Lichtrausch's Log: The Sinosphere and Indoeuropean

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lichtrausch
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Re: Lichtrausch's Log: The Sinosphere and Indoeuropean

Postby lichtrausch » Fri Jan 19, 2024 4:13 pm

Happy New Year everyone!

Judging by how things have started, this is going to be the year of Korean. I have studied Mandarin because it's useful and interesting, but I've never actually fallen in love with the language. So my wanderlust has been especially severe during these last few years of focusing on Mandarin. As the world transitioned into a new year, a Hangul-shaped switch flipped in my head. And so for the last few weeks I've been going full steam ahead with improving my Korean. I had left it off at a decent intermediate level, and it's been seamless getting back into the swing of things. I'm reading a Korean novel, reading several articles a day, watching lots of Youtube, occasionally consulting my Korean grammar bible. I finished watching Start-Up and started watching Vagabond. What a breath of fresh air it's been. I'm going to just keep going on this track and see how far I get.

I probably say this every year, but I should really get a foothold in the Romance languages. I'm setting a concrete goal this year, to read my first novel in French. I'll keep working on Mandarin listening on the side. I'll probably keep dabbling with Russian and Italian.

As far as recent reading goes, I finished Die Entdeckung des Himmels, which was a great read and had plenty of interesting language tidbits, as one of the main characters is a linguist. I also read Race War in High School, the Ten-Year Destruction of Franklin K. Lane High School in Brooklyn by Harold Saltzman. Currently I'm reading the mystery novel 아홉개의 숲 (Nine Forest) by Choi Rin.
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DaveAgain
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Re: Lichtrausch's Log: The Sinosphere and Indoeuropean

Postby DaveAgain » Sat Jan 20, 2024 11:37 am

lichtrausch wrote:As far as recent reading goes, I finished Die Entdeckung des Himmels, which was a great read and had plenty of interesting language tidbits, as one of the main characters is a linguist.
The French edition of that has a super cover. :-) (I've not read it!)
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lichtrausch
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Re: Lichtrausch's Log: The Sinosphere and Indoeuropean

Postby lichtrausch » Fri Feb 23, 2024 4:26 am

When I studied Korean before, I tended not to explore the etymologies of native Korean words because the only etymological information Naver provided was Chinese characters for Sino-Korean words. But I've found that this has made my vocab building weaker for native Korean words. Slower acquisition, shakier retention. So I've recently been remedying that deficit by looking up such etymologies with wiktionary and Google. It helps that wiktionary has improved a lot for Korean and that I can now understand explanations in Korean without much difficulty. I already feel more comfortable with native Korean vocabulary.

One thing I really enjoy doing with my languages is using them to learn more about the places where they are spoken. With Mandarin I've done this for mainland China and Taiwan, but I didn't think that Mandarin's position in Malaysian society was strong enough for there to be much interesting content of this nature. Well praise be to the Youtube algorithm, it pointed me toward content of exactly this type. For example, this discussion round (English subtitles) about relations between Peninsular Malaysia and the Bornean provinces of Sarawak and Sabah. Peninsular Malaysians apparently tend to view these latter provinces as unsophisticated backwaters, which leads to unfortunate prejudices like thinking people there live in trees and have to ride in a boat for days in order to visit the peninsula. (They fly.)

I finished reading 아홉개의 숲 (Nine Forest) and also read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland because I kept coming across references to it. I started reading A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens and read the first half of 붉은 칼 (The Red Sword) by Bora Chung.

There's a term on the back cover of Chung's novel that really confused me: 나선정벌 (Naseon Jeongbeol). I read it as the "conquest (jeongbeol) of the helix (naseon)" (螺旋征伐), which was strange because the context has nothing to do with DNA. Some googling led me to discover that "naseon" is an obsolete word for "Russia" (羅禪), and "Naseon Jeongbeol" (the Russian Campaign) is the term used in Korean historical records to refer to the Sino-Korean allied expeditions against Russians in the mid 17th century.
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vonPeterhof
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Re: Lichtrausch's Log: The Sinosphere and Indoeuropean

Postby vonPeterhof » Fri Feb 23, 2024 7:10 am

lichtrausch wrote:There's a term on the back cover of Chung's novel that really confused me: 나선정벌 (Naseon Jeongbeol). I read it as the "conquest (jeongbeol) of the helix (naseon)" (螺旋征伐), which was strange because the context has nothing to do with DNA. Some googling led me to discover that "naseon" is an obsolete word for "Russia" (羅禪), and "Naseon Jeongbeol" (the Russian Campaign) is the term used in Korean historical records to refer to the Sino-Korean allied expeditions against Russians in the mid 17th century.

Interesting. My first association with 나선 would have been the North Korean city officially known as 라선, most likely because it's still often referred to as "Nason" in Russian media. Apparently Soviet Korea specialists were unimpressed by North Korea's decision to prescribe spelling pronunciations of word-initial ㄹ in Sino-Korean words and they usually chose to ignore it in things like place name transliterations.
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lichtrausch
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Re: Lichtrausch's Log: The Sinosphere and Indoeuropean

Postby lichtrausch » Wed Mar 27, 2024 3:10 pm

붉은 칼 (The Red Sword) ended up being disappointing. It had a promising premise (invasion of an alien world from the point of view of the aggressor's slaves), but the writing and overall execution was just poor. A Tale of Two Cities was quite interesting, partially because I knew so little about the French Revolution and general life in the London and Paris of that era. I also read a collection of Korean folktales for learners. The language level was a little too easy, but the grammar sections covered a surprising amount of ground, providing me with some useful reviews.

I'm currently reading the mystery 부유하는 혼 (Drifting Spirits) by Hwang Hee and Korea: A History by Eugene Y. Park. I finished watching Vagabond and now I'm watching Doctor Slump. Both shows have supporting characters that speak the Gyeongsang dialect, which I find pretty challenging.
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DaveAgain
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Re: Lichtrausch's Log: The Sinosphere and Indoeuropean

Postby DaveAgain » Thu Mar 28, 2024 10:35 am

lichtrausch wrote:A Tale of Two Cities was quite interesting, partially because I knew so little about the French Revolution and general life in the London and Paris of that era.
You might like Stefan Zweig's biographies of Marie Antoinette/Joseph Fouché.
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