December 12, 2006
I finished my card game
I finished making a special deck of cards for my Korean Hangul/Hanja studies. Due to this project becoming extremely complex quickly, I narrowed the focus to the dual number systems, Pure Korean and Sino-Korean. Now I have a set of mock-up cards I can play with to further test and develop learning games for myself and others. Hey, just making the cards I learned most of the characters by heart, so maybe the making of the game is a good way to learn. Just wait until I start playing games with them! I may never be able to forget these Hanja characters. ever.
So I ended up with 21 sets of three cards for a total of 63 cards. With this deck I can play games like rummy, go fish, matching games like concentration, solitaire (putting the numbers in order?) etc. Each set contains three cards, one for the Native Korean word, the Hanja character and the Hangul pronunciation of the Hanja. I combined two different card designs I found into one to make the cards more versatile. Each card shows the other cards in the set along the side. There is no english language anywhere on the cards.
I need a good catchy title in Korean for my numbers game cards so I can make the back. Maybe something simple like the Hanja for the word "Number(s)."
Since I don't have a language partner, I have to design games I can play by myself but also that I can teach to others quickly so If I have the opportunity to play with someone else studying Korean, the barriers are low.
December 3, 2006
Liebig's law of the minimum
This morning I started applying the scientific method to my learning of languages. First I gathered 6 books I have on language learning as resources. I listed the references and made notes about them. Then on another page I created a list of problems or 'bottlenecks' in my learning, such as retention. (Theory of Constraints, TOC.) And then tonight when I was researching process change and TOC for work, I ran across a name for one thing I intuitively noticed this morning about my language learning; That in my list of bottlenecks to learning Korean, or even improving my language learning process, the amount of resources available to me were not a limiter. After all I had six books on just language learning sitting in front of me. I have shelves full of language materials in several languages and I rented one Korean video out of thousands available this past week.
Liebig's law of the minimum states that growth is controlled not by the total of resources available, but by the scarcest resource. Increasing the overall amount of resources does not increase the learning. Only by increasing the amount of the limiting resource, the one most 'scarce' in relation to need, can the learning be improved. Several of those are Study time, a good multi-track learning plan, practice, memory and motivation. Language materials alone do not guarantee we will learn and retain and recall later when needed.
Barry Farber in his book, How to learn any language, made a good point. Many people spend a lot of money on books and cassettes and they end up on the shelf or in the closet getting dusty. Liebig's law of the minimum says that the availablilty of materials are not limiting my acquisition of knowledge or growth in my learning abilty, but something else is needed more.
At work, Liebig's law of the minimum applies equally. I list out the resources available and the bottlenecks and realize that it's not the availability of resources holding up the production. Throwing more software at it won't solve the problem. Knowledge of how to use the software effectively is part of the problem but not the scarcest resource.
And so I learn to learn.
March 13, 2005
Елизавета has a new site with a lot of great information and links on learning Russian. She just posted the updated link in a comment to one of my posts. One thing I find fascinating and encouraging is to see people like her that are learning languages on their own. I originally found her site through a Korean language learnerís site, 강미, who also has a self-study program and a blog about learning the language. Елизавета also speaks French and has a lot of knowledge about Linguistics which is my major at the University. If you are studying Russian or Korean these are good sources. Iím adding a link to Елизаветаís site and 강미ís site to my link bar so itís easier to find.
I have seen in their blogs many of the same kinds of language learning and motivation problems Iím facing. Often I get off track and let it slip for a while, but then realize itís been too long and have to redirect myself onto a continuous learning program, daily in order for it to be effective. And essentially Iíve already determined that Iím going to learn these languages, so there is no better time than now. There is no-one else who can learn them for me; it takes a concerted effort on my part.
If you are learning Russian or Korean, or just interested in languages, check out these blogs. They have a lot of good tips for language learning.
January 5, 2005
What does it really mean?
What does it mean to "reflect society?" I'm not going to get deep or philosophical here, just point out an interesting Ad I saw in a magazine today. It was an Ad by Altria, the Parent company of Kraft Foods, Philip Morris International and Philip Morris USA.
I have to retype the Ad in it's entirety to show what I mean. You decipher it yourself and see what they are really saying. What is the purpose of this Ad?
"THE EVOLVING RESPONSIBILITY OF BUSINESS TO REFLECT SOCIETY
by the parent company of Kraft Foods, Philip Morris International and Philip Morris USA.
What makes a responsible company? Over years and even decades, the answers from society to this question have evolved considerably.
At Altria Group, the ways in which we are striving to meet societal expectations also continue to evolve. An important element is our commitment to listen to all sectors of society, including our companies' critics. Not just to detect shifts in society's expectations, but to respond honestly and positively when we hear them.
We know that the right structures and processes must be in place throughout our companies so that the letter and spirit of laws are followed. But even more than this, the right values and skills must be instilled in our people. Each of our companies is working so that these things are in place.
As a company that is the parent of both food and tobacco companies we know we have a role to play. Our commitment to employees, shareholders, our companies' consumers, regulators and society as a whole is to continually make progress as we move forward.
Our name is the Altria Group."
Wow. I guess they really are a responsible company that makes weapons of mass destruction. Hey it's not their fault that people use them. This article to me is so full of corporate spin that it's hard to tell what they are actually saying. For instance, "As a company that is a parent of both food and tobacco companies we know we have a role to play." That's nice but they don't elaborate what role or why.
Also, I really like, "Our commitment ... is to continually make progress as we move forward." Make progress at what? Playing a role?
This is the same way politicians win our hearts, by using key words like 'quality' 'commitment', 'progress', 'evolved', 'honestly', 'positively, 'responsible' and 'patriotic' without substantial meaning behind them.
December 10, 2004
A Question for you
Iím just going to ask a question that I hope you can help me with. This is part of my experience today. I would like to hear from those more experienced at writing scholarly papers. Last night I read a thesis that used some arguments to support ideas that I feel are not legitimate arguments, since they are not based on facts, but rather based on the absence of fact. An example of this is this:
ďSince Mr. James did not hire any women in his company in leadership roles (a company of about 15 employees) it is apparent that he was against women holding these positions. Mr. James is a respected businessman in the community and his success has presented us with the model of how a successful business should be run. If women were meant for these roles then Mr. James would have known that and would have taken advantage of it.
Women were not meant for leadership roles. They are not capable of performing to the same level as men in this capacity. To be successful in business and minimize the risk of failure we should stick to models that have been proven to work. And Mr. James has set the standard for us.Ē
Can we really guess a personís attitudes and motives because of something he did not do? In some cases we might be right by guessing, but lacking evidence is not evidence in itself. In the example I gave Mr. James might not have had any female applicants. Also, just because Mr. James was successful in business using men, does not mean that women would not also be successful in the same positions. There is no evidence supporting that, since we donít know what a woman would do in those positions unless they actually do it.
My question is about this kind of supporting evidence. In this case because there is no evidence available to us we only have thiis lack of evidence from which to draw a conclusion. In my opinion missing evidence is not evidence at all. Isn't that kind of like the argument that "If man were intended to fly, he would have been born with wings?" Lack of wings doesn't necessarily mean human beings should not fly. I think arms that cannot support flight would be good evidence to support the idea that humans cannot fly using only their bodies like birds can.
What do you think?