Making my Way


I’m trying not to get excited (I’m sure that something will come along to burst my bubble), but I’ve made a tiny dent in my Japanese. I was supposed to focus on learning the katakana, but found myself wanting to work on vocabulary and grammar instead. So I took a very simple text from LingQ and am translating it in Google Docs. Here is an example:

Watashi wa LingQ de Eigo o benkyou shite imasu.
Translation (after at least 30 minutes of trying to figure it out): I am studying English with LingQ
わたし は LingQ で えいご べんきょう して います 。
*Note that the “o” i(highlighted) is different; in this case it appears to be a direct object particle
About the direct object particle “o”: “O” is placed after a noun, and indicates that the noun is the direct object (from “Eigo” if I am correct, is the noun (d.o).
— about the phrase “shite imasu”; One important verb form is ~te iru. It can be compared with the English “be ~ing.” Let’s do some studyING! (from this regard it means to be studying (at least loosely). For more info go here:


It’s a combination of my own notes and things I’ve clipped from the internet (here it is the Japanese section at and I made a little note to myself how long it took me to translate that sentence. Even though it took a while (and I’m not even sure if its 100% right), I’ve learned a bit of grammar and some new vocab words in the process. As I translate, I make a list at the end of the document, of vocab words or grammar points. The highlights are for my personal use, and the yellow highlight means that I am making reference to a verb that has added notes at the end of the document.

With Spanish, I’ve made another dent. I can recall new words that I’m picking up as I’m translating articles. I’m moving back and forth between two articles, but I’m having no trouble. I’ve decided, however, to stop after these two articles are complete (coming to a total of 3) so that I can make sure I have all of the vocabulary down, as well as any grammar points.

Here are some things I want to work on:

– Setting goals in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. It will be based on the number of hours per week that I work in each area. Currently, I am doing a lot of reading, but I’ve also listened to a few audio files. By setting goals (especially with the help of LingQ) I can be more focused and organized.

-keeping notebooks. I used a moleskine cahier for my Spanish vocabulary. For the time being I’ve got an extra-large moleskine cahier for Japanese, but tend to use Google Docs since I make a lot of notes (it’s easier to use a computer)

-I want to make a complete list of resources I use. Right now, it’s my Japanese grammar and Japanese dictionary book, LingQ, and as an extra reference, the pages.

-Figure out a system that allows for portability. I can print out the articles and make notes in my notebook for Spanish and Japanese; With Japanese, I can type up my notes and when I am done with them I can print them out and add them to my notebook (referring to my binder, not the moleskine); flash cards are easy to carry around and so forth. The main problem is keeping it all organized and being able to take some things to work on with me. Do I take it all? Or do I focus on one or two things? Should I always carry around my Japanese dictionary?

-Figure out a way to study both languages while not neglecting other things (like my college studies and other responsibilities). I’d rather study Spanish (by myself not in a class), than accounting!


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