Jul
30
2015

Let’s Learn Keigo! – Part 2

momotaro

photo from gracias! on flickr.com

 

The other day, I had covered basics on Japanese Keigo. There are three forms of Keigo’s in Japanese, but today’s post is all about the first one, called “Polite Language (Teinei go, ていねいご、丁寧語)” By the time you finish reading this post, you will learn not only the basics but also the important aspects of Teineigo, and you will be able to apply it in your conversation. Read on~!

 

All about Polite Language (Teinei go, ていねいご、丁寧語)

Teineigo, (ていねいご、丁寧語) is the basic Keigo that you can apply. This is the must know Japanese expression, and that you will be using this in almost any conversation you might have with pretty much anyone, even including your friends, family, and relatives.

 

Teineigo, (ていねいご、丁寧語) just means, being polite. Using polite expressions in your conversation while talking or writing. The basics you will need to know is to add ~ desu(です), and ~ masu(ます) at the end of each sentence.

 

How do we use “~ desu(です)”?? ~ examples

Desu(です) can be used in sentences such as,

Are you Mr. Smith? – Smith san desu ka?

My name is Hiroko. – Watashi no namae wa Hiroko desu.

Where is the library? – Toshokan wa doko desu ka?

Library is over there. – Toshokan wa asoko desu.

Is this yours? – Kore wa anatano desu ka?

Yes, it is mine. – Hai, watashi no desu.

How are you? – Ogenki desu ka?

He will be absent today. – Kyou karewa kesseki desu.

~Got an idea?

 

Another form of Teineigo..  ~ masu(ます) 

 

How do we use “~ masu(ます)”?? ~ examples

 

Do you eat fish? – Osakana wa tabe masu ka?

Yes, I eat fish. – Hai, osakana tabe  masu.

Do you want to go now? – Korekara iki masu ka?

I am leaving now. – Imakara demasu.

Are you going to the party? – Party ni iki masu ka?

Yes, I am going to the party. – Hai, party ni iki masu.

Are you working today? – Kyou wa oshigoto shite masu ka?

Yes, I am working today. – Hai, kyou shigoto shite masu.

 

So, for Teineigo, these two are the main forms of expressions you would need to know. Start with simple sentences and expand it from there.  It is always good to use these polite expressions rather than using expressions that might sound too friendly.

Jul
29
2015

Three Young Italians And A Black & Decker Drill

Having written part one of the story of Modigliani’s lost sculptures I had intended to simply recount the unexpected outcome of the affair, and the consequent storm it created in the art world … until I discovered someone who could do it in a far more entertaining way: The ingenious Italian rapper Caparezza.

Click on the image below to watch Le teste Di Modì by Caparezza.

maxresdefault-001

Here are the lyrics together with my translation into English and a few notes.

Da giorni dragano il fondale del fosso reale,
per omaggiare con un trofeo
gli Italiani,
luglio-agosto mi pare,
gli occhi addosso alle pale,
cercano sculture di Amedeo Modigliani,
i giorni passano interi,
zero bassorilievi,
poi vedi qualcosa viene su,
Alleluja!
Tre teste incise su tre pietre,
scatti dal treppiede,
la tribù, esulta!
Gli esperti dicono che sì, quelle lì sono di, di Modì!
“Esporle qui, nel museo di Amedeo, oggidì!
Dillo ai TG!”
Visitatori a frotte, personalità dotte, specialisti a corte raccontano già frottole!
Perché vedete quelle teste nelle teche sono tre ciofeche fatte da studenti con il Black & Decker!

For days they dredge the bed of the Fosso Reale,
to present the Italians with
a trophy
July – August I believe,
all eyes watching the shovels
they’re looking for sculptures by Amedeo Modigliani
entire days pass by,
zero bas-reliefs,
then you see something come up,
Alleluja!
Three heads incised into stone,
photos snapped from the tripod,
the tribe, celebrates!
The experts say that yes, those there are by, by Modì
”Exhibit them here, in the museum of Amedeo, this very day!
Tell the TG (TeleGiornale)”!
Droves of visitors, learned personalities, groups of specialists begin talking balderdash!
Because you see, those heads in the caskets are three pieces of rubbish made by students with a Black & Decker!

In una foto di archivio tre dei quattro giovani livoenesi Michele Ghelarducci (S), Piero Luridiana (C) e Francesco Ferruccio (D), manca Michele Genovesi, autori della burla, mentre mostrano la testa da loro scolpita e gettata nel fosso reale, poi recuperata durante il dragaggio e indicata ''Modi 2''. Qualcuno la definì la 'burla del secolo'. Di certo, lo scherzo di tre ventenni livornesi che, nel luglio del 1984, gettarono nei Fossi medicei una falsa scultura in pietra che fu attribuita ad Amedeo Modigliani, mise in crisi un' amministrazione comunale e parte del mondo dell'arte.Oggi i tre lavorano in settori diversi, hanno mogli e bambini e ogni tanto si ritrovano per riparlare di quei giorni.ANSA

Michele Ghelarducci, Piero Luridiana and Francesco Ferruccio, with Modì 2, their fake Modigliani head which they threw into the Fosso Reale in July 1984.

