Culture today is very “ego-centric”, or more appropriately, “self-centered”. People are encouraging others not to think for themselves – an act of independence and freedom of expression – but to think about themselves. Culture says that it’s important for a person to have their own uniqueness – to be an island that stands out in the vast ocean – than it is to have a name stamp proclaiming agreement. People hate it when you stand with someone else, as if somehow you’re not supposed to agree with people who came before you or that somehow their expression ought to be exclusively theirs and you have no “right” to touch it or associate yourself with it.
1. Philosophical Underpinnings
As a fledging apologist, my earliest experiences in the debate sector led me to frustration with people who couldn’t quite see the argument I was trying to make. They would often misinterpret and misunderstand what I had to say, taking ideas and twisting them. It seemed we had no common ground, so I endeavored to find that common ground – some set of ideas we ALL know are true. With such a common ground, I would hopefully be able to prove my points.
One of the first things I did was try to define words. In highschool, I read Socrates, and one of his famous lines that I took to heart was “the beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms”. What Socrates found was that people never really had a clear definition of anything, and thus no one really seemed to know what they were talking about. However, as I tried to come up with some philosophical terminology for defining words, I found the whole endeavor fruitless and meaningless. The truth was, words on their own had no exact definition.
That’s an important conclusion that can be and is very often misinterpreted. The underlying problem was that I was trying to find something “exact” and “specific”, defined in terms of words. But defining words in terms of words is philosophically identical to the problem of putting a rigid box into an identical copy of itself.
However, you’re reading this right now, which says that words are not as arbitrary as they seem. Let’s talk about that.
Some time ago, I wrote an article about language processing for humans in relation to programming languages. While accurate, I do find it obligatory to write a response to my own article.
Every man has his own language. He should speak it. Programming is similar. If you don’t have a language you like, keep looking. Something out there will have most of what you want out of a language, and maybe one day, someone will invent a similar one that has even more of what you want. But please don’t believe all programming has to be like C.
It is unfortunate that language tends to be polluted as time goes on. I’d like to discuss this, as well as the consequences. But first, let’s start with some meandering….
Table of Contents
- The Rules
- The Vowel Sounds
- The Consonant Sounds
- The Exceptions
- My Criticisms
- Concluding Thoughts
If you’re new to Japanese, you’ll find it very disconcerting that there is a huge gap between beginner Japanese and expert. Not only that, “beginner” Japanese in text books and classes is polite Japanese – verbs that have already been modified so that if you ever visit Japan, you speak pleasantly. Furthermore – and here’s the real kicker – speech is much harder to understand than it first seems, and watching anime and listening to music will only help you to a certain extent. In this post, I hope to cover a few details about Japanese, including the learning process, that should ease your pain.
Ever wanted to study a language in the manner that Rosetta Stone would allow you? Yeah, same here but I don’t have 100+ bucks to shell out. Internet connection, on the other hand, is already paid for. You could try to assemble deck after deck of Anki cards and even give them pictures, but setting up the ideal deck can take a long time, especially when you’re downloading images and trying to fit them in all the time. This is my solution: a blog. Now I have all of the resources of the internet at my fingertips and I can share everything with you.
My first post on Japanese, offering you some tools and accompanying advice (most of which is in the latter half of this article).