1 Thing that will make it impossible for you to learn Japanese

This is a BIG ONE! Don't underestimate it, like everyone else
July 3, 2016, written by Cameron

There are MANY things that are going to make it hard for you to learn Japanese.

In this article, I want to cover one of them, which is particularly important, and can make feel like you’re going crazy, if you don’t know and apply it.

Ready?

Let’s do it.

Unfortunately, you’ll only have subjective reality on this topic if you have already started learning Japanese and have encountered barriers.

If you’ve never studied Japanese and you’re reading this, then good for you! Apply this info so you don’t have to make the same mistakes everyone else did!

Let’s attack.

Japanese is Japanese. English is English.
Japanese is not English, and English is not Japanese.

Too simple?

Ok, let’s build this up.

Just because we use a certain pattern or word or format in English doesn’t mean that Japanese is going to have the same thing. Indeed! Often times not even close!

Example:

“Do you like fruit?”

Ok! Let’s convert this into Japanese! Let’s take each word and convert!

Do = suru
You = anata
like = suki
fruit = furutsu

Ok, Ok, I got it, I got it!!! This is it: Suru anata suki furutsu?

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!

That is not it AT ALL!

THAT is what I like to call a cluster f**k.

It is completely wrong.

  1. The ‘do’ has many meanings, in this case it is NOT the same as ‘suru’ (a classic n00b mistake). In this case ‘do’ just means you are asking a question about a verb. That is all.  
  2. The ‘like’ is a verb, and in Japanese verbs go at the end of the sentence. The words in the translation are in the wrong order.
  3. The translation is missing three special Japanese grammar words: “ha, ga, and no”. They act as markers… they indicate the subject, object, if it is a question, and other grammar things.

Proper translation is:

“Anata ha furutsu ga suki no?”   

EVERYONE makes this same mistake when they are first learning.

Why?

Because they didn’t understand two things:

  1. Basic English sentence structure & small common words
  2. Basic Japanese sentence structure & small common words

That is all.

What is the point?

The point is, if you don’t know about the sentence structure, you’re going to think that the languages are the SAME. And you will try to convert one into theother, and make them fit into each other when that is actually impossible!

SOMETIMES you can! These are the exception. MOST of the time you have take the concept of the first language, understand it 100%, and then look at the second language, and create the same concept, using that languages’ rules and structure.

I repeat

If you don’t have a firm understanding of your language’s structure, and the language you’re learning you will assume they follow the same rules, and you will proceed to ‘translate’ one language into another.

This is critical for you to understand. And one of the main reasons why n00bies fail.

Truth

The real reason why you are struggling with learning a new Japanese word or grammar concept is because you don’t have a clear enough understanding of it in your native tongue. This is true.

You use your native tongue as the gateway to all

The Best Way

The best way to approach studying a new language, is to first study your native tongue and then study the foreign language. And go back and forth if you have to.
Don’t let the nay-sayers tell you: “oh~~~ no no no~~~, I can’t learn my native language and a foreign language at the same time! It confuses me more, and I get them mixed up!”

Not the case!

The only way that argument would be true is if you were not studying it properly and were leaving behind you patches of unresolved confusion.

Gaining more understanding of one’s native tongue enables them to better understand everything else.

Conclusion

The moral of the story is: treat each language as its own entity. Never try to translate/convert word by word. Get the concept in your own language, and find out how to communicate that concept in the foreign language.

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