I keep forgetting japanese words

I am 18 and i am trying to learn words via flashcards. I swiftly look at them and click next.but i always forget the words. How many months do i need to learn a word and not forget it? I am beginning to think that i am stupid

No, this is perfectly normal. Please watch these videos:

What would happen if you gave the flashcards a break for a while? How could you still work on your Japanese? Flashcards are not the most efficient way of learning, not everyone finds them helpful.

I am in my 70th year and I keep forgetting Russian words, not because I am older or stupid, but because I am learning 100 words every day and I expect to forget a lot of them and remember some of them. Keep up with the flash cards. I always use the multiple choice flashcards, at least then I have a 25% chance of getting the right answer! However, I find that my correct choices are much more than my wrong choices, so I must know the answer! Keep on reading and listening and your recognition of word types will increase. That is my experience in learning Russian.

You might try different tactics. Instead of swiftly looking at them and clicking next, try repeating the word and the meaning, say, three times. Then click next. I have the same experience with Russian words, but be certain that it will slowly become easier. It’s just a hill that is very steep to begin with.

Edit: And you may simply read too if you grow tired of flashcards. I learned Russian for a long time without using flashcards, but these days I’m primarily using them to boost my vocabulary with more advanced words.

Thanks for the comments. I had tried memrise too. I thought it was good. But I couldn’t notice any words when I tried to read something . So I think flashcards are better. I will try ijoh’s suggestion.

Here’s a different viewpoint and approach.
As mentioned above, flashcards are not the only thing or even a must-have thing in language learning.

Instead of obsessing with remembering individual words using flashcards, you can try to learn directly from texts.
This is like the direct opposite of flashcards. Just focus on texts(and audio) and don’t fret about your progress.
Finding pleasure from reading increasingly more difficult and interesting books would be the only thing that matters.
I believe this is a good method too.

There is a quote about it: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.

Or, language is what you pick up as a byproduct while you voraciously read interesting texts for the pleasure of it.

I am not quite reading enough right now, but it is what I always aim for.


I would like to add a caveat about using Google translate. Although I use it extensively, I do so with caution. The Russian translation is pretty good for single words and short sentences, but anything longer often need to be recast into intelligible English. Nevertheless, it is a useful tool.I have a walking Russian dictionary that I can consult, if I am not sure - моя жена!

“How many months do i need to learn a word and not forget it?”

First, you need dozens of exposures, with real context. Flashcards, by themselves, won’t do this. During this time you will forget a lot of words, before relearning again. This is a necessary process to begin to filter from short term to long term memory. Filtering into long term memory takes years.


Are you learning using only flashcards, or are you using them as a supplementary exercise? If you’re using flash cards alone as the meat and potatoes of your routine, they will get boring. I might advise using flash cards only as review.

Exactly. I don’t use it to look up new words because of how unreliable it can be at times. I use it to refresh my memory on words in my passive vocabulary. What is the word for refrigerator? Ahh, I remember now, it’s холодильник!

The way I use flashcards is to read and listen to a text, then go through the vocabulary using the multiple choice flashcards, then read the text again, hopefully now knowing more words. If I have forgotten a word then I highlight it again and flashcard it again. This circular approach is very effective as I am understanding more of what i read and hear. It has to be understood that some words just won’t stick at first!

I used to review Polish words on Memrise flashcards and I felt that I was gaining much less progress because I was too focused on the specific set of words that was given each day. I feel that using flashcards is not only boring for me but it stunts my progress because I get distracted by the question “do I know these given words,” rather than “did I actually understand what this article was talking about in depth.”

So, what I did when I was learning Japanese was that I would spend time reading articles about a specific topic that interested me, and by reading many articles in that specific topic, I could learn vocabulary that was common to that field. For example, when I was reading Steve’s Odyssey Book in the Lingq library, I frequently saw words like "言語学習 (language learning)”、”文法(grammar)”、“獲得(gaining ‘knowledge’)””大学(university)”, etc., and I learned them because they appeared so many times they became ingrained in my mind. In language learning, never try learning every single word. Some words just are not worth trying deliberately to memorize, because chances are, you will not use them. If I encounter a word very frequently, then I might try deliberately repeating it a few times in my head over the day to attempt to (and often successfully) “transfer” it to my long term memory. However in general, I try to make sure I am concentrating more on the content and meaning of the article rather than the evaluation of words.

Best of Luck, this is just what I do. :stuck_out_tongue: