I was foaming the other day (not at the mouth, foaming is my word for trolling recent submissions to del.icio.us) when I saw this article on why it is so hard to learn Chinese.
More specifically, why it is so hard to learn to read Chinese.
This is of interest to me, because I have a friend who lives in China, married a Dutch woman of Chinese descent, and is raising his 2 kids in China. Naturally, learning Chinese is a basic necessity of life for him.
One of the most interesting parts of the article is that even born-and-raised Chinese people often have a hard time reading and writing their own language … even university-education professors of the Chinese language!
I wonder … I know that in mathematics, if you do not have basic numeracy literacy you spend so much effort on the basics that it is very hard to learn the more difficult material. I wonder if the same might be true for Chinese … would it be harder to learn when the tool that you’re using to create, organize, and disseminate knowledge is, to put it very simply, a harder-to-use tool than some others out there?
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