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How can I look up a word I've only heard?

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How can I look up a word I've only heard?

Postby Snowflake » Tue 01.29.2008 11:12 am

I recently purchased the White Rabbit Press Kana Flashcards and Audio Companion. So far, it looks like a great set! I like how it has several different writing/font samples and how it includes the stroke sequences and the helpful little mnemonic. Additionally, I like having the 5 vocab words presented for each syllable. Nice touch!

Here's my question: on the Audio Companion, the speaker starts each card with a word that sounds like "Ka-da-dang-go", as in "Kadadango ichi". I know the word ichi means "one". Does Kadadango mean card or flashcard? Does this phrase mean Flashcard 1, Flashcard 2, etc.? Am I spelling it correctly (in romaji)?

When she presents the five vocab words, she says something that sounds like "Kotodai Ichi", "Kotodai Ni", etc. What is Kotodai, please? Perhaps it means "word 1, word 2", etc.?

I've tried to look them up on several dictionaries based on how I heard the syllables, but without knowing if I'm spelling them correctly, I haven't gotten very far. I also checked the WRP website, but didn't see an answer there.

Obviously, this isn't a major sticking point and won't halt my progress with my studies. By the same token, I don't want to try to guess and guess wrong, since that will eventually mean having to un-learn things. It's challenging enough trying to learn!

For future reference, how or where can I look up the meaning of words I hear? Not words I see, but words I hear, only?
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RE: How can I look up a word I've only heard?

Postby vhcoffee » Tue 01.29.2008 11:54 am

Card is kado カード in Japanese. Word is tango たんご (単語)。 My guess is that what they're saying is "card-word #1, etc..."  Dai-ichi means first, dai-ni means second and so on (第一、第二。。。). Koto usually means "thing," could the person be speaking fast and really saying "kotoba dai-ich?"

I think in any Japanese-English dictionary you can look things up by sound. You can download for free the JWPCE software which has a good built-in dictionary.
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RE: How can I look up a word I've only heard?

Postby richvh » Tue 01.29.2008 11:54 am

Your "ka-da-dang-go" is probably カード単語「たんご」 (card vocabulary/card word)
こと第一「だいいち」 - item number 1 (2, 3, etc.)

The above is my opinion; more knowledgeable forumites may chime in.
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RE: How can I look up a word I've only heard?

Postby katafei » Tue 01.29.2008 12:37 pm

Jim Breen is perfect for searches like this. Just tick the box for 'romaji' and you're off.


.
Last edited by katafei on Tue 01.29.2008 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: How can I look up a word I've only heard?

Postby richvh » Tue 01.29.2008 2:09 pm

WWWJDIC won't help when his hearing is off (his first query) or he's combining words (his second query.)

The solution is to train the ear better, and build vocabulary - both of which take significant time.
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RE: How can I look up a word I've only heard?

Postby two_heads_talking » Tue 01.29.2008 2:39 pm

richvh wrote:
Your "ka-da-dang-go" is probably カード単語「たんご」 (card vocabulary/card word)
こと第一「だいいち」 - item number 1 (2, 3, etc.)

The above is my opinion; more knowledgeable forumites may chime in.


I would say that your opinion is pretty well founded in this case. I believe that is exactly what is being said.
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RE: How can I look up a word I've only heard?

Postby hungryhotei » Tue 01.29.2008 2:52 pm

I'm actually going to side with coffee here and say that I think the kotoba daiichi one is more likely.
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RE: How can I look up a word I've only heard?

Postby two_heads_talking » Tue 01.29.2008 3:21 pm

lol, for some reason I read koto daiichi as kotoba daiichi. I suppose in my eagerness to help I read what I wanted to read.. doh/11
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RE: How can I look up a word I've only heard?

Postby skrhgh3b » Tue 01.29.2008 4:48 pm

I still have trouble hearing unfamiliar words correctly. I can hear words I know just fine, but whenever something is completely unfamiliar, looking it up based on what I thought I heard is hit or miss. I guess because speech is so rapid - a speech sound is only there for a split second and then it's gone - and interpretation plays such a big role in listening.
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ぼくに必要な眠りを眠らせておくれ♪
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RE: How can I look up a word I've only heard?

Postby two_heads_talking » Tue 01.29.2008 5:10 pm

Listening is your biggest advocate. If you don't have a native who can speak it normally and then speak it a bit more slowly, it can be difficult at best to pick up unfamiliar words. That's why most kaiwa training involves full speed and then half speed or slower speed to help with hearing it naturally and then breaking it down phonetically..
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RE: How can I look up a word I've only heard?

Postby Snowflake » Tue 01.29.2008 5:16 pm

Thank you all for your responses, they've been very helpful!

Armed with your suggestions, I've listened to soundbites again. I've also listened to both the female and male announcers, both of whom say the same basic words. The female announcer introduces cards 1-46, the male takes over from there.

When the female speaks, it still sounds to me like "ka-da dang-go" but I can defintely see how it could be a simple miss between her pronunciation and my ears and that I'm hearing "da" when she is saying ""do". And I hear "dang" when she is saying "tang". That "t" sound is something I'll have to grow accustomed to.

Regrading the second section, "kotoda", again, it seems reasonable that I'm just not hearing it properly. When I listened to the male speaker, it came across as "kotoba ichi".

One of the many things I know I have to learn is how to distinguish sounds and words. Right now, it sounds to me as if Japanese is speedy fast and that words are strung together with no spaces between. By the same token, I'm sure English sounds the same to Japanese ears. "Pleasetameechu" :D.

I trust my ability to distinguish sounds and words will come with time and practice, as you've said above.

Oh, and for the record, it's "she", not "he" :).

Thanks again for the help!

***edited for spelling error***
Last edited by Snowflake on Tue 01.29.2008 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How can I look up a word I've only heard?

Postby まったん » Mon 04.07.2008 10:31 pm

言第一(ことだいいち) is a shortening for "Word #1". To me, it seems more logical to have a shortening of 言葉 (ことば) rather than not having a counter (like 第) before 一(いち).

言's base meaning is "word," but its never used by itself, at least to my knowledge. >.>

You might think you're hearing ことばいち because the 2 いs may not be stressed so much but just held longer.

Just my 2 cents ^^

EDIT: カード単語 I believe would be カードだんご as it is a mashing of two nouns when that happens "t" usually becomes "d" otherwise she would have said カードたんご to my reasoning...

But hey, I could be wrong *shrugs*
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Re: How can I look up a word I've only heard?

Postby Sairana » Mon 04.07.2008 11:08 pm

Be careful of necroposts. It's easy when you're new to not realize that a thread is several months old. (Not that you've done many, but it's best to nip it early, IMHO. :P )
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Re: How can I look up a word I've only heard?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 04.08.2008 7:27 am

Mattan wrote:言第一(ことだいいち) is a shortening for "Word #1".


That seems highly unlikely to me; more likely the "ba" and the "dai" are getting smushed together and not heard distinctly. However, "kotoba ichi" is much more likely than "koto daiichi"; I have never seen "kotoba" abbreviated as "koto".

EDIT: カード単語 I believe would be カードだんご as it is a mashing of two nouns when that happens "t" usually becomes "d" otherwise she would have said カードたんご to my reasoning...


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