Why are English speakers so lazy about learning?

Guest   Fri Jul 25, 2008 1:47 am GMT
Xie, you must have just finished your studies for this academic year.
You seem to have a lot of time for producing long posts.
K. T.   Fri Jul 25, 2008 3:04 am GMT

The professor describes himself as a STUDENT of Chinese. Maybe he should have used Arabic (I believe he got a nice comment on Youtube about his Arabic) as his sample language.

For me, the test is simple. Could he order dumplings and be understood?
A lady language-lover and writer went to China after studying Chinese very seriously in the States for a year. After a very tough day, all she could think about were dumplings, but alas, she had not mastered the first tone in Mandarin and she wasn't even able to ask for an English menu in Chinese. Finally she made a huge effort to make the high and hold-steady tone and one smart waitress yelled, "The huge foreigner wants a menu!" and so I believe she got the dumplings because of her effort.

Some of us are tourists in a language, others are students, diplomats, users, UN interpreters, teachers. As long as one is honest about one's level, I think it is okay to say "I speak the language AT THIS level."

It is my belief that shadowing will give the person with a good ear an even bigger edge and it may help the less gifted student to be understood or "get the dumpling".
Xie   Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:19 pm GMT
Yeah, I understand. And he said that it was like amputation when he had to quit learning for quite a few years (10?) because he didn't like the sounds of Mandarin.

But by picking up, as I see it, at the time of making the vid, the professor might already have reached a fairly high beginner's level. In terms of the complexity of context, the exact text he was reading is roughly... somewhere at the lesson 30 of the French counterpart (French with ease, i.e.). This sounds extreme, but... first, it was the 50th, and second, I get this rough count when I read the French manual myself. It's certainly much more comprehensive than the German... and, after all, despite "academic" discussions, I also think French is quite easy compared to German even without all those cognates.

Yet, it's still at the b. level. Somewhat akin to a chinesepod intermediate lesson? Well, at any rate, if you were like him, then probably u need a lot of work with shadowing alone.

In some sense, it'd have been equally difficult for me to get used to everything about English too. A lot of unknown gaps sound like deep blue seas to me. I can make perfect sense from a (native) English text now, and I think I can translate (mentally) too; but I still find it difficult to explain French thru English (by the manual above) to my language, if I bother to. Sometimes I do have to dissect vocab a bit.. so yeah this is also how I'm learning English now too.


And yes, people often won't take you seriously, so i might share the same practice with you. I'm a student of everything, too. Except my strongest "foreign" language, I'm not familiar with all others. These days I also find there is certain untranslatability of ideas...