How Learning SUCKS and Acquiring is Better

This isn’t my originally my idea.  I first got it from Khatzumoto, who in turn got it from Krashen.  Basically, Khatz’ major application of this is in learning Japanese.  Okay, actually, he doesn’t even advocate learning Japanese; he advocates acquiring it.  The difference is that learning a language is learning to apply conscious knowledge of grammar and vocabulary to speaking; you have to focus more on how to say something than the message.  The much more efficient way of “learning” Japanese is actually acquiring it.  This comes not from memorizing grammar rules but by learning to understand a language more and more (getting used to it) until the ability to produce the language emerges naturally.  Frankly, my explanation sucks, so you should visit Khatz’ site for more info.  

Lately, I’ve been trying to apply this method (acquiring instead of learning) to many different things and projects that I have going on in my life.  For example, I’ve been running and walking a lot to try and avoid the stereotype of the typical, lazy college student.  I’ve come to realize that running, like language, is (kind of) a system that needs to be acquired.  The more I do it, the more I get used to it.  However, I always thought that running would get easier and easier every time I run.  It doesn’t.  It’s the weirdest thing, but it feels just as hard each time I go running; it’s just that I can run further each time.  I guess the reason that this surprised me is that I had always been expecting the running system to be just as easy/the same as the non-running system.  That’s when I discovered that it really is a completely different system.  

That also seems to explain another thing.  Before I started to learn French like 4 years ago,  I would hear french and be like, “Wow, that’s so difficult and weird-sounding!”  And then when I started to learn French I was always thinking, “Man!  I can’t wait till I know French; it’s gonna be so awesome to be able to understand all those weird sounds and words!”  Basically, I thought that was going to be cool to know French to the level where it was just as easy as English.  Now that I know a lot of French/have acquired a lot of it, I hear it and think, “Well, this isn’t as cool as I thought it was gonna be.” (Don’t get me wrong, though.  I really do think it’s a BEAUTIFUL language.)  That’s when I realized that I was wrong to think that it was just going to be the same as English when it came to level of difficulty.  You see, it never got easier.  It’s just a different system that I had to acquire.  I just had to get used to it.  It’s the same with running; I’m just getting used to it.  Now, I expect the same the thing for Japanese.  Although it’s true that it doesn’t sound as foreign as it once did, I’m still not used to it yet.  I can’t follow an anime without subtitles.  I can’t read a manga.  BUT, I don’t expect it to get any easier;  I know that I’ll just end up getting used to it.

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