Don't worry about grammar rules at first. They'll only trip you up.
- Learning a language can be a tricky process, but it's important to remember that it is a process.
- Having learned 20 languages so far, Canadian polyglot and LingQ founder Steve Kaufmann's advice is to not focus on the grammar. Constantly thinking about the rules while attempting to speak only makes it harder.
- Investing time (often several months) into listening, reading, and practicing words before trying to speak a language will help you feel more comfortable with it. You will make mistakes, but you will learn from them and people will be patient with you.
Now is the perfect time to take up a new language. Self-motivation and commitment are key to mastering this fun and useful new skill.
- Canadian polyglot Steve Kaufmann has learned parts of 20 languages. He's come up with seven tips to help anyone attempting to learn a new language in their spare time.
- First, you must commit the time and keep motivated. If you don't enjoy the process of learning a language, you probably won't get very far. Maintaining a positive attitude is key.
- The sense of achievement in mastering a language is a profoundly positive experience. Focusing, at first, on vocabulary rather than grammar will help you in the long run.
Ever wanted to describe precisely how crummy you feel after a bad haircut?
- English is a phenomenal language, but there are circumstances where words seem to fail us.
- Often, other languages have already found a solution to expressing the complicated ideas that can't be succinctly conveyed in English.
- If you've ever wanted to describe the anguish of a bad haircut, the pleasure of walking in the woods, or the satisfaction of finding your life's purpose, read on.
1. Ikigai<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODczNTI1MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NzY5NjIyNX0.Yl51F1Bhoq2RShyDIJOWnkRIQqqlkPj3Ih7kmEed9J0/img.jpg?width=980" id="c95fa" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e200bbc2db38a599cb22815a3bf68999" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
(Flickr user Raul Pacheco-Vega)<p>Literally translating to "life value," <em><a href="https://bigthink.com/philip-perry/searching-for-meaning-in-your-life-this-japanese-concept-can-help-you-find-it" target="_blank">Ikigai</a></em> is best understood as <a href="https://bigthink.com/videos/rob-bell-how-ikigai-can-give-your-life-meaning" target="_blank">the reason somebody gets up in the morning</a>—somebody's reason for living. It's a combination of what you are good at, what you get paid to do, what you love to do, and what the world needs.</p><p>We often find our <em>ikigai</em> during <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/ikigai-hygge-lagom-swedish-danish-japanese-scandinavian-lifestyle-happiness-meaning-of-life-a7956141.html" target="_blank">flow states</a>, which occur when a given task is just challenging and absorbing enough that we forget time has passed, that "in the zone" sensation. But it's more nuanced than something that is simply absorbing or a passion; it's a fulfilling kind of work that benefits oneself and others.</p>
2. Karoshi<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="Qde8VkZi" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="8bfa7326215ec300c42c1b61be3e5c26"> <div id="botr_Qde8VkZi_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/Qde8VkZi-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/Qde8VkZi-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/Qde8VkZi-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p><em>Karoshi</em>, or <a href="https://bigthink.com/personal-growth/should-we-be-working-less" target="_self">death from overwork</a>, provides a nice contrast to the concept of <em>ikigai</em>. Japan's work culture is so over the top that dying from working too hard is not uncommon. This word covers a range of ailments from heart failure to suicide, so long as the root of their cause is in working too hard.</p><p>As another hardworking nation, the U.S. could stand to better appreciate the dangers of overwork. Americans put in an average <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/american-work-habits-us-countries-job-styles-hours-hoilday-a8060616.html" target="_blank">47 hours a week</a>, which is demonstrably bad for our health.</p>
3. Shinrin-yoku<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODczODA3Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzMyMjM0N30.iUJU9FaxE5WCty5YaYu5hTS57GcqvQORs-2eWQuHysg/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C51%2C0%2C51&height=700" id="ed2b0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fb5fd94c08047ab86122f557e7cba38e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
(Flickr user jungle_group)<p>This word translates to <a href="https://bigthink.com/arpan-bhattacharyya/forest-bathing-as-stress-reducer-immune-booster-and-artistic-inspiration" target="_blank">"forest-bathing,"</a> which sums up the activity fairly well. It's getting outdoors to de-stress, relax, and promote well-being. While the concept is familiar, we clearly don't place enough importance on getting outdoors to honor it with its own term.</p><p>According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend about 87% of <a href="https://www.buildinggreen.com/blog/we-spend-90-our-time-indoors-says-who" target="_blank">their time indoors</a>, which is clearly too much. Meanwhile, being in nature is associated with a <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/why-spending-more-time-outside-is-healthy-2017-7#spending-time-outside-reduces-inflammation-3" target="_blank">slew of benefits</a>, like improving memory, reducing stress and anxiety, and even lowering inflammation. Scotland has the right idea—doctors in Shetland can now <a href="https://bigthink.com/personal-growth/doctors-in-shetland-can-now-prescribe-a-walk-in-nature" target="_blank">prescribe nature</a> to their patients.</p>
