Thursday, June 12, 2008

Show 761 Thursday 12 June

Watch today’s show at YouTube or BlipTV.

Hi, I’m Sarah. Welcome to The Daily English Show.

The video I recommend today is called: How To Learn to Speak GOOD Japanese FAST

It’s by Hikosaemon. He’s a kiwi guy and he lives in Japan and speaks Japanese, of course, and he’s talking about how he learnt Japanese. I think his advice is really good – and it could be applied to learning any language.

One point he said was: You have to force yourself to use the language. This is so true.
If you have some free time, will you watch a movie in the language you’re trying to learn, or your native language? Of course you’ll enjoy it more in your native language, but if you force yourself to watch the movie in the language you’re trying to learn, then you’ll enjoy the long term benefits of eventually being able to understand that language.
One way I force myself to use Japanese is by having my computer operating system and all my software in Japanese. Of course it would be easier in English, but then I would lose that great learning opportunity.

Another thing he said was: You need to surround yourself with the language.
Again, I totally agree. Learning a language is not just a matter of doing one thing. It’s not like: Oh I bought this great textbook by a famous publishing company, and so once I get to chapter 37 I’ll be fluent.
You need to do many different things – read, write, listen, speak ... and use the language in many different ways and in many different environments.

This was interesting. He said: You have to go back to being a kid basically.
Absolutely. And I think this is one of the hardest things about learning a language and one of the things that stops a lot of people. Because it’s not easy. When I came to Japan I was twenty two. So I’d spent 22 years learning how to live in New Zealand, about law and history, how to relate to people, how to act, how to speak ...
Then I came to Japan and I knew nothing. How to speak, how to read, how to write, what the laws were, how to act in social situations ... so, I was useless, like a baby.
And I remember in my first week here, crying at one point just at the frustration at that situation - of being so useless.
But I knew that that’s just the way it is when you go to a different country and it might be hard for about 6 months but it’ll get better after that.
But I think some people just can’t handle it and they’re like: No. I hate this country, it sucks. And they go back to where they came from.
And I think some people can’t handle sounding kind of silly when they try and speak a different language, so they just give up or they don’t even try.
So I think when you learn a language you have to get over your ego and your naturally tendency to want to look good. Because when you learn a language, you sound silly and stupid sometimes. And that’s just the way it is. But, if you can accept that, then that’s when you’ll make good progress.

And finally one more point he said ... what was important was: Having fun and learning what I had to when I needed it.
This is a very important point – study things that you enjoy. Of course, force yourself sometimes, but also do things you really enjoy. And learn things that you can use. It’s much easier to learn something if you actually have a use for it. And if you have no use for the language you’re trying to learn, at the moment, then you can try and create a situation which gives you a use for it. Like Hikosaemon, when he was learning Japanese in New Zealand, he got a job at a Japanese shop.


Kia Ora, in Stick News today scientists have unveiled the world’s fastest supercomputer.

Scientists in the United States unveiled the world's fastest supercomputer on Monday. It cost $100 million dollars.
A spokesperson said the computer is a speed demon.
CNN reported the computer will be used primarily on nuclear weapons work, including simulating nuclear explosions.
The computer is called Roadrunner and now lives is New York, but will soon be moved to New Mexico.

And that was Stick News for Thursday 12th of June.
Kia Ora.

Word of the Day

Today’s word is tendency.
n. an inclination towards a particular characteristic or type of behaviour

I did a search for tendency and I found many examples.

She/he has the tendency ...

to be ditzy
to be a bit controlling
to put on weight
to speak in "medicalese"
to have outbursts
to talk too much
to be a name dropper
to slump one way or another
to get on Lindsay's nerves
to eat her words

And here’s a quote from Ernest Hemingway:
My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?

conversations with sarah
#467 Do you still study Japanese?

Step 1: Repeat Bob’s lines.
Step 2: Read Bob’s lines and talk to Sarah.

Bob Do you still study Japanese?

Sarah No. I stopped.

Bob Why?

I kind of burnt out. I spent about three years studying pretty hard and then I spent one year studying like a maniac – like about four hours every day. And then I took a test and then I just stopped.

Bob What test did you take?

Sarah It’s called the JLPT, in English.

Bob Did you pass?

Sarah Well, there’s four levels. I took a level every year – I passed the first three and then I failed the last one.

Bob Even though you studied so hard?

Sarah Yeah, not hard enough I guess. Even though I was studying like four hours a day, I was still using English the rest of the time, because my job was teaching English. And I was working really hard too, so wasn’t doing much apart from working and studying.

Bob Are you going to take the test again?

Sarah Mmm, maybe one day. I don’t know. But I don’t need the qualification, I just did it for the motivation – and it really worked. My Japanese improved so much that year that I was studying hard-core for the level 1 test.


show start
artist: BrunoXe
album: aprendiendo desde 2004
track: Mandrake
from: Jerez, Spain
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
artist site

WOD start
artist: DJ iPep's
album: Home Mix 2007
track: Game Toy
from: EVREUX, France
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
artist site

cws start
artist: San Sebastian
track: Happy Sad
artist site

qa start
artist: ioeo
album: triptracks
track: triptrack4
from: Saint Raphael, France
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
artist site

qa bgm
artist: ioeo
album: triptracks
track: triptrack5
from: Saint Raphael, France
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
artist site

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