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Everything posted by gegegeno

  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!
  16. This is a pretty good point. I understand that some people learn Japanese to be able to understand anime and manga, and in that case there's no need to worry about this. But if you, say, plan to spend some time working or studying in Japan, this is a crucial point. Japanese as spoken by native adults is very different to the way it's spoken by characters in anime, which nearly always speak in a very childish and usually rude manner. That's fine for an anime character, but if you speak to a real person like people speak in subbed anime, you're going to sound childish and rude. One of my lecturers has complained that many first-year students of Japanese at my university know a little spoken Japanese from anime, and the language they use when speaking to her is completely inappropriate. Or, on the other hand, some girls learn to speak in a very childish manner - something they'd get away with in a casual context with other teenagers/young college students but which is totally out of place when speaking with your teachers. To be clear, I certainly don't think that you should avoid all subbed anime or anything like that - it can be a great way to learn a bit of interesting, casual Japanese, but just keep in mind that politeness and formality is incredibly important when you're speaking in Japanese, and around 95% of the time anime Japanese is not going to be polite/formal enough.
  17. Not a problem. We met on exchange, studying Japanese together in a university in Japan. We became friends quickly and started going out not too long after. The first 8 or 9 months were great - we both lived on campus and even had classes together. We worked out pretty early on that the distance was going to be hard to deal with but (in hindsight, stupidly) decided to cross that bridge when we came to it. By the time we had to go our separate ways, neither of us were willing to "give up" on the relationship. We did well to make it last almost a whole year after that. The thing is that since we were both still in school, it was hard to make the plan to move together. My school is one of two in the world that offers the program I am studying (as someone studying translation who doesn't speak Finnish, there's no way I could find a local job anyway), and her specialisation isn't in great demand outside of Finland (beyond that, the costs and risks of moving across the globe to live with me were too much for her - especially since I am still studying too). If we'd been able to reconcile the issue of living together, perhaps it could have worked. But the distance was a drain on our relationship and neither of us were very willing to make the sacrifices needed to resolve the problem. I've left out, of course, that really either of us could have "made do" - I have another major that I could have probably found work in there, not to mention that I could have found work online, and she could have finished her studies and/or found work here - but neither of us wanted to give up on our dreams or allow the other to do so either. Perhaps, in the end, it was that we loved each other too much that led to it not working out haha.
  18. There are some pretty big differences between the original Japanese and Jay Rubin's translations (which are more of a free translation than a close one). So if you're trying to work out the meaning of the original Japanese and it sounds nothing like the English, don't worry too much!
  19. ルック "a (certain) look" ほら、あのカップルはペアルックのセーターを着てる。 Hey, check out that couple in the matching (pair look) sweaters! 俺はアイビー・ルックが好きだ。 I like the Ivy look (prep style).
  20. Japanese: おはよう ohayou (o-ha-yoh) おげんき? o-genki? (o-gen-kee?) おなまえは? o-namae wa? (o-na-ma-eh-wa?) レイです。 rei desu (Ray dess) Swedish: God morgon (pronounced like Go-morron) Hur mår du? (hoor mohr doo?) Vad heter du? (Vahd hey-ta doo?) Jag heter Ray (Ja hey-ta Rai (as in "rise"))
  21. お帰りなさい! 私の失敗でした。 上手 skill, talent, be good at something しりとりというゲームには上手ではありません。
  22. I'm not from the US, but we see something kinda similar in Australia where migrants from some countries speak English better than others. Broadly speaking, it's people from places like Vietnam, China, the Middle East and Africa who seem to struggle the most, where say European, Japanese, Taiwanese, Hong Kong, Singaporean and so on are generally pretty fluent. The main reasons I can see for the difference are socio- and geo-political. The first group are predominantly people who chose to migrate to Australia to improve their life or life expectancy. The second group are from mostly safe, comfortable and wealthy countries and there's not so much to gain from moving here. What I'm getting at is that there's a kind of self-selection bias when it comes to people moving countries - if you're not desperate to move and you don't speak English, you're not so likely to trade your safe life in one country for a safe life in another country where you don't speak the local language. When you're "trading up" from a pretty unsafe place to somewhere you perceive to be a lot better for you, language might not be you biggest concern so long as you know enough that you can kinda get by. The other factor here though is that there are more people from the first group here than from the second group and there's more of a chance for, say, Chinese or Vietnamese people to form communities of other Chinese or Vietnamese speakers because some 400,000 and 200,000 Australians were born in mainland China and Vietnam respectively. Comparatively, there are only 35,000 Japanese-born Australians (all figures from Wiki). I think that being able to form a community of other people who speak your native language means that you have less need to use English, since you can always get by with most things without knowing much at all. I wonder if it's the same in the US for Chinese, Vietnamese and Hispanic migrants. I certainly don't think it's because all Japanese people learn English - the very low rate of English fluency in Japan points more, I think, to a self-selection bias in people who leave Japan to live in an English-speaking country.
  23. Thanks for that - we're on good terms (given the distance, our relationship had become more like friends than boyfriend/girlfriend anyway). I still occasionally practice my Swedish when we talk/write. As for my favourite thing about Sweden, that's hard to answer because I was only in Stockholm for two or three days. We stayed in Gamla Stan of course. I was impressed by the beauty of the city, the architecture and the public art (as well as the museums). I knew almost nothing about the city before I went there, and looking at a map of it after leaving I realised there was a lot more to see. Long story short, I'd like to go back to Sweden to see more of the country than that little bite of Stockholm.
  24. 美人 (びじん) Beautiful woman 「ほら、あっちの女は美人だなぁ~」 久しぶりですね。お変わりはありませんか?
  25. My ex-girlfriend is a Swedish-speaking Finn and I started learning so that I could speak to her and her family in Swedish. I got a bit more serious about it after travelling to Finland and Sweden last December and realising just how little I knew. I got a lot of motivation to study from not wanting to sit in confused silence when other people were talking around me. We've broken up since then, but I really loved the two countries, Sweden in particular. I'm already quite a way into learning and want to keep going and head back there sometime in the future. For the longest time I've had an interest in Scandinavian (and in general Northern European, especially Germanic) languages and cultures, which had nothing to do with that relationship but has been a good motivation to keep studying and learning more. I also have a few easy books in Swedish that I bought there and still want to be able to read, and some Swedish movies and TV shows that I want to be able to watch and understand.
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