3 Reasons To Diversify Your Language Learning Notes With Colour

3 Reasons To Diversify Your Language Learning Notes With Colour

We’ve all been there before, stuck behind an imaginary wall of boredom while we slowly go insane scribbling in black and blue ink.  The idea of looking at your bland notes after a long day of study isn’t the most satisfying thing one can imagine. In fact, I bet half of you reading this don’t even look at your notes after you’ve written them. I know I’m guilty as can be. The fact is though, we just can’t help not looking at them, they’re so… dull.  But don’t fret there are more than two colours in the spectrum, so today I am going to share with you all 3 reasons why you need to start adding colour to your language studies.

Coloured Notes In Language Learning
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

Colour Is An Attention Seeker

We are visual creatures! Colour grabs our attention more than anything else, this world isn’t black and white, so why the hell should your notebook be? Splash a bit of rainbow here and there. Colour pens are like a gift sent from the heavens, the sibling you never knew you wanted, the puppy you didn’t expect for Christmas. All of this and more! Colour adds a whole new dimension to your language learning experience. Imagine writing all your vocabulary in purple, grammar in blue and conjugations in green. The sheer amount of effort you put into cycling through colours will not only ensure the quality of your notes, but also the amount of attention you give them.

My notes
A mixture of my notes in Japanese and Spanish

Have You Seen The Instagram Logo?The Instagram Logo

Christ! That logo is probably the best thought of social media logo I can think of. It’s an entire rainbow spectrum, furthermore, there is a camera lens in the middle. Then when you open the app, you get even more colour, and vivid imagery because obviously, the app is photography based. Compare this to your language notebook, if people aren’t snagging your notebook from you to look at it, then you’re doing things wrong. How many likes do your notes have? Has anybody ever taken the time out of their day and said to you “Damn, that’s a really nice notebook?” Think about it, if everybody is writing in the same ink nobody is going to care what you’re writing down…unless of course, you’re writing from your paint palette.  Be like the Instagram logo when taking down your language notes, have an entire spectrum at your disposal, attract eyes instead of boredom.

Coloured Language Learning Notes
My Swahili Notes

Colour Helps Us Remember Better

Let’s be honest right now, how many of you have taken down notes from your Japanese language class, but because it looked so typical and bland you ended up remembering nothing that was said about the ~て(te) particle until you later sat down with the professor only to be re-lectured face-to-face. 🙋🏾‍♂️

Colour helps us to remember better
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

The reason behind this is that colour helps us create memories, and studies have shown that the more vivid the memory the better the brain remembers it. Writing your language learning notes in colour creates these vivid memories while keeping your attention. Its a twofer, and furthermore it looks amazing.  Try writing the word cat in three different colours in your target language, sure it might take you a bit longer but I can assure you, that you will remember it better than if you just wrote it down once in black ink.


So What Kind of Colour Pens Are Best?

Personally, pens that are extra fine are an amazing asset. As you can see in my study notes,  I used extra fine 0.4 pens. These provide for my accurate, precise lines and save on space in the long run. However, I also make good use of my blue gel pen. It has a smooth glide and it has a good weight to it when writing on the page.

Special Cases Non- Romanized Script

Screenshot_2018-08-13 Kiandro Scavella on Instagram “Confessions of a Japanese Addict #iregretnothing”(1).png

Now If you’re studying a language that uses a pictographic alphabet, then I recommend a brush pen. It’s a beautiful supplement if you want a set of heavenly brush strokes with an authentic feel to them. I highly recommend this brush if you’re practising kanji, Chinese or any other language with a none romanized script. There are coloured fude pen brushes, but the one you see me using here is just black ink, unfortunately.


 Have Fun Using Colour

Seriously, adding colour will add an entirely new dimension to your language learning journey. Even if its just only a combination of 3 colours! You will immediately notice a difference in your mood, motivation and cognitive skills when dealing with your target language. Its a form of therapy for all language learners and it works wonders in both the short and long run.

Creative Language Learning Awakes: Kanji with WaniKani

What is WaniKani?

