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Sunday, August 31, 2008


It's interesting to see how English manipulate letters to create a kind of accent. For example:

'ee 'ees goodlooking, innit?

Well, you certainly can't do the same thing to Chinese. Instead, you have to manipulate words to reflect that. For example:

"他很好看。" can be said in following ways:


They all express the same thing, but also represent a certain accent departed from standard Chinese.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Take a natural approach, learning speaking first

Chinese characters have very special characteristic and charisma and often draw people from everywhere in the world to learn them.

Unfortunately, learning Chinese characters is like everything else: practiced by many, mastered by few. A sheer number of characters and the time needed to maintain them active are often obstacles. This is especially true for people who learn characters as their tools to learn speaking. Speaking ability often get drawn back by the limitation of characters.

A natural approach will work much better. Use pinyin to get started with speaking first, and after a certain fluency achieved, start learning reading and writing characters.

Every serious Chinese learners should learn reading and writing. It's just the path one chooses makes quite impact on how enjoyable the learning journey is. If you want to stick to something longer, sometimes choose an easier path will help. Make small incremental improvement over the time beats try to leap a obstacle made of 1000 characters.