The Intrinsic Pleasure of Japanese Vocabulary Success at Last

pleasure of vocabulary


I don’t have a long post today, or a screenshot yet (that’s coming later today), but I was just now struck with an emotion I believe it’s important to relate.

It’s important relate because emotion is a huge motivation for discretionary spending of time.  Foreign language learning represents an enormous outlay of discretionary time.

Why do you learn a foreign language? Well, to meet a goal, or goals, certainly. For business. Or education. Or in order to reach knowledge you want which is locked within another language. To better build or continue relationships with people who speak the language.

But along the way, and perhaps even as a primary motivation for many people, is immediate emotion. An intrinsic pleasure. Something just feels good about hearing, speaking, or simply learning vocabulary of a foreign language.

That’s one of my primary motivations. Ever since arriving in Japan in 1997, and after leaving in 2004, I’ve associated the sound of Japanese with adventure, a kind of blissed out experience of ordinary life (on the JR train, walking down a city street, working in an office) which could never happen in an English language environment.

Never mind my explaining that to any great shakes right now, but a brief sketch: Life was new, different, utterly foreign, as if living in a alternate universe in which time didn’t pass, and experience was always new and as if 25 forever. Most Americans who have lived in Japan, those I’ve listened to, tell me they experienced something similar. “This exists! I exist!”

You may think that’s getting carried away. Certainly it could be expressed better with a lot more effort. But that’s the gist of it.

Studying Japanese vocabulary via a spaced-repetition vocabulary flash card system creates a similar high.

After years of failing with traditional methods, I experience acquiring and maintaining 20 or more Japanese words per day, on about an hour or slightly more of study per day. Life sparkles. Objects which are ordinary glisten with new light when newly named.

I recommend it. Here’s a more detailed post about how I learn Japanese vocabulary fast, and how you can too.

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