This is an Ad for the Company

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Get Real!

A couple of days ago, I came across somebody saying:"Learning Mandarin is really easy, as long as you can tell the differences between the four tones." Then he went on and did a demonstration of how the four tones sound like. Apparently, for him, even though he is still yet to manage a simple conversation, he already believes that Mandarin is under his belt.

I really want to tell him:"Get Real! It's not an easy stroll down the park!" But out of politeness, I only said something like: "It's actually very difficult. Be able to tell the four tones is nice, but the difficult stuff is yet to come."

Whoever is broadcasting this "simple" language view is being irresponsible. It's so much like the sub prime mortgage borrowers. They don't know what lies ahead of them. If anyone heads into learning Mandarin because of this, he is behaving like an irresponsible learner. The weight, the stress and the complexity will soon crash him out of the learning path.

What is learning Mandarin really like? It's like running a marathon in a very beautiful place. The road under your feet is winding and bumpy and full of obstacles. But as long as you are making the effort on the way, you will be immensely rewarded. The most breath taking scenery will unfold itself. Flying angels will bestow their best wishes on you. It's a path of realizing your potential and doing what you can do with a great amount of effort. 

Get real and don't be tricked into learning Mandarin under a false perspective. Be very well prepared.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bird Watchers

Bird watchers have trained their ears by listening over and over again to recordings of bird songs, comparing and contrasting until very subtle differences become apparent.

A great deal of research shows that the ear must be trained to hear just as carefully as the eye to see.