Discouragement

I see. In my family there is a certain cluster of people with ADHD symptoms and a favor for technical things. I thought that always comes together, but that was because I haven’t had other people in my surrounding with ADHD as it is still not so common in my country (Austria btw, hi!) to get a diagnosis for it.
Actually I was always bullied by that part of my family that intelligent people don’t study languages but technics :rofl:

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depends heavily on your japanese level u possesed before starting wanikani. The skill of learning fast and effective isnt necessarily bound to being smart, people also confuse knowledge with intelligence all the time.
“Even if the light at night dies, the sun will still rise” is a quote i really like. Maybe u should watch the video i linked below, perhaps it helps.

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where exactly where u born?

Maryland, US. My mother’s mostly Austrian (and was born there), a little German (grew up there) and immigrated to the US when she was 18

the austrian dialect is quite hard to learn, i can tell by alot foreighners who live decades in austria or who where even born here. One of the problem is, they learn german (Hochdeutsch) instead of the dialect used in austria, and since u understand it as an austria, since u use Hochdeutsch anyway to write, u will be fine. (which i think alot just don t bother to learn the dialect in the firstplace because u will be understanded anyways, even though u stand out immiadietly as foreighner or immigrant) Please do me a favor and say to your mother next time when something doesnt suit u “ゲワイダ " (exactly pronounced like in japanese). Thats a common austrian slang which comes the english meaning of " oh common…” near.

Yes, I’m in complete agreement with this post (and with Daisoujou’s earlier one)! I personally think that no one should have to spend 4 hours a day on WK no matter your pace. Even 2 hours is rather extreme, especially at a lower level. No wonder you’re feeling discouraged! There are definitely strategies you can try to help make things easier for you and greatly reduce your daily workload.

Have you read the ultimate guide to WK? If you haven’t, I highly recommend checking it out, and especially pay attention to the tips on scheduling. You’ll probably see your accuracy go up a lot if you hit those 4 hour and 8 hour review intervals after doing your new lessons. You’ll also probably see your accuracy increase from practicing your recent lessons a little more with the extra study mode, or with the self-study quiz script if you want a little more in-depth practice. I’ve spent the past 20+ levels doing the self-study quiz every single day after I do my new lessons to drill myself on the new material.

And yeah, I definitely do not recommend doing 20 lessons a day if it’s resulting in a 20 day level-up pace. It sounds like you might be overloading yourself.

I personally do about 12 lessons a day (and usually 10 at the very beginning of a level and at the end), and I use the lesson filter script to distribute the kanji throughout the level so that I learn 3 kanji alongside 9 vocab lessons every single day. Personally, it’s way easier and way less stressful to me to learn kanji in smaller batches. Ever since I started doing this, my accuracy on kanji reviews has improved by a lot! There are roughly three times as many vocab items as there are kanji in WK, so if you do your lessons with a 1:3 ratio of kanji to vocab, you shouldn’t get too far ahead with one or the other.

Regarding grammar, what helps me a lot (and I’m pretty sure I also have ADHD :sweat_smile:) is sort of using my WK schedule to give me deadlines for my grammar study as well. I level up pretty regularly about every 13-14 days (sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more), and I try to get at least one lesson done in my textbook Minna no Nihongo every level. So far, this strategy has gotten me through the entire first book!

I try to work on at least something in my textbook every day, and sometimes that means doing more work than other days, depending on what part of the lesson I’m on and whatever else is going on in my life at the time. That pace ends out working out to be a little less than two weeks a chapter.

Is my WK pace and grammar/vocab learning pace slower than many others here? Yes. But it’s something that I can keep up every single day, and as long as I keep doing this, I will eventually become fluent. There’s no way to speed your way to fluency in Japanese. Even going very, very fast still requires you to sink a ton of hours into it. Many of the people here who are able to achieve proficiency fast have lots of free time or started WK already with a strong background in Japanese. The best thing you can do is find a sustainable daily study schedule for yourself that you can stick to every single day. For you, that might be more or less hours than it might be for others!

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Wien? :rofl:

There are ways to configure Anki so that it works just like WK, if WK is working for you. However, the main problem with Anki is that you can get it to do just about whatever you want it to do, but actually figuring out how to do it is a whole new problem :sweat_smile:.

I personally love Anki because it’s 1) free, 2) integrates with Yomichan, and 3) is extremely customizable, but to really get Anki to work for you, I feel like it take a lot of work just figuring out how to get it all set up. Even something as simple as changing the styling on my deck so that it looked better aesthetically made Anki more pleasant for me to use.

