Motivation is one ingredient to learning any language

Just finished participating in a four-person panel talk about learning Japanese.

Here are some points of commonality among panelists:

  1. regularity of study
  2. motviation through some interest in the target language’s culture
  3. enjoying the learning (relates to #2)
  4. authentic material or authentic situations

For me learning is like being the anthropologist Levi-Strauss: you emmerse yourself in the culture. You need to “be there”. Others said as much.
But the biggest thing is motivation I think, something I didn’t focus on explicitly even though I was talking about it. Zen Buddhism has been a focal point for my interest. In Zen one must be no different to the thing that it trying to know. Pure intuition. But Zen or no Zen one still needs to be interested in some aspect of the langauge or culture.

There are so many things which one can discuss about learning that it simply cannot be covered in one’s 15 minutes of alloted time or one’s “fifteen-minutes of fame”.

I will try to flesh out these thoughts here but I truly always get inspired to write after one of these Hiroshima JALT meetings. The fact I don’t write much testifies to the fact I haven’t been getting enough intellectual stimulation lately.