When kath is blogging

Is foreign language really that cool?

Posted in Language by Katharine on May 13, 2011

Living in a Chinese speaking society, where people believe in “better English means better live”, is doomed to come across someone who just looooove to throw English words (or any foreign languages) around. They would try to squeeze in a lots of English words within a Chinese conversation. This is one thing I hate a lot about people here. Especially those people DON’T SAY THINGS RIGHT, and think that they’re ultimate cool and all for knowing extra foreign vocabularies. my ass.

Does it really makes you look cool when you can confuse people with foreign words? When you talk to people, it’s about COMMUNICATION and understanding the conversation. Showing off makes you look like an a-hole, while saying things wrongs makes you look like an idiot.

Geese

June 3, 2008.

Posted in Language by Katharine on April 9, 2009

Reading some of my old journal, there are some very strange discovery from my own handwriting. I found that during the happiest days, I wrote with more cursive, and more slanting to the right side.

June 3rd, 2008.

From that page on, I found that all my handwriting changed. The slanting style basically disappeared.

Reading your handwriting

Posted in Language by Katharine on April 8, 2009

Today I was in the bookstore, and one book caught my attention right away: “Sex, Lies, and Handwriting”. It is a book about graphology, knowing someone’s personality through analyzing his own handwriting. It is not easy to come across a book like this. Of course, I bought it and having lots of fun with it.

It’s very interesting that reading handwriting is like a combination of art and psychology. Through recognizing the form, the loop , the stroke, the direction and tons of other character in a letter, you get to understand a bit of the person who wrote it.

Michelle Dresbold, the author, says that handwriting comes from your brain instead of your hand. In you have an injury on your hand and you can’t write with your hand anymore, you would start to write with a pen in your mouth or with your toes. Eventually, you’ll produce an almost similar handwriting as writing with your hand. However, if you have a brain injury, you’d lose much of your writing ability. “It’s your brain- not your hand, foot or mouth- that decides the size, shape and slant of your handwriting. Handwriting is really ‘brainwriting’, and the marks you place on the paper are your ‘brain print’.”

There are some very fundamental idea about understanding handwriting, such as those who always form a sharp triangle in ‘g’, ‘j’, ‘y’ instead of a loop, are most likely aggressive, competitive and driven. Those who write with a large and inflated loops in ‘g’, ‘j’, ‘y’ tells you that the writer has an oversize need for material, physical or sexual gratification. If your loops has a slit, it probably means that you should consult with a urologist.

The direction of the line pointing upward is a sign of a happier and more positive writer, and pointing downward shows a sad depressed writer. It’s also interesting that just the letter ‘I’ can tells a lot, as it’s the word that signifies the self. It shows how you feel about yourself.

Anyway, I just have this obsession about handwriting analysis. It’s just something so unique and true to a person. Also in the time when most of the stuff is typed, handwriting just seems more valuable. I totally believe in handwriting analysis rather than knowing your personality through your birth date.

Gosh I really love non-fiction.

Love learning a foreign language

Posted in Language by Katharine on March 25, 2009

I always love learning to speak a foreign language. Apart from the possibility to talk to people who you wouldn’t be able to communicate otherwise, it’s a nice way to learn a different culture through their language.

When I was in high school, I started listening to Japanese Rock. L’Arc-en-Ciel, Penicillin, Machine, Gackt, Lareine…… In order to know more about their music, I bought myself a book about learning Japanese and a Japanese dictionary. I taught myself some basic stuff with the book and started to translate the lyrics on my own. Then I started to buy expensive Japanese music magazine, and trying to make any sense out of those interview. I was happy when I can briefly understand what the interview was about. Then I took a Japanese class after school, for one year. Getting off from my school at 4pm, go to my math tutor lesson at 5pm. Then be at my Japanese class at 7pm with dinner in the classroom. But I had nothing to complane, I love every minutes of learning Japanese.

I always love the way Japanese sounds very polite. Even those announcement on the train sounds formal but soft and lovely. When speaking in Japanese, it’s inevitable to adopt their politeness. I also tend to smile more and nod my head more often.

Then when I was in college, I took one year of French, the romantic language. My teacher would told us her interesting experience in France. It was such a wonderful experience, even we were not sipping red wine in class. I remember one of the beautiful thing about this language was when my teacher told me “mother-in-law” is “belle-mere”, literally meaning :beautiful mother. I mean, how can you beat that?

Aat the end of every chapter, there are always this little story or fact about their culture. I always love reading those, and I was very interested in knowing those different custom and tradition. It was just so nice to know their way of living, very relaxing with a glass of wine and some cheese under the beautiful weather in southern France…and at the end of the year, I had a presentation about Japanese rock music, in French.

Currently I’m not taking any language courses, although I do want to learn some Italian. However, whenever I visit another country, I’d do some research and pick up a few phrases in their language. It’s useful when traveling. Even you won’t need to speak it, you might need to read the road sign and stuff with it, and it’s a lot of fun to me anyway. When I visited Holland few months ago. I memorize a few words like goedemorgen means good morning, kaas is cheese, dank je is thank you. Straat (street), gracht (canal) and singel always comes at the end of a street name, “en” seems to means plural. Of course I have a list of food item and other useful phrases stores in my phone with me, but I make sure I remember this one: Spreek je English? (Do you speak English?)

The cheap word: Cheap

Posted in Language by Katharine on March 21, 2009

We all know how powerful words can be. We fell for that intricate and genius use of words in poetry or that soulful lyrics you just heard over the radio. It can makes you feel in love, it can hurt you or haunts you in your darkest nightmare.

Describing the same thing in different words can have a very different effect, and I think that’s why all the newspaper seems to be more difficult to understand than let’s say… my best friend’s blog. I guess journalist are required to phrase things and use words more “professionally”.

During a discussion in my fashion studies class years ago, a girl reported that her collection targeted at using very cheap (in price) fabric to produce clothes that can be sold “very cheap”, but good quality. After her presentation, the professor said, “you don’t use the word ‘cheap’, you can either use ‘inexpensive’, ‘moderate’ or ‘ affordable’……”

In my head, I thought, “wow, it does makes a different.” especially when we’re talking in the world of fashion, where everyone wants to present themselves “nicely” even if they’re “very affordable” in reality. Since that day, I became a bit allergic when using the word “cheap”. I really hope that the travel program on TV yesterday, didn’t just say “you can buy very cheap souvenir here (in china)!”

p.s. I still shop at H&M

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