August 27, 2008

Impressive

So as a typical WASP, I grew up with the stereotype that Asians are with the smarts. But I think what they are really with is the studying. Well, not Japanese kids so much these days, but my fellow language school students, most of whom are Chinese, have been impressing me with their studious natures.
During the summer break, I came in each day to use the nets to find a job (found one by the way! Gonna teach the brains out of those retirees). The other students would come in, but they didn't really use the computers; they just went into the empty classes and studied. And they have been studying ever day after class since we started again on Monday. I'm fairly impressed.
One thing about it, though: they do almost as much talking as studying. In loud voices. I'm thinking maybe studying is a bit of a social activity for them. Well, I guess people of every nationality occasionally make study groups. I remember in college, the beginning Japanese class students made a study group. I wasn't interested, but I was somehow good at Japanese in those days. Should I digress? Okay: I approached the first lesson of that college class in horror, because I could not get it. But we had a video in the language lab that matched the textbook's dialog. I replayed the simple dialog about 40 times. Then it clicked. And I was good at Japanese for a whole semester (at least at regurgitating it--I never thought about grammar in those days). So I didn't need the study group. Then a class conflict left me without Japanese for a whole year and I came into the second class as the worst student of the bunch.
So there is my secret to learning a language: Grock it early. Grock it often. Don't let time elapse between grockings. Or you will be stuck in remedial 1kyu (oxymoron) class, like me, years later.
Or, study like a Chinese person.
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Also, I want to learn to read Chinese someday. I don't care to speak it though. Same goes with French. German, I might be able to wrap my tongue around.