My Anki decks are also heavily customized to the material I’m reading. I don’t study any out of context flash cards there. I primarily use it to learn the Minna no Nihongo vocab before reading each lesson chapter, and also now for learning some vocab that I see in native media (mostly pro-wrestling show recaps and twitter, haha). I think the vocab being directly relevant to stuff that I’m reading really helps motivate me to use Anki.

As far as ADHD and Japanese goes, I think for many of us, having a Japanese media property as a special interest is a great motivator. Having anime/manga hyperfixations were responsible for my very earliest attempts to learn the language in middle school/high school, though I did not get very far back then.

My motivation for learning now is because Japanese pro wrestling is my current hyperfixation (though language learning has itself become a hyperfixation for me). It has been a lot more motivating than anime/manga because so much of it goes completely untranslated, and you’re able to understand just enough on your own to want to know more. Becoming very invested in a decade plus long gay love story and having half of it be inaccessible to you (because there are parts that are only in English, and other parts that are only in Japanese) is a great incentive to want to learn the language :sweat_smile:

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No in Oberösterreich. I was born in Braunau where the Führer was born aswell.(no sarcasm) currently i live in Obernberg part of the district Ried im Innkreis.

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This is such an important thing to realize about yourself. Cannot understate this. I’m not going to be an armchair psychologist here, but I hear you describing things I’ve struggled with in the past. (I shouted “ah ha! Poor dear…” when I read the statement that I quoted.) I’m a competitive person and have said that I’m not comparing myself to others, but heck if that isn’t really, really hard. I’ve also heard people in various arenas (sports, learning, etc.) say that you only need to beat yesterday, but that’s tough to channel when there are others to compare yourself with… However, this is true, no matter how trite it seems: comparison is the thief of joy. The more you compare your progress/speed/whatever metric you choose with someone else, the more you will undervalue your own efforts.

In language learning, there’s a theory called the Zone of Proximal Development. Teachers use this to structure learning for students so that the lessons are presenting content just above their current level, i.e., the ZPD (short, 2-min video), using what’s called scaffolding. You might try this for yourself. As a former language teacher, I still do this for myself to build confidence and motivation. If you’re doing all of your studies solo, please take a minute to think about how you structure your learning to ensure your success (just like a good teacher would).

With that in mind, I strongly recommend finding an activity that makes you feel competent and then turning it up a little. For me, in my Japanese studies, that is reading. If I can read to myself, I’m okay, but say the words aloud? I really mess it up nine times out of 10. (This is not me being hard on myself, this is the truth: I am not good at it and I require practice. No judgment there, just realizing a weakness.) So I spend a little time on the Beginner Book Club manga each day… and it’s always hard, and I usually do pretty poorly. But when I re-read yesterday’s page, I don’t suck quite so much. It gets easier and I get better. And so will you, dear.

One more thing that has helped me in the past… This image (below). A therapist drew it in my notebook one time and I never forgot it. I don’t always like it (because it means I’m doing hard things and hard things are required to get to where I want to be), but it is somewhat calming to know that as long as I am trying my best, I am getting somewhere.

Be kind to yourself. :heartbeat: Stick to revelations like the one I quoted to steer your mind towards compassion for yourself. I really think you’re doing better than you might think you are, speed notwithstanding. :slight_smile:
success-really-looks-like

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That’s honestly probably at least part of why it’s taken me so long to actually learn more than kana and a few kanji here and there and a bit of vocab and the few basic-of-basics I picked up from anime and character songs. All of the series I got into had official and/or good fan translations, so there wasn’t really any need for me to learn Japanese. I did do some, but also there were a few apps I’d downloaded on my phone that just sat there untouched for years before I started WK last October.

Then last January along came this new volleyball drama anime that I immediately fell in love with even with its flaws, and I found out it’s adapted from a LN series with no official translation (probably not likely to get one, either) and the person translating it on tumblr is. not good. So I thought, “oh, well I’ve noticed that I can actually understand a lot more of the audio in anime than I could before and than that I frankly expected, and I found this JP>ENG dictionary app and I’ve also got this dictionary on particles with designs on getting a couple other grammar books, I’ll just buy the novels in Japanese and read them that way!” Hah! Few months later I found WK and actually started using those Japanese-learning apps I’d downloaded, and soon after found BunPro, and now I’m actually making progress. All because of an unpopular, underappreciated volleyball josei.

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I understand your frustration, but have you done everything in your power to improve your wanikani experience?

