I really liked the idea of having a language log, since most of my friends are not learning languages or particularly interested in hearing about my progress, but I’d like to keep track of it somewhere for my own use. 🙂
My current Japanese level is kind of hard to quantify, since my grammar understanding is reasonably good, while my vocabulary and my output are much lower, and I’ve been having a hard time finding materials to help me improve that are neither too “below” me as to be uninteresting and dull nor too “above” me to be just too difficult that I lose interest. I’m somewhere in the “intermediate” category, I think. I’ve been learning Japanese for… a long time, actually, since I first started when I was 7 or so, but didn’t really progress much until I started taking it in college about seven years ago. But I had a bunch of other things going on at the same time then, so to be honest, even then I was struggling a lot with vocabulary and felt quite intimidated by attempting to read my textbooks. It’s only since about January this year that I’ve really only started focusing on Japanese.
In January I started doing weekly lessons with the Japanese Online Institute and using ReadTheKanji.com to practice reading/increase vocabulary, and occasionally using iKnow.jp for similar reasons, though I find I prefer Read the Kanji since I can just open the site and do it while watching TV or chatting. Since last month I’ve added Pimsleur to my daily commute routine, so I’m listening to about an hour’s worth of lessons every weekday (sometimes I repeat lessons, so I’m not really going through 2 lessons a day).
Both Pimsleur and JOI are doing a lot to improve my speaking ability and solidify my grammatical output, since it’s largely going over grammar and vocab I learned in college, but practicing it enough that it’s becoming just ingrained responses to me, which is very helpful. ReadTheKanji is probably my favorite online app discovery, because I love the way I can do it sort of passively, but since I usually read through the entire sentence when I do practices, it’s speeding up my reading enormously, and also adds more than just the tested kanji word whenever I run through it. Since it’s endless practice with no timers, I can start or stop whenever I feel like, unlike iKnow, which I have to set aside set amounts of time to do, so sometimes I can just do a sentence or a hundred, depending on what else I’m doing. The only thing I wish is that it was better suited to mobile browsing, since I’d love to be able to log on for a minute on my phone sometimes.
My reading improvement has gone from my college up-until January level of pretty much being unable to read my textbooks or even simple manga without it taking a very long time and being pretty intimidating and making little sense without relying on a dictionary, to tonight I flipped through some of my old textbooks and finding it slow but doable, and basically putting me about at where I ought to have been in college when I was using it. And I’ve also noticed that some Japanese-language games I tried to buy to use for practice, that I was unable to make heads or tails of without the dictionary, I’m able to kind of pull the gist of enough that I was able to start to play.
The sort of vague goals that I have are to try to reach N3 level reading vocabulary-wise by the end of the year, which should also mean I will be able to switch mostly to reading Japanese-language fiction/essays/websites and listening to Japanese-only audio to keep increasing my vocabulary.
I’m not sure how often updating the log will be useful at the moment, but I may try for every week to see if that works. But I’m not very organized with my language-learning, in general; I find that it’s actually counter- productive of me to set hard goals of X-of-this-per-week, so basically I will just try to check in with what I’ve been doing lately and what’s working and what’s not. (Theoretically other posts will be shorter than this one, ahah.)