[5] Memorize Words in a Flash

Most Japanese Language Teaching Materials Are Instruction Manuals

Generally, Japanese language teaching materials focus on explaining the language and it is quite difficult to find ones that teach you how to memorize vocabulary. We imagine that the first hurdle for Japanese learners is finding a way to memorize the vast number of words. Fortunately, in the Japanese language, there are many words that come from English and are expressed in katakana.

Memorizing Vocabulary in an Instant and Retaining it with Mnemonics

In everyday Japanese, you can find many things that can referred to with either an original Japanese term or with a modern katakana word. However, to be able to speak like a natural, you will need to be able to use the original Japanese word. However, mnemonics enable you to memorize a vast number of Japanese words in a flash, which you’ll be able to recall at any later date.

Raining Alligators and Melons

Mnemonics utilizes a mental phenomenon; the more unusual an event is, the more memorable it is. First, you replace the initial sounds of a Japanese word with English words (for animals or any other thing) that start with the same or a similar sound. For instance, the “a” of “ame” (rain) would be replaced with “alligator,” the “me” sound would be replaced with “melon.” In order to remember “ame,” you should picture an alligator and a melon falling from the sky.

Replace the Sound of Japanese with Pictures

By visualizing an image, you should be able to memorize the word “ame” in seconds. Also, once you have connected the word “ame” with the picture, you will recall it every time it rains ensuring you never forget it. These mnemonics are called “MAMA (Memory Aid Magical Alternative) Method” and you can refer to the Japanese sounds with illustrations of our suggestions for their replacements on the MAMAcon list.

Memorizing Words on the Spot

However, you do not have to memorize the list beforehand. When you have looked up the Japanese translation of an English word, you can find an illustration for its stand-in on the MAMAcon list, and picture an image which will easily help you remember that word. In this way, you will be able to memorize anything you see, or any action you do, and will be able to review them each time you come across the same scene.

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