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China Daily Gathering 7 June 2015, How to Learn a Language

Popularity 5Viewed 1678 times 2015-6-23 15:24 |Personal category:Ecotourism|System category:Life| China

We enjoyed our gathering and had an interesting exchange about the challenges we experience when learning languages, and our solutions. Many of the obviously good language learning habits, we simply took for granted in our conversation. For example, maybe none of us mentioned the importance of keeping our bodies on routine support, the significance of linking auditory and visual practice by reading aloud, and the necessity of rejecting interruptions and multi-tasking while learning.


Anastasia from Russia, who knows English and is learning Chinese, let us know she appreciates her classroom contexts where she practices reading, fitting the new parts of language together in clear grammar lessons, then having a good discussion about the new forms.



The classes at the Communication University of China make the information about new language forms clear, relevant and pragmatic. The enunciation and relevant cultural contexts are also in the language classes Anastasia, photographed above, described.



Echo is photographed above, attentively listening to Anastasia's presentation.



Lisa, photographed above, is also attentively listening to Anastasia's presentation.


We talked about working with partners, watching movies with subtitles, and Colin Speakman highlighted the importance of changing practice locations to let new vocabulary be associated with social contexts, since context pushes recall.


I talked about experience being corrected in a Chinese class with a native speaker focusing too much attention on insignificant details, and the scavenger hunt prerequisite to pulling access to the language together. However those experiences happened almost a decade ago. A recent online search shows such problems don't exist in the free online materials, so I feel encouraged to focus on learning Mandarin again when priorities align in agreement.


We can increase visitor Mandarin uptake in social contexts by adapting public written materials, such as signs and product labels, into bilingual messages with phonics support in Chinese. For the past decade and previously, the language information supply tended to avoid having the translation, the written characters, and also, the enunciation guidelines, together.



Lisa, Megan and April, pictured above from left to right, talked appreciatively of happy classroom contexts where the fundamentals are taught with clear standards.


Yosra talked about the language gap from Arabic to Chinese, in English. Yosra let us know to focus conscientiously on attempting the use of new words, and to re-read new material while relaxed [such as in the evening]. Exemplary sentences make the new language easier to remember. 



Sunshine, pictured above right to left with her friend and Cai Shen, is going to Johns Hopkins University to study finance, and notes topic-interest driven learning makes remembering easier.


It turns out, in English the average person's vocabulary is near 3000 words yet can extend with practice to 5000 in many people. Some online information suggests many Chinese know 3500 to near 5000 Mandarin words, too. Some people approaching a new language like setting a goal, such as attempting to learn 10 words per day in a simple sentence.


We are all grateful to Victor, our China Daily host, for organizing the event and making sure we all successfully found the location.


(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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  • Education Methods 2020-1-7 20:25

    Then, IF you are the Secretary General of the United Nations, how do you tell the young students of the world what is going on in our world and, how to do is the right way

  • Education Methods 2020-1-5 01:54

    snowipine: Punishment strictly following the rules is always the last resort , usually we don't this way, but if here is no other wayout, how to do ?  I guess.
    Thanks for your comment, Snowpine. In schools and in prisons, we shouldn't feel trapped into punishments as persuasion or as motivation. We should be able to use rewards systems. What inspired my blog entry is thinking about the failed terrorist reform efforts, like Gitmo, and why they fail. Negativity doesn't cause improvements and secrecy just makes it worse, but rewards systems may work. It's unclear though since terrorists are different from students and normal prisoners.

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