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Learning to read japanese reminds me of learning to read math September 12, 2006

Posted by winden in coding, japanese.

Meta-info 1: I was studying “math major” at university.

Meta-info 2: I have yet to find out if unicode has proper math symbols.

So I goto my first math class at univ. together with leunam (who had entered math univ. one year before), and we sit at some random place. Enter stage left a young but strict looking female teacher and after some pleasanteries…

teacher: This being math analysis (the one where you learn to do weird symbolic integrals, symbolic power series and lotsa greek letters in both cases), I will now write most of the math symbols we are going to need (she always used scientific-speak at class of course) opposite their translation

winden (whispering): leunam, this is when we get to learn “for-every” and such like symbols?

leunam: just wait and see

winden: yeah

teacher: *write* *write* *write* *write* *write* …

winden: holy crap i can’t keep up

leunam: told you so, to wait and see

teacher: *write* *write* *write* *write* *write* *write* …

chalkboard: *error no space left on device*

teacher: *goto chalkboard 2* *write* *write* *write* *write* *write* … *goto chalkboard 3* *write* *write* …

winden: I just can’t keep up on somewhat writting them down, much less writting them with proper form… we really have to learn all these symbols?!?!?!

leunam: hehe

teacher: Can I erase the first chalkboard? *waits 3 secs* *erase* *write* *write* *write* …

winden: Can’t believe how fast she’s writting while maintaing goodlooking symbols!!! (i have always been keen on font desings)

leunam: Don’t despair winden of network

[end of “ohhh i remeber when i as young and wawawa”-mode]

What does this story have in common with japanese? You see, japanese has different symbols for writing than latin-derived languages, so learning entails not only pronunciation and associating sounds with ideas, but also the combo of sound with ideas with symbols, just like when learning to write in math-speak “for-every n belonging-to naturals with n greater-than 0, exists some m belonging-to naturals with n being less-than m” (this definition of infinite-ness of the natural numbers is hereby provided free of charge ^^).

(fixed: found out how to cast the math-with-unicode spell: “∀n∈ℕ|n>0, ∃m∈ℕ|n<m”


1. sole - September 13, 2006

Oh! I almost forgot that I knew those symbols! I loved math analysis :)
The part I liked most is when you demonstrate that 0.9 == 1, was quite funny.
By the way, my teacher was better… he didn’t write in each chalkboard “in order” but he used the first available space he found, which could be up right corner, bottom left on the second chalkboard, then back to first… etc… So you’d better follow him or die!
And how are you learning japanese?
I feel curious :D

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