Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Added another short lesson

I've added another lesson to the flashcard file, though this one is very short. I've called it "What's wrong with you?". It has stuff in it like "I am tired", "I am hungry", "I am thirsty" etc.

Also here is another interesting post from Chris on his Mandarin Student blog about why he thinks it was a mistake to try and learn to speak and write Chinese at the same time. This is very close to how I feel about the subject and goes a long way towards explaining why I haven't started learning to read and write Chinese characters just yet.


Blogger Matt Whyndham said...

I can't conceive not learning the han zi. Simply studying the pinyin alone can't work, because of all the homophones. Which Hua4 do you mean. OK the context tells you sometimes, but basically the meaning is attached to the character, in a way that's completely different to European languages. Trying to learn without them is trying to walk with your feet tied together. Don't strive for writing perfection by all means, but I don't think you should ignore it. Chris is also strange in that he's trying to learn Chinese completely from the 'net. Can't be done properly IMHO, he needs to be shown in real life how to write. Writing helps you read by the way, and reading is the key to analysis of sentences.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Matt, I disagree. I do intend to learn the Hanzi but when, I am ready. The only things I can really say are that Chinese children learn sentances structures before they can write and that your arguements would seem to suggest that my analysis of sentances and texts would be limited to those that contain the characters I know (now my feet are tied). In a months time I will have been learning for half a year and am going to post in detail exactly how I propose to master Chinese, it may make more sense then? perhaps :).

6:13 PM  
Blogger John said...

I don't see why I can't treat speaking in Chinese and reading Chinese as almost two seperate subjects. So far I'm not having any trouble learning to speak without knowing the characters. In fact I'm sure that my progress is much faster than it would be if I was spending part of my time and energy on characters. I also think it will probably be much easier and faster to learn the characters once I already know the words they are attached to.
I have actually had this conversation a few times in the past and it seems that almost everyone agrees with Matt on this.

8:16 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Matt's view would seem to be the accepted norm, but I wonder if that is why so few non-chinese actually learn to speak it. For a self-motivated learner the characters seem to be responsible for the high drop out rate in the early stages. As far as educational establishments go, they have a vested interest in promoting the early use of Characters because it makes it easier for them to set assignments, and set tests. I really want to challenge this (norm) otherwise self learners like us will be a rarity. People learn other languages without having to go to college, why not Chinese?

11:30 PM  

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