Wednesday, February 23, 2011

grammatical notes on the worst lang-8 post yet, PART ONE

I think I can legitimately say that, since one commenter asked if I was using a Japanese or Chinese dictionary. :/ This is another one of those posts that I put off writing for several days because I was embarrassed and overwhelmed by all the fail! Also just because I am lazy and unfocused, BUT NEVER MIND THAT. (And, honestly, I'm still only doing this so I can put off finishing my stupid TU Delft purpose statement. Argh.)

First, some context, and also so I can include a photo, taken by moi:

This Lang-8 post (also my longest yet, incidentally?) was about an exhibit I went to see with my dad at the Durham Western Heritage Museum in Omaha. It featured school pictures of various 20th-(and 21st-)century presidents as well as loads of papers, letters, small items, and photos from the life of Abraham Lincoln. This particular museum used to an awesome Art Deco train station, so I always enjoy visiting for that aspect if not for whatever exhibit. SO. Now that we have that covered.

Grammar/vocabulary notes! I'm not putting any new words I learned on my own this time, because a large percentage of the ones I looked up on my own? were truly, spectacularly WRONG. So never mind that.

1. Kidousha: Not the most commonly used word ever! I looked this up in reference to specifically diesel trains, the type that are usually found in the U.S., as opposed to "densha," 汽車(きしゃ)kisha or 列車 ressha are more understandable.

NOTE FOR THE FOLKS WHO MIGHT BE CONFUSED BY MY ORTHOGRAPHY: In case I switch back and forth between these two anglicized spellings: "densha" and "densya," this is because the first is how it sounds in English, but the second is the more literal transcription of the Japanese syllabic spelling. I was taught to the second in class, but the first type of spelling is pretty common as well, I think. Another note of difference: the double vowel sound (i.e. a vowel held for two mora or beats) is often transcribed as a vowel with a line over it, e.g. "to study" = "benkyō suru," but I learned to transcribe that as "benkyou suru," again because it is a more literal version of the hiragana. ANYWAY.

2. Two kanji I had mixed up! 取る=toru = to take BUT 撮る=toru = to take a picture. OOPS. (I remember learning the first one in class? but I think I might have learned the second one too and just forgotten it? also I find it kind of funny that the first one is in the second one in the lower right hand corner, SO THEY ARE CLEARLY RELATED RIGHT RIGHT.)

3. Another word I looked up the incorrect translation to: It's not 展観 but rather 展示, tenji, for a "museum exhibit."

4. 特別な展示=特別展, tokubetsu na tenji, "a special exhibit," can be shortened to "tokubetsuten."

5. I didn't know what word to use for the president of a country, so I took my best guess and use the same character that is in "company president." WRONG GUESS. The correct word is 大統領, daitouryou.

6. I seem to have a continuing problem with confusing the way things are said in spoken Japanese and the ways things are done in written Japanese, even if I know they are different? The quotative particle (I think that's what it's called), or the thing used for "a thing called b," in WRITTEN Japanese, is NOT っていう, it is という. The first is sort of a contraction of the second I think.

7. 生涯, shougai, is one's life until death, one's career. (I am rescinding until further notice my recommendation of DAMN THEM for their stupid lists of vaguely equivalent words with no indication of the connotations on each.)

8. についての = ni tuite no = "things relating to." I forget to use this phrase in the appropriate locations. . .

9. More punctuation! For some reason, though I am generally punctuation-happy in English, I don't use enough of it in Japanese. I guess because I'm not sure of the conventions?

10. 固定観念 = kotei kannen, "fixed notion." I was trying to translate "stereotype," and this doesn't seem to be entirely wrong, but I'm suspecting writing "stereotype" in katakana might get the notion across as well.

11. それぞれの is "sorezore no", or "each." Yeah! Important word!

12. This is a really stupid editing thing, but sometimes I forget to change the last syllable of a katakana word, ぐ, to the proper グ. It comes up on my computer in hiragana, and I forgot that I needed to switch it. :(

13. 演奏(えんそう)します = ensou shimasu, to play or put on a musical performance. (I just received an awesome article in my email from the grammar peeps -- apparently one usually uses a different word for "to play an instrument" depending on what instrument it is. Did not go over this in class!)

14. "To march in ranks" is 隊列(たいれつ)を組んで行進(こうしん)します, tairetsu o kunde koushin shimasu.

15. 構成 = kousei, as in bands that march in formation. (in case you're wondering this last bit was all due to me attempting to describe what a band geek was so I could say, "BILL CLINTON LOOKED LIKE ONE." Though apparently I forgot to account for the existence of band jocks, because Mo. Valley High School had none.)

16. Another phrase for "to be called" is と呼ばれる, to yobareru.

17. WORD ORDER: It's not, "I laughed -- I think Bill Clinton was a band geek," but "I thought Bill Clinton was a band geek, so I laughed."

18. I always got the impression that 彼, kare, or the third-person male pronoun "he" was not really used much, but I think it's not used much in conversation. I think it might be okay to use in sort of distanced cricumstances -- i.e. speaking of presidents who are dead.

19. Word order: "In spite of going to neither high school nor college, before becoming president he worked as a lawyer." 彼は、高校にもや大学にも行けなかったのに、アメリカの大統領になる前に弁護士にとして働きました. "ni mo" serves as "neither" here; 弁護士 = bengoshi = lawyer; "to shite" = as, in the capacity of.

20. 法律(ほうりつ)の書類(しょるい)= law papers. Houritsu is law, shorui is papers, official documents.

Well, I see that it is time for me to go to work, so PART TWO of the things I learned from this post (oh dear) shall have to wait.

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