As with other posts in this series, this is the results of a test I took today, June 10, 2021.
室 真 写 閉 出 寒 事 暑 道 三 参 楽 様 貸 戸 銀 待 消 都 黒 忘 置 長 帰 着 物 変 寄 開
I got readings wrong for 閉 and 寄, drawing 長 and 室 incorrectly. 長 is from row 11, so I'm losing a few kanji that I tested on May 29, 2021 (12 days ago). 室 I have had trouble with before and made an attempt to relearn. Apparently it isn't sticking. Should that be a significant cause for concern? From my full kanji tests (which take a small 20 kanji sampling from the 200 kanji I know) I am finding a retention rate of ~90%. Does 90% retention make you worry about whether I know the 200 kanji I know? I have no concern that I can look up 長 on need and that I can recognize it even in a small font. I was even able to draw part of it, but not enough for it to be completely recognizable. 90% retention was a given from the start. No person is going to retain 100% of the things they learn at a pace that is faster than a casual pace. The problem with the casual pace is not just that results end up being delayed (we can accept delay because we are not on a timetable (fuck anyone who says you must learn a language but on their accelerated schedule)). We are simply trying to make room for anything else that we want to do -- hacking, programming, physics, swimming, talking, watching educational content, listening to music, watching entertainment, or even playing video games. The reason I'm moving on to the next row when I finish a row is not because I'm excited to do the next row (each row is successively more difficult and time consuming), not because I'm trying to break some sort of memory olympics world record (I'm not even close), not because I'm trying to prove to readers that I'm smart (I feel like that's a bonus at most), and not because I'm a lunatic. While some people might think that maybe my motivation has changed since starting this blog series, I am still only working toward a goal which I have set to be complete when I am ready -- to be able to read 銃夢 Last Order (aka Gunnm aka Battle Angel Alita) in its original language. As I've been watching anime more recently, I've definitely noticed being able to understand words here and there. I'm not quick enough to even hear the full sentences yet, but in time that should happen.
If we look at how long each row has taken, we can see a pretty clear pattern:
Row 6: 2 days
Row 7: 2 days
Row 8: 2 days
Row 9: 2 days
Row 10: 2 days
Row 11: 5 days
Row 12: 3 days
Row 13: 3 days
Row 14: 6 days
Tests are taking longer. These count of days are not indicative of how much work is going into the process, but you can get a clue if a test takes 20 minutes (20 minutes to draw 29 kanji is generous, but that's a fair average for recent rows) and repetition takes 20 minutes, it's possible that I'm spending an hour each day just on kanji. That doesn't include grammar, vocabulary, watching anime, or watching educational videos. So that means to learn 19 kanji, I spent somewhere around 6 hours over the past week. If I was a busy person (I am not, in fact I've freed up my schedule to spend a lot of time on this hobby) this would be wrecking my week -- assuming I didn't get some rest from it.
What does concern me are the presence of synonyms that I don't fully have control over. In this test do you see the two synonyms? Answer here: 事 and 物 both mean thing and matter. How did I know which was which in this? Sheer dumb luck and subconscious memorization of the dictionary definition. This sort of thing doesn't help in the real world, but it doesn't matter at all for reading. A two-to-one mapping from kanji to English just means that I can forget that they are different except for typing them into a dictionary. The fact that these two kanji are used so frequently in Japanese means that I've come across them dozens of times, plenty to cement them in my permanent memory -- probably replacing some memory of my grandparents or my parents being kind to me.
Something that happened this week is that I've been putting work into is grammar. I copied sentences from a JLPT N5 preparation website. I now have a list of sentences I can test myself on. As I grow more confident in my speech, I might try finding sentences from content I consume (visual novels, anime, podcasts, videos, manga) to replace these so that I can publish them as a resource for others. The audio of course I will have to keep private to avoid copyright claims, but.. it's for my own learning anyway, right?
Another project I put entirely too much time into was a project to split an anime (100 minutes long) into chunks so that I could use them to learn listening (see above) and translate the anime. I don't have English subtitles (thanks Amazon!) so even after watching it twice I don't know what is going on. Being able to understand words I get tons of context, but without full sentence comprehension it's like I'm watching while playing Tetris. A typical moment: "What happened? They were shouting, then someone was confused, then someone was shooting someone else." Complex nuance and rapid dialog is almost completely lost leaving me with just emotions and a less than third grade level grasp on the subject. It's not nearly as infuriating as it sounds. Ever listen to a conversation in a foreign language? Yeah, it's exhausting but it's not evocative of negative emotions for me.
I accidentally skipped a day of Latin last week because I took a nap before I did Latin, which means I lost the weekly quiz and lost the monthly challenge on Mondly. I'm still learning Latin (about 10 minutes per day) but I'm looking for an out.
Until next time!
I'll hopefully post all tests as I pass them. Wish me luck.
Learning to Read and Write Kanji
Learning to Read and Write Kanji Row 5
Learning to Read and Write Kanji Row 6
Learning to Read and Write Kanji Row 7
Learning to Read and Write Kanji Row 8
Learning to Read and Write Kanji Row 9
Learning to Read and Write Kanji Row 10
Learning to Read and Write Kanji Row 11
Learning to Read and Write Kanji Row 12
Learning to Read and Write Kanji Row 13
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