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Learning Japanese

Some people have expressed an interest in looking over my shoulder while I learn Japanese via Rosetta Stone. With that in mind (and because I really didn’t have enough blogs yet, it seems), I’ve started a new blog just for that. That way, those of you who find it amusing or interesting can follow along, but the rest of you can stay here with my more library-centric musings.

Here’s the first post from the new blog, and the last one that will be posted here.

On Sunday, I cracked open my brand new goody box of Rosetta Stone materials and got ready to learn Japanese. Of course, first I had to figure out which of the two CDs needed installing first, and how not to blow my ear drums out with the headphone volume, and how to make Vista play nice with the Rosetta Stone application. I also thought I might read the user manual, since I want to do this right, but I realized that I’m just not a manual reader at heart and gave up after flipping past most of the first 10 pages.

Finally, everything was in tip top shape, I’d regained my hearing after an initial misunderstanding with my volume controls, and it was time to begin. Only I didn’t. I cleaned up my kitchen instead, wondering all the while why I was nervous about this. That done I… no, I didn’t get started. I called home and caught up with family news for a while instead. But by this time the sun had set and I was in serious danger of not meeting my own goal of getting started over the weekend, so I screwed up my courage, sat down at the computer, and began lesson one.

I quickly realized I’d have to get over my analytical “must know why things work” mentality. Presented with “Teeburu no shita ni ira otokonoko” there were just so many questions! Why is the “boy” at the end of the sentence, when I’m pretty sure the picture meant that the boy is under the table (and no, the boy was not drunk, he was playing under the table)? Are there cases in this language like there are in French? What if he “was” under the table? Is “to be” irregular in Japanese just like it is in other languages? Do nouns decline? If “to be” is irregular, how am I ever going to learn it based on these pictures? What if I forget these vocabulary words?

Clearly I’m having trouble sitting back and trusting Rosetta Stone to do it’s thing. I will work on trusting it. When it gets to be too much, I’ll reach for my dictionary and look up a couple of the words to see what they mean in a dictionary-type way, but every once in a while I’ll try to just let things flow. After all, this program has a pretty good reputation. Maybe I shouldn’t second-guess it too much.

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