Children Learn Language better than Adult

May 11

Some might argue how well a children fare in compare to adult who possess a much more trained and developed brain in picking up a new language. It is by no doubt that in most occasion, adult is pretty much going to lose this fight as time, dedication and commitment they can put on the subject of language learning might not be as much as how children can have in their arsenal. What if that aspect is out of the question though?

Children are naturally capable of learning a new language by unlearning other languages. Adult tend to relate and mix up the languages they learnt hence making it more difficult for them to focus on just one until they can fully tell the differences between them. Children on the other hand are capable of siding one other language completely out of the picture and focus on the other one when they are learning a new language or when they are learning different language simultaneously.

Children also can detect broad distinctions between the patterns of stress and how long you hold different syllables between different languages. They are just born and be naturally sensitive enough to these differences to notice when a speaker switches from one language to another. Adult on the other hand will have delay in trying to interpret and understanding the context of the speaker before being able fully accepted a change of languages might have been used in between.

At one stage of a human development, children or adult wouldn’t just loses the physical capacity to hear distinction of sounds but rather, it is the well-trained brain begun taking over and purposely ignoring the differences in sensory input between them. It is arguable whether or not the brain has become more lazy to tell the difference upon hearing those sounds but it is said that the brain works that way as the evolving of survival mechanism. This has further proven that children are simply  better language learner than adults.


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Learning to write chinese symbols for Kids

Mar 12

There are more than 3000 dialects of Chinese being Spoken in China, however, Chinese writing symbols are all the same across the regions. There are simplified and traditional writing, with simplified being the universally used as of current replacing the old traditional complicated writing symbols. Eventhough people speak in different Chinese dialects, the same written language is being used.

Chinese writing characters developed 3000 years ago which begin from mere pictures. Pictures were drawn to resemble the items they want to represent. The first Emperor Chin unified and issued the same symbols to be used by all after refining the characters from ancient picturized characters.

The ancient way of learning Chinese and it’s characters are by memorizing many pictures or characters each week and used brushes and ink to paint the words out. Imagine having to memorize hundreds or even thousands of those pictures in order to be able to read and write, you would be much more appreciative to those literature being written way back then.

The traditional Chinese is deemed to be quite complicated for many to learn to write in that language. Simplified Chinese was then introduced for easier learning which is also known as modernized Chinese. Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan is still using the traditional Chinese though and you would notice that Singapore has a split knowledge on traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese as well.

There has been a debate on whether to fully introduced and enforce the simplified Chinese language over the traditional one with many claimed that the simplified version has some way off the traditional Chinese characters. Singapore adopted the six revisions made by Mainland China in 1986.

Chinese character writing is done in columns, from top to bottom and from right to left. You should start writing in the upper right hand corner of the page.


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Essential things to know before learning Chinese

Mar 05

Before trying to pick up the language, there are several things you or your kids should know be familiar with such as the tones, characters and sentence order. You or your kids will definitely have an easier time knowing all these in advance as it can be fairly confusing later on, if otherwise.

Let’s first talk about tones. As most of us know,  Chinese is a tonal language. In general, we will be speaking Mandarin (as opposed to other dialects) as it is the most common spoken language among the Chinese. It is especially used widely on the Northern part of China. Mandarin has four tones. The change of tone can change the meaning all together. For example, the syllable ‘ma’ could mean ‘mother’ when it is pronounced in the first tone; but mean ‘scold’ when it is pronounced in the forth tone. If you are curious to know, other Chinese dialects are tonal as well and some even have more than four tones which increase complicacy to many who wish to learn it. It is very important to first master the correct tones or you or your kids will have a very hard time trying to nail down the meaning of the words across. The common mistakes many people does are neglecting the tone and focusing on the memorizing the characters and use of grammar instead which should be the other way round.

The next essential thing any learner should know is the Chinese Characters. Like we mentioned before it should come after understanding how the tones work.  Knowing the Chinese characters help you to read while the tones help you to speak. There are many people nowadays who can speak but cannot read because recognizing the vast amount Chinese characters can be a titanic task to call. What makes it more difficult is that there are many words that share the same sound, but holds different meaning entirely.

Learning to read can take a lot of time and effort and will be easier for kids to adopt at early age while they are still at a curious and learnable state.

Last but not least, word order plays a big part in learning Chinese as well. One thing any learners should set in mind is that the word order can be quite inflexible hence it is more advisable that most of the new learners should avoid changing the order especially when they are not sure about it. For example, ‘ni hao ma’ suggest ‘how are you’ but if it is changed into ‘ma ni hao’, the context change entirely into ‘Mother, you are great’.

