I think I have improved, if only marginally.
Well, I have an opportunity to practice Portuguese for the next three months so I am going to break my own rule of not attempting any other language for the next three months by doing exactly that, attempting another language –along with Japanese, in the next three months!
It strikes me how little is said about reading in the language forums and by the polyglots out there.
I read and hear about how polyglots will forget a language they don’t use much, and yet, I hardly ever read or hear about anyone reading on their target language.
I love to read. I have been a bibliophile since I can remember. One of the great pleasures that I await me is discovering Japanese literature. I can’t wait.
I believe that reading is a great way to keep your newly acquired language active and yet, this is not spoken of very much out there in the language communities and some polyglots go as far as to say they are not interested in reading in the target language.
I find that strange.
I just watched Benny the Irish Polyglot‘s latest video where he announces that his next language mission is Japanese. I already knew from his tweets that he was tackling Japanese next but in the video he said something that flipped something in my head; He said that he was not going to study Japanese to speak Japanese at some point in the future but that he was going to study Japanese to get what he needed on a daily basis to aid in his conversations in Japanese!
That means that starting with the only three words he already knows in Japanese: ありがとう、さよなら、and 頑張って, (thank you, goodbye, and do your best, respectively) he will begin building his Japanese vocabulary but he intends to start speaking Japanese today!
That’s an entirely different way of looking at this whole language learning gig! I have been studying Japanese on and off for a year now and I can speak very little. That’s because I have been doing exactly what Benny is not; that is, I am learning Japanese to speak it at some point in the future when I know enough Japanese.
Can you say “thesecretisoutandnowIcanlearnanylanguageIwantforrealthistimeandnotjustmessaround”?
And now that I think about it, that’s exactly how I learned to speak English! I started speaking the minute I landed here and all the learning I did in my English classes were to aid this speaking thing and not the other way around!
Just wanted to share with you!
My first video in Japanese that is. I meant to shoot this unrehearsed, using only the vocab I have actually learned and the language rules that I actually know but as in the past, the minute the video got going, I went totally blank. That’s the reason why I have put off making this video for so long but I had to do it. Now the magic happens as my pride has kicked in and I have resolved never to embarrassed my mother this badly again!
Yeah, it’s been over a year since I decided to learn Japanese. I give myself a break however, because I stopped learning Japanese 4 months into it and was distracted by other languages. Recently however, I decided to really get into the study of Japanese. To help keep me focused, I registered to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test on December Ist of this year.
So now it’s been 11 days since then and I am still flopping around like a fish on a dock. To be sure, I have learned quite a bit of Japanese. It’s just that I haven’t learned enough. I can communicate quite a bit but I am not fluent yet and more importantly, I don’t feel like I know Japanese. Obviously, I need to study harder.
I feel like I am about to go into overdrive though, because of newly found inspiration: Both Benny the Irish Polyglot and Alex Rawlings have decided this very week, to learn Japanese. Now, these two guys are legendary polyglots with well established methodologies for learning languages, so I am not going to try to compare myself with them but, it makes me giddy as a school girl to be learning the same language they are learning. I know that in 3 months, these two guys will be in Japan conversing like natives in Japanese. I hope that in 3 months, I can say I speak Japanese as well. Heck, I may even run into them at the Polyglot Conference in Montreal next year and speak Japanese with them.
Wouldn’t that be something!