2008 February 26 Tuesday thru February 29 Friday.


Is there anybody out there, reading this, who was born on February 29?   

The babies born this year won't be able to read nor write anything of their own native languages,  until about 3 or 4 years from now.   

However, the leap year babies who were born this year, will begin to learn their native spoken languages, almost immediately from their day of birth.   

Spoken languages and music, are basically the same thing.   

Music is the language of the universe, and is everywhere and all around us, at all times.   

Speaking of written languages, I have been spending a lot of time this week, writing simple sentences in Korean, using a book that my wife bought entitled; 文法から学べる韓国語 ISBN 4-8163-3706-7.   

文法から学べる韓国語 Book 文法から学べる韓国語

著者:李 昌圭

Even though she bought the book, I'm the only one who uses it.   

The title in English would be something like;  Learn Korean starting with grammar.   

Sounds kind of boring, doesn't it.   

It is not boring.   

In fact, I find it to be rather interesting, because my main focus right now, in regard to the Korean Language, is to learn how to read and write it.   

Why?    Well, for one thing, I am becoming more and more able to read Korean Language websites, of which there are many.   

Also, I have very little opportunity to use spoken Korean, unless I want to go out of my way, and make some time for such situations.   

Maybe some day, I will do this, by taking a trip with my wife and her family to the southern part of South Korea.   

Then, I can really test myself to see how much progress I have made in listening comprehension and speaking ability.   

This little side trip is probably about 2 years away.    

A little something to look forward to, in the near future.   

However today, having enough time to write this blog again, I am hunkered down in my own Private Hokkaido.   

It is snowing big time, just outside my window.   

I think I'll take a long hot bath, while listening to spoken Korean on CD.   

Learning is so much fun, I just can't get enough of it.   

How about you?





2008 February 18 Monday thru February 24 Sunday.

Another busy week of afternoon and evening classes, some lasting until 21:40.   

All throughout the beginning of this week, I kept hearing a song in my head, that I haven't heard for many years.   

I am talking about a song that first came out in about 1972, when I was still in high school.   

The song that I was hearing over and over in my head was Rikki Don't Lose that Number by the band Steely Dan.   

I just couldn't get it out of my head, so on Friday night after my last class of the weekdays was finished, I went onto You Tube and found several videos of the song, as well one video of a guy who shows you how to play the song on the acoustic guitar.   

Of course, I had to get out my dusty old guitar and try to play along, with mixed results.   

Recently, I don't play the guitar very often.   

Nowadays it's mostly the Alto Recorder and the keyboards that I turn to when I want to make my own music.   

When I was in high school, and after that in the USCG, I would play the guitar every day, for anywhere from 2 to 6 hours.   

Needless to say, I was pretty good at that time.  Not so nowadays.  Another thing I spent some time doing this week, was to practice writing some simple sentences in Korean.   

I am pleased that I can now begin to read some of the basic words and phrases that appear on Korean Language Web Sites.   

The Korean Language uses an ALPHABET which they call HANGUL.   

Once a person learns the basic letters, and the basic rules for putting the letters together to form words, that person can make rapid progress in their ability to read and write the language.   

Just another TOOL available for use, to acquire further knowledge of the world around us.   

Anyway, with today being Sunday, and a sunny day, I think I'll go for a drive on the wet streets.   

It is beginning to look a lot like springtime.   

At least for today.





2007 April 23 Monday.

Back to school. 

The English Circle at the Kagura Kominkan was very enjoyable as usual.   

Next Monday we won't have a class because it is a National Holiday which as of this year, will be called 昭和の日. 

It used to be called みどりの日, but as of this year, May 4 has become the new みどりの日, instead of just a plain old vanilla packaged 休日.   

The other two holidays remain the same, even in name.   

Is that a good idea?   

Yeah, I think so. 

Presentation is everything.   

Especially in the Same Game, Different Name category. 

Go Fish.   

As I have mentioned once before in this blog, one of the newer members of this group has a very good sense of humor and likes to play around with words. 

Just like me. 

Other members talked about various things, including a trip to Tokyo and a trip to Izu.   

This timely and active sharing of real time information, which is the STUFF of our daily lives, is the essence of communication and indeed, life itself.   

What could be better than experiencing the moment, or reliving that moment,  again and again and again,....   by simply remembering it, in great detail.   

At 15:00 I had a class with the very nice lady who comes to my classroom almost every week at this time.   

As I have mentioned before, she is translating a children's book called スーホの白い馬 from Japanese into English.   

Today, she brought with her about 5 or 6 pages of what she had translated at home on her own time, and I took a look at it.   

I only needed to make a few small corrections in her translation to make it flow more smoothly.   

Other than that, it was a very readable English version of this children's story.   

After that, we still had about 20 minutes or so left before the start of my next lesson at 16:00, so she taught me a new Hebrew song which I quickly learned how to play on my guitar. 

Not only did she play her recorder (short vertical flute) along with me, but she also sang the song in Hebrew, Italian and Japanese as well.   

A very enjoyable experience for me, and also for her.    

Between the hours of 18:00 and 19:00 I didn't have a class, so I sat down to practice reading and writing Korean some more.   

About 3 years ago, when I first started from ground zero with this language, I bought some textbooks with audio CDs, and also a software package called Korean Writer V5 which can be used together with Microsoft WORD, to create good looking Korean Language documents.   

One of the textbooks which came with 6 audio CDs was a rather small pocket sized version of a book, and it was a bit difficult for me to easily see the writing in it.   

Therefore, I used Korean Writer and Microsoft WORD to create my own A4 sized pages with big letters that are really easy to see, and I even laminated them two sheets back to back per page, so that I could use them for a long time and not damage or dirty the printed sheets. 

Because I have been listening to the first half of the first CD over and over again for almost 3 years, I know the sounds of the words and expressions by heart.   

Today while I was sitting at my lesson table and practicing the writing of those same expressions, I noticed something strange. 

Two of the expressions had a written mistake in them that I had never noticed before.   

For details, see the graphic above/left.   

As I was looking at the laminated print I thought to myself;  "This doesn't look right. 

The pronunciation does not at all match the spoken word."   

I went back and checked the original textbook, and sure enough, I had made a mistake when I produced the computer generated printout.   

The only reason I am writing about this, is because it shows that I have made a major leap in progress towards my study of Hangul.   

I actually knew for a fact that something was wrong, even before I confirmed it by looking at the original textbook.   

I also see this exact same phenomena occurring among my students as they progress with their study of written English.   

They themselves realize that what they have written is not quite right and they pause to think about it. 

That's when I jump in with the correct spelling of the word or phrase.   

In the terms of a computer system, you might call something like this  "automatic error detection".   

In human beings you can call it "progress in learning."   

When a person, any person gets to this very basic but very important level during their study of a foreign language, any foreign language, it makes that student feel very good inside, and motivates them to try even harder in the future.   

That is a very good thing, any way you look at it.




Korean Writer V6 Software Korean Writer V6