Jul 23, 2008

Using Google

Firstly salaamat po to our newest member Nick! I've had a 看看 at your 简体中文 and 日本語 blogs and am impressed. I hope I can write as well as you do some day. One of my main goals is to write regularly, and hopefully with Nick and everyone else at talkwiththeworld (sorry Cory I don't remember that cool abbreviation you came up with) I'll get there. I've fed Nickさん's feeds into my feed reader and I'll be keeping up with him, hopefully some of his discipline will rub off!

One thing that I have always found useful when revising vocabulary is a piece of modern technology known as the search engine. If you're trying to memorise a word sometimes it's hard to get it into your head, right? But type it into a search engine, have a look over what comes up, and I find the results help the word "stick" into your head.

It would probably be easier if I showed you, than if I just described it.

Let's start with something easy. I think Korean is talkwiththeworld's lingua franca so let's start with something we all know: 생일

My Korean's not so good, so let's cheat a little. What I'll do is go to google, type in 생일, click on "images" and see what we get...

I'm not sure what comes up when you search for 생일 but I get lots and lots of 케이크. There's also a picture of a business man in accepting a 생일선물. And each one has 생일 written in the caption.

I usually have a look through the options a little more, reading 생일 out loud every time I hear it. I won't do that this time as it's just a demonstration.

Let's try something more difficult. The most recent Japanese 単語 that I have written in my mobile phone (see my last post) is 暗殺 (assasinate). Let's enter it into google and see what we get.... oops... most of the posts are in Chinese (暗杀 has the same meaning in Chinese). No matter. I see a picture of JFK, a poster for a film, a picture of former Russian president Путин and someone accused of plotting to kill him... a poster for the recent film "the 暗杀 of Jesse James by the coward..."

Chinese is my strongest language other than English so I won't cheat for Chinese. My most recent word that I've been trying to remember is 氢, hydrogen. Let's see... I don't have high hopes for how much I'll understand, but I'll enter 氢 into google and see what kinds of articles we get. (Instead of looking at pictures I'll try reading whatever articles come up).

There's something about hydrofluoric acid (luckily for me the chemical formula is there so it's not so hard to understand the definition!) something about Hydrogen energy (hydrogen turns into water when burnt, so hydrogen power is big business) and a homepage for a place in 天津 that manufactures hydrogen, liberating it from water.

Looking things up on google is really helpful for remembering words. You see the word used in many contexts, all on a single computer page, and you don't even have to try to find it, google does it all for you! You can choose to look just at pictures, which is really helpful sometimes.

And if you find google isn't helping, try having a look at eBay or similar auction site in the appropriate language. it's really helpful too. There are pictures of everyday objects clearly labeled with what they are in the approrpiate language. And there isn't just one picture, there are thousands to go through. You'll find that after looking for five minutes at thousands of pictures of a certain thing, repeating that word each time you see it, you'll remember a lot better.


Nicholas Cripps said...

I think I might be a little too disciplined in writing, my speaking skills are not catching up!

I like your idea of making flashcards for your iPod. What program do you use to make them?

maxiewawa said...

It's complicated Nicholas! I just write something in TextEdit, and take a snapshot of the screen using preview. I then import those little jpgs that are created into iPhoto (I'm using a mac), and have configured iTunes so that each one is automatically imported to my iPod.
Quite a long process, but as someone mentioned before, actually making the flashcards helps to remember vocab too.