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Passion List and Yoda-Speak

After learning all the hiragana, Koichi encouraged me to pick my passion. This should be something I enjoy a lot. Well, my passion is pool, so I picked that. Then, he said to make a list of 20 things having to do with that passion. So I did. Then, he said, here's an online English-Japanese dictionary; go find the Japanese for those words! This will help with your hiragana. Well, I started looking them up, as suggested, and comparing Google image searches to make sure I had the right words, but they tended to be in katakana, the other "alphabet."

I wondered how I could make my looking these up easier. So I found the entry for Pool (cue-sports) on Wikipedia, clicked on the Japanese version of the page, and then did a side-by-side comparison of that with a Google translate version of the same page. It turns out every single one of the terms I'd written down have katakana counterparts. None of them were hiragana. :\ Pretty much every one is a transliteration of the English term. Pool is ビリヤード (biriyaado, billards). Even ball and table are ボール (booru) and テーブル (teeburu). So not much help on the hiragana there, but I was pretty comfortable with them anyway. I do get a lot of good practice with katakana out of this, though.

So, once that list was completed, he had me create an Anki deck for that. Anki is a seriously excellent flash card program. It lets you decide how well you did on each card, and will bring them up after a certain amount of time depending on how you rated yourself. He uses this a lot for learning radicals and kanji and so on. I'm actually using it to refresh my knowledge of state capitals and the order of the Presidents, which will come in handy when I get on Jeopardy!

Next, I got to make my first sentence under Koichi's tutelage! First, he talks about Yoda for a long time. Er, about Yoda he talks... It was pretty entertaining, but with a serious point. For a lot of basic sentences in Japanese, the word order is much like the way Yoda speaks. Always he verbs at end is putting. This is shown in probably the most simple sentence one can make in the language.

He taught me the word です, which kind of means "it/he/she/you/I/they is/are/am." Also, he points out that sometimes words aren't pronounced the way one expects. Instead of "deh-soo," the "oo" vowel sound is dropped, and it's just "dehs." From my experiences with Rosetta Stone and watching anime, this happens a lot with "su," and also quite a bit with "ku."

Anyway, back to です in usage. Pretty much take a noun, put です behind it, and you denote that it is that thing. りんごです。 (Ringo desu.) means "It is an apple." いちごです。 (Ichigo desu.) means "It is a strawberry," or perhaps "He is the main character from Bleach, y'know, the one with the strawberry blond hair." Pretty simple, but very useful.

A lot of the stuff Koichi is teaching so far is stuff I kind of already knew or really already knew, but I do like the methods, the Anki decks, and the practice worksheets. I've reached the end of the free stuff there in that season (chapter), but the next free part is learning katakana, so I think I'll give that a go since I'm pretty comfortable with that, but could definitely use some work on it.

I really do think I will pay up once I'm not strapped and continue on with the courses.