The Only One of its Kind in the World By Creating Stories Connected to New Vocabulary, this Method of Self-Study Ensures You Never Forget What You’ve Learned – [I]

In the previous column, I talked about the importance of learning words in order to develop communication skills in colloquial Japanese. Japanese learners already know basic words for everyday things such as “station,” “park,” and “school,” in their native languages. They can easily and enjoyably increase the number of words they can use by learning how to memorise Japanese words by using phonics derived from such words in their native language.

For more information about MAMA Con, please check the website.

From this issue onwards, I will introduce how to effectively use MAMAcons and how to review them to fix them firmly in your memory.

How to use MAMAcons to accelerate memorization

There are five tips for learning words using MAMAcons. In this issue, I would like to introduce the first three.

1. Imagine MAMAcons in the same order as the sound

For example, when you memorize “kouenn” (park), try to picture an original story like this: “When the koala (ko) was taking a nap in the park, he was almost eaten by a hungry wolf (u).” Please make sure that you always place the MAMA cons in the correct order of koala (ko) → wolf (u). MAMAcons provide a helping hand when it comes to remembering Japanese sounds. If the MAMAcon arrangement and the order of the sounds are different, you will end up remembering the wrong sound, as in “ukoenn,” so be careful. You will be able to avoid making this mistake by placing the koala on left side or above, or by imagining the koala as larger than the wolf.

2. Incorporate your senses into the MAMAcon image

When imagining a “kouenn” (park), it makes it easier to picture a specific scene if you include emotions and sensations, such as the sounds and smells you hear in the park, what the weather is like, and what the MAMAcon are doing. The more specific the details, the easier it is for the human brain to picture the scene.

3. Create an image that is related to a specific episode you’ve experienced

Studies done at the University of Arizona have shown that memories can be enhanced by associating them with oneself, and that in this way the acquisition rate of knowledge and skills can be tripled. When memorizing the Japanese name of a place or a food, combine the MAMA con with a facility you often use or a manufacturer and production area of food where you often buy things, then picture them together with the tips from ②. When memorizing abstract words to do with such things as personality and emotions, it is a good idea to combine the target person with the MAMA cons, or to relate the MAMA cons to the experience of having that emotion.


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