Discouragement

Decided to browse a bit of the forums today and it just kinda left me in a bad mindset. It feels like everyone is just… So much more competent.

It just kinda really stings that even after getting on adhd medication and drastically improving my pace and all that, often spending like 2 - 4 hours on wk a day every single day and genuinely really really pushing myself with the amount of work I get through… That I’m still going at a speed that would be generally considered slow. Not to mention all the rhetoric I keep hearing about how if you go too slow you’ll never accomplish your goals in a reasonable time and how bad that is and all that…

And just it really stings. I’m trying my absolute hardest here but checking on here makes me feel like my best isn’t enough. That Im just so incredibly dumb that to many people it wouldnt even look like Im taking it seriously.

I know I’ve made a thread like this in the past and i know this mindset isnt healthy and that no one actually said those things to me and I’m just choosing to interpret miscellaneous things I see like that… But that doesnt make it any easier to just… feel like I am doing well or that this progress does count for something.

51 Likes

The most important thing in language learning is consistency. Whatever the speed, if you really do spend time on studying, there’s no one who fails to get better over time. Japanese is super far from English so it’s not an easy language for us… but it is just a language, even with all its irregularities and inconsistencies, and perhaps a little effort as best you can at demystifying it might be helpful. Your goals are, of course, individual to you, and I know I’ve been someone to bring up that sort of thing, but a big part of my point has never been that any pace is “too slow” unless it doesn’t match up with your expectations. Half of that is about figuring out how you need to optimize your studies but the other half is making efforts to adjust and make your expectations realistic, you know?

There are a lot of people here really good at Japanese, though I’d encourage you think about it through the lens of survivorship bias. Those same people often have posts where they barely knew anything several years ago. The people who gave up are mostly, by definition, no longer here. So you have a steady trickle of newer learners, sure, but mostly you’re going to get the longtime community that has been doing this for a very very long time.

I know how discouraging the early stages tend to be, when you can’t really interact with the “real language,” and I’m not sure there’s much more we can offer beyond specific advice to get you there. I think it’s common for people to find that as you progress in your Japanese studies, learning more Japanese gets a little easier, through a combination of figuring out how best you learn and just having more knowledge to tie new learning to. Hopefully that’s true for you as well.

If you don’t mind, while I don’t want to overwhelm you with more work to do, I do want to ask, are you only doing WK currently? A little bit of time spent on grammar especially will see the largest upfront gains, if you can manage it.

35 Likes

Reasonable time is subjective. Depends on what your goals are.

You probably haven’t figured out the correct pace for WK just yet which makes you idle and not very effective at it, but it’ll come with time once you figure it out.

Besides, WK isn’t even that useful past lvl 30ish unless you read books and consume harder content, so you got plenty of time to catch up.

2 Likes

Isn’t that what being human is about? :slight_smile:

Also, you didn’t mention why you’re doing WaniKani specifically. It’s a good tool, but if it doesn’t work for you, you don’t have to force yourself to use it. There are other options and even if they’re “objectively” less effective at teaching yourself kanji, maybe they will work for you.

6 Likes

Ive been meaning to start on genki but i havent done anything else yet… Nervous about the lack of structure of it and how ill handle it

1 Like

I can assure you that you are most likely more competent than me in at least 10 things. especially nihongo, as you are lvl 10, and i am a lowlife lvl 3.

2 Likes

Any progress is still progress. What’s slow for some people might be just right for you. What’s just right for you might be fast for someone else. Since WK does market that it’s possible (not that everyone can, just that it’s possible, under the right circumstances, and a lot of people don’t have those circumstances) to get through all 60 levels in a little over a year, I’ve seen quite a few people on here who seem to think that speed-running is the only way to go, and I’ve seen them comment stuff to the effect of, “You’re spending upwards of 2 weeks on a single level? What are you even doing? That’s way too slow.” Sure, for them it might be way too slow, but for that person who’s taking 2+ weeks per level, it’s good. That’s how long they have to spend on it for the information to sink in, and/or that’s how long it takes them due to the amount of free time they have outside of other obligations like work and school and family.

However long it takes you is however long it takes you. Language-learning is not a race. The people who look at you and think you’re not taking it seriously just because you need more time than they do are taking it too seriously themselves.

15 Likes

I’ve been trying to learn Japanese for years now, and still can’t pass N5. So, yeah. We’re not all doing that great here :man_shrugging:

15 Likes

If I may, I would suggest Bunpro for that. A bit rough around the edges in a couple of things, but it definitely is a powerful grammar tool that will help you save time, effort, and sanity.

2 Likes

I just started Genki also. I’m self-structuring it by making it like homework. If you need extra help with it, there is an app called Renshuu that has flashcard-like quizzes of the Genki vocabulary words to help you learn them. I like Renshuu a lot. They have a Discord with a fun community that does word games for beginners weekly. Remember to have fun with it. If language learning becomes a chore in your mind it will be harder.

5 Likes

The correct pace to learn at is the pace at which you can learn. You can’t force it to happen faster, but you can focus on problem areas. What I have been doing is using my recent mistakes list to make anki cards. There are some kanji that I memorize right away, and some that I can’t seem to get no matter how many times they come up in review, which never seems like a short enough interval for them to stick. I review with a small deck of recent mistakes before doing the Wani review and I ace them. Don’t take too much time studying ALL of them. The ones that will stick, will stick. The ones that won’t, you’ll need a little brute force to make them stick. To me, that’s a better use of time.

Also, you didn’t mention what pace you are at? Perception is reality, as they say. Maybe you’re actually going along at a reasonable pace, but it seems like pure drudgery. For instance, I started a week ago today, and I just hit level 3 yesterday. To me, that feels slow, but it’s probably not that bad.

Wani’s level system is for your OWN progress measurement. It’s not there to measure your progress against anyone else’s. Too many people are trying to enter language learning in a competitive fashion. You don’t get any medals or even much recognition for not being the fastest learner alive, so don’t sweat it. You’re (hopefully) doing this for your own betterment, and there’s no timescale on self-improvement.

2 Likes

Understandable! I went through Genki as well. It has bits that are clearly intended for a classroom environment, but overall, I found it suitable enough for self study. Structurally, while it’s nicely ordered (mostly), you’ll have to figure out what pace you like to go through it. Some people do about 1 grammar point a day I think? It’s very individual. It’s important to keep in mind that while you want to try your hardest to get a good grammar foundation, you are NOT going to be deeply learning and absorbing everything right now. This early studying is just your first pass of familiarity with the topics, which you’ll learn much deeper as you continue your studies. Luckily, the stuff in Genki is literally everywhere in the language, so it’ll definitely happen over time.

You may want to take a look at the Tokini Andy Youtube channel; he goes through both volumes of Genki (and some of Quartet now) and gives a much deeper explanation on points, as well as many more example sentences. Big fan of his teaching, and he got me through a few points that felt a little overwhelming or that I didn’t like the explanation of.

Personally, if you’re up for another SRS, I used Anki to learn all of Genki’s vocab (you can skip the kanji since you’re here of course), and there are premade decks to easily facilitate that. It’s not necessary, but I found it helpful.

If you find that you’re not liking how Genki teaches, there are many more grammar resources to take a look at that you can investigate on the forums or ask us about.

To wrap back to the overall point, the reason I suggest it is that grammar tends to be the first wall for getting into Japanese content, because it does differ quite a bit from English grammar. While kanji is important to learn at some point, there is a lot of content out there with furigana (kana over the kanji to tell you its reading), and it’s exactly the sort of stuff that you’re likely to start with, difficulty-wise. Plus there’s the whole listening side where kanji isn’t relevant. So even if this requires you to slow down more on WK, I think you’d be best served seeing if you can ease your way into starting Genki. And we’re here to help as issues arise :slightly_smiling_face:

4 Likes

That seems quite excessive to be honest, how many review do you have per day?! 4 hours of SRS is incredibly grueling for everybody.

