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Motivation for people learning for fun

Have a textbook or grammar book that you find particularly helpful? What about a learning tip to share with others?

Motivation for people learning for fun

Postby Joker123 » Tue 06.17.2008 12:51 pm

I've been learning Japanese on-and-off (in the severe way, as in "study some in January, study some more in April :? ) for about three years now, and I've come to the realization that the main issue I have is a lack of real motivation. My whole venture into Japanese started around this time shortly before I started High School, when I heard J-Pop ( :oops: ) and thought "Hey, that sounds pretty. Hey, I'm bored! Let's learn Japanese!". In other words, I'm not learning for a job, school, or my community. Just as something to do every now and then. But this is not how you learn a language, obviously.
I want to have a structured class on the subject, but I'm afraid my area (DFW area of Texas) doesn't have much motivation to learn Japanese of all things. My school only offers the usual Spanish, French, and Latin, so a school course isn't an option.

In a nutshell: Does anyone have any idea how to get motivated when you have no tangible reason to learn? I'm sure at least some people were once (or still are) in the same boat as me. As always, any help or suggestions would help greatly. :P
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Re: Motivation for people learning for fun

Postby richvh » Tue 06.17.2008 1:33 pm

First of all, get a textbook if you don't have one already. It will give direction to your studies. It will also give you short-term goals to achieve (understanding what's presented in each unit) while you're working toward your long term goal...

Which is what, exactly? What do you want to do with Japanese, once you have reached a sufficient proficiency? Understand J-Pop? Read raw manga? Watch raw anime? Read Japanese novels in the original?

Define that, and it should provide your motivation.
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Re: Motivation for people learning for fun

Postby monkeykoder » Tue 06.17.2008 5:19 pm

Few things. Taking a formal class requires the same amount of motivation as learning on your own if you really want to understand the material (I took a year of Japanese at community college and learned almost nothing because I had no goals (although it does make it a lot easier for me to learn things now)) For motivation I've set a few goals for myself.
#1 Get through a manga with a good understanding of what is going on.
#2 Understand a TV. show in Japanese well enough to pick up more vocabulary (same idea as with the manga)
#3 Once I can get through a manga well I want to be able to read Japanese SF. novels.
#4 Understand a TV. show well enough to enjoy it thoroughly without subtitles.
#5 20 years from now I want to be able to go to Japan and not feel completely lost and without any abilities. (this will require actually finding someone to talk to in Japanese.

Keep studying more consistently I found that with any reasonable break from learning you start forgetting too much.
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Re: Motivation for people learning for fun

Postby piepiepie75 » Tue 06.17.2008 7:45 pm

As rich said, you need to form an idea of why you want to learn Japanese. Believe me, it will make it MUCH easier to motivate yourself. When I started Japanese, I had no real reason to learn it either. I wanted to learn it for the sake of learning it. I studied like once a week and never really got anywhere. Then, I decided "Hey, I should minor in Japanese in college!" The main problem for me is that Japanese was not offered at my local college, so I have to enter university next fall and prove proficiency to begin a Third year Japanese class. After I decided to do that, I've studied at least one hour a day, every day since mid February.

So, once you form a goal try these:

1. Get a textbook, audio program, or computer software that is at least somewhat structured. I find these are helpful because they actually set you on a path rather than just learning random words and grammar all the time.

2. Get a 'study buddy'. Find someone to study Japanese with, or perhaps better a group of people. This could help keep you from quitting or getting lazy. There are lots of people here that would love to have a study buddy, I'm sure, so just ask around if you can't get one near you.

3. Set small goals. For example "By the end of the week, I will memorize these 20 words" or "I will learn 3 Kanji by Monday".

4. Set aside times for studying and make sure there will be minimal distractions. For example, deciding to study at the same time your sister's birthday party is starting may not be the best idea. That's not to say you have to be shut up in your room with no noise and have your nose buried in a textbook, of course.
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Re: Motivation for people learning for fun

Postby furrykef » Tue 06.17.2008 7:59 pm

piepiepie75 wrote:As rich said, you need to form an idea of why you want to learn Japanese.


Not necessarily. I'm doing quite well in learning Spanish and I have no reason for learning it at all, at least, not beyond "It's fun!". Of course, Spanish is far easier to study. But for me the sheer fun of it itself provides motivation. The same thing applies to Japanese... I stopped studying it for a while because I unwisely put myself in Heisig Hell and tried not to learn any Japanese outside of Heisig until I was done with it. While that works for some people, I think it was a mistake in my case. Of course, some good did come of it because I did still learn a good deal. It's just not an efficient method for me. But now that I'm beginning to study the language proper, it's exciting all over again.

But you do need to set a goal of some kind. Say "I'm going to get through this book", or "I'm going to find out what every sentence I come across that I don't understand means and put it into a flash card for Anki", or whatever. Find a goal that inspires you and fills you with determination, or at least a goal that doesn't give you much reason to quit. :)

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Re: Motivation for people learning for fun

Postby chikara » Tue 06.17.2008 8:03 pm

furrykef wrote:
piepiepie75 wrote:As rich said, you need to form an idea of why you want to learn Japanese.

Not necessarily. ...... Find a goal that inspires you and fills you with determination, or at least a goal that doesn't give you much reason to quit. :) ...

I think that you are saying the same thing just in a different way and I agree with all of you :)
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Re: Motivation for people learning for fun

Postby Joker123 » Wed 06.18.2008 3:39 pm

Thanks, everyone! I'm probably going to order a textbook soon. Genki has good reviews so I'm leaning towards that, plus my friend across the country uses it for her Japanese I class at school.


Off-Topic: Speaking of Anki, how do I kinda start from scratch? I feel a bit overwhelmed after leaving my studies for so long and would just like to start from square one. :D
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