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Learning from polyglosts

10 Jun

David Robson of the BBC reports on the 2015 Polyglot Gathering in Berlin. The piece is interesting through out and makes the case that learning a new language is the best kind of brain training. It also includes lots of fascinating observations and advice:

“In the UK, Australia and US, it is easy to believe that we don’t need to make that effort. Indeed, before I met the hyperglots, I had wondered if their obsession merited the hard work; perhaps, I thought, it was just about bragging rights. Yet all of the hyperglots I meet are genuinely enthusiastic about the amazing benefits that can only be achieved by this full immersion in different languages – including the chance to make friends and connections, even across difficult cultural barriers.”

My current language interests are Japanese, Esperanto, and Sanskrit. However, because I am traveling to India next year, I will try to pick up some Hindi.

 

(Hat tip to Mind Hacks)

Tips for learning a new alphabet

18 May

I am learning Japanese and Sanskrit, both involve learning new alphabets. Here are some suggestions from Time Magazine.

I found the Dr. Moku app very helpful for learning Hiragana and Katakana.

Spaced repetition with flashcards

23 Feb

Yesterday, I blogged about flashcards. Using flashcards is a highly effective memory technique. Computerized spaced repetition software can make flashcards much more effective. However, it is possible to use spaced repetition with paper flashcards.

This video is about using flashcards to learn Japanese Kanji, but it is worth watching even if you are not studying Japanese. It is a good example of how to use flashcards to maximum effect:

 

Using songs in language learning

5 Oct

A nice post from Aiyshah about using songs to enhance language learning.

Here are songs in my three target languages:

Japanese:

 

Esperanto:

 

Here are the lyrics:
Tiel La Mondo Iras

Tiel la mondo iras, tiel la mondo iras.
Tiel la mondo iras, tiel la mondo.
Tiel la mondo iras, tiel la mondo iras.
Tiel la mondo iras, tiel la mond’.

Lundo, merkredo, sabato, mardo, ĵaŭdo kaj dimanĉo
jen milito, jen la paco, jen infano kun malsato.
La misiloj preskaŭ falas, la kolomboj malkonsentas,
estas tiel, estas tiel.

Jen virino kiu ne sidas, ĉar laboro ĉiam estas,
kaj la patro kiu ne alvenas, ĉar la poŝo estas malplena.
Tiom da manoj kiuj konstruas, kaj la aliaj kiuj detruas,
estas tiel, estas tiel.

Tiel la mondo iras, tiel la mondo iras.
Tiel la mondo iras, tiel la mondo.
Tiel la mondo iras, tiel la mondo iras.
Tiel la mondo iras, tiel la mond’.

Dekses horoj kiuj sonoras kaj ok horoj kiuj silentas
Multaj homoj kiuj rapidas, jam la alia tago venas.
Ni profitu la momenton, ĉar la vivo ne atendas,
estas tiel, estas tiel

Lundo, merkredo, sabato, mardo, jaŭdo kaj dimanĉo
jen milito, jen la paco, jen infano kun malsato.
La misiloj preskaŭ falas, la kolomboj malkonsentas,
estas tiel, estas tiel.

Tiel la mondo iras, tiel la mondo iras.
Tiel la mondo iras, tiel la mondo.
Tiel la mondo iras, tiel la mondo iras.
Tiel la mondo iras, tiel la mond’.

Iras por mi, iras por vi,
iras por ŝi, iras por li, tiel la mondo
Iras por mi, iras por vi,
iras por ŝi, iras por li, tiel la mondo

Tiel la mondo iras, tiel la mondo iras.
Tiel la mondo iras, tiel la mondo.
Tiel la mondo iras, tiel la mondo iras.
Tiel la mondo iras, tiel la mond-ooo iiirrrr-aaass

And the English translation per Google translate:

Thus the World Goes

So the world is going , so the world goes .
So the world is going , so the world.
So the world is going , so the world goes .
So the world is going , so the world ‘ .

Monday, Wednesday , Thursday , Friday , Saturday and Sunday
behold, a war , this is the peace , this is a child with hunger.
The missiles almost falls, the pigeons disagree,
so, is so .

Here is a woman who does not sit , because work is always ,
and the father who does not arrive, because the pocket is empty.
So many hands that build , and the others who destroys ,
so, is so .

So the world is going , so the world goes .
So the world is going , so the world.
So the world is going , so the world goes .
So the world is going , so the world ‘ .

Sixteen hours that rings and eight hours shut
Many people who are swift , and the other day comes .
We take advantage of the moment , because life is not expected ,
so, it is so

Monday, Wednesday , Saturday , Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday
behold, a war , this is the peace , this is a child with hunger.
The missiles almost falls, the pigeons disagree,
so, is so .

So the world is going , so the world goes .
So the world is going , so the world.
So the world is going , so the world goes .
So the world is going , so the world ‘ .

Goes for me, is for you,
go for it, go for it, so the world
Goes for me, is for you,
go for it, go for it, so the world

So the world is going , so the world goes .
So the world is going , so the world.
So the world is going , so the world goes .
So the world is going , so the world OOO iiirrrr – aaass

Finally, Sanskrit:

 

 

The art of Hayao Miyazaki

6 Jul

One of my favorite films is My Neighbor Totorothe magical creation of animator  Hayao Miyazaki. Take a look at this website of images from this great artist:

CliUfqX

 

 

Here is the trailer for My Neighbor Totoro:

San Francisco

22 May

Arrived safely in San Francisco. Registered for the conference and had a bit of time to explore Japan Town. Here is the Peace Pagoda, “a Buddhist stupa; a monument to inspire peace,”:

 

images

Singing may facilitate foreign language learning

5 Jan

A paper published in the July issue of Memory and Cognition suggests that singing may facilitate foreign language learning. Here is the abstract:

“This study presents the first experimental evidence that singing can facilitate short-term paired-associate phrase learning in an unfamiliar language (Hungarian). Sixty adult participants were randomly assigned to one of three “listen-and-repeat” learning conditions: speaking, rhythmic speaking, or singing. Participants in the singing condition showed superior overall performance on a collection of Hungarian language tests after a 15-min learning period, as compared with participants in the speaking and rhythmic speaking conditions. This superior performance was statistically significant (p < .05) for the two tests that required participants to recall and produce spoken Hungarian phrases. The differences in performance were not explained by potentially influencing factors such as age, gender, mood, phonological working memory ability, or musical ability and training. These results suggest that a “listen-and-sing” learning method can facilitate verbatim memory for spoken foreign language phrases.”

Time to learn the Hiragana Song!

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