So, on the going-to-Japan front, i thought it might be useful to learn at least a little Japanese (uh, a VERY little Japanese) before i head out. I don't expect wonders, and i don't expect to really understand others that much, but i would like to be able to at least greet people, use vaguely the correct form of thank you, ask if people speak English (or say i don't really understand Japanese), and ask people how to get somewhere. It seems polite. I might BE a crappy gaijin, but at least i'm one who made a wee effort to respect the place i'm visiting.
To that end, i picked up the quickie Pimsleur set of Japanese I. (We have the full set of French I, and are about 15 lessons in. I need to start working through those again, when i'm through with the Japanese lessons.) They arrived yesterday, and today i made my way through the first lesson twice, and am three-quarters of the way through the second lesson. (That commute is good for something!)
The Pimsleur system is all about teaching you spoken language - there's little-to-no written work and accompianament - they walk you through the rules of language as you get to them when learning basic interactions, all out loud, with lots of repetition and aural/spoken interaction. When i was working on the French lessons, i knew i was relying on Russell a lot to spell things out for me - i always wanted to know how something was spelled when i was hearing a new word for the first time, and i knew it drove me crazy not to know, but i'm not sure i quite understood how crazy. Today, i was going nuts for a mnemonic. I'm terrible with aural mnemonics. TERRIBLE. I had to do the first lesson twice - unless i can see something written down (even phantom-written, in my head), i have a hard time matching the word to both its sound and meaning. I'm a little familiar with some Japanese phrasing (when romanized), so the few words i recognized (desu, ka, arigato, etc) were a lot easier than things like 'you', or 'understand' (anata-wa, wakarimasu,), and the 'thanks-to-you' (i can't even remember it) that comes after 'i'm fine' (genki desu), and so-on. I struggle to remember strings of sounds that don't make sense, and even when i can SAY them, i can't remember them a moment later.
Another odd observation - i also find it easier to remember how to pronounce a sound that's a little odd to me (un, bon, vin, blanc? desu?) if i can see how they're spelled in my head - EVEN IF I SWALLOW THE LETTERS AND NEVER QUITE SAY THEM.
I wonder if i'm visual because i grew up voraciously reading, or if i'm a dedicated reading machine because i'm visual?
How do you learn?Posted by meriko at October 02, 2002 10:38 PM