0

Reading and writing Japanese vs. Chinese

Posted by Betsy on July 24, 2017 in Language |

Is it harder to learn to read Japanese or Mandarin Chinese? Let’s find out!

When you encounter a character in Mandarin, how many possible readings are there?

Let’s look up a very common character, , in a popular Mandarin-English dictionary:

One reading in Mandarin for this character.

One reading for this character in Mandarin.

One way to read this character? That seems reasonable.

What about the Japanese reading for the same character, , in a popular Japanese-English dictionary?

too many readings for this kanji!

Too many readings for this character in Japanese!

In what sort of writing system would you use a single character for 20 different readings???

Yes, this character is exceptional, but it’s not rare for characters to have three, four, or more readings in Japanese. Usually each character to has two readings – one derived from the native Japanese reading, and one derived from the Chinese reading (of whatever dialect and time period it happened to be imported).

So, why I am bringing this up now, when I’ve been studying Japanese for more than 15 years?

Well, I just spent a month in Beijing learning Chinese*. And I found that Chinese characters are perfect for writing Chinese. (Shocking that the Chinese developed a system that works for their language, right?) Each character generally has one possible reading.

But using Chinese characters to write Japanese is like this cat trying to squeeze into this box:

Ultimately, some cat/language parts are going to stick out awkwardly (and that’s where okurigana comes in).

Yes, in Mandarin, you have to learn a tone with the reading of each character. But with Japanese, you also have to know whether the vowel sound is long or short, whether consonants are doubled (geminate), and whether the consonant sound changes in combination with other sounds (rendaku). Not to mention pitch accent

Okay, sure, the Chinese have created some crazy characters, like this one that puts the biāng in my new favorite noodles, biāngbiāngmiàn:

Biáng-order complete

58 strokes of deliciousness!

But not to be outdone, the Japanese went ahead and invented their own “Chinese” character that is even worse! Feast your eyes on taito, an 84-stroke monstrosity:

Taito 1

Just…NO!

So, while learning to read and write in Chinese is definitely a challenge, if you want to really torture yourself, why not give Japanese a try?

Personally, I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started learning Japanese, but it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. If you bring on the challenge, you’ll also reap the rewards–whatever language you choose to learn.

So, which language do you think is harder to learn to read?

 

*Yep, 1 month is not very long, and I reserve the right to change my opinion as I continue learning!

Share

2

Pleasantly it is the opposite.

Posted by Betsy on July 11, 2017 in Language, Web2.0 |

Inspired by Google Translate poetry such as Muttony Muco, I have “written” a poem of my own.

That
Neat
Sneakily
Let it go
Right
Let it go
Pleasantly
Let it go
Pleasantly it is the opposite.
Powered by
Pleasantly it is right.
Let’s do it again, that’s it.
Pleasing to speak.
Let’s hurry, that’s it!
Pleasing to speak.
Let’s stop it.
Pleasing to speak.
Pleasing to speak.
Let’s pull it up, right.
Let’s pull it up, right.
Let’s pull it up, right.
Let’s pull it up, right.
Let’s move it to that direction.
Let’s pull it up, right.

Google translate poetry

Share

0

The future is behind us

Posted by Betsy on July 9, 2017 in Uncategorized |
Great Wall

I just got back from a month in Beijing (did I mention that I helped write a Fulbright-Hays grant?), and I talk about bit about my thoughts on learning Mandarin on another blog. More thoughts to come here soon.

Share

0

Book chapter published

Posted by Betsy on May 23, 2017 in Uncategorized |

I’m excited to share that a chapter that I co-authored has been published!

Share

2

Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad – China

Posted by Betsy on May 15, 2017 in Uncategorized |

We got a grant and are headed to Beijing for a month! I’m blogging about it.

Share

0

Basic Excel skills for teachers

Posted by Betsy on October 15, 2016 in InstructionalDesign |

Reposting from the Gettysburg College Language Resource Center blog:

On Wednesday, October 12, I held a workshop on Basic Excel skills for teachers and researchers, with the following description:

Do you use Excel as a grade book or for data collection? In this workshop, you’ll work with Excel hands-on to develop basic skills, such as quickly copying numbers down columns, keeping headings visible at all times, and sorting columns in the most convenient order. If you consider yourself an Excel jockey, this is not the workshop for you–but if you need basic tips and tricks, you’ll find them here.

Feel free to access the handout, with animations of how to do each task within Excel.

