Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2011 November 4

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November 4[edit]

Help deciphering Japanese writing[edit]

Hello, could anyone help with this:

This is what I think I can make out:

1. ?社の?来性
2. ?社で海外経験を生かしたいと考えた為

Could anyone fill in the blanks and check that the other parts are correct? (talk) 02:29, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

1. 貴社将来性
2. 貴社で
The original writer uses 生, but 活 is the correct kanji in the sentence. Oda Mari (talk) 04:48, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Mari. WWWJDIC appears to give 生かす and 活かす as interchangeable alternatives for いかす in the sense of "make good use of". Is that not correct? (talk) 12:30, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
It's interchangeable because the Japanese Ministry of Education accepts only katsu as the reading of 活. See #1029. So government workers are not supposed to use 活かす and 活かす is not used in official documents. But I found Bunkacho, a governmental agency, used it on this page. Ha ha ha. Generally people use 生かす for "let live" and 活かす for "make good use of" and it's more precise. Oda Mari (talk) 16:58, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
When you said "It's interchangeable because...", did you actually mean "It's not interchangeable because..."? (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 20:42, 4 November 2011 (UTC).
Oops! Sorry. It's not interchangeable. 生かす can be used in both meaning because of the jōyō kanji. But 活かす can be used only in the sense of "make good use of". The jōyō kanji article says it's the regular guide to kanji characters. But think it as a simplified basic usage. It's only a guide, not the compulsive usage. So in reality, most people prefer/choose to use kanji in a more advanced way. So they use 生かす and 活かす separately, I have no idea the usage of those two kanji before Japanese script reform though. I personally think there are many flaws in the current guide. Oda Mari (talk) 06:27, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Pronunciation of Christiaan Huygens[edit]

Can anybody help me with the correct pronunciation of Christiaan Huygens, especially his last name? Thanks. - DSachan (talk) 17:09, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Webster's New Biographical Dictionary gives the pronunciation as /'hœɪçəns/, with Anglicized versions /'haɪgənz/ and /'hɔɪgənz/. Deor (talk) 17:28, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Google search on "pronunciation of Huygens" produces this audio result. Textorus (talk) 17:29, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Oh, and Webster's NBD also gives /'krɪstiˌɑːn/ for "Christiaan". Deor (talk) 17:38, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
See a related question above (archive anticipated here). The recording in the link provided by Textorus seems to be the Anglicised version of the pronunciation; a recording of the Dutch pronunciation (albeit made by a user whose native tongue is German) is available here, and at de:Christiaan Huygens there's the IPA transcription [ˈhœi̯ɣəns], which somewhat fails to correspond with what is heard on that recording, but see the recent query above for more information. --Theurgist (talk) 18:35, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
BTW, input by Dutch speakers would be most welcome. --Theurgist (talk) 18:47, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Here's a Dutch speaker. The recording by AllenMcC is perfect, I doubt he has not been raised bilingual. Joepnl (talk) 20:15, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
What do you mean by correct? How his name was pronounced by his fellow citizens? Or in modern Dutch? Or in modern English or German? You always have to modify foreign or historical names a bit so that they fit into your language. This makes it easier for speakers and hearers to communicate. --Pp.paul.4 (talk) 14:53, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

short reading materials about anthropological, universal themes for students with no reading habit ...[edit]

