My goals for reaching Japanese proficiency

I am a beginner when it comes to Japanese. I can only understand simple sentences. I know I am really far away from proficiency, but it always helps to keep goals for yourself. Goals give you a roadway to reaching your main goal in the end. In this case it is Japanese proficiency. I have created some goals for myself, and for you guys if you decide that you want to follow them as well. I made these goals off of common sense as well as other influences. Please remember that I am still a beginner which means that I never actually completed all of these goals myself yet.

Goal 1: Learn vocabulary.
This is pretty obvious right? If you don’t know any words, then you definitely can’t be proficient at Japanese. I don’t think I need to say anything else about this.

Goal 2: Learn Grammar.
Also pretty obvious.

Goal 3: Read efficiently.
Pretty obvious.

Goal 4: Expose yourself to the Japanese language.
Exposing yourself to Japanese is really helpful as you can see how Japanese people really talk. You should slowly expose yourself to more and more Japanese while you are working on Goals 1 and 2.

Goal 5: Learn natural Japanese.
You really should be doing this while working on Goal 2. Japanese is very different from English. The English grammar rules won’t really help you that much. You first need to recognize that. In order to become really proficient, you need to think of grammar like a Japanese person.

Goal 6: Recall words efficiently.
Get used to the words to a point where you can recall them without thinking that much. For example, when you are trying to translate “name” into Japanese, instead of thinking “Ok. Name is written as
‘名前’, the kanji ‘名’ in this word is pronounced as ‘な’ and the kanji ‘前’ is pronounced as ‘まえ’. That must mean that this word is pronounced as ‘なまえ’!”, think “‘Name’… Ok, it is ‘なまえ(名前)’”.

Goal 7: Becoming efficient with grammar.
Instead of thinking “‘My dog’… Ok, we would use the の particle because that is used for possessions. The object will come after the particle and the thing that possesses it will come before. Then this must be ‘私の犬’!”, think “‘My dog’… Ok, it is ‘私の犬’”.

Goal 8: Resist translating Japanese to English.
I am not just saying that you shouldn’t use an online translator. I am also saying to resist translating it to English in your head. Just think of it, Japanese people don’t translate Japanese sentences to another language whenever they hear them. They just recognize what those sentences mean by just hearing/reading them. Translating every Japanese sentence you encounter would just take too much time.

Goal 9: Think in Japanese.
This is a really hard one. Whenever you think or talk to yourself, instead of doing it in English, do it in Japanese. This would expose you to Japanese, even when you are not reading or listening to any Japanese sentences.

Goal 10: Think in Japanese when exposed to English.
Whenever you are exposed to English, instead of comprehending it right away, try to translate it first into Japanese and then try to comprehend it. When you are going to answer, first create your answer in Japanese, then translate it into English. Of course, don’t do this in important situations, like work, as it would take too long.

These goals are just guidelines and they don’t need to be strictly followed. It would just help guide you through the way towards proficiency.

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