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Sizen’s Deuxième 旅立ち

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Sizen
Diglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 2777 days ago

165 posts - 347 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Catalan, Spanish, Japanese, Ukrainian, German

 
 Message 1 of 57
07 January 2014 at 2:32pm | IP Logged 
Hello all. The name's Sizen and I'm half less serious than I might appear.

Japanese for 旅立ち
I've been studying Japanese since I was about 14, 6 years ago. It would be a lie if I said I studied regularly since day 1 however. I basically started with Tae Kim's guide and an application called Human Japanese for my, at the time, ipod touch while I wrote the Hiragana and Katakana tables over and over again. After that, I used a variety of Kanji books to study vocabulary. Since starting my studies, I've done a 2 week trip to Japan with my high school class, a 5 month exchange in Osaka during my senior year and a 3 month stint in a language school in Tokyo.

Every since coming back from Tokyo, however, I've been less focused on studying Japanese. I spent a few months preparing for my N1 in the summer of '12, but I was pretty laid back about it. Once I had passed it, I basically stopped doing anything with my Japanese. I've occasionally read a book, a manga or watched an anime or a movie, but it's not regular enough for me to build up or maintain any skills.

My current plan is to adopt the approach to French that I've been employing over the past few months and to apply it to my Japanese studies. I've always had a difficult time staying focused enough to study a language every day for more than a couple weeks, but I feel like I've finally arrived at a strategy that I can maintain without too much hassle. So starting this month I will do my best to expose myself to 1 hour of Japanese every day, and once I feel comfortable with that, I'll bump it up to 2 hours like my French. Anything goes: movies, podcasts, comics, writing, chatting. As long as it's 2 hours.

My second daily goal is to find 7-8 words to add to Anki. I'm doing active and passive cards, and my goal is 15 new cards every day (7.5 words). It's no problem if I miss a couple days, but I want to have at least 6000 cards (3000 words) by the end of the year.

Here's the last thing I ever wrote in Japanese (December 30, 2012). I hope to get to that kind of level again by the middle of the year.

Also, I'll write my self introduction a bit later this month as I'd like to accustom
myself to Japanese again. Maybe in 2 weeks I'll have my bearings again and will be able to write something coherent.

French

I did full French Immersion, so I took most of my classes in school in French since the very beginning. However, my French was a wreck when I graduated in 2011. My father is a native French speaker, but we never spoke French at home. Since my glorious return from Tokyo, however, I've been working my French hard and have been using only French to communicate with my father.

It's been a rough journey to find a really sustainable way of studying French, but I've come to a point where I just try to spend a lot of time in the language while noting new words and phrases. I've noticed a marked improvement in my French ever since I started spending a minimum of 2 hours every day in French and learning 10 new words with active/passive cards. It's been 74 days since I started and rather than feeling burnout, I feel even more energized and spend as many as 6 hours a day in French if I have the time.

This is my main focus this year as I plan on going to university in French.

Here's my most recent writing in French. I'm feeling good about it. I know I still make a bunch of mistakes, but it's not bothering me much because I feel like the pieces are there, some of them just need to find their place.

I want to have 6000 cards (3000 words) in Anki by September. My current count is 1074.

Other languages
I may study a bit of Mandarin, Korean, Swedish or something else depending on where I am this year. It wouldn't be much: 2.5 hours a week max for the last two or 8-16 for Mandarin, just enough to start building a base for 2015 or 2016. I'm also flirting with 4 other Romance languages, one of which I've seriously studied before, in an attempt to gain a reading knowledge in them. This doesn't occupy more than 2.5 hours total every week if any at all.

Other language related goals
I'd like to become a better writer this year. I'd also like to improve my speaking. Obvious, no? Well, I don't really mean this in the sense of my foreign languages but rather as a meta-skill. Since I'm shy, I will try to put myself in situations, without forcing myself, where I have more opportunities to speak and to write this year. It doesn't matter if all I do is English speaking and writing; I simply want to improve my communication skills.

The two links to my writing above are to be used as a benchmark for this goal. Hopefully I'll be noticeably better by the end of the year.

Edited by Sizen on 06 February 2014 at 6:46am

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Sizen
Diglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 2777 days ago

165 posts - 347 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Catalan, Spanish, Japanese, Ukrainian, German

 
 Message 2 of 57
09 January 2014 at 2:03pm | IP Logged 
Japanese

Hey, I actually managed to do 1 hour every day for 3 days in a row. To be fair, I just started 3 days ago, but I'm happy nonetheless. I had to stay up an extra hour last night to get Japanese in because I was out all day and forgot to prepare something to do.

