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James Riley

Ruby, Javascript and Friends. Part of the SupaDupa team. Living a life of learning. Join me.

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Got caught up with life over the past few days, but have kept to a regular daily Anki review. This will be a short update, but I’m still on the case, and serious about learning the language. I’ve come along nicely with learning the alphabet and a good few phrases. I have the ability to tell you that I’m a farmer, who runs a rubber plantation. What’s lovely about learning with MangoLanguages is the many facts that are shared through the course - such as rubber being a popular export for Kerala, that word order in Malayalam is object Subject-Order-Verb, and that when reeling off a list, you include an ‘and’ even for the final item. For example, a list would translate to: ‘my brother and my Mum and Dad and’. Notice that final ‘and’? Love discovering those quirky differences.

Now that you’re all warmed up, I’ve got a little realisation, a little insight, a little food for thought. I play guitar - and it’s occurred to me that the many more characters and sounds in Malayalam can be compared to English in a manner that sheet music is to guitar tabs. Observe the following:

Guitar Tabs (like English)

Guitar tabs

Sheet Music (like Malayalam)

Sheet music

Now, with guitar tabs, it’s a lot simpler on the surface - you are only told which string to play, and what fret, and importantly, in what sequence. Sheet music appears more complicated, but here we’re informed of all that guitar tabs tell us, along the tempo of the piece, and the duration of each note. This is what makes it possible to faithfully reproduce music written hundreds of years ago. Unlike Guitar tabs, where as helpful as it is, it requires that you know the song well enough to figure out what speed to play the song at. Like English, where knowing the few rules on offer still requires you to learn the many, many exceptions, and to an extent, treat each word as it’s own song. So there’s more work upfront, but upon master the rules, you can soar. Like the adorable osprey you are.

I’m onto something. Surely there’s a science journal out there, twiddling their thumbs, awaiting such a discovery. It’s what the hadron collider has been trying to figure out. No, my science knowledge is lacking in parts - I’ve been busy learning Malayalam haven’t I?! That’s all for today. Why the title of this blog post? I’m doing a lot of repetition, a lot of memorising. Brain is full. Please send help.