I’m just stirring the hornet’s nest here, but I think people here are also a little overdefensive about slow paces. Compared to some of the other Japanese learning communities I’ve seen this one is particularly nice about taking it easy. I used to browse r/learnjapanese and a lot of it felt like “if you aren’t doing something that will make you pass N1 in a year you’re doing it wrong” back then. Despite how relatively nice and inclusive it is on WK there’s a crowd that seems to interpret everything that comes even remotely close to “faster good” as some sort of personal attack and feels the need to derail the conversation with the same repeated fast vs slow rhetoric.
I guess what I really want to say is it would be nice if more people would channel that WK Zen energy into assuming people generally write things on the forums with good intentions. Almost every semi-toxic post I’ve seen could have been reworded to sound nicer/softer or better express that something was an opinion or recommendation, but things end up as holy wars too frequently instead. This is kind of upsetting considering how much of an international community we have.
The more toxic posts and WK cult usually come from first-time trial users rudely admonishing the platform for doing exactly what it was intended to do. I have no sympathy for people who refuse to read the FAQ and are rude for it.
Maybe I haven’t interacted with the community as much as I should have, but to me it has always appeared to be one of the most wholesome communities I’ve seen. I haven’t seen much of people boasting and rubbing into beginners’ faces how much better they are. Instead, most of it is people encouraging each other, sharing resources, experiences, and tips to reach the same goal we’ve all set our eyes on.
Meanwhile, on many other forums it is almost impossible to find a thread without any toxicity, passive aggressive replies or straight up insults. I’m always met with instant regret whenever I click on a thread on MAL that sounds interesting once I scroll down and look at the replies. I don’t think I’ve seen a thread in several years where users over there have treated each other respectfully.
But that’s expected of the internet I suppose. On here, you won’t encounter what people say to your face. On here, people don’t share their words, but their thoughts.
Oh totally, I appreciate the mention because if I ever say anything about moving fast or really rate at all I feel like I should soften the post in a ton of sentences saying that it’s totally ok if you’re moving slower. And, yeah, it is. I mean, it’s so ok I wish it could go without saying, as just an assumed default. I do not care the slightest bit about anyone’s speed outside of having quite a few members here who I like and hope they can learn as quick as they want.
I have this feeling that the existence of toxic elements in the “speedrunners” (honestly almost exclusively, personally, encountered OUTSIDE this site) has led to negative associations with the very idea of trying to learn fast. But I mean, ignoring all factors that very reasonably make people unable to, wouldn’t you want to get better faster if you could? Outside of concerns on burnout, sure, but sometimes the pendulum swings too far that the overall opinions seem to swing closer to “if you do more than X amount you are going to burn out and are doing it wrong”… the same problem from the opposite direction. It’s kind of been in the back of my mind to talk about all that if I make a level 60 post one day (and hopefully then will have enough results of my efforts to be able to, to some degree, show that I’ve figured out a way that works at least for me, heh).
It’s hard to be sure I’m not projecting those feelings though heh.
Anyway, for the sake of not totally derailing, I am sorry if the OP feels like that. I feel like no offense at all was meant in the thread he’s referring to, but dredging through that’s not going to be productive. Whatever you think about your own speed, and if you are satisfied with your results, is all that matters.
Oh absolutely, a good point to emphasize. I do recognize a lot of what I’m talking about there even comes from attempts to help; sometimes what can feel like judgment is just too much piled on concern. But it’s like, when talking about how it’s ok to not go as fast as X person or why one has to take it slow, there’s a tendency to have to denigrate the fast person, to talk about “no lifeing” Japanese and the like. Not from everyone, and definitely sometimes inadvertently to make others feel better, but yeah. Language, man.
See I had no idea the fast lane existed! Scenic route is going strong; the latter is barely hanging in there. Perhaps I need to take a swing at reviving it later, throw the bait out there at least and see if anyone cares to bring in a little balance…
For real. Hell, some people on here aren’t even native English speakers, and I think we all understand that sometimes when speaking a foreign language you can come across with a nuance that wasn’t intended. Especially on the internet where you can’t hear tone or see facial expressions.
I saw the thread in question, and I think it literally was two posts if I’m recalling correctly. One person was literally not yet subscribed and making their very first post. They were surprised at only being level 9 after x months based off their own current pace which is a totally fair assessment and asked if they were missing anything. I think we all know how quick and easy the first levels go, so if thats the only thing they are using to gauge the speed at which you can go through wk, they might be surprised to hear of OPs slower pace. Totally harmless and understandable assessment and, if anything, it’s our responsibility as more experienced users to inform him of the stacking workload. @Daisoujou did exactly this and proceeded to say
Which 0 people can find fault with.
Kanjinsanity then gave his own pace to contrast and, if anything, show that pace can vary quite wildly from person to person. No one actually said that you should have done more, just that in the same period of time how much one person does is unique to them.
But you’re claiming you’re being shunned, berated, and feel like shit.
This community isn’t perfect and there’s things you can complain about for sure, but this ain’t one of them. If you ask me, you pointlessly dropping the fact that your degree costs 40,000 euros feels like more of a flex than someone mentioning their learning speed which is relevant to a question a user had. Hopefully that illustrates how you can take that interaction in a completely different way based on your attitude towards the situation.
So as some users have already said, lets focus on not reading too much into things and assuming people have good intentions.
Or maybe he just wanted to emphasize the fact that he wants to get his degree and not having to pay for another year… It’s a solid argument to explain why you would want to focus more on that than on WK for a while in my opinion.
