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Chineasy


Cryptos

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I was wondering if anyone here has tried this system for learning to read, write and speak Mandarin.

 

TED TALK

 

The basic system - if I understand it correctly - is that you learn 8 characters and their meanings, and then 32 compound phrases made from those eight. When you have them you grab another 8 characters and so on. Mandarin seems to lend itself well to this kind of vocabulary building.

 

 

I think I read somewhere on the originator's website that if you learn 200 characters you will have the language capabilities of an 8 year old Chinese child. Well I don't know about anyone else but my ambitions are small. If I could speak Mandarin like an 8 year old I would be well pleased!

 

I combine the above method with some basic rules for the order in which pen/brush strokes should be made when writing the characters. This generally helps me to retain the meaning and form a little easier. There are books and flashcards available, and these are fine tools for sure, but I need to write it down to drive it home in my head.

 

So, anyone have any thoughts or experience with this system?

 

 

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I bought the book when it came out but there's a few criticisms of it:

1) it focuses mostly on traditional chinese which isn't used much in China compared to other places. I don't understand why she didn't use simplified Chinese which would have made considerably easier and more applicable in the real world. Maybe because she's from Taiwan

2) Many of the symbols are confusing and really aren't a good association between the hanzi and English meaning (for example, look at fish on page 24. It does more to confuse than help)

 

I think the idea behind it is great as a way of learning Mandarin, but there are far better books/methods out there for the job using that system. The idea behind it is far from original and wasn't developed by ShaoLan, as she seems to suggest from her TED talk

Edited by WateryFlow
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Hello Cryptos,

 

It is an interesting looking program, but it seems it would keep you limited to reading or writing Chinese. I would love to learn to speak the language, but how do you vocalize a written symbol? Maybe I'm just missing something, I am a little dense most of the time. :huh:

 

That said, being able to read and write like an 8 year old Chinese kid wouldn't be bad....

 

Best regards,

 

Chris

Edited by LamyOne

- He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me; and I in him. (JN 6:57)

- "A woman clothed in the sun," (REV 12.1); The Sun Danced at Fatima, Portugal; October 13, 1917.

- Thank you Blessed Mother and St. Jude for Graces and Blessings obtained from Our Lord.

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........but there are far better books/methods out there for the job using that system............

 

Hello WF,

 

Such as???

 

Best regards,

 

Chris

- He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me; and I in him. (JN 6:57)

- "A woman clothed in the sun," (REV 12.1); The Sun Danced at Fatima, Portugal; October 13, 1917.

- Thank you Blessed Mother and St. Jude for Graces and Blessings obtained from Our Lord.

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Hello WF,

 

Such as???

 

Best regards,

 

Chris

 

Hey

I found these a lot more helpful, but different strokes for different folks I guess

 

Fun with Chinese Characters

Tan Huay Peng

 

Learning Chinese Characters

Alision and Lawrence Mathhews

 

Enjoy Learning Chinese Characters: Discover their Hidden Meanings

Kun Ho Park and Kyung Yong Kong

Edited by WateryFlow
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WateryFlow, I did not know that about the book, having not seen it yet.

 

The imagery is a bit hit or miss, and I find that it is not really essential for me in this endeavour. When I see the character for 'tree' I do not see an image of a tree and do not feel the need to do so. So the imagery doesn't concern me too much though it is an interesting criticism.

 

Regarding traditional versus simplified I tend to agree with what you are saying. However, people who learn simplified generally cannot read traditional, but those who learn traditional can generally always read simplified. I don't know if that is an important distinction but if the learner wants to go on and read classic texts then simplified will be of little use. Of course simplified, by it's nature, is easier to learn.

 

Overall though I found the methodology of Chineasy easy to grasp, though I do bring other tools to bear such as dictionaries with both character sets and a partner who is a native Mandarin speaker from mainland China who - despite being a product of the cultural revolution - can read and write using traditional AND simplified characters. Lucky me! :)

 

LamyOne, good question. What I do is use the Chineasy method to learn characters and vocabulary building - I think it is quite good and easy to use for this, especially for beginners. If you look at the flashcards they also include the pinyin pronunciation of each word or phrase. In general there are 4 tones to learn (nothing too onerous there!). Of course speaking and listening require practice and, usually, a conversation partner (preferably one who already speaks the language).

