Posts Tagged ‘japanese’

Today’s Spanish Lesson, and Inquiry

August 12th, 2009 7 comments

“Paying attention” is an English idiom which means “to focus one’s attention on” or “to be attentive to.” Like other idioms, it does not translate literally into other languages, especially Spanish. (That is to say, “pagar atención” – from pagar, “to pay,” and (la) atención, “attention,” is incorrect.)

However, there are two ways to say it depending on what it is to which is being paid attention. If paying attention to a person, the phrase is “prestar atención,” which in a literal word-for-word translation means “to lend (one’s) attention.” On the other hand, if paying attention to an idea or a thing, one would use “poner atención.” which if taken in a similar literal translation means “to put (or set) attention.”

  • Correct: Presten atención al maestro cuando les habla.
    (Pay attention to the teacher when he speaks to you.)
  • Incorrect: Pongan atención al maestro cuando les habla.

Note the different connotations in the following two similar requests made from a a speaker (in our example, a teacher):

  • Ésto es muy importante. Pongan atención por favor.
    (“This is very important. Pay attention [to this concept/thing], please.”  The teacher is explaining something to his/her students and does not want distractions.)
  • Ésto es muy importante. Presten atención por favor.
    (“This is very important. Pay attention [to me], please.”  The teacher is demonstrating something, and wants his/her students to watch closely.)

I suppose it’s similar, slightly, to how Japanese translate the verb “to have” (or “to be/to exist”) as 有る(ある, “aru”) for objects and concepts but as 居る(いる, “iru”)for living things. Peculiar…but very interesting. Is this difference in Spanish for similar separation of living and non-living things? I wonder…Thanks for the neat Spanish lesson, mom! 🙂

Categories: Life Tags: , ,

Accidental Fixes

February 22nd, 2009 No comments

“If debugging is the process of removing bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.” (Edsger W. Dijkstra)

After fixing the notification-daemon bubbles (thanks, Martin!), I spent some time perusing through some of the other GConf settings and found another rather interesting gem: /desktop/gnome/interface/show_input_method_menu which is set to off (False) by default. Now, for the longest time I’ve had trouble in Xchat-GNOME (my IRC client of choice) with getting Japanese input to work properly. There was no preedit text or conversion from Romaji to Kana/Kanji. SCIM/Anthy just wasn’t being used at all! But changing this one item, it’s easy now to get SCIM working as it should, but selecting the “SCIM Bridge Input Method” from the context menu.

Granted, it’s definitely not a correct or long-term fix by any means; but at least now I’m not given the inconvenience of opening up gedit or some other application to switch back and forth when I want to IRC in Japanese. Yay!

I should probably go package up that new Midori release now. 🙂

Not Impossible, just a bit Unlikely!

February 17th, 2009 3 comments

Apparently I’ve become really bad at this whole “regularly blogging’ thing. *sigh*
I posted, a few weeks ago, about the cool new notification bubbles, but after updating yesterday and rebooting my computer, the beauty has vanished, just as quickly as it came. It saddens me ever so slightly; but it alas was just not meant to be.

No more sexy-time notification bubbles!

No more sexy-time notification bubbles!

On another note, we spent the entirety of tonight’s Kanji Study class doing calligraphy (called 書道, “shodou”) as a fun little break, with a visiting professor from UCLA. It was amazingly entertaining and we learned a lot about how much intricacy is often needed to draw the characters properly: angle and force of brush, amount of ink, proper stroke order etc., and how painstakingly detailed a seemingly simple character compound such as 先生¹ needs to be when drawn correctly. Near the end of our class session, he even went through several examples of how Hiragana and Katakana were derived from their respective 万葉仮名 (Man’yõgana), such as あ (Hiragana “a”, from 安 meaning “tranquil, quiet,” or in some contexts, “inexpensive”) and タ (Katakana “ta” from 多 meaning “much, many”). I found it quite intriguing; and our Sensei says that we’re going to go into this derivation in far more detail over the coming weeks. I can’t wait!

[1] Pronounced “sensei,” it is literally translated as “one who lived before” and used as an honorific title for teachers, doctors, lawyers, and other professionals.

Categories: Life Tags: , ,

A Semester of Fun

January 24th, 2009 1 comment

Well, now that I’m nearly finished with the general-education requirements, this semester is shaping up to be quite a fun adventure. Aside from the slight tedium of taking General Chemistry, I’m also taking two math courses (“Advanced Topics in Linear Algebra” & “Ordinary Differential Equations”) and two Japanese classes (“Intermediate Japanese-A” and “Study of Kanji”), so even though it’s going to be quite busy (18 units!), it definitely won’t seem so.

We went to a a used book store in Fullerton that was having a “going out of business” sale over this past weekend: about 70-80% off everything. While there, I picked up a good half-dozen Star Trek books that, along with Christmas and early-birthday gifts, should provide quite ample reading material for the bus rides to and from class, as well as just generally being quite good books. On my desk right now are just a handful of them:

  1. Fallacies and Pitfalls of Language: The Language Trap (S. Morris Engel)
  2. The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (Barack Obama)
  3. Titan (Stephen Baxter)
  4. Doctor Who: The Indestructible Man (Simon Messingham)
  5. Pegasus in Space (Anne McCaffrey)

This is not an exhaustive list, mind you, but a majority of the Star Trek and other books that I bought were only due to my having read them in the past simply on loan from the local library, and I enjoyed them so much that I simply wanted to ensure myself my own copy. I think I’m going to quite like this. 🙂

Categories: Books, Life Tags: , , , ,