If you are thinking of learning any foreign language, these five useful techniques will make it so much easier:
1. Make mistakes
From the moment we born, we are said to do things properly, but the only way to learn a language is to get things wrong. Why? Because when you make mistakes you are able to remember them and do as much as possible to change them.
2. Scrap the dictionary
Have you ever noticed how much confusing reading a language can be? That is because we are used to our mother tongue sounds. Sometimes, and more for a beginner, it’s more useful to scrap the dictionary and study it phonetically.
3. Ask people to correct you
When you start learning a new language, you need someone to introduce words and grammar in the same way as you learnt your mother tongue. As time goes by , it’s important to have someone who will not hesitate to correct your mistakes while encouraging you to improve. At inlingua Edinburgh, our teachers’ method means you will have as much speaking practice as possible with frequent error corrections.
4. Keep talking
It’s easy to stop using a language when you reach your goal. But unfortunately, if you don’t keep training your skills, you’ll forget it, so try to make native-speaking friends or find a language exchange partner who you can practise with on a regular basis.
5. Make it fun!
If you find learning a new language tedious, you’ll never reach your goal. So make it fun!
Language and culture go hand in hand and, if you’re learning a new language, it’s great to find out about the culture of the country it comes from. Our Japanese teacher, Kotomi, has compiled a list of trivia that you may find weird, strange or interesting, about the culture of Japan.
1. It is popular to eat raw fish, such as sushi or sashimi. But Japanese even love to eat raw meats, such as beef, chicken, horse meat, pork liver!!
2. The country of Japan is made up of 6,800 islands.
3. The land of Japan is more than 70% covered by mountains. Also there are over 110 active volcanos. This is around 7% of the world’s volcanos.
4. There is a very expensive type of melon, called mask melon in Japan. The most expensive ones cost about £250. These melons have a detailed and small “net” pattern on their skin. This fruit is often given as a gift.
5. Japanese vending machines sell alcohol. You are able to buy alcohol 24 hours a day.
6. There used to be these customs: A man would shave his head as an apology. A woman would cut her hair if she broke up with her boyfriend.
7. Japan has the second lowest crime rate in the world, but quite a high suicide rate. There is a famous suicide spot called “Aokigahara” near Mt. Fuji. This area is a deep forest and compasses don’t work. It is very easy to get lost. It’s best not to plan a trip here.
8. The Japanese animation industry accounts for 60% of world animation. Japanese anime culture is successful worldwide. There are over 130 voice actors/actresses in Japan.
9. 21% of the population of Japan are elderly people. This ratio is the highest in the world.
10. There is a custom to eat a puffy fish called “Fugu” which is extremely poisonous. The parts with this poison are slightly different between each kind of Fugu. and a licensed craftsman is necessary to serve in a restaurant. However, in some specific areas, recipes exist where a poisonous part of the fish is pickled to eat. It is still not understood why the poison is mysteriously detoxified by this recipe.
Golden Week is a collection of four national holidays which takes place over seven days and is one of Japan’s three busiest holiday seasons. Due to its popularity, trains, airports and tourist spots get very crowded during Golden Week and accommodation in tourist areas can get booked out well in advance.
The national holidays which make up Golden Week are:
• 29th April
Showa Day (Showa no hi):
April 29 is the birthday of former Emperor Showa, who died in the year 1989. Until 2006, Greenery Day (see 4th May) used to be celebrated on this day.
• 3rd May
Constitution Day (Kenpo kinenbi):
On this day in 1947, the new post-war constitution was put into effect.
• 4th May
Greenery Day (Midori no hi):
Until 2006, Greenery Day used to be celebrated on the 29th April, the birthday of former Emperor Showa. The day is dedicated to the environment and nature, because the emperor loved plants and the natural world. Before being declared Greenery Day, the 4th May used to be a national holiday due to a law which declares that a day which falls between two national holidays must be a national holiday.
• 5th May
Children’s Day (Kodomo no hi):
The Boy’s Festival (Tango no Sekku) is celebrated on this day. Families pray for the health and future success of their sons by hanging up carp streamers and displaying samurai dolls, symbolising strength, power and success in life. The Girl’s Festival is celebrated on the 3rd March.
We wish a fantastic Golden Week to our students Takuya and Kanae, and our lovely teachers Katomi and Kazuko.