glass_icarus: (sott: euphemism)
[personal profile] littlebutfierce asked about my adventures with French, which I have to say are not exactly... progressing, lol. I spend most of my time in my monolingual school bubble, which means I'm not used to switching gears outside it, which restricts my listening comprehension and vocab more than they otherwise would be (judging by my experiences in Chinese-speaking environments). My ability to parse the Quebec accent is maybe marginally better when my brain flips the switch, but I still can't understand most of what dance-buddy S is saying. To be fair, he's from rural Quebec, so his accent is more pronounced than most other people's I've encountered. I don't think my reading comprehension has deteriorated super badly, as I've had no trouble grading assignments written in French or reading emails or fb group messages with Francophone friends. Text is more forgiving for me, in French- I'm better at working out meanings through context through reading than listening. It's completely different than Chinese, in that sense, where illiteracy means I'm always working at comprehension the other way around.

In terms of French news/podcast-type listening sources, my adventures are basically non-ventures, alas. I've never found a good way to integrate those into my daily routine, and I try to avoid youtube spiraling for reasons of productivity, but music seems like it would be more promising? I'd appreciate any song/artist recs people have!
glass_icarus: (french quarter)
So! 3 months into the move, I'm still living in a mostly-English-speaking bubble. This is annoying, as the language thing is really standing in the way of non-school social integration, exploration, and other things. Yesterday a friend of mine posted this Quebecois pour les nuls video, and I realized that if I can't reliably get my friends to speak French to me, there are other ways to go about it!

Therefore: any recommendations for French-language videos? Songs? Podcasts? News sources? Taking any and all suggestions, but I need to hear it more than I need to read it- I have an easier time of comprehension/recall when I have text in front of me; it's things like slang and pronunciation that trip me up.
glass_icarus: (junjou: akihiko hiroki [JR artbook])
Multifandom treat meme is still open! I haven't managed to fill anything yet since I have to prepare for a presentation this week, but in the meantime, prompt away! I'm just getting started, promise. :D

♣ This week's booklog:
+ Blade of the Immortal, v.1-2: I read these at Book-Off last week and it hasn't quite sucked me in (yet? haha), but I thought the mechanism of immortality was an interesting premise. Thoughts/opinions? Is this a series I should invest more time in?
+ Reader and Raelynx, Sharon Shinn: More interesting than the other Twelve Houses book that I picked up, definitely.
+ Troubled Waters, Sharon Shinn: I think this is my favorite out of all the Shinn books I've read so far. I loled at some "science what science" aspects of the worldbuilding, but since this is more on the fantasy side of SF/F, that was okay. Also, I found this setting much more intriguing than the Samaria or Twelve Houses ones.

♣ Found a new EP via angry asian man (soundcloud stream & free download at the link)! This has been a year of shiny new music for me; I'm quite enjoying Bright Vices. *___*

♣ Anyone interested in makeup blogs? Obviously tips and recs are never universal, but I spent an afternoon in a vortex of shiny pictures/etc. on sweet little place (mostly in French) and frmheadtotoe (thanks for the link, [personal profile] vi!).

♣ Random home remedy that my mom showed me recently: carve out the ends of an Asian pear, put it in a bowl, add some salt/rock sugar in the hole where the stem was, and steam it. The pear and its juices are supposed to be good for your throat/if you have a cough.

♣ And now for something completely hilarrible! Mandarin-speakers (I don't know if this also scans in Cantonese): 一只小白加一只小白是什麼?
glass_icarus: (saving face: wil train)
+ Via [personal profile] vi: The Name and the Face by Juliana Qian

+ Via [personal profile] happydork: adorable basketball rivalry video! )

+ Via angry asian man: Jeremy Lin in Taipei )

+ And because I'm super belated about most things fandom these days: prompt post at [community profile] kuroko_no_basket (which I've only been ogling since, er, it first went up >.>)!

» eta; Don't forget to sign up for Kaleidoscope!
glass_icarus: (avatar: momo)
Still not very around; however, if you have a spare, er, hour and a half, the following might interest some of you? (JOHN CHO & MAXINE HONG KINGSTON ON A PANEL OMG *____*)



(ps: youtube has a dl link.)

&hearts!!
glass_icarus: (saiyuki: kenten)
There are a few things I meant to post, but since I've spent all week trying to recover my brain, have some links instead:

+ Via [personal profile] eccentricyoruba, FSI Language Courses and Nnedi Okorafor's The Go-Slow!
+ [personal profile] vi posted some excellent notes on SBS's Immigration Nation.
+ You Have Two Voices by Nancy Prasad (@ [community profile] forkedtongues)
+ Shiny things for sale at ChunInda!
+ And more shiny things at [livejournal.com profile] con_or_bust.
+ Avaaz is working to blackout-proof protests in Libya, Bahrain, and other nations in the Middle East.
+ [personal profile] colorblue posted libya note.
+ [personal profile] troisroyaumes posted an interesting assortment of links.
+ There is an Alexander McQueen exhibition that will open at the Met in May. *____*

Also, fangirl dinner tonight! I am excite. :3
glass_icarus: (french quarter)
Pre-Montreal tab-clearing! Have a good weekend, lovelies; I'll see you on the other side. &hearts

+ This list of the 15 most overrated contemporary American writers makes me wonder just what Anis Shivani's definition of "contemporary" is. (My list would include Dan Brown and Stephenie Meyer, just sayin'...) Still, the snark was enjoyable to read!

+ Mao's Last Dancer looks shiny.

+ Shiny, shiny, shiny boots of leather, Devil Wears Prada fic by [personal profile] woldy! UNF.

