DisclaimerNothing is scientifically approved here (or I didn’t research it to be specific). This is my own experience and it worked with me and many of my friends.

This article is rather a maniac one. I completely improvised and used this technique on myself long time ago to accelerate my learning of Japanese.  

To get to the point: the fastest way to learn how to speak, listen, read and write in a language is to think in that language.

I’ll be explaining a specific technique here.

Let’s first look at how we perceive things. Every person uses a language, or multiple languages to communicate, right? But we also do something else with language, we interpret the things around us using language too!

So if you are an English speaker, and you see the color “red” in front of you, what happens is that in your mind, the word “red” pops up for a split second. If you see water in front of you, the same thing happens. in your mind, the word “water” pops up suddenly for a split second.

What is happening there is your brain interpreting the object according to the language it is used to express that object in. This reinforces the word and it sticks in your brain more and more.

It is a very repetitive process, made unconsciously, and your mind just keeps emphasizing that over and over again and again.

Here is the fun part.

I did an experiment (or a method, wouldn’t even call it an experiment) to enhance my interpretation of my surroundings in Japanese.

What I did was as follow

  1. I choose a couple of words in Japanese that I see in my every day life.
    Examples will be: Water, big, small, rain, sun, train.
  2. Memorized their Kanji and their readings.
  3. Every time I see water, I consciously stop the english word that popped to my head, and force the Japanese kanji of water [水] to pop out instead, and try to say the reading of it [みず:Mizu] silently in the same time.
  4. Repeat that for a lot of objects.

This might sound like crazy, but what happens is that after a while, my mind started to get used to Japanese Kanji popping and Japanese reading sounding in my head, it started to make it the default thing. So literally after a while, every time I see water, I think [水].

Of course, after repeating that so many times, my subconscious takes over, and now it is automatically reinforced every time without me having to do anything about it.

The logic behind it is that the mind is preoccupied with many things all the time. When learning a new language the mind is overheated with trying to process all that new information. This technique allows it to free some space by getting used to basic words, and not needing to process it. Hence I can focus on new things.

What this method does is:

  • As stated above, frees the mind from processing small words, and having to translate small objects all the time, and let me focus on understanding the bigger words.
  • By automatically reinforcing those words, my mind started to get used more and more to Japanese being there, and my ability to learn Japanese became much flexible.
  • I can dive deeper in Japanese and the meaning of the words and sentences much more faster than before.

That’s basically it. This is very powerful specially if you live in the country where that language is spoken. Of course it can be applied to any language.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!

Cover photo by Antonio Prado on Unsplash

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