Finding symbolism in language learning

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Learning a new language can be daunting but extremely rewarding. GTU trainee Weslan Hansen came to the set to share his experience of learning Japanese. Hansen is a student at American University in Washington, DC and studied Japanese language and culture in 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 to learn for native English speakers. Luckily, Hansen shared the best ways to bridge the bonds in learning a new language.

Hansen believes that learning a new language makes her more culturally aware and gives her 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 thinks she can connect and bond even more with her friend because she’s fluent in the language. There are 50,000 kanji characters in the Japanese language and to speak fluently one needs to know about 2300 characters and about 1000 characters to read a Japanese newspaper.

Hansen thinks it’s easy to find similarities between his native English and Japanese, and thinks anyone can find similarities between his native language and a new language through symbolism. Hansen played a word game with GTU hosts Nicea DeGering, Surae Chinn, and Deena Manzanares and asked each host to guess which character they thought a certain word was. Hansen showed three cards with different characters and asked the host which character they thought the word “car” was. Each host guessed a different option and Chinn was the one who was right. What helps Hansen remember and bridge the gap is the fact that the character resembles the grille of a truck that reminds him of a car. Each host also guessed a different option for the word “sadness” which Manzanares found correct. Other suggestions Hansen has for making learning a new language easier are finding a daily routine, especially when it comes to character order, as well as reading books, watching movies, and listen to music in the language you are learning.

Twitter: @weslanhansen

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