Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

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Sven

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sven » Tue Feb 16, 2016 4:00 am

The exact something is that it would eventually be faster. It's not more efficient now, and it probably won't be on the whole in six months. It's faster when I don't have to lookup any words in the definition. There's no mentally translating back and forth between English and Japanese. If I want more detail, I can look at synonyms, antonyms, and example phrases in a J->J dictionary. There's more information in less text in a J->J dictionary than a J->E one, basically.

I'll probably be using both types of dictionary for now. I find the J->J definitions are easier for nouns, adjectives, and verbs. I'm finding them a bit difficult for adverbial phrases.

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Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Narts » Tue Feb 16, 2016 5:13 am

Yeah it sounded like something you would naturally do when you reach that stage, but it would not explain the benefit of doing it now.

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Sven

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sven » Mon Feb 22, 2016 4:51 pm

I'm not going to wake up one day magically able to handle the Japanese dictionary definitions. At any rate, I'm not going to do it now because it's miserable spending tons of effort to read dictionary definitions when I could be spending that effort to read stories instead.

I'm committing to 30 new kanji a day and an hour of reading a day until Easter. The kanji is surprisingly easy to do considering it's on my phone now!

As for speaking, I'm going to put it off until Easter, I'll switch my focus then.

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Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Narts » Mon Feb 22, 2016 5:23 pm

Actually you are, though it's more of a gradual development rather than something that happens overnight.

You'll not really pay any attention to it though, because it's just not important.

I don't even remember when I reached that milestone in english. I remember being more thrilled when I realised I was able to read entire books without picking up a dictionary.

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Sven

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sven » Sat Feb 27, 2016 12:54 am

Wanted to make a quick post on Anki, the computerized flashcard program I use. Mostly about what I think it's best at. What it's just okay and downright bad at will come in some later post.

I don't have any super old stats from when I used computerized flashcards for other subjects, but these are the most recent stats I have of a period of serious flashcard use. I was just starting to learn Japanese and I needed a way to familiarize myself with the characters, they just looked like gibberish regardless of how much I tried to learn words. My goal was to be able to take ~1800 kanji and be able to associate some sort of distinct english meaning to each one, or in other words, to be able to tell them apart! I finished in a little over a month. The stats are taken ten days after finishing.
Spoiler: show
Image
I don't have stats for the first two weeks I was studying, but I suspect I studied about 90 min a day. Feel free to ask any questions about the chart.

I found I'd accomplished my goal of being able to tell kanji apart, and that as a bonus I could sometimes guess what a word meant while reading despite not actually knowing much Japanese. It was a pretty good feeling.

Anki is fantastic as a first step in learning where you just need to associate very simple meanings to whatever you're studying.
Last edited by Sven on Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Linkman » Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:31 am

Thanks for the motivation Sven!
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Sven

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sven » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:36 pm

Finished the grade 3 kanji this morning. Took about an hour total because I wanted to complete the entire set.
Spoiler: show
Image
I guess I'll comment on what Anki is absolutely terrible at now.

Anki is very, very easy to use poorly. It can be used to memorize literally anything! With such a powerful tool, it's very easy to apply it to any problem and see results. Whether or not it's the best tool for the job is a different story. I feel Anki is particularly terrible for learning new things without context.

Because don't get me wrong. You absolutely can use it that way. It's just ten times slower than learning whatever you need through context, and then only using Anki to remember the parts you found difficult.

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Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Dragonite » Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:11 am

I'm downloading Anki right now. Flashcard tool seems pretty handy.

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Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Xenesis » Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:22 pm

It's funny, I see those Kanji categories and I realise there's a bunch in there that I learnt from playing Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn in Japanese.
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Sven

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sven » Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:11 pm

I guess I didn't set goals for the week. I'd like to finish the grade 4 kanji, and ease up on the difficulty level of the stuff I'm reading.

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Sven

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sven » Sat Mar 05, 2016 5:58 am

I'd like to be done the elementary school kanji in ~10 days. That's grades 4-6 remaining, and it'll be about 40 a day. It'll be a bit uncomfortable but having an end point definitely helps with motivation.

Other than that, I finally got around to figuring out the next (and hopefully last) deliberate step in studying grammar. I found a large collection of sentences of increasing grammatical complexity already in the form of Anki usable flashcards. I'm cautiously optimistic that they'll be exposing me to more difficult sentences in a way that I can handle.

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DieselPheonix

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by DieselPheonix » Sat Mar 05, 2016 11:54 am

Is there a speaking component to these studies?

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Sven

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sven » Sun Mar 06, 2016 2:48 am

DieselPheonix wrote:Is there a speaking component to these studies?
Not really. I put almost all the time I spend on Japanese into reading and listening to stuff, with the remainder into learning the characters. I do the first because I enjoy it, the remainder because it's necessary to make progress towards my main goal of eventually being able to read what's basically a book. Don't really want to be doing multiple things at once related to Japanese that I find draining. My number one priority is keeping myself in a state where going back to the language doesn't seem like an endless chore. It's okay if parts of it are temporarily a chore, but I'm just gonna burn out if I try and focus on everything at full throttle always.

