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About gegegeno

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  • Currently studying
    Japanese, Swedish
  • Native tongue
  • Fluent in
    English, Japanese
  1. The person I was borrowing from had already used the workbook, so I haven't used it myself. Looking at the workbook now, if you were planning on translating the Bible, it would be extremely useful. If not, I don't think it would be necessary.
  2. I have a hardcover copy (on loan; should probably give that back...) so haven't looked for one. The Amazon price is pretty good though (<$30, more like $20 second hand), so I'd just buy it. Otherwise, check your school and local libraries.
  3. Hey guys, Just in case you missed the news, Duolingo's Swedish for English speaker's course is now in beta. I started using it yesterday and it seems pretty good so far. Anyone else tried it out yet?
  4. For Japanese, writing vertically down the page and then right-to-left has been the standard as far back as I'm aware of. Here's an example of the famous scroll of the Tale of Genji from the 12th century. Occasionally you see right-to-left on some old signs: the first photo on this page is of the restaurant Hyakuban (百番) in Osaka - the sign is written right-to-left as was common in the early 20th century when it was built. I've never the right-to-left style used in regular text, except perhaps as a title. Modern books and newspapers are still written vertically. Magazines seem to go either way - ones with more articles write vertically while more visual magazines use more horizontal, left-to-right text. Technical and informational texts and textbooks mostly write horizontally. I've seen some magazines and informational books/leaflets mix them too - the Sapporo guidebook in front of me on my desk is mainly horizontal, but has some little sections written vertically, too.
  5. Compared to the general population? Probably pretty well, but who knows? I like to strike a balance between reading quickly and taking enough time to understand just what I'm reading. For my study and work (teaching), I have to read a lot, so I'm in the habit of moving quickly through a text, finding the important parts to focus on and reading those parts more carefully. As an aside, I find sometimes that my reading speed can be dependent on the skill of the author. I remember a research paper I read recently that was very poorly laid out, wasn't very well written and contained a few errors. The author's poor style made it hard to read and ultimately quite confusing; the errors were extremely difficult to find as a result. On the other hand, I've had papers with "harder" content that took me a lot less time to read because they were laid out in a very accessible way.
  6. I know there were plans to add Chinese that never seemed to eventuate. The system is nearly all text-based, so it's not incredibly surprising to me that they have trouble working Chinese in without a major overhaul of the system. Arabic of course is difficult for the same reason. Otherwise I agree - Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, Russian and Japanese are all languages which are not currently supported by Duolingo (and I don't see them being supported any time soon), despite having more speakers than most of the ones that are already supported. Duolingo's goal was to teach people to translate the web, and Chinese, Arabic and Russian all have huge online communities. As for required level, I did okay at German starting from scratch, and stopped more for lack of time/motivation than anything else. If you want to be fluent in a language (as in, be able to speak it), try to find other resources to back up what Duolingo teaches you. Maybe Anki or Memrise to help with vocab and find a decent grammar textbook. Look into podcasts and audio lessons too.
  7. I know! I started a little while ago but haven't had much time to really study lately. This perfectly coincides with the last of my exams and the beginning of a long break from study.
  8. Just an update - the developers of the Swedish course have announced that the course will be released into beta on Monday. This Monday! I have a big exam on Tuesday, but I know what I'll be doing afterwards! The announcement: http://incubator.duolingo.com/courses/sv/en/status
  9. I agree completely. Interpreting is a totally different set of skills to speaking another language. Think about it this way: when you speak another language, you only have to think in that language, but when you interpret something you need to think in two languages at once! Thankfully my friends don't ask me to translate things as a test, but I have helped them out with things they needed the meaning of (like a friend travelling to Japan asking me to help with some Japanese web pages meant).
  10. Don't feel too bad about it. I posted in this thread a year ago and I did know about 2000 kanji then, but now it's more likely that I can read around 1500 or so and write under a thousand. They seem to slip really quickly. Actually, a lot of younger Japanese people have trouble writing kanji - in this modern age of computers, there's little reason for people to handwrite anything. It's just like how young people in the West can't write cursive (or write very neatly at all). Depending on what you want to get out of learning Japanese, you might not need to learn many kanji anyway. Unfortunately, I wanted to be able to read Japanese novels and possibly become a translator, so...
  11. I am not incredibly familiar with court translations here in Australia (apart from having met a couple of court interpreters, which I guess is a slightly different job). Australian translators and interpreters need a licence to do any sort of work for the government or judicial system (accreditation with a national association of interpreters and translators), and I believe they also need special training to do court work. Interpreting is a little different to usual - they are required to be precise and not leave out any details like, unlike in a conference situation where they are required to be faster and really paraphrase. I can imagine that translators (for official records) are also required to be very precise with their translations. In both cases, my understanding is that translating the ideas, not the exact words is more important, because words have different meanings and connotations across languages. It is of utmost importance to make clear what the person means to say, because their exact words might not hold the same meaning in the target language as they do in the speaker's own language. I've heard that it's usual for the interpreter to ask the speaker questions to really clarify things before giving their translation, for example.
  12. At the risk of continuing the pedantry... It now says "How does language X should be taught?"... Should that be "How should language X be taught?"? (Thanks again linguaholic for all the great work you do for this community! )
  13. For a slightly different perspective, I've found that etymology hasn't been particularly helpful at all in learning Japanese. I guess to some extent, learning that most common Japanese words are either "native" Japanese words or Chinese loanwords (warning: some of these have been "on loan" for >1000 years and are hardly recognisable to modern Chinese speakers) has been useful, but in terms of the actual learning to speak Japanese, not very helpful. Some people get a lot out of the history or origins of Kanji though. On the other hand, I've had some success with using etymology to help with difficult-to-remember words in Swedish, so I really think it's a matter of the individual language and also how different it is from your own native language.
  14. The main list (currently active courses) is here, and the incubator (courses under construction) is here. Just to note, as it says on the status page, Duolingo's "% complete" amount is always a bit optimistic, so unfortunately we won't be seeing the immediate release that the page is saying. Still, it's getting closer and closer!
  15. Embarrassingly enough, I only started learning because it was a compulsory class for me in primary school, some 13 years ago now. At the beginning of grade eight I had to choose from Japanese or German, so I naturally chose the one I'd already been doing in primary school (and was doing pretty well in at the time). The next year rolled around and I had to choose my subjects - for whatever reason I decided to continue with Japanese. A couple of years later, with some encouragement from my teacher and the academic advisor, I decided to make it one of my senior subjects (I was doing pretty well at it and studying a language gives you extra points on your tertiary entrance scores). I honestly couldn't even tell you why I continued into UNIVERSITY with it, but originally I was going to take it as a minor and it ended up as one of my two majors (in a dual degree program) because of the exchange studies opportunities it would bring. I got to really love studying languages - as much as I had a passion for the sciences - and made the choice to focus on that instead. I'll be finishing up the science study soon (I will hand in and present my thesis next week - hence why I'm procrastinating on here...) and will start a Masters program next year in Japanese translation and interpreting. So my motivation now is to keep up with friends and, well, follow my (new) dream of becoming an interpreter. Not too bad when you consider where I started - I don't know of anyone I studied Japanese with in high school who continued learning it, let alone anyone I learned it with in primary school!
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