Share

0

Engaging ELs using digital tools

Posted by Betsy on July 27, 2016 in Language, Web2.0 |

Short link to this post: v.gd/ccell

I am honored to be invited to facilitate a workshop titled Engaging ELs using digital tools, August 10, 2016, as part of the ELL Symposium: Exemplary Practices for Exceptional Learning, held by the Chester County Intermediate Unit in Downington, PA.

Presentation slides (PDF)

I will facilitate learning to use the resources listed below during the workshop:

Kahoot

  • Cost: Free
  • Platform: Web (including mobile)
  • Description: Create multiple choice games for competition in class. Students respond individually or in teams on their own devices. This colorful game is very popular in K-12 contexts.
  • Student login page (use to respond to questions during this workshop)

Plickers

  • Cost: Free
  • Platform: iPhone/iPad, or Android (only 1 needed per classroom). Website is useful for creating classes, questions, and quizzes, but a mobile device is needed to scan students’ responses.
  • Description: Students respond to multiple-choice and true-false questions using specially designed paper that they hold up. The teacher scans the room using a smart phone or tablet. The results can be instantly displayed.

PurposeGames

  • Cost: Free
  • Platform: Web
  • Description: Create games. There are various types, but the unique types on PurposeGames allow you to upload an image and add dots or shapes that indicate the answers.
  • Examples

Break-out sessions: Socrative

Presentation slides (PDF)

  • Cost: Free
  • Platform: Web (including mobile)
  • Description: Instructor creates multiple-choice, true-false, or short answer questions. Students respond using laptops or mobile devices. The instructor can display the results as they come in. You can let students respond anonymously or require students to enter their names. You can also use this system for in-class quizzes.
  • Student login page (use to respond to questions during this workshop)

Other

  • Quizlet
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web, iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: Create flashcards that include images and automatically generated audio. Play games and take tests with the words. With a paid account, teachers can also facilitate team games using the flashcard sets.
  • Scribblenauts
    • Cost: $0.99 to $19.99 – varies by platform
    • Platform: iPhone/iPadAndroid, PC, various consoles
    • Description: Create the tools you need to solve puzzles by writing the names of objects on your notepad.
  • 20Q
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: Play 20 Questions in any of many languages. Proper names cannot be used.
  • Akinator
    • Cost: Free (web, including mobile); $1.99 (mobile app)
    • Platform: Web (including mobile), iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: Play 20 Questions in any of many languages. Use the names of real or fictional people.
  • Miitomo
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: Create a character and buy clothes with in-game currency. Answer questions and read your friends’ answers to the questions. Interact through photos of your characters and comments. Text-to-speech technology is used to read the text aloud.
Share

3

Teaching with technology: Basic tools and techniques

Posted by Betsy on July 16, 2016 in Language, Web2.0 |

Short link to this post: v.gd/clear

I am honored to be invited to facilitate a workshop titled Teaching with technology: Basic tools and techniques, July 18-20, 2016. This is one of CLEAR‘s summer workshops, held at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI.

Presentation slides (PDF)

I will facilitate learning to use the resources listed below during the workshop:

In-class response systems

  • Socrative
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: Instructor creates multiple-choice, true-false, or short answer questions. Students respond using laptops or mobile devices. The instructor can display the results as they come in. You can let students respond anonymously or require students to enter their names. You can also use this system for in-class quizzes.
    • Student login page (use to respond to questions during this workshop)
  • Plickers
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: iPhone, iPad, or Android (only 1 needed per classroom). Website is useful for creating classes, questions, and quizzes, but a mobile device is needed to scan students’ responses.
    • Description: Students respond to multiple-choice and true-false questions using specially designed paper that they hold up. The teacher scans the room using a smart phone or tablet. The results can be instantly displayed.

Digital storytelling

Assessment of presentational/interpersonal speaking

Delivery of content

Ready-made games

Find more games for your language and share them in the comments below!

Customizable games

  • Kahoot
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: Create multiple choice games for competition in class. Students respond individually or in teams on their own devices. This colorful game is very popular in K-12 contexts.
    • Student login page (use to respond to questions during this workshop)
  • PurposeGames
  • Quizlet
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web, iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: Create flashcards that include images and automatically generated audio. Play games and take tests with the words. With a paid account, teachers can also facilitate team games using the flashcard sets.