Sì, io voglio essere così,
come i ragazzi delle teste di Modì,
ed ogni volta che ti metto in crisi,
con i miei sorrisi puoi chiamarmi “testa di…”!
Sì,io voglio essere così,
come i ragazzi delle teste di Modì,
prendermi gioco di ogni tua certezza,
ma con leggerezza,
come un colibrì!

Yes, I want to be just like that,
like the lads who made the Modì heads,
and every time I go into crisis,
with my smiles you can call me “… head”!
Yes, I want to be just like that,
like the lads who made the Modì heads,
to play around with all your certainties,
but lightly,
like a hummingbird!

Modì 1, 2 and 3. The three fake Modigliani heads.

Modì 1, 2 and 3. The three fake Modigliani heads.

Would the real Modigliani head please stand up?,
questi fissano le teste ed hanno la Stendhal!
Ma che razza di sibille,
parlate troppo presto e siete senza pupille,
come i volti del maestro,
Pazzi!
Sostenete il contrario del vero
Quindi passi che le vostre carte
siano state battute da sassi.
Siete come il chiasso della folla indelicata
che a Parigi tratta la Gioconda come Lady Gaga.
“Monna Lisa!!! Mannaggia non si è girata!
Mmm… hai visto che pelle liscia e levigata?”
è un problema trito, fede-mito,
finché morte non ci separi tipo fede-dito.
Venerare teste rivoltate nel fango e nella torba
mentre Modigliani si sta rivoltando nella tomba.
Ho dieci anni ma mi piace l’arte varia,
più dell’uomo ragno blocca mostri, gambe in aria,
tolgo il suo poster per i miei nuovi eroi,
che mandano all’aria mostri con i blocchi di arenaria!

Would the real Modigliani head please stand up?,
These people stare at the heads and they’ve got Stendahl! (Stendahl Syndrome, see link)
But what a bunch of sybils (the ancient Greek name for prophetesses),
you speak too soon and have no pupils,
just like the master’s faces (Modigliani’s portraits had blank eyes),
You’re mad!
You stick with the opposite of the truth
So it’s acceptable that your papers
are beaten by rocks (rock, paper, scissors?)
You’re like the racket made by the rowdy crowd
who treat the Mona Lisa in Paris like Lady Gaga.
“Mona Lisa!!! Damn she didn’t turn her head!
Mmm … have you seen what smooth polished skin!”
it’s a banal problem, faith-myth,
until death us do part like wedding ring-finger.
Venerating heads tipped into the mud and peat,
whilst Modigliani is turning in his grave.
I’m ten years old but I like all kinds of art,
more than Spiderman stopping monsters, legs in the air,
I’m taking down his poster for my new heroes,
who mess up monsters with blocks of sandstone!

Sì, io voglio essere così,
come i ragazzi delle teste di Modì,
etc. etc. ……….

For an analysis of the song and how it relates to the actual event see this article: Teste di Modì

And to find out more about the story of the fake Modigliani heads have a look here: Il mistero infinito delle teste di Modì

Jul
29
2015

How To Write A Polite Formula in French

Photo by ashley rose, on Flickr.

Photo by ashley rose, on Flickr.

In France the art of the handwritten letter has not been lost. I was surprised when I read the requirements for a school application or contacting a bank and saw une lettre manuscrite (a handwritten letter).

I hadn’t written une lettre manuscrite since third grade! I couldn’t believe that I would have to handwrite a letter to anyone!

I wrote my letter in ma mauvaise écriture (my bad handwriting) and was met with another surprise when I asked un ami (a friend) to check my grammar. In France, handwritten is synonymous with cursive. My print was acceptable, but not quite normal.

The last big surprise came from how to end a letter. You need to add une formule de politesse (formal salutation) in a French letter. It’s une phrase (a sentence) that has no meaning but is customary in order to correctly write une lettre formelle (a formal letter).

Even in emails, if it’s formal enough, you need to add une formule de politesse! Most people memorize une formule de politesse and use it in their lettres formelles. Cependant (however), you can fine tune your formule de politesse to fit what you’re asking or the content of la lettre. The problem for an English speaker is that they sound incredibly bombastic and unnecessary. Les formules de politesse often don’t translate well, and knowing what they mean doesn’t help understand their importance.

In English, the end of a letter would not have an equivalent formule de politesse, and any translation just doesn’t really work. they are all the equivalent of Sincerely yours in an English letter. Ceci dit (that said), I’ve added translations to help understand the language used in the French formules de politesse.

