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 Post subject: Which language would you choose to learn?
Post #1 Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 10:50 pm 
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A local college offers extension courses in foreign languages and I figured I might enroll in one that could help me learn more about go. I'd like to hear your thoughts:

1. If you had time/resources and wanted to learn a new language to further your knowledge of go, which one would you choose, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean?

2. What are you personal favorite learning resources about go (courses, lectures, books, whatever), in any language, that aren't available in English?

3. What books about go would you like the most to be published in English?

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 Post subject: Re: Which language would you choose to learn?
Post #2 Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:29 am 
Judan

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For me: Chinese, for WeiqiTV.
How strong are you? My impression is that for dan players interested in more advanced lectures, latest pro and AI ideas WeiqiTV is better than Korean BadukTV or KBaduk. The Weiqi Tiandi magazine also looks good. What I've seen from BadukTV has tended to be more beginner and intermediate. Of course they might also have more advanced lectures I've not seen, and WeiqiTV likewise more beginner stuff. I believe WeiqiTV is legally available for internet subscription outside China, whereas BadukTV may not be available outside Korea unless you resort to illegal torrents. I suppose I should mention Japan too, if you like reading books rather than videos that's probably good (and lots more history).

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 Post subject: Re: Which language would you choose to learn?
Post #3 Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 2:21 am 
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Assembler ;-)


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 Post subject: Re: Which language would you choose to learn?
Post #4 Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:25 am 
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I wouldn't choose the language only according to go content, but also according to the following criteria:
  • Which country would you like to visit most often?
  • Which people are most likely to interact with?


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 Post subject: Re: Which language would you choose to learn?
Post #5 Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:34 am 
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Knotwilg wrote:
Assembler ;-)


And after you have become fluent in the assembler, you can learn how to take the output of a disassembler and rewrite it into more human readable form. That's real fun << the sort of thing you do when the source code got lost >>

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 Post subject: Re: Which language would you choose to learn?
Post #6 Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:52 am 
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jlt wrote:
I wouldn't choose the language only according to go content, but also according to the following criteria:
  • Which country would you like to visit most often?
  • Which people are most likely to interact with?

And, possibly:
- which language will be most useful in your work/business
- which language will help you most when studying other languages
- which language gives you most access to online/tv/radio/printed content (other than just go-related) you are interested in
- how hard will it be to get to a "useful" level
etc.

WRT the two points quoted above, I would also consider whether the people speak other languages than their own. E.g. let's say I visited Netherlands/interacted with Dutch people a lot (which I don't IRL). I still probably wouldn't study Dutch first, since in my experience the Dutch people usually speak excellent English (or German).

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 Post subject: Re: Which language would you choose to learn?
Post #7 Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:03 pm 
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answer is simple: what interests you most

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Post #8 Posted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:41 am 
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Of the three, Korean is probably the easiest, as it uses something resembling an alphabet. That takes some getting used to, as does the grammar which is quite different from that of English. Both Chinese and Japanese require years of study before you can read a book, so if you want to learn one of these languages, it will be some time before you can use them for your go. I started with Chinese 5 years ago and still struggle with anything not written for a learner. On the other hand, I have also started to dabble in Japanese and Korean, and my experience with Chinese is useful for both. In any case, reading go books is probably not sufficient motivation in itself to put in the work to learn one of these languages. If you have other motivations, go for it, but if you are just into go, there are tons of great books written in English...

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 Post subject: Re: Which language would you choose to learn?
Post #9 Posted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:31 am 
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daal wrote:
Of the three, Korean is probably the easiest, as it uses something resembling an alphabet. That takes some getting used to, as does the grammar which is quite different from that of English. Both Chinese and Japanese require years of study before you can read a book, so if you want to learn one of these languages, it will be some time before you can use them for your go.


I have experience in both Korean and Japanese, and would offer a different viewpoint. It's true that hangul is easy to learn, and takes much less time than learning thousands of Chinese characters. But that just lets you "read" how something *sounds* - it doesn't help you to understand any sort of meaning. So if your goal is to just sound stuff out, without knowing what it means, then hangul is great.

But as a non-native speaker of Korean, when I'm reading text, I miss the kanji I have in Japanese. While true that it takes awhile to learn Chinese characters, since they have meaning associated with them, they provide great hints toward the meaning of a word that you might not otherwise know. If I've learned 学、but don't know 学校, I have a very good hint toward the meaning of the word - it may have something to do with learning. But in a purely phonetic alphabet, while you may have a hint from the sound, but you're guessing much more than you are when the character is there.

Note that if your focus is on speaking with someone, then Chinese characters are less helpful, since you don't see them when someone is talking (that'd be cool, though).

But for written language, Chinese characters are extremely helpful in understanding meaning quickly. If you don't believe me, compare reading a Japanese novel written purely in hiragana vs. one written with kanji. You'll find that the latter is much easier to grock.

Added bonus: Chinese characters help in multiple languages (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean since many Korean words are based off of Chinese characters).

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 Post subject: Re: Which language would you choose to learn?
Post #10 Posted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:34 pm 
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daal wrote:
Both Chinese and Japanese require years of study before you can read a book, so if you want to learn one of these languages, it will be some time before you can use them for your go.


Me, I just look at the pictures. ;)

Well, I pretty much did when I was getting started reading go books in Japanese. And, looking at margin notes in some of my go books at the time, I only saw one diagram that I completely misunderstood. ;) Besides, not knowing the language very well means you have to do some thinking to try to understand the diagrams. OTOH, if you do not understand the language at all, you might as well use a bot.

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