15 October 2012

Dr. Language Noob or: How I learned To Stop Resisting and Love Pinyin…

As I have recently confessed my denial for tones its time for me to relate my experiences with Pinyin.  For me Pinyin was (some time ago) also one of the less palatable parts of my learning Chinese.  Though it wasn’t like my complete denial of tones….. 

In the beginning of my studies of Chinese language, I saw Pinyin as an obstacle to learning ‘real’ Chinese.  How did I arrive at this conclusion?  I am glad you asked.
In the 1990s I learned Japanese. During the 00s or naughties I taught Japanese. The transliteration of Japanese is know as romaji.  Now romaji is all well and good for about the first three weeks to a month of learning Japanese.  Romaji is indeed for Japanese language noobs. It really is a crutch for learning real Japanese. It is addictive and a very difficult habit to break once you get into the cycle of putting everything ひらがな (hiragana) カタカナ (katakana) and 漢字(kanji) into romaji. Romaji IMHO is indeed the devils work.

Romaji has its place for tourists and lazy business people who want a quick fix language solution. However, it can be very limiting for a serious language learner.
So looking at Pinyin and looking at Romaji I transposed my prejudice from one to the other. I didn’t want to learn that ‘pinyin’ stuff.  This pinyin must be for noobs, after all the Chinese don’t use it. So I concentrated on 汉字 and skipped all the pinyin. It made life less complicated. Well for a bit. It took a while (more than a year) that I really needed pinyin to learn to speak properly.
Alas by the time I had come to this realisation I was in NPCR 3 which has no pinyin of the set text. So I had to suffer. Now that I wanted pinyin there was no pinyin. So what to do. I just pressed on. I do use pinyin to learn my vocab.

It was Skritter that allowed me really enjoy and embrace pinyin. The gamification of learning in this fab program.  It made it fun to learn tones.

It was hard for me to learn English/Hanzi and Pinyin all at once. Now that I am a fan of pinyin I don’t know why I resisted it with such fervour. Sigh I must be a language noob.

The Father of Pinyin

A very humble man. At this interview 102 years old.Thank you Father of Pinyin.
BTW I had several titles picked for this piece. It was a difficult choice. Alternatives include

  1. Pinyin a love affair.
  2. My love hate relationship with Pinyin…

Skritter you really should try it. It helped me learn to love tones and pinyin.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your contibution

Blogger Widgets