Wednesday, January 27, 2010

China is bigger than you think

The global recovery has only just begun and China is already nearing the top of some categories. With a population 10 times bigger than Japan's, China must have not reached even a quarter of its potential.

China Dethrones Germany as Top Goods Exporter JANUARY 6, 2010
China took over the mantle of the world's top merchandise exporter from Germany in 2009, according to the latest figures, aided by a global economic crisis that has taken a greater toll on other trading powers. 
China in 2007 overtook Germany as the world's third-largest national economy, and is on track to soon surpass Japan to become the second-largest economy after the U.S.

And today from this article, Japan's exports grow for first time in 15 months, 27 January 2010
The Japanese finance ministry said China had now overtaken the US as Japan's largest overseas market.
China is also on the verge of overtaking Japan as the world's second largest economy.

I did not begin taking on the Chinese language because of the current Chinese boom. I have been interested in learning Chinese since the time I had a college roommate from Hong Kong.  I am that way. I make a friend from another language-culture and I become interested in learning his language.

But of course, if the current attention that China is receiving, turns your attention toward China and develops an interest in learning Chinese, I don't see anything wrong with that. We would hardly know anything about distant cultures/lands/languages if there wasn't something to bring our attention to it.

China is VERY big. Japan is very small. If a small nation with few resources like Japan could ever become the second largest economy in the world, then I don't see why the rise of China should be seen by some as hype. When people try to snub their nose at what is happening for China, it strikes me as some kind of superiority complex.

I could go on ranting, but what would be the point?


  1. I believe that people are simply pointing out the dangers of jumping in to learn Chinese just because it's the newest in-thing all for (perceived) economic benefits. Better to warn people earlier on than to be in tears and debt later on as they say. But of course there'll still be people who'll grab the bait.

    Having said that, I've been meaning to ask you a few questions regarding the TV method (I plan to use it sometime in the distant future to learn Chinese like you are now):

    - Do you ever look up words in the dictionary? Say the same "word" keeps popping up in several similar situations. How do you know a word is a word and not a random collection of syllables without looking up the dictionary?

    - If yes, then how is that consistent with your "listening before reading" policy? If you can't read, you can't look up words.

    - Lastly, is it advisable to keep listening (attentively) to the same content or to keep changing channels as fast as possible?

  2. Then maybe the government should require Rosetta Stone to put a warning label on their package (like cigarettes). We'll have to think of something funny.

    To answer your questions: No, I do not look up any words using the TV method. People do not speak languages in some random way. There is a pattern. A pattern that just gets repeated over and over. The more you hear the patterns, the stronger the neural paths become. You can recognize patterns, so therefor you can recognize words. It seems to me that it's a kind of tuning process where you are tuning your brain to pick up the frequency of another language.

    You can keep watching and hearing the same content as much as you want as long as it holds your attention. However, new content will give you new situations with the same words and make it easier to understand certain words. So I advise watching lots of content as well as repeating content to see how much more you understand the Nth time around. During the 2nd time, you know the story much better and know what's going to happen and who is who, so you will understand so much more. Of course if you watched something once and found it boring or lacking in dialog, then you don't need to force yourself to watch it again.

  3. In my own humble opinion, anybody who promotes Rosetta Stone shouldn't be taken so seriously.

    Thanks for the answers! The TV Method sounds exciting and the number one reason I'm willing to give it a try is because it's so audio focussed. I believe that such intensive listening without ANY text as a crutch will result in a native accent. Hope the experiment goes well! =)


No profanity. Please be considerate of others. Thank you.