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Amparo Bertram

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08:23 pm: If I'm babbling, it's from lack of sleep
The typoon was quite blustery last night, reaching its peak about 2:30am. (I know this because it's hard to sleep with the wind so loud. X_X) By morning, other than some big puffy clouds, there wasn't a trace of storm left.

I had my first class teaching Japanese to the exchange student this morning. I started out with a quick grammar quiz (in English) to get a handle on what she already knows. (After all, it's hard to teach things like "the particle o marks the direct object" if the student doesn't know what a direct object is.) Where reading Japanese is concerned, she's got a shaky grasp on the five vowel hiragana and is working her way down the list.

...Is it bad of me to want to teach her how to use a kanji dictionary in next week's lesson...?

I have a group of four really talkative girls in my speech class this semester, one of whom was in last semester's class as well. This time I'm having them choose their speech topic first, instead of leaving that until the very end, the way I did last time. They all seem to be having fun with it. Due to intervening schedule craziness, however, the next class won't be for a month.

I've been hearing a lot about gas prices being high in the US recently. Since I don't have a car here, I don't have to buy gasoline, but for comparison I checked on the prices at the gas stands on my way to the grocery store after school. They seemed to be around 124 yen/L for regular...× $1/110yen×1L/0.2641721gal = $4.27/gal. For all that my bicycle is inconvenient in a number of ways, I really do appreciate it.

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[User Picture]
From:sara_tanaquil
Date:September 7th, 2005 01:00 pm (UTC)
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It's never bad to know how to use a kanji dictionary. ^_~

Are you going to introduce her to the SKIP system (Halpern's dictionaries)? I so vastly prefer those dictionaries to any others out there, except the multi-radical computer search kind. (Actually I wish I could use SKIP on the computer too, but the computer adaptions of it I've seen are clumsy and multi-radical ends up being easier.) I know you need to know about traditional radical searching eventually, but I still haven't mastered it and I don't think I'm hurting much.

Eeek, $4.27. Makes the $3.27 at my local station look good. The rest of the world has been used to killer gas prices for a long time now -- we're the only nation in the world stupid enough to fill the roads with SUVs.

Off to fill my tank with $3.27 gas and drive to wrenwyn's for some much needed Japanese study...
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:September 7th, 2005 01:34 pm (UTC)
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Are you going to introduce her to the SKIP system (Halpern's dictionaries)?

I have never heard of this, actually. I was just going to take my personal dictionary in to show her. (There is one kanji-to-English dictionary in the school library, but I haven't looked at it to see what it's like.)

I know you need to know about traditional radical searching eventually, but I still haven't mastered it and I don't think I'm hurting much.

The nice thing about my dictionary is that it has extremely clear radical tables in the back. It's like a flow chart. "Is your kanji in table one? No? Then look at table two. Is it there? No? Okay, move on to table three..."

What helps, though, is being able to count strokes. Maybe I'll teach her about counting strokes first. That shouldn't be too scary...
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From:wrenwyn
Date:September 7th, 2005 01:15 pm (UTC)
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(After all, it's hard to teach things like "the particle o marks the direct object" if the student doesn't know what a direct object is.)

Oooh! Oooh! Pick me! Pick me! I know this one!!!

One of the things I hate about JfBP is they put off learning the Kanji until book 2. Seems like it's better to start to learn them right away; demystifies them and makes them less scary.

Yeah, right! Who am I trying to kid. the thought of Kanji fill me with fright and nausea!

(=^.^=)

[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:September 7th, 2005 01:45 pm (UTC)
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Pick me! I know this one!!!

<g>

Seems like it's better to start to learn them right away; demystifies them and makes them less scary.

I gave her a small hiragana-reading assignment, with words using only vowels (あい, あおい, いえ, and such). I was careful to throw in a couple words that are identical in hiragana but have different kanji, like au "to meet" and au "to fit." I want to get her used to the notion that kanji help you figure out what a word means. She didn't have to look up (or memorize) the kanji themselves, they were just there so she could determine which of the definitions in the dictionary she should pick.

the thought of Kanji fill me with fright and nausea!