Basically, I've watched 4 episodes of 蟲師 (Mushishi), which has been great despite the subs containing some simplified Chinese characters (lucky I'm familiar with some characters and the major simplification rules). Actually, I've really liked this series so far. The first episode has been by far the best, but every episode has kept my attention.

Also, it's Tadoku so I can't just be reading subs (considering 48 minutes counts as only 9.6 pages, I need to get more pages elsewhere). My other pleasure is xxxHolic. I really like this series. The art is great, often with lots of contrast (I particularly like this one scene where the main female protagonist is communicating through her servants) and it keeps a nice mix of serious and silly. Once I'm done with it, I'll move on to Tsubasa, also by CLAMP, because the two stories are supposedly connected, even if only just slightly. Anyway, it should keep me busy for a while.

I also listened to ゆっけ (Yukke)'s album 黒猫と宇宙地図 (Kuroneko to uchuu chizu) while running this week. Nice tunes in there.

Favourite word of the last 3 days: 欹てる sobadateru (to strain to hear). I had never seen this character before and the word just sounds nice. I've always loved Japanese verbs.

French

I watched an episode of un oeil sur la planète on South Korea the other day. The first little while scared the bejeebers out of me, to be honest. The whole Samsung "cities" thing is pretty out there. It's not the entire country, but it is 1/5 of the country's economy. I didn't even know that there was something called Samsung Life Insurance... Anyway, it's pretty cool and still makes me want to check out Korean at some point. I'd like to see how it fits into the Altaic language group first-hand.

I also fit in a couple of episodes of Radio France's show Tire ta langue: Qu'est que la diversité linguistique (What is linguistic diversity) and La langue des signes des Indiens des plaines (Plains Indian Sign Language), both fascinating. I think the part that most stuck out to me was when one of the guests said that all writing systems lie somewhere along the continuum of logographic and phonologic characters. I get this for logograms, since characters in Chinese and Japanese like 忠 (loyalty) 沖 (open sea) 仲 (relationship) are phonetic since their readings are dictated by the radical 中 (chuu in Japanese, zhong, chong in Mandarin) and at the same time are logographic in the sense that the all have a radical that represents meaning (heart, water and person respectively). But to say that the Latin alphabet is logographic because the spaces between each word turn each word into a logogram... I dunno. Then I remembered a video I had seen before about a man, Xu Bing, turning English words into Chinese characters. With that, the idea of English words being logograms becomes easier to swallow. (For all non-believes, watch this) Still not entireeeely convinced though.

Both episodes had guests who had written books, so now I have something to add to my list of things to read: L'invention de l'écriture (The Invention of Writing) and Le geste et l'écriture (Gestures and Writing), both by Pierre Déléage, and Les Confettis de Babel (The Confetti of Babel), by Louis-Jean Calvet.

I also skyped with my dad the other day for the first time in a while (darn 13 hour time difference!) and I was pleasantly surprised by the progress I've made with my oral skills despite having only had 1 or 2 conversations in French in the past month. My accent is a bit of a mess right now, somewhere between French, Quebecois and North-American Anglophone. It's definitely gotten worse though because I haven't been speaking it enough. I'll have to do some exercises over the next few months.

Favourite word of the past few days: biscornu (irregular, misshapen, queer). Kind of a funny word, but the root (corne) and the 2 consonant pairs also gives it an edgier feel.

Edited by Sizen on 09 January 2014 at 2:15pm

5 persons have voted this message useful



Sizen
Diglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 2777 days ago

165 posts - 347 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Catalan, Spanish, Japanese, Ukrainian, German

 
 Message 3 of 57
10 January 2014 at 1:28am | IP Logged 
Might I have French and TAC added to my tags?
1 person has voted this message useful



BonneVivante
Pro Member
Canada
Joined 3296 days ago

33 posts - 59 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: French
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 Message 4 of 57
14 January 2014 at 8:39pm | IP Logged 
I just wanted to stop by and say I'm following your log. I too am on the 2nd French TAC team and I'm looking forward to seeing how far we all progress this year.

It's cool to see another Canadian in the group, and might I just say I'm jealous of your French immersion experience. I grew up in Toronto, no French immersion, and I think it was a missed opportunity. At least it's one I can make up for now.

Thanks for the mention of those two books, by the way. Reading in French is one of my goals, and also one of my strategies for learning, and I find linguistics interesting. The two titles by Pierre Déléage sound particularly promising. Once I am a bit more advanced, I will try them.

