Featured Post

Planning a Trip to Japan

You could go the easy route and pay a travel agent to plan your trip but that'll cost you a lot of money, money that you may not even ha...

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

How to Memorize Japanese Vocabulary

I'm currently learning Japanese, as many of you may be learning too. I have mastered hiragana and katakana and have learned all the particles such as は、の、を、が、に、etc. Basically what I'm missing are the words. I don't know why, but I have the hardest time trying to remember vocabulary. And if I want to start speaking Japanese, I think it's pretty important to have some vocabulary down.

Well, lately, I've been studying like crazy (crazy meaning when I have the time which is like a hour a day). I think I've finally got the swing of things with learning the vocabulary and I'd like to share it with you. I'm pretty old school when it comes to studying so my method of studying involves flashcards.

So here's how I do it, in two easy steps.

First, pick words you feel are important to learn.
Look through old textbooks or a dictionary. Find the words you want to learn and write both English and Japanese. I use flashcards so I write the English on the side with lines and the Japanese on the blank side. So when I study, I study giving myself the English word and having to know the Japanese. This is the way to study since you know English and want to speak Japanese. English can be replaced by any language you speak.

And secondly, create analogies for the words.
An analogy is when you form similarities between two things. For our purpose, it's with words. I will be using English as an example only because that's the language I speak. And some of these analogies I'm going to share are going to be very strange but they work for me. Here are a few.

far - tooi
The toy is far.
(Toi is pronounced as "toy" in English. So I decided that using this analogy helps me to remember)

spicy - karai
Spicy food can sometimes make you cry.
(Karai sounds similar to "cry" in English)

flight - bin
When the pilot or flight attendant is about to make an announcement you here a bing first.
(Bin sounds very close to bing but with a silent "g")

platform - homu
You have to wait on the platform to take the train home.
(Homu sounds identical to the English word "home")

to see/ to look - miru
You look in a mirror.
(Miru is close to sounding like "mirror")

squid - ika
Squids spray ink.
(Ika is close to sounding like "ink")

Now, to prove that these have helped. Story time!

Just the other day my husband and I were at a bookstore. We went by the language section and my husband was looking at Japanese language books. He thought he'd be cute and try to stump me by testing my Japanese. Coincidentally, he picked out the word "squid." I called out "ika," My husband put the book back on the shelf and said, "Time to go." I asked him if I got it right. He told me I did and didn't think I'd get that one. I was so proud of myself.

So I hope this helps those of you trying to learn Japanese. It can get discouraging sometimes, but keep at it! For more Japanese and Japan related content follow me on social media.


And subscribe here on Google+ for updates on when I post!