In this episode I talk about Japanese, giving an overview of the history of the language, its vocabulary and grammar, and how and why I learnt it.
日本語 (nihongo/nippongo) = Japanese
日 (nichi, jitsu, hi, bi, ka) = day, sun, Japan, counter for days. E.g. 日曜日 (nichiyōbi – Sunday), 日々 (hibi / nichinichi – daily), 日陰 (hikage – shade, shadow, sunlight), 日外 (jitsugai – once, some time ago)
本 (moto, hon) = origin, source, base, foundation, root, cause, ingredient, material; book, volume, script; counter for long cylindrical things. e.g. 本木 (motoki – original stock
語 (go) = word, language, speech
語る (kataru) = to talk about, speak of, tell, narate, recite, chant, indicate, show
日本 (nihon/nippon) = Japan (“sun’s origin”) – nippon is used in official uses, such as on banknotes and stamps, while nihon is used in everyday speech.
Japan used to be called 倭 (wa) or 倭國 (wakoku) in Chinese – a name first used in the 3rd century AD. 倭 means “dwarf” or “submissive”. Later the Japanese changed the character 倭 to 和 (peaceful, harmonious) and combined it with 大 (big, great) to form 大和 (yamato) or “Great Wa”, which possibly originally referred to a place in Japan – 山戸 (yamato) or “Mountain Gate”.
絵文字 (emoji) = pictorial symbol, pictograph or pictogram. Also written 絵もじ or エモジ.
絵 (e, kai) = picture, drawing, painting
文 (fumi, aya, bun, mon) = sentence, text, letter
字 (aze, azana, na, ji) = character, letter, written text
In this episode I discuss success and failure, particularly in relation to learning languages. Are they just different ways of look at the same thing? At what point can you say that you have succeeded to learn a language, or have failed? Does it matter?
In this episode I discuss which languages are hardest to learn, and what makes some languages more difficult to learn than others. It’s not possible to provide a definitive list of the most challenging languages as it depends on a variety of factors. This hasn’t stopped people from doing this anyway. Here are some examples:
In this episode I talk about Dutch (Nederlands), a West Germanic language spoken mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium. I talk about the language itself and its history, about my attempts to learn it, and related stuff.
English words of Dutch origin include: Santa Claus, yacht, yankee, wildebeest, wagon, wiggle, waffle, stove, stoop, snack, skate, scone, rover, poppycock, pickle, plug, mannequin, maelstrom, luck, landscape, knapsack, jib, gin, furlough and many more [source].
In this episode I talk to fellow podcaster and language nerd, Kris Broholm. He makes The Acutal Fluency Podcast, on which he talks to language learners about their language learning experiences and journeys. We talk about language learning, about Danish (Kris is from Denmark), and other language-related things.
In this episode I talk about talent, particularly talent for languages. Do some people have an innate talent for learning languages? Do others lack such a talent? If you don’t have a talent for languages, can you learn one anyway?