Four stages of competence

Found this to reflect my Japanese studies quite well.
Turns out I am at stage 2, which is extremely depressing.
 
  1. Unconscious incompetence The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. They may deny the usefulness of the skill. The individual must recognize their own incompetence, and the value of the new skill, before moving on to the next stage. The length of time an individual spends in this stage depends on the strength of the stimulus to learn.
  2. Conscious incompetence Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit. The making of mistakes can be integral to the learning process at this stage.
  3. Conscious competence The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration. It may be broken down into steps, and there is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill.
  4. Unconscious competence The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become “second nature” and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task. The individual may be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.

Learning Japanese

I have been learning Japanese for a whole year now and have to say, what might have looked as a easily doable task in the beginning (its but a language, how hard could it be) has resulted into an enormous project.

First off, why did I start in the first place?

This one is quite easy, every time I read something from japan, may it be novels, comics or other stuff, I always felt (and still feel) I should be able to read this in its original form, not in this (often) badly done translation. Also, I have wanted to learn it for a very long time, but always found it to be the wrong time or not to be a priority. When I passed 30 I thought I might as well just do it, otherwise it won’t ever work out.

What am I learning exactly?

All of the following things need to be learned in order to reach proficiency and to be able to read most anything Japanese:

Three Writing Systems, need to be learned. Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji

The so called Kana, Hiragana and Katakana are “easy”. Each compiled of about 50 characters, representing the sounds of the Japanese language. Both cover the same sounds, but are used in different ways.

Kanji are hard. Punishingly hard. Each Kanji can represent different sounds. Which sounds to use, depends on context / its combination with other Kanji or Kana.

What else must be learned?

Vocab and Grammar (as with every other language as well).

What have I done up to now?

  • Reached proficiency of both Kana (Hiragana and Katakana)
  • Learned about 300 Kanji (of approx. 3.000 – 10% – yay!) with their respective readings and meanings.
  • Vocabulary of about 1.000.
  • Teensy bit of grammar.

What am I using?

     Grammar:
          Genki books
     Vocab:
         Memrise (for Genki and Additional vocab)
     Kanji:
         WaniKani
 

What is next?

Straight to the point, my grammar is bad. Without it, I have no hopes of reading or understanding anything. I have a fair vocab and kanji knowledge, but this does not help with text. Its always “yay I know these words and they somewhat make sense” but that’s it, no context, quite frustrating.
Therefore, strictly books and their respective vocab only, until both Genki books have been finished, then back to learning more Kanji.