Today I want to talk about how to memorize Japanese vocabulary since I get the question a lot.
1. Use Flashcards with a Binder Ring
Many years ago, I was a learner of English. Like any other language learners, I struggled with memorizing new vocabulary. Back then when I was in high school, there was no such thing as apps on a smartphone. So I had to buy blank “tango cho” (word cards) like below, create my own flash cards, and flipped them as I waited for a bus or while on the bus.
You can still find them in stationary shops in Japan or on Amazon, if interested.
- I could use my spare time efficiently.
- Everything was written in my familiar handwriting, which helped to remember words visually.
- Once I take off the ring, I could spread all the cards and play a little “Pelmanism” (memory) game.
2. Make YOUR Vocabulary List
In this internet era where useful learning tools are mostly online, I still believe in the effectiveness of using your own hand to write down new words. The motion of your hand enhances the retention of the word in your brain.
- Everything is written in your own familiar handwriting, which helps to remember words visually.
- You can categorize vocabulary into groups as you like.
- Your hand activities have a direct impact on your brain, which enhances memorization.
- You can view the history of your learning at a glance.
In no time, you will have a long list of Japanese vocabulary that you have built on your own.
3. Use Online Apps
Nowadays, there are tons of useful tools like vocabulary apps you can download on your mobile devices. These are apps that many of my friends found useful.
Memrise is a free learning platform that covers 25 languages. Japanese is one of them. You can use Memrise as a website on your computer or iOS and Android apps.
There is a Pro version that provides extra features that are not available for a free subscription. The program is based on the science of memory and forgetting. It helps language learners with memory retention of new letters/words.
Anki (あんき or 暗記) is a Japanese word meaning “memorization.” It’s an online flashcard software that helps you with memorization.
The website version and Android app are free but the iOS app is not free as of July 2017.
- AnkiWeb – Website version, Free
- AnkiDroid – For Android, Free
- AnkiMobile – For iOS (iPhone, iPod, and iPad) $24.99
Memorize Japanese Vocabulary
Vocabulary building is a big part of language learning and it is crucial to find a way that works for you. It’s also important to use the vocabulary you have memorized in actual sentences.
I hope this post was helpful to find a useful method for you to memorize Japanese vocabulary. If you have your own way to build vocabulary, I would love to hear! Share them down below in the comment area.