I just found this video and thought you guys would be interested

I thought this was a very interesting video, let me know what you all think. I pretty much agree with him entirely, when I’m just not in the mood to be using a dictionary and looking up words constantly but I still want to read Japanese, that’s just what I do. I find something I want to read and no matter if I don’t know a word or kanji, I just move on. Even so I find that I pick up a surprising amount of information this way.


Sorry, I just got triggered by the title.

Learning a language is like building a house:

  • The better the materials, the more beautiful the house will be able to become.
  • The better the workforce is, the better the house will be.

Yes, read/listen to a lot of native content. That’s how I did it with English without going a single time to an English speaking country (I went to London when I was 4, but let’s not be picky). However, if one is not producing what they learn, they don’t know where they’re lacking in. You’d be surprised by the mistakes we make (being native or not) in language.

So yeah, it’s important to buy the best paint for the house, but if you never painted before, you’ll still be in trouble.


funny kitteh.
nice video.

While I agree with a bunch of stuff in this video. I don’t see how you would ever be able to open up a book and just read it without knowing the characters.

Unless you’re suppose to get all that from watching native content with native subtitles? Eh.

Nice video though, I’ll have to try watching things without subtitles in the future.

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Since I’m not the creator of the video I couldn’t say for certain, but I think the point wasn’t that you shouldn’t ever use a textbook or other resources, but that you should get as much input as you can. Input can get you a lot more progress than anything else, but outputting among other things are still necessary.

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I think the main point was that you have to learn in context. Memorizing the word “ringo” in a list is never going to be as effective as someone handing you an apple and saying “ringo”. Even better, your best friend loooooves apples and squeals “ringo!” every time she sees one. You will never forget that word. The context gives you something for you to “hang” the memory on in your mind.

So that’s kind of how WK mnemonics work. If you can make a vivid scene in your mind, and you can recall part of it, your mind can make connections and recall the rest by replaying the scene. It makes that memory a much fatter “target” in your brain than a simple word/meaning pair.

But the mnemonic can never be as vivid as something that actually happens to you. There’s kind of a continuum of experience level. Watching on TV can be almost as good, reading in context in a story, made-up mnemonic scene, then dry list of vocab being the worst.


These “just learn like a baby, dude” videos seem to come around fairly frequently.

It’s nice that he got to N1 by watching dorama apparently. I don’t think that’s going to work for me.


I don’t care much for that method. This is what Rosetta Stone tries to do and pushes.
We don’t learn like young children, their brains can vacuum up tons of info and remeber it without issue. As adults we have to learn in different ways which involve repetition.

I’m no expert by any means but I know there is a big difference between young children and teens/adults in how they learn


I think the whole point of the video was that there’re experts who dedicate pretty much to this line of study and are telling us: "hey, I know this might come up as a surprise, but what we originally thought as the logical step to aquire a language, it’s not necessarily what works the best (…so you better skip it :wink:).

Taking language learning out of classrooms and textbooks seems like such a paradigm shift for some people here; then if I had to think on how was it that I got to learn english… well, that’s exactly how it happened. And I wasn’t a baby by then, so the “baby magical language skills” were gone by that time :yum:.

I get that japanese been such a different language if comming from an european language might strike as in need for further textbook analysis prior to immersing in the language itself, but all that “I will immerse later after finishing N5…N4… N3… etc… material”, seems like a recipe for not immersing at all.

Problem I see with that it’s taking too much time to choose that specific color, and the right quality, and the one that suit me as a particular kind of painter… and not starting with the damn thing at all :rofl:

But good ol Koichi had a better metaphor here

Between, has the japanese counterpart for learning english taught us nothing?? :man_shrugging:


Babies do a stupefying amount of repetition, you can try how many times you can repeat “the dog said wan-wan” before going crazy. Babies look a bit silly, but they do 24 hours intensive practice with one or more dedicated teachers :slight_smile:

That video has a point, you need comprehensible input. Parent provide appropriate input, even adaptively. TV shows don’t, not even the ones targeting kids. Looking out for お金 and suddenly understanding it sounds great, but only a very small fraction of the input will be comprehensible (try to understand 用意 that way).

You either need some friends/teachers who adapt to your level, or get enough vocab to make it through a text passage without choking on the first few steps.


Yes, and the textbooks have their function. I mean, everyone learns differently I guess and you need all types together. Without the textbooks, I feel like I’m in a game of “what do these items all have in common?” all the time. I hate that game. Just tell me the pattern and I’ll start recognizing–then using–it a lot more quickly. Can’t do that without the input/output practice though, and a lot of it.

I have a friend who subscribes to the “just learn like a baby, dude” (love that description) theory, just copying phrases out of a phrasebook and trusting that he’ll eventually start being able to mix and match and recognize patterns. I’m not so sure. It’ll work… eventually. I don’t want to take 18 years to get to high-school-graduate level comprehension like babies do.

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Input isn’t a magical solution. You always have to make some kind of sacrifice. In order to get the deeper connections that might be possible by doing all this through input, you have to put in a lot more time.

Sure, the initial connection you make from reading a dictionary entry is weaker, but you can learn a word in a minute. With input, you have to wait for the content to appear in front of you many times.

I prefer to do a combination of lots of things. I watch lots of TV, read lots of articles, listen to podcasts… but I also use reference books and dictionaries.

I don’t see why that’s wrong with that.


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