Learning Tips, Miscellaneous, Resources

rhetoric.

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Hi guys! I realised that I was due in for my monthly update on this blog, so here I am 😀 Thankfully, it’s my 1 week mid-semester break at the moment so I have a minute to bash out this post.

My 9-week Italian course finished recently. We had a little class party with lots of food and we did a fun speaking activity to cap things off – we were split into groups and we had to invent our own pub, before introducing it to the rest of the class in Italian. Somebody brought wine and needless to say, I have never cried so hard with laughter in class before – I have subsequently learned that alcohol and language learning mixes molto bene! My voucher actually covers two terms so I think I will enrol for the next 9-week session. In the meantime, the teacher has given us some ‘holiday homework’ to do so I am hoping to tackle that before lessons kick off again in mid-October.

did end up signing up for JLPT N2…but to be honest, I really wasn’t sure about it. But then Dad was just like, “yolo, it can’t hurt” so here I am, $90 poorer (after paying that damn registration fee). I haven’t started studying for it though. This is terrible! I have listening materials and kanji and vocabulary flashcards lined up…but does anybody know if there are any free reading practice materials for N2 floating around on the Net? If you do, please leave a comment and I will give you a beautiful ramen photo in my next post 😛

But in more proactive language learning land, I have recently signed up to Conversation Exchange! I decided that it was finally time to grab the bull by the horns and just open my mouth lol. I have had a Skype session with a French guy living in Paris. I am using Wechat to talk to and send Mandarin messages to somebody living in Tianjin, China. And I met up with a Japanese girl here in Sydney to have a chat in person! She likes ramen too!!1! We have started a two-person ramen club (pls join guys!). I was really hesitant about getting that first message and having these first meetings but the site is really busy (I get several messages everyday) and although you will get some weird messages, you aren’t obliged to respond to them and it’s all very safe and positive – because nearly everybody else just wants a language exchange partner too! I’d recommend the site ^^ If you’re on the site as well, just leave me a comment and I’ll happily link you my profile details 🙂

Conversation Exchange

So that’s about it from me. Just super burned out from university and super hyped up from language exchange. What a wonderful state of mind to be in. But I hope that you guys are well at least – let me know what you’ve been up to do, and happy language learning ^^

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Food, Italian, Japanese, Miscellaneous

diversify.

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Black garlic tonkotsu ramen at Yasaka Ramen

It could perhaps be ironic that I begin this post about diversification with yet another photo of ramen but I see no other way to keep any readers I may have interested in my sporadic posts! 😀 If I really have to comment on this ramen, it was expensive and the soup unfortunately lacked flavour 😦

Anyway, I’ve been going to my Italian night classes every Monday. I’m really enjoying it. It’s really jogging my memory and my teacher is very kind and knowledgeable. She speaks almost exclusively in Italian and encourages us to speak in the target language. I don’t know if I would bother paying for such classes if I didn’t have my voucher but they have been worthwhile so far. Speaking of, I need to do the homework soon in time for the coming Monday!

Japanese at uni isn’t bad. I have a kanji and grammar test in about…2 weeks? A week and a half? I have been revising my kanji regularly but the grammar…I don’t know…I find it very hard for grammar to stay in my head? Especially since some Japanese grammar points have very similar structures and/or nuances. I know that the best way to remember is to probably see the grammar in context but having time to read is another matter entirely….But I will figure it out because my marks are good so far and I would like for it to stay that way! The JLPT registration deadline is also in about a week? But I’m not sure if I should do it – I haven’t had time to study for it basically all year. Either that, or I haven’t made time for it (I don’t want to deny responsibility in my own shortfalls haha).

The reason why I am writing about branching out is that my life has gotten busier and there are new things that I am exploring. I study Law and Media & Communications at university, so I have two different jobs in those respective fields. I have learnt a lot and spending time on these things has meant less time for my original hobby of language learning. In some ways, that makes me feel sad but not as sad as it might have once done (if that makes sense?). Sometimes I feel very stretched thin between all my commitments but it’s been worthwhile and I’m enjoying myself – it’s an exciting time for me right now because I feel as if things are making sense and I could be forming some sort of an idea of where I want my life to take me. Ideally, I would learn to balance all these happenings and incorporate language learning flawlessly into my  life as I polyglot my way to world domination but that is obviously still a work in progress. But in the meantime, it doesn’t trouble me as much.

