On rich inner monologues

(via Wondermark)

One of my goals when learning a foreign language is to be able to introspect in that language. I think translating one’s thoughts, desires and sensations into a language other than the native tongue or English is an interesting exercise. It could also be a way to gauge one’s grasp of a foreign language. Because thoughts are spontaneous, being able to express these fluently would be an indication of proficiency.

Since I have been learning Japanese for some years now, I would sometimes attempt to think in Japanese. And then I would imagine that I am a character of some anime having a stream of consciousness. It makes the entire learning experience more fun.


The Japanese word for overtime, 残業 (zangyou), is interesting. The first character, 残, means “remainder” or “left over”. It occurs in words like 残る (nokoru,), “to remain” or “to be left”, and 残念 (zannen), which is the Japanese equivalent of the Filipino word “sayang”. The second character 業 means “business” as in 農業 (nougyou), “agriculture”, and 従業 (juugyou), “employment”. Thus, 残業 can be interpreted as something like “remainder work”. I would, however, prefer this interpretation, “left behind due to work”. Makes sense, does it?