Taking a Break: Helpful or Harmful?

When I embarked on my AJATT-style Japanese learning, I was set on never taking a break.  Sure, I had waves of more and less activity, but I never stopped.

I often felt my “less activity” periods hurt my learning.  It was extra difficult to get back into a steady pace, as it felt like I’d been stagnant and not fulfilling my potential.  Horrid for my motivation. But I always pushed on, even when things were busy or stressful.  No stopping.


However, I was forced to prioritize things for the past 3 weeks or so.  My senior dog (who, by the by, is the best and most awesome dog in the world) became very, very ill.  While caring for him and coping with the idea that he will likely soon take his leave, I had to finish my graduate school application, move, and change jobs.  It was crazy.  Something had to give.  Reluctantly, I chose Japanese.

Surprisingly, taking a break seems to have done me good.  In some ways, anyways…

The Pros

  • Re-invigorated my passion for the language.  Almost like it was new to me again.  Much easier to remember all the things that fascinate and interest me, and why I started learning in the first place.
  • Gave me a chance to step back, clear my head, and reflect on what I’ve been doing.  Nice to evaluate what’s been working, as well as what might need to be tweaked.
  • I’m more excited than ever to get back into studying.  And with the fresh perspective comes new ideas as to how I can do things differently, and maybe even better.

The Cons

  • Use it or lose it!  Words, kanji, phrases, lots of things I was once somewhat familiar with are all but lost on me now.
  • – 2 in Writing, -2 in Reading, – 4 in Speaking  (Listening skillz still seem to be uneffected, hoorah!)
  • Mad SRS reps due.  But it’s all good.  With my new perspective, I feel confident I can and will tackle them in manageable chunks!

All in all, I’m glad I took this break.  I think the benefits outweigh what it’s cost me.

Have you ever taken a break from Japanese?  Why?  Do you think it helped you or harmed you?

Here’s what some Tweeps had to say!

(Also from Kanjiwarrior)

From @e_dub_kendo

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