Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Challenge!

Firstly, I'd like to thank all the readers of Mandarin Segments for their support during the year. Blogging is fun, but really connecting with you all has been fantastic! I appreciate the time you take to read my posts, but I especially appreciate the time you take to leave comments, to disagree, and to engage me. 非常感谢!

And on the basis of your input, I'd like to pose a challenge to all of you ...

Although I spend a lot of time planning my articles, it's really the comments from readers that enhance the message that I'm trying to share, and that give other readers a wider perspective on the topic.

If you subscribe to Mandarin Segments through an RSS reader or through email, you might have the original post delivered to you, but you might not know about the comments that have subsequently been added. The same applies if you just link here from my Twitter account, without seeing any later input.

So I'd like to challenge you to go back an re-read some older posts, and catch up on the debate. Here are some suggestions as to what you might be interested to read (although feel free to read more widely than this) ...

Heisig - the experiment
Back in August I decided to learn to read and write Chinese. A few short months later I had learned 1500 characters from Heisig's "Remember the Simplified Hanzi, Book 1" (affiliated link) and I am now able to read basic texts quite well. Here are some of the key posts along the way:
Some Controversial Posts
WordPacks - making it easier to learn Chinese 

And some fun ...

So check out the posts, read the comments, and please feel free to leave more comments. I'd love to hear from you!

In the meantime, I wish you all the best for the holiday season - and a fantastic new year.

London, England
24 December 2009


  1. 圣诞节到了,你一定正在忙着业务上的事情吧?你这么有才,肯定没问题的!听说欧洲在下雪,你要注意身体哦。
    顺便说一下,我觉得你的中文经过了积累和沉淀,真的越来越好了! :-)


  2. 上一个comment, 好可亲啊!:)

    Anyway, hi Greg! I'm popping in because I just thought about you and your Heisig thing going on. I have a new word for you ^o^

    耳目 informer

    When I first read this I was thinking 'ears and eyes??' but then I realized, DUH! An informer/ spy in ALL movies is referred to as the eyes and the ears of whatever faction they work for. So . . . There's a word that will be easy to remember just by obviousness :D

    That's all ^^


    P.S. Can you understand XY's comment above me?

  3. Hi Kara

    Thanks for the word - not one I expect to forget any time soon!

    Actually, this relates very much to a point I've been thinking about for the last few weeks.

    If I were to use Heisig to memorise this character: 岖, then I would use the two primitives, being 山 (mountain) and 区 (region) - and my story would maybe be about a region which is surrounded by mountains (or something like that).

    However, there is also a word: 山区 (shān ​qū) which actually is a 'mountain area'. I might find myself using the same story, regardless of whether it's 岖 or 山区.

    Now this isn't a particularly good example, but I hope you get what I mean. And the reason your comment reminded me of it, is you're using the same method for compound words as I use for individual hanzi. I hope I don't get confused!

    In terms of whether I follow XY's post, are you asking me to get a sense of what my reading level is? If so, I'm guessing I understand the general meaning of about 90% of the characters, and am able to get a very good idea of what was written without resorting to a dictionary at all.

  4. Great blog man! Keep it up! Excited to see it continue in the new year.

  5. Hey Niel, thanks for your comment. I'm also hoping that 2010 makes a big difference! I just came back from a Mandarin meetup this evening, and although I've moving steadily along, it's really exciting to see where I could be! And good luck to you too!

  6. Hi Greg,



  7. Xie xie, Athena.

    For those of you who don't know, Athena is my Chinese teacher, who I see a couple of times a month. (I actually hadn't mentioned to her that I'm blogging about Mandarin until just a week or two ago!)

    Athena's website can be found here.