Organization and saving time

  • Google Forms
  • Diigo
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web (including mobile)
    • Description: Save bookmarks to webpages, including annotations and tags. You can also create groups and share the annotations among students and/or colleagues.
    • Example: Web Tools for Language Learning and Teaching
    • More: Diigolet bookmark
  • LastPass
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web, with a browser plugin (mobile apps have a subscription fee)
    • Description: Save all of your usernames and passwords in one place. This app also generates secure passwords for you and saves you the trouble of remembering them. This helps keep your data secure by avoiding the reuse of passwords across websites.
  • Doodle
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web
    • Description: Give a list of meeting options and find out the availability of each attendee. Choose the best meeting time based on the results.
  • v.gd
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web
    • Description: Create a short link to any webpage. You can customize the web address so that it’s easy to remember and to share with others.

Language exchange

  • Skype
  • Students or teachers can use the following free sites to set up individual or classroom exchanges. Keep in mind that this is an exchange, so they would need to speak English for half of the exchange time and the TL for the other half.
  • The Mixxer
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: Web
    • Description: Students can use this site to find a language exchange partner, or teachers can use the site to find a collaborating class. The Mixxer has tools for students to request confirmation to be sent to teachers to show that they participated in an exchange.
    • More: Book chapter about The Mixxer
  • WeSpeke
  • HelloTalk
    • Cost: Free
    • Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android
    • Description: Language exchange via text or voice. Includes tools for correction, sending images and drawings, and timing your exchange.
    • More: HelloTalk from a teacher’s perspective
  • Other language exchange options:
    • Open Language Exchange
    • My Language Exchange
    • Speaky
    • Shared Talk
    • Teletandem Brasil – Set up language exchanges between your Portuguese class and Brazilian classes learning English
    • TalkAbroad – A paid service that includes tools for teachers to give instructions to conversations partners in advance. Students pay a fee per 30 minute conversation. Both teachers and students can access recordings of conversations. Available for Spanish, French, English, Mandarin, Arabic, German, Italian, and Portuguese.

Glossing

  • Rikaichan/Rikaikun – plugin for Firefox/Chrome browsers that produces a popup box showing the meaning & reading of Japanese words
  • Google Dictionary – plugin for Chrome browser that produces a popup box showing the meaning of words in Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Korean, Russian, Slovak, and Spanish.
  • Zhongwen – plugin for Chrome browser that produces a popup box showing the meaning & reading of Chinese words
  • Adobe Acrobat – PDF creator and editor (paid)
Share

3

2016 MSU Workshop for Teachers of Japanese

Posted by Betsy on May 12, 2016 in InstructionalDesign, Language, Web2.0 |

I am honored to be the invited presenter at this year’s Japanese Language Teacher Workshop of the Japanese Teachers Association of Michigan on Saturday, May 14, 2016 at Michigan State University.

The workshop is titled The Power of Input, Fun, and Games. You can download the slides.

Tools, Materials, and Resources Presented

多読 resources

Games

Adaptable online games (add your own vocab, etc.)

Non-adaptable online games

Mobile games (play on iPhone/iPad or Android device)

  • Hiragana Word Fireworks – game for iOS and Android that teaches hiragana
  • 美文字 – compete against yourself to write Japanese characters beautifully on iOS and Android
  • Miitomo – social game for iOS & Android that can be played in Japanese, with both text and text-to-speech

Analog games

Standards & assessment

おまけ

  • 72 Seasons – get interesting cultural information about all 72 seasons of the Japanese calendar on iOS and Android
  • Install the Chinese handwriting keyboard on your iPhone/iPad. You’ll be able to search for characters by writing them, but without a need for correct stroke order (or even getting close)!!!
Share

2

Practical tech tools for Arabic language teachers

Posted by Betsy on April 20, 2016 in InstructionalDesign, Language, Web2.0 |

We are honored to have the opportunity to present our workshop, Practical tech tools for Arabic language teachers. The resources and tools that we refer to are listed below.

Presentation slides

Solving technical problems

  • Arabic Keyboard
  • Yamli (Arabic keyboard)
  • RTL character
  • Right-click on input box and choose “right justify”
  • (right) CTRL + (right) SHIFT to right justify (PC only; use left side to switch back)

Tools

Please cite as:

Lavolette, E., & Mohamed, A. (2016, May). Practical tech tools for Arabic language teachers. Workshop presented at the Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium, East Lansing, MI. Retrieved from http://betsylavolette.com/?p=1811.

Share

Copyright © 2008-2017 Betsy's Eclection All rights reserved.
This site is using the Desk Mess Mirrored theme, v2.5, from BuyNowShop.com.