Learning Chinese (Mandarin) Day 6 Log
Learning Chinese Project: Reading and Writing
I am going to draw the characters out today by rote. All of them, plus today’s words. That’s one hundred and fifty at an estimate.
I’m then going to build the sentences that I can, and write them from memory. I’ll be speaking all of this aloud. I will then disappear for a few hours, write an unrelated article for the site, and then come back to read all of the sentences.
A point to note: There’ll be no English for the sentences I should know. Using English is like using a crutch – it is necessary for those whose legs aren’t strong enough, but is a temporary measure in order to build the muscle strength required to walk unaided. Using English is the same in language learning. It should be used only at the very edges of your ability, and other than that, your target language does everything else.
Learning Chinese: Speaking and Listening
The speaking and listening part of Learning Chinese is overrated. Once you have gotten the hang of phonetics, you can identify and repeat the sounds you hear. The only problem is memory. Remembering which tones go with which meaning of the word. This is why writing things out wrote and sounding them aloud is so effective: it works for children, and it works for adults. Nearly all of our speech is a feat of memory, not of cognitive behaviour. Saying, “Hi, How are you?” in a normal exchange requires no thought. It’s just a well-worn groove. That’s what tones should be like in Mandarin. A lot is said about the fact that a word can have one meaning with one tone and one meaning with another, but realistically, you’re never going to accidentally say, “High hal our yew?” That’s exactly how you should approach Mandarin, or a tonal language.
Learning Chinese Day 6 Conclusion
As I said at the top of this, I’m quite behind so today is a short entry. I hope to post pictures of my notes tomorrow.