Read Chinese newspaper in 3 months ??

November 18, 2009, 12:27 PM posted in General Discussion

Link from simon to a site that discusses a successful world record of learning to read chinese newspapers within 3 months having had no prior knowledge of the language:

Thanks for your links simon,

I found it interesting that one of the criteria for testing proficiency in the world record attempt was:

Test on the proficiency of using a dictionary:
Knowing how to use a dictionary is a very important part for literacy.

Furthermore,surprisingly they allow:

twenty (20) minutes is allowed for the attempter to use a dictionary to check his or her previous test sections.

...which can be used to improve your score on the test. I'm looking forward to this weeks lesson on same.Jiayou changye.

Hey,this gives me hope from this record holders letter in regard to Chinese grammar:

The true Chinese sentence (especially in classic writings) adheres to no word ordering.

..woohoo.If this be true then I'm doin' ok,I knew I was onto something,I'm just a really traditional guy,hehe.Those that can't follow me are just demonstrating a generation gap type thing.I dunno,kids these days...


Haha, I really meant Happy coincidence. :)


Oh right.Yeah I've seen that one before.Good reminder..I've never gone through it all.Hey,but what about this first one?.the org one.Sounds interesting...being able to read newspapers three months after starting from scratch.

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November 18, 2009, 12:21 PM

I liked this conclusion:

if one is already very versed in Chinese written language, he will have a difficult time to understand my work, as he would have been brain-washed by a fake complexity

..hehe,if only it were true.

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November 18, 2009, 12:41 PM

Yes, he was very... confident... in his approach and in his own view of the world. And he no doubt is very clever. I might have given his book a chance if it was somewhat less than $400. His book on a unifying theory of physics was only $35. I also find it difficult to believe that no Chinese person on the planet can find any connection between any two characters. Sometimes being devistatingly smart is not enough.

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November 18, 2009, 12:52 PM

oh no,don't tell me.I haven't gotten to that yet.I'm really interested in getting to the origin of these characters and I didn't realise it was going to involve $400.I was getting really interested but I can't fork out that sorta dough.Yeah,he's obviously smart but it's hard to swallow all of it.

ps Actually thanks for the warning.Better I know now before I got even more excited.

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November 18, 2009, 01:06 PM

I know! 神经病了!

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November 18, 2009, 01:37 PM

Another interesting quote from that site:

On March 15, 2008, Chinese Daily News again reported that one branch of Chinese Parliament (similar to US Senate, composed of from different political parties) initiated a bill for teaching the traditional (not simplified) Chinese character in the grade school (see picture on the left). This is a major reversal for its policy a year ago, and it is an outright putting down China's greatest achievement, the revolution of Chinese written word system which was attributed as the major force for eradicating the illiteracy in China. That is, this act could be viewed as treason, unless it has become the policy of the government. Seemingly, someone in China has realized that the simplified written language system did not truly simplify it, and Chinese written language can be learned in a much easier manner, in three months.

I must say that I've learnt simple mainly because that's what's used in China now [and because "simple" does make it sound easier].However,it does make sense that to understand the characters better would surely come from their traditional forms.

ps I like the emotive word "treason" thrown in there.All very dramatic.

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November 18, 2009, 01:42 PM

on the other hand... just from reading his sample from the book I was able to recognise 2 new characters in the weather report texted to my phone....

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November 18, 2009, 01:48 PM

What I can't work out is this.Ok ,this chap Jason Tyler Gong was meant to have had no exposure to the language prior to his world record attempt in 2008.There was this book written in 2006:

Chinese Etymology

Lesson One -- 220 Chinese word roots

Copyright © 2006 by Tienzen (Jeh-Tween) Gong

..also surname Gong.What's the relationship here? Did he have any knowledge of this book or the method he was going to adopt before doing the 3 month record? Supposedly he was to know zippo beforehand.So is this surname just a coincidence?

I'm probably just missing something here.Not wanting to sound critical here,but the other thing that intrigues me is that he's obviously very intelligent and good with languages [though mostly seems to have a very analytical mind] and yet his English doesn't seem the best.I find that slightly odd,but maybe reading too much into it.It's just I was under the impression that he's American and English is his first language.

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November 18, 2009, 02:03 PM

I wondered the same thing. The letter from the Taiwan government names Jason Gong, then has his name in characters in paranthasis. It is 龔泰來 Gong1Tai4lai2 if I read it correctly. Perhaps the author of the book is related? Maybe I should purchase the book, then I would be able to read the newspaper articles about it... The guy in the pictures looked pretty young to have written so many acclaimed books on language, science and philosophy.

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November 18, 2009, 04:00 PM

I know a guy, now retired, who learned to read a Chinese newspaper as well as write 3,000 traditional characters in six months.  That was at the U.S. Government's language school during the Cold War.  

He described the process as pretty intense (16 hours per day, no English) with extremely high screening standards and even higher dropout rates.  Hard to see how learning a few radicals would make that process easy.

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December 01, 2009, 09:22 AM

I often go to a website to read chinese news, and learned plenty. here it is