Interview with An Advanced-Level Chinese Learner-Part I

Generally speaking, knowing how to “fish” is usually more important than how many “fish” you get. In explanation, “method” is the key part in doing a lot of things, such as learning languages. It is also useful for you to know what other successful language learners do when they learn a new language or even several new languages. 

Aaron & His Favorite Sport, Bowling

Aaron & His Favorite Sport, Bowling

In today’s post, my friend Aaron Miller, an Asian-born-American, who is known as the “grammar editor” among the Chinese students, will share with us his experience learning Chinese, Cantonese and a little Korean.

As a native Chinese speaker, I was pretty surprised by Aaron’s Chinese level and his language talents at the first time when I met him and heard him speak. Here are the first part of recordings I got during the interview with him.

Q01. Aaron, can you greet our readers with the several languages you can speak?

Q02. Languages are usually considered as the indicators of different cultures. Since you are such an expert in learning foreign languages, I guess the readers must be really curious about what kind of background you come from that makes you so good at languages?

A Screen Shot of Aaron's Hometown, Angeles City, Philippines, on Google Map

A Screen Shot of Aaron's Hometown, Angeles City, Philippines, on Google Map

(Click the Above Image for Detailed Map)

Q03. What is the reason that made you choose Chinese as you major here in the University of Florida? Up till now, how long have you been a Chinese learner?

Q04. As a lot of Chinese learners complain, Chinese is one of the most difficult languages in the world. Do you think so as well? Do you have your own method to conquer this problem?

Q05. Who teaches (or taught) you Chinese? Where do they come from? What kind of learning materials have you been using? 

Here are the screenshots for the textbooks Aaron has been using for his Chinese study.

Textbook for Level II

Textbook for Level II

Textbook for Level I

Textbook for Level I

Qo6. At the baby level of your Chinese, how did your teacher(s) do to guide your learning tour? And what method are you using at this level?

“Just have fun with it” is what impressed me the most in Aaron’s talking. Indeed. Interest is the most necessary and effective motivation in doing and succeeding in one thing. One will never do something well if he finds the thing boring. Neither can he do it well if he “hates” the thing. 

So, play with Chinese and try to get the most fun out of it. If you can manage to do that, you will make a good Chinese learner.

Please come back and check out for the second part of my interview with the advanced-level Chinese learner, Aaron Miller!

A Quiet Corner at 5141 SW 91st Way, Gainesville, FL.

A Quiet Corner at 5141 SW 91st Way, Gainesville, FL.

Got more interesting stories of Chinese learners or your own experience learning Chinese to share with us?
Know more useful and efficient ways of Chinese learning?
Your comments and ideas are warmly welcomed from the bottom of my heart!
by Xuan♥.
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Our Course Syllabus

Hey, everyone! Greeting to you all with my new post! Today you will get to know the draft-version of our Chinese class syllabus. Now please check this out! Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in a sense that we can better our learning process together!

For a better understanding of the syllabus, here are a few points I would invite you to go through first.

1. The order of these phases doesn’t necessarily indicate the hierarchy of the knowledge. If, however, you are a Chinese learner without any previous learning background or instruction from others, I strongly suggest you go through the whole learning process within the order I listed.

2.  The levels in different phases doesn’t necessarily indicate the easiness of the content. That said, some of them are on the same level of easiness with others, while some are the foundation of others. Anyone who wants to skip and learn can refer to the detailed description of every future class/post.

3.  The number of lessons within every phases is not finally decided. I will decide the number of the lessons according to my self-prepared teaching plan with the up-to-date references. Please refer to the actual lessons for the “official” decision. I will try my best to balance the contents and workload within every lesson.

4. You may encounter a lot of news words/terminologies in this syllabus, which will be covered with detailed explanations later in the course!

5. Regard to the terminologies mentioned in the last item, there are no standard ways of saying that!( I suppose everyone knows that translation can never convey the authentic meaning.) But I will try to choose the most appropriate and the easiest way to let you guys get the true meaning of them.

6. For a fun learning process, you will be told to have achieved some certain VICTORIES while your learning. In other words, learning another language can be a time-consuming course and the learners always want to know how far they have gone. My “VICTORY” notes will tell you by when and by what you have learnt will enable you to actually use Chinese in a practical setting.

A trophy indicating Victories(a copyright free image)

Victories

Phase One-Playing With the Pinyin (Spelling, Reading and Writing)

We Chinese learn English with the phonetic alphabet, here I will teach you to learn Chinese using Pinyin!

  • Level One  Introduction to Pinyin
  •              Lesson One What is Pinyin? How is Pinyin constructed? How does Pinyin work in reading and writing Chinese?
  • Level Two Getting to Know Different Parts of Pinyin
  •              Lesson One__23 Initials (of Pinyin)
  •              Lesson Two__24 Finals(of Pinyin)    (including 6 single finals, 9 plural finals, 5 front-nasal finals and 4 post-nasal finals)
  •              Lesson Three__16 Whole-Reading Syllables

Victory One: Now you can text your Chinese friends with pinyin, even if you only have English operating system in your cell phone!

