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Monthly Archives: April 2013

When doing German lessons, previously I took care to use only “male” items, because mixing the grammatical genders can be very confusing. I’ve been doing German sessions with Ben for the last weeks, and recently I decided to try mixing them. He has some foundation in using the male forms now, so I thought it might be interesting to see if using both in a controlled environment could actually help him get a better feeling for the differences between the two.

At first I replaced all items with female ones. After playing a little bit with these (»Das ist eine leere Schüssel«; »Ich gebe dir die leere Schüssel«), I added a “male” item that we had used earlier (»Ich gebe dir den roten Stift«). When I had the feeling that this was settled in his mind, I went to the really confusing »Wo ist die leere Schüssel? – Die leere Schüssel ist hinter dem roten Stift« vs. »Wo ist der rote Stift? – Der rote Stift ist vor der leeren Schüssel«. It turned out that this was a really good moment to introduce it. While challenging, it did not make him Full, but rather helped in separating the two. I will play around with mixing the two in later sessions.

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I’ve been doing Japanese/German sessions with Ben for the last weeks, and I love every moment of it! While my effort these days is focused on learning Cantonese, I found that at this point, starting Japanese does not interfere notably. We’re mostly doing the classic WAYK setup, playing with two pens, a rock and a stick. For the last time, we have been doing numbers, which are a bit complicated in Japanese. Ben is adding to the WAYK Wiki, and putting a lot of work into treading the path for Japanese, and I’m very happy to help him, and learn a beautiful language on the way. We started recording the early sessions, but ran into technical problems (see the totally unsynced audio here). Maybe we will take on this habit again in the future.

I actually find Japanese a formidable pastime to get a break from Cantonese, because for some reason it comes to me much more easily. Maybe it’s the lack of tones, and the longer words, complete with endings like I’m used from European languages. For sure one part is that Ben is a great teacher :)