I’m Still Here

June 22, 2011

I”m still here, guys.  I’ve not forgotten. I apologize for not keeping this blog updated but a lot has been going on.  I’ll be sure to post new info and such in the near future.
In the meantime, I’ve updated the link adding 2 new categories — Xhosa and Maori — and add JOSHU in the Japanese link.  I’ve finally found the name to the “click, click” language of Africa (I’d seen it in a commercial years, years ago and wonder what that was and wanted very much to learn it).  Maori is added to my list because I fell in love with it.  I learn about the Maori after watching Whale Rider and after seeing Invictus (Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon), that was it.  I just have to learn the language.

But again I will continue on posting, adding some new material that I’ve learn and report what I’ve learn, my progress, etc..

This is a great video to practice your Pin Yin and tones. I find this to be a lot easier to remember as it is in music form, much equivalent to singing the English ABC song.

I just discovered this one while retrieving the first video. Another great one.

I’m in no means of mocking anyone’s interest in learning a foreign language–Japanese particularly–because, obviously, I’m in the same boat as well.  I have been toying with the idea of starting a mini-blog on my process of learning the Japanese language, dissecting it to see what makes it tick, and saturating my life with all things and everything Japanese to the point that I just well be Japanese even if I’d never set foot on the Land of the Rising Sun. But I don’t want to overwhelm myself and anyone else so I’m keeping it simple by sticking with this blog.  It’s flexible that way.

I stumbled upon a website on the subject Learning Japanese Blogs and found users giving their blogs about learning Japanese. I’ve visited each one and, to no surprise, not much any progress beyond intro post.

http://nihongowobenkyou.wordpress.com/

http://www.maggiesensei.com/

http://koreos.wordpress.com/

http://www.ramenfanatic.com/

http://tastymiso.com/

http://jintymac.blogspot.com/

Navajo Profile

May 8, 2010

Some months ago, I consciously decided to definitely learn Navajo.

Before, I was contemplating on it for a while, playing with the idea in my head, weighing in the pros and cons, asking myself if I’m ready for the trials and tribulations of learning and most importantly the benefit I would reap if I do try to learn it. My interest started when I wanted to learn Cherokee as a teen because I feel that since I’m of Cherokee descent, I must learn Cherokee (yeah, I know, sad, I should Yoruban while I’m at it).  I felt that I need to learn a Native American languages. I mean I’m learning European languages, Asian languages including Russian, Farsi and Vietnamese, and I’d like to add African but I’m still looking around (I just feel there’s more to Africa than Swahili–gosh, is my ignorance showing?). Ha, I am even taking a liking in Polynesian languages.   In spite of the availability of resources, I just feel that it’s inaccessible (or I’m just not trying hard enough).  Then I learn about Navajo’s status and how prominent it is in spite of its endangerment,  as well as the availability.  So I added Navajo.

What is Navajo

Navajo is a Native American language of the Navajo Nation or Diné. It’s a tonal language, I guess like Mandarin and Vietnamese, and it’s closely related to Apache language or so I heard.

The Facts, Ma’am, Just the Facts

Native Name: Diné bizaad (as you may have guessed, bizaad means language)

Spoken in: Southwest region of the United States

Language Family: Dené-Yeniseian

Apparently many people from the Navajo Nation are preserving the Navajo language through teaching the younger generation. There are programs, workshops and even college courses available on campus and online, and if I’m not mistaken I believe that it’s a requirement to know how to speak Navajo on the Navajo reservation, er Nation.

Basics

Basic Pronunciation:

Vowels:

  • short, as in a and e
  • long, as in aa and ee
  • nasalized, as in ą and ę
  • nasalized long, as in ąą and ęę

Tones

  • high, as in áá and éé,
  • low, as in aa and ee,
  • rising, as in and or
  • falling, as in áa and ée.

The good sites to check out for more basic info are wiki, omniglot, and native-language.  I added other links to my blog list on the side  of the page.  This video can get you started.

May 1st was here! Even though I’m late in studying, I still have a good start for this year.   So long to being on hiatus, my so-called vacation’s over–Back to work!