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Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Pkdragon » Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:16 am

Sven-san, i am on page 2 of John-San's Guide To Picking Up Chicks In An Airplane Over Japan

i have made a major breakthrough, i've discovered how to look up kanji online. nothing can stop me anymore. nothing

except, y'know, grammar

and all the other little subtleties of language beyond dictionary definition

BUT STILL
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Sven

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sven » Sat Mar 12, 2016 8:23 am

https://www.erin.ne.jp/en/

Here's a site with dialogues & transcripts of what was said. I kind of ignore everything else it has. Dunno if that's more up your alley than reading, but it's what I'm using to focus on listening.
---
I've been having a silly amount of trouble getting proper sleep these last couple days. So everything brute force memory related has slowed a lot. I'm going to go to back to smaller goals, with one big goal - I'd like to be done just the grade 4 kanji by the 14th as the small goal. And the big goal...

I want to be done with dedicated learning of writing the characters by the beginning of June, and not worry about dedicated kanji study from that point onwards. My focus hasn't been on the Japanese language itself for these past few months, instead it switched to the characters and trying to write them. Instead of being happy that I can read some things, I get frustrated that I can't recognize some of the characters. I've been reading less and less, and it's been more forced each time.

I don't think there's much to be done about it other than just accepting that forgetting and relearning these is completely natural. I'm completely okay with forgetting and relearning words or grammar points, so I don't know why the characters bug me so much.

On another note, I'm going to start taking online skype lessons - I didn't want to commit to them before I was sure I was serious about Japanese. It's been about nine months now and I'm still going. So there's no real excuse left! Gonna learn to speak!

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Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Xenesis » Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:03 am

Sven's inspired me to actually get back to learning stuff, so I'm going to learn a boatload of Kanji. My Japanese grammar is mostly fine, vocab has always been my downfall so time to rectify that.
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Sven

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sven » Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:18 pm

Haven't really touched Anki for a week or looked at the tutoring details, partly out of laziness and partly stemming from having crumpets sleep. Most of the time spent on Japanese went to listening & reading, which are a lot easier than Anki. Some of my time went to using the kanji app on my phone, which is a cool way to introduce myself to new words using characters I already know.

It looks like I've stalled out at about a thousand characters, and checking here on WWN tells me I've been floating the idea of getting a tutor for over a month now without putting the trigger. Not changing my goals, so I'd better take a good look at why I'm not currently working towards them. This post is long, feel free to skip.

I feel horribly, horribly overwhelmed sometimes by the number of characters there are in the language. There's a government sanctioned list of 2200 characters that they learn by the end of high school. Of course, the list doesn't cover everything, so I might end up needing another 1000 to be able to read a book without picking up a dictionary every minute. But that doesn't even mean I know words, or how to interpret expressions using those kanji, or anything like that. It feels a bit like being told you have to spell every English word 100% perfectly before you can remember and understand it. Studying the characters in Anki is super draining and saps my energy away from reading/listening to the language. Watching the review numbers pile up in Anki makes me feel guilty that I'm not doing the work I've committed myself to. When I'm going over the same kanji for the millionth time it makes me feel like I'm too stupid to remember them and that they'll never stick. It's a lot of negativity.

And I guess I'll try and respond to the above. Firstly, the "they'll never stick" is just baseless whining and bitching. The entire point of Anki is to test the kanji I'm forgetting the most and finding the most difficult. I haven't run into an "unlearnable" character yet, and I never will. The method is working and it's leaps and bounds better than any alternative for learning the characters I know of. Secondly, if I want to read the types of things I would read in my native language without constantly grabbing a dictionary in a couple years I'll just have to accept that I'll need to learn a lot of characters now. I put a lot of time and effort into learning to understand the content I enjoy in my native language, it should be no different for Japanese.

So I believe learning all these characters is necessary. So what? Anki is still very frustrating, especially on bad days. It's work. It demands my full attention and sometimes leaves me mentally exhausted afterwards. Some days I'll barely be able to slog through the reviews that the program asks me to do, forget learning new characters! I guess this is where realistic expectations about the amount of work I can do without burnout comes in. Looking through logs of the actual amount of time I've spent with Anki per day, it seems that I spend half an hour on average when I actually use it. Fair enough, I'll do half an hour a day. No more, no less. Whatever learning rate that ends up being, I'll just have to accept it.

Next is tackling this tutoring thing I've been putting off. Learning to speak seems like it would be a lot of effort, and I don't really need to speak to achieve my goals. I have some vague ideas about wanting to speak/write in the language, but I don't have the obsessive drive for it like I do for reading and listening.

