“Don’t force output in L2. Just keep getting input. Don’t force yourself to go to the bathroom, just keep drinking water.”
Jamie The Pensive Urinator
Language is peeing.
Jamie (yes that Jamie), of Twitter fame, a leading authority on the urinary arts, actually came up with this analogy.
To tell you the truth, I’m jealous, because I think it’s the best language acquisition metaphor ever invented. Ever.
It’s like a golden shower of insight…
Because of the…golden nuggets of wisdom it contains?
Wow. Crossed a few lines there.
That R Kelly, when will he learn, eh lads, eh?
Anyway, let’s look at:
Approximately ten reasons why learning a language is exactly, 100% like peeing.
- No matter what you drink…
- Mountain Dew (Anime)
- Water (Unscripted natural conversation)
- Milk (The Moë Sentence Pack)
- Ambrosia (Comedy)
- Protein shake (Star Trek)
- Green smoothie (Evangelion)
- Green smoothie with added vitamins (Rebuild of Evangelion)
- Green smoothie with added vitamins, made and served by a maid dressed in short shorts, with blue hair that completely covers one of her eyes: if you’d been there with me and the lads that night in Akihabara…you’d understand. (The part in Rebuild of Evangelion where Shinji’s eyes go red and he roars: 「綾波を、返せ！」 )
- Unfiltered gutter water (Textbooks) 1
…it’s all mostly made of water and it all comes out as pee. All FUNBUN 2 Japanese is Japanese. Even “anime Japanese”.
- You don’t know exactly when you’re going to pee, but if you keep drinking, you will pee.
- So stop freaking out about when you’ll get good or when you’ll start speaking. Everyone’s a little different! You’ll pee when you pee! Shut up and drink!
- Worrying will get you nowhere. Just drink more. Keep drinking.
- The more you drink, the more you pee. Volume(pee) ∝ Volume(drink).
- Eventually, you won’t be able to help peeing: you won’t be able to help talking like a Japanese person. Eventually, it’ll be harder to not pee than to pee. Sweet, huh?
- You always pee less than you drank: input and passive vocab will always outstrip output and active vocab. Input precedes and exceeds output. Never expect to drink a liter and pee out a liter. Volume(pee) < Volume(drink). You’re going to pee out less than you drink…
- …and you’re not going to pee at all if you don’t drink. Nothing begets nothing. 0 begets 0. No drink, no pee. Drinking = input. Peeing = output. There is no output without input.
- There is no output before input, either. Drink now. Drink first. Pee later. You have to drink before you pee. You can’t pee before you drink. You can’t “get fluent” at Japanese, then immerse. What, you think the language can understand your future promises (“oh, he’s going to pay me later; he said the cheque’s in the mail, so let’s give him an advance on the fluency”)? Darling, Japanese only knows what you’re doing for her right now. 3 “What have you done for me lately?” That’s what your Japanese perenially wants to know. You have to immerse in order to get fluent. Prior to getting fluent. Drink first. Pee later. Immersion first, fluency later.
- Drink a lot at night (sleep immersion), and you might wet the bed (L2 dreams, L2 sleeptalking)
- HAHAHA! You bedwetting loser! 4
- For added reliable, constant hydration (and thus peeing), you can go beyond just drinking and set up an intravenous drip for yourself – (TV left permanently on, radio, automated immersion, multiplexing, small-but-radical(-and-persistent/stable) environmental changes)
- Tasty drinks → more drinking → more peeing. So drink tasty drinks!
- Conversely, drinks that taste gross → less drinking → dehydration → acute and chronic health problems (including impaired mental function) → death. Watching and reading boring Japanese will lead you to avoid all Japanese, which will lead to Japanese “dehydration“, which will lead to the death of your Japanese (baby).
People always want to know what your pee situation is. How thick is the stream? How long can you go? What color is it? People are so interested in comparing and contrasting and speeding up the peeing process.
But no one wants to hear about the drinking. People want to drink as little as possible and pee as much and as quickly as possible. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting that — wanting the (apparently) impossible is how progress happens — but it’s a dumb thing to get stressed out about when…you could just drink more.
That’s it. The Pee Theory of Language Acquisition. So, relax and drink up . Your shower of golden wisdom will come! 5
PS: Many paths to enlightenment pass through the restroom. If any more micturative wisdom occurs to you, please share .
- I’m being flippant. Textbooks are useful…for about 10~300 seconds, after which the boredom infects and kills your will to learn ↩
- For native, by native ↩
- Ask Mr. Uwano — you can be friends with Japanese (the language) right through to adulthood — for 20 years — but if you skip out on her…she’ll forget you ↩
- Unlike you, I am not a loser. I never wet the bed. There’s no evidence that I ever wet the bed. My Mum? You’re gonna believe her? You know she’s not a virgin, right? What? The kids I went to boarding school with? OK, show me the sheets. Yeah…that statute of limitations burns, doesn’t it? ↩
- Don’t judge me! Don’t act like you know me! You wouldn’t have been able to resist making this joke either! ↩