So yesterday after class there was some minor lunch drama; I was happy to teach Taiwan Amy the phrase “like herding cats.” That’s one of my favorite similes in English.
We ended up at Coda, which is the North American comfort food restaurant run by some Canadians. I ordered the Chicken Cordon Bleu burger, which was good, but upon further reflection I might have liked it better if I had taken it off the bun and eaten it with a fork and knife. Not everything has to be a burger, you know. Later I realized I had eaten just another 雞排。
I hung out with Pashan T at Picapica, which 喬丹 has renamed “Pikachu” so that’s that. Around 5pm I went home to take a nap, which may seem geriatric to you… but it’s so, so part of an expat summer language study lifestyle it’s not even questioned. That nap is on the calendar, kids.
Afterwords, Pashan T and I met again for dinner, and he had the brilliant idea of going to Taipei 101. We started at the food court.
Here’s the deal; Americans are good at making gross food courts and feeling gross about them. What is that? Taiwan, on the other hand, basically IS one contiguous food court; an island of impossible small kitchens and public places to sit. So we picked the Indian kitchen, which isn’t the French Laundry, but it isn’t the Factoria Mall Food Circus either. We got a tandoori chicken and a chicken in cream sauce; served with nan but no rice. It’s Taiwan so they 送’ed us the soup and salad.
Later we made our way up to the observatory on the 89th floor, and then the 92nd floor rooftop balcony. We could see a thunderstorm flashing to the southwest, and they’ve engineered the safety barriers to whistle a clear note in the wind. It’s really more of a ringing than a whistle. Later we made our way down to the obscenely showy coral products showroom and then back down to the ground.br />
We found our way to a food court where I had a little cup of ice cream. There was a takoyaki stand there that I’m quite excited about, but I wasn’t hungry at the time.
So the two vocabulary items that I have a crush on are 星際異攻隊 “Guardians of the Galaxy” and 復仇者聯盟 “The Avengers.” Of course, the verb “to avenge” is so connected with “to swear, to vow” that I use the whole chunk in my sample sentence 我發誓為你復仇！”I SWEAR TO AVENGE YOU!” which is a surprisingly entertaining thing to say in daily life here in Taipei.
Also fun to say are: 我發誓對你的敵人復仇！”I VOW TO EXACT VENGEANCE UPON YOUR ENEMIES!” and 我要對你發誓復仇！”I SHALL SWEAR SHALL TAKE MY REVENGE AGAINST YOU!” It turns out I really love saying those things to people.
Another word I had a crush on yesterday was 章魚燒 taokyaki. Pashan T’s crush vocabulary was 漂浮 “to hover/to float,” in the context of 漂浮冰咖啡 “an iced coffee float.”
I spent a lot of yesterday trying to write a language learning post; I wanted to list the principles I follow. The post was getting away from me so I left it for another day, but here are the principles.
1) The Language Learning Instinct is available to us at all ages. It may be different than when we were babies, but it still happens by instinct rather than by force of will.
2) All language learning is local.
3) Practice four skills with real people.
4) Language Immersion should be relationship-based (as opposed to based on time or location).
5) Don’t memorize vocab; have a crush on it until you own it.
6) Using textbook grammar in the wild is worth a hundred points.
7) Your brain has it’s own timetable. It’s not a contest.
8) We learn from mistakes; so for the love of all that’s dear MAKE MISTAKES.
So that’s a list of eight random principles I follow in language learning; I don’t know if there are more or if I can make some coalesce. I’m not sure if I can rank them or explain them, or make people believe them. I’ll try to write some posts explaining these principles in the future.<