In the previous two posts, we discussed how inadequate Pinyin is, and how three different methods, all with a primary focus on accumulating a number of Chinese characters, lead to poor learning outcomes.
In this post, we will discuss something more intangible and really devastating – anxieties. Moser is the prime example. Throughout his post, I cannot but feel how defeated he was over his Chinese learning results.
Another thing Moser repeatedly talks about is that the Chinese writing system is difficult. I totally agree, and I will give additional points and examples to elaborate. Nobody can ever make Chinese writing system easy.
For people without any Chinese background, learning Chinese is NOT easy. Do not believe any anybody (mainly publishers, textbook writers, and sometimes Chinese language teachers) who claims otherwise.
April Zhang will deliver this paper in full length at The Third International Conference on Chinese Heritage Education: Cornerstone to US Global Collaboration 中文傳承教育: 立足全美、放眼世界, Newark, CA, USA, Aug 12-13, 2017. Come and connect if you are around.
For young adults or adults, non-Chinese speakers often come to learn Chinese for some practical reasons, for example, to travel around China and to learn Chinese culture. Chinese textbooks are the necessary means to fulfill this need.
Student's post, by Adam C.
I began taking Mandarin lessons with MSL Master / April Zhang in June 2015, starting essentially from scratch. Shortly before studying with April, I had short-lived experiments with two other Mandarin tutors, but I left both of those tutors fairly quickly without picking up much of use -- it was too frustrating to be taught by someone who was unenthusiastic about teaching, and was simply reading straight from a textbook with which they were barely familiar.
Student's post, by Keong:
It's often said that learning Chinese (Mandarin) is very difficult. When considering the truth or otherwise of that virtual cliché, the reality is that learning ANY foreign language presents all sorts of challenges – particularly when at that stage of learning (and it is a long stage) where you are relying on memory, when language ability is not yet at that level which can reasonably be described as 'fluent' and there is no practical opportunity for immersion.
Learning Mandarin effectively is about understanding input and output. Let's take a closer look in the context of speaking and listening.
The basic input is sounds, words, patterns, meanings, grammars and etc. The basic output is student's ability to listen and to speak, to carry on a conversation or to express some ideas.