Sunday, November 22, 2009

How to encourage learning Mandarin? It's the content!

Recently there have been many articles talking about the difficulties of getting Singaporeans to learn Mandarin. Today's papers even mentioned some celebrities that are poor in that subject, stating how boring and dull it is. I believe that this has not changed much since my schooling days.

How to encourage people to learn Mandarin? The first place that one should look at is what draws people to learn other languages. For this, you should look no further than Japan. Currently, there is a Korean craze going on but I believe there are still people who are religiously taking Japanese classes and the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT).

What drives people to learn Japanese? That's easy to understand. Look at the Japanese variety shows and the ever popular manga and anime and you can understand why. The key factor is that the quality content of these sources drive people to want to understand the language so that they could further understand the content.

That's the key point that educators must understand if they wish to encourage adoption of Mandarin. Some teachers have resorted to using Chinese Pop songs in teaching Mandarin which I feel is a good start. I myself started picking up Chinese because of pop songs. :) However, to drive people to want to learn Chinese, you must have quality content. That means better quality Chinese variety shows and comics. You have to make people want to learn Mandarin and not shove it down people's throats.

Personally, I think 听写 and 默写 is a load of crap. :p It only encourages people to memorize and not to aid in understanding.


Yuuki said...

TOTALLY AGREE WITH THE COMMENT ABOUT MEMORIZING!! Bullshit! What's the point of remembering word-for-word when it is how you come up with sentences that is important? Annoying.

I don't mind ting xie though, cause it tests your knowledge of written chinese.

Anywayz, do you mean "diligently" instead of "religiously"? >_<

chantc said...

religiously is one up higher than diligently. :)

Sam Song - Author said...

Some Americans say the sound of Mandarin is poetic.

Japanese adopts a lot of Chinese characters, so, some Japanese know the advantages of the Chinese language. A learned Japanese states that Chinese language is very systematic and logic. He looks at Mandarin from a different angle.

I’d say the writing of Chinese characters is beautiful.

It’s also very interesting to know that every Chinese character and pronunciation has a reason or logic behind. That means we can learn Mandarin much easier if we understand the reasons or logic behind.

Learning Mandarin can be entertaining and fun!

I am a published author with 5 books on

I'd like to recommend the following entertaining book to everyone.

The book, Learn Chinese Through Song!: The Popular Chinese Nursery Rhyme: Two Tigers ISBN: 1439265062 URL:, is about one of the most popular Chinese rhyme for parents and child.

* Almost everyone knows the song Frère Jacques (Brother John) -- There are probably 50 versions of the song, in many languages. This song's Chinese version is "Two Tigers," which is very easy to learn. It's interesting to know that almost everyone in China and Taiwan sang "Two Tigers" when she/he was a child, because it's very easy to learn.

By googling "two tigers Chinese song", you could find quite a few videos sung by some lovely children and adults, though some have slightly different lyrics.

You will be able to sing the rhyme in minutes and remember it forever!

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