Thursday, July 16, 2009

Learning Japanese

I'm no longer illiterate!
I can read Japanese!
Well, 2 out of 3 at least...

I finally learned how to read kana last month. I had been struggling to learn the alphabet for a while but then took the advice of a friend and fellow English teacher here to use flash cards. I never really used them back in college but am now a huge fan of the learning method because they helped me quickly pick up the 2 alphabets.

They also made it easier to be quizzed. I walked around both of my schools for a couple of days with flashcards and had students quiz me.

I've never seen them laugh so hard.

It really made their day. Here I was, this teacher of the difficult English language, and I couldn't even read simple kana. How could someone confuse '' with 'め'? Or 'は' with ''? Or 'フ' with 'ワ'?

I've often thought the same thing when seeing mistakes between 'b' and 'd', 'i' and 'j' and many other "obviously" distinct pairs. But learning kana has been a humbling experience and I believe I'm more in touch with the plight of my students. Language learning is no joke!

I've been like a kid ever since then, reading everything I see outloud. Sometimes, especially with katakana, I'm able to understand what I'm reading but I'm clueless more often than not.

Next on my plate is basic kanij and verb conjugation..

(Random tidbit: Rivers Cuomo, the lead singer of Weezer, has been tweeting in Japanese lately. It's pretty cool to actually have an idea of what he's saying)

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