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(Hopefully LJ won't spew on this entry, as I've included some Chinese characters..)

I'm not actually learning Chinese, but I'm probably picking a few snippets up here and there, simply through fascination of the two volumes of "Fun with Chinese Characters" I have (no.2 and 3). In the second, I noted that the character for rabbit - 兔 - (also hare? I have to find out whether nezumi in Japanese can only mean mouse-or-rat, and if so, how to distinguish between the two), if placed beneath the symbol for "cover" - 冖 -, results in 冤, as page 81 puts it: "an inoffensive hare confined beneath a cover suggests oppression. By extension, it also means injustice and false accusation. Oppression has long established itself in human society, but, asserts the proverb, 'A house established by oppression cannot long enjoy prosperity'". (Being a paper book, though, it offers no audio, so I can't tell how they actually sound. I keep wanting to tap the characters and hear their intonation) Nifty books, in any event - every page covers one character, giving its early pictorial form, traditional and simplified forms, and a description of how compound characters were composed, along with example phrases and a stroke-by-stroke guide to writing it. It's the kind of book which, like the Penguin Dictionary of Science, is one I can open at any page, delve into, and recurse from there. Wonder if they offer the volumes in electronic form? (Ooh, an on-disk form of Grzimek.. now that'd be fabulous. Or even just Walker's)

Learning Japanese - the Linguaphone box contains what looks like a fairly reasonable package suitable for OS X (and earlier), but how good it is I'm not in the best position to judge. Any recommendations for or against? (The only absolute requisite on the technical front is OS X compatibility) I'm also going through the BBC series "Japanese: Language and People", which is a fairly elementary series (and thus ideal for me), though shying away from kanji for the most part, and to a lesser degree, Pimsleur level 1.

Good gods. When I read of the Uist hedgehog culling in the Guardian's "Pass Notes", it seemed like satire.. but it does indeed appear to be genuine.

Hm.. well, the Indian gig may yet still be a live possibility. They've unfortunately made an offer to someone else already, but do foresee further need for peeps skilled in code optimization and processor architecture, either there, or outsourced to international contractors. (There were also comparable vacancies, for which I've naturally applied, with IBM - makers of the rather luscious PPC97x and POWER families - and Motorola, on their ARM CodeWarrior team. If anybody's great uncle happens to be a hiring manager with either.. ^_^)
How do you type chinese characters? o.o
I know I've seen some of the foreign students at the uni click on the keys on a 'virtual' keyboard onscreen, as obviously the physical english keyboard doesn't have the characters.

Ooh, and it's nice to see the letters all showed up correctly here; a good job I installed the language pack for it the other week, as I needed it to view Japanese TV Listings. =;)
Hee! What series are you wanting to look up? Do you have a means of receiving Japanese broadcasts, or is this yet another wonder of the net? (Gods know, some fansub groups can turn around an episode in but a couple days from broadcast to finished, subtitled, compressed file ready for BitTorrent; itself a supremely nifty bit of technology)
The Watership Down Series is starting in Japan towards the end of the month. Obviously it doesn't matter much to me, as I already have the entire series in it's native English, however I always make a point to try and carry *any* TV listings for the programme on my website.
How neat! (Although, I should qualify that by admitting I've not seen anything of the TV series. Is it available over BT or on physical media? ISTR there only being one NTSC VHS with a couple episodes) Have they translated the series title phonetically or literally, I wonder - and what timeslot? (Though it's not uncommon for quite unlikely anime to appear in the early morning, and quite wracking material earlier. Perhaps Japanese TV executives believe there are ways of recording transmissions for viewing at one's leisure)

As far as OS X goes, it's just a matter of enabling the Chinese keyboard in the System Preferences. Then you'll have a choice of keyboard methods in the menu bar. I used one of the palettes available - click on the character you want, and it's entered. ^_^ (I do like how multinational OS X is.. I've not only the input methods, but the fonts for, Japanese, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Korean, and quite a few others. A good selection of fonts within those languages, too, nicely scalable for real work therein.

Eep! TIme to scamper off again for today. More on the morrow!
I know no Japanese at all, so can't comment specifically on that, but the linguists in my own family are unanimous that for European languages at least, the BBC courses are uniformly excellent.

And yep, the Uist thing is true; it's been reported on and off for a few months now.
Mmm, thinking on those lines, I'd also like to brush up my French. I can just about scrape by with regard to ordering food in most European countries, but I really ought to expand my linguistic abilities. German would be handy, both as it's a very handy tongue while travelling (if someone doesn't speak English as a foreign language, it's virtually certain they'll know some German, if anything), and most of my non-immediate relatives live around Hamburg.

My problem with the Uist unpleasantness was that I first encountered the reporting in a satirical vein - but, as the old saw has it, truth is stranger than fiction. *sigh* I suppose the UK has a little too much wildlife left surviving for some folks.. (I say we introduce raccoons to the UK. And it'll give the foxes some much needed competition. ^_^ But how can they compete with the beauty of a ringed tail and that adorable mask?)