~ My students have for the most part lost their learning/reading habit, because they never really got a good (reference to) education from their homes/families to begin with, dropped out of school, came out of prisons ...
However, my students' main problem is not really that they have lost their chances (in a sense (but not totally) in a Chomskyan critical period way (I do believe things should naturally happen at a certain time and in a certain context (preferably family (Here I don't mean any biologically hereditary IQ thing ...)))), but most of them do not come to classes on a daily basis and tend to forget fast what they learned the previous week (to the point that sometimes I think they most be kidding me), yet the most amazing thing is that -they do learn- and I do learn also from them (I am into Consciousness Studies/the neurological/psychological aspects of learning)
I am a Mathematician/Scientist myself and I do like teaching so teaching Math and Sciences to me is like second nature. The most difficult subject is reading. They read word by word (so when they end a paragraph they have apparently forgotten how it all started) and can't follow ideas or comprehend the underlying issues. It may be a general societal trend, I have noticed younger generations are not able to follow anything that does not fit the small screen of their communicating devices.
I have been looking for short stories with more of an anthropological, universal reach to them. Most common readings teachers use are way too long (and "boring") and have an Anglo-Saxon cultural bias (and quite a bit of not-that-subtle brainwashing) to them.
Which shorter, yet rich readings would you suggest? (and with "short" I mean, no more than threee pages) Any compilation of such short stories useful for my students?
Thank you very much
lbrtchx ~ — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:33, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Sorry if all of this is obvious: I find it hard to tell. Have you looked at non-fiction books for young people, such as Dorling Kindersley? They are picture-heavy, cover a wide variety of topics your students might be interested in, and break the text down into accessible chunks. Presumably, if they are reading word-by-word, you are getting them to summarise what they just read at the end of a sentence, or are they up to summarising paragraphs now? And remember what hard work it is reading a long passage when you aren't fluent, and how much easier social interaction can make it: reading a text together, taking turns including you yourself and discussing as you go, is much more interesting and allows you to tackle harder texts. Again, sorry if this is obvious.
Also, have you tried poetry including children's, popular, and nonsense poetry? It sometimes throws up harder words and syntax, but also has rhythm, often has rhyme (which gives clues for reading), and tends to be shorter. Might be too culturally bound for you, though. A little Edward Lear, a smattering of Hilaire Belloc (who mocks the brain-washing literature by taking it to absurd extremes), a group tackling of The Highwayman (poem) reading it aloud taking a verse each, etc, could be rewarding, or could just put them off. (talk) 22:16, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

