Learning a new language can be intimidating but extremely rewarding. GTU Intern, Weslan Hansen, came on set to share her experience learning Japanese. Hansen is a junior at American University in Washington, DC and studied the Japanese language and culture her freshman year of college and was inspired to take the course with her interest in foreign correspondence. Along with her journalism major, Hansen is also majoring in Japanese studies. Japanese is the hardest language for native English speakers to learn. Fortunately, Hansen shared the best ways to bridge the connections in learning a new language.
Hansen feels learning a new language makes her more culturally aware and gives her an intensive study. “You can learn so much just by learning a language about other cultures.and really get that cultural immersion.” said Hansen. Hansen’s best friend is from Osaka, Japan and Hansen feels she can connect and bond even more so with her friend as she has a grasp of the language. There are 50,000 Kanji characters in the Japanese language and in order to be fluent, one must know approximately 2,300 characters and approximately 1,000 characters in order to read a Japanese language newspaper.
Hansen believes it is easy to find similarities between her native English language and Japanese and feels everyone can find similarities between their native tongue and a new language through symbolism. Hansen played a word game with GTU hosts Nicea DeGering, Surae Chinn and Deena Manzanares and had each host guess which character they thought was a certain word. Hansen showed three cards with different characters and asked the host which character they thought was the character for the word “car”. Each host guessed a different option and Chinn was the one who was correct. Hansen what helps her remember and what helps bridge the gap is the fact that the character looks like the grill of a truck which reminds her of a car. Each host also guessed a different option for the word “sadness” which Manzanares got correct. Other suggestions Hansen has to make learning a new language easier is to find a daily routine especially when it comes to your stroke order for characters as well as read books, watch movies and listen to music in the language you are learning.