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Language woes, kitchen chaos, minor emergencies - Elf M. Sternberg
elfs
elfs
Language woes, kitchen chaos, minor emergencies
I finished the audio portion of my Japanese language classes a long time ago and have just been listening to the 10-minute dailies, and I find myself stalled there mostly because where I really am in the language is at the "amass vocabulary and learn to read" part, and while the vocabulary's not so bad, learning to read Japanese is a serious exercise in memorization. All of those kanji! I thought that I'd practice by doing scanlation, but most of the manga I have to read is, uh, not child-safe. I'd hate to be halfway through a page to have one the kids spot "Oh, a comic book!" and wonder what I was reading.

I also audited the first hour of the French language course. French uses the Roman alphabet, right, so at least the reading material will easily be accessible, right? No such luck. Written French has about as much in common with spoken French as hanzi does to spoken Japanese. (Obvious disclaimer: I audited the French course because the American DVDs of the animated series Witchblade are censored, whereas the French ones aren't. Ecchi hot chicks, blood and violence, and two languages I'm studying at the same time: I couldn't think of a better way to abuse my brain than that!)

Last night I made tacos, and ran out of taco mix, so I quickly tried to make some up. While I had the bottle open, I accidentally poured the cumin into the open bottle of dried onion, so I ended up throwing the whole thing together. I now have a lifetime supply of taco seasoning and no dried onion flakes. Still, I got protein into the girls, and that's a good thing.

Omaha had a brief seziure late into the evening, which surprised me because she hasn't had one in months. It was mild as these things go, but it still knocked her out pretty solid so I put her to bed at 8:00. Since it happened in the living room and my camera was on my desk right there, I just pressed "record" on it and caught the entire grand mal phase, since that's one thing Omaha hasn't seen before. I watched it again afterward and, y'know, I can understand how scary it can look from the perspective of someone who's never seen it before. The girls took it in stride, however, and gave me less trouble than usual in getting ready for bed.

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Comments
jenk From: jenk Date: January 24th, 2007 04:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I periodically play with my high school French and German remnants by switching the language on a DVD. Altho I doubt many local DVDs come in Japanese...
shunra From: shunra Date: January 24th, 2007 04:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not sure about abusing your brain, but I find your concept of learning a language fascinating. You seem to see it as something you can learn out of its context, absent any immersion with people speaking it. Did I phrase that correctly?

I can sort of understand where you're coming from, but every fiber of my being says "that's not language-learning - that's decryption". I don't doubt that you learn what you think you're learning - only... ...I think that by learning a series of codes you're missing out on what the langauges actually have to say, because you will (perforce) end up translating into Engish and experiencing your new codes/languages in English.

I don't say that as criticism - I'm learning Dutch in a rather similar way. I experience it as a frustration: I read the family correspondence in Dutch and miss all the Dutchness of it. The switch in one's brain that occurs when one has actual immersion in the langauge with its culture and environment - that will wait (in my case, at least) until I can spend big gobs of time there.

(My background includes native-level fluency in two languages. This probably colors my perception of language profficiency.)
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shunra From: shunra Date: January 24th, 2007 06:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
This relates to the differences between using your ears for parsing and your eyes... in general one has much more control over one's eyes than one's ears in terms of seeing "white space" versus "static" and "content".

That said? Dutch sounds so much like English that it doesn't seem to take much time to start "parsing" it correctly. The rhythm of it makes sense to American ears (if that makes sense to you).
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From: (Anonymous) Date: January 25th, 2007 12:05 am (UTC) (Link)
The reson that ASL is considered a foreign language is that sign lanugages are lanaguges in there own right. ASL has a difrent grammer, vocaburary and idoms then english, infact because of a quirk of fate ASL is more closely related to freanch sign lanaguge thien it is to britsh.
elfs From: elfs Date: January 25th, 2007 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)
In a sense, decryption is a process by which the not-understood becomes the understood. I imagine that I will a miss a lot by dense-packing vocabulary and grammar and all that and missing out on the essential "culture," but I don't know that there's anything wrong with that. Surely before I begin absorbing the culture, I have to read and listen to the culture in its native tongue.
shunra From: shunra Date: January 26th, 2007 05:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. I've been thinking about this for a while. No, I don't think there's anything wrong about it.

That said, I completely disagree about having to read and listen to the WORDS of the culture in its native tongue in order to absorb it. In my experience and observation the process is the exact opposite: first you absorb the culture, THEN you start breaking down the understanding into words. If you have only the words, it is like ::searching for metaphor, finding a fairly lame one:: having a colorblind person do your color printing. Is it possible? yes, definitely. My red-green colorblind grandfather made a fine living and almost never mixed print runs up. Imagine such a printer, who sees only gray scale - much of the information is there, but... ...it's just not the same.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 24th, 2007 11:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe I'm just biased because French is my mother-tongue, but I don't think there is that much of a disconnect between spoken and written French. Sure there's a 'literary' French and a 'spoken' French, but they are just differences in custom. You can speak in literary French, but unless you're trying to express something complicated or subtle, you just end up sounding like a prick. :)

Colloquial Canadian French on the other hand has much more of the relationship to the written form that you mention. Many words have no written form, contrary to Colloquial English.
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lucky_otter From: lucky_otter Date: January 25th, 2007 12:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Once you pick up the mapping between spoken and written French, the vocabulary is pretty transferable between the two skills. Yes, there are stylistic differences, just as there are in English, but it is far from being an ideographic system.
From: sarienpalth Date: January 25th, 2007 05:33 am (UTC) (Link)
If you just need doujin to read and pick apart, I have a few that are for the most part "safe;" what I mean by safe is they only have some "implications" of homosexual relationships. There's nothing graphic; it's all cutesy implied or just straight dialogue and action.

Final Fantasy X: Sweet Dreams (presented by Under 90's) is a collection of one-shots that occur thoughout the Final Fantasy X game. Characters: All.

Our Home (presented by Komodo) is a portrayal of events that happened before Final Fantasy X started (i.e. in Zanarkand). Characters: Auron x Tidus, Braska x Jecht x Auron.

Pilgrimmage (presented by Komodo) is also just a sort of "meta" type doujinshi that deals with events prior to the start of the main Final Fantasy X game plotline. Characters: Auron x Tidus, misco others.

Hope this helps. If you can't find these let me know and I'll see if I can scan them for you; yay for college having a good scanner.

Pondering Sar
From: patsyterrell Date: January 25th, 2007 02:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been studying French for more than 20 years off and on. Unfortunately, I still don't speak the language.
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