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Influence - 影響

Tuesday, June 14, 2022


As part of the Japanese language proficiency exam at my university, one of the requirements was to give a presentation in a free format.

The main theme of the presentation was to share an experience that had a strong impact on me during my university years.

I will skip the greetings and phrases that only make sense during the presentation, and continue with the main text.


Slide 2 - Experience

During these 4 years, I was greatly influenced by various factors. In the beginning, I had little control over this process, and the experience was acquired almost without my active involvement.


Slide 3 - Control

Over time, I became dissatisfied with this situation, and I took control of my own experience.

Despair and hope

Slide 4 - Despair and hope

Like everyone around me, I started learning the Japanese language using textbooks and teachers, and I was even satisfied with my progress.

At some point, I encountered the Dunning-Kruger effect (I know, I know, in hindsight, it’s sickening how often this cognitive bias is mentioned).

The confidence I felt as a beginner vanished overnight. The realization of how much I still had to learn was merciless.

That’s when I decided to change my situation and embarked on a search for the “plateau of stability”.

First, I paid attention to my past experience. I studied English for 10 years, like all other students, but when I actively started using it, my progress accelerated significantly.

It was interesting because English was directly connected to my interests at that time. I thought, “Maybe I should do the same with the Japanese language?”

Before that, I decided to figure out why English initially came to me so easily and suddenly.


Slide 5 - Acquisition

After some time, I found myself reading articles on applied linguistics.

More specifically, I discovered a connection between my experience and the hypothesis of language acquisition proposed by Professor Krashen.

In brief, it can be described as follows:

There is a clear and understandable boundary between learning and acquisition.

Moreover, improvement in language skills depends solely on acquisition.

I understand that this is just a hypothesis, and it is quite simplified in my retelling. However, it explains my success in learning the English language, so I decided to put it to the test.

New Approach

Slide 6 - New Approach

My self-learning approach can be summarized as follows:

  1. Consuming content in Japanese.
  2. Identifying unfamiliar yet not overly complex elements (words, grammatical constructions) in the texts.
  3. Saving these elements in a database and reviewing them at intervals until memorized.

A crucial condition for the successful completion of these three tasks has become the attractiveness of the content. If the content lost its attractiveness, my progress would significantly decrease as well.

New Tools

Slide 7 - New Tools

I explored the experiences of people who used this approach and discovered a convenient set of tools. Using these tools, I continued studying the Japanese language for the next 3 years.

During the process, I found that successful programs have three important characteristics:

  1. They are free.
  2. They have open-source code.
  3. The developer community strives to constantly improve these tools.

New Influence

Slide 8 - New Influence

As a result, I started using free software as much as possible. It took some time to get used to it, but the results were more than satisfactory:

  1. The feeling of depending on external services for my happiness disappeared.
  2. The drawbacks of any software now depend solely on me.
  3. Less worry about the security of my data.


Here, I decided to take a pause and have a drink of water.

Slide 9 - Pause 1

With our audience in the background.

Slide 10 - Pause 2

Language Pipeline

Slide 11 - Language Pipeline

That’s why I became interested in programming. Learning the Japanese language had a strong influence on me and reflected in my desire to control processes around me.

I tried to influence the learning of the Japanese language, but in the end, I myself became influenced by it.


Slide 12 - Future

I don’t know what the future holds, but one thing is clear - learning the Japanese language has significantly changed it.

Slide 13 - The End