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Reader Jarad Mayers wrote the following very good question:
I want to learn Mandarin. I am not sure how to go about it. This is the very first language I am attempting to learn. I have not done anything yet. I am on very tight budget and currently not employed. I tried to access the free material on Mandarin (http://fsi-language-courses.org/ )but it is no longer accessible . I was wondering if I could use your experince and if possible sort of outline the steps I need to follow.
BTW, I am not sure where to post my question. I am sorry if this the wrong place for posting it.
I’ve prepared the answer as a table – it is a whole programme to 80% of Chinese that you’d need to get your degree, read newspapers, live an everyday life in China. The rest after that comes down to vocabulary building for which I’d recommend the goldlisting of dictionaries or of bilingual literature. You could spend four times as much time getting from 80% Chinese to 100% Chinese (ask Vilf “the Gilf” Pareto, he’ll tell you why, or might have done, until 1923 – now you’ll have to look up what he thought in order to know why, or simply accept it).
Real Chinese philologists like Victor Berrjod might give you other useful sources better than the ones I have listed. All of the ones I have listed are available on Amazon. The audio courses are expensive so it will pay you to shop around a bit.
Sometimes people ask me, “Uncle Davey, do you support the idea of freedom of the press?” And then I reply; “Certainly, I think the press should be free, in fact, I’ll go further; they should pay us to read that guff”.
The point at issue is that journalists, who are among the most powerful members of our society, because they create opinions, are not voted into place at all. They say that they are voted for every day, that every time one of their articles is paid for by the punter who buys a newspaper, that’s a vote, and that everyone who disagrees doesn’t have to buy them. To counter this, it seems very clear to me that people simply buy what is put in front of them, like sheep, and that there seems to be little choice in the matter of which paper to buy, as they are all a mix of what I call the three kinds of journalism, which as I mentioned in an earlier article are true journalism, jumbalism and junkalism.
True journalism investigates, reveals facts accurately and adequately and as the Dutch say “bijtijds”, which means in a timely way, and then comments on them in a thought-provoking, literate and justifiable way. Jumbalism looks like journalism but is a lazy man’s version of it, where people who don’t really know what they are talking about talk about it anyway, knowing that all but a few specialists will be taken in by what they say and getting hold of the wrong end of the stick. Or they give away the fact that they barely know the culture they are making “expert” comments on.
Recently both the BBC and the Guardian have been commenting on Polish affairs, for example, and going into villages so rural that they probably represent less than 5% of the population and this is identified as being how almost half the Poles live. On two occasions recently I have seen men referred to in their surnames as “-ska” because the jumbalist must have spoken to their wife or mother, taken her name and assumed that must be the same for the man. This shows the most extreme ignorance of any Slavic culture and ought to debar a person from commenting on it in any intelligent news framework. Anecdotes from people’s travels off the beaten track are treated as if they were news. The BBC “Whirled service” radio and television, the apex of high style journalistic reporting as they claim, can barely speak English properly and no longer seem to take any pains over proper pronunciation. (See Tristana Moore’s party piece rendition of ‘Zgorzelec’. One can hardly believe she was standing in the middle of the place and couldn’t be bothered to ask anyone how to actually say it. Was she flown in for, like, five minutes, just to stand in front of the cameras, spout some meaningless drivel, which her report certainly was, and then leave again as quickly as possible?) Read the rest of this entry
This is fresh off the press of my video camera, filmed less than one hour before publication, which is good for me as may play out backlog has been at times slightly over one year and right now is about 8 months long, but still I think (and in this I have been guided by some of the regular viewers on YT and some of my dear subbers on here who told me so in comments) that it’s good to let topical stuff jump to the front of the queue. I don’t say the best stuff – that would mean I would have a lot of less good stuff waiting to come and that would end up being a bit demotivating for me and you also, but thankfully there’s a lot of my best ever stuff in the backlog waiting its turn patiently, however topical stuff deserves to come to the front of the line regardless of quality.
In the past I have done St David’s Day videos and the best of them in the mind of the viewer, assuming that comments and ratings are an accurate reflection, is the first I did, which is:
A number of viewers stated that they were even in tears or a family member was in tears listening to it. I don’t know what better compliment can be paid to a rendition. Assuming they were the right kind of tears, of course…
The Myfanwy one was from 2007 and since then I had an almost unbroken track record of St David’s Day videos.
