I don’t why, but I always have the feeling that I’ll never be able to learn it all. And while I know it’s true, I keep worrying about being stuck and never progressing towards fluency. I feel I haven’t progressed much from the day I first started 4 years ago in terms of vocabulary. In my previous posts I did mention how I kept making new lists (I have a thing for trying something new and never sticking to it) but never went back to reviewing them.
I find that making a physical list in a notebook is not my thing. Online lists seem easier to maintain and there are countless resources out there like Cram and Evernote that give you the opportunity to begin new “notes” (satisfying my need for a “new” page) while still being on the same platform. I have begun working on a Master list which will be a culmination of all the messy and scattered lists I’ve made up until now.
What I need next is a review system that will function as SRS, while having a warm feel to it, if that makes any sense. While I do have flashcards to help me with the most recent words I’ve picked up from my readings, I’m still on the lookout for a better way to commit the Japanese vocabulary to memory.
One of the things I try to do often is pick out a few words from the list and find simple sentences that use them through a google search. What I tend to do is run the word that I want to learn through a google search. Then I go through the results to find easy sentences that have not more than 2-3 unknown words. I then write out the sentence in a book, paying special attention to the grammar and Kanji used. I try writing the sentence a few more times before moving on to the next word.
I find this to be a great way of committing an old and forgotten word to memory while learning new words that sit naturally with it. The reason I repeat the sentences atleast 3 times is because writing the sentences over and over again gives my brain a chance to go over each letter slowly and deliberately. I tend to skip over Kanji when I read them online and not pay close attention to the strokes. A bad habit that definitely needs to be worked on. Writing is definitely a good way to keep this tendency of mine in check.
However, this is a time consuming process. I tend to learn about 6-10 words every time I try this method. It can get tiring because you’re not only searching for suitable sentences, but also writing them down a couple of times. This is definitely not feasible when JLPT is right around the corner. But it is effective and can be tried when one is in need of a change.
I am still on a lookout for a better and faster way to learn new words. Reading a lot of Japanese is definitely one of them. I’m curious to know how beginners and those at intermediate levels study vocabulary. If you have any fun ways that you’d like to share, please do so in the comments. Thank you!