Jun 26 2011

I don’t remember Chinese being so difficult

Published by at 8:22 pm under All,Miscellaneous

Ian is only 7 years old, attending standard one. Last week, he came home with some homework on Chinese language. It is about 多音多意字. I had to Google to help him and myself understand them. Can’t imagine how they study in the school, how teacher teaches them each individual word in such short term. I raised my white flag on this, without Google I would have to surrender ourselves to tuition centers. Ya, we are still reluctant to start tuition, so Google is our teacher now.

Tonight, Melanie (DH’s niece) showed me a homework, again on Chinese language. It is about 两个上声字. Roughly know what it is, but… somehow, we spotted more than one in the whole sentence. So, obviously we were wrong about this. We tried to Google, only able to get the technique, which we though we got it, still found more than one. So, meaning, we still didn’t get it right!!

I am feeling so lousy in this already. Melanie is standard 3. Meaning, very soon, I will have to face this again with Ian.

I hope by then Ian really pays attention in his teachers’ teaching, so he could help shed some light, teach his mommy so that his mommy can help him a bit, else… have to surrender to tuition teachers ler… I hope we don’t have to come to that!!

I really don’t remember Chinese being so difficult in those days. I thought I scored quite good in Chinese last time. I was also very good at pinyin, but don’t think those day’s pinpin is as complicated as the pinpin nowadays. Why must they make things so complicated huh??!! No wonder… Chinese language is really that tough!! I’m glad I wasn’t born in this generation. Life is getting tougher huh?!

Added 29 June: Oh… Melanie updated us, apparently we were right, there were more than one, but the instruction wasn’t clear as to which one to circle, and we have assumed only one. Whew!


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11 responses on I don’t remember Chinese being so difficult

11 Responses to “I don’t remember Chinese being so difficult”

  1. Jasonon 26 Jun 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Err, what’s so difficult? 多音多义自 means, a same characters but can have different pronunciation and meaning.

    For example, 还. It’s hai2 and huan2.

    还(hai2) 不回家. 去图书馆还(huan2)书.

    I do agree that this shouldn’t be taught during Standard 1 but Standard 1 these days and Standard 1 during my time and your time is very different. Kids are a lot smarter since they start pre-school even earlier than us.

    Here’s a good list: http://xz7.2000y.com/mb/2/readnews.asp?newsid=347935

  2. Jasonon 26 Jun 2011 at 11:14 pm

    上声字 is our pinyin 3rd sound.

    _ / V \, the 3rd one.

  3. suzetteon 27 Jun 2011 at 6:33 am

    Jason,for 多音多义, our challenge would be that we do not pronounce correctly in daily life, so when it comes to this we find it hard to differentiate. It would be easy for obvious stuff like 长 in “长短” vs “校长”. But challenge came for things like 看 inside “看管“ vs ”看书“, because dunno about you, I tend to read them the same kan(4). But in fact, they have different meaning and different pronunciation. This one I have to refer to a 多音多义大全 (BTW, thanks for forwarding the link).

    As for the 上声字, our understanding is the same, but do you know that it has been getting even more complicated? There are 5 (or even 6 sounds) now? There are things like 去声, 上半声变调, 下半声变调… For example, the rule says: “丢掉后半段“14”上升的尾巴,调值由214变为半上声211,变调调值描写为214—211″ –> I tell you, I was extremely confused with this whatever 214, 211, etc. And to label pinyin, not just _/V\, they are now doing: ._/V\L (the dot is a 去声, the L is the 半声变调).

    There are different rules on 两个上声字 and 三个上声字. I thought I have mastered it in the past (for example I know 手指 is one of those), but… I found more than one of these 两个上声字 in my niece’s exercise (should be only 1 in each sentence), so it must be wrong. Another challenge is, because we already so used to the 变调 way of reading 手指, very likely I will think that it is not a 变调, but is actually a /V instead of VV originally. Or, for things that are originally /V I might think is a 变调 from VV. You know where I’m stuck at? LOL! I might have confused everyone including myself now… :p

  4. suzetteon 27 Jun 2011 at 7:59 am

    Ah! And also got 轻声on top of that 去声,and all sorts of 变调. I am now ‘studying’ at the 香港中文大学自学 site… not bad, but takes great effort to help my children!!

  5. Silveryon 27 Jun 2011 at 11:16 am

    I agree with you, you were a good student in Chinese. But a lot of the things now are different from our time, plus kids learn them earlier :( A tuition teacher told me that such ‘intricacies’ of the language should be left to uni students who study chinese. Such intricacies can really take the enjoyment out of learning a language. I think our Chinese education system is trying to squeeze as much as possible into these 6 yrs of primary school cos 6 yrs are what most of M’sian Chinese kids get in learning Chinese.

    Dont view tuition classes for your kids negatively. With the constant changes in syllabus, it’s best to leave it to the ‘experts’ to keep track of the ‘updates’. I commend you for studying hard to help your kids but at the end of the day, what you learn there may be different from what is required here. Teachers may ‘punish’ kids for the ‘answers’ and kids may ‘scold’ (and lose their trust in) their moms for teaching them the wrong things :(

    True, being a kid in Chinese school nowadays is no fun. As a parent, we should not criticize the system, the school or the teachers in front of the children. Criticizing in front of the kids will result in them losing respect for the teachers. If that happens, our kids will not learn anything (how can you learn from a person you dont respect?). Instead we should teach our kids to adapt to the ‘toughness’ (be resilient) and to have a healthy view of success/failure in meeting challenges. That, I think, is the best education we can give to our children (it’s not about pronouncing each chinese characters flawlessly).

  6. Silveryon 27 Jun 2011 at 11:19 am

    Oh, yes! I’ve learned a phrase that helps me throught the ‘tough’ times of being a ‘kiasu’ mom: Learning is a process, not a race. I hope it give as much insight to you as it has given me :)

  7. suzetteon 27 Jun 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Silvery: With due respect, I wouldn’t call any of you as being ‘kiasu’ at all. It is not about kiasu’sm, but more about time. We simply can’t squeeze out any time for tuition or any other activities. Doing his daily eye exercise has taken up so much of our time, and our priority is really to fix his eye. Sometimes, so much so that we have to skip a few of these exercise due to lack of time (too many homework) or too tired, but that’s really unwished for. He only has this year and next to fix it, after that, no hope for any improvement once reaches 9 years old. So, tuition is definitely what we will avoid, even if that means he can’t complete his homework. :)

  8. Jasonon 30 Jun 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I have no idea what you are talking about and I would need to see the exercise book to understand.

    However, regardless of what’s written in the textbook, it’s still going to be the same. Mandarin is mandarin. They might took a more complicated way to explain the same thing but pretty sure it’s the same. :)

  9. suzetteon 30 Jun 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Jason: LOL! Yes! You are right! We will get through that. Maybe not 100% on the theory part, but almost there lah! :p

  10. Jasonon 30 Jun 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Take picture of the few pages and let me consult my mum or primary school’s Mandarin teacher. She’s the best in my school.

    These days, our education is going the wrong direction. More and more red tape and ridiculously stuffs going on. Can’t rely on them entirely.

  11. suzetteon 01 Jul 2011 at 10:14 am

    Jason, thanks for the offer… NVM the hassle though… Melanie doesn’t stay with me, I don’t have her book now. :)
    Anyway, think we know the answers now, it is just the instruction was confusing. LOL!

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