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The great Haruo Nakajima

22 Mar

You may not have not heard the name Haruo Nakajima, but you have undoubtedly seen his acting. Nakajima played the monster Godzilla (Gojira in Japanese) in many movies. It is true that there have been many bad Godzilla movie, but the first one is a significant film. The American release with its terrible dubbing and the added presence of Raymond Burr gave viewers the wrong impression. You must see the original film as it was intended for Japanese audiences. It is a deep metaphor for the position of post war Japan and the meaning of nuclear weapons.

(hat tip to BoingBoing)

Here is the trailer for the original movie:

And, just for comparison, is the trailer for the film as it was released in the United States:

Another Sapir-Whorf claim

27 Feb

As I have mentioned before, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis  claims that specific languages affect how speakers view the world. Recently, I came across this article about a Japanese company that is making its employees (in Japan) speak English:

Japan continues to work inside a linguistic bubble – not least because many firms in Japan are oriented towards the domestic market and pay little heed to global trends. But this approach is becoming increasingly difficult to justify. Switching to English makes Japanese firms more competitive, while opening employees’ eyes to the outside world.

There is another benefit to using English in business: The language has few power markers. Its use can therefore help to break down the hierarchical, bureaucratic barriers that are entrenched in Japanese society and reflected in Japanese conversation, which could boost efficiency.

What were the effects of this change?

Of course, the Englishisation of companies is not easy. The internal shake-up is profound. Staff who speak English well suddenly acquire a higher status: those who do not fear for their careers.

Today, more than 90 per cent of our employees have achieved the required level of English. This has helped to make our operations more efficient than ever. An employee anywhere in the world can pick up a phone and get an immediate answer, instead of working through a translator.

The impact can also be felt on an individual level. One manager, who initially feared that he would have to leave the company, changed his tune after attending an intensive English-language school in the Philippines, where he met students from South Korea and China who were committed to mastering the language. His English improved quickly, and so did his standing in the company. More importantly, he gained a much-needed global perspective.

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:

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