My Way to Study My Second Langauge

Today I’d like to try to write about my experiences how I’ve been studying English.

I’ve been learning conversational English for three years. When I made a decision to study it, I started to speak it for 8 to 10 hours a day. I did it for two years every single day. First, I started to find someone who can speak with me in English on Skype. Thinking back on then, I really think I was lucky because I could find several native English speakers who have been learning Japanese. While talking and teaching Japanese to them, I learned how to communicate with people in English. I slow down now and have been speaking English for two to three hours a day.

I also started to post my journal entries in English every single day when I started to speak it. In my case, it didn’t take so much time to improve both my listening skills and speaking skills. I think I can communicate pretty well, but improving my writing skills is a different story.

Following some my native English speaker friends’ advices, I started to watch American TV shows in English without subtitles. It’s been amazing working out for improving my listening skills. I’ve been watching a drama a hour every day. I also started to read books in English without using a dictionary. To keep my motivation for reading, I tried many things. The best way for me is showing my reading progress to somebody to use some websites for readers.

Now, my English level is almost advance, and I feel comfortable to communicate with people. My next goal is to be able to express what I want to say in a natural way. At the end of this journal entry I’d love to add this: I’ve studied abroad in America to take some painting classes four times in two years. It also very helped my skills to improve.

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30 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. deanmu
    Mar 23, 2012 @ 14:01:49

    i have been learning english for long since i was in middle school but i can’t still comunicate nor writing in english very well. I totally agree with your writing that actually need studying a lot to know english quite well. And the key is motivation, you have a high motivation to learn language, thats why you just need very short years to master it. Thanks for sharing such great story to learn language. I’ve been motivated with your way to improve english.

    Reply

    • yumi
      Mar 23, 2012 @ 14:24:30

      Hi, Dean.

      Long time no see! How have you been? I’m glad to hear from you!!!!

      Thanks for the wonderful comment!!! I agree. If people would love to master something, the motivation is very important! I’ve not still mastered English yet, though. I can tell you that I have a BIG ambition that I really would love to make come true! That’s why I’ve been keeping on learning English. I really don’t think that my way is the best. Different people have different opinions and methods. All I can tell is to believe in your way and just make efforts to achieve your goals! Way to go!!!

      Reply

      • deanmu
        Mar 23, 2012 @ 15:14:10

        sometimes learning language which is not our mother tounge is very hard if we dont really get used to it to speak in daily life. We can understand what people say in english but sometimes we are so hard to answer in english, thats why people say that immersing ourself all in english way is the best thing to learn language. Unfortunately i seldom practice my english with native people since i have a lot of dutties must carried out in my workplace and also people around me are speaking my own language. So, it’s definitely hard for me to learn more about english and improve it. I have a big dream to study abroad, and i’d love to make it come true by learning english very often. Big thanks yumi, i’ve been very inspired with your way to learn language.

      • yumi
        Mar 23, 2012 @ 16:06:08

        Yeah, I’m in the same way. All my environments are Japanese, and it’s also hard for me to think in English. I changed all my environments into English. I stop reading in Japanese, thinking in Japanese, writing in Japanese and so on. I started to hang out with new friends their first language is English via Internet. In my case I’ve been studying English with my PC. I changed my language with my PC into English. I changed everything that I can change my language into English, even Facebook. I’ve seen my Facebook page in English. I also use Twitter in English. My homepage on my PC is Yahoo America. While painting, I love listening to English songs. I’ve been exchanging a bunch of e-mails in English with my American friends every day. I hope it also will help you!

  2. Charles "Andy" Anderson
    Mar 23, 2012 @ 14:15:24

    What an interesting blog! I’ve been speaking English all my life, however, I have a log way to go the to communicate well. I’ve always said to my children, get a Masters Degree in English and you can then do anything you want. Command of the English language is the key.

    Reply

    • yumi
      Mar 23, 2012 @ 14:35:16

      Wow, Charles, my American dad!

      Thank you so much for the wonderful comment!!! I’m so glad to receive it from you!

      Communication abilities are different from English skills in my case. I love communicating with people. I think English is the key for me to expand my horizons. Via English, I can communicate with not only Japanese people, but also people all over the world! I can enjoy communicating with you!!!! English is a great great language! I totally agree with you. It helps and saves us. I really think English is the most useful language all over the world!!

