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:: My Urban Eyes ::

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:: Saturday, May 31, 2008 ::

When Chasing Rabbits...


Learning a second language is hard. It makes you realize how much common knowledge, common sense stuff is assumed in everyday speech. For example,

When in Rome...


If you're a native speaker of English those three words alone convey a lot of meaning. You already know what the second half is. Now step into the shoes of someone learning English, someone who is decent in grammar and vocabulary and pieces things together as they go. "When in Rome" carries no meaning for him. Maybe the phrase continues "beware of pickpockets" or "don't forget to wear sunscreen". And when you explain the entire phrase to him he asks, why is it Rome? Why not Paris or London or Moscow? You have no answer. He gets frustrated.

Learning a second language can be like that. But for every frustrating idiom an enlightening one comes along.

二兎を追う者は、一兎も得ず。
If you chase two rabbits you will catch neither.


Right now I'm trying to figure out what kind of job I want to pursue. Would I rather work in radio or in something Japanese? How do I want to spend my life?

Obviously this isn't a question you can answer in one night, or day or week or even month. I'm working through it. In the meantime, though, I'm spending half of my energy on radio pieces and the other half on Japanese study. At this rate I'll neither get an internship nor pass the JLPT Level 2 exam in December. It's not like I have a deadline, but the sooner I sort this out, the better. Which rabbit shall I chase?

Labels:


:: Kazen 10:21 PM [+] ::
:: ... 4 comments | backtrack ::



Comments:
Very insightful, I am learing that about you. I don't think it matters which rabbit you chase, eventually you will catch up with one, ot it will slow allow you to catch it....but was it the rabbit you wanted? -Karri
 
..sorry, can't type worth a shit. hopefully you get my point.
 
This is so true. It is amazing how much cultural knowledge we carry without ever thinking about it. It becomes even more apparent when actually spending time in another country...I have always been extremely interested in what it means to be a cultural outsider (especially exiles and expatriates). But there is so much in just language alone.

Also, lately I have been thinking about taking Japanese and I've read about the Soku Gakuen school...I was wondering if that's where you study?
 
Oh, and good luck deciding between rabbits...just remember that choosing one doesn't necessarily mean forgoing the other. Life can take you in funny directions and finding what you want may be more roundabout that you can imagine.
 
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