 

It's all good fun though.

 

I too would be interested in the better books/methods that WF hints at.

 

Edit: gosh you guys type too fast for me!

Edited by Cryptos
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Hey

I found these a lot more helpful, but different strokes for different folks I guess

 

Fun with Chinese Characters

Tan Huay Peng

 

Learning Chinese Characters

Alision and Lawrence Mathhews

 

Enjoy Learning Chinese Characters: Discover their Hidden Meanings

Kun Ho Park and Kyung Yong Kong

 

OK, thanks much. :)

 

- Chris

- He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me; and I in him. (JN 6:57)

- "A woman clothed in the sun," (REV 12.1); The Sun Danced at Fatima, Portugal; October 13, 1917.

- Thank you Blessed Mother and St. Jude for Graces and Blessings obtained from Our Lord.

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Thanks for the link! I've always been interested in learning Chinese, and this seems like a very simple introduction to an otherwise complex language. Although, as mentioned above, it would be cool if they had a pronunciation to go along with it.

<img src='http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/606/letterji9.png' alt='Posted Image' class='bbc_img' /><span style='font-family: Arial Blue'></span>Colourless green ideas sleep furiously- Noam Chomsky

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LamyOne, good question. What I do is use the Chineasy method to learn characters and vocabulary building - I think it is quite good and easy to use for this, especially for beginners. If you look at the flashcards they also include the pinyin pronunciation of each word or phrase. In general there are 4 tones to learn (nothing too onerous there!). Of course speaking and listening require practice and, usually, a conversation partner (preferably one who already speaks the language).

 

It's all good fun though.

 

Oh, so the flash cards they include cover the pronunciation - well, that doesn't sound too bad then. That, plus the books WF recommends, I'll be able to WOW all my friends when we go to a Chinese restaurant. :D

 

Thanks again,

 

Chris

- He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me; and I in him. (JN 6:57)

- "A woman clothed in the sun," (REV 12.1); The Sun Danced at Fatima, Portugal; October 13, 1917.

- Thank you Blessed Mother and St. Jude for Graces and Blessings obtained from Our Lord.

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Okay, so I went and had a rummage through reviews of those other books. It seems as though all the methods have more similarities than differences. Maybe that simply points to the most efficacious method of learning Mandarin?

 

I am terrible with language learning. Really I am. In the 1990s I learned to speak passable conversational Italian in 10 weeks of night school (several nights per week). Then I went to Italy and put it to good use and learned a heap more! The interesting thing about those classes though was that they were taught entirely in Italian and so resulted in us learning like children do. To this day I cannot translate Italian to English or vice versa, but I could speak and understand Italian and still can to an extent.

 

Overall I think methods like Chineasy, and those demonstrated in the other titles, are a good and fun way of getting one's feet wet.

Edited by Cryptos
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That, plus the books WF recommends, I'll be able to WOW all my friends when we go to a Chinese restaurant.

 

Indeed! The first time I tried ordering in a restaurant I had everybody in stitches. Changes in tone can result in some very amusing changes in meaning. And this raises a really important point, in my opinion: the willingness to set aside one's reservations or sense of embarrassment at being a poor speaker of a language and just giving it a full on go. There really is no substitute for live practice. When we are at home in Shanghai I do my best with what I have and often much hilarity ensues. However the people are usually unfailingly helpful in correcting and advising, and are generally proud as punch that I am having a go.