      I also say exact the same thing to my daughter. English is very important for her in the future. Unfortunately, she isn’t interested in it, especially to communicate in English. However, I know that she is “my” kid. I believe that she will start to study conversational English one day!

      Reply

  3. cocomino
    Mar 23, 2012 @ 15:26:47

    8 to 10 hours a day is amazing. Good luck and I hope that you’ll get your dream.

    Reply

    • yumi
      Mar 23, 2012 @ 15:55:54

      Hi, cocomino!

      Thanks for the encouragement!

      Haha, at the time my husband hated me speaking in English! He still doesn’t like me speaking English, though. I really wanted to show my enthusiasm to him and wanted him to understand what I was thinking. I know it was crazy. Both my daughter and husband said me that I was crazy. She said that I was strange, and she didn’t want such a strange mom. She wanted to have a normal mom like her friends. However, I really wanted to conquer English. I really wanted to start to take some painting classes in America to improve my painting skills.

      Now, my dreams started to slide to the other way. Yes! I will try my best!!! Thank you!!

      Reply

  4. Michael McMaster
    Mar 23, 2012 @ 18:14:24

    Yumi,

    Very long time no hear! I am sorry I haven’t been on skype or facebook lately; I have been remodeling my house.

    I am glad to hear your english skill is at the advanced level; I personally thought that for a long time. I think you are right in that watching tv shows or dramas and reading can help with learning a language. That reminds me I have to catch up on ‘101st proposal’.

    If you are ever free, I wish to know what you have been up to lately. ^_^

    Reply

    • yumi
      Mar 24, 2012 @ 04:39:41

      Hi, Michael,

      Thanks for the comment! I’m happy that you finally come back to study Japanese again!!! I’m looking forward to talking to you! You are the only one partner (friend) who speaks English with a Californian accent! I really miss it!!!

      Reply

  5. Matilda Jane Holmes
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 00:57:29

    Yumi your English is great. I wish I could learn Japanese as well:)

    Reply

    • yumi
      Mar 24, 2012 @ 04:40:31

      Hi, Jane!

      Thanks for the comment. Whenever you want to study Japanese, I can help you!!! Learning languages is so much fun!!!

      Reply

  6. mygsasha
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 13:32:21

    I don´t think you are an strange mother.Ha,ha… but it´s not very notmal a person can study a language 8 hours a day. That´s great!!

    Reply

    • yumi
      Mar 24, 2012 @ 14:06:05

      Hi, Marisol.

      Thanks for the comment. I’m not sure if I’m a strong mother or not, but I support that I’m a dedicated person, lol. Thanks for the compliment! I know that I’m very wired, lol.

      Reply

  7. djloopacabra
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 22:43:28

    I think noticing your own improvement is very hard.
    However, I’m sure you noticed improvement when you returned from America.

    I think speaking and listening is harder than reading and writing for most people, but you have definitely already greatly improved your skills in speaking and listening.

    I think soon your writing skills will catch up to your speaking skills, so don’t worry about it. Writing is an important skill, but I think speaking is far more important and far more difficult.

    Reply

    • yumi
      Mar 25, 2012 @ 15:07:22

      Hi, Matt.

      Thanks for the comment. You are the only parson who have known my progress very well because you are the parson with whom I’ve been talking for the longest time. I know you have been watching my progress. Having conversational partners is great! If the parson is my closest friend, it’s greatest! Thank you so much for teaching me English for a long time. Thank you so much for talking to me every day. I can’t appreciate enough. You are my greatest English teacher and the greatest conversational partner ever!

      Reply

      • djloopacabra
        Mar 28, 2012 @ 10:56:34

        Sorry I wrote the same comment. I thought my first comment wouldn’t save.

        Thank you so much for the warm complement.
        It has a been a pleasure speaking, listening and learning with you.

      • yumi
        Mar 29, 2012 @ 16:28:09

        Thanks for the comment again. I really didn’t want to delite your comment because these comments are very important for me. I’m in the same feelings. Learning with you, talking with you, teaching to you and listening to your stories are always fun for me!!!