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Phase Two-Playing with The Four Tones  in Chinese Characters

An American friend of mine once told me, “The fours tones in Chinese are just like singing!”Level One  4 Tones

  •              Level Two__Several Reading Rules Under Some Specific Circumstances
  •              Level Three__Getting to Know A New Way of Typing Pinyin with Tones on your Own Computer
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Phase Three-Playing with The Chinese Characters

  •               Level One__A General Introduction to the Basic Structure Types of Chinese Characters
  •                  Lessons will cover the Chinese names for the structure types, the Pinyin for them and their applications in Chinese characters.
  •               Level Two__Introduction to the 8 Most Basic Strokes of Chinese Characters
  •                 Lessons will cover the Chinese names for the stokes, the Pinyin for them, their writing orders and rules and their applications in Chinese characters.
  •                 Lesson One 横(heng2)
  •                 Lesson Two 竖(shu4)
  •                 Lesson Three 撇(pie3)
  •                 Lesson Four  捺(na4)
  •                 Lesson Five   点(dian3)
  •                 Lesson Six  折(zhe2)(including several types of 折)
  •                 Lesson Seven 勾(gou1) (including several types of 勾)
  •                 Lesson Eight 提(ti2) (overlapping with some 折 and 勾)
  •               Level Three__Introduction to Some Basic Types of Fixed Radicals(Components of Chinese Characters) And Their Applications
  •               Level Four__The Origins of Onomatopoetic Characters and Pictographic Characters and Their Practical Applications for Chinese learners

Ready to Learn Reading and Writing Chinese Characters?

Language is a very important part of any culture since it can keep record of and be counted as the reflection of a culture’s evolution and development.

Do you…?

^ Do you want to get closer to the Chinese culture?

^ Do you want to learn to read and write Chinese from the very first step?

^ Do you want to know how to read and write Chinese characters?

^ Do you want the skills necessary to do more self-learning after you have mastered elementary Chinese?

If so, you are at exactly the right place!

Follow Me!

Follow Me!

Welcome to “The Path to Chinese Characters” (let this be for a while before anything better comes up)!

There are lots of people who have a strong desire to learn Chinese as their second language. According to my findings, the Chinese learning blogs and websites focus more on pinyin (a concept we will cover later in the learning) other than how to actually write the characters. Since I have been practicing Chinese calligraphy since I was six, I can simply and effectively teach you how the strokes in Chinese characters are written. My blog will give you access to Chinese language instruction featuring over both reading and writing without the fuss of going to class or paying tuition!

Here in “The Path to Chinese Characters” blog, you will be exposed to instructions on both reading and writing Chinese. As to the reading part, you will learn not only what the pinyin is, but also how the pinyin is formed. You will learn how the twenty-six English letters are pronounced in pinyin and how the four intonations should be pronounced; As to the writing part, you will learn what the writing order is like for every single stroke that forms the Chinese characters, Chinese grammar and Chinese punctuations.”)

To sum up, I will begin teaching starting from the elementary-level, to give you a foundation of basic skills and knowledge needed to learn Chinese. From here you will be able to design your own learning if you want to learn more.

You, of course, won’t be alone!

I will invite some of my American friends, the Chinese majors, to our “classes”. We will be having them to talk about how they learn Chinese and what suggestions they will give to the starters. I will also link you to some Chinese learning blogs and websites, which I find helpful.

Well, Well…A Little Bit about ME

Well, about the blogger, me, I guess that’s also something you might be interested in. I am Xuan Tian, a first-year journalism graduate student from the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida. I am from Hebei Province, China. My first name is pronounced as [xuan] with a second raising tone. Do you think yourself getting the pronunciation of [xuan] right? Most of my (non-Chinese) friends can’t get it right when they try to pronounce it at the first time. But I am sure that all of you will know well how to pronounce it after you start your journey of Chinese learning with me by following or subscribing to this blog.

I am into journalism and mass communications. I have done a lot of hosting and broadcasting in both Chinese and English since my high school. I maintained three radio programs of my own in a provincial broadcasting and television bureau since my second year in college. I love singing English songs, especially Christina Aguilera’s, Kelly Clarkson’s and Celine Dion’s songs.

Things You Need to Know Before Getting On Board…

Actually here are a few points I think you should know before our “classes” start:

1: Learning Chinese is a long, profound process, which takes time, effort and maybe confidence. Such persistence is required when you are learning any language.  Remember, you really, really need repeated practice.

2: You will go through a hard time learning “accent issues” due to the four intonations in Chinese. I cannot guarantee that everyone will take the same length of time

3: Being able to speak Chinese well doesn’t necessarily mean you will also be close to a high level of writing Chinese characters. You will find out why later in the learning.

4: The pinyin, which incorporates the exact same twenty-six English letters with much distinguishing pronunciations.

Ready? Go!

Let’s work together for a wonderful and challenging experience learning Chinese !