May 15, 2008

Just like that, Japanese

So apparently I can speak Japanese this week. Quite a few people have commented on this. It's odd though, because I haven't had any sub-piphanies lately where I go, things have been going well in the language department. Jolly good (I think with the voice of an English Police inspector). I think all my learning is mostly established at this stage and the main things I am missing are vocabulary and diction.
Speaking of which, なり is an odd grammar item. It's supposed to go on the ends of dictionary verbs to mean "as soon as x happened, y did too". But one can't say "飛行機に降りるなり、熊を見た。" I don't know why, I was just told it's not used that way. But "(北海道に)着くなり、熊を見た。" is okay. Why?
And なり... that's an odd one outside of this construction. Near as I can tell, it is a form of である, and ties further into the relationship between な and だ that I have been exploring lately. ずる verbs have also been keeping me up at night, but that is neither here nor there.
I've got the Friday crazies. These are when I get gradually sleep-deprived as the week goes on and go a little crazy by Friday. Usually this manifests as doodling on the board during downtime and trying to make jokes in Japanese, mostly pun based. Today, I put the crazy energy into a really good worksheet. I make awesome worksheets; that is my reason for being apparently. I am supposed to be memorizing the kanji from my new book for school this summer, but the energy doesn't like to be focused that way. Blog away then. Jolly good.
Friday energy is problematic on days like today. Days we call Thursdays.
I threatened to relay news of my adventures with "aくん". Let me just say, I have become increasingly obsessed with conveying the most basic English grammar (the kind both native speakers and non-natives don't get for opposed reasons centering on familiarity) during my tenure here--it's kind of a shame that there is a limit to the JET experience, because we get really good about thinking about how to talk about English after a while and then they bring in a new person the next year and they're like, "what is a past participle?"-- So yeah, a-kun is a cute little mnemonic I came up with to use in class. I explain the rule, "aくんは名詞が好きだ。めいしって何だ?..." And so on. Then I bring in anくん。"anくんは 'a,i,u,e,o' の音が好きだ。" But it is one thing to remember a grammar rule, and quite another to remember to use it, as my chagrined teaching ears will tell you. Which begs the question, when ears tell things, do they grow little beady eyes (I suppose eyes aren't necessary but let's not have the poor ears be blind) and mouths, or possibly use the orifice they already have for projection? A mystery for the ages... somehow I feel like a joke about listening and asking are the same word in Japanese would be appropriate here, but I am very serious and cannot be bothered with such a trivial matter. Obvs.
Take that and treasure it, old bean.