Learn 4 tools and techniques to stop translating in your head and start thinking in Japanese!
Going through Japanese lessons is enough to get by and learn the basics of Japanese, but to truly become fluent you need to be able to think in Japanese. This will allow you to have conversations with ease, read smoothly and comprehensively understand natives. To do this, you need to go beyond just completing daily or weekly lessons.
We naturally translate in our heads because it´s viewed as the easiest way to learn the definitions needed when learning a language. This way of learning can actually hinder your skills and fluency later on. If your brain has to make neural connections between the word you’re learning, what it means in your native tongue, and the physical object the connection will not be nearly as strong. When you bypass the original translation between Japanese and your native language then there is a more basic and strong connection between just the Japanese vocabulary word and the tangible object. In this blog post, you will learn the 4 important techniques to easily & naturally begin to speculate about the daily occurrences in life.
1) Surround yourself with Japanese. By surrounding yourself with Japanese constantly you will completely immerse yourself in the language. Without realizing it you´ll be learning pronunciation, sentence structures, grammar, and new vocabulary. You can play music in the background while you’re cooking or have a Japanese radio station on while you study. Immersion is a key factor with this learning process because it is one of the easiest things to do, but very effective. Even if you are not giving the program your full attention you will be learning.
2) Learn through observation. Learning through observation is the most natural way to learn. Observation is how we all learned our native languages as infants and it´s a wonder why we stop learning this way. If you have patience and learn through observation then Japanese words will have their own meanings rather than meanings in reference to your native language. Ideally you should skip the bilingual dictionary and just buy a dictionary in Japanese.
3) Speak out loud to yourself. Speaking to yourself in Japanese not only gets you in the mindset of Japanese, but also makes you listen to how you speak. It forces you to correct any errors with pronunciation and makes it easy to spot grammar mistakes. When you speak out loud talk about what you did that day and what you plan to do the next day. Your goal is to be the most comfortable speaking out loud and to easily create sentences. Once you feel comfortable talking to yourself, start consciously thinking in your head about your daily activities and what is going on around you.
4) Practice daily. If you don’t practice daily, then your progress will be greatly slowed. Many people are tempted to take the 20-30 minutes they should be practicing a day and practice 120 in one day and skip the other days. This isn’t nearly as effective because every day you practice, you are reinforcing the skills and knowledge you have learned. If you practice all in one day, you don’t retain the information because the brain can realistically only focus for 30 mins at most. If you´re studying for 120 mins on the same subject, little of the info will be absorbed. Studying every day allows you to review material that you went over previous days and absorb a small amount of information at a time.