Thursday, June 28, 2012

making mistakes is bad or good?

A comment on Steve's blog says:
The essence of learning is making mistakes, that's HOW you learn to do it right!

I have to say, I don't agree with this. We learn to do it right by doing it right, not by doing it wrong. When you do something wrong, it means you haven't learned how to do it right yet.

Is it impossible for someone to do something right without doing it wrong first? No, I don't think so. Getting it wrong is not a prerequisite for getting it right.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

no English, none of the time, never!

Have you heard of "No English, None of the Time, Never!" before? Maybe we can shorten it to NENTN! I think I don't even have to explain what this means. 99% of readers probably understand what it's all about. For that one percent who are totally clueless, here's an explanation:

Sunday, June 03, 2012

reading like a native

I know many people have the notion that you'll never be as good as a native speaker in a foreign language. A few of us have the audacity to aspire to native-equivalent performance in our second languages and even fewer strive for native-sounding pronunciation. Even if we are delusional, I think for those that really want to be extremely good in another language, there is no reason that we can't expect to be able to read like a native.

For languages with alphabetic scripts or even phonetic scripts, reading as well as a native may not sound like something that would be questionable. All you need to do is put in the time and even if you don't feel like looking up unknown words, eventually you'll get a pretty good idea of what most of the words mean.

But for Chinese and Japanese (any others?), reading is quite a challenge even at the advanced stages of learning. I haven't much experience with reading Chinese, but I do for Japanese. So let me just talk about reading Japanese.