Saturday, 6 July 2013

Interview #6, Charles Bond

A new interview, this time it's Charles Bond who is studying Japanese.

Name: Charles Bond
Country: United States
Age: 32

Original language
: English
New language: Japanese
Proficiency in new language: 4 (very good / near fluent)

How long have you been learning the language
: 10 years
Why are you learning the language: Because I have a strong interest in Japanese language and culture. Also, my wife is Japanese.

What do you find the most fun part about learning the language: Learning new words and new character sets.
What do you hate about learning the language: Trying to correctly remember layers of formality I am not accustomed to using in my native tongue.

What is your tip to other people learning this language
: Start with Hiragana and katakana, and speak with native speakers as much as possible. There is no such thing as too much Japanese media exposure.
Start reading as soon as you can.

Do you have a tip for everyone learning a new language: Find media you enjoy in that language, and watch as much as you can with and watch/listen to as much as you can with and without subtitles.
Spend as much time as you can with native speakers.
Always learn the native alphabet as soon as you can.


Thank you so much for filling out this questionnaire Charles!
We actually talked about formal language on the trilingual post of this week: Polite language, and showed how both Dutch and Japanese have formal and informal language while English only has one style.

If you want to be part of this too, you can fill out the questionnaire on the Language interviews page.

Study on!

Kia

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Learning kana, post 5 (katakana a-do)

We've finished hiragana and one set of special sounds and combinations in the previous four posts. You can find them here:
Hiragana a-zo, hiragana ta-po, hiragana ma-n, special sounds.

Since you're now used to writing and thinking about Japanese kana more the katakana range will be split in just 2 sets. We'll talk about the first one today and the second one next week. After that there will be just one kana post left, it will talk about special katakana combinations to make certain sounds that are not native to Japanese but are used in other languages.

Katakana is the kana set that people use to write non-Japanese words, like Chinese or English loan words or foreign names.

Just a note before we start, katakana has a couple of quite difficult to distinguish kana that look a LOT like other kana. I haven't found a trick yet to tell them apart, so it's just a case of practice practice and more practice.

The sounds of katakana are the same as hiragana and so are all the cards you'll be studying.

This set is written a lot more steady and on a different type of card, I think these should be easier to read.
As before, all the gifs that are next to the cards come from: http://www.umich.edu/~umichjlp/Katakanapro/index.html


Row 1 vowels
Nothing too difficult in this set as far as I know.


A








 

I







U





E







O








Row 2 K/G
Some of these aren't that hard, KA looks like the KA from hiragana and the same goes for KI.


KA





GA










KI








GI









KU







GU









KE









GE








KO








GO








Row 3 S/Z
Some of these look like hiragana that aren't the same. I feel like SA looks like the hiragana SE but less angles and flipped and SU looks like hiragana E but more angled. And you'll meet 2 of the kana that are part of the difficult ones.


SA








ZA








SHI









JI








SU









ZU







SE





 

ZE








SO





 


ZO






Row 4 T/D
Here you encounter one of the other difficult kana.



TA

I don't know why, but this might be my fav katakana.







DA








CHI




 

JI
(uncommon, JI from SHI is preferred)







TSU

Tsu looks like shi but the "eyes" on it are straight up instead of sloped and the "mouth" is written the other way around.

ZU

(uncommon, ZU from SU is preferred)








TE








DE










TO








DO








And that is the first half of the katakana. Remember to practice a lot, the more you do the easier it will be to read them.


Study on!

Kia