Hi, I’m Sarah. Welcome to The Daily English Show.
The video I recommend today is called: How To Learn to Speak GOOD Japanese FAST
It’s by Hikosaemon. He’s a kiwi guy and he lives in Japan and speaks Japanese, of course, and he’s talking about how he learnt Japanese. I think his advice is really good – and it could be applied to learning any language.
One point he said was: You have to force yourself to use the language. This is so true.
If you have some free time, will you watch a movie in the language you’re trying to learn, or your native language? Of course you’ll enjoy it more in your native language, but if you force yourself to watch the movie in the language you’re trying to learn, then you’ll enjoy the long term benefits of eventually being able to understand that language.
One way I force myself to use Japanese is by having my computer operating system and all my software in Japanese. Of course it would be easier in English, but then I would lose that great learning opportunity.
Another thing he said was: You need to surround yourself with the language.
Again, I totally agree. Learning a language is not just a matter of doing one thing. It’s not like: Oh I bought this great textbook by a famous publishing company, and so once I get to chapter 37 I’ll be fluent.
You need to do many different things – read, write, listen, speak ... and use the language in many different ways and in many different environments.
This was interesting. He said: You have to go back to being a kid basically.
Absolutely. And I think this is one of the hardest things about learning a language and one of the things that stops a lot of people. Because it’s not easy. When I came to Japan I was twenty two. So I’d spent 22 years learning how to live in New Zealand, about law and history, how to relate to people, how to act, how to speak ...
Then I came to Japan and I knew nothing. How to speak, how to read, how to write, what the laws were, how to act in social situations ... so, I was useless, like a baby.
And I remember in my first week here, crying at one point just at the frustration at that situation - of being so useless.
But I knew that that’s just the way it is when you go to a different country and it might be hard for about 6 months but it’ll get better after that.
But I think some people just can’t handle it and they’re like: No. I hate this country, it sucks. And they go back to where they came from.
And I think some people can’t handle sounding kind of silly when they try and speak a different language, so they just give up or they don’t even try.
So I think when you learn a language you have to get over your ego and your naturally tendency to want to look good. Because when you learn a language, you sound silly and stupid sometimes. And that’s just the way it is. But, if you can accept that, then that’s when you’ll make good progress.
And finally one more point he said ... what was important was: Having fun and learning what I had to when I needed it.
This is a very important point – study things that you enjoy. Of course, force yourself sometimes, but also do things you really enjoy. And learn things that you can use. It’s much easier to learn something if you actually have a use for it. And if you have no use for the language you’re trying to learn, at the moment, then you can try and create a situation which gives you a use for it. Like Hikosaemon, when he was learning Japanese in New Zealand, he got a job at a Japanese shop.
Kia Ora, in Stick News today scientists have unveiled the world’s fastest supercomputer.