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[meta] A conversation on the helpfulness of learning blogs


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The scientific method is great.  Unfortunately that is not what is always practiced in modern science - especially with increased pressure on researchers to "publish or perish", and modern science currently has a significant reproducibility crisis. See:





3 hours ago, RaMa09 said:

I get the impression from your tone/way of speaking that this is precisely what you are referring to

I don't see what what he wrote had anything to do with climate science, so lets *not* derail this thread with something completely unrelated.

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1 hour ago, imron said:

The scientific method is great. 


And depends how it is implemented. Maybe OP can do a meta-analysis on a certain topic of language learning studies as 'best evidence'. Would be good as a piece of original research for a master's or even PhD.

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(Copying in @Olle Linge)

Having read Olle post above and relooked at his website I think I am being unfair to him. He does indeed mention that these are his opinions bases on evidence he has experienced. He is producing free material for the benefit of many so I think we (and I) should be grateful for that. So many thanks for your contribution Olle


I like a lot of olles thoughts however fundamentally disagree with some of his views. For example  The tones in Mandarin are more important than you think Olle writes that


"Occasionally, I hear people say something along the lines of “tones aren’t important in Chinese, if I just achieve some fluency and talk really fast everything will be okay, the natives don’t use tones in natural speech anyway”. This is not only wrong, it’s an extremely dangerous attitude to have as a beginner if you ever hope to learn Chinese properly."


Now while i thoroughly agree with the second part in that its dangerous to dismiss them or have a lackadaisical approach to them, but as far as I see most non native chinese learners are of the belief that tones are indeed vital. It's written in textbooks, reiterated by teachers and forums etc He further writes 


"If you don’t get the tones right, it is likely that people won’t understand what you say"


I daresay many or probably all of members here will disagree with me when I say that they are not as important as most make out. Most foreign people I hear speaking chinese have pretty messed up tones and talk like a typical 歪果仁 (<- note). I know my tones are a bit of a mess at times but I have little issues being understood as do many intermediate foreign speakers of chinese in China


Hence to say that tones are vital or extremely important in my view needs to be clarified and put in context. To take a lazy approach to tones makes a speaker simply speak bad chinese however it doesn't necessarily mean you won't be understood, if you're sentence structure is right and have context then you will be understood even when speaking with a whole lot of incorrect tones. 


Finally this is not to give a green light on the use of incorrect or no tones, it's simply a statement of fact as I see it.


(For the record we should endeavour to nail all tones correctly and in my SRS sessions I mark a card as " wrong" if I get the tone wrong. That's a wake up call!)

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On 1/7/2018 at 12:13 PM, happy_hyaena said:

There's a lot of that in the fitness industry, where people quote this or that study from some place that proves their broscience and contradicts the research that those other fitness experts are advocating


Should keep an eye out for brolinguisics, then :)


On 1/7/2018 at 6:21 AM, 艾墨本 said:

Responsibly providing advice is something I aim to do but find difficult.


I think it's nice that people contribute to a pool of different advice in which people can swim around, pick the bits they think will work, ask for more detailed advice if they get stuck. There's probably a few key things to avoid, a few key tools that make a big difference, the rest I think is bouncing ideas off people who share the same interest and goals, which can be very important if you're studying largely on your own.



Where places like hackingchinese leverage their advice into online money-making schemes, I'd just observe that (i) it seems that's perfectly normal behaviour for a whole generation of people (ii) it automatically generates a bit of suspicion & more criticism than if someone simply says: 'this is wot I think'.



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