  8. djloopacabra
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 22:48:35

    I think it’s hard to notice your own improvements.
    However, I’m sure you noticed your improvements when you returned home from America.

    I think writing is an important skill, but I think speaking is a far more important skill, and far more difficult. I think your writing skills will catch up to your speaking skills soon, so no worries.

    Reply

  9. Daisy
    Apr 03, 2012 @ 21:14:18

    nice journal 🙂 I think it is useful and gives motivation ^_^
    I want to improve my reading and my speaking skills
    by the way, you ARE advanced!
    you’re level actually called “advanced” 🙂
    it just .. advanced is not one level .. so even if you didn’t feel like a “very high advanced”.. you still advanced ^^

    Reply

    • yumi
      Apr 05, 2012 @ 05:54:00

      Hi, Daisy!

      Thanks as always for visiting both my blogs and leaving the nice comment! I’m sorry my reply was late. Yes, I feel like my English level is advanced when I speak to people in English. I can speak in it smoothly without thinking and any translation. I don’t use a dictionary. My speech sounds very spontaneous, on the other hand, my writing skills and reading skills are not advanced. I can write in English, but my written English never ever sounds 100% natural. My reading skills are lowest. I still have been reading kids books 😦 I’d love to improve all skills in English to be advanced.

      I’d love to say to you that even if you study only “English”, it’s hard for you to understand their conversations because they always relate their “culture”. You have to study their “culture” if you really would love to master “real English”. Conversations never ever has been followed to your English textbooks. Throw away your textbooks, and jump into their “real” conversations” That is the shortest cut for you!

      Reply

      • Daisy
        Apr 05, 2012 @ 06:30:56

        100% natural is native English or near-native English …
        you listen a lot to improve your listening and speaking
        you should read a lot to improve reading and writing skills
        but read things which are interesting to you 🙂
        you anki right.. well a friend recommend me to use My TOEFL English deck
        she said if you master it you’re English will be very natural…
        In English… I’m focusing now on building my vocabulary and my communication skills…. I want to improve speaking and reading
        I learn grammar at school 🙂
        Thank you for your advice ^^

      • yumi
        Apr 11, 2012 @ 10:13:03

        Hi, Daisy.

        Thanks for the comment. You are too young to understand what I mean. I hope when you grow up more, you can understand my point. TOEFL will help you to expand vocabulary and ANKI is good for you to memorize them, but you still won’t become able to communicate with people in English. It’s not enough for you.

      • Daisy
        Apr 12, 2012 @ 11:21:26

        don’t worry … I know exactly what do you mean 🙂
        because I can understand English… but I can’t really speak with others using it… my communication skills are weak because I never speak to any body….
        it doesn’t matter what level you are… you can have a good communication skills if you speak English a lot.. you know like 2 or 3 year old kid.. he doesn’t know many words but still speak all the time…
        I know that fluent and natural are different from Advanced..

      • yumi
        Apr 20, 2012 @ 12:41:27

        Hi, Daisy

        How’s your English studying going? I hope you enjoy studying it!

      • Daisy
        Apr 20, 2012 @ 15:51:23

        good ^^ but I don’t really feel any progress ><"

      • yumi
        Apr 20, 2012 @ 15:57:17

        That’s normal. It’s hard for us to measure our progress! The most important thing is to keep going! Go for it!

        I updated my blog entry here and on my other blog. I think you like both of them! I will leave Japan tomorrow to fly to America again! I might be off line for a while. See you soon!

        -Yumi

  10. apensiveonmyown
    Apr 12, 2012 @ 05:16:27

    Hello, Yumi..

    A very nice post indeed.. 🙂

    I’m Indonesian, and I’m an English teacher. You know, you have a very great enthusiasm in conquering English language. An enthusiasm that most of my students lack of..lol..had they shared the same enthusiasm with you, I believe I’ll have a bunch of great English speakers in my classes..

    Anyways, a warm greeting from Indonesia 🙂

    Reply

  11. apensiveonmyown
    Apr 12, 2012 @ 05:29:14

    Reblogged this on apensiveonmyown and commented:
    That’s a Spirit! xD

    Reply

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