Easy Peasy Japaneasy: Why it’s easier to learn a 3rd language and why it’s not for the reason you think


Despite all the talk about failing, I have to say I’m really not finding Japanese particularly difficult.

There are a few reasons for this, the most obvious one being that I am super intelligent, though I think all the other reasons probably must come from now having learned a language before, and thus being more at one with the acquisition process.

You always hear and assume that after learning one other language it’s suddenly easier to learn another, like your brain just switches and is suddenly more open to the idea of using foreign words. It’s the kind of hocusypocusy subconscious stuff that sounds about right so we just take it as the truth. Well here I am going to agree that a 3rd language is easier to learn than the 2nd, but not for any wishywashy reasons, and instead purely and only for logical ones that I shall now wish to explain.

Knowing Italian doesn’t help you know Japanese

Just to firstly dismiss the subconscious argument side of things… There is no way whatsoever that my brain is suddenly more able to accept and understand Japanese because it has accepted Italian. Japanese is still a fuckload of words of which I have not the slightest idea as to what they could mean and it’s confusing as shit. It’s still a matter of learning what all those words mean using books and flashcards and conversation or whatever, and then putting it together. My brain is not just on it’s own suddenly and silently working out words for me and making the language make sense…

It’s not my brain that is now more open to new languages, it’s me

Yes I am my brain. But what I mean to suggest is that learning a language is is a very conscious process, and I don’t believe that things have changed much on some subconscious plateau that is now helping me absorb things better. Instead I have done the whole thing before and I know what works and what doesn’t, in fact what it is that helps me is a reaffirmed and invigorated sense of…


This is going to sound obvious, but speak a language everyday and you are going to become better at it. But in reality, when you start to speak the language, you will hit so many walls where you’ll just have NO IDEA (capitals added for effect) of how to say something and you won’t be able to see how speaking is going to get you round these obstacles. You won’t believe that the first sentence of this paragraph holds true. You then believe that you need to buy a ton of grammar books, sit and do vocabulary, watch films and rewind them constantly, analysing every sentence.

But now I’ve learned a language, and although the grammar books helped, I did it mainly just through speaking… Speaking and watching shiz on the internet (predominantly the dark knight). Every time I spoke the language I worked out something new, every time I listened to it I began to recognise maybe a new word or two. This system worked. I now have faith in doing it, so I won’t doubt myself or waste time trying to do other things. This helps a lot: confidence transforms you.

Less Autistic

One disadvantage of being dyspraxically intelligent is the rainman like elements that follow you to your grave. I NEED VERY SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS. I do, I get confused otherwise, and that’s why I’m shit at lots of basic things in life. When you learn a new language you don’t understand DENADA, NIENTE, THE BIG ZERO, and it didn’t help that I couldn’t even take a guess at the meaning without being really autistic and having to know every single word.

After 6 months of not really having a clue about what anyone has been saying to me, I’ve now become much less rainmany in this regard. To say that now I can just do what most people do and take a guess based on a couple of words. I say I’m going to Japan, then the other person speaks for a minute and somewhere in the sentence I hear the word ‘where’, well then I guess that shit and say ‘I’m going to Yokohama’. I am ten times more comfortable standing in front of someone speaking to me in a language that I don’t understand, and the lack of nerves helps a lot.

Easy Peasy Japaneasy

But the main reason it’s easy is that I enjoy it. I’ve got my speak only system, and I love talking. I have confidence that it will work, so it doesn’t stress me out. How can something be hard, if it’s something that is fun. Doing something fun isn’t hard. And regardless of how far I’m getting, that’s probably the reason for which I started this post by saying I’m not finding Japanese particularly difficult.

Another language post

Yeh, well I can’t really write about anything else as the problem about having a public blog is anyone can read it, so talking about recent events in true ways is unfortunately a liberty that I can’t often afford. Which is an excuse for saying I’m not actually doing anything interesting and have nothing else to talk about.

About Sam

Hi I'm Sam and I write here exclusively at Samuel's Travels. Exclusively as by and large no-one wants me writing anywhere else. Please enjoy yourself while reading.
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