Do you:

  1. Know all the timings for new items and how to best optimize 4hr and 8hr reviews around your schedule?
  2. Do those reviews as soon as they come up
  3. Create your own mnemonics when you don’t like the wk ones
  4. Find time to give your undivided attention to your lessons when you do them, with at least a couple minutes set aside for each item
  5. Get more than 8 hours of sleep a night
  6. Cut all distractions while doing reviews and lessons (including not listening to music)
  7. Go through every single one of your mistakes one by one after your reviews and think about what you need in order to get it right next time
  8. Clear review queues at the end of each day.
  9. Read outside of wanikani to reinforce learned material

These are all things I did during my time on wanikani. If you’re going to compare your results to our results, then its only fair that you compare your process to our process. I think its good to notice that you’re going slower than other people compared to others despite putting in the same time. But what you choose to do with that information is what makes all the difference. Will you strive to learn how to better optimize the process, or feel sorry for yourself. The term “work smarter, not harder” is cliche as hell but I think it applies here. Putting the problem off on your own competence ends it there. But if you assume that maybe you could be doing things more efficiently, then its a chance to grow and learn.

The most important thing I learned during my first year doing japanese wasn’t some grammar point or word, but rather how to learn in the first place. It took some trial and error to see what I had to do to get as much new info in my brain as possible as efficiently as possible.

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Feel better. This is literally the best I can do.
image

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Hm, I admit I didn’t read through all the posts so this may well have been said 100 times already, BUT I’m still gonna post a response as I really feel for ya OP (I’ll keep it brief).

  1. Try to not worry what other people are doing and comparing yourself to them. It’s easy to type that and hard to accomplish when you are not feeling great in the moment. Perhaps try to write down on a piece a paper what it is you are worried about in terms of your progress. What are your biggest fears that start making you feel bad? (stuff like “I worried I’ll never reach my goals”, “I’m worried that I’ll never be fluent”). Write it down, get it out, then tear it up and throw it away (don’t keep re-reading). Or whatever you need to do to get it out of your head to help you stop actively thinking about it.

  2. Consider stop reading the forums. Yes, people can be helpful, but if it is distracting from focusing on your own learning journey it’s not helping you at this time so don’t go there and engage for the time being. Focus on what you need for you. If you can only handle WK for now, just do that and when you feel a bit better slowly add in something else.

  3. Also remember that everyone on here is at a different place in their journey and who knows where that might be compared to where you are in yours so don’t beat yourself up about not being as fast (as it might appear to you) as someone else. It sounds like you have goals so just stick with your plan to get there. You might have to make adjustments along the way, but that’s a normal part of the process.

If it is of any consolation I start WK in 2019 and am only level 14 (WK is not the only thing I do for Japanese though). And I have been studying Japanese for longer than some forum goers have been alive (over 30 years off and on). I have been going very slow on WK recently because real life stuff really blindsided me at the beginning of the year, but I am still going. Slowly.

I hope that was coherent. I wish you the very best of luck and I do hope you will feel better soon. (yes, I lied about keeping it brief :woman_shrugging:)

Edit: Don’t feel bad if certain tools don’t work for you. I tried BunPro, I really did. I wanted it to work, but it really wasn’t helping me at all so I dropped it. I do not know enough about how ADHD works in regards to memorization, though perhaps there are some resources available (I know there is a thread for it here and no the irony of recommending a forum thread is not lost on me) to help find alternatives to anki/flash card systems. Maybe writing stories using the words you are working on remembering? I’m grasping at straws here, but what things do you find are most successful to help you memorize things in other subjects? It can probably be adapted to language study. I read a lot and that helps me memorize kanji far better than flash cards. I remember were I came across it in the story and it just helps so much.

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Any progress > no progress.

You might not be going as fast as you could, but you can’t do anything about that but try to see what works for you. The only one you should be comparing to is yourself.

I started studying around 8 years ago, did around 30 levels of WK, reset a few times and basically always got to the same point or less, finished 6 semesters of Japanese, halfway between N5 and N4, did some more classes, passed N4, and I’ve been stuck at that point since then basically. Doing some reading and listening, teaching, but never really studying grammar or kanji except the few I encounter that I don’t know, and they usually don’t stick.

But after 8 years, I could finally watch a full video in Japanese while understanding everything they said, and it wasn’t particularly complicated, just fluent.

It took 8 years, and some people would probably take 1 to accomplish what I did, but that’s not me, not my life, not my time, not my responsibilities, and most importantly, not my problem.

We all go at our own pace.

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I get the opposite impression, half the people active on the forums seem to be taking several months on each level and lurking in poll and good-feels threads. I think you’re doing just fine, especially considering you joined about 9 months ago and you’re level 10. I decided to reset, so if anything, you’re more efficient than me at this point overall.

Don’t get so down on yourself. The absolute best possible time to get to level 60 is like 10 months. That’s assuming you don’t sleep and/or either already know most of the Kanji, or have a photographic memory. Language learning is one of the most volatile hobbies one can have- you are constantly going to find new things you don’t understand, and this is true for me, you, and everyone else here that hasn’t been learning since being a toddler. This is how non-native language learning is. And Japanese is one of the more difficult ones to learn (for English natives). You ARE going to stagnate, crash and burn. It’s just how it is. And then you’ll continue on and push past the wall. We all do it, and you will too.

