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First day

I hate IE and its stupid half-assed CSS support.

In other news, I had my first Japanese class today. Mom was wrong about the composition--it was typical community college, late teens with a handful of older folks.

JA 250 is called "Practical Japanese". It's basically an easy course to get the basics down or brush up if you're rusty; it's repeatable. (I suspect that one of the guys sitting near me was probably taking it for the third or forth time in a row, considering his comments about how boring it was.) There are two TAs, both native speakers. The teacher, Izumo-sensei, is female, and oddly enough has better English pronunciation than either of my two Asian computer science teachers--go figure.

Today...well, we covered the basic concepts of Japanese grammar (word order, particles, adding ka for questions). We also did some stuff with a hiragana table...a rather intimidating-looking 46-item table which we're apparently supposed to memorize by the end of the course. Then we covered a basic dialogue:

  • Hajime mashite.

  • (your name here) desu.

  • Doozo yoroshiku.
I promptly forgot it, but luckily I wrote it down first.

When she was taking roll, she was doing so with Japanese pronunciation, and was asking for nicknames if we had any. When she callled "Brenton" (my real first name--I usually drop the -on because it sounds pretentious to me), I decided not to correct it to "Brent"--I suspected that would require what I will creatively name a "vowel kludge". After class, Jas informed me that "Brent" would have been turned into "Brento" anyway, so it wouldn't have been any better if I had corrected her.

Interesting things learned from this class:
  • When I guess how to pronounce a foreign word without knowing, I need to not let it get stuck in my head that way. ("desu" is the culprit here--apparently the 'u' sound is practically silent.)

  • It's probably okay to wear otaku stuff--I saw someone wearing a Trigun shirt.

  • The teacher recommended that we watch Japanese TV, so I now have an excuse to watch anime. Go me. Don't think "Most Extreme Elimination Challenge" counts, though, since it is without a doubt the worst Japanese dub ever. ;^)
Oh, and the teasing from my sister about this hasn't begun just yet, but I think she's just in shock--Mom was the only one I told about this class.

Comments

( Read 5 comments — Leave a comment )
chiave_trust
Jan. 17th, 2004 10:15 pm (UTC)
Hiragana is your friend. You will get to know it very well, whether you want to or not. ^^;;

However, if you do learn it, you can then read Japanese manga - or at least read it aloud, even if you don't know what most of the words actually mean... ^^;; And for my name, it sounds strange now to write out "Jasmine", since I have two Japanese names (Mahou being a direct translation of "Jasmine" pretty much...)

Ganbatte, Brenton-san~ (Do your best at it, Brent ^^)

(And yes, I am a silly gaijin chibi.... ^^;; )



acdragonmaster
Jan. 18th, 2004 01:02 am (UTC)
Hehe, hiragana's not so bad, though I learned it best just by reading manga. Seeing the characters over and over like that, and associated with actual words and all really helps to imprint it all.

I've been a bit amused so far in my Japanese class, because grammar-wise I am a bit ahead of where the rest the students are, I just don't know all the vocabulary the first semester of the course covered (yet). I know other words though, some of which I don't think I'd dare say in class...


Oh yeah, and regarding "desu", a lot of times a final "u" sound ends up being unvoiced. It might seem odd at first, but a little practice and you'll get the hang of it. It also becomes unvoiced in order to render some foreign words into Japanese- if you wanted to write the English word "sky" you'd use the kana "sukai" [スカイ], but pronouncing the "u" more unvoiced.

And that probably ended up being a bit confusing, but really, just practice and you'll get it. (oh, and that was katakana I used above, not hiragana, katakana is typically used for foreign words like that...)
haibane_rachan
Jan. 18th, 2004 06:31 am (UTC)
I thought we all learned this already with a bit of help from our dear friend Asuka Langley. ^__^;
acdragonmaster
Jan. 18th, 2004 09:39 am (UTC)
Hehe, true. Though, Ms. Langley isn't the only Asuka I've seen in anime. :p

Sakura is another one of those names that if you listen to it in Japanese you can hear the u becoming unvoiced.
nathanbp
Jan. 18th, 2004 06:38 am (UTC)
Learn Japanese is a good hiragana flashcards program for Palm OS. It does katakana too, but you have to "pay." ^_^;
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