Meet the Swedish Guy Who Teaches Mandarin!

Unlike most of the herd, I actually think that there are a lot of positive reasons for learning a foreign language from a non-native speaker. First of all, not all native speakers speak their own language correctly (or should we say free of the street cant, permutations, and outright mistakes that infest the spoken language of many native speakers). If in doubt, consider the difference in scores that educated, academically inclined people can achieve on the verbal parts of the GRE and how those scores differ from those who only have a high school education. I studied Spanish for years and years (OK, decades) and even telenovelas highlight the common mistakes and street cant of the less educated masses as distinct from the more educated elite. The United States has made the mistake of naively believing that any native speaker is qualified to teach Spanish, regardless of their level of education. That being said, the essays and information presented at Hacking Chinese by the Swedish guy, Olle, are well written and easy to understand.

For instance, he explained his rational for the choice of radicals he included in his list of the 100 Most Common Radicals. He compiled his list from the 2000 most common characters which is different from other lists and makes more sense. This is the list that has been such a big help for me in learning parts of characters.

At the local Asian Market, I picked up a newspaper written in Chinese. My first game is going to be circling radicals that I recognize in red pen. Later, I will circle entire characters that I recognize in another color. It is like a massive treasure hunt. I don’t need to ‘read’ them to practice recognizing them and it is instant gratification and a total rush to see how many red circles I can have on the page of a newspaper. (Plus, the newspaper is free). Hey, two months ago, I could only recognize the radical for ‘heart‘ and the character for ‘love.’


Author: foggydreamer

Foggy indulges her life-long passion for languages while working and having fun. Runescape has provided an immersive world for exploring personal and professional activities.

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