There are a few parts to making une formulle de politesse, normally you start with une phrase that doesn’t translate into English very well:

En vous remerciant de votre obligeance,
Dans l’attente de vous rencontrer,
Dans l’attente de vous recevoir,

I would like to thank you for your courtesy,
I look forward to meeting you,
I look forward to your reply,

Then you work your way into the more polite part of la formule de politesse:

Veuillez agréer l’expression de mes sentiments distingués.
Je vous prie d’agréer mes meilleures salutations.
Veuillez recevoir mes salutations distinguées.
Veuillez agréer l’expression de ma sincère reconnaissance.
Je vous prie d’agréer l’expression de mes sentiments très respectueux.
Je vous prie d’agréer l’expression de ma haute considération.

Please accept the expression of my distinguished sentiments.
Please accept my best salutations.
Please accept my distinguished salutations.
Please accept the expression of my sincerest appreciation.
Please accept the expression of my very respectful sentiments.
Please accept the expression of my highest consideration.

Finalement (finally), after you’ve written all that, you add a final farewell:

Cordialement,
Bien cordialement,
Sincèrement,

Cordially,
Very cordially,
Sincerely,

The end of la lettre ends up looking like this:

Dans l’attente de vous recevoir, veuillez agréer l’expression de mes sentiments distingués.

Cordialement,
John BAUER

Of course in less formal situations you can drop la formule de politesse and just add a cordialement to the end of your letter, and between friends a simple bises (take care, literally: kisses) will do.

A translation of les formules de politesse does not help much in understanding the language. La formule de politesse, being related to courtesy and politeness, has more to do with culture than language. Similarly, writing a handwritten letter seemed unnecessarily archaic to me, but understanding how to write a formal French letter requires accepting these things, even if they seem unnecessary.

Jul
29
2015

English Spanish Vocabulary – Materials Los materiales

 
Today we are going to practice some useful Spanish vocabulary related to materials.
Hoy vamos a practicar vocabulario español útil relacionado con los materiales.

textile-548716_640
 

Use the player below to listen to and repeat the pronunciation of the words in Spanish:

Materials – Los materiales

Acrylic – acrílico
Aluminium – aluminio
Brass – latón
Bronze – bronce
Canvas – lona
Cardboard – cartón
Cashmere – cachemir
Cement – cemento
Ceramic – cerámica
Clay – arcilla
Concrete – hormigón
Copper – cobre
Corduroy – pana
Cotton – algodón
Denim – tela vaquera
Fiberglass – fibra de vidrio
Glass – vidrio
Iron – hierro
Lace – encaje
Lead – plomo
Leather – cuero
Linen – lino
Marble – mármol
Nylon – nailon
Plaster – yeso
Plastic – plástico
Polyester – poliéster
Porcelain – porcelana
Rubber – goma
Silk – seda
Silver – plata
Steel – acero
Stone – piedra
Straw – paja
Suede – gamuza
Tin – hojalata
Velvet – terciopelo
Wax – cera
Wood – madera
Wool – lana

Jul
28
2015

Telling the Time in German

If is often said that German people are very pünktlich (on time), I’ve written a list of basic vocabulary to help you tell the time, and to ask what the time is in German so that you’ll never be spät (late)!

First of all here are a few numbers in German:

Eins                        One

Zwei                      Two

Drei                        Three

Vier                       Four

Fünf                       Five

Sechs                    Six

Sieben                  Seven

Acht                       Eight

Neun                     Nine

Zehn                      Ten

Zwanzig               Twenty

Dreißig                  Thirty

Vierzig                  Fourty

Fünfzig                 Fifty

 

Here are the basics words and sentances that you will need:

die Zeit                  the time

die Uhr                  a watch/clock

Nach                      past

Vor                         before

Viertel nach        quarter past

Viertel vor          quarter to

Halb                       half

Wie viel Uhr ist es?                         What time is it?

Wie spät ist es?                                How late is it?

Es ist zwölf Uhr zwanzig               It is twelve twenty

Es ist viertel vor drei                      It is quarter to three

Es ist zehn nach neun                    It is ten past nine

 

And now for the tricky part:

If someone tells you to meet them at halb 12 you would meet them at half 12/12:30 right? Wrong. You would actually be meeting them at 11:30! In German if you say halb … it just means “half” and not “half past”. For example:

Halb eins = 12:30

Halb drei = 2:30

Halb elf = 10:30

IMG-20150717-WA0009

A Bavarian clock, the time is 22:13. Own photo

So there are the basics of telling the time, hopefully you will always be pünktlich when meeting someone! I got the idea for this post from a friend who has a very interesting clock in their flat – eine bayerische Uhr. What makes this Bavarian clock so special is that it ticks rückwärts (backwards) and you have to read it spiegelverkehrt (mirror image).

 

The reason for this is because Willy Brandt (Politician and Leader of the Social democratic Party) said “in Bayern ticken die Uhren anders” (in Bavaria the clocks tick differently). Someone interpreted this and created the Bavarian clock.  If you are ever in Munich take a look at Isartor’s clock – and you will notice that the clock is indeed a Bavarian clock that ticks backwards!

Here is a photo of einer Bayerischen Uhr, leave a comment if you can figure out what the time is!

IMG-20150717-WA0008

Larissa