Ziphen Central

Seeking Wisdom and Sublimity

Korean Language Mission 2016

하얀 풍차Memorial Day marked the fourth anniversary of my arrival in the state of Georgia, and it was also four years ago that I began learning the Korean language. Although I’ve learned a lot, I know that I could be much farther along in the language if I had applied myself during those four years.

Language learning is tricky, and often something that you can’t rush. However, you can make significant progress if you make time every day for study and practice, and get some momentum going. And that’s what my goal is for the summer of 2016.

From June 1st through August 31st, I will be intensively learning the Korean language. The well-known Irish polyglot Benny Lewis has done several language missions in which he goes from essentially zero to reasonable fluency in 3 months, so I figure if he can do that, I can definitely go from an intermediate level to fluency in 3 months!

For 79 days (I’m taking Sundays off), I will study and practice Korean for at least two hours every day. I estimate my current level in the language to be A2, and my goal is to reach level B2 (CEFRL).

In the last few months I have become lazy with my language learning, but no more! Too many times I have taken the easy way out and spoken English to Korean people, but from here on out, I am enacting a strict no-English policy when talking to Koreans. Also, I essentially live in the Koreatown of Georgia, but I have not really taken advantage of this opportunity to practice speaking Korean. This summer I’m going to go out of my way to put myself in this immersion environment more often.

I will be making mini missions along the way, to have smaller achievable goals to tackle. I will also try to identify which aspects of the language are giving me trouble, and solve those as quickly as possible.

If you would like to stay updated on my progress during these 3 months, why not follow me on Instagram? I will be posting at least one picture every day to document my language learning adventures.

The first three days of the language mission have been good, and I am excited about the rest of the summer! Now, enough of blogging–I think I hear some flashcards calling my name…

Posted on 4 June 2016 by Mashkioya
Filed under: Korean,Language Missions

Hiking Sweat Mountain

Sweat Mountain

You may not consider Atlanta to be a particularly mountainous place, but there are actually several large prominences in the area that are termed “mountains.” Stone Mountain is most well known, and I’ve also hiked up Kennesaw Mountain, Sawnee Mountain, and Arabia Mountain, all in the area surrounding Atlanta. Today I drove over to Cobb County for the next chapter of my Atlanta mountain climbing adventures: Sweat Mountain! (515 metres above sea level)

I made a virtual visit with Google Street View beforehand, and it looked promising. The mountain is in a residential area, with a lot of radio and cell phone towers on the top. I parked on Wigley Road just past the place where Summitop Road begins.

No TrespassingI only hiked about 0.7 km one way up Summitop Road, but it was quite strenuous (and yes, I did sweat!). I marched past lots of fancy houses, finally reaching a turnaround with another road leading off from it. Unfortunately, once I reached that point, I was greeted by a sign stating unequivocally “No Trespassing,” “Private Property,” “Private Road.” According to the satellite photos, this private road is the only road that leads to the top of the mountain, but being a law-abiding citizen, I decided not to proceed.

Mystery MountainEven though I couldn’t go all the way to the top, there was a decent view as I went back down, and I even spotted a little conical mountain that seemed to be located to the southwest. Looking at the map now, it looks like it may have been one end of Kennesaw Mountain that I was seeing, or maybe it was Blackjack Mountain, a peak hitherto unknown to me! That may be my next mountain climbing destination.

So if you are contemplating a trip to Sweat Mountain, I would recommend it if you live nearby. It is a nice little hike with good views. Just keep in mind that you cannot go all the way to the top, unless you want to face prosecution for criminal trespassing!

Posted on 30 May 2016 by Mashkioya
Filed under: nature,photography

On Ethnicity and Identity

Western Delaware Tribe flag

It’s been quite a while since I researched Native American stuff, but recently I happened to get back into some of that and discovered that the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma has elected a new principal chief since last I checked, Bill John Baker (he was elected in 2011, so that shows how long I’ve been out of the loop!). When I looked him up, my first thought was “He doesn’t look very Cherokee!” And come to find out, as far as his ethnic background goes, he is actually 1/32nd Cherokee.

This led me to a little more research on blood quantum requirements in Indian tribes—basically the requirement that a person have a certain percentage of ancestry from that tribe in order to have tribal citizenship. It’s certainly an interesting concept, especially since it really wouldn’t fly in other nations—just think, what if a European country introduced some blood quantum law that says you must be a certain percentage white in order to be a citizen? Cries of “Racism!” would be everywhere.

But Indian tribes are a different ballgame, or so it seems. It happens to be the case, however, that the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma does not have blood quantum requirements—all that is required is that you be able to trace your family tree back to someone on the Dawes Roll, a roster of Cherokees made by the US government in the 19th century. Thus, it doesn’t matter what percentage Cherokee you are; if one of your ancestors was a registered Cherokee, then you can join the tribe. Other tribes have chosen to require a blood quantum to have citizenship—for example, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees (also in Oklahoma) requires 1/4 Cherokee blood in order to be a citizen of their nation.
(keep reading)

Posted on 27 May 2016 by Mashkioya
Filed under: opinions,politics

Hymn of the Week – Wonderful Love of Jesus

Music & poetry by Edmund S. Lorenz (1883)

In vain in high and holy lays
My soul her grateful voice would raise;
For who can sing the worthy praise
Of the wonderful love of Jesus?

Refrain:
Wonderful love! wonderful love!
Wonderful love of Jesus!
Wonderful love! wonderful love!
Wonderful love of Jesus!

A joy by day, a peace by night,
In storms a calm, in darkness light;
In pain a balm, in weakness might,
Is the wonderful love of Jesus!

My hope for pardon when I call,
My trust for lifting when I fall;
In life, in death, my all in all,
Is the wonderful love of Jesus!

Posted on 22 May 2016 by Mashkioya
Filed under: Hymn of the Week

My Language Friends: Greek

Hill of the Muses

Although I was passively exposed to Spanish growing up in Texas, the first language I started learning was Greek—koine Greek to be precise. My father had “taken” it in college, and while he didn’t retain much of it even over summer break, he wanted to spark my interest in it at an early age. He taught me the alphabet and a few key words, and he even made a little quiz for me, to test my rudimentary Greek knowledge.

I was proud of my accomplishments, and soon began studying Greek as part of my schoolwork, going through the series of workbooks called Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! (That’s the beauty of homeschooling—your study options are limitless!) The Hey Andrew! books were good, but went along at a dreadfully slow pace. I felt like it would be forever before I got to learn about adjectives! But by the time I went through the whole series, I had a good knowledge of Greek grammar. I think they may have even added another level since I finished.

At university, I wanted to minor in Greek New Testament, but I was afraid that the first basic classes would just be a boring review of things I already knew. So I had a talk with the Bible faculty, and arranged to take a special test to see if I was ready for second-year Greek classes. I brushed up on my Greek skills, and easily passed the test. So it was that I was taking Greek 3 as a freshman! From there I took all the Greek classes that my university offered, and quite enjoyed it. (keep reading)

Posted on 14 May 2016 by Mashkioya
Filed under: Greek

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