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May 8, 2011

When to go Monolingual

I've already discussed why monolingual will make your Japanese better and how to go monolingual, but I haven't really discussed when you should make the switch. There is truly no “perfect time” to make the switch where it will be effortless, so you should really just aim to make the switch as early as you possibly can. So how early is that? Well, I chose to base my switch on my sentence number in Anki.

The number of sentences in your Anki deck doesn't really matter, as I've seen people with decks of over ten thousand cards who couldn't read even a single volume of manga, while I had maybe three thousand cards and had read thousands of pages. So don't get into the habit of using your sentence count as a gauge of progress – it isn't one. But in this case, we can use it to make a target point for switching to monolingual.

So what is a good target? I personally remember setting my goal at around 300 sentences in Anki. That was enough time for me to get well acquainted with the program, with looking up and adding sentences, and to get some more vocabulary. By the time I hit the 300 sentence mark, I was as prepared for the switch as I could be - so I just did it. It was hard at first and I was adding a lot fewer sentences for a few days, but then I adjusted to the new system and was chugging along merrily.

You don't have to make the switch at the same point that I did, but you should aim to do it in the same manner. Use some arbitrary indicator to signal the switch, because if you wait to feel “ready,” you'll never get around to it.

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1 comment:

  1. Very helpful. I was originally planning at 500, but I may see how well I do with 300, or 350. Of course, sentencing isn't my primary focus right now. I'm doing sentences every now and then but mostly grinding kanji. I'm almost done with my kanji grind though, so then I can just push kanji into pure review mode and start giving my sentence deck full attention. I already have a nice chunk of words to start up with that I've just been writing down while reading on my kanji breaks.

    I'm not scared of going monolingual, I'm really excited and can't wait for it to come. But I don't want to rush things at the same time.