Oh Canada

I just got back from Toronto, a city that I highly recommend. It is quite different from any city in the U.S., though it reminds me of parts of several American cities I've visited, such as New York's Lower East Side, Chicago's Wicker Park, and Los Angeles' Santa Monica. But it's a lot more than that.

Canada has two official languages: English and French. But Toronto isn't a French-oriented city.



What it's about

Language is incredibly interesting and I'll probably study it for the rest of my life. Right now I'm studying Chinese and Japanese, though my Japanese is a whole lot better (my Chinese is practically non-existent).

People assume that they are similar, but the sounds are not--Chinese has tones and Japanese doesn't. Even their writing systems are no longer similar--mainland China simplified their characters in the mid-20th century.

The bottom line is this: Chinese is both totally oral and totally written, because the written language isn't phonetic, which means a whole lot of memorizing has to go on.

The book I'm using is Beginner's Chinese by Yong Ho. This guy certainly is a linguist who's created a user-friendly and intelligent book.

I don't use a Japanese book--I just read articles in my class. Right now I'm working on a translation for a Rush fan site. At least I'm not studying in a vacuum.