Here’s Huli again doing the 2008 one:
And as you can see, facial fungus appears on this one.
The beard, which for some years I wore from Christmas to Easter, also appears in the 2009 one:
being not the best ever rendition of Hopcyn’s “Bugeilio’r gwenith gwyn“.
The fungus is still in evidence in the 2010 video:
However in the 2011 video there is none. That is not only because I didn’t grow a beard in winter that year, but also because I didn’t do a St David’s day video – I was busy and forgot about it.
However, in 2012, last year (again no beard at all last winter) I made up for lost time by putting up a rendition of music that you won’t hear anywhere else on the internet, and which I may possess the last copy of in sheet music, namely Cartref. Like most of the St David’s Day videos, this is sung “a capulco” as Huli puts it.
Here it is:
Which brings us back to the current one, the sixth one, in the course seven years.
Why is it important to me to do a St David’s Day video? Do I believe in Saints in the Roman Catholic sense of the word? Absolutely not. Do I regard myself as linked in some way, being called David, with that David? Well in fact that is what I was told I was named for – the name had been in my family and various grandparents in the male line were Dafydd and you didn’t need to go far back before you got to people in that line who never knew a word of English. But I really know very little about him and much prefer to identify with the Old Testament David who wrote Psalms, played music, admired women, killed Philistines, put up with Saul’s persecution, built cities and was a man after God’s own heart. He doesn’t get aday in the calendar though, which smacks of anti-semitism to me.
No, the reason why I think is this – partly to take the opportunity to celebrate Welshness and being part Welsh, and the other part is that it’s a bit like an anniversary. I joined YT and started to put up my first faltering videos in February 2006 but the beginning was so faltering you could say it was a couple of months before it got off the ground and so treating the end rather than the middle of February as the Anniversary of being on YT seems fairer. It’s now 1st March 2013, that’s 7 years of me being active on YT, and active I am as I have over 1500 videos, on average 200 a year although one year I went over 300 in that year.
I have found that doing video and sharing experiences with a kindly (and sometimes unkindly, but never mind) audience adds an extra dimension to the experience of anything. On the one hand I take the video to have a memory of my own, but the impetus to keep going and keep it organised is better when it is going to be published and others enjoy it.
Before video, I used to travel like I do now but when I think back and see the difference between the things I did before YT and after YT – I simply remember the post YT stuff better, much better, and the experiences don’t all blur into one in my mind. Also it makes me want to get out there and make the film, rather than do the airport-taxi-hotel-office-hotel-taxi-airport cycle of work without seeing anything. There are so many well-travelled businessmen who have nothing to show for all the places they have been. They have been to major capitals of the world but they haven’t even walked around on the streets and heard the language or tasted the local food or seen the individual sights. Just international looking hotels, airports and offices. I was one such person and decided it was a waste, I wasn’t gonna do it anymore, and that even if my own descendants don’t watch to find out what great grandaddy’s life was like (I don’t see why they should) at least I have the record for my own satisfaction. The surprise was, however, that so many more people liked it and were ready to subscribe and follow the travels time after time, such that I now feel that I know so many of these online friends and carry them with me, in a sense, on journeys, feeling them there (albeit with a time delay) when I walk with the camera switched on.
And that’s something which is definitely worth celebrating to me. So hopefully you’ve enjoyed the above mini-Eisteddfod and HSDD!
- What do you mean you WANT to be a Christian? (juancrivera.wordpress.com)
- Addressing Arguments to Vote for Mitt Romney (airocross.com)
- Do Arminians Believe in the Sovereignty of God? (arminiantheologyblog.wordpress.com)
Someone (sic) wrote to me recently suggesting that the Goldlist was not for them as they had tried to do a distillation and only remembered 2 of 25 words.
Now I am someone who has just discovered that there is more than one metabolic type, that a good 45% of people are Matebolism B types as opposed to Metabolism A types, and that’s why the traditional diets based just on calories and not concerned with the whole sugar question don’t do the job but actually made me worse. Given that fact, I’m perfectly open to the idea that just as there is more than one type of metabolism, there may be another type of memory and that really not everyone will benefit from the Goldlist method – yes it is perfectly possible. I have an open mind on that question.
