Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A little philosophy, and a good source of Chinese texts

I posted before about effortless learning and it created a little controversy. I can understand why as effortless can mean different things to different people. I came across a nice explanation of exactly what it means to me on Steve Kaufmann's website. At the beginning of his book (which you can read online if you follow the link) in the introduction Steve has this from from a Chinese philosopher. Zhuangzi, the Taoist philosopher, is supposed to have lived in China over 2,300 years ago. He encouraged people to achieve their potential through effortlessness, by not resisting their own natures. That is exactly what I meant by effortlessness.

I have an interest in philosophy, but know much more about ancient Greek and both ancient and modern European philosophy. I found this excellent website, the Chinese Text Project has number of texts with English translations. Some of the text also have modern Chinese versions alongside the older Chinese (an excellent way to learn to read older styles of Chinese).


Anonymous said...

There's no doubt learning any foreign language requires effort, time and commitment. This holds true even more, especially when there's a big difference between the native tongue and learning a new language.On the other side, knowing the methods of learning a new language can make all the difference on how effective and successful you can achieve. I find a nice site called www.Chineseclass123.com for us to share chinese study materials for free ! Here are a lot of vivid videos ,chinese sayings , stories .... colorful and interesting !

Greg said...

To get to a high level, and to get there in a reasonable period of time, I agree it takes effort.

However, for the first couple of years, all I did was listen to ChinesePod lessons over & over again. I didn't try memorise, or anything like that. Just over & over.

And that got me to a level where I could have basic conversations covering a range of topics.

Effortless - although it depends very much on creating a strong study habit - even if it's an effortless habit.

You can read more about learning Mandarin here: