Sunday, October 30, 2011

中文 - Week 4 (New Practical Chinese Reader 1)


The book I am using is New Practical Chinese Reader 1 by the Beijing Language and Culture University Press. This is a personalized journal of my Mandarin language journey, and the target audience would be other students of Mandarin, beginners if possible. Let’s start! But before we do please watch the video after or while reading, it’s meant to complement the content of this blog article. If you watch just the video and not read, you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about. Volume 1 of the book has 14 lessons. I only study Monday to Friday, two weeks for each lesson, which means it will take us 140 days or 28 weeks to finish the whole book. Target end date is April 13, 2012.

MONDAY: Lesson Two - 你忙吗?
We have ten Chinese Characters for this week, again, two a day. There are four words from the text also in Chinese Characters but I already discussed them last week so no need to repeat them. Let’s start! For today we have which is one of the characters’ surname. Literally it means “nail” meaning that one you use with a hammer, NOT the one on your finger. This is pretty easy to write, like writing a capital letter T. The other one means “knife” and is written as . Remember the character for “strength” last week? They look almost the same, except that the second stroke for the knife character does not extend above the first stroke.

TUESDAY: Lesson Two - 你忙吗?
Our Chinese Characters for today are which means “again” we’ve already encountered the sound in the word “friend” but I think the character was different, as opposed to what I say in the video. It is quite easy to write, just two strokes! The second one means “big” and you might recognize it as the first Kanji of “Osaka” if you are also studying Japanese. The character has three strokes and looks like .

WEDNESDAY: Lesson Two - 你忙吗?
For Wednesday we have your “mouth” and “earth” . As you can see the first character looks like a simple square, but it would be a lot better if you follow the stroke order. It is not that hard to begin with. Imagining the image as a mouth is not that difficult to do. Just draw imaginary eyes and a nose above it. As for the second character, just remember the cross on the ground (earth). There’s a cross on the ground! Haha. It does not make sense but it helps me remember it.

THURSDAY: Lesson Two - 你忙吗?
Today we have the number “six” and the predicate negator “not” . I can’t give you tips on how to remember the first character. I also have no idea why it looks like that, but since you would be counting a lot in daily life and it is not that high a number, I bet memorizing it would not be that hard to do. The same thing goes with the second character. It is also high frequency so it would be best that you memorize it. Or not. It would be appearing a lot do before you know it you’ll realize that it’s already stuck in your head.

FRIDAY: Lesson Two - 你忙吗?
The last two characters for this week are the “buddhist nun” and the verb expressing ability “can” . These two are familiar because we’ve already used them in words during the last few weeks. The first one is used in the tag question 你呢 where you put an additional character to its left side to alter the meaning. The second character on the other hand has been used for “older brother” 哥哥 where it is written four times, next to and on top of each other. In this case the sound is maintained. This is one important thing to note when it comes to Chinese characters. Some characters are there to determine the sound, to give you a clue with regards to its pronunciation, while the other character accompanying it would most likely give you the meaning.

See you next weekend! For next week I will be covering lesson three. We are making progress! The goal is to pass the lowest level of the HSK in September 2012! =)

The Sound of Music (Resorts World Manila)

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Sister Maria (Joanna Ampil) does not seem fit to be a nun and is thus sent out of the abbey for a short time to be the governess of an ex-Navy captain’s seven children. Captain George Von Trapp (Jon Joven) is strict and runs his household military style using a whistle with different codes to catch the attention of the person being called. Will Maria’s arrival in the household change the way things are run, or will she find herself going back to the abbey in just a matter of days?

So this is where all those songs came from! There are many of them like My Favorite Things, that song that concerns a female deer and a drop of golden sun, and there is another one with the yodeling, the title of which has just slipped my mind. To tell you the truth, I have not really seen the Julie Andrews version in totality. I just managed to have a peek when it was showing on HBO (or was it Star Movies?) and they were being chased by armed men, which was totally weird because all the while I thought it was all about happy hills, cheerful children, and joyful music. Seeing it onstage for the very first time does send some shivers down the spine, specially with the cast they have assembled to give justice to this particular re-staging.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Peter Pan (Repertory Philippines)

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In a quest to reclaim his captured shadow, Peter Pan (Sam Concepcion) and Tinkerbell sneak into a room in a house in Bloomsbury and accidentally wake up the already sleeping Wendy (Tippy dos Santos), whose curiosity of the boy leads her, along with her two brothers, flying all the way to Neverland where they are awaited by the lost boys, Tiger Lily, and the cruel but hilarious Captain Hook.

This is one grand production and the first mention should definitely go to the use of harnesses to make the characters “fly”. It definitely adds something extra to the play and it is challenging to do because it is live. In books you just use your imagination. In films they can do CGI. Here, the harness is seen through the spotlights and one can easily observe how thin they are and how they seem to be attached only to the actors’ backs. It is thrilling in a way that you are half-expecting those threads to snap and see the flying characters land on one of the actors onstage. Kidding aside, when the darkness obscures the said harness, the view is plain awesome and it really gives one the illusion that the characters are really defying gravity.

Ang Sayaw Ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa

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Marlon (Paulo Avelino) is having a hard time following his literature class and harbors a secret crush for the professor, a middle aged woman named Karen (Jean Garcia). He stalks her after class hours and learns that she also teaches dance, and so he enlists the help of his classmate Dennis (Rocco Nacino) who is also the assistant at the dance studio. Without plenty of dialogue the characters make their feelings flow through a mixture of poetry and dance.

One thing you will appreciate about this movie is its indirect approach to storytelling. There are not so many dialogues, and when there are the characters tend to be speaking in tongues, incorporating poetry and flowery words to substitute for normal daily conversations, of which this movie has only a few. There are no direct admissions of feelings, and even the one direct confrontation with straight-forward dialogue during the cotillion scene is done in a non-conventional manner that it still seems a bit artsy and choreographed but pleasing to watch. In a way, this movie does not feel like a movie at all. It seems more like poetry expressed through very interpretative dance routines captured on video.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Praybeyt Benjamin

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Benjamin Santos VIII (Vice Ganda) comes from a long line of Benjamin Santos’s who have all been somewhat involved in the world of warfare, from ancestors who were mighty defenders of the motherland against the Spaniards all the way down to his grandfather, Benjamin Santos VI (Eddie Garcia) who holds a high position in the military. The tradition is broken when his father, Benjamin Santos VII (Jimmy Santos) decides to become a scientist, which results in their disownment by the clan. Years later Benjie is not just openly gay, he is out and proud, a fact that leads to a foiled reconciliation between them and his grandfather’s party who are not very tolerant of homosexuals. Behind all the family drama a civil war ensues and the grandfather is captured by terrorists. Owing to his father’s ailing condition, Benjie enlists as a soldier on his behalf, in an attempt to rescue his grandfather and win his acceptance.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

한국어 - WEEK 3 Korean 1 (Hankuk University of Foreign Studies)


The book I am using is 한국어1 which is the Korean for Foreigners course book of the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. This is not a Korean language learning program and I am no teacher. This is a personalized journal of my Korean language journey, and the target audience would be other students of Korean, beginners if possible. Let’s start! But before we do please watch the video after or while reading, it’s meant to complement the content of this blog article. If you watch just the video and not read, you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about. The book has 35 chapters. I only study Monday to Friday, two days each for lessons 1 - 15 and three days each for lessons 16 - 35 which means it will take us 90 days or 18 weeks to finish the whole book. Target end date is February 3, 2012.

MONDAY: Chapter Six - 실레합니다
After listening to the main dialogue what I did was go through the grammar section at once and memorize the new words. We have two grammar points today. First would be 뭐가. We learned during the first week that “What” is 무엇이 which is composed of the question word for what and the subject particle. The shortcut is shorter. Okay, that was a stupid sentence. Hahaha. We love shortcuts! 무엇 becomes and now you could not use the subject particle because the word now ends with a vowel. So, you use and you end up with뭐가.

TUESDAY: Chapter Six - 실레합니다
Today was reserved mostly for exercises. I already scanned the illustrations for location words yesterday but today I got to practice them through the video and through the exercises that followed. If you have not seen the video, here is a rundown of the location words: above/on, 아래 below/under, at the back, in front, next to, inside, outside, 가운데 in the middle/between, 왼쪽 left, 오른쪽 right. Are these accurate? Well, you know how location words could be vague at times so I just assumed based on the pictures. Suffice it to say that at least now I have an idea on my mind, and I would be able to use those mental images once I need to say the location of something in Korean! The exercises would have been easy had the vocabulary been indicated on the page itself, but I had to refer to the vocabulary section at the back of the book because new vocabulary has been introduced! The listening exercise was fun though because the pictures were labeled accordingly and I was able to understand most! Achievement!

WEDNESDAY: Chapter Seven -모릅니다
New lesson! The new expression is “I don’t know” (모릅니다), very handy specially when you are just starting, or if you are not in the mood to talk! Haha. I understood the dialogue. Two friends are talking and the girl is asking if the boy has brothers and sisters. He has one each, and then the girl suddenly asks if the little brother has a girlfriend, which leads the boy to say the expression in the title. Why would she even ask that? Invasion of privacy! Anyway there is one word I did not understand and it is: 고등학생 which according to the glossary means “high school student”. So there!

THURSDAY: Chapter Seven -모릅니다
There are just two grammar points for this lesson The first one has something to do with the indirect object, the recipient of the action, just add the particle -한테 to whoever it is that is the recipient of your action and you are good to go, but this is not really what the chapter says. I just learned this before. For now, what the book states as its function is to denote possession when coupled with 있다. Translation please? Just mention the person, add that particle, then the thing being talked about, and that verb in its conjugation depending if you are asking or stating a fact. Example! Barrack Obama 한테 연필 있습니까 is “Does Barrack Obama have a pencil?” 저한테 이사람 연필 있습니다 is “I have this person’s pencil.” If you translate it word per word it would sound something like “To me this person pencil there is” which sounds like Yoda speech fail but that’s how it is, guys. Our second grammar point is the particle -하고 which is used to list down a series of people or names or objects, whatever you could think of. So if you want to say “I have a pencil and a book” you attach the particle at the end of pencil and attach the subject particle at the end of book before ending it all with the verb: 저한테 연필하고 책이 있습니다.

FRIDAY: Chapter Eight - 몇 개 있습니까?
Lesson Eight is all about counting! First, let’s tackle the two new words that we could attach in front of nouns to ask questions. means “How many” and sorry but I have to correct myself, you could not attach this directly to the noun. You have to use a counter, which is common in Asian languages. The most common in Korean is which is a counter for things. Anyway, the numbers one to four behave weirdly when attached to counters. 하나 becomes losing the while the other three lose their last letters. Examples: , , , . The other one is 무슨 “what type/which” so you attach this in front of a noun if you want a clearer picture of what the noun is, in short, you are asking the other person to specify it for you. 무슨 책입니까? (Which/what type of book is it?). “It is a Korean language book” 한국어책입니다.

See you next weekend! For next week I would be covering the second half of lesson eight until lesson ten. We can do this guys! AJA! The goal is to pass the lowest level of TOPIK in April 2012! =)

日本語 - Week 3 (Contemporary Japanese Vol. 1)


The book I am using is Contemporary Japanese Vol. 1 by Eriko Sato from the Tuttle Language Library. This is not a Japanese language learning program and I am no teacher. This is a personalized journal of my Japanese language journey, and the target audience would be other students of Japanese, beginners if possible. Let’s start! But before we do please watch the video after or while reading, it’s meant to complement the content of this blog article. If you watch just the video and not read, you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about. Volume 1 of the book has 61 lessons. I only study Monday to Friday, two days for each lesson, which means it will take us 122 days or 24 weeks and 2 days to finish the whole book. Target end date is March 20, 2012.

MONDAY: Lesson Six - Words for Family Members and Phrases for Getting Attention
Lesson six is a cool lesson because it teaches the words for family members! Or at least the more popular ones! Mother is おかあさん. Father is おとうさん. Older Brother is おにいさん. Older Sister is おねえさん. Okay, tell me what you’ve noticed. Nothing? Look again! They all contain a long vowel! Because they are old! Hahahaha. No, there is no logical connection but it’s a good thing to help you remember. The older they are than you, the longer their vowels, hahaha. And so, as a review for the vocabulary I’ve just learned today, I skipped the dialogues and went straight to the Writing Exercise where the book asks you to write those four new words five times each. I did them four times, and the fifth time is done in the video. I love the lesson today, not so complicated!

TUESDAY: Lesson Six - Words for Family Members and Phrases for Getting Attention
We only have three new words for expressions on getting attention and they have already been discussed in the video. If you want a package deal, just remember these three in sequence: あのう、ちょっと すみません. What does this mean? The first term is to catch someone’s attention, pretty much like “Hey!” The second one is an intensifier for the last term which means “Sorry” or “Excuse” would probably be more apt. So it means something like, “Hey, I am so sorry (for disturbing you).” Easy. Grammar? No, we just review some hiragana. Remember them? Well, we have not studied anything for pa, pi, pu, pe, po (ぱ、ぴ、ぷ、ぺ、ぽ); ba, bi, bu, be, bo (ば、び、ぶ、べ、ぼ); da, ji, zu, de, do (だ、ぢ、づ、で、ど); za, zi, zu, ze, zo (ざ、じ、ず、ぜ、ぞ); and ga, gi, gu, ge, go (が、ぎ、ぐ、げ、ご). What have you noticed? There are no special Hiragana symbols for them. You just add the tiny circle thingy for those that start with the P sound and you add that symbol that looks like open quotation marks for VOICED variants of the voiceless Hiragana we have already studied!

WEDNESDAY: Lesson Seven - Names of Japanese Cities and Phrases for Small Talk
The new lesson introduces four Japanese cities in Hiragana and Kanji. I think it won’t hurt if we memorize their Kanji for now since there are just two for each. They might come in very handy for you if you go to Japan. Tokyo is 東京 and take note that both of its vowel sounds are long. Kyoto is 京都 and for this one only the FIRST vowel sound is long. For the next city, only the first vowel sound is long as well: Osaka = 大阪. The last one is Narita, which does not contain any long vowel sound and is written in Kanji as 成田. Hiragana again? How do you write sounds where you have to use your palate? Examples: nya, byo, chu, kya, myu, ja? Just separate the into two syllables. nya = にゃ, byo = びょ, chu = ちゅ, kya = きゃ, myu = みゅ, ja = じゃ. If you are typing, just type them as they are since MS Word would format it automatically for you. Notice how the second syllable is smaller in size? That’s because even though they have two syllables, when pronounced in normal speech they only constitute one.

THURSDAY: Lesson Seven - Names of Japanese Cities and Phrases for Small Talk
Today we do small talk and that means the weather and a lot of How are you’s? After greeting your new Japanese friend, tell him or her how nice the weather is. Vocabulary first! Warm = あたたかい; Hot = あつい; Cold = さむい; Cool = すずしい; Good = いい; Weather = てんき. What is the formula? Plug one of those before “isn’t it?” which is ですね in Japanese. “Nice weather, isn’t it?” would be いいてんきですね? “It’s hot, isn’t it?” would be あついですね? Next would be to ask that person how he or she is at the moment. おげんきですか seems common but the book says that it is more or less reserved for people you have not seen in a long time. The thing is, the book does not provide an alternative, so let’s just use that one for the mean time. Answer? Just use the slang for “yes” ええ and add the affirmative げんきです. To ask back, “and you?” just say the person’s name + suffix + wa? ALFREDさんわ? The Japanese rarely use the second person personal pronoun. So although it might sound weird to talk about the person you are talking to as if he or she is not there, I am afraid you would have to do it. Alternative answers? おかげさまで (Good); まあまあです (So so); なんとか (Barely surviving).

FRIDAY: Lesson Eight - 私は日本人です
Lesson Eight is the first lesson in Chapter Two and I must tell you that we need to step up now. Since we are done with Hiragana, the written portion is mostly dedicated to Kanji, with four or more to be memorized each day. Having said that, there would be no more double discussions. This blog entry would be exclusive for grammar points and set phrases (key expressions), while the video would be for dialogue/Kanji practice and vocabulary words. We have four grammar points today. The first is about こちら which means “this side” but is used to refer to “this person” in a polite manner. The second is about personal pronouns, of which only the first person would be useful for us since the Japanese tend to just say a person’s name when they are talking to them or about them. It sounds weird but that’s the way it is. “I” is わたし and the Kanji is the first ever we would learn! This is very useful because we would be talking about ourselves most of the time There are other words for the first person personal pronoun but this is the safest to use for beginners so let’s stick with it. The last grammar point is regarding “yes” はい and “no” いえ. The book explains that in Japanese, these are strictly for agreement or disagreement and not for affirmation. If in English someone asks you “Is this not a book?” これは 本じゃあありませんか your answer would be “NO, that is not a book” which demonstrates negation. In Japanese, they would say はい 本じゃあありません which agrees to your negative statement. It could get tricky. My suggestion? Avoid negative questions! The last one before we go on a weekend break is about nationality. One of the Kanji we learned today (see video!) is which you connect to a country name to denote the appropriate nationality. Since “Japan” is 日本 a Japanese would be a 日本人 so on and so forth! How to ask someone’s nationality? Keep this set phrase in mind: どちらからですか meaning “Where are you from?”

See you next weekend! For next week I would be covering the second half of lesson eight until lesson ten. We can do this guys! The goal is to pass the N5 examination of the JLPT in December 2012! =)

中文 - Week 3 (New Practical Chinese Reader 1)


The book I am using is New Practical Chinese Reader 1 by the Beijing Language and Culture University Press. This is not a Mandarin language learning program and I am no teacher. This is a personalized journal of my Mandarin language journey, and the target audience would be other students of Mandarin, beginners if possible. Let’s start! But before we do please watch the video after or while reading, it’s meant to complement the content of this blog article. If you watch just the video and not read, you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about. Volume 1 of the book has 14 lessons. I only study Monday to Friday, two weeks for each lesson, which means it will take us 140 days or 28 weeks to finish the whole book. Target end date is April 13, 2012.

MONDAY: Lesson Two - 你忙吗?
Today I read the first dialogue aloud in the video to practice pronunciation. Tomorrow we review the words used in the dialogue. As for this blog let us focus on set expressions, since phonetics would be covered in the video anyway. We only have two fixed expressions today, and it is all about asking about somebody else. We already know how to ask you how you are. It’s time to ask how your parents are doing! And how to answer. Okay. So basically, you just add the words for mother 妈妈 and father 爸爸 in the middle. So you ask, 爸爸, 妈妈 好吗?The first, second to the last, and last characters form that very common expression we learned during the first week. You just inserted the words for mother and father. How do you answer? If they are well, you say 他们都很好 which means “They are both doing fine.” We go down to the level of individual words tomorrow. For now, just keep these expressions in mind. It might come in handy one day.

TUESDAY: Lesson Two - 你忙吗?
Again, I would no longer be listing any vocabulary here, by that I mean individual words. I already do that in the video so why bother doing it again. The characters are also shown there anyway. Let’s keep this blog entry exclusive for set expressions, and the one which we have today is asking someone if they are busy or not. It’s just like the expression for “How are you?” but you change the second character, so “Are you busy?” would be 你忙吗? How to answer? Just say if you are or you are not! “I am busy” is 我忙 so it is more like a juxtaposition without a verb, but it would be useful to note here that the Chinese love to use to connect the subject to a simple adjectival predicate, so you are more likely to hear 我很忙 which would literally translate to “I am very busy” even if they are NOT VERY busy. They just use it for fluidity I guess. What if you are not busy? Add that particle that negates predicates: to have 我不忙 to mean “I am not busy.”

WEDNESDAY: Lesson Two - 你忙吗?
The second dialogue is very short and is all about asking if someone wants coffee. Of course, coffee is just one of the options and is just used as a model for the formula. The book uses the verb to mean “to want” which you would later find out to be a rather strong verb. There are alternatives but they don’t come until the later chapters so let’s stick with this one. It’s easy because it’s just one syllable and you drop it like it’s hot because of the downward tone. “Do you want coffee?” is 咖啡 ? If “I want coffee” I just say 我要咖啡 but if “I don’t” I just say 不要 totally eliminating the “I” and the “coffee” since the context is already clear. I don’t think you would have to answer in complete sentences in situations like this. It’s not a classroom, people! It’s a cafe!

THURSDAY: Lesson Two - 你忙吗?
For some reason, the words for older brother and younger brother are introduced in the second dialogue. If you have not seen the video and you are curious, “older brother” is 哥哥 while “younger brother” is 弟弟. For the right tones, watch the video. How can you make your “I want coffee” sound different? Add “also” or drag someone else into also wanting coffee with “we all” 我们都. How do you do it? “I also want coffee” would be 我也要咖啡 while “We all want coffee” (or “we BOTH” if there are just two of you) would be 我们都要咖啡. The character should come immediately after the pronoun if you would like to denote an idea of togetherness.

FRIDAY: Lesson Two - 你忙吗?
Since the video of the day was all about practice exercises, let us talk about grammar in today’s blog entry. The grammar points are still the same, all about the adjectival predicate. In English we usually us the verb “to be” to link a subject and a predicate. In Mandarin they usually just juxtapose the two, or they use to connect them even without wanting to mean “very”. They also use “also” and “both/all” but the grammar is very specific in terms of position that they should come before the adjective. There you go!

Anyway, I asked the Ateneo Confucius Institute here in Manila regarding the scope of the HSK Basic 1 which is the lowest level of the exams and they told me that it covers Chapters 1 - 8 of this book. Cool! The HSK has 11 levels, and the first three which comprise the Basic won’t really get you anywhere in terms of qualifications, but I don’t care. Even if it takes me 11 years, I am taking it slow. What’s the rush? I believe that extra attention is key when it comes to foundation specially with Mandarin. I’ll take the first three levels of the HSK slow, maybe after that I could already go to China to study, that’s when progress would be fast and won’t be hard because of the good foundation we are building! So there.

See you next weekend! For next week I would be covering lesson two on writing Chinese Characters . Let’s see. The goal is to pass the lowest level of the HSK in September 2012! =)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

한국어 - WEEK 2 Korean 1 (Hankuk University of Foreign Studies)


The book I am using is 한국어1 which is the Korean for Foreigners course book of the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. This is not a Korean language learning program and I am no teacher. This is a personalized journal of my Korean language journey, and the target audience would be other students of Korean, beginners if possible. If you are an advanced learner, kindly give us tips and correct some of the errors we are bound to make. Your feedback is important to us since books could not teach all. Let’s start! But before we do please watch the video after or while reading, it’s meant to complement the content of this blog article. If you watch just the video and not read, you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about. The book has 35 chapters. I only study Monday to Friday, two days each for lessons 1 - 15 and three days each for lessons 16 - 35 which means it will take us 90 days or 18 weeks to finish the whole book. Target end date is February 3, 2012.

MONDAY: Chapter Three -가족 사신입니다?
Today I listened to the main dialogue again and I am glad that I understood every word this time. It was a different story with the practice exercise. What I noticed about me is that my attention span is short. Most of the time I would just listen and recognize the words, but not take note of them either mentally or with a pen. This is stupid because when you converse everything should not stop at understanding. You have to at least retain something. And so I listened again and I started taking mental notes. I now know that the narrator is a Japanese teacher (both from Japan and teaching Japanese) who is married to a Korean office worker. They have a daughter named Mina. My mind slipped away again after that, so I had to listen to it a third time and found out that the son’s name is Minsu. I did not listen to it a fourth time even when I did not understand the last sentence. I found a word that I don’t recognize: 강하지 whose name, according to the sentence, was 루루. The word is not found in the glossary at the back and the only other character in the picture is a dog, which in Korean is . Perhaps it is another word for dog? As for grammar there is nothing new aside from negating sentences, where you add the / ending to the noun and then plug in the conjugated form of 아니다. So, if “It is an umbrella” is 우산입니다, “It is not an umbrella” would be 우산이아닙니다.

TUESDAY: Chapter Four - 교실입니까?
Remember last week when we learned how to put // in front of nouns to mean “this/that/that over there”? In this new lesson I learned how to say “here/there/over there” which works in a similar fashion: 여기/거기/저기. They might look different, but if you compare the sounds they make, you’ll find out how the relation. Since we are talking about location, for asking “where” you would have to use the question word 어디. Let’s have an example. To ask “Where are we?” you have to say 여기가어디입니까? Which literally translates to “Here where is?” Most of the words in that sentence have already been used last week. The only new word are 여기 (here) and 어디 (where). We’ve already met the subject particle last week ( if the noun ends with a consonant), and 입니까 is the question form of the verb 이다. The lesson introduces place names for some common buildings. Before we end the day, just one expression of agreement: 그렇습니다 which you say when you want to confirm a statement as true, very much like saying, “Yeah, that’s true!” If you are asking a question of confirmation, you already know how to change the ending. Saying goodbye? You say 안녕히계세요 to the one staying and안녕히가세요 to the one leaving. Why? Don’t ask me why. I’m not the author of the book. What I do know though, is that they are derived from the verbs 가다 (go) and 계시다 (stay).

WEDNESDAY: Chapter Four -교실입니까?
Again I listened to the practice exercise. The first time was more on word recognition. The second time was more on understanding. The narrator is talking about his neighborhood (동네). Well, to tell you the truth I am guessing its definition. I find it weird that it is not in the glossary again, but the context seems to make the meaning clear. I made a mistake. The second sentence actually says 지하철역이있습니다 meaning “There is a subway station.” I interpreted it as지하철여기있습니다 which means “Here is the subway.” There are similarities in terms of context in that I was immediately given the image of a subway, but they don’t mean the same thing. This is one of the difficult things about learning Korean. They have many ambiguous sounds, which could make understanding a big challenge if you do not pay attention. As for the next sentences I easily understood that the department store is over there and there are a lot of people, and the park is over there and it has a lot of trees. Hooray me! Last stop for this chapter, two new verbs! 있다 (to have) and없다 (to not have) which are used to mean “There is” and “There isn’t” in English. Example! 책있습니다 is “There is a book” while책이없습니다 is “There is no book.” It could also mean “I have a book” and “I have no book” respectively if it is clear from the context that we are talking about me having a book or not. Koreans tend to drop pronouns when the context is clear. Do not confuse있다 with 이다. The two have overlapping meanings at times but they are different. Take a look at these: 동생입니다 (...is a younger sibling) versus동생있습니다 (...have a younger sibling). The second sentence could even mean “Younger sibling is here”.


THURSDAY: Chapter Five - 고향은 어디입니까?
Chapter Five is all about origins. I don’t know what 고향 means exactly but I would assume it has something to do with “home land”. As for grammar structures, most of what’s new in this chapter are still related to location, in particular asking where something is by the use of particle - which indicates where something is. You just plug in that suffix after a place name and you are good to go. If you add -있습니다 after the place name and that suffix, you would be saying that that something or someone is at that place. 유리씨는 상하이에있습니다 (Yuri is in Shanghai). As an English speaker you might be tempted to use -이다 instead of -있다, I don’t know if that would be correct, so we better just stick with this sentence construction.

FRIDAY: Chapter Five - 고향은 어디입니까?
Another particle is introduced in Chapter Five and that is the particle - which means “also” and is very easy to memorize because it sounds like the English word “too”. Fine, maybe not so much but it’s a good memory tool! You add this at the end of the first noun before adding the next noun if you are stating a series of things. If there is just one thing but you want to tag it as “also” meaning it is not the only one, whatever it is you are talking about, just add that particle at the end of that noun. Example time! “There is a bed. There is a table too!” 침대 있습니다. 책상도 있습니다! You could also add that particle to another particle! Take a look at this sentence: 상하이에도 있습니다? “In Shanghai too, there is?” Whatever there is, we don’t care. What we care about is that you could use that particle with that other particle. Cool, huh? These two particles are very useful and not that hard to memorize, so befriend them as early as now.

