Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Face, Competition and Chinese Wives

A great night of Chinese learning last night. A few things happened and a few things occurred to me, all of which I'd like to share.

In a lot of ways, my techniques for learning Chinese seem designed to appeal to my less appealing qualities (I must have a very low subconscious opinion of myself):
  1. I don't like losing face. As explained previously, that's probably one reason that I blog. So if I keep telling the world that I'm learning Chinese, then I'd really better do it!
  2. I'm competitive - there's no getting away from it. I discovered it relatively late in life when I first got into a go-kart, and I've seen it many's the time since. But this can be a really good thing. One of my classmates is particularly good, and his constantly improving standards are really putting it up to me. In a moderate, healthily competitive context, he is really helping me bring my game up.
That same classmate has a terrific memory (even if he insists that he feels he onset of Parkinson's). He too finds the jMemorize tool useful, but he suggested what I consider a better way to construct jMemorize lessons than the one I've been using up until now. Instead of composing a jMemorize lesson of lots of different words related by topic, I'll try putting one together with one or two key words or patterns, reused in various sentences.

On a completely different note, our teacher's husband joined us for the last 30 minutes of the class. This was a real eye-opener for me. Firstly, it made it very clear to me just how well our teacher speaks English - she left her hubby in a cloud of linguistic dust. But at the same time, she spoke far less English than her husband did. She spoke clearer Chinese, and only spoke English as a last resort or to give more context. The other thing I noticed was just how much power (though perhaps that's the wrong word) the lady of the house wields. She made gentle but regular fun of things her husband said, and when he was getting under her feet, he was dispatched to make the tea!

Our classes are always entertaining and full of humour, but this time the experience was more lively than ever.

1 comment:

John said...

I agree with your class mate about jMemorize. I find it much easier learning words in context.

Though I do find I have to include a few different variations of each sentance, otherwise I end up remembering the sentances and not realy learning the new words.