How Much Japanese Do I Know?

This is something I think about once in awhile and I’m going to attempt to settle this question right now. How much Japanese do I know? Honestly it’s a tough question but simultaneously an easy one as well. Right off the bat I can somewhat answer it with NOT MUCH! Which is really quite a shame since the I started learning Japanese in December of 2014, however it was very off and on and I don’t think I ever consistently learned Japanese for more than 2 weeks at a time! I know sad right. I really struggled to stay consistent with it. I then stopped learning it altogether for several months of 2015 after a few off and on bits in the beginning of the year. But then sometime mid year I decided I would give it another go. I started strong and would try to do as much deliberate practice of Japanese everyday while at the same time greatly neglecting listening to the language. I think though this stretch of time was the longest I had held in for but then I missed a day of practice and then I would try to make up for lost time by doubling my workload, which in turn because it happened multiple times, I started to associate a negative feeling with learning Japanese and would put it off until bedtime. So bedtime would come and I dreadingly started with Japanese and since I was already tired it was even worse, only worsening my association with Japanese learning even further. Soon I started missing more days and trying to make up for the work but to no avail. Shortly after I stopped doing anything remotely Japanese. Next time I touched Japanese it was September of 2015 and I wanted to try again. Again I had lofty goals and tried really hard everyday for a bit, after all I had a lot of make up work to do, but then again the same thing happened and I gave up. Now 10 months later I am back on the grind but this time I am listening to 8-10 hours of Japanese a day and I still have a fairly high workload but I am going about it in a much more productive way and if I miss a day I continue the next day as if I hadn’t. There is no attempt made for trying to make up for a missed day, I simply do as much as I have set a plan for(or more if i feel like it) and that’s it. So far it’s been great I don’t dread the work I have to do each day but instead I enjoy it a lot. I put on a good movie in Japanese playing in the background and I get to work and it really is enjoyable for me. When I do srs reps on surusu I no longer just do them, I set a 2 minute timer and try to do as many as I can in that 2 minutes then i take a 10-45 second break. I have found this to make the experience much more productive and far more enjoyable, productionwise it has reduced the time it take me to do all my srs reps at least 2 fold. Now to the point of this ramble, I estimate that from all my off and on Japanese learning I have probably done 2 and a half months worth including the time I have recently got back into learning Japanese. So what does mean for how much Japanese I know. Well not much actually but having now caught up on all my reps and surpassed them too, I have gone through about 600 sentences, now this doesn’t mean I have those sentences memorized but to a fairly good degree I know them passively. Meaning if I read or hear them I am likely to understand them. Okay, how much does 600 sentences translate to Japanese ownage? I would say probably 8 or 9 percent of all the Japanese I need to be able to understand for decent Japanese proficiency. Now that is not much at all! However I am okay with that, I know it takes time to learn a language and I am actually quite happy with the progress so far despite my failures in the past. 失敗は成功の元!Failure is the root of success! I like the fact that for example I was able to recall that sentence without too much effort! Now that is progress and I enjoy the feeling. I still don’t understand most things but occasionally I will hear a phrase that I had learned and I understand what was being said and it feels awesome. I look forward to when I am better, of course, but I enjoy this moment that I am in and it’s beautiful. In the past I may have failed but this time I am determined to stick it out and learn Japanese and when I am proficient I will continue learning and continue to seek to be better but all the time I will be happy with my current progress. So that is it really, to answer the question of how much Japanese I know, I’m not certain but not much! Probably 600 sentences worth, and who knows how many words that is.:) But in another 3 months I might have 1000 more sentences in my passive knowledge and I will be just that much closer to becoming an ace at Japanese!

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