Words, Words and More Words

In my opinion, there should be some sort of life rule against being sick while you are on vacation.  Because I am such a complete language nerd (and because my wife had to work anyway) I figured that I would use this vacation to do some serious studying, but nature had other plans.

Still, it has been totally wasted, as I have gotten some studying done, some grammar, but mostly vocabulary, and it’s the vocabulary that I want to talk about.

Way back when I was learning the Kanji, I used the Heisig method.  In case you aren’t familiar with it, it basically involves making up a little story about each character to help you remember it.  The sillier/stranger/funnier/more striking the stories are, the better you remember them.  Eventually, the stories fall away and you simply remember the character.

When you first hear it presented that way, it might seem like a lot of work.  Isn’t it easier just to remember the character rather than remember some little story?

No.  Not for me, anyway.

And the reason I bring it up is that I am doing the same thing with vocabulary.  If I am trying to learn a lot of words in one day, some of them will stick on their own, others will stick because of associations with other words, but others will stick because I have a sentence or a story to go with them.

Examples?  Why, sure!

From today’s vocabulary:


薄める (うすめる) – to thin, to dilute

Think of うすい which means thin


浮く (うく) – to float   水に何が浮きますか。 A duck.

Why does that sentence help me?  Because I am a Monty Python fan, so it sticks in my head


疑う (うたがう) – to doubt

I doubt that song (うた) is about him having gout – not a very interesting thing to sing about

Is is silly?  Yes.  But it works. (Neither of those particular examples is original to me – people have entered them into Memrise for others to use, and I’m using them).  I have created my own for some words (and entered them into Memrise) because sometimes the connections or sentences or stories pop into my head and, if they work for me, they might work for someone else.

After all, we’re all in this together, so let’s help each other out.



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