Does it always feel this way?

I try to remind myself not to be too critical of WK’s translations, because I’m only a student, but sometimes I think they picked the wrong word based on the description and example sentences and this is one of those times; perhaps “lifestyle” comes somewhat closer.

Fortunately you can add your own synonyms. I’ve added a handful.

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I think ‘lifestyle’ is definitely a closer translation for 生活, especially since ‘livelihood’ has economic connotations and is often equivalent to ‘salary’ or ‘income’. My personal understanding of 生活 is ‘life as someone lives it’. It’s similar to another Japanese word – くらし, which is essentially ‘the act of living/passing one’s time; the manner in which one does so’ or ‘everyday living’, if you prefer.

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Your brain will eventually start to skip over the translate phase… but it happens gradually so you may not even notice it until it’s already happened.

Think of it like this: learning a new language is like going somewhere for the first time. Whether walking, taking a train, riding a bike, whatever, the first time going to that location, you’re hyper aware of everything, keeping your eyes open for street names, landmarks, when to turn, when to exit and the number of the building you’re going to.

When going to a location for the first time, you’re so focused on the directions that you don’t even get to enjoy the view on the way there.

Now, after you’ve gone there a few times, you can relax a bit more and take your eyes off the map a little. And after going there A LOT of times, you can go there on autopilot without thinking about how to get there and enjoy every second of the trip/commute/journey.

Really crappy analogy BUT the point is: the first time your brain learns a new word, it takes a lot of concentration and memory to get it to stick. But the 100th time you hear/read it, you don’t even have to think about it. It’s there, in your head, and you don’t need to translate it to English because you’re so familiar with it. This is why SRS is so effective.

Stick with it! Your brain will eventually stop translating because you’ll reach comprehension. It may not happen all at once in a noticeable way but little by little the translating will stop.

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Right?? :blush: I was happy when I saw it, too! Thanks to that Reddit user!

‘Lifestyle’ sounds great, thanks! I think I’ve read about the ability to add your own synonyms in one of the newbie guides to WK, but personally I haven’t done it as I don’t really trust myself too much with this.

With 生活 in that example, I still wasn’t sure if maybe the issue was actually with my too narrow understanding of the English word ‘livelihood’, as opposed to the Japanese word having a slightly different meaning :slight_smile:

Thank you for that example, that’s an awesome word to know!
仕草 from Level 5 also comes to mind. I don’t have a full grasp of it yet, or a convenient Wikipedia definition. But I was lucky to hear it used in an episode of anime I was watching just after learning it, so that one instance, as narrow in context as it was, has become my anchor point for now.

Oh wow, I just realized that is exactly what was happening for me when I first learned to drive a few years ago :smile: Indeed, it seems to be a much broader issue of a ‘new cognitive task’ rather than something specific to language learning.

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