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Helping with Google Translate = Reading Practice? Vocabulary and Grammar Exposure?

2017/03/14 Leave a comment

So I’ve got an interesting idea for people who want to practice reading, get exposed to new vocabulary, etc., and would enjoy knowing they’re also doing something good at the same time.

How about helping out with Google Translate?

I was using Google Translate recently and noticed a check mark on a translation that said it was verified by the community.

I clicked the help out link, and came to this: https://translate.google.com/community.

Google Translate Community Homepage / Dashboard

You don’t have to be perfectly fluent to validate, especially if you validate translations TO your native / fluent language(s). If there are any you don’t know or are unsure of, you can just skip! So you can play it safe.

And PLEASE do play it safe, by ONLY validating texts you understand confidently.

So what’s the benefit to you? You will find some unfamiliar words or grammar structures for sure, which you can look up or infer from context and learn for yourself in a context. It may not even interfere with your validation: Google translate wants natural sentences, not just passable ones, so even if you don’t know a word, even if you look up the word and find you can’t be sure of the exact meaning, you can still contribute, if, for example, EVERY translation given is wrong no matter which way you look at it.

You don’t need to be good at Chinese in any way to know neither English translation is good, natural English

Give it a try!

I validated 100+ already of Spanish, French, and Mandarin to English, and learned a few words, refreshed some others.

WARNING: They warn you themselves that anything can come up in those sentences, of course, so make sure you’re old enough and willing to be exposed to I guess anything people may have tried to translate? Just skip anything you don’t want to deal with!

Project: Crosslingual Character / Syllable Relationships

2014/06/28 3 comments

The WorldAs with Romance languages and Latin, many Asian languages share vocabulary through Chinese, but it’s less obvious. I’m thus making a reference table to make them clear and discoverable for learners of more than one Asian language. Help needed! If you’d like to, please contact me! Linguistic knowledge not required.

Why Do We Need This Reference?

“Difficult” is a relative term: Spanish, French, and German are considered “easy” languages for English-speakers due to similarities in grammar, vocabulary, and writing, while Korean has practically no relation to English and so may be seen as “difficult.” Neither Japanese, Korean, Chinese, nor Vietnamese share a language family with each other (practically), but they have all seen Chinese influence, creating some common vocabulary between them all, just like how those European languages share Latin roots and words. I would thus argue that once you learn one of these languages, the other languages lose their place as “difficult” since the shared vocabulary (along with grammatical concepts) will serve as a nice springboard toward learning the other.

From my experience and what I’ve seen, this means there are connections you can take advantage of between most Chinese languages, Hokkien languages, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and maybe others to lesser extents (such as through loanwords in Indonesian). However, compared to, say, Romance Languages, these connections may be less obvious due to more drastic differences in pronunciation and writing systems, so I believe we need extra effort.

Words for Time compared

A Table for Comparing and Contrasting

Despite the pronunciation changes, since Chinese languages are made up of a very small set of syllables attributed to various characters, I believe it’s realistic to make a table of all the syllables and include what they sound like in various languages. This will probably be more efficient as a sort of database, but for now, it’s easier to build it as a spreadsheet.

So here’s a sample below. Attempting a neutral option, I placed the Chinese character in the 1st column, and the other columns hold pronunciations of applicable languages. Currently, they are Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Cantonese, Shanghainese, Southern Min, and Vietnamese. What could we learn from this?

Look at the very first entry and see what you discover. It is the character 学 or 學, which relates to learning. If you can’t read them , the Japanese reading is “gaku” and the Korean one is “hak.” FYI, readings marked with a question mark are ones that I have not confirmed yet, and yes, I know the Mandarin tones are redundant – it’s on purpose. Full disclaimers at the end.

Sample of my table

Read more…

Hello world!

2012/02/04 Leave a comment

Hello, World.
Hola, Mundo.
Bonjour, Monde.
世界、こんにちは。
世界,你好。
세계, 안녕. (or is it 세상 instead of 세계? Whoops, I do not know which to use!)

This is not a dead blog. Posts are forthcoming. :)