So I know a lot of language learners are obsessed with perfection almost to the point of irritation. no nobody gives a shit about how your handwriting improved for the katakana or the hanguel or whatever from writing it over and over or copying long ass passages of god knows what… perhaps you should put your time to better use. they just irritate me because in away they’re promoting awful learning methods and also seem oblivious or narrow-minded to other various methods of learning out there. my school of thought is I suffered at the hands of compulsory education with the mind-numbing, awful activities like work-sheets or copyings things etc etc…. why are you willing subjecting yourself to this torture on your free time? One of the biggest realizations I made when I was learning Japanese was that I was spending so much time learning about how to learn or various ways to learn or what are bad ways to learn despite years of compulsory conditioning trying to convince me that it’s effective. But I don’t regret spending that time learning about learning because I don’t want to waste any more time on shit and in the overall scheme of things you waste more time learning ineffectively by not learning about learning.
ANYWAYS recently I was outputting my Korean because I had to communicate with this korean person via email (by the way I see no appeal in “pen-pals” whatsoever… I am only communicating with someone if I have something to communicate to that specific person). I just wanted to communicate and deliver the information I wanted to deliver and I also wanted to get answers from this person. My attitude going into this is “ugh let’s just end this in the most painless, efficient way possible.” (I work full time, I have shit to do, it’s the just natural attitude for me to have)
In my view, it’s best to not give a shit and just do whatever is least painful and strenuous because that will lead to MORE output in volume compared to re-reading your sentences or clauses or using the dictinoary to look up crap you don’t have to or just stressing about it because you can’t write as eloquently as a native ( this is such a stupid and asinine and invalid worry. you should be asking yourself WHY WOULD I BE ABLE TO WROTE ELOQUENTLY seeing as you only spent x hours listening/reading/writing/speaking. i wish more people would read AJATT). Because I set this low standard for myself OF COMMUNICATION I did not waste my time looking up words in the dictinoary or re-reading and re-writing my sentences obsessively. I did do the final re-read just to make sure it made sense and my message would be understood by the receiving party. Ultimately I did “proof-read” albeit lazily and half-assedly and I later realized there were still typos when I sent it. But I did not care because my goal was communication and I knew despite whatever mistakes or typos or unnaturalnness or clunkiness of the sentence or fragment the person will understand what I’m saying. And I genuinely did not care if my Korean output seems worse than actually it is due to typos and lack of effort on my effort. There’s a level that you reach in the upper intermediate stage where you know your writing is full of mistakes and it’s unnatural but you know for sure that the native person will understand what you wrote ( I will link my only lang-8 entry that’s in Korean so you can get some idea of my ability to output but honestly depending what I want to output (writing an entry on lang-8 vs cmomunicating wtih someone via email is completely different) the shit can get real raw and terrible as any language learner knows ) . some of the stuff you can obsess over with writing well is so minor with respect to comprehension like the ㅅㅅㅅㅅ you put in to make sentences more formal and respectful. I just shoved the ㅅ shit in when I felt like it because this person’s isn’t going to get pissed at me for not using it when I shouldn’t have or not using it when I should have because he knows I’m not fluent in Korean and he should be able to tell my main goal is communication since he don’t speak fluent english.
So as we have our e-mail exchanges I start to give a shit unfortunately. I take this as a bad thing because I’m wasting time that could be put to better use and it’s just emails so it doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect since the only goal is communication. ALSO EVEN if I look up whatever my email will still have mistakes. what happened was I GOOGLED 오랫만 WITH QUOTES because I was unsure if it was correct or not and google says it’s a common mistake it’s actualy oreNNNN man. before I googled it I was thinking o-ret-man is correct and oreNNN is wrong or vice versa or they’re BOTH CORRECT. So after I did what I did I was kinda disappointed in myself for wasting my time googling. so then he responds and he opens his email with OREtttttT MAN so I feel even more irritated at myself wasting time on googling shit. it’s so minor, it don’t matter and he don’t even know if it’s incorrect or he knows but still wants to use it (I know that feeling). Hell I felt like using it and I should’ve just gone for it. You know what I’m gonna ask him about it… I only make a big deal of this because it will be if I get into this tunnel-vision mindset of obsessing over little shit and waste a gargantuan amount of time. It seems like it’s not a lot of time but it really adds up if you’re constantly obsessing over minuscule crap.
Here’s my advice on how to use lang-8. You could say my views are pessimistic but I think they’re realistic and recognizing and accepting reality is necessary.
