Cultural background knowledge and foreign language learning

25 Apr

” background knowledge on a certain subject will make comprehension, and acquisition of new vocabulary words much easier when reading or listening to foreign language content related to that subject”

Self Taught Japanese

I’ve mentioned in a few posts how background knowledge on a certain subject will make comprehension, and acquisition of new vocabulary words much easier when reading or listening to foreign language content related to that subject. For example, if you are very familiar with biology and read a Japanese biological journal, you’ll be able to quickly fill in the blanks with your knowledge, even if you originally learned biology in a different language. This is an important thing to keep in mind since it will help you keep motivation, select proper study materials, and know what to expect when reading something new.

However there is one area which is particularly difficult to get adequate background knowledge of, especially if you are living in a country which doesn’t use that foreign language. It’s the societies culture itself, both current and historical. Take watching a Japanese variety talk show where celebrities chat about…

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