Posted by: felishkulitz | April 13, 2010

Let’s Learn Japanese

Mary Althaus.
Image via Wikipedia

Several years ago, there was a channel where I enjoyed watching different programs in both Filipino and Japanese. One of these are the two series of Let’s Learn Japanese. I remember that I always wait for its time slot. When it is time for the program, I always take down notes. Since it was quite a long time by now, I can’t tell if I completed the whole series.

I am lucky that I found the complete videos of the two series in the internet. I did not hesitate and downloaded everything. After I finished downloading the whole episodes, I started to watch them one by one. Sometimes, I watch one episode twice to practice my hearing skill. This is vital, right? Another thing is that I want to recall how to write the kanas. Although there are many sources in which to know how each kana look likes, few teaches the step by step process of writing them. I am glad that I can learn it in this course too.

Within the course, there is a drama in which the life of a foreigner in Japan is featured. It is called Yan san and the Japanese people or Yan san to nihon no hitobito in Japanese. I really liked it because it also shows the culture of the Japanese people. Plus the fact that the story itself is nice. Also, I got a chance to see tokyo city from that time. Maybe you can tell that I am very curious when it comes to Japan.

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Posted by: felishkulitz | April 11, 2010

Doushi

Imperial Seal of Japan (Crest of Chrysanthemum).
Image via Wikipedia

Verbs play a special role to a language that it completes the thought. We can find them in sentences and independent clauses. In Tagalog, it is called ‘pandiwa’.

Pandiwa is derived from the root word ‘diwa’ which is noteworthy. In Pashtun language, it means candle or light and could also be used as a girl’s name. Back to Tagalog, it means thought or spirit and I even found a page which says that “Diwa in Tagalog means essence…” With this in mind, I consider that verbs are very important.

The location of the verbs in sentences vary depending on the language that use them. Tagalog as well as Ilocano and Cebuano place the verbs in front of the sentences. Tagalog may also put it in the middle just like in English and Chinese. Latin verbs too can be found in the middle as a Latin blog I saw prefer it but the Romans prefer it in the end of the sentences just like the Korean and the Japanese.

Dôshi (or doushi if we will follow どうし, 動詞) in Japanese means verb. The two kanji we have here means motion and part of speech respectively. It is highly complex just like Greek, Latin, Sanskrit and Korean verbs. It ranges from extremely rude tenses to extremely polite ones. It has both casual and formal form; transitive and intransitive; and, humble and honorific. Aside from the above, it also have variations, alternatives (in relation to taboos on certain occasions) and the respect languages (keigo, humble and honorific forms) vary greatly and some even share the same form.

Indeed, Japanese verbs needs extra effort to master. Despite this, I am still interested with it. I even become more enthusiastic about it. Anyway, I have several links to share regarding Japanese verbs. They are the:

MLC free study materials page – Which group these verbs in different levels of difficulty, conjugation groups and tenses groups. They even have visual aids and quizzes to help the students.

The epochrypha’s Japanese language and culture site – in which I only focus on the verb related pages 1, 2, 3, and 4.

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Posted by: felishkulitz | April 10, 2010

Esperanto

{{cs|Jubilejní symbol esperanta.}} {{eo|La Jub...
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An ophthalmologist born to a Russian father and a Yiddish mother invented a constructed language called ‘Esperanto‘. From the language itself, Esperanto means one who hopes. L. L. Zamenhof aimed to create an easy to learn and politically neutral language that would serve as a universal second language.

It was just recently that I heard about this language through a forum. I became curious and search for it. I found several interesting sites which teaches this language and started to browse them. After several days reading about them, I become really interested. Indeed, it is easy to learn. There is no declensions unlike Latin and it has a few conjugations. With different affixes, we can create many words from one root word.

I plan to study it and hopefully I can use it in no time. If ever I have time, I will try to compost my blog entry using it.

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Posted by: felishkulitz | April 10, 2010

Hangeul

Hunmin Jeongeum Eonhae. The original Hunmin Je...
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Awhile ago, I posted about the Han Chinese characters which list seems to be endless with so many forms and style. Now, I will share you, guys, about another form of Han writing. But this time, it is the Korean (or Han which probably was a coincidence) alphabet or better yet a syllabary.

Ancient Koreans borrow the sophisticated writing system from their Chinese neighbor.  They called it Hanja which is the exact counterpart of Mandarin‘s hanzi or what we know in English as the Han characters. They even imitated the Chinese pronunciations of the said characters. Thus, a similarity between hanja and hanzi is apparent.

It was not until the fourth Joseon king, Sejong the great, that hangeul was invented. It was said that the king himself invented it. This claim was written as “This month, his majesty has personally created the twenty eight letters of the vernacular script…” This event was revolutionary indeed that some were happy with its invention and some are not.

On one account, a scholar official criticized hangeul and said that while the invention is heaven sent, only the barbarians have their own alphabet and with the state principle of “respecting the senior state” (which refers to the middle kingdom-Ming dynasty China at that time), Han characters must retain its position as the official writing system of the kingdom.

The hall of worthies during the time of king Sejong the great published several books completely written with the new letters. However, when the king died, this invented beauties was banned. Still, even when it was banned, the women of the royal court patronized this as a means for them to exchange letters. The nineteenth century came and Korea has preserved some of the court women’s literature now valued for their own artistic style. Then, the twentieth century arrived and finally hangeul was recognized by its people and until today is still used.

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Posted by: felishkulitz | April 10, 2010

Radicals of Han Characters

The Chinese character zhèng (unknown meaning)....
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A blizzard of complicated characters is what I see whenever I browse east Asian literatures. Hanzi, hanja, kanji or whatever name people call this set of characters, it is all the same. It may have variations, simplifications or locally added (invented) characters, it is still the same.

Han characters consist of well over 50 thousand characters or so. Not to mention the various styles in which they are written. We can easily say that it is too much of a burden to an aspirant scholar during the times when the sons of heaven or the rulers of heaven or the people of heaven walk this earth. With this rich collection, one may wonder how they organize and compile this marvelous items of the written paradise. I remember that some compilations organize it by sounds which were devotedly arranged by a team of scholars. Others arranged them by the number of strokes. Still another divide the collection by their respective radicals.

I have seen a couple of site in which they list 214 radicals or what Putonhua speakers call “bushou” and “bushu” by the Japanese speakers. The first site shows the list of radicals with their Chinese names plus the simplified counterpart and some variants. The other site has their Japanese names which also present a column for variants.

Since each radicals have its own meaning, studying it may help us to understand the items which belong to them. Although there are characters which I find hard to imagine why they belong to a certain radical, it is still useful and who knows maybe a daily reflection on these will show us their relations to each other. If that will be the case, it then encourages me to consider it as a method or learning.

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