- How To Speak Like A Native
- Mastery is Mastering the Basics
- Where Not To Learn Japanese From
- How To Get A Specific Accent
- How to Pronounce Japanese
- Language Is Acting
- Luxurious Worries, Or: So Effing What If You Sound Like An Anime?!
- Success Story: Emotional Context Learning — Using Phrases Correctly Without Actively Learning Them Or Knowing What They Actually Mean
- You Are What You Eat, You Write What You Read, You Speak What You Hear
- Why You Should Keep Listening Even If You Don’t Understand
- If Anime Is Bad For Your Japanese, Then Nursery Rhymes Are Bad For Your English
- No Humans Necessary: Why You Don’t Need People to Learn a Language
AJATTeer Jake C shares this little story of how he learned how to use certain Japanese words and phrases before he knew what they actually (literally) meant, because he was aware of their emotional content. I have had similar experiences myself in both Cantonese and Japanese, but didn’t have a name for the phenomenon. Now, thanks to Jake, I do (“emotional context learning”, he calls it). It’s definitely one of the benefits of an immersion environment (one primarily based on FUNBUN 1 media) as opposed to a classroom one — you learn stuff without even trying, at an almost physical, muscular level. Anyway, here’s Jake’s little story:
I feel as though I’ve hit on something no one else has considered before. It’s something I noticed in my own learning.
I realized that humans aren’t actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with its surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply, and multiply until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You are a plague, and we… are the cure. When filled with a certain kind of emotion, attitude or mindset, I noticed that entire phrases of Japanese would jump into my head that I had never previously studied or reviewed. They must have stuck due to me comprehending their emotional context.
「一体誰の仕業なのか?」 2 came into my head in response to me actually holding that kind of emotion towards someone (a coworker). My mind had latched onto it through comprehending its emotional context, though I had never formally studied it before.
I’ve been repeating aloud the things I hear in the news or in anime while acting out the emotion or mindset the idea was conveyed with, and it seems to be super effective. Even conveying dry information still holds a degree of emotional context that can be acted out.
I personally think this is a fairly unique and cool way to engage in language learning: acting out (and thereby comprehending) the emotional content of the sentence, even if you don’t fully understand the words. I found out later what 「仕業」 meant, but I actually used the phrase before I even knew what it meant, which I find very weird and cool. I knew the emotional content before I knew its specific, literal meaning.