it’s amazing how we tend to remember details subconsciously but it’s so difficult to memorize our notes for exams right? We often lament that we can remember song lyrics in a few hours but can never remember all those mathematical formulas etc. That is why I hate and will never memorize vocabulary. If you try to deliberately memorize vocabulary, you will just die a painful brain death. If you think about it logically, there is a ENTIRE new set of words you have to learn – how many flashcards or vocabulary lists will that translate to?
The important thing is to make links with the words and to learn them in a context. When I was studying Korean, my idea of context was mostly articles or written passages. Where I would look up a word in a dictionary and write them down in my notebook. Somehow it worked for me. The audio/video context comes later and usually I see a word in a written context before I hear them spoken in a drama etc. Later on in my learning journey, new vocabulary can come from either the written or audio context.
But in Japanese, I seem to take the opposite approach. The video/audio context is very important for me. I especially LOVE to watch Japanese interviews with Korean artistes – who are speaking in Japanese. So that means DBSK and Big Bang. It’s amazing how some phrases can subconsciously stick into my head when I hear my fav idols say them. lol.
I learnt バッチリ from T.O.P, やばい! from Taeyang, ねばねば from Changmin etc. I love the section where the Japanese hosts will always ask ‘最近覚えたん日本語はなんですか?’ (what new Japanese phrases have you learnt recently?) hahaha usually the answers are pretty hilarious. I learnt バッチリ in that context lol. At first I didn’t think much of it (I don’t deliberately remember what they say) but later on I came across another audio clip where someone else was saying バッチリ and I was like ‘wait. I heard this somewhere… TOP SAID IT!!!’ hahaha.
I’m also randomly listening to Japanese podcasts. I understand a few phrases here and there (not enough to understand what is going on…) but it’s nice to see that I can recognize bits and pieces of the audio. And I learnt a new phrase. なるほど。It’s so commonly used.
Watching dramas help A LOT. Most dramas are centered around a theme, meaning that some words will always be used more often that others. And after listening to those phrases for a few episodes or so, it tends to get stuck in your head. With the context in the drama, it’s easy to figure out what it means.
What is your method of learning vocabulary?
p.s. Any good Japanese dramas to recommend? I watched quite a few some time back and then stopped after watching 恋空. -.- That drama totally destroyed my liking for Japanese dramas. Ridiculous plot. But now my love for Japanese dramas is revived by 君はペット。