First let me say that my procrastinatin’ nature has done it again.  I had high hopes to conquer Spanish and Japanese but I didn’t. No discouraging word here because this is suppose to be a “yes, it can be done!” blog.   You shouldn’t be reading every post I publish of how I procrastinate.  So I won’t be making any comments here.

Second, updates: This is it! I will (not might, not would, no try involve) complete Spanish and Japanese and my deadline will be the end of this year. If nothing else, I have Wolfson to rub it in my face that he’s so nicely fluent in Spanish when I don’t (it may sound like rivalry, but the kid’s my inspiration–one of them actually).

Another update, I’ve made a study dare.  I created a trend with myself that at the beginning of a year, I would set the first four/five months of the  year to intensely study and come near to fluency in a foreign language. Last year was Spanish and I failed terribly and I don’t want to discuss it right now about it either. This  year was German. I didn’t get a good start because of the lack of resources. I mean it wasn’t like Spanish where everything you need was at your finger tip, you have to reach out further than you’re used to and search a bit to find some decent resources.  Plus, I couldn’t get to a computer and local library didn’t exactly have what I want, so  I put my Language Challenge aside for awhile.  And even though I finally bought a new computer about three weeks ago, my job has been keeping me busy. So yeah, postponing was in action.   Originally it was January 1st to May 24th, but now I moved it to August 1st to Jan 1st 2011.  That’s enough time right there. In the meantime I will be preparing and working.

The Dialect Project

October 8, 2009

Although I am not yet advanced in Spanish and Japanese, I found out that what I’m learning is one side of those languages.  Hypothetically, if you are at an advance level or fluent in a foreign language and you talk to some people who speak that language, is it possible that you may not understand the words that are coming out of their mouths, more or less? If you have learned by textbooks and/or taking classes, then you just may have a shock of your life.  Unsurprisingly, just as the English language, language isn’t completely one sided. There are four factors to really consider when you are learning a language: Standard, dialect, colloquialism, and accent.  In most textbooks and classes, the standard dialect is taught.  The four factors are:

  • Dialect — If a language is a tree, then the dialects of the language are its branches.  It’s one of the varieties of language differing in vocabulary, syntax (word order), and morphology (structure of words),and pronunciation.
  • Standard — How do I best describe this: One source states, ” a standard language is a particular dialect of a language that has been given either legal or quasi-legal status”.  Basically speaking, it’s language to bring common ground to the masses and have all these enforced  grammar rules to bring order and clarity for all to use and understand.  Some countries, there are many groups and each have their own dialect that others groups might not understand. China is one of them; Mandarin with Beijing dialect is the common speech.
  • Colloquialism – This is, no doubt, the “real” language—the common speech; the informal and familiar speech without any regards to standard grammar rules and speaking proper.
  • Accent – Linguistically speaking, the manner of pronunciation. It’s sometimes based on dialects or geographic regions.

I decided to make it a project to collect as much info about dialects of any language that I can and even give a basic facts along the way.  The purpose for this is to bring awareness of the richness and complexity of the language and pick up where some textbooks and classrooms overlook.

Along the way, I don’t mind getting help with the project.  One person cannot do it all alone and it’s best to hear it from those who are more familiar with any language that I choose.

A Proper Launch

September 26, 2009

I activated this blog about a year ago and didn’t post anything until January 2009 kicked in, and so far it’s obvious that I’m not a good blogger.  I had my intentions to blog at least twice a week and be active with my studies regularly.

So why do I bother having this blog if I’m a procrastinator? Because my love for languages and the desire to be multilingual are too strong to ignore and I feel that I can share a lot with what I learn and observe.

I came across Aspiring Polyglot about 2 years ago and I have been following it since.  It is inspiring for me because it seems that I was the only one to want to be multilingual, i.e. know 10 plus languages, and generally people would say that that’s unrealistic in which I have to turn a deaf ear to.

So here’s my official launch post, after 3 posts and 14 plus months since activation. I am going to continue on, I got loads of stuff waiting to be posting.

Enjoy!

OMG! Nani desu ka!

June 25, 2009

This is kinda awkward.

Y’know, the bathroom is really a private area to do private things in privacy. Anyways, I wish I can interpret this…

A little background info, this is Andy Lau. I’ve seen a couple of his movies and after watching The House of Flying Daggers with Zhang Ziyi and Takeshi Kaneshiro (my two favorite actors) last year, I decided to look him up.  Turns out, he can sing too (Takeshi sings).

