TIL: Influent, and Human Japanese Ch 6.


So, a week after buying it, I found myself with a spare moment and decided to give Influent a shot. I’m not 100% sure how in-depth the software goes, as I’ve only put an hour and a half into it so far, but it seems like a pretty good flash card system for memorizing nouns. Apparently adjectives and verbs are also part of the vocabulary. Honestly, even after just the session today it seems like 400 is an extremely small number of words…. but considering I got it for free (by selling Steam trading cards for credit on my account), I’ve already got my money’s worth.

Influent is a language teaching game available on Steam.

As I said, the game essentially acts as a flash card system. You look around your apartment, click on things, and it will tell you both textually and aurally what it is you’ve clicked on. Add it to your “list” and when you get 10 items in a list, you can test yourself. The game will tell you the words in random order and you try to find them as fast as you can. You only ever have 10 at a time, and so you can organize it however you want. As you get even more lists, you can also choose to randomly choose 10 words from everything that you’ve gathered.

It’s working. I mean… it’s tricky to learn a new language, since there’s so much memorization involved. I’d say this is a good way of doing it. It’s very visual, and I personally feel that it works better this way than if they were 2D illustrations, or photos. Or worse, simple text translation.

At the moment, I’ve only just finished reviewing Hiragana… which means that unfortunately I’m struggling with the text aspect of the game. I decided to play using kana rather than kanji, and while the majority is in Hiragana, there are a good number that are in Katakana. I just can’t recognize those… I never put the effort into learning them that I should have. So hopefully, over the next week I’m able to learn them for realsies.

I am able to do quite well based on the audio though. Which, I guess is great. Hopefully I can find a decent resource for learning more vocabulary with audio. The Genki books keep coming up as being a prime source for learning… and they apparently come with an audio cd as well.

I will say, it’s mildly disappointing that saves aren’t done through Steam Cloud. It’s always annoying when you can’t easily move saves from one computer to another. Thankfully this isn’t the sort of game that really requires you to rigorously defeat difficult bosses… but it’d still be nice. It’d also be nice if the game got an expansion pack. Even if it were just the hallways/stairs/elevators etc of the apartment building that your character lives in. It is mildly addicting.

I suspect I’m going to pick up listening quite quickly, but even though I can identify the words that are presented to me, I’ve got no ability at the moment to recall the words to be able to just speak them from the top of my head. I suspect that I’ll be able to keep busy on this game for a while longer. Especially if I want to also learn the kanji.

At any rate, here’s a list of the 50 words I’ve begun to learn. I just discovered that I can switch between Katakana and Hiragana by using ctrl + capslock, and alt + capslock:

ベッド – bed
くつした – sock
もうふ – blanket
まくら – pillow
ズボン – pants
けいたい – phone
かぎたば – keys
さいふ – wallet
うわばき – slippers
したぎ – underwear
ラグ – rug
めざましどけい – alarm clock
ほん – book
めがね – glasses
たんす – dresser
ポスター – poster
ランプ – lamp
エアコン – air conditioner
ひきだし – drawer
スケートボード – skateboard
コンセント – outlet
グローブ – baseball glove
バット – baseball bat
ワードローブ – wardrobe
ドア – door
ドアフレーム – door frame
やきゆう – baseball
せんたくかご – laundry basket
せんざい – laundry detergent
でんき – light
まんが – manga
はこ – box
ちゃきんばご – piggy bank
せいかんざい – deodorant
はみがき – tooth paste
くすり – pills
シャツ – shirt
ネクタイ – neck tie
スカーフ – scarf
サイコロ – dice
ハンガー – coat hanger
ビタミン – vitamins
しゃしん – photograph
めいし – business card
ろんぶん – report
けいじばん – bulletin board
でんきすいっち – light switch
ごみいれ – trash can
ふせん – label
こよみ – calendar

That took a while to transcribe, given that I don’t know the Katakana 🙁

Human Japanese Ch 6

Making progress through Human Japanese

Alright, thankfully it’s not all newness today, else my brain would probably explode. Whilst on the treadmill at lunch I re-listened to Pimsleur 1-3, which I took in much better the second time around. Human Japanese also is about Greetings. Since I took a little bit of Japanese a few years back, this (as with the Hiragana) is actually just a bit of review.

おはようごさいます – good morning (literally “it’s early”) not used much after 10 am
こんいちは – good day
こんばんは – good evening (from 6pm until 3am!)
おやすみなさい – good night (used both to say good night, and to say good bye at night)
どうもありがとうございます – thank-you very much
どういたしまして – you’re welcome
はじめまして – pleased to meet you (used only the first time you meet someone)
どうぞよろしく – please be good to me

And then some basic vocabulary:

ーです – is/am
おじぎ – bow
おなまえ – your name
おなまえはなんですか。 – your name is?
おげんきですか。 – are you well?
げんきです – I’m well
はい – yes
いいえ – no
にほん – Japan
アメリカ – America
カナダ – Canada
ーじん – a person from –
にほんじん – Japanese
カナダじん – Canadian

ん has a way of picking up the sounds around it. For example konban wa tends to sound more like komban wa – and genki tends to sound more like gengki. “This effect is called euphony, which is a fancy way of saying that people cut corners in speech now and then.” Basically, n sounds get a hint of whatever syllable comes after.

Bowing is common in Japan, and the person with lower status bows lower. I’d have thought that being a foreigner might mean that that rule doesn’t apply… but apparently it applies more-so. Go figure.

おげんきですか。 literally means, “are you well?”. It’s a yes or no question. It’s also not asked as frequently as the English “How’s it going?” or “How are you?” where we don’t even care about what the answer is. Definitely not the same as the England “Alright?”. More likely to be used between friends that haven’t seen each other in a while.

And we’re going to start with the Katakana now! Katakana tend to be hard and angular vs the Hiragana curves. As demonstrated above with the Influent stuff, vowels are extended using a ー rather than with an additional vowel. So ああ would be the same as アー.
ア – keep in mind that the downward stroke doesn’t curve immediately, but goes straightish a bit before curving.
イ – the vertical is straight and solid, with no hane.
ウ – the first stroke is in the center. 1,2, and the first half of 3 are all perfectly straight.
エ – it’s kind of like a flattened I. It’s slightly wider than it is tall.
オ – the second stroke shouldn’t quite touch the first. The first and third intersect at 90 degrees.

I definitely don’t remember Katakana as well as Hiragana. This is going to take more effort to get memorized.

カ – very similar to か. keep in mind the 90 degree angle at the right, and the hane at the bottom right.
キ – very similar to き. it leans left slightly, and all angles are 100% perpendicular
ク – two slight curves, and the horizontal line
ケ – “Obviously ke differs from ku in that the second stroke is longer. But also notice that the placement of the second stroke is slightly lower, so that it meets the first stroke in the middle, not as high up as in ku.”
コ – It’s subtle, but just as with エ, it’s slightly wider than it is tall. Also keep in mind the slight jut at the bottom right.

We apply ten-ten, just as with Hiragana
カ キ ク ケ コ
ガ ギ グ ゲ ゴ

It’s not so bad with some review. Just need some practice. The Human Japanese phrases are actually throwing me off quite a bit with it’s use of spaces toward the end of the chapter! It’s really weird to read Japanese with spaces.