You're goimg to have to be a lot more specific about who you are teaching and what you are teaching them for. Like age group, first language, type of school, etc.
I teach English to university students (mostly engineers and scientists) in Poland, and even with these students, it is very difficult to establish a regular reading habit. The biggest problem is that many of them do not have a reading habit in their own language, except for technical literature. My students are required to read a minimum of 120 pages of contemporary fiction per week in the form of full-length books. Children's literature is pretty challenging, too, though often too challenging because it tends to use a lot of slang and is very culture specific. Technical literature and "reading" on the internet or magazines don't count. The goal of the reading is vocabulary enrichment, so I instruct the students to read with a pencil, underlining each word or phrase they don't understand until they have thirty or so words underlined, at which point they look up the words in the dictionary and make flashcards.
The richest literature, vocabulary-wise, is science fiction and fantasy. Terry Pratchett, for example, uses a huge range of vocabulary, and Jack Vance even more so. Ursula K. LeGuin writes stories that have a strong sociological/anthropological emphasis. Unfortunately, a short story is usually about 10 to 30 pages long. Not many writers write micro-stories that are only three pages long.
I regret that my German teachers in high school and college assigned classical literature to read. I learned a lot more from reading Asterix comic books and sci-fi books. Same when I was learning Danish and Polish. Children's literature is pretty challenging, too, though often too challenging because it tends to use a lot of slang and is very culture specific.
There will always be those students who are extremely resistant to developing a reading habit. In my kind of teaching, I have the luxury of cutting them off and concentrating on those who do want to learn and are making the effort. It's a matter of leading a horse to water. Whether they drink or die of thirst is, in the end, their gain or loss, and thus their responsibility. I can only prod them on while there is hope.
It helps if the students select their own reading material, subject to approval by you. They will be more motivated to read then. The worst is to assign the same reading material to the whole group. You'll be lucky to get them to read ten pages a week.
It's vital to get them to read every single day. I have several high school students that I am preparing for university in English-speaking countries, and I make them report every day how much they have read.
If your students are GED type students, as I gather they are, from non-English speaking backgrounds, consider starting with comic books and graphic novels. They have the advantage that almost everything in them is dialog and is reinforced by the illustrations. A average comic book will have about three pages of text at most. And they're pretty engaging. Like I said, Asterix sure helped me a lot with my German. Hope this helps. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 22:26, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) A textbook company I once worked for included Terry Bisson's "They're Made Out of Meat" in one of their English literature books. It certainly meets your criteria, and it seemed to me at the time something that kids would appreciate. They decided, however, to drop it in the next edition of the book, since they were getting feedback from teachers that many of their students didn't understand it at all—not who was speaking, not what they were talking about, nothing. I don't know what the answer is. Deor (talk) 22:32, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
That's appalling and depressing; it's one of my entire family's favorite short stories; but then, we were married at an SF convention and the teenager has attended roughly seventy SF conventions so far. --Orange Mike | Talk 15:23, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm a bit curious as to why a mathematician/scientist is teaching a remedial reading class. And yes, we do need to know ages. If they are younger, perhaps Dr. Suess would be a good choice. After all, he designed his books to use a basic vocabulary and yet be entertaining, unlike the Dick and Jane books. As for the length, if you took out all the pictures, I think they would be down around that length. I agree with the comic book idea, and you might also want to consider newspaper comics. They don't require much patience, and yet can teach concepts like double meanings. After each comic you could ask if anybody can explain the joke. At the end, you might have them vote on which they like the best and put that one on the bulletin board. StuRat (talk) 23:17, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
See 5 Resources for Free Reading and Adult Literacy Education Online.
Wavelength (talk) 00:48, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't know what you mean by "anthropological". I have taught adults basic English for over 20 years now, and there are some good short stories about. The one that sticks in my memory is "The Fog Horn", which (presuming your readers are male) should appeal. The author of this story, Ray Bradbury seems to have written quite a lot of short stories, so you may wish to check his work out. Also Isaac Asimov seems to appeal to men and has written short stories. Oh and don't feel you have to give your readers the whole story: you could omit the start and cut to the chase, as they say. --TammyMoet (talk) 10:09, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Many Ray Bradbury short stories have also been turned into comics, mostly using only the description and dialogue he wrote, if that's an appealing option. (talk) 10:45, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Ray Bradbury is great. One of my students just started reading him this week. However, he is VERY Anglo-centric. In a Norman Rockwell, "Leave it to Beaver", baseball and apple pie sort of way. This may not come out in comic book versions, though, so it's worth a try. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 11:06, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
He's "Anglocentric", in a "baseball and apple pie" way? Um, Dom? You know that war? The one that started around, I don't know, 1775 or so? We won that one. --Trovatore (talk) 20:15, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Finally, somebody said it. High five! Textorus (talk) 23:16, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Maybe he meant "Anglocentric" referring to those who speak English, as opposed to "Francocentric" or "Liechtensteincentric", for example. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 06:31, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
He means Bradbury is as blatantly and annoyingly Anglocentric as those other things are Americocentric. Adam Bishop (talk) 08:02, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Is he? I've never really been a fan of his, but for different reasons — mostly I just find him sorta depressing. My sci-fi tastes are more along the line of heroic-misunderstood-adventurer-overcomes-adversity-and-the-general-stupidity-of-society. Bradbury always struck me as more good-morning-if-it-is-a-good-morning-which-I-doubt. So I probably stopped reading him before I would have had a chance to notice he was philo-Brit, if he is. --Trovatore (talk) 08:08, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
I specifically meant and wrote "Anglo-centric", not "Anglocentric". As in the American meaning of the word "Anglo": White Anglo-Saxon Protestant of which Ward and June Cleaver are the very embodiment. That's why I put the hyphen there. I used it in reference to the original posting, which specifically asks for readings that don't have a "Anglo-Saxon cultural bias". And Ray Bradbury's writing does, to the point where it is distubing and jarring. Still enjoy him as a writer, though, and recommend him to my students. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 08:26, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Terms that you would want to use would include "Midwestern" or "white bread" (the latter is of course slang); mere "Anglo" is meaningless in a context such as this. Bradbury is a pure example of cornfed pre-WW II small-town Midwestern American, even though he's lived in Los Angeles since about 1939. "Anglo-centric" to an English speaker does not mean "Anglophone", it means "centered and oriented towards the English and their culture". --Orange Mike | Talk 15:23, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Ha! For some reason I thought Bradbury was British. Adam Bishop (talk) 08:37, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, either way, I wouldn't have noticed, for the same reason; just never liked him much. From my description of what I do like, you might well guess that my faves are Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven, and Poul Anderson. --Trovatore (talk) 09:01, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
I notice still nobody has explained what is meant by "anthropological"... However, what woke me up at 6 am was the thought that maybe the OP should be working with (your equivalent of) tabloid newspapers. Another approach I'd be inclined to take is to introduce the students to different methods of reading, rather than reading each word - such as reading to summarise, or skim reading. The acronym SQ3R (survey, question, read, review, revise) is one I used to use. --TammyMoet (talk) 10:17, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
I suddenly find myself thinking of noble Romans. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 10:05, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I gather that by "anthropological" you actually meant "humanist". Unfortunately, there are not a lot of markets for fiction that is so microscopically short as three pages, since it is difficult to create a meaningful story in such a short span. --Orange Mike | Talk 15:23, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Oh I don't know about that. Have you looked at Flash fiction? And Dr Google prescribes plenty of possibilities for very short fiction. Of course, the IP doesn't need to restrict the students to fiction: there is history, popular science, biographies, and so much more. Try Gombrich's A Little History of the World -- each chapter is short enough to be read at a sitting, aloud in class. BrainyBabe (talk) 00:12, 8 November 2011 (UTC)