However, given that the Goldlist Method has indeed helped the overwhelming majority of people who have tried it, including some who could never learn languages using other methods and now can, as well as some others who were already successful polyglots with their own tried and tested methods who nevertheless saw enough merit in the Method to add it to their armoury of tools, I would be reluctant to give up on it just after not having a great result on the first distillation. Instead I would look at the reasons why a person could find that they distil a headlist and only manage to throw out 2 of the 25 and not something like 6, 8, 10, 12 or even 14 as is the experience of most people using the method. Read the rest of this entry
Some friends of mine, very clever folk, have made a smart phone app which is a territory game – based on the Voynich Manuscript which I’ve blogged about on here before. The game is called Modern Wizards and the idea is self-explanatory if you watch the film above. They’ve made it in Polish and now they are making the English version so they asked me to be the “voice” for this in English. I was very flattered.
Here’s my narration and critiques from professional voice actors are much appreciated.
I don’t hold with using mnemonics usually in language learning, but with Japanese there is so much going on at once in a word – the various readings, the shape of the kanji, etc, that sometimes odd wordgames and things like that can help. It’s a waste of time to try and do it for every word, but here are some of mine which I already shared (to greater or lesser levels of appreciation) on http://www.readthekanji.com.
Here’s just ten to be going on with. I probably have done about a hundred, but to see them you need to join http://www.readthekanji.com!
1. To Deliver
That square head by the basket is like *Todo the dog with the square head in the Wizard of Oz in Dorothy’s cycle basket. That’s the moment when he jumps out, so he can’t be *delivered to the interfering neighbour.
If you get *sand inside your ear, the *suna you get it out, the better.
(Another, less polite one, is based on the reading of “suna” backwards, given the fact that if you slide along a beach backwards you’ll probably get some sand in there. But I didn’t put that one up, at least not yet.)
If the *circumstances in the company worsen, the boss le-*ts-u-gou..
4. Or less than, not more than
*Ika-rus was NOT able to get HIGHER THAN other people for long. Is the symbol on the left a bit like his broken wings falling with him the spot in the middle tumbling to the ground?
The prisoner warders are issued with new *keysets every *season
“That’s a nice *kuukou clock, where did you buy it?”
“At Geneva *Airport.”
*Fukai didn’t realise it was going to be that *deep!
“Dad, Justin Bieber’s so *famous even *yuu may have heard of him!”
9. Preparation / setup / arrangements
He had made all the *arrangements and *preparations, but, being of a nervous disposition, he was still very *”junbi” (jumpy) before the event…
10. To bring up
Looking at the kanji, you might see the frowning face of a very strict upbringer. He’s a right “sod at err”-ors made by his students.
- Kanji wear it? (ask.metafilter.com)
- How to learn hiragana in one hour or less (boingboing.net)
- Kanji for gold named year’s best (japantimes.co.jp)
I thought I would kick-off the 2013 blogging on this channel with a little poll, one that I haven’t exactly seen elsewhere but which might be quite interesting as an experiment. After all, even though the Lord Jesus himself tells us that no man knows the time, there is also a saying “vox populi vox Dei” or “the voice of the people is the voice of God”. So could it be that collectively mankind knows when the end of the world is coming?
In fact, probably not. Was the voice of the people the voice of God when the crowd yelled “Crucify him!”? Hard to say – on the one hand it had to be this so that the prophesies could be fulfilled. In the case of this poll, the only prophesy to be fulfilled will probably be that nobody knows the day nor the hour, which means that our consensus, if the is one, will probably turn out to be hopelessly wrong. Read the rest of this entry
I thought I would just round off the year’s blogging personally, rather than just with the machine generated summary in the previous post which is very interesting, maybe more so for me than for the readers, just to give you all my warmest wishes for 2013 and to hope that I may continue to be part of what you look at online in the coming year. Your ratings and comments and hits, both here and on Quoracy.com blog and also on the YouTube channel, on Linked-In and Facebook and several other places are all very highly appreciated and at times of crisis I do derive a certain strength from knowing that I’ve still got my readers, at least I got my friends:
In the deliciously ironic video to this interesting recent hit, the girl’s friend is a robot, but in my case behind the robot face of the internet and it’s various interfaces are real people who have been willing to share a bit in my life by watching the videos, listening to the voice droning on, reading the posts and the comments. That means a lot to me, and some of you I’ve got to know as well as people I’ve spent time with in the same room, or better.
I didn’t manage to do as much as I wanted to in 2012, partly because I always set my plans too high anyway, but also because I had a bad round of pneumonia in the summer which wiped out July and August. Read the rest of this entry