【Relearning English】The Concept of “Discovering the Multiple Meanings of a Familiar Word”

Hello, everyone. This is “MANA, the cat” from MANABICATION.

I am MANA.

In today’s blog, we will be introducing our new serial article!

I (meaning “MANA, the cat”) am often asked by my Japanese cat friends, “What is the best way to improve my English skill?” I can think up of many answers but for sure, one of the recommendations is…

”Do not stick with the idea to increase vocabulary, but try to grasp the diverse meanings of your current vocabulary.”

I pointed out in the Japanese blog article that we all repeat the similar expressions and vocabulary everyday to communicate. At least, from my point of view (or hearing), my owners seem to be repeating what they say day after day… ha ha.

But this is not something special and I believe any speaker of any language is like this. Maybe they may each have different habitual saying but I think everyone makes him or herself understood by using a pretty small vocabulary.

Therefore, I always suggest to my Japanese cat friends that they don’t try to learn new vocabulary by matching it to one Japanese vocabulary but instead, change the viewpoint and try to find out how many meanings one vocabulary word can mean. And that will be the concept of our new serial article, “Discover the other multiple meanings of familiar words”. And this idea can probably be adopted for learning any language.

I was taught by my owner that the Japanese word “yabai“(やばい) could be a good example for this concept. It is said that “yabai” is originally meant  “very inconvenient” or “being in a dangerous situation”. But currently, especially in this decade, “yabai” is used in various ways from “outstanding”, “delicious”, “cute/good-looking” as well as the original meanings of “dangerous” or “very inconvenient”. (So basically, it indicates anything which is extraordinary.)

So, instead of learning “outstanding”, “delicious”, “cute/good-looking”… and so on. Once you learn the word “yabai“, you only have to understand in what kind of situations this word can be used and that will enrich your self-expression.

“Well yes, but learning the context is hard as well… .” Yes, MANA understands your complaint (and it is true). Hence, when reading our articles, don’t put too much stress on yourself to increase your expressive skill but rather relax and feel “Wow! This familiar vocabulary has this kind of meaning as well? Hmm…”. MANA is also happier if you feel that way.

Maybe some of you, the relearners, already think “I know that go, have, take and get can be used in numerous situations!” Yes, that is also true. But, believe it or not, many of the vocabulary words you already know do have multiple meanings, probably more than you know. So, please do look forward reading this serial article.

And… wait…, I can smell my cat food! Time to go for now! See you again!!!