A fresh start, and a test.

After (admittedly) being so caught up in daily chores that I forgot about this blog, I decided to start it up again. My apologies!

This blog was originally for language learning; I’m studying right now for the N3 level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. I’ve already missed the registration period for this year’s exam, so I thought taking it next year would give me ample chance to study. The N3 level is the level most recently introduced to the test (between the old Level 3 and Level 2 grades), and I think with a bit of study, I should be able to pass it at the N3 level.

For those who don’t know much about the test, it’s a standardized test measuring Japanese language ability. Now it has 5 levels, from N5 (the simplest) to N1 (near functionally fluent). It’s administered in many different countries, and certificates are issued upon passing a particular test.

But because it’s only offered once a year (as already stated), and only certain major cities offer the facilities for it, it’s been a bit difficult for me to do it until now.

What helps you with your studying? I’m curious!

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Thesis finished.

I was completing a Master’s thesis over the past year, concentrating on language and the Internet (primarily Netspeak). In September I finally made arrangements to print and turn it in – an admirable feat in itself, considering my department is across an ocean. Now I just have to wait for the marks.

For those who are studying, what do you use to help you study or write? I ended up using several books, mostly published by Open University Press, regarding crafting research questions and doing the research writing process. I majored in English as an undergraduate, but research-writing is a different beast than creative writing (and technical writing is a different sort than research writing, and so forth).

For those who are working, how do you go about the process of writing documentation, or memos, or other profession-related writing? Do you even use a process? How is this different from the writing style you learned in school?

Language Tidbits.

I’m not dead, just resting!

Actually it has been rather busy here in Cloverspace, so I apologize for the lapse in updates.

As for updates: I do translation work, and there are occasionally little tidbits that crop up. For example, I use two words for ‘currency’ – one goes into the actual project, and means more something like ‘currency exchange’, while the other one goes into the documentation and means ‘currency’ or ‘coinage’. If I recall, in Spanish there is a similar differentiation – ‘moneda’ means ‘currency’, but ‘currency exchange’ is something like ‘tipo de cambio’.

It’s the little details.

Speaking of ‘little details’, this one made my day: the new firmware update for the iPod touch/iPhone (3.0) includes new languages and dictionaries, including Arabic, Hebrew, and Romanian.

Are there any languages you would like to learn?

Language and the Internet.

Not to be confused with the David Crystal book of the same name.

In addition to learning languages, I study language and the Internet; I started studying this field whilst in England, doing my coursework for my Master’s. My thesis, also, is on language and the Internet: primarily Netspeak, and how people (especially those thought to use it among themselves) regard it.

That is to say: what do you think of when you see someone using elements of Netspeak? What do you think Netspeak is?

Presentations and Conventions.

I will be at Anime Central from May 8-10 near Chicago, both as a staff member and as a panelist.

I’ve done panels before at conventions, notably at Otakon (in Baltimore), but it has admittedly been four years since my last panel work and I will also be out of my comfort zone – Otakon was my local animation convention and one of the biggest ones. I also usually go to conventions to see people, so this is a bit of a change from previous years.

As for what panels I’m presenting? I plan to present two – though one, the Japanese language learning panel, has some scheduling issues and so that is regrettably still up in the air.

I am definitely presenting a primer on Japanese philosophy and religion as seen in anime and manga, which is the sort of panel I have done before at Otakon.

I am also presenting a panel on ‘How Not To Talk Like a 13-Year-Old’, a Japanese language learning panel, schedule permitting.

Hopefully my computer and the convention scheduling will cooperate.

My questions to you: Have you gone to animation conventions before? What do you think about them, good or bad? Do you think presentations are a good idea?

Review – TangoTown JLPT 3 Quiz app (iPhone/iPod touch)

First, TangoTown (単語タウン) is an effort by the language specialists Enfour Inc. This is the review of TangoTown’s Level 3 Quiz iPhone/iPod application (Apple Store link).

Here, they take the kanji from the Level 3 listings of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test and quiz you on the readings (both on’yomi and kun’yomi, the ‘borrowed Chinese’ reading and the ‘native Japanese’ readings respectively). The idea is to better prepare you for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, especially as the test is only offered once a year.

There are no reviews so far on the Apple Store proper, which is surprising; is there no one studying for the test that has an iPhone or an iPod touch? Because I find this a very useful application, even though I tend to dislike ‘flashcard’ style language learning applications. There are simply too many of these applications. But this is a great review, especially for the kanji readings, and with a very intuitive interface.

However, sometimes there can be multiple answers for the kanji readings – the infamous example being 行く which can be read as either ‘iku’ or ‘yuku’. (I think though that the most common reading is used – there are many kanji that have LISTS of possible readings, after all, and in this case it would be ‘iku’.)

Aside from that, however, this is one of the best Japanese language applications in Apple’s App Store so far.

Newsletters and other forms of study.

How do you learn best?

Some people are visual learners – for example, my mother is trying to learn Mandarin Chinese, in the more complex traditional script (which is used in Taiwan). Because she’s an artist, the characters aren’t very difficult for her. However, pronunciation and vocabulary are. For others, they remember conversational points easily, but have trouble with the writing or with grammar. Some people use flash cards, some people repetitively write phrases down to remember them, others use CD exercises, and still others try and relate the subject to their own interests.

How do you best study? Curious minds wish to know!

Hello world!

I think it’s amusing how, in computer science, there’s always a test message called ‘hello world’.

Why did that come to be? Is it a sign that when the computer ‘says’ it via a printf command or similar, the computer itself is announcing its presence to the world?