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Rosetta Stone Online, conscript jokes

From:Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...>
Date:Monday, October 8, 2001, 1:45
First item:
Interesting website here:

They have a free one-week "spectrum" trial of their language-learning
software.  It requires the Shockwave Flash plug-in for your browser, but I
tried it with Japanese and Korean and man, it's addictive.  (I was
originally looking into language-learning software but loath to
contemplate shelling out the price without seeing what it looked like.)  I
don't know if anyone else will find it useful or amusing, but I figured it
was a good way to hear native speakers' pronunciations of things and learn
a little more vocabulary.  I'm still not quite sure how "hon o yonde imasu"
  is different from "hon o yomimasu" (?)--is the former progressive and the
other plain present, or something like that?  I'll have to check my
grammar sometime.

Second item:
In (written) Korean there's sort of a joke/puzzle that goes like this: a
thief is trying to escape from a closed room, but three exits are guarded
by the police and the 4th by a bear.  How does he get out?

Normally you'd draw a box and label the four blocked exits.  The key to
the puzzle is that:

bear is "gom"
       | |
      |  |

and door is "mun"
      |  |

(apologies, I *hate* trying to convey Korean characters over ASCII...)
i.e. if you turn one upside down it turns into the spelling for the other.

I remembered this because I was waxing nostalgic over a Korean playmate
from the past for no good reason, but it occurred to me: does anyone have
conscripts that lend themselves to this sort of intellectual playfulness?
Czevraqis could indeed be turned upside down for certain characters...I'll
have to see if I can find any such things.  :-)

Yoon Ha Lee

A mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems.--Paul Erdos


Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>
Herman Miller <hmiller@...>