Sunday 21 November 2010


J Summary (20M16D) - Tang Dynasty poems

On the way to church on the bus, inspired by her friend Jenny, mommy tried to recite Tang dynasty poems to J, but after one round of 3 poems, J asked for Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars instead... and it was Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars all the way during the bus journey!!! It won't be anytime soon, when J would join the rest of the children in my Chinese mother's group in reciting the poems, that's for sure!

Well, but at least, it has helped mommy to recite by heart 6 tang dynasty poems now. Lest the Danes accuse mommy of rote learning, the memorization came really just so naturally without memorization, since these are the poems mommy heard as a child...

It is not to mommy's credit that the memorization was so easy, but to the poets from Tang Dynasty. If you know the Chinese language, you will understand that the Tang dynasty poems rhyme in such a way that it is almost impossible to forget, once you have read it once or twice. Perhaps that explained why 2 of the 2 years old in my Chinese mother's group have no problem reciting Tang dynasty poems. And no, there is no strict rote learning imposed by their parents. But these two toddlers are definitely exceptional, that they could recite the poems without any real memorization.

My mother-in-law once asked me how I can remember the Chinese characters, as there are thousands of them, and they look all so complicated. That's a good question, which I never thought about before. I didn't know how to answer her, except that it came so naturally to me. Hmmmm.... it could be the Chinese blood in us to easily remember Chinese characters, and that they don't look complicated to us.

On the other hand, I think it is most likely to be that we have been exposed to Chinese characters since we were little children. This question from my mother-in-law makes me believe even more firmly in my hypothesis that what one learned as a child, one will never forget. Yes, the knowledge may turn rusty over time, but it takes no time to polish it up to the same level again. But if one learns a language as an adult, it would be a different story all together!

The Danish government started to introduce Chinese as a foreign language in primary schools, but initially they omitted all the Chinese characters and substituted them with pinyin, which I believe is a big mistake. One can never master Chinese without mastering the Chinese characters, as so many Chinese characters share the same pinyin. It would be impossible to decipher the different Chinese characters by pinyin alone. However, it seems that the latest news is that they are re-thinking the strategy and started to introduce the Chinese characters into the cirriculum. I think that is the right move. So let's hope for the best.

I have a dream, I dream of being able to be involved in the development of the primary school Chinese cirriculum in Denmark, but it remains just a dream...

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