Hong Kong-style (supposedly) kindergarten English materials
A for abeyance
B for belligerent
C for centurion
D for derision
E for epiphany
F for ferret
G for gaucherie
H for homiletics
I for impecunious
J for judicious
K for knit
L for lassitude
M for morbid
N for nostrum
O for obsequious
P for parenthesis
Q for quixotic
R for recalcitrant
S for saturnine
T for toady
U for undulate
V for vigilance
W for wend
X for xenophile
Y for yarn
Z for zarzuela
What do you think about it? Too easy? Too difficult?
I think I only know 1 word fully (xenophile) and 3 or 4 others ...rather vaguely.
This is what I get from some of the forums among us.
I hope the English purists don't see this...
Suitable for kindergarten:
Suitable for middle/intermediate school:
Suitable for highschool:
Suitable for university:
the rest, even I don't know all of them
Why? And... what did you learn as a kid in your kindergarten?
I only learned words (in English, of coz) like apple, boy, drawer, trousers, scissors, .... I learned postman, fireman, policeman... only in grade 1/2.
Oh, sorry I forgot to clarify! My classification was for NATIVE English speakers. For non-natives I don't think any of them would be suitable for kindergarten children - probably not even high school students!
The comment about the English purists was to do with the fact that many of those words are outright Latinates - the kind deemed superfluous by those who want English to be purely Germanic.
Do purists like that still exist? I thought that debate finished centuries ago. I always though it made debates on the purity of English seem very silly these days. Surely non of the small changes we see happening today can influence the language as much as Latin and French have in the past. I can't imagine forming a sentence with only Germanic words, I would literally be lost for words.
About the original post, those words don't seem widely used at all, so probably don't make good teaching material. For example, who has ever used the word 'lassitude'? In my opinion, this is one of those made up things, typically done to make people believe we are more stupid than either we used to be or people are in another place. This one just comes across as crap teaching though --- I'm quite sure the Hong Kongers actually have far better play school teaching material.
Finally, no-one is too young to learn a language, though. In fact, probably the younger the better!
>>For non-natives I don't think any of them would be suitable for kindergarten children - probably not even high school students!
Why? I'd like to know. :)
>>About the original post, those words don't seem widely used at all, so probably don't make good teaching material.
One famous ad which sells a baby formula mentions "a for astronaut, b for (I forgot), and c for chimpanzee". The kid is bewildered in the class and then the ad says its formula can help with learning English.... you know, baby formulas have to make ads about how their products make kids smarter, though this may not be the message in US ads, for example.
Indeed, one famous "kindergarten" word is I for igloo. I came across this word only in the first year of junior high school, since some mates made a joke about it in class. Now that I looked it up again... wow, it's the kind of "ice" house (actually, snow) of the Inuits...
A typical, stereotypical response in forums is: it's the kind of educational materials that middle-class parents use to brainwash their kids, so that they "can" speak English even better than their Chinese. We also blame (without substantiated reasons; this is our social norm... while debating) that these parents want their children speak perfect English (I mean: the kind of English they think to be native) while .... they don't need to be native in Chinese, i.e. they can suck in Chinese. But no big deal, they are stereotyped to be saying, because English rules Hong Kong, and Chinese is useless.
You can't use it to enter university. Even if you don't know a single word of it, so that you can't study normally here, if you have the money (this is the main point), you can study abroad (typically, in the UK, our historical master/ex-"adoptive mother"), take "easy" exams like the GCSE (on the contrary, our A-levels are still relatively harder, as MANY who studied abroad would argue), and return and enter a Hong Kong university with very good grades. And, after all, Hong Kong universities don't speak Chinese. So, frankly, universities are also a stereotypical place where foreign guys chase Chinese girls without the need to learn a single word of our language... (well, this is the sour grapes of some of us guys ...) or, to give you a more realistic example, foreigners can get any sort of degrees we offer without the need of learning the local language.
Indeed, the main groups of outsiders who do have to speak the local language are 1) immigrants from the mainland, but all they need is a Hong Kong accent of Cantonese only, because they are just native speakers and writers of a different kind; 2) foreign maids, mainly Indonesian and Thai whose countries don't speak English (unlike the Filipinos).
But typically both are "less economically privileged", unlike some highly-educated foreigners, typically Caucasians, and typically Anglophone expats, who keep on saying that Chinese is too darn hard to learn. Of course, if you put political correctness against me, you can see that those foreigners have the right NOT to learn it, esp. since English is also official. But, undoubtedly, at least IMO, this is enough to make English the language of the elite (I'm one of them, but I only belong to the group of "highly-educated", not rich and influential).
