Saturday, July 2, 2011

Learning Chinese I

I came across this article the other day.
Short and sweet: one reason why Chinese students do better in math than English speaking students is because their numbers are shorter, and their numbers make a little more sense.
Yi, er, san, si, wu, liu, qi, ba, jiu, and shi (accents omitted), one through ten, are all mono-syllabic.
To say a number over ten you just place the one's digit after "shi" (twelve is shi-er). For a number greater than 19 you place the number of the tens digit in front of shi (34 is san-shi-si).  One hundred is bai, and the same rules apply.
So, for my part, learning how to say numbers has been pretty easy.  I even became a bit of a sideshow for my non-English speaking boss (John, say 956.). I still have quite a bit of trouble listening to numbers though.
Whether or not these differences have a large effect on our ability to do math, it does seem like I have picked up the Chinese numbers much more quickly than my students have picked up English numbers.  Most of their problems have to do with the teens and tens (thirteen vs thirty).

More to come on learning Chinese and some of the root causes of "Engrish".

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Doing it wrong...

This blog probably should have been started a month ago, and I am not really sure why it wasn't. I have been in Quanzhou (pronounced differently by every Chinese person local or otherwise, I prefer "chen-zo" or "chen-cho" or some mix of the two) since the 12th and have been running around WI, CA, and HK at a feverish pace on my way here since since about the 6th of June.
No point in worrying about that now, though. It just means that in addition to keeping up to date with what I am currently doing (mostly teaching, eating, and sleeping), I will also have to fill in with missed material from the last three weeks or so (mostly teaching, eating, and sleeping).
With that said, I think I will start making some brown rice (finally!) to go with some leftover spare ribs and water spinach cooked up with a little bacon.
Oh, one last thing.  I am not teaching right now because the none of my current three students could attend this afternoon (most interesting among the reasons was that one of them needed a paternity(his) test).

local time: 4:13PM