This one's a bit trickier to respond to. I can't make real motivation for speaking appear out of thin air. But the reason I think I need to get tutoring is because there's really no better way to check listening comprehension than a conversation. Maybe the process ends up enjoyable, maybe it ends up exhausting, who knows.

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Sven

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sven » Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:33 pm

still no anki. no tutoring either. instead i spent a lot of the week learning a lot of math vocabulary. mostly because it's what i do with my time in english, so i figure i might as well start learning it in japanese.

picked up about a hundred kanji through doing this in the last week. probably not the most useful kanji to know in the world, but whatever.

at the beginning of june it'll be a year since i started learning. one of the things i really wanted to have done by the one year mark when i started was to have read a legit book. i'll have to start that tomorrow so that i can go at a reasonable (3-5 pages a day) pace and actually get it done in time.

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Sven

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sven » Wed Apr 13, 2016 1:10 am

don't really know what to say.

this is still going. not gonna read a book yet. i'd just be using a dictionary every word and i don't have the mental grit to sustain looking up word after word after word after word.

the characters are being learned without anki. it's probably slower. that's fine.

tutoring's not happening. not gonna mention it again.

cool stuff:

looking up math in japanese has motivated me to re-engage with a subject i'd pretty thoroughly burnt out on. i've been pretty obsessed with exploring how the japanese school system teaches math. it's really impressive to me that students are about two years ahead mathematically of their north american counterparts. they also learn areas of math that are left out of the north american curriculum entirely. on the other hand, the reason they're so far ahead is more than a bit upsetting to me. it seems to be the result of a super super competitive system that uses mathematics(among other subjects) as a testing tool to gate entrance various university programs. i dunno. i still don't completely understand it all.

overall:

i probably won't be reading books in japanese any time soon. that's okay! i don't really read books in english either. i'm getting more comfortable in japanese with things i actually do (math).

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Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sniffit II » Wed Apr 13, 2016 2:46 am

Sven: Yeah, that sounds somewhat like the Chinese system. I remember uni friends telling me they had been massively lazy at school in China and saying they'd regularly had five hours sleep.
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Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Dragonite » Wed Apr 13, 2016 6:05 am

Maybe they wasted time a lot and had a poor time sleeping? That also seems common with all the tech nowadays.

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Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sniffit II » Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:14 pm

No, no - they could have had four hours and spent an extra hour studying.
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Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Dragonite » Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:14 am

And get decreased concentration during the day. Quite sad.

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DieselPheonix

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by DieselPheonix » Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:23 pm

If you are not a robot you should really get seven hours of sleep.

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Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Linkman » Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:15 am

Most people get around 5-6 hours DieselPhoenix.
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Sven

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sven » Fri Apr 15, 2016 5:18 am

That's total crumpets if you're talking about the total amount of sleep taken during a 24 hour period.

A quick google tells me Americans sleep ~6.8 hours on average and the Japanese are the lowest at a little over ~6 hours. People really underestimate how much sleep they get. Every 15 minutes you start cutting after about 6.5 hours a day has huge huge effects.

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Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Linkman » Fri Apr 15, 2016 5:20 am

Really? I was wrong then.
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Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Dragonite » Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:27 am

WWN learns to sleep properly. I'm not really good at getting sleepy at decent times though. I often don't get quite enough sleep if I have go get up early. When I'm anxious for something(which is often) I just procrastinate sleeping. This is a bad habit.

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Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Xenesis » Fri Apr 15, 2016 12:24 pm

Yeah, self-reporting of sleep is really unreliable. We greatly overestimate the time it takes to fall asleep.

My anki is going well. I think I've got two-way recognition of about 100 new kanji, which is more than I could have hoped for. Amusing me though is that I can start reading more on my Japanese 3DS as well, because I just recognise more random Kanji.
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Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Pkdragon » Sat Apr 16, 2016 2:15 pm

not hard to figure out how long it takes you to fall asleep, all it requires you to do is look at the clock every 15 minutes.

Every. 15. Minutes. For two hours. Three hours. Four hours. Oh god i have to wake up in three hours why wont i fall asleep why is it 3:00 in the morning oh god
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Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Xenesis » Sat Apr 16, 2016 3:40 pm

I actually removed all clocks from my room because having extra sound or light makes my insomnia worse.
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Sven

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sven » Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:24 am

Updates:

Mostly working on vocabulary stuff. A lot of learning actual words for all the kanji I can write. I've switched to using a (Japanese) children's dictionary, and I know enough to be able to understand the definitions comfortably. There are some words I know in Japanese that I can only describe using other Japanese words, so that's pretty cool I guess. I'm not really interested in translation.

I suspect I'll be using the kid's dictionary for at least a couple months before switching to an adult one. We'll see.