The idea is: if you, a local, want to enter a university like me, your English must be passable. To deal with virtually every subject taught there, you must have an advanced reading command of it. Technically, English is just a foreign language, and with enough tools (i.e. English education at school, a lot of which I received), you can learn it easily... now that everyone in developed countries learns it. But another technical problem is, just because only English is official in universities (and in Anglophone ones, of coz), in the path of our education, it's so convenient to label English as a prestigious, luxurious, sophisticated, advanced, cultured....language, while ours... worthless.
And another stereotype is this artificial social stereotype starts with an artificial word list for preschool kids, whose parents are typically middle-class but behave like (linguistic, at least) 奴才/servants (for capitalists).
So, as a side-note, I don't really recommend learning Mandarin just to practice it here. Despite the huge amounts of money we invest on English and, to a lesser extent, Mandarin, people generally don't speak very well, to put it mildly, perhaps like some of the supposed potential multilinguals in some small countries. Chances are that... they speak both with a thick accent (now, English, with a stereotyped "fake" US accent that grave on my ears). Many of us switch code so heavily, to the extent that quite a few university students suck in their local language... and I was mistaken for a Chinese major when I was thinking that I should have been speaking like any typical studious (should be...) students like anybody else on the globe.... and I didn't switch code at all.
>>in the path of our education, it's so convenient to label English as a prestigious
And this reasoning is reinforced by the fact that Chinese universities (along with ours here) are (said to be) too underdeveloped to be of any value. While some of us take the adventure of studying in Beijing (the exact, right place you practice Mandarin, I think), it's so common... esp. in recent years, that the top students from "China" give up their chances of studying in Beijing (among others) and study in Hong Kong instead, since they see 1) very attractive financial bonuses offered, typically free tuition plus over 10,000 USD as a prize) 2) Hong Kong universities are a better stepping stone to further studies abroad, typically in the US or UK. In short, when China is too underdeveloped for, at least, higher education, more affluent Chinese are rushing to Anglophone countries anyway... so our stereotypical response is: WTF!? Now they think our language is worthless, WTF!
>>they don't need to be native in Chinese, i.e. they can suck in Chinese
This is even common among showbiz stars. There have been more stars who are born and raised abroad (some of mixed descent) or from mainland China. Well, I don't care WTF with some stars who are proud of sucking in Chinese (or do they suck in English?... ), but naturally our response is: this is a no-no.
Despite the prestigious image we associate with English, the stereotyped hot Caucasian babes/guys (movie stars, I mean), the stereotyped foreigners (white, highly educated, rich), the stereotyped poor "foreigners" (those from China, foreign maids, South Asian residents... of any generation).... are all NOT the groups of the mainstream society. Getting a life here is much easier for ethnic Chinese (I've been one of them, from elsewhere), and... no matter how much inferiority complex some of us are stereotyped to have, it doesn't change the fact that a typical Hongkonger who speaks the local language perfectly and ... doesn't speak Mandarin and English very well is the most "acceptable" social identity.
It boils down to a single sentence: even if I worship English, I'm still a perfect local; even if you speak English/Mandarin perfectly as a Caucasian (typically)/ethnic Chinese, you are "forever" a foreigner, which is actually more of a problem for true foreigners, I'm afraid, because many of us, like many of you, don't normally meet "foreigners" very often.
Does this happen in your country? Is it less of a problem where "East-West" cultural conflicts don't happen?
<<Why? I'd like to know. :) >>
Because the only time you'll ever see most of these words is in old-fashioned literature. Not the most useful thing for children to use.
<< It boils down to a single sentence: even if I worship English, I'm still a perfect local; even if you speak English/Mandarin perfectly as a Caucasian (typically)/ethnic Chinese, you are "forever" a foreigner, which is actually more of a problem for true foreigners, >>
Not necessarily. Fluent Mandarin, Cantonese & Hokkien combined with extensive plastic surgery challenges this idea.
<< I'm afraid, because many of us, like many of you, don't normally meet "foreigners" very often. >>
There are so many so called foreigners around here - I communicate with them often.
<< Is it less of a problem where "East-West" cultural conflicts don't happen? >>
What West? Bulgaria? European Turkey? Some other place in the West?
"Wend" is a great word, that needs to be used more often; the rest of that list is latin trash vocabulary.
China = Central Country. Therefore it is the most prestigious country in the world.