Current Update

May 16, 2009

In much dismay, my pursuit in passing the challenge I set for myself is a failure. I am about two-to-four weeks behind in my studies. For the reason for my slacking off was pressure. It seemed that whatever I was learning wasn’t sticking.  So I took a break, which lasted three weeks. During that time, I was out of town and the environment I was in Spanish was everywhere.  I was literally taking a break from Spanish. I thank God many times that my cousin didn’t converse to me Spanish.  Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Mandarin—it was everywhere, besides Hebrew, Arabic, and Hindi and some German here and there.

So, I returned home and slowly started back my studies, taking it slow so I won’t “crash” again.  I simply review what I was struggling with and progress to the next lesson in matter of weeks

The only thing I’m going to do is extend the challenge to August 1st.  I am more than determine to be fluent in Spanish that set high expectations of myself to make a decent progress and be at an advance level by the deadline. But don’t worry, I’m not pushing too hard. I never push too hard.

Currently, I’ve pretty much covered the pronouns and prepositions and getting to dive into the sea of verbs.  I know a couple of verbs in present and preterit tenses, and I got the basics, I just need to go all the way.  I can speak some Spanish yet I can read it better.

It seems that any language enthusiast have a habit of studying not one but two or more at the same time.  I’ve heard that that is a reckless stunt bound for confusion on the learners part, which I plan to talk about in another time entitled “Mindset.” Well, I happen to be just that.  In the midst of my Spanish studies, I am learning Japanese participles, verbs and katakana, the tones of Mandarin, and some Vietnamese that my coworker is teaching me.

And dare I not stop there. I have a brother who’s interested in learning Italian and another brother learning German. So I’m helping them both with those.  I had no plans to learn Italian yet, not when I’m still learning Spanish, but as an English major, I can help them with those. Just as my Spanish teacher once said: If you have a strong foundation in your English grammar, then learning a foreign language shouldn’t be too much a trouble. I agree every word of it.

Since the New Year rolled in, I decided to take on a challenge: learn a foreign language in less than what is it takes to become advance.  On average, it takes about 3 years to learn a foreign language, so I minimize the time to less than a year.

Now most people probably will think that is totally impossible.  Impossibilities is what I do.  I challenge myself to this because I’m tired of being monolingual. It’s on my New Year resolution to learn a language and that’s been on my list for years, only because I unintentionally put it off.  Why was it put off? The answer is simple: procrastination.  I have procrastinated on quitting procrastination. But this year is different.  I am committed to never be a procrastinator, ever.  If I hadn’t procrastinated from the beginning, then I’d be able to read Dragon Ball and Naruto comics instead of watching them on TV. I’m sure that the producers were faithful to the original materials. But come on, the shows are adapted. It’s like Spider-Man or X-Men movies, and everyone knows that Rogue is Gambit’s woman (I was bugged by that).  If I hadn’t procrastinated, I would enjoy watching Jackie Chan’s best instead of being stuck with corny dubbed versions of his films. And I can comprehend the sexy words coming out of Takeshi Kaneshiro’s mouth and not rely on subtitles (it distracts his sexiness).  If I hadn’t procrastinated, I would have read the Three Musketeers, Gabriel Garcia Máquez’s renowned novels, and I would be studying Russian at this time so I can read Anna Karenina. Alas, I procrastinated and I pay the consequences of being monolingual. Therefore, as you can see, procrastination is evil and I hope this inspires anyone to avoid it at all cost.

So it’s either now or never.

The language I chose to study is Spanish.  Yes, Spanish. It is an easiest language to learn for an English speaker, yet hard because it’s foreign, as my Spanish teacher used to say. I heard that it takes about 200 hours to be fluent. Let’s see, to do the math, if were to spend 8 hours a day studying, then I’ll be fluent in 25 days. But I’m not going to do that. I have within 5 month, i.e. 20 weeks, to learn Spanish.  So my deadline is May 20th, a couple of days before my special day.

Of course, along with my study, I also have hiragana, katakana to polish, and some English root words to review. So that could be a burden…