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Sven

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sven » Wed May 04, 2016 7:35 am

I spent most of the last two weeks purely working on expanding my vocabulary and mostly ignoring kanji study. Something 'clicked' grammar-wise for me about a month or two ago, and now I can learn words in isolation and recognize and remember them when I need to while reading. For me this is pretty incredible, the number of times I need to visit the dictionary is dropping dramatically day by day.

This month is pretty much just gonna be memorizing a bunch of verbs and adjectives, along with the usual reading/listening to stuff. We'll see how it goes.

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Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by ThunderWalker » Sun May 15, 2016 3:07 am

Nice! Japanese is pretty hard.

I tried it myself, but I basically gave up once my medical issues started to frustrate me to hell and back.
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Sven

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sven » Sun May 15, 2016 7:16 am

The first ~40 hours of study were the worst, every character had to be looked up, then every word had to be looked up, then every grammar point had to be looked up, then finally I could figure a sentence out. The extra step of character -> word is pretty brutal at first, not gonna lie, way worse than translating between romance languages at the beginning. It gets better once you're used to it though.

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Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by ThunderWalker » Sun May 15, 2016 6:22 pm

I still understand more of Japanese than I do of the Roman languages, especially French. No language is more of a nightmare than French, at least for me.

But illness does not make one motivated to study ^^ .
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Sven

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sven » Mon May 23, 2016 10:16 am

Year in Recap

-can read pretty much everything but newspapers and literature.
-verbal comprehension is a lot worse. sometimes i'll need a second listen to really catch what's being said even if i know all the words.

i spent a lot of time on this for the first two months (~3-4 hours a day) but afterwards went down to 1-2 hours a day.

someone who likes watching anime could easily make way more progress than i did in the verbal comprehension department without much more effort.

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Sven

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sven » Mon May 30, 2016 3:56 pm

Plans/Goals for Next Year:

-switch the time i spend on raw memorization from learning kanji in isolation to deliberately building vocabulary
-find something i enjoy watching in japanese regularly.
-continue listening to music and looking up lyrics when needed.
-continue reading small articles online, small chapters from stories, math stuff, etc.
-read a physical book front to back.
-become comfortable typing in japanese.
-maybe visit Japan?!?
-if i'm going to visit, get tutoring beforehand so that i can actually speak enough to enjoy myself while there.
---
the above list isn't really exhaustive but it's where i'm at right now. for the next month, i mostly want to focus on:

switch the time i spend on raw memorization from learning kanji in isolation to deliberately building vocabulary. i have some ideas but nothing really concrete. we'll see how it goes.

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Sven

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sven » Mon Jun 06, 2016 9:23 am

The next few posts are going to be exploring deliberately building vocabulary, going over things I've tried, things I've wanted to try, things I hate doing, stuff like that. I spend probably 15-30 minutes a day on this type of activity right now, but it adds up if I'm doing it everyday over a year.

My first idea for building vocabulary is a pretty simple one: Find some materials intended for Japanese schoolkids and work through them. I've already done a bit of this in the past, here are my general thoughts:

The difference between what the Japanese expect out of foreign learners and what the Japanese expect out of themselves is enormous. A large part of me believes that they don't actually expect foreign learners to ever become literate. An 'intermediate' learner of Japanese probably has the reading skills of a native 10 year old. And that's being pretty generous.

Pros of this approach:

It's more interesting than working through English-Japanese vocabulary word pairs. The material is mostly working with actual Japanese sentences and filling in kanji for various words. Since I need to recognize the word in order to be able to write the characters for it, this would be a pretty good way to introduce myself to new words in the context of a sentence.

They also drill idioms, opposite pairs, and well... basically anything you can actually think of testing kids on.

The big pro of this approach is that it is thorough, and that if I actively work through the material I will learn all I want to know.

Cons of this approach:

Even if it's more interesting than memorizing a dictionary, it's not by much. I've also noticed that the Japanese really love their pointless memorization for the sake of standardized testing. I don't know enough to be able to pick useful words from silly words that are just intended to fudge kids over on tests. If I go this route, I could possibly still be doing "elementary school" level material in a year from now.

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Sven

Re: Alors! Dann!! WWN learns a new language!

Post by Sven » Sat Jun 11, 2016 10:44 am

Second idea is also pretty simple: Work through the vocabulary lists recommended for people trying to write standardized Japanese proficiency exams. The main exam series is called the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test), and it offers 5 levels. When I started, I memorized the vocab list for the introductory level of testing and found it was very helpful in getting through basic reading material.

Pros: It's the standard method for building vocabulary. I know the rate I memorize words at using the method, and I know how many words each level of testing has. I'd probably be doing it for 30 minutes a day for at least a couple years.

Cons: It's by far the most boring method. Most of the materials I've found for intermediate learners are just English-Japanese word pairs grouped by a theme, with some drill questions afterwards.

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