Once again- because I want to end that rant off in a really positive note: You’re doing fine. If anything, if you want my advice, maybe visit WK once a day, and spend no more than an hour on it. Try to keep your apprentice items between 75-200 (stop doing lessons if you’re above that).

I don’t know anything about your goals, so I don’t want to assume, but I imagine you are trying to get something positive out of your language learning experience. You’re probably going to be at this for a few years at the very least, so there’s no need to rush and stress yourself beyond your means. I’m studying (cramming at this point really) for some exams for my career right now (taking the Series 07 on Friday), and I don’t have the focus to study Japanese more than a bit per day, so that hour rule is what I keep myself to.

I want to clarify, before anyone gets upset, I think everyone learns at their own pace, and having fun on forums isn’t a bad thing at all, especially when you’re interacting with people with similar interests and similar goals. I’m just trying to reassure OP that most are in a similar boat.

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I was wondering why I was going slow…

…sped it up for two levels. Hooray!!

Realized I barely remembered anything from that first ‘faster level’.

Am now back to slow leveling. hahaha

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If it makes you feel any better, I’ve been trying to learn Japanese since meeting my wife in 2007. I’ve visited Japan numerous times. I’ve lived here since mid-2020.

Over those 15 years, I’ve tried mobile apps, videos, Pimsleur’s, Rosetta Stone, Italki tutoring, Genki, physical flashcards (various publishers), and Anki.

I can still barely interact with a clerk at a convenience store. I can barely make myself understood to my mother-in-law, and even then I have to drag out Google Translate to convey even simple concepts like where my wife is.

It feels like my brain just doesn’t absorb the information because it’s so impenatrable and I haven’t found the magic key that starts to unlock it for me. I got really hung up on trying to figure out how to conjugate verbs (I learned both German and French in high school and was convinced for so long that there was a conspiracy to keep the “I, You, He/She/It, We, You All, They” conjugation charts for Japanese verbs hidden).

I did find an Android app called KanjiSenpai years ago, and have made at least three attempts to get into it (restarting from 0 each time), but unlike WaniKani, it didn’t force you to learn the on and kun variations for each term, so I didn’t start to pick up any patterns, and would eventually run out of steam.

I feel like WaniKani is the first time that things are starting to click in my head and I feel like I can engage a little bit with the signs I see on the streets. I’ve also started using Bunpro, although it’s a little less streamlined, and requires more effort, so I don’t always feel like going over to it.

Anyway, my point is…I see people here who say they’ve become ~30% fluent after a year and I just shrug. I have a full-time job and a family, as well as a lot of other interests. So I’m not going to beat myself up for the pace I’m proceeding at. Learning Japanese was never a priority in my life until I realized I might be moving here more-or-less permanently.

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I recommend bunpro. You’re at a high enough level where you can go ahead and start to learn the N5 grammer without much issue. Personally, I don’t like studying from a textbook and prefer the automated SRS method. I tried Genki and tried to incorporate it into my day, but sitting down at a desk and reading from a book, learning a new grammar topic, practicing a few times, and not really visiting it again didn’t really help me much.

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Sorry to hear you are struggling! I’ve tried over 3 different multi-year periods of my life to learn Japanese. I end up getting stuck every time. This despite being traditionally considered “smart” (I was top of my class at Stanford University) and having become quite converaational in several other languages in far less time. Japanese is, simply put, hard for me to learn. Maybe you are having a similar discovery.

The vast majority of English speakers fail to learn any second language to any even remotely useful degree. An even smaller number take up Japanese, which is considered the hardest lamguage for English speakers. Even among those that do, many fail to learn more than a handful of kanji. What you are attempting to do is extremely rare. You can kinda think of everyone on this forum as already an elite language learner. Only ambitious people do wanikani. I’d say everyone here is already in roughly in the top 2% of English-speaking language learners. The people here are the best of the best!

Maybe you aren’t the fastest learner here, but who cares if you are in the top 1% or top 2%? You are here and you are trying. It even sounds like you are making progress. Which is better than some, including even myself. I took a break about 3 weeks ago. Maybe I’ll pick it back up, but you already beat me (I made it level 6 before I took a break)

Hope this helps! Your frustration is understandable! I’d say the ONLY way to learn Japanese is to embrace confusion, frustration, and a feeling of imcompetence. If you can do that and still enjoy it, you will grow. It’s just the nature of doing something as hard as Japanese. And, of course, immersion if you can makes learning language 10-100x faster.

You are among friends here… good luck!

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