Knowing all these essentials will definitely help in making the Chinese language more learnable for many who are trying to pick up that language.


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Origin of Ancient Chinese Writing for Kids

Feb 20

The people in China began writing about 1500 BC. They are considered the first few who started writing, only later than people in West Asia or Egypt. It was discovered that the earliest writing in China was on animal bones which priests used them to tell the future and they are often known as the “oracle bones”. The writings are in the form of pictures.

From bones, to strips of bamboo wood to silk cloth is where they write on. It is then when the earliest Chinese literature we known was written, which is during the Western Chou Dynasty on 800 BC. It is known as I Ching, a fortune-telling book, similar to the oracle bones mentioned earlier.Around 300 BC, the ever famous Art of War book was requested to be written by Sun Tzu as a general seek the best ways to organize armies and battles.

It is not until 100 BC that people in China invented paper to write on. It is cheaper than silk hence encourage more people to start writing and there are more people copied books during the Han Dynasty. This copying mechanism was then enhance to wood-block printing during the Tag Dynasty, about 700 AD. Copying was made easy with the method and books become cheaper. More people learned to read and many more started to write.

This marks the born of Chinese literacy and famous poets start being introduced from then on. Bai JuYi with his poem entitled Song of everlasting Sorrow becomes a hit during the Sung Dynasty, about 1000 AD. Book copying method is even further enhanced as people invented the movable clay type. This makes books even more cheaper and popular than before which contribute to a lot of great books being written from then on such as Lie Jie’s architectural standard setting for all of China, and also novels like Romance of the three kingdoms written by Luo Guanzhong during the Yuan Dynasty.


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Importance of early Chinese education exposure to kids

Feb 13

It has come to a stage whereby people argue whether or not English is still the dominant language at current age when the rise of China in the aspect of military strength to economic dominance force many people to adopt Chinese language in order to stay competitive and survive in today’s business world. With a population of nearly 1.3 billion people and the willingness of the Chinese to extend their influence across the globe, the distant future might not be that much of a distance at all when it comes to predicting how influential the Chinese language would be.

This is the reason why questions like “Will our children be ready to meet the requirements or compete for better future?”  , “Will they be able to meet the high demands set by many corporate?” , “Can they be effective in their communication with future leaders or whatever field they will be involved in?”. It’s never too early to be ready for what is to come.

Studies have shown that early exposure to a second language greatly increases the likelihood that the learner will attain fluency and a native accent. The younger you have your kids to learn Chinese, the bigger the advantage it will be for them to achieve fluency over the other late learners.

It is estimated that it will takes 1,300 hours to become proficient in Chinese which is nearly three times as long as French which is estimated to require 480 hours to achieve proficiency by the Foreign Service Institute. Many Westerners perceive that Chinese an extremely difficult and exotic language to learn. While the learning curve varies for most people, whereby some might find it more difficult especially when their interest is not pinpointed on learning the language, others who likes challenges can find the different characters fun and grasp the different tones well.

This is the reason why kids can pick it up way easier than adult can, while their brain are still developing and no boundary is set telling them that it is difficult.


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Is Mandarin Difficult to Learn?

Jan 13

There are arguments into which language is the hardest to adopt as second language. Some say Russian, some say German, but you would notice there are A LOT who will say it’s Chinese.

Here’s the reason:
“Many factors make Chinese very difficult to learn. For example the characters (Hanzi) used in the writing system seem to be archaic and obscure. Every word is a different symbol and it’s not phonetic so it gives you no clues as to how it is pronounced. The tone system also is a pain because Mandarin has four tones. One other reason is, Mandarin has a large number of homophones. For example, the pronunciation “shì” is associated with over thirty distinct morphemes. Some people try to learn this language for that specific reason, being difficult and different.”

It wouldn’t be a surprise that even the Chinese are complaining the same but despite the widely-held belief, there are still so many people trying so hard to learn Mandarin as the second language.  Whether it’s based on interest or the rising economy state of China drive those people to learn is their story to be told but is Chinese really the most difficult to learn?

We are not going to argue about that as many out there would probably just agree relentlessly. The truth though is that, Mandarin Chinese might probably be easier to learn compare to certain other European languages. The reason being; Mandarin has:

• no subject/verb agreement

• no plurals

• no conjugations

• no tenses

• simple numbering system which is applied to dates and time expressions

• simple conditional sentences

• simple prepositions

So why do people find it so difficult especially for those who already master other language that is probably more difficult to be adopted by others? It’s only a myth, most importantly, have a strong state of mind when you try to learn Mandarin or in fact, any other language and keep the interest flowing; continuously finding the real fun into learning that specific language. The real challenge here is your approach and your attitude into learning a new language.


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