March 7th, 2009

woxin: smiley FL

Why are there no sossidges for my grandson!

So I'm learning hanzi, yes? It's a soothing occupation. I spend an hour or so a night at it, reviewing old ones and learning new. I mean for certain values of 'new' because I know most of these characters in some context or other, though it's amazing how many obscure Japanese kanji you can learn while studying the basic Chinese hanzi. I start with my simplified hanzi book which has instructive mnemonic stories about giants and fairies and teddy bears and dwarfs, to represent the various tones (not that I'm trying to learn tones) and some close but no cigar English word to suggest the reading (not that I'm trying to learn the readings either: my goal, truly, is to be able to read Chinese subtitles in English.) And then for fun I go look at my traditional hanzi textbook where the hanzi are, generally, more familiar (bar a few WTF ones) and where they give and name the elements as well, most instructively but also occasionally WTFish because the evolution of Chinese, I begin to think, is just Like That. ('This character used to mean blah-blah but it sounded like yaddayadda so now we use it for that, and somewhere along the way we added an extra element just so you'd *know* it meant 'country' and not 'lance.') And then because kanji study makes me very sleepy I go to bed and sleep deeply.

But there's one very basic necessity for studying foreign languages. Collapse )