The way of learning that is now dominant in the West is motivated by two ideals: classification and reductionism. Reduce everything to its parts, classify it according to those parts. And this isn’t a bad thing; it has its place. When it’s useful, it’s very useful [see Heisig for details]. But when it’s not, it sucks Type-A bird-flu infested eggs. Why? Because it tends to lead to a fallacy known as reification. Making something that is not the res, “the thing itself”, into the thing itself. The methods of learning that now dominate the West have led people to confuse the classification, the explanation, the description of a thing, with the thing. So, when a Western person comes and says “Cantonese has nine tones” [you know it’s a Western person who did this — I’m being facetious, but seriously, I find it painfully hard to imagine a Chinese person back in the day losing winks tone-counting], “Chinese has X # of characters”, “In Navajo, you can make XYZ grammar structure”, “Japanese has THREE alphabets”, “The Japanese speak BACKWARDS”, “In Swahili, there are noun classifiers used as prefixes”, and my personal favorite:
Dholuo is a tone language. There is both lexical tone and grammatical tone, e.g., in the formation of passive verbs. It has vowel harmony by ATR status: the vowels in a noncompound word must be either all [+ATR] or all [-ATR]. The ATR harmony requirement extends to the semivowels /w, y/. Vowel length is contrastive.
Dude, I am a native speaker of Dholuo [through disuse I understand tons more than I speak now, but if I went home, I’d take care of it] and I had NO IDEA that Dholuo was tonal, I just thought that was how it sounded; that was the only way there was to pronounce those words; there is no other way. My Mum told me when she came to Japan last year (2006) and was teaching some to Momoko: “yeah, dude, Dholuo is tonal, just like that Chinese of yours”. This struck a chord with me, and has affected the way I’ve decided to approach Cantonese.
I loved this article when I first read it at the beginning of 2010, and it still resonates with me today. I’m about to get busy with Mandarin this year, and AJATT still is my basic format for how I will go about it.
Any Korean people care to comment about the recent article on the guardian about North Korea? Does this kind of reporting offend you? I felt like it was (as typical) lacking in historical reflection on why the North Korean people might feel such reverence for their past leaders given the terrible times they endured, and on the culpability of the US for the current situation. What were we supposed to take from it?From the comments.. “I’m very disappointed in this article to say the least. There is plenty of genuine news coming out of North Korea (sometimes even from those there on tours, although usually the extended ones) but this is just commentary derived from other articles superimposed over someone’s holiday happy snaps. Its disgraceful. Where are your journalistic ethics? Where are your ethics as a human being? By making such a big deal out of intentionally being there on a tourist visa for journalistic purposes and putting your name to it, you’ve likely put at risk the lives of those who were your minders on the tour as well as the lives of their families across multiple generations. It is well known that North Korea takes a particularly strong view on journalists posing as tourists. So why did you do this? For a few extra click-through units of revenue? For personal fame? None of your footage is new, none shows anything that hasn’t been reported already and with genuine insights by a) actual tourists b) South Korean media via defector sources c) NK Watch d) the BBC. I haven’t seen a piece on North Korea this reprehensibly thoughtless since Vice went in (not to be confused with their excellent work on the North Korean logging camps in Russia). This is vanity journalism of the worst type, plain and simple.”
Question askers in academic talks, inevitably. (via lifeaquatic)
Me, myself and I, an empirical approach
Our prof used to train us in how to deal with all the irrelevant stupid questions.
How one does that? that is wonderful advice, I never had any training…..(via hcsvntleones)
That is a very interesting question. Unfortunately it is outside of the scope of this paper, so let me think about it and maybe I can give you an answer at a later date.