See you next weekend! For next week I would be covering lesson six until the second half of lesson eight. We can do this guys! AJA! The goal is to pass the lowest level of TOPIK in April 2012! =)

日本語 - Week 2 (Contemporary Japanese Vol. 1)

The book I am using is Contemporary Japanese Vol. 1 by Eriko Sato from the Tuttle Language Library. This is not a Japanese language learning program and I am no teacher. This is a personalized journal of my Japanese language journey, and the target audience would be other students of Japanese, beginners if possible. If you are an advanced learner, kindly give us tips and correct some of the errors we are bound to make. Your feedback is important to us since books could not teach all. Let’s start! But before we do please watch the video after or while reading, it’s meant to complement the content of this blog article. If you watch just the video and not read, you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about. Volume 1 of the book has 61 lessons. I only study Monday to Friday, two days for each lesson, which means it will take us 122 days or 24 weeks and 2 days to finish the whole book. Target end date is March 20, 2012.


MONDAY: Lesson Three - Numbers in Japanese and Phrases for Greeting
We left this chapter hanging last week by counting from one to ten. What I did today was move on to the dialogues, all three of them, which contain expressions on how to greet people and how to say goodbye. For greetings, “Good Morning” would be おはよう ございます. You could cut the second part if you are talking to a friend, informal, in short. Saying “Goodbye” has two different formulas for informal and formal situations. じゃあ、また is the informal or more colloquial way while しつれいします is for superiors like teachers and bosses, a more formal way. What about さようなら? Well, according to the book it is not used that much as the other two. It seems to be used for long term goodbyes. We have two greetings more: こんいちは is “Good Afternoon” while “Good Evening” would be こんばんは. This is the segue to our five hiragana characters of the day: ha (wa), hi, fu, he (e), and ho. The hiragana equivalents are: は、ひ、ふ、へ、ほ. Special note to remember? is the subject particle which is often used in most expressions like that of Good Afternoon and Good Evening. Instead of using the other character which really sound like wa, the hiragana for ha is mostly used.

TUESDAY: Lesson Four - Classroom Expressions
For the new vocabs, watch the video. I have realized that I usually duplicate what is already written here by saying it again there. The two should be complementary, not supplementary. Hiragana again! Five new for today: ま、み、む、め、も which are ma, mi, mu, me, mo respectively! Be careful with め because it resembles to some extent. It might be confusing at times. The vocabulary list for today is quite interesting, they are for school! Okay, maybe boring on second thought.

WEDNESDAY: Lesson Four - Classroom Expressions
We only have three new Hiragana today: ya, yu, yo (や、ゆ、よ). For some reason, they don’t have ye and yi sounds in Japanese. Okay, so now let’s just focus on grammar here. We use the -te form of the verb and add ください to form a request. For example, もういちどいっください which means “Say it one more time, please.” Another option is to add おねがいします if you are not using verbs, such as もういちどおねがいします which would roughly translate to “one more time, please.”

THURSDAY: Lesson Five - Words for Body Parts and Phrases for Apology
Five new Hiragana characters today! ら、り、る、れ、ろ correspond to the syllables ra, ri, ru, re, ro. Since I already provided the Hiragana for some body parts in the video, I would specify their Kanji characters here in case you want to know how they look like. (ear), (eye), (hand), (foot/leg), (nose), (mouth).

FRIDAY: Lesson Five - Words for Body Parts and Phrases for Apology
Let’s do the set phrases for apologies first. You only have to remember すみません (Sorry) and you could add the intensifier どうも just like you would when saying thank you very much to someone, to mean that you are very sorry. Most would reply with いえ if they don’t mind. If someone is pissed, he or she might say はい which means he or she thinks that yes, you did something wrong! だいじょうぶ ですか is a way of asking if “Are you okay?” To answer affirmatively, just omit the last syllable which denotes a question to make it as statement.

See you next weekend! For next week I would be covering the lesson six until the first half of lesson eight. We can do this guys! The goal is to pass the N5 examination of the JLPT in December 2012! =)
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