If you notice on my lang-8 my writing has improved a lot and on one of my entries this Japanese person had said you know I can’t say that your writing is wrong or right because you have your own writing style. Of course within that entry there were legitimate mistakes or parts where there was a more natural way to express something but there definitely were parts that supported what this person had said. ONE OBSERVATION that you can make is that lang-8 did not improve my writing. I did not religiously force myself to write entries into lang-8 every week or every month. there are some long stretches of blanks on lang-8 and i can tell you that i never EVER EVER EVER ANKIED anything i wrote on lang-8 whether it’s my writing or someone else’s correction of my writing.
i hate people who shit on input-based methods especially when they arrogantly criticize it based on their TINY AMOUNT OF INPUT. i phrase it this way because people don’t seem to understand A LOT OF INPUT. I AM Speaking from experience feeling frustrated being stuck at the intermediate or advanced plateau where i did spend a lot of time in japanese but I still had not passed this elusive “threshold”. also i had my personal circumstances that prevented me from spending time doing things i wanted to do including things in japanese. it took me longer to reach this elusive threshold point. or maybe it was the mcd format that really made an impact. That was something that organically transpired from me finally coming to terms with my wasting time on anki whether it’s making cards or doing them because the shit was not working.
Of course ultimately you have to write a lot if you want to improve at writing so you can’t just rely on input but input is still a part of outputting.
so my advice for using lang-8 to improve your Japanese is to use lang-8 for it is. You can write something and gauge how correct or natural your Japanese is. Don’t try to memorize the corrections or add the corrections to anki. Why does anyone think that sounds like a good plan? It is a site where people correct your Japanese… depending on the individual’s level it could be anywhere from fixing minor mistakes to making something unintelligible into something intelligible. PLEASE do not waste YOUR TIME and other people’s time writing unintelligible giberish or bs shit like watashi ha honyara desu. nihongo wobenkyou siteimasu. anime ga suki desu. If you write about something boring and generic no one will want to read it. IF no one ends up correcting your entry you really can’t blame them. IF you can’t understand anything don’t bother outputting. You’re just better off inputting if you’re those people writing unintelligible entries. Once you can intput decently, find something you want to write about passionately and write about it. I submit entries to lang-8 sporadically but when I do it’s usually about a topic that I want to write about. It’s nice to see my old lang-8 entries and to see how good or bad my Japanese is. Sometimes I’m surprised I used a certain word or some obscure grammar thing I was into at the time due to the influence of JIN or something else.
What I attribute to my improved writing at lang-8 is a lot of input and output (talking to myself, writing) NOT trying to memorize lang-8 corrections by heart or word for word. input a lot, output a lot
ANOTHER tip is DO NOT USE THE DICTINOARY TO LOOK UP WORDS while you write. one reason is lang-8 is kind of a record of how much you grew so if you go out of your way to look up all these fancy words that you didn’t know then and you don’t know now to make your entry seem better than what your actual skills are it kinda defeats the purpose. plus it’s really obvious when people do that or use the thesaurus for thier native language. don’t have the motivation to show0off or whatever because you’re wasting time that could be put towards input. it’s a just poor use of your time.
I can understand looking up a word or two to write in your lang-8 (if a word is really necessary or if it’s on the tip of your tongue) but do not waste your time looking up countless words because you wont’ remember them. also i consider 5 years olds to be fluent in whatever language they speak natively because they’ve spent 5 unadulterated years with their language so even if their vocab isn’t huge they know how to use what they know really well like grammar or gion when it comes to japanese/korean children. you should be practicing what you know and try to maximize the possibilities. it’s not just about the number of words you know.
I loved what steve kaufman wrote in his latest blog entry. It’s kinda related to what I wrote about the futility in trying to consciously memorize corrections.
I’m not referring to my previous 2 posts or the one that I’m going to post after this one. I’m talking about something else that I’m writing that I will probably never
post anywhere. I wanted to address cries of “omg I want improve my writing but I have nothing to write about” OR “I’m going to improve my writing this year and write one lang-8 entry a week/day/month.” I sneer at all the people who write something along these lines on the internet. 90% of these people will most likely write 0 lang-8 entries after that or 1. I’m dead serious. The “I have nothing to write about” is clearly a first world problem.