Still, everyone has his own sensibility to interactions with people. I guess, the other topic was too overwhelming for the author.
This topic on the other end, won’t bring much to the debate. There’s always some of this kind on any forum.
Just take the positiveness from everyone and leave aside the negativeness. You work for your own good.
I could drop my studies to pursue competitive cloud watching, and nobody would say shit. No one cares about your argument why you are stopping or slowing down, because people are generally mature enough to understand it is your life and you can do what you want. You don’t need to argue or justify anything in the first place.
It hasn’t been my impression that people are discouraging other people from going fast. I usually see both sides well represented.
I think there are two extremes here:
Leveling up consistently after 7 days
Taking significantly more than a month per level (on average)
Both of these are probably not the normal situation. I would guess that most people (if we exclude obvious outliers like people who dropped out) take somewhere between 8-30 days per level. These are the paces we should consider “normal”. Other paces might work for certain people, but I feel it’s wrong to treat them as blanket recommendations.
Of course you’re right that “all else being equal” faster would be better. But all else is not equal and many speed discussions seem to happen devoid of that context.
But the fact is:
Not everyone has the same amount of free time. Some people are students, some have a job. Some have a family and others don’t. Etc.
Some people want to focus mainly on Japanese for some extended period of their lives. Others have a lot of other hobbies too.
Some people have prior knowledge of Japanese (or Chinese) which can make learning easier. Some people have the opportunity to apply what they learn directly because they e.g. live in Japan. Other people have neither.
Some people focus a lot on WK and not much on grammar or other vocab. Others work through Genki at the same time and maybe also use Anki.
Not everyone has the same memory. Some people memorise things very quickly, others are worse at it.
And so on. I often see advice about learning Japanese completely ignore these aspects and as such it is usually rather useless unless you happen to have more or less a similar situation as that other person.
I’ve been on this forum for 7 years, and this is just my raw opinion/perception with no proof, but I feel like I see more discouragement towards fast speeds rather than slow speeds. I’ve seen people even go as far as arguing that by going full speed you aren’t actually learning the material.
Ouch, are you telling me by opting for 8 days every level instead of 7, I’ve gotten myself disqualified from the fast lane?
Otherwise, yeah, my subjective impression has been totally the same as Vanilla’s, that there is an overall tendency towards discouraging moving “too fast.” No doubt some of that stems from new users who don’t understand the future pile they are burying themselves under when they find level 2 slow and need to be told it, heh. Of course, a lot of that comes not in saying “Hey you, slow down!” but in telling anyone moving slower that moving slower is fine. And like, it is. But from my perspective it’s common for some people to default to “Yes, moving slower is outright correct” and not “Moving slower is perfect if it’s good for you.” But overall I think these forums are great so even that isn’t like, overwhelmingly common. I stick around for a reason haha.
Again though, language is imprecise and I myself filled my comment with doubts that I may be reading into these comments. I don’t disagree that there are many personal circumstances that weight in either direction.
I agree that this is not a fair assessment. If you can go fast you will not learn worse because the SRS will make sure to quiz you again after enough time.
I would maybe only say that it could be suboptimal to only do WK, rushing through it to the detriment of anything else (ie. not doing any grammar, vocab or reading/listening). Because seeing knowledge in several contexts is usually better for cementing it.
I stand firm by the assessment though that I would not recommend a consistent 7 day/level pace to a beginner not because you can’t make it work if you’re the right kind of person but because it’s not how it works for most people (if it does for you, congrats!). Just like I really admire people who can speedrun video games but I would never expect any regular person to play video games like that.
My impression as well. Possibly something I’ve unintentionally helped foment.
But I think the intentions are pure: not a large percentage make it to higher levels and I think it’s reasonable to believe that more fail due to becoming overwhelmed by going too fast than by losing interest from going too slow.
I think there is “fast” and there is “speedrun fast”.
I’m averaging 8-12 days a level if we discount the two levels where I paused lessons for a while. That’s slower than I went initially (I feel that it just gets harder after a while), but I still think it’s somewhat fast or maybe “upper average”. I know that some people take quite a bit more time.
Probably would be interesting to see some actual statistics, but you have to be careful to remove outliers (people who drop off, etc.).
I would like to think that we can all agree the most important thing is making an informed decision about your speed. This might take a bit of time to realize what you are and aren’t capable of given your constraints. But yeah, regardless I’d just hope that once people have made an informed decision that we can respect that.
I actually had a different perception. I think its more just people losing interest in general regardless of their speed. I guess its easy to feel “overwhelmed” at any speed when you lose interest and stop opening the app as much and it becomes more of a chore, but overall I feel like quitting is almost always a symptom of just…not wanting it enough. Even a speed runner could stop doing lessons and very quickly cut their workload massively if they started getting overwhelmed.
Yes, I agree that in many cases the speed is not the reason.
I think the bigger problem is if some people start out super motivated, then get overwhelmed, then stop doing anything, come back to huge review walls, have forgotten most of it, maybe they reset or don’t, then after a while they manage to overcome this but then the same thing repeats a couple of weeks or months later.
More than speed, I would always say that consistency is king. That’s not to mean you can’t take some time off when life gets in the way, but do make a plan to come back and then … stick with it. Do the reviews. Decide on how many lessons you want to do and be at least sort of in that ballpark. And so on.
And I fully agree that you should think about your goals and how you’re gonna achieve them with the speed you have. It’s fine if it takes you 5 years to complete WK as long as you’re fully aware that it will take you 5 years (and that WK is only a small part of Japanese).