Nooooo! Kanji are SO much easier to understand, once you get familiar with them. Nothing fills me with dread more than an entire passage written in hiragana...or worse, romaji. (Particularly romaji written by Japanese people, because they will invariably use "tu" instead of "tsu," "si" instead if "shi," "jyo" instead of "jo," "du" instead of "zu," and so on. It drives me bonkers. It's nearly impossible to read such nonsense.)

...but that's another topic entirely...
[User Picture]
From:mangaroo
Date:September 7th, 2005 01:15 pm (UTC)
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Is it bad of me to want to teach her how to use a kanji dictionary in next week's lesson.

That may be a bit ambitious if she's only on the vowels in hiragana, but don't let her leave without teaching her to use one. I still don't know how to identify a radical (unless it's an insanely obvious pairing of a simple left radical in a complex character). This is the legacy of the SKIP method, the training wheels I've never taken off my biketionary.
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:September 7th, 2005 01:52 pm (UTC)
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This is the legacy of the SKIP method, the training wheels I've never taken off my biketionary.

<giggle> Well, you certainly seem to be doing all right with it, so the method must have its merits.

Oh! I just remembered. (I should have included this in my response above, but...) When I was discussing the hiragana words that sound alike but have different kanji, I said, "It's just like in English where we have words such as 'there,' 'their,' and 'they're' that people mix up all the time." She came back with, "Yeah, I've edited a lot of fanfic, and that one is always the biggest problem." Is she the perfect student, or what?
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 7th, 2005 05:04 pm (UTC)
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Is she the perfect student, or what?

She's only the perfect student if she butters you up by bringing you a potato instead of an apple.
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:September 8th, 2005 02:59 am (UTC)
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She's only the perfect student if she butters you up by bringing you a potato instead of an apple.

I guess I'll have to start dropping hints for her, then... <g>
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From:mvrdrk
Date:September 8th, 2005 08:21 am (UTC)
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I still don't know how to identify a radical

Really? For most characters, it's dead easy. I'll teach you next time I come visit! Are you going to go to the con?
[User Picture]
From:megory
Date:September 7th, 2005 06:55 pm (UTC)

Whewww! *-*

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I'm so glad the storm came and went without ill effects. (Breathes a sigh of relief.)

Your student sounds terrific! From where in Michigan exactly is she?

Are you going to have her translate/read manga?
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:September 8th, 2005 03:02 am (UTC)

Re: Whewww! *-*

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From where in Michigan exactly is she?

I believe she said she lives in Adrian, but attends school in Tecumseh.

Are you going to have her translate/read manga?

I certainly hope to, eventually. It's just about the easiest thing to translate, aside from picture books, which have their drawbacks because they're written almost entirely in hiragana and aren't nearly as interesting.
[User Picture]
From:mvrdrk
Date:September 8th, 2005 11:22 pm (UTC)
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How does one get into these high school exchange programs? I've a kid who might someday be interested.
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:September 9th, 2005 01:48 pm (UTC)
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How does one get into these high school exchange programs?

In our case, it's part of the sister-city program. Michigan is the sister state of Shiga Prefecture, so many of the cities in Michigan have sister cities in Shiga. (I believe Illinois is the sister state of Niigata Prefecture.)

My particular school here has an exchange relationship with Adrian, Michigan, and Kauai, Hawaii. So every year, one girl from each place can exchange with a girl from my school.

Many students in Japan want to go to the US, but it's a lot harder to find American students willing to live in Japan for a year. They're more likely to sign up for short two-week exchange programs. So any applicants for the year-long program generally have a good chance of being accepted.
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From:mvrdrk
Date:September 12th, 2005 08:24 am (UTC)
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Thanks, that's very cool that there are longer programs. I'll have to check and see if my area has such a program.
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