sthubbar Posted July 30, 2007 at 04:09 AM Report Share Posted July 30, 2007 at 04:09 AM As Gato mentioned here I'm a little stressed out lately. First let me answer the obvious question: "If I hate them so much, why am I studying them?" Well, it turns out that I really enjoy speaking Mandarin and I am convinced that if I want to progress beyond the advanced-intermediate level than I am forced to learn to read so I have no other choice than to endure the torture of learning this ridiculous writing system. Here is why I hate Hanzi. They are not beautiful and if they are that's a bad thing. The purpose of a written language is to convey a specific meaning to the reader, they are not paintings. If ten people look at a beautiful painting it is likely that there will be ten different meanings that will be ascribed to the painting. If I write an email to 10 friends and say "Let's meet at 8pm Friday, outside the movie theater." I sure as heck hope there are not 10 different interpretations. Furthermore, the more intricate or beautiful a script the harder it is to get the meaning. Look at this text you are currently reading. Is it in an intricate calligraphic, brushed beautiful script or is it in some more utilitarian script? I would bet that about 98% or more of the people reading this are using a utilitarian script. The fancy scripts are only used for short passages where there is little meaning being conveyed and it is more of a painting. Hieroglyphics are beautiful because I'm not trying to understand their meaning, I just enjoy their beauty. Learning them is a painful processes of rote memorization I have seen no evidence that there is a logical basis to the formation of the characters. Of course there is some logic in trying to guess the meaning of some of the characters, but I would say at best that is limited to 60% of the characters. Furthermore, I see there are four facets to learning a character: Meaning, writing, pronunciation, and tone. For me, the two most important are the pronunciation and the tone. I know of no system that can make it systematic to learn the pronunciation and tones of 3000 characters. As far as my understanding, Remembering the Kanji (RTK), is only concerned with using mnemonics to learn the meaning and how to write the characters and I consider those the two least important aspects of characters. The more one learns the harder it becomes. Unlike many other areas of learning where the more one learns the easier it becomes, with characters it is just the opposite. As more and more characters are learned they start to appear similar to previously learned characters. Some of the time they have a component or radical that is the same, some of the times they look very similar but have a subtle difference. With this newly learned character that looks like a previous character, there are six possible pronunciations for this characters and there is no method to remember what it is without rote memorization. Here are the possibilities of how to pronounce a new character that looks like a previous character, from easiest to remember to hardest: Same pronunciation, same tone Same pronunciation, different tone Similar pronunciation, same tone Similar pronunciation, different tone New pronunciation, same tone New pronunciation, different tone. My head is about to explode from all this! Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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