The Creative Language Learning Platform For Kanji

WaniKani is an online platform designed to assist Japanese learners to overcome the massive obstacle they face, kanji. Many learners shake and quiver in fear at the mere thought of seeing ten strokes flash across their eyes, not knowing what each of those strokes means. Classrooms tackle kanji through standard repetition methods, mainly through textbooks, this method can be a described as a bit dry, difficult, and “mendokusai”. Imagine this, cramming ten kanji in the lobby ten minutes before class before just to pass a test, wipe the sweat off your forehead and begone with them forever. Heartbreaking right?

WaniKani however, makes this a bit more interesting through its space repetition and mnemonics system.  The websites colourful layout also runs circles around the traditional black and white book.

Wanikani Dashboard

So what exactly makes this language learning platform so well known in the Japanese language learning community?

Let’s start off with a list of positives this colourful, multifaceted crabgator offers.


Pros of Wanikani

Creative Power Unleashed

WaniKani’s mnemonics system introduces a plethora of wild and crazy stories to help you remember a kanji in its entirety,  forget strokes (well okay, don’t forget them, but stash them away somewhere safe while using Wanikani. It also introduces you to the breakdown of radicals, which are the building blocks to kanji. If you know all your radicals and creative enough you can effectively memorize all 2,000 + kanji.

 

Learn Kanji In Context

Wanikani doesn’t just throw kanji at you and say “Here, you have a week to learn these, then you’ll have a test.” Sound familiar professor? Just kidding, but seriously Wanikani introduces you to vocabulary associated with the kanji you are you learning. It also provides context sentences so you can see exactly how the vocabulary word in its kanji form is being used.

Wanikani review

Wanikani kanji break down and context sentences

 

Spaced Repetition is King

You will not advance to the next level until you GET it. Wanikani ensures that the users actually learn the kanji, vocabulary and radicals. Its level system is a huge motivation factor, you must reach the level of guru on 90% of the kanji that was introduced before advancing to the next level. Depending on how fast you are this can take anywhere between 7 and 100 days.

Wanikani Progression Bars

 

Modify The Way You Learn Kanji

There is a massive collection of plugins to help you modify your learning experience. So you won’t be stuck with the same old wanikani layout and software 24/7. You can create your own learning environment and go at your own speed.

 

Stay Engaged With WaniKani’s Online Community

There is also an active community forum for you to use while your reviews are on cooldown. You can basically go and talk to other members on the same journey as you are. It’s a great way to stay focused and avoid distractions. It’s also beneficial to see the different methods people are undertaking to study Japanese, prepare for exams and discuss in general just about anything.

 

Wanikani online community


Cons of Wanikani

Wanikani has a slow startup

It is slow in the beginning! If you happen to already know some basic kanji you are still going to have to go through the beginning levels to access the higher levels and more intermediate lessons. You cannot skip levels. If you fall behind on reviews…. you will drown. BUT! There is a vacation mode you can activate when you are not able to do any reviews. It will freeze your review lineup until you get back.

level 1 wanikani

Level 2 WaniKaniLevel 3 WaniKani

Radical Radicals, No Pun Intended

The radicals can be a bit strange at times. Depending on whether or not you have some experience of radicals already, making the switch to WaniKani’s highly creative platform can be a challenge. Some of the radicals you will be introduced to will be extremely RADICAL if you catch my drift. I forgot a narwhal was an actual animal until Wanikani named an entire radical after it. Use your discretion here…

Wanikani Radicals Tie Fighter

 

The Conclusion on WaniKani

Overall Wanikani is a highly affordable platform for Japanese learning for what its worth.  While its platform may be difficult to become adjusted to, that doesn’t change the fact that the mnemonics approach works wonders. Its unique methodology is what attracts learners from various backgrounds; it certainly doesn’t feel boring and its interface is bright, creative and mesmerizing.  It’s like the crabgator has you in his hypnotic prowess, and you can’t escape unless you finish all 60 of his trials and tribulations!Wanikani Pricing

 

Did I mention that these 60 levels all together can be finished within a year if done at maximum speed? Did I also mention that WaniKani teaches you effectively just over 2400 kanji and 6000 vocabularies…that’s kind of crazy when you compare this amount to Japanese grade school. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR HAIL THE CRABGATOR!

Image result for wanikani pictures


http://www.wanikani.com

https://www.tofugu.com/learn-japanese/

https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/japanese-learning-stack-koichi/