By the way, if you're prefer not to have others comment on your log, my apologies! I won't do so again if it's something you don't want.
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songlines
Pro Member
Canada
flickr.com/photos/cp
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729 posts - 1056 votes 
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 Message 5 of 57
15 January 2014 at 8:03am | IP Logged 
Sizen wrote:

French

I watched an episode of un oeil sur la planète
on South Korea the other day. ...

Favourite word of the past few days: biscornu (irregular, misshapen, queer). Kind of a funny word, but the
root (corne) and the 2 consonant pairs also gives it an edgier feel.


- Haven't had time to watch more than part of "Un oeil...", but what I saw was fascinating; thanks for posting
it!   Some of the language was a bit difficult for me to understand (I'm at CEFR A2 level, with occasional
forays into B1, and also have a hearing impairment), especially when there were French voiceovers with the
original dialogue in the background, but managed to follow and glean enough from context and the visuals.
So I'd certainly encourage others, whether part of a French team or otherwise, to check it out.

Biscornu? - What in an intereresting discovery! Do you remember what context you saw it in? I Googled it,
and found out that -in English - it's a "small, eight-sided pincushion". Lots of images of them.

Are you familiar with Linguee?
Linguee .
Doing a search for "biscornu" on it also yields quite a range of results.

Yes, it 's nice to have yet another Canadian on the team! One of the things I'll be adding (prob. not till next
Monday, though, which is my next day off work) to that first page of the Team Thread is a list of resources
for Quebec French.   Some of them are currently posted in my log - give me a shout if you'd like a link to the
relevant log page. (And you likewise, Bonnevivante.)





Edited by songlines on 15 January 2014 at 8:13am

2 persons have voted this message useful



Sizen
Diglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 2777 days ago

165 posts - 347 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Catalan, Spanish, Japanese, Ukrainian, German

 
 Message 6 of 57
15 January 2014 at 2:48pm | IP Logged 
@BonneVivante Thanks for dropping by! I'm totally open to having others post on my log: I don't want to be all alone here! French Immersion was a wonderful experience whose value I didn't really understand until I was out of high school and wanting to improve my French. I can't believe I wasn't more interested in my father's mother tongue until now!

@songlines Glad you enjoyed the link! I really like that show. I feel like it really gives a good idea of the modern situation of any given country in under 2 hours. After that I can look up more information elsewhere. The episode on Sweden was also excellent.

When I first saw biscornu, it was for stairs: escaliers biscornus. Kind of crooked, uneven stairs from what I gather. I'm not sure how it got to mean pincushion in English though. Maybe it still has to do with the horns?

Also, Quebecois French is my goal, so I'll add anything if it's not already in your list. Otherwise, I'll ask my dad for suggestions.

Japanese

I missed a day of Japanese, but have managed another 4 days straight since. I haven't really watched anything lately. I'm really into xxxHolic and have read the first 7 books. I guess I'm a fan of this kind of spiritual manga, filled with mysterious folk and wives' tales. There are very obvious morals that go with each chapter, and although normally stories that so blatantly state their morals through dialogue or the narrator's voice do not really appeal to me, this hasn't bothered me one bit.

I listened to the album ティーンエイジ・ネクラポップ (Teenage "Darkpop", I guess) by 石風呂 while running the other day (my ear buds broke for the 4th time in the past 5 months though, so I had to finish later). It's a little odd, and not really like what I normally listen to, yet somehow I enjoyed it. I think the fact that each song progressed in a way that I didn't expect is what was enjoyable.

Today's word: 炙る (aburu) to warm, to grill, to toast. More so for it's kanji rather than the word. I love seeing 月 at the top of characters like that and the imagery is fantastic: a toasty fire on a cold night bathed in the light of the full moon. I feel warmer already. :)

French
I finished the 3rd season of Breaking Bad in French. I know I should be watching an original French series, but I really wanted to give BB a chance. What better way than by watching it in French? I'm very frustrated by all the characters except Jesse in this show and I think that's why I keep watching: I can't believe that they're doing the things they do. I had watched an episode from the PBS ideas channel on BB (in English) about if you can really "enjoy" breaking bad, and I think I agree with the idea. We don't really enjoy the show, but rather the feeling of relief procured after each episode as we unravel the stress and excitement triggered by the show's intense scenes and despicable characters. I like how the host describes the whole experience, though: "The complete run was nothing short of a weirdly magnificent Band-Aid removal."

Euromag has finally returned to Radio Canada première, and rejoice I did. This is probably one of my favourite news shows because it covers news from all over Europe (especially Francophone countries) and usually has 3-5 different French accents per episode. Basically, it consists of commented radio clips from public French radio in Europe. Belgian, Swiss and French radio all hosted by a Quebecois? Please.

