Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Three Kingdoms 

Started studying with a new tutor this evening. I have been studying with a tutor at Sinoland, but they just raised their rates, and since I am on a leave of absence this semester, I decided to hold off on my work with that tutor. Actually their rate for classroom training doesn't bother me, because I think it's still reasonable. But I had a tutor, so I would bear the cost of the increase myself (since I am the only student in the class). So I decided to implement an idea I have been thinking about for some time.

I hired May to teach me The Three Kingdoms in Chinese. The Three Kingdoms is one of the four classic novels of China. The others are Journey to the West, Dream of the Red Mansions, and Outlaws of the Marsh. Before I came to China, I read Outlaws of the Marsh, because it was translated by Sidney Shapiro. But of the four, The Three Kingdoms is the most historical, and therefore (in my opinion) the most important. May majored in Chinese literature. She also knows the Sinoland program well, because she worked there for several years. But I am not hiring her to use their program. I am hoping she can help me design my own program.

When I was a kid, I had a Japanese teacher who taught Japanese fables in Japanese. I can remember these fables today, even though I have never read them and never heard them in English.

I don't think a study of this kind can replace ordinary conversation study, because it tends to be reading intensive. I expect to increase my reading skills, and hopefully my listening comprehension. You can't develop everything at once. At some point, I will need to go back to Sinoland, or some other school, and work on my pronunciation, especially tones. Language learning is oh, such a slow process!

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