”Learning Japanese – an easier way? ” from Terry

”Learning Japanese – an easier way? ” from Terry

Many people ask if it is worth studying Japanese. They think it`s too difficult, with the kanjis, hiraganas and katakanas. Then, there`s the way you speak to senior colleague, an older person, a junior person, the
list goes on; each one offering the chance to give offence.

Well, if you want to live and work in Japan, it is definitely worth it.Not only will it help you with your career, it will benefit you in your day-to-day life as you go about your daily business and interact with
the people you meet and get to know.

But we have to be realistic. Like learning any other language, it won`t happen overnight. It takes time, study and patience. The great advantage students here have when learning the language is that you are already in the country. Unlike back home, where you study and then do some revision and wait for the next lesson, here, you can study and then step outside the classroom and get real practice with native speakers right on your doorstep. That is an amazing advantage to have and can only help you to get better, quicker.

Japanese is a beautiful language. Unlike Greek or Latin based languages and learning, it will teach you a bit about the culture as well.

Learning a new language is best when you`re young. It gets harder as you grow older as your brain becomes hard-wired with your mother tongue. A form of muscle-memory, if you like.

To become totally fluent in a foreign language in your later years, you really need to submerge yourself in the culture of the country, and Japan is no exception.

In science, research was done recently that showed how our brains can be rewired, so to speak. The research came about from trying to help people who had suffered traumatic brain injury and were trying to recover. This rewiring of the neural circuits in the brain can be done through training or unconsciously, helping the neural circuits to reacquire their functions that might have been lost due to trauma. This science is called Neuroplasticity, Brain Plasticity or Neural Plasticity (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroplasticity)

In the same way, by immersing yourselves in the language and culture of Japan, you will be able to become fluent in Japanese a lot faster than if you had just stayed back in your home country.

This science implies that our brains can actually be reformed, despite our upbringings. Prolonged exposure to Japanese culture and Japanese language might actually reshape the way our brains learn, think and make decisions while tring to function in the foreign tongue.

You will learn to start thinking like a Japanese i.e. your brain will start to function in that Japanese mode when you have to, speeding up your learning process, helping you absorb knowledge and information in
Japanese. Your fluency will improve because you are now able to think like how the Japanese do. You brain will not try and translate what you just heard from Japanese to your mother tongue, and then back to Japanese when you are trying to reply. It all becomes natural.

Elite sports people and the military use muscle memory to help their reflexes and response times. In the same way, your language ability will improve and become fluent just from repeated exposure and use of
Japanese if you allow yourself to immerse and absorb what is around you and what is being offered to you culturally and linguistically.

Gambatte kudasai!

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