I also rediscovered the Nip brand podcasts by starting NipLife, a podcast about life hacking. There's been a lot of stuff that hasn't necessarily been useful to me, but that has been interesting to hear about. The episode on sleep was nice because I have troubles sleeping and the one on psychological profiles was interesting to, even if I'm a little sceptic about categorizing people in this way. Either way, I think I'd like to read more on psychology at some point.

Otherwise, I'm a little sad because one of my favourite French YouTube shows will soon come to an end: 3615 Usul, a video gaming show different from the others. Yesterday was the second last episode, which marks the last Super 3615 Turbo, and the 19th will be the last episode. I guess I'll have to go back and watch all the episodes I never saw. It's really too bad. He had just posted a video that I adored in December. A wonderfully literary narrative done over a session on a game called Don't Starve (Recommend a good understanding of more literary French). I was hoping to see more, but maybe he'll continue this kind of stuff even if 3615 is over.

I was also interested in words starting with "h" recently. I was talking with one of my teachers who's interested in learning French and somehow we got onto the topic of words starting with "h", of which there are two kinds: aspirated and silent. Both are "silent" in that we don't pronounce them, but the difference is nevertheless important. Aspirated "h"s do not elide for the definite article or any pronouns (reflexive, etc.) in the case of verbs. They never have a liaison either. But why does the separation exist in the first place?

I wondered if it had to do with a similar rule in Spanish: the use of the masculine article (definite and indefinite) with feminine nouns whose accent falls on the first syllable and is opened with a vowel sound (whether or not an "h" is present). This is why we get el agua and el hambre despite these words being feminine. I quickly tried to verify my theory, but even without looking on online, I realized they were completely unrelated.

No, the truth is that most aspirated "h" words come from foreign languages, especially Germanic ones, and other sources, while silent "h" words are mostly of Latin origin.

A few words come to mind that demonstrate this "rule".

Aspirated
Honte (Frankish haunita)
Hasard (Arabic az-zahr, meaning die [dice])
Hibou (onomatopoeia: hou hou)
Hisser (German dialect hissen)

Silent
Hiver (Latin hibernum)
Horripiler (Latin horripilare)
Habiter (Latin habitare)
Homme (Latin hominem)

(Etymology thanks to Antidote, my favourite dictionary app for iOS.)

Although, I noticed that "hurlement" doesn't follow this rule...

Today's word: anfractuosité, crevice. I love this word. In fact, I love the English word too because it has a kind of dark feel to it. On the other hand, the French sounds more important, you can just see a giant fracture (root word) forming in the ground and swallowing all in its path.

Other languages
I've started reading an Icelandic novel by Arnaldur Indridason (La femme en vert, translated in French) and have been feeling a little Icelandic lately. The discovery of two bands, Ásgeir and Sigur Rós has been a wonderful musical journey for me.
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g-bod
Diglot
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United KingdomRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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Speaks: English*, Japanese
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 Message 7 of 57
15 January 2014 at 5:33pm | IP Logged 
I have to say thank you too for the link to Un oeil sur la planète. I watched the whole thing this afternoon and found it fascinating (and relatively easy to understand too). I am quite curious to find out more about the parallels between Korean and Japanese, but I have to keep telling myself I simply don't have the time right now!
1 person has voted this message useful



BonneVivante
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Canada
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 Message 8 of 57
15 January 2014 at 9:54pm | IP Logged 
So many interesting things to comment on! Thanks for the link to 3615 Usul. I'm a gamer and I really enjoyed Don't Starve (got to day 64 without dying!) so I'm definitely going to check out that episode and perhaps work my way through the archives.

Regarding Iceland: if you're considering travel to Europe anytime soon, consider flying Icelandic Air. They have a standard policy, designed to increase tourism to Iceland, that if you fly any Atlantic-crossing flight they will allow you a free layover--one night, a couple of days, or even longer-- in Reykjavik at no additional charge. I have been fascinated by Iceland for a long time (I think since I became a fan of Björk in high school, as silly a reason as that sounds) and it is a very interesting place with a lot of good music, natural beauty, and friendly people. Sigur Rós is also awesome background music for study, in my experience.

Your comments regarding the letter h interested me. It is a bit of a misfit, isn't it? When I was first learning Ancient Greek I remember being fascinated by the fact that they use a rough breathing mark in front of vowels to represent what we would call an 'h' sound (link for more info).

Regarding Québecois French, I recommend looking at offqc.com if you haven't seen it before. He has very interesting snapshots of everyday French and he also did a fantastic guide to the special use of tu when asking questions in Québecois French: found here

[Edited to fix a link]

Edited by BonneVivante on 15 January 2014 at 10:48pm



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