4. Shikata ga nai<p>Used interchangeably with <em>shouganai</em>, this term roughly means "it cannot be helped." You can think of it as the Japanese equivalent of <em>c'est la vie´</em>or <em><a href="https://dailystoic.com/amor-fati-love-of-fate/" target="_blank">amor fati</a></em>. It's the idea that one should accept things outside of one's control with dignity and grace and not implode from the pressure of having no control over a terrible situation.</p><p>This concept is a bit controversial. During the U.S. internment of Japanese-Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, many Japanese-Americans resigned themselves to <a href="http://oberlinlibstaff.com/omeka_hist244/exhibits/show/japanese-internment/resistance" target="_blank">their mistreatment</a>, characterizing the situation as <em>shikata ga nai</em>.</p><p>On the other hand, when <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/26/magazine/japan-tsunami-survivors.html?mtrref=www.google.com" target="_blank">a tsunami devastated</a> Japan in 2011, many outside observers commented upon the stoic way the Japanese carried on with their daily lives, an example of the positive side of <em>shikata ga nai</em>.</p>
5. Tsundoku<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODczODExMC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2NjE3MzEzNX0.RE29TzMtSljMeGN17k6v5DWxrfjmkdM440kY8pTtiAE/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C179%2C0%2C179&height=700" id="a1cdc" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="95a86443d63a9aa064c5a80d52bf71ae" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
(pexels.com)<p>While it's a little less high-minded than the previous words on this list, it's certainly one that I and others could use. A combination of <em>tsunde-oku</em> (letting things pile up) and <em>dukosho</em> (reading books), <em>tsundoku</em> is the practice of buying a book you swear you're going to read, obviously not doing that, finding a new book you swear you're going to read, and then letting these abandoned books <a href="https://bigthink.com/21st-century-spirituality/buy-more-books-than-you-ever-read-the-japanese-have-a-word-for-that" target="_blank">pile up in your house</a> until it's a certifiable fire hazard. </p>
6. Irusu<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODczODIwNS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MjQ4NTg4OX0.57YpBpgv9jwFgvy595VczrpcSyn-McZ12jSQUy1DMfI/img.jpg?width=980" id="6674d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7986ca68fd338cb0a75accf0779bad3f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Garden State (2004)<p>You're in a terrible, anti-social mood and don't want to see anybody at all today. Suddenly, your doorbell rings; you lie as still as possible in your bed (surrounded by the hordes of unread books you purchased), praying the unwanted visitor leaves. This is the practice of <em>irusu</em>, or pretending not to be home when somebody rings your doorbell. It's a very common experience, although maybe the modern-day equivalent is responding "Sorry, I just got this" hours after you actually saw a text.</p>
7. Age-otori<p>Not everybody practices <em><em>tsundoku</em></em>, and I'm sure some extroverts are entirely unfamiliar with practicing <em>irusu</em>, but everybody can identify with getting a bad haircut. <em>Age-otori</em> is the feeling one gets after leaving a barbershop looking worse than you did going in. It's an ingenious word for the unique blend of regret, suffering, and shame you feel after you foolishly trusted your elderly barber when he said "Yeah, I can do <a href="https://lolsnaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/CcSIf6u.jpg" target="_blank">a hard part</a>."</p>
Bonus words<p>While Japanese has some phenomenal words, there are some that the English language probably doesn't have need of. For example, a <em>nito-onna</em> is a woman so obsessed with her job that she doesn't have time to iron her blouses and so resorts to wearing knitted tops constantly. It's a wonderfully specific word, but its specificity probably doesn't translate to English-speaking contexts.</p><p>There's also the <em><a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/hikkomori-japans-modern-day-hermits">hikikomori</a></em>, a mostly Japanese phenomenon involving modern-day hermits that don't leave their bedrooms for years and years. People like this exist in English-speaking contexts, but we generally characterize these as people suffering from anxiety, as loners, or hermits. In addition, part of what makes a <em></em><strong></strong><em>hikikomori</em> is the high pressure and highly ritualized nature of Japanese society, a feature that is mostly absent in English-speaking contexts. </p><p>So, write to our good friends Merriam and Webster. Let's see if we can pack a little more utility into the English language.</p>
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Why do Shakespeare's plays have such a dramatic impact on readers and audiences? Philip Davis shows how Shakespeare's use of language creates heightened brain activity, or what he calls "a theater of the brain."
Shakespeare's literary career, which spanned a quarter century roughly between the years 1587 and 1612, came at a time when the English language was at a powerful stage of development. The great fluidity of Early Modern English gave Shakespeare an enormous amount of room to innovate.