I finished the Core 2000 lists on smart.fm a few days ago, so it feels like a bit of a stopping point at which I should evaluate what I know and think about the plan from this point onward.
Vocabulary would seem to be around 2500 words or so, with perhaps half that available to active recall. Listening comprehension has been tracking vocabulary knowledge very closely. This has led me to conclude that vocabulary is the single most important area to focus on, more so than grammar. I need much much more than what I have in order to be even close to functional and not limited to graded material. I might start the core 6000 on smart.fm, or I might just use the word list with my own sentences in Anki. The smart.fm example sentences are pretty dull.
Kanji knowledge is getting more ingrained but readings are still weak. Total number of kanji that I know the writings and meanings of would still be about 2000. Readings, perhaps a hundred at best.
From this point onward sentence mining and review will be the core of my work. I also want to maintain a simple vocab deck, which will be reviewed as recognition only, where each card will have the kanji as the question and the reading and definition as the answer – very conventional. I intend to start using Japanese definitions wherever practical, so for each word I add I’ll look it up in my J-J dictionary and see if the definitions make any sense to me; if so, even if I need to add another few words from the definition, I’ll use it; if it’s too boggling I’ll continue to use the English definitions. This way the deck will gradually move entirely to Japanese definitions. As for the sentences, I intend to have the kana on the question side and the kanji and translation, or Japanese definitions in lieu of a translation, as the answer. Reviewing that way will require writing each sentence, so it’ll be slow, but very thorough. The first sentence collection is the core2k, but that’s mainly strictly for kanji readings since the grammar is extremely simple. I’ll think I’ll keep those in a separate deck. The sentences from the three books of Naoko Chino that I have – A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Sentence Patterns, All About Particles, and Japanese Verbs at a Glance, will form the foundation of my long-term sentence deck. That should be around 700-800 sentences in all and cover nearly all grammatical structures possible.
Concerning kanji, it’s clear that I will need the extra thousand or so kanji from RTK3. I’ll go through this the exact same way I did RTK1. RTK1 reviews are presently taking me usually no more than ten minutes a day, but I will switch that to a Japanese keyword deck. Also, I plan to systematically go through RTK2 to learn on-readings.
There is definitely a theme here, which is to go monolingual as soon as I can manage.
If you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned extensive reading yet, that is where new sentences will come from. I haven’t been doing much lately, and probably won’t for another couple weeks or so until I get all the sentences from Chino mined. After that, extensive reading will be the headwaters, as it were, from which the river of SRS sentences will flow. Some ideas for sentence mining sources:
- my graded readers
- Aozora Bunko texts – I would like to buy a Kindle specifically for this
- the 小学生新聞
- my dictionary
- tangorin (particularly useful for examples containing a specific word)
- twitter – great for colloquial Japanese (I need to follow more Japanese tweeters)
- blogs (I need to find a bunch)
- japanesepod101 transcripts
Any other ideas for sentence sources, or any other feedback of any kind, is most welcome.