a day for maintenance. Right now it's definitely taking too much time and energy.
Edited: 2017-03-19, 9:33 pm
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#20
My job is all-consuming lately. Looks likely to continue until April 15 at least, and that's the optimistic outlook.

Barely-hanging-in-there-progress (two week report):

Kanji: 2282 (+11)
Vocab: 11475 (+96)

Listening: still listening to NHK news when I can't sleep or while commuting in the car. Basic comprehension if I'm lucky. (I kind of envy the stability of a society that can obsess for a full week on end about about 8 people who died in an avalanche - not that I don't feel for their families, but, you know.)

Reading: managed to get through 160 pages during the Tadoku mini-round, not as much as I planned (I had hoped for 250), but it's better than nothing. Finally finished Violin of Gold etc, now about 25 pages into Fujimi novel Sunset, Sunrise.

Anki reviews now closer to 70 mins than 90. Still working on getting them under 60. Actually, still working on finishing Anki reviews daily at all, the next two weeks are not going to be good.
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#21
There are no words for how awful work has been the last two weeks. For the first time in months, I have simply not been finishing my daily flashcards; I don't have time. If I get ten minutes in a day, I try to do some of the hardest ones.

The good news is that (maybe!) the workload may let up soon. If my fellow editors get their work in on time (will they or will they not? tune in tomorrow!), I may be able to get the current manuscript off my desk tomorrow night. Then I just have to meet with the current job search committee and pay my taxes. Check in with me in two weeks or so. Of course, finals week is coming up fast. *cries*

Back to reporting the bad news (two weeks' worth, to boot):

Kanji: 2292 (+10, that is so sad)
Vocab: 11528 (+53, also sad, but better than nothing I guess?)

Reading: hahahahaha, nope

Listening: I listen to NHK News when I can't sleep, which is a lot, and sometimes while commuting, so that's a good thing, maybe?

Pretty much, this is just a placeholder. I hope to be back in the land of the living (and the Japanese-studying) soon.
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