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Learn Chinese in China

"Store of Wisdom" regarding China

Jan Finster

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Awesome idea for a topic — this kind of thing is super useful in terms of having a basic level of cultural background, which is essential for gaining a high level of language proficiency.



The questions on that British citizenship test are ridiculous. I mean the concept of citizenship tests is already inherently ridiculous, but the questions range from useless to trivial to borderline impossible.


"The version of the Bible created by King James I is known as..."

None of the options are "The King James Bible"

In any case, the level of cultural knowledge you'd expect to see in a native Chinese high school graduate is a lot higher than that of an educated foreigner who's lived in the country for 4 or 5 years, unless they'd been studying Chinese culture intensively over that time.


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I've always thought a firm grounding in Chinese physical and political geography is essential if you're going to be spending any time in China: Names of places and such come up constantly in conversation and reading.


So add maps and travel books and gazetteers to your store of wisdom. Besides, being able to distinguish 山西 and 陕西, 苏州 and 徐州, 河南 and 湖南, 等等 will help with your language studies.


Similarly, have a good sense of China's administrative structure. Know the difference, for example, between a 自治区 and a 自治州. Wikipedia has a good page on this.


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Agree with the above. When I was starting out I also learned the most common surnames, the 老百姓。


Have always been interested in geography, so I learned the provinces and their major cities. My travels to these places made more sense. I used an app which I found here many years ago that had tools for doing timed recall drills of which big cities went with which provinces and also quizzed on being able to recognize them on a map only by their shape and location. (I will see if I can find it later with a search. Have not used it in a long time. Maybe someone else remembers it.) 


Most educated Chinese are aware of their history, proud of it being ancient. Thus exercises like the ones mentioned here that help one to at least roughly remember the dynasties are worthwhile, in my opinion. 



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I think there are 2 aspects of China in which we foreigners seem to be particularly ignorant, and I think they are very important to promote mutual respect, especially in the current climate of hostilities. 


One: "Made in China" 



Two: Chinese technological and scientific inventions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chinese_inventions#:~:text=This includes the Four Great,by archaeological or historical evidence.

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