pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

So a while ago, I found some decks for the Georgian and Armenian alphabets on Anki.

Georgian is coming along OK, but Armenian is kicking my butt: I keep forgetting things and can't seem to remember the letters (plus they all seem to look the same!).

I wonder why the difference.

And looking back at the other writing systems I learned, it seems to me today that learning Cyrillic, Greek, and Hangeul were easy; I don't recall having had those problems with them. Even Arabic wasn't that bad. And I dimly recall having had to look up kana a lot when I was first learning them, but I don't think it was anything like Armenian is right now.

Heck, I'm also going through a Deseret Alphabet Anki deck and it's tough, but not as bad as Armenian.

Devanagari is also not that bad - I keep forgetting a third to a half, but the other ones are easy.

Perhaps I should put Armenian aside for a while. Or just practice the ones I knew reasonably well and then introduce others one by one? IDK.

Perhaps the fact that they're letters out of context makes it particularly hard? That I can't practice reading words written in those letters since I know no Armenian.

I'm also practising Zhuyin Fuhao (bopomofo) on Anki... I found one deck that just teaches the signs, and another that has all the possible syllables and asks you to transcribe them to Pinyin. I'm sure that the second one helps a lot because it means I see each sign much more often.

At first, I only recognised a few (from when I had learned bopomofo at school from a Chinese dictionary a friend had lent me), but now I can crank out those syllables like nobody's business. (FWIW, the hardest character to learn again was "ch". I kept forgetting that one the most. Next was "z".)

As for ASL fingerspelling, that also came back fairly well, except for D and F: I always get those two mixed up.

(I'm also practising English Braille with Anki. And Inuktitut syllabics. And Teeline basics. I guess I'm a masochist for having over a dozen simultaneous decks.)

pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

I’m about to send a Postcrossing postcard to Korea.

I usually try to address postcards in the native script if I can write it (e.g. Cyrillic for Russia or kanji+kana for Japan), under the impression that this might speed up delivery slightly.

Supposing this is true, I wonder now what effect writing the name and address in hanja would have—I can imagine that it would be slower than hangeul (since postal workers might not be as familiar with hanja), but I wonder whether it would still be faster than writing the address in Latin, or whether it would be slower still (for example, because they’re even less familiar with hanja than with Latin letters).

I suppose the most reasonable way would be to write the address in hangeul, but the most fun way for me would be hanja. I guess I’m weird that way.

I’d also consider it fun to write a Vietnamese address in chữ Hán (though the opportunity has not presented itself so far), and have actually translated a Finnish address into Swedish in the past, with the aid of Google Maps, which shows street names in both languages in multilingual areas.

I also routinely determine the ZIP+4 codes for US addresses and add the +4 bit. (I don’t always canonicalise the address to the USPS form, e.g. all-caps and with specific abbreviations such as PL for Place, but I have been known to do so as well.)

I suppose some of my habits are benign (e.g. the ZIP+4 thing), but writing a Finnish address in Swedish has probably crossed the border to “perverse for the sake of it”.

I wonder whether street names in Quebec and Manitoba are bilingual, and if so, what would happen if I used the English form for a Quebec address and the French form for a Manitoba one.

Or, even more interestingly, the French form for a NWT or Nunavut one, since French is co-official in those territories, too.

Or, heck, writing a Nunavut address in Syllabics would be fun, but they seem to use PO Boxes rather than street delivery, at least in Iqaluit, so that’s half the fun gone already.


Ah well. Guess I’ll write the address in Hangeul, then. (Though I’m happy the person gave me the spelling of their name in hanja when they corrected my guess at the hanja spelling of their address. I even guessed two out of three characters in their name correctly, though getting one of those right—for their family name, Park—was pretty much fish in a barrel.)

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pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)
Philip Newton

June 2015

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