Tips for learning Japanese; Learning Vocabulary is the First Step to Acquiring Japanese

How you define the point at which “you have mastered Japanese” depends on the person studying it and their reasons for studying the language. For beginners learning Japanese, our Super-J Academy has set an initial goal of “being able to convey your intentions in Japanese.”

In order to enjoy Japan and have a comfortable life, Japanese skills, such as being able to ask directions, order what you want to eat, and explain what you want to buy, are necessary. Therefore, we believe that it is important to prioritize learning Japanese words that are often used in daily life.

Japanese grammar has a flexible word order

Below are two sentences that have the same meaning but are expressed in different ways.
Scene: When conveying your impressions of the food in a restaurant.

① “kore, oishii!” (This tastes good.)

② “oishii, kore!” (This tastes good.)

In Japanese, even if the word order is switched, it is not a problem in many cases. The nuance and impression made by each word might be different, but the meaning of ① and ② above is the same.

Compared to English, Japanese sentences allow for more flexibility and as such it’s possible to switch around the word order. Therefore, to improve your verbal communication first increase the number of words you know, and then create conversational sentences. In this way, you’ll be able to acquire Japanese conversation skills efficiently.

How to learn words so that they stick in your long-term memory

When learning Japanese words, I recommend that you prioritize the words you use most frequently. When memorizing words, we use “MAMAcon” (one MAMAcon for each Japanese sound), which are pictograms of Japanese sounds that refer to English words. MAMAcon act as a trigger for memorizing Japanese sounds.

For example, when you memorize the Japanese word “e ki,” which means “station,” try to imagine a strange scene that would not happen in everyday life, such as an elephant (e) and a king (ki) doing a hip-hop dance at a station you often go to, or in which an elephant (e) and a king (ki) are having a fierce argument over who gets on a train.

By using MAMAcon to imagine impressive scenes, and linking it with a place you often go to, a thing you often eat, and an object you often buy, the meaning of words, Japanese sounds, and scenes will combine to make it easier for you to remember words.

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

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