What if I told you that you could learn 1,000+ Japanese words in a week or two? Would you say I'm crazy? Would you say I've gone to the dark side? I'd say those things too. But, you really can use this simple Japanese language hack to learn a cool thousand-ish Japanese words in a very short amount of time. I tell you how in this video:
To take advantage of this Japanese language hack, you'll need to learn katakana. That's a must. After that, it's all a matter of time. Probably not that much time at all, considering what you get out of it. Here's how it works:
Gairaigo and Wasei-Eigo
Admittedly, it would be great if you could learn a thousand originally Japanese words in such a short amount of time. But, gairaigo and wasei-eigo are important and are useful, so it's not like you're wasting your time. You'll have to learn most of these eventually as they are used in the Japanese language. Because they are (usually) English words that have been "Japanese-ified" you can learn them quickly. Many of these words are very close to the original English word, meaning that you'll be able to recognize them, learn them, and then use them with very little effort. A few examples:
ベビーカー: stroller ("baby car")
カンニング: cheating ("cunning")
パンク: Flat Tire (punc-ture)
I tried to include quite a few words that don't sound like the original English. Even when words are like this, you can still recognize and learn them quickly. For example, panku パンク is just short for "(punc)ture" which refers to a flat tire. That's not a difficult jump to make. kanningu カンニング is just "cunning," and cunning people cheat. A bebi-ka- ベビーカー is a "baby car." A baby car is clearly a stroller. But, many words are pretty close to the original. A ki- キー is a key, aruko-ru アルコール is alcohol, to name a couple.
Learning something that you pretty much already know is way easier than learning something that is abstract (like most of the Japanese language, when you're starting out). We're taking advantage of that fact, which will allow you to learn an insane number of Japanese vocabulary words (that aren't originally Japanese at all). This is a Japanese language hack after all. So you can't have your mochi and eat it too.
Learning These Words
It's up to you for how you want to learn these. You're probably going to want to create flashcards for yourself. Or, maybe some of you will just read the words and learn most of them like that. It's not that difficult. Most likely, you'll be able to find already made "katakana words" decks in Anki or Memrise (or whatever SRS you use). Less work for you.
If you do want to create your own decks and choose your own words, a search for gairaigo in Google will give you a lot of options. Also look for Wasei-Eigo, or loan words in Japanese. Whatever you search for, you're going to find more than you need.
When you're not sure whether or not a word is useful, search the word in Google and see how many results come up. If it's a lot of results, then it's probably a pretty common and useful word. If there aren't as many results, maybe it's not so common.
Give yourself a challenge to see how many of these words you can learn to recognize in a week. Once you can recognize them, you can start working on being able to recall them (which is harder). Recognition is always going to to be easier though it's good to eventually be able to do both.
Good luck and enjoy all your new vocabulary!
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