December 19, 2010 | Japanese

The Hardest Language Yet to Write

Japanese appears to have the most difficult writing system I have studied to date.

Today I came to a conclusion: the Japanese writing system is the hardest one I have encountered so far in this project. Not Korean, not Arabic, but Japanese. I had no idea. This Workbook… …Reminds Me of First Grade…

December 24, 2010 | Japanese

Yes to Kana, Sorry to Kanji

There's only so much a girl can do.

I have been consuming a balanced diet of Pimsleur lessons, Rosetta Stone, and my various Japanese books. Japanese Books Work Better With Coffee Today in my Kana de Manga book by Glenn Kardy, I read, “Children in Japan learn to…

December 26, 2010 | Japanese

Cute Writing

Japanese writing sometimes looks like little animals and smiley faces.

Today was a blizzard. Blizzards are good for studying. While practicing the Japanese syllabaries at Café Margot, I met a Japanese man who is here on a short-term rotation with his employer, a large financial firm. I am finding that…

December 29, 2010 | Japanese

Linguistics Angst

Talk of fricatives scares me.

I continue to be impervious to instruction that involves linguistics terminology. I love grammar terminology, but funny things happen in my brain when I read things like “voiced and voiceless bilabials.” Linguistics experts out there: that is linguistics…

January 2, 2011 | Japanese

Multimedia Merits

One self-teaching tool is not enough.

The end of 2010 and beginning of 2011 has been a busy time of family visits and parties, dotted with Pimsleur lessons, Rosetta Stone sessions, and Japanese writing drills.  Rosetta Stone Pronunciation Lesson I am enjoying Japanese more now that…

January 6, 2011 | Japanese

I Can Write Japanese Words, Sort Of!

I move from writing individual symbols to (a few) actual whole words.

Tokyo is New York’s sister city in Japan. I learned that yesterday from a neighbor of mine. I want to go there. Rosetta Stone, Danger! See That Girl’s Really Big Piece of Cake on Right? That Made Me…

January 7, 2011 | Japanese

Baby Clothes in 30 Languages

Start 'em young.

Today was another snow day. Enough is enough. My California blood cannot take this. Snow More Snow Nonetheless, I decided to brave the elements to achieve a higher goal: errand running. There I was, trudging down Columbus Avenue, listening to…

January 9, 2011 | Japanese

Japanese Words Seem Long

Observations on writing lessons and word length.

This morning I was still lying in bed when I noticed that I was repeatedly drawing the hiragana symbol for fu in my head. (I would like to unrhyme the preceding sentence, but I can’t think of how…

January 10, 2011 | Japanese

New Yorkese and Japanese

More multilingual café encounters.

Practicing my Japanese writing skills at Café Margot this morning, I heard two very different languages. Site of Today’s Language Encounters One emerged from the mouth of a maybe 30-something woman who parked herself long-term at a table without…

January 17, 2011 | Japanese

Write Write Write!

Help, I can't stop practicing kana!

One of my earliest childhood memories is of writing the alphabet. The English one, I mean. I can see myself sitting on the floor at the edge of a sunny living room, I think with wall-to-wall carpeting and glass doors,…