Anyway, I have recently joined a new student videojournalism group here at my university at USYD Update. We do stories on life, culture and news and I am a presenter/reporter with the Life section. I would like to share my first completed video with you guys: it’s about sleep! All too fitting 😀

So I’ll leave you guys here for the next month or so. I hope that you are all well and that you’re killing your language studies! (unlike me OTL) 頑張って!

PS I can’t believe that I used to be so dedicated and wrote my posts in my target languages =_= I should probably start that again right? 😛

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Italian, Japanese

renaissance.

Edit172

Ciao a tutti! I’m sorry that it’s been so long. I mistakenly thought that I would be able to relax and post more these holidays but I started a new internship a couple of weeks back and I’ve just joined a student journalism initiative, so on top of my regular part-time job I’ve been so flat out =_= I feel sad that I haven’t been able to work on my hobbies and self-development as much as I had originally planned, but that’s life.

I’m finally bringing it back to ITALIAN after …. a million years because I will be starting night classes!!! Well I think it’s exciting 😀 When I did Italian as an HSC subject two years ago I got a state ranking, so the Co As It here (similar to Alliance Française but just the Italian version) gave out course vouchers to us! So I’m finally deciding to use mine, before my Italian skills rust beyond further repair (which they may or may not already have). When I took the subject in high school, I’d say that my level was about a B1? But after taking the self-assessment I decided to enrol in A2 level. My passive skills (reading, listening) are still pretty solid, but my writing and speaking…well 😀 The first class is tonight so I’ll be excited to let you guys know how it goes!!

On the Japanese front, I’ll be taking Japanese at university this semester. I last took it in semester 1 of last year and I did pretty well in it, I didn’t find it too hard? And the pace and workload was enjoyable. The only problem is that we use An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese in class and…well I finished that in the summer hehe. Ah well.

I am interning at an Asian pop culture and media website, so I currently write articles about Asian music/bands/artists etc. and help out with social media and translation. I’m in charge of Japanese so I’ve been busy practising my listening skills for translation! It’s a little hard but not too bad once I slow down the video a bit. One of my favourite K-pop groups also just did a two-week promotion in Japan so I did some translation of Japanese fanaccounts and articles for the fandom and made some connections with Japanese fans on Twitter in my own spare time. So I’m feeling quite proud ^_^

Furthermore, I also went to my favourite secondhand Japanese bookstore here in Sydney – Hondarake! It’s been a long while since I’ve been but it’s still just as wonderful. My ex-otaku friend recommended me some manga series so I decided to pick up the complete series of Death Note. It’s a classic right? Even better is the fact that I bought the whole twelve volumes (plus an official guide) for…$40 AUD?! That’s about half-price (or maybe even less). And look how pristine they are?!?!?! So I’ve been reading that on the train to and from work – I’ve almost finished Volume 1! But I think I will have to go over it with a dictionary just to make sure I get the most out of it.

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So that’s it for today I guess. I don’t know when I’ll be able to update again but I really will try. I enjoy reading all of your supportive comments and updates and I do love this blog and what it stands for very much :3 It’s going to be a very, very busy semester for me and I’m not sure if I’ll even be able to get through it but I’m still excited for what is ahead. My grades last semester were pretty good and I’m determined to keep trying and to better myself. And I hope that you guys can too! But before I sign off, here’s my obligatory food photo: 1Ton noodles with slow-cooked pork belly and soy sauce egg.

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Baci ed abracci! xx

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Miscellaneous

Learning Log: 30/6 – 6/7

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Because I’m not inspired to write about anything particular at the moment, but I don’t want to neglect the blog :/ Such is the way of laziness…In any case, I’ve just finished my first week of holidays, and I think I’ve been able to use the time quite productively (language learning wise) so far.

FRENCH

-watched France 2 news x 4

-1 session of grammar revision

-one DELF B1 writing exercise – L’education: doit-elle être obligatoire?