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I bought the book when it came out but there's a few criticisms of it:

1) it focuses mostly on traditional chinese which isn't used much in China compared to other places. I don't understand why she didn't use simplified Chinese which would have made considerably easier and more applicable in the real world. Maybe because she's from Taiwan

2) Many of the symbols are confusing and really aren't a good association between the hanzi and English meaning (for example, look at fish on page 24. It does more to confuse than help)

 

I think the idea behind it is great as a way of learning Mandarin, but there are far better books/methods out there for the job using that system. The idea being it is far from original and wasn't developed by ShaoLan, as she seems to suggest from her TED talk

 

To a certain extent I beg to disagree with you. Traditional Chinese writing is commonly found everywhere in the world where you find Chinese people OTHER than in mainland China. I've friends who are graduates of Peiking U and they told me that in college they found they needed to be able to read both so as to have access to the 'real world' outside of China. Granted we should be able to expect to see more of the simplified Chinese outside of China now (especially I'd wager in places like LA, San Francisco, New York, and major cities in Europe and probably Australia), but the traditional form is still prevalent AFAIK.

 

In terms of spoken Mandarin, the biggest challenges for beginners of course are knowing which 'tone' or 'inflection' to use; followed by becoming accustomed to Chinese syntax which is very different than say English. Although I can speak some Mandarin (lived in Asia especially Chinese related areas for cumulative 9 years) I usually get funny looks because of both my accent and my syntax.

 

I know when I learned basics in Taiwan the system there is something termed "Bo Po Mo Fo" which helps to learn the inflections. And it is linked to the written characters. But don't ask me to explain it -- reading is not something I ever became even remotely proficient at.

 

Good luck Cryptos!

Moshe ben David

 

"Behold, He who watches over Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps!"

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Cheers!

 

Regarding syntax: my intention at this point is to be able to hold a simple conversation. I find that I can assemble Mandarin pretty much the same way as English and although locals find my expressions a bit odd they still tend to understand what I am trying to say. I actually like the idea of differences between people and remain torn between trying to use the language as the native speakers do or resigning myself to the fact that I never will because there is too much cultural underpinning behind certain expressions.

 

I am reminded of the simple joy I had in discovering that the pidgin English expression "Monkey see, Monkey do" can translate directly into Mandarin "Hou2 zi4 can3, Hou2 zi4 gan4" and that it rhymes! Of course no Chinese native would ever use this expression in this way but they still know what it means.

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To a certain extent I beg to disagree with you. Traditional Chinese writing is commonly found everywhere in the world where you find Chinese people OTHER than in mainland China. I've friends who are graduates of Peiking U and they told me that in college they found they needed to be able to read both so as to have access to the 'real world' outside of China. Granted we should be able to expect to see more of the simplified Chinese outside of China now (especially I'd wager in places like LA, San Francisco, New York, and major cities in Europe and probably Australia), but the traditional form is still prevalent AFAIK.

 

The simplified characters are easier to learn so there are no real advantages to learning traditional characters at an absolute beginner level.

Edited by WateryFlow
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The simplified characters are easier to learn so there are no real advantages to learning traditional characters at an absolute beginner level.

 

Totally disagree but that is your choice. You're limiting yourself both in terms of geography and in terms of timelines.

 

But hey -- I don't read Chinese at all really so what do I know?

Moshe ben David

 

"Behold, He who watches over Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps!"

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Okay, so I went and had a rummage through reviews of those other books. It seems as though all the methods have more similarities than differences. Maybe that simply points to the most efficacious method of learning Mandarin?

 

I am terrible with language learning. Really I am. In the 1990s I learned to speak passable conversational Italian in 10 weeks of night school (several nights per week). Then I went to Italy and put it to good use and learned a heap more! The interesting thing about those classes though was that they were taught entirely in Italian and so resulted in us learning like children do. To this day I cannot translate Italian to English or vice versa, but I could speak and understand Italian and still can to an extent.

 

Overall I think methods like Chineasy, and those demonstrated in the other titles, are a good and fun way of getting one's feet wet.

Yup they're all just slight variations of the same underlying method. Some help you to learn by telling a story, some by grouping the characters, some stating a memorable (English) sentence that includes the English meaning and the sound of the character to help you learn pronunciation of it too, and some by associating the Chinese character with a pictorial representatin of the English word(ie Chineasy).

 

There isn't really a best method because it's personal to how you best learn, so perhaps you can buy or borrow about 3 or 4 books and see which method works best for you.

 

The alternative is learning the characters by rote. No magic wand I'm afraid ;). Good luck with whatever method you decide on

Edited by WateryFlow
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