+ Troy Polamalu's hair is insured for a million bucks. Why do I suspect that this is less whimsical than it first appears?

+ MC Jin's rapping in Cantonese these days. (Interesting commentary on bilingualism!)

+ This Tina & Mike still via angry asian man is HOT, y'all. People who are still watching Glee, promise to let me know if I should poke my head in just to watch that scene? ;)

+ Rambutans in Puerto Rico! ... I have still never tasted a rambutan. ;____; Someday I can has??
glass_icarus: (geisha)
Lots of interesting things popping up on my reading list today:

+ [personal profile] megwrites's we are the knights who say "no!"
+ [personal profile] miss_haitch's review of Gaslight Dogs
+ [livejournal.com profile] shaggydogstail's Sirius Black love post
+ more A:TLA/ATLoK fanart links of glee from [personal profile] inkstone
+ [personal profile] such_heights's utterly gorgeous New Directions, which I was lucky enough to see first (& also it is her first A:TLA fic, yesssss! *\o/*)

-- but ahhh, nothing hit me quite like [personal profile] vi's fantastic poem mother tongue. &hearts

I've talked about language before (the tongue that I lost, the name I forgot), but every time I come back to the subject there's always more to say, and more that I don't know how to say.

This is a shore that I never leave: )
glass_icarus: (Default)
*Reposted here for the second Asian Women Blog Carnival.

My name is 張玉涵, and for the last seventeen years, I didn't remember it. )

I said I had no words for this, and it is true, because a simple thank you can never be enough, but- thank you, [livejournal.com profile] drelfina. That means more than you can ever know. &hearts
glass_icarus: (Default)
Here in the United States, there is an English as a Second Language exam that they administer to multilingual students. I have always had a certain facility with languages; even though I moved to America two years before I was enrolled in kindergarten, my familiarity with English was so far beyond my peers that I never had to take it. I was reading chapter-books and learning dinosaur names by the time most of my classmates were learning to spell. I have no memory of even being approached on the subject of ESL, although eighteen years have passed since then and my memories of elementary school have always been rather hazy and attached to a feeling of general boredom/isolation.

I speak, I write, I read English as if it were my first language because I love languages, yes. What the ESL test and the American school system don't recognize: I do so also because I lost my mother tongue when I was three.

My clearest memories of my early childhood are these:

I never went to Chinese school on Saturdays with all the other children in our area. My mother tried to take me once, but I was so intimidated that I cried inconsolably until the teacher called her to take me home again, not an hour later. I never set foot in that school again. My mother tried to teach me herself, for a while: there were a few times that she brought out her brush pen and ink and wrote strokes for me to copy on paper. I dreamed of music though, as a child, and because my parents loved me and were indulgent, I spent all my weekends thereafter learning to play the piano and the violin, until the pens and inks were eventually put away.

I went to kindergarten, curious and very small and as shy as I was eager to make friends. At the age of five, I wanted to be like everyone else, so much so that on my first spelling test, I misspelt "apple" deliberately so I wouldn't stand out too much. My teacher knew that I knew better, so she confronted me in front of my parents. My mother shouted at me then, not understanding, I think, my need to be liked; was it not better to excel? Was it not better to learn more, better, faster than everyone else, so that I could go somewhere, become something? Something beyond all the other (white) children, she didn't say; somewhere I would be recognized and lauded despite the color of my skin. I realize these things only in retrospect, of course. Back then, I simply nodded and turned in test after perfect test, and mostly sat alone reading my books during recess.

There are Chinese picture-books that I remember reading before I ever set foot in an American school. I had a set of books about a family of mice, beautifully illustrated; I had a set of Chinese folktale books. I vaguely recall a book with animal butts as well, though the subject escapes me now. I even had an audio version, in Mandarin, of Journey to the West, which my parents played in the car sometimes when we were driving long distances. I'm certain there were many others, lost to time and circumstance. My parents read to me on occasion because it was a thing we all enjoyed, but I spent many afternoons sitting by myself, happily devouring page after colorful page, word after beautiful word.

My mother likes to tell these stories: how she taught me over 2,000 characters when I was a baby, using flash cards, and how I pointed to each word with perfect comprehension as she spoke. How I read piles of books voraciously- both silently and aloud- all by myself. How I once recited flawlessly all the Tang poetry I'd heard from my mother. How I once spoke Mandarin with a perfect Beijing accent, that curl of the tongue which neither of my parents possess. How the sum of my knowledge, at three years old, was greater than the pieces left now to crumble slowly in my hands. If I picked up one of those picture-books today, I wouldn't be able to read a single page, in its entirety.

There are some losses that I cannot now remedy. I am ten years past the optimal learning period, and though my language skills are not entirely lost to disuse, the grace by which I learned during childhood, at least, is long gone. I have tried both in high school and in college to reclaim my language; both times, I had to prioritize absorbing science over re-absorbing my mother tongue. But even if I started, at this very minute, to learn Chinese again, I could not now recreate the wonder of reading those picture-books for the very first time, or ask my grandparents- three of them now dead- to tell me their family stories. I could not now think or dream in Chinese the way that I do in English, the thought-patterns of my early childhood irrevocably overwritten. Even if I started now to learn the poetry of Du Fu and Li Bai, most of the nuances and secondary meanings would still be filtered through the knowledge of my tutors or of my parents, absorbed secondhand. Even if I reclaimed my mother tongue today, I would always have these caveats, my mastery always fragmented and not-quite-complete.

English was my second language, but it might as well have been my first. Even though I was never tested, these are the scars that I will always bear.

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just another fork-tongued dragon lady

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