6 Likes

Agreed. That just sounds they just haven’t yet learned how to use WK effectively with the review timings (especially 4h, 8h) or/and how to pace yourself with daily lessons. Even with maximum speed it 2h a day is pushing it. Check out the FAQ or Ultimate Guide to WK on the Forums, @Magikarpador.

But as OP is also level 10, now would be a good time to do some other things to supplement WK. WK doesn’t teach you Japanese, just one part of it, Kanji. Retaining stuff learnt on WK will be hard to retain without doing some other practice/immersion.

8 Likes

One of the things I recommend to friends that are learning is to watch an anime that has LOTS of writing in it. And of those, one stands out as a breakout anime for language learners - Komi Can’t Communicate. It’s a show about a girl with social anxiety that does most of her communication in writing, so you have PLENTY of opportunities to make relevant connections to what you’ve learned. I constantly have AHA! moments when I encounter something I just learned in WK. I keep finding little nuances in both written and spoken Japanese that add more spice to whatever I’m watching.

5 Likes

I highly recommend Tokini Andys Genki course on youtube. The videos are all kind of long (about 45-60 minutes) but they are divided into several segments/topics per video so you can just watch part of it and then continue some other time. I really like his example sentences and structuring. I found Genki to be really hard to read on my own and he helped a lot.

4 Likes

Comparing ourselves to others is a bad idea however you look at it - not only are we all different in the way we learn, the amount of time we have, the circumstances we live in, etc etc, but we can’t really know anyone else’s struggles or background. It’s easy to look around and only see people progressing quickly or already being fluent and confident in their Japanese knowledge, but do we even know what each of them has been through to get there? I’m one of those people who reached level 60 in a year - I’m also one of those people who have been studying Japanese on and off for close to 20 years now, and only in the last few months have I managed to progress past the absolute beginner level. Is that something you could know about me if you were watching my levels go up every week? Certainly not. Could you also know that I was lucky in that I had enough free time and flexible enough working circumstances at the moment that I could devote ample time to WK? Also no. And could you also know that one of the reasons I leveled up so fast (other than being enthusiastic about finally seeing actual progress) was that I was afraid that if I slowed down I might give up again for an indefinite amount of time? We all have our struggles, and it’s easy to only focus on other people’s achievements when we’re feeling disappointed with our own progress, but it’s worth remembering that most people won’t share everything, and that we never have the full picture about anyone else.
The whole conversation about speed is pointless. The only thing that is important is, do you feel like you, personally, are making progress? If you look at where you were a year, a month before, are you happy with how far you’ve come? If not, instead of feeling discouraged, you might want to look for specific advice on how to tackle areas where you feel you could improve. If yes, it really doesn’t matter at all what anyone else may be saying.

20 Likes

Thirded on the ToKini Andy recommendation, it’s probably (as far as I know) the most well-structured Genki-based class on YouTube.

I’ll usually do a few chapters myself then just go through his videos for anything I might have trouble with.

Whatever you decide, I think dipping into grammar is definitely the next step; just working with basic example sentences will 100% help make kanji you’ve learned so far on WK stick.

5 Likes

I started WaniKani in November and I’m still on Level 6. I clear all my reviews every day and then do 5 new lessons, because that’s all I have time for (in addition the various other ways I’m studying Japanese). It’s possible that I’ll never get to level 60. I think that’s ok. There are lots of other people on here who are moving along slowly and enjoying it. Are you judging us as harshly as you’re judging yourself? Probably not. Is there any way you can cut yourself a break? Because when one stops comparing oneself to others and just tries to enjoy the ride, the ride becomes a lot of fun.

11 Likes

Take a deep breath, relax and ENJOY your learning experience…

Do U think there’s no time to waste?

Some of us (myself included) have spent lots of years (18 in my case!) learning japanese.

This is just an adventure. Keep going!

5 Likes