It told me right off the bat that I should go back and take a refresher on one of the previous Lesson's Adaptive Recall sections. That's basically the final test for the Lesson before the Milestone which encompasses them all. It was easier and quicker than it was before, of course. A good sign of my improvement.
I did the Lesson 1 Core Lesson, which introduced the family and possessives, some new verbs, increased my number vocabulary to 12, and added 0 as well. It really is a lot harder to learn the family when the target language doesn't share roots with any of the languages English gets its roots from. Padre and madre in Spanish are easier to remember when one is familiar (no pun intended) with Latinate words like patriarch and matriarch. Surprisingly, however, I am starting to see many of the kanji and recognizing what they mean even when I can't remember the sounds exactly. お父さん (otoosan) and お母さん (okaasan) are father and mother, for instance, and the 父 looks like a pair of scythes or maybe crossed swords, and the 母 looks a lot like 卵 (tamago, egg) turned on its side. These are what might have been traditionally associated with those roles. There are all these weird little connections which I have no idea if they're just my brain's pattern-recognition software gone into overdrive or if I've intuited something that happens to be true.
I did go through the smaller sections for Lesson 1, which is continuing to build on and use what I learned in Unit 1. It is very helpful for some of the words to be broken down and sounded out. Sometimes I wish each of the new words could be so broken down, as it does aid my memory.
I also got to and did Lesson 2's Core Lesson, which added further verbs, parts of a house/apartment and things one might have in such, and also started to add in prepositions. To go along with positional prepositions, I learned to ask where something is. Let me regress for a moment to what I was saying about intuitive kanji. Take the following: 上に, 中に, and 下に. These are inside, underneath, and on top of, not in that order. Can you tell which is which? Answers: 上に (ue ni, on top of), 中に (naka ni, inside), and 下に (shita ni, underneath) Maybe it is just me, but those kanji make sense, right when I see them.
The material is of course getting more difficult due to the accumulation of vocabulary and introduction of new vocabulary, new parts of speech, and new concepts. Japanese grammar is not very intuitive for someone whose first language is English, and even with Spanish as a second language it does not make it easier. The sentences are structured as subject-object-verb and prepositions follow their objects. It's a bit backwards from what I'm used to, and my brain still has to switch the thing around. Even learning to associate words with what they mean without really going through English thought, the word order is a hard obstacle to overcome.
The nice thing is that some parts are also getting easier. Practice and use of the words and phrases really do make them come to mind and lips faster. Like I said in a previous entry, I have been genuinely surprised at my ability to just say the right thing sometimes. I really am having fun with this, and I sometimes think if I didn't pace myself on purpose, I could really go through it too quickly for it to be effective, like glutting oneself on ice cream or playing a video game until one's thumbs are raw. It is very good that it is not a chore to do it. Learning for learning's sake makes it so much more interesting and exciting.
Damn, if I knew the words for mouse, monkey, and branch, I could say the Eddie Izzard bit in Japanese. I know I could look them up, but I'll be okay not stuffing more words into my head tonight... I shall substitute dogs for mice and horses for monkeys, and use the whole tree instead of just a branch! Bwahaha!
猫はいすの上にいます。 犬はテーブルの下にいます。 馬は木のにいます。
Okay, maybe not so bwahaha to you all, but I'm punchy with vocab draining from my sinuses. ~_^Vm