ITALIAN

-Duolingo: strengthened 3 lessons, 2 lessons in Adjectives 1

-1 session grammar revision

-1.5 units of Pronti Via 3 textbook (we used this during the HSC, but never finished, so I thought I should instead ^^)

SPANISH <– (new language)

-Duolingo: strengthened 5 lessons, 2 lessons in Future Tense Verb Phrases

MANDARIN

-finished Units 4 and 5 of Integrated Chinese Level 1

-finished Units 9 and 10 of Chinese Made Easy 1

-daily character writing practice

JAPANESE

-15 JLPT N2 grammar points

-1 hour reading immersion

-finished Unit 9 of Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese, halfway through Unit 10

-read through Unit 1 of Tobira

KOREAN <– (new language)

-learnt Hangul

-TTMIK Level 1, Lessons 1-9

…and yeah, I think that’s it so far.  I’ll be going out more often this week, so I probably won’t be able to get as much done.  But I’m proud of the work I’ve been doing, and I’ve been enjoying myself immensely, especially with Korean.  It’s been a while since I’ve been at a complete beginner stage of a language, so it’s exciting learning bits and pieces and seeing how they’ll all gradually fit into the bigger puzzle ^_^

I hope all your language learning is going well too – please update me on what you’ve been learning too!

안녕히 계세요!

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Italian, Miscellaneous

Birthday Blessings

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昨日は私の誕生日だった。18才になった!

C’était mon anniversaire hier.  Enfin, j’ai 18 ans!

Ieri era il mio compleanno.  Finalmente, ho 18 anni!

Yesterday was my birthday – I’m finally 18 ^^  And because I feel it is appropriate (read on to find out why! did I just say that? geez…), I’m going to write the next part in (recently much-neglected!) Italian:

Ieri, ho anche ricevuto i miei voti per gli esami di maturità.  C’erano qualche sorpresa: sono secondo nel tutto il stato per l’italiano!  Ecco i miei voti per le mie lingue:

96 per il giapponese

98 per l’italiano

99 per il francese

Non avevo niente come ragione per essere triste il giorno del mio compleanno!  Ma devo ammettere qualcosa – no voglio affatto parere arrogante ma questi risultati non vogliono dire molto per me.  Ho finite gli esami di maturità quasi un mese fa – adesso, questa parte della ma vita ha già finito.  Anche se ero delusa dai voti, non sarebbe importante. Perché sento che ho già cominciato la prossima parte della mia vita- cioè gli studi delle lingue indipendente e l’esplorazione di altre lingue.  Ed è questo che mi fa contenta – qualcosa che i voti non può mai fare.

Yesterday I received my HSC (end of high school/ university entrance, wherever you’re reading from ^^) exams.  There were some surprises: I came 2nd in the entire state for Italian!  Here are my marks for my languages:

96 for Japanese

98 for Italian

99 for French

I definitely had no reason to be sad on my birthday!  But I must admit something – I don’t want to sound arrogant but these results don’t mean a lot to me.  I finished my HSC exams almost a month ago – that part of my life has already finished.  Even if I was disappointed in my marks, it wouldn’t be important.  Because I feel that I’ve already started the next part of my life – that is, independent language study, and the exploration of other languages.  And that’s what makes me happy – something that grades can’t ever do.

Damn is my Italian rusty (any Italian speakers/ readers out there? help!) T_T  A little philosophical for a Thursday night huh?  It’s true though.  Some of my friends sent congratulatory messages etc etc but it just doesn’t feel relevant.  I’m studying for my JLPT and focusing on immersing myself in the other languages I know now – why does all this old stuff matter?  Honestly, some days I’m learning new Japanese grammar, and I have a nice Korean song on in the background and I’m just so happy ^^ That’s probably not the definition of bliss for most people though….蓼食う虫も好き好き (each to their own!).

However, my Italian results have prompted me to pull out my old school textbook.  We only did about half the book during school, so I plan to finish the rest of it.  I also have a good grammar book that I can work through.  Does anyone have any recommendations for a good self-study Italian textbook?

In other news, in my last post, I briefly mentioned the way in which different countries approach the broadcast of current affairs aka the structure and content of their televised news programs.  I managed to catch the French news the other morning on SBS, and although there was some interesting stuff on the German government and the toy black market in the lead up to Christmas (gasp!), the rest was all politics.  Can someone explain the intensity of French interest in politics?  Anybody??!

A presto!

PS The cake was triple chocolate mousse.  #sorrynotsorry

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