100% or Bust

Dear reader, lately I’ve been asking myself the following question. Is it important to know 100% but only of a small quantity of information? Or should I aim for just 90% of a large quantity? The perfectionist in me says, “You want to know 100% of everything!” I am asking myself this question, because i see that i do make good progress right now. Aiming for knowing 100% of everything at this stage would mean, that i would have to slow down considerably. Knowing that it is only a textbook makes it easier for me to say, “forget it, it’s better to know only 90% of what you read, instead of 100%” since I will have more than enough time, to fill those gaps.”

While i kept working on the reading passage in Chapter 5, using online resources such as Tatoeba, weblio.jp ocn.jp, jisho.org, alcom.jp among others, i found that i do understand quite a lot, though not everything. The layout of this book is cross referencing between the reading section, the grammar section, and the vocab section. This is a good thing, because it aids my way to work with the material, which looks like this.

First i start to just listen to the reading passage. Then i listen and read the Japanese text, along with the speaker, which is really not easy. Afterwards i start to break down and translate everything sentence after sentence. After i have come up with a good enough translation, i would write it next to the original text. Always looking up the grammar information from the book, when a part of the text is marked, to see what it means exactly. This gives me more information to help with the translation of a line. When I’m done with this, i type the text into Word, and analyze it once more. After I am done with this, i continue to work on the kanji list, and the grammar section, which contains a reference to a specific line of text. When i start to type off the grammar information, i will read the line again, and usually i can come up with an even better translation, for the sentence in question.

So, by doing it this way, and knowing that i will do a review of all chapters once i’m done with this book, i don’t really have to aim for 100% perfection. Because as i learn more and more, i will get better at translating and understanding the text, which i already see when i go back a few chapters. So, even though i want to make everything perfect, and i want to understand everything to 100% i will do just fine. I only have to continue and adapt the way of learning, which I currently do, and see what works.

I will probably write more about this later, for now, i will just continue to work as i do right now. But I’m curious what you are thinking, what type of learner are you, the Perfectionist, or the Generalist. Let me know, and if you have any suggestions, let me hear them!

One response to “100% or Bust

  1. Well, take the ha/ga, aida/uchi, kureta/morau issue – want to be a perfectionist? Unnecessary, I say, then you’d need to study Japanese linguistics for example or have a deeper interest in linguistics in common. 99% is just enough. If you are advanced, you can worry more about that. But what I recognise personally is that you farther you go, the more you get a feeling like, “hm, this one would have a nuance of including this and that, thereforce it’s used here/I will use it in my own sentence”. I definitely got that kind of feeling for particles like ne, yo, zo, ze. (whereas the latter two are quite the same. I like ze more for some reason to express commands :))

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