Recently I’ve been writing and I will not reveal what the topic was but it’s unpleasant. It’s relevant to me and it is an issue in my life so I have more than enough motivation to write about it. Before I never thought to write it down because I want forget it and not dwell on it and “waste my time” on it since there’s other stuff I’d rather be doing. For some reason this time around I feel like writing about it and keeping track of facts or at least my accounts (there’s always bias). It’s not completely enjoyable but I was able to write a lot and I have a lot to write on it and add to what I wrote later on. My logic is that I don’t want to trouble my brain to remember all these memories and in the fear that I’ll forget these memories in the future. I think I should write it down so that I have no worries of forgetting memories. some memories are fleeting so that memory won’t play in my head for a long time but then I still remember years later. There isn’t much reason or trigger for me to remember most of “these” memories so it’s only natural I’ll hopefully eventually forget them. Also putting all the memories down will hopefully allow me to organize them chronologically, make connections, recognize patterns so that I can come to a clean-cut decision/reflection. I’ve been vacillating on how I feel about it or what the actual issue is or if one even exists.
Going back to those issues I don’t see the point of forcing yourself to write whether it’s writing every week or making yourself write about some topic. I’m only “motivated” to write about what I wrote about because it’s relevant to my life. The reason is it’s not going to continue because you’re not really interested. It’s akin to what I do for comprehension and learning grammar which is watching entertaining, hilarious media or read books by wonderful and talented authors (btw some of the critically acclaimed Japanese writers do suck and aren’t compatible with me. REMEMBER to be picky). because it’s enjoyable. there’s no” I have to watch it for 30 minutes otherwise I’ll forget my Japanese grammar.” I’m just enjoying watching whtaever and being proactive while watching by looking up stuff (it doesn’t have to be everything). I do it because i find it fascinating and entertained by it. First and foremost reason for doing something in Japanese is that it’s FUN, the second reason is “it’s in Japanese so it’ll help me learn it or maintain it.” Don’t get the order backwards. there’s way too much media to be settling and wasting your time and subjecting yourself to misery.
hmm so enjoyable writing. so for the example I wrote isn’t enjoyable completely. It gives me catharsis so I am able to continue writing. It’s relevant to me so I hold interest. Please don’t waste your time practice writing about some article no one reads or remembers for improving on your Japanese. focus on why you want to improve your writing skills. what are you going to do especially on a daily basis. I’m not the type of person who is into diaries. An entry a a day, a week is too much commitment. however if you’re one of those people who enjoys the activity of writing diaries greatly and want to do it in the your target language then it might work out. however for me that will never work so i don’t even try and my life is so boring anyway . I love hearing about other people’s lives especially people who are well-accomplished, famous, hard-working, good-looking, or all of the above. If you evaluate and realize there isn’t really a need/practical reason for it in your life for writing (you like doing other stuff more or you were never into it or you can’t come up with any topic that interests you or is relevant to you to the point of writing about it or if you’re level is too low) then accept it and focus on understanding the language especially if you don’t even understand daily conversational language. honestly i think it’s pointless writing if you don’t even understand conversation level Japanese/your target language. Conversational Japanese is pretty easy and seems simple but watching it and speaking it are 2 different things. there’s a lot of tools in your toolbox from mastering comprehension of daily conversation Japanese. it takes practice to really know how to use your tools and when to use each of them. I honestly will admit that I understand Japanese really well like usually 95% -100% or something like that depending on the audio quality, the people who are talking (some people don’t talk clearly. it’s not my fault, it’s their fault) but I dont’ think have a good command of Japanese with speaking or writing (speaking> writing though). I know I can definitely get across the main point in Japanese even if it’s not completely correct I know the person will understand what I’m trying to say. i don’t really have a strong desire to work on it. I writ elang-8 entries sporadically because randomly I really want to write about something and I felt like writing about it in Japanese and english. then when i get to writing it it’s frustrating and i can’t remember words or I’m trapped by grammar (I know what I want to express but grammatically i have to wrestle and ponder about certain things and I don’t want to compromise by simplifying how I want to express it or the summarizing the content). I have high standards on how satisfactorily I want to express myself. Needlessly to say I don’t post much and i just don’t have a lot of topics I want to write about it. sometime I do but I don’t want to share it with people so I definitely won’t post it on lang-8. I don’t say bullshit I’M GOING TO WORK ON Japanese WRITING/SPEAKING SKILLS now because there is no need for me and I’ve had enough experiences predict the future regarding that.
BTW I hate all these bastards that are “liking” my entries without reading it only so i’ll check out their blog and like their crap and leae comments. well i don’t because it’s prety obvious when it’s insincere “like.” i don’t know why poepl ewaste time like that. they need to GROW UP.