Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A fair review

Mr. Wayne Walter used this system and gave a fair review. The following is quoted from his review, posted on a discussion forum.

“FYI, I purchased the book [Chinese Etymology] and agree with Volapuk49 with one additional information...

Volupuk49 said, "I suspect that the author is on to something valuable but unfortunately, at this point in my studies, I am not willing to make the effort to decipher ... "

Now that I have the book, I have taken some time to figure out what is valuable.

After discussing with several native Chinese, they agree the information is valuable in the following way:

Most Chinese recognize characters are composed of different other roots which often are standalone characters of which the meaning is commonly understood.

However, many characters have ideographic symbols included in them which, while repeated in other characters, never exist as standalone and the meaning has been lost to the average (even well educated) Chinese person.

Additionally, many symbols that exists as standalone characters and form parts of other characters had their meaning change over time so that the meaning is very different when included inside another character.

Note: My earlier post was incorrect in that the professor never said that all characters contain sounds. But he does include sound.

What the professor, (through email correspondence), has convinced us that he can do is really tell how the meaning and writing of a character evolved to what it is today. …

What he successfully accomplished while personally teaching students in class is enough "critical mass" of understanding of etymology and the evolution of characters so that students can "decode" the meaning of a new characters they never saw before.

How is this useful to me....

I personally want to know all the symbols individually that can construct any characters. His list of 220 symbols has been proven to cover EVERY single character that exists.

In other words, once you learn the 220, you'll never see a character that looks completely foreign.

Plus, with some practice, (and support from Dr. Gong) you can get the "hang of" decoding characters based on these.

It seems, personally, that reading about ancient Chinese culture and habits helps a great deal to decoding characters. …

Additionally, learning the roots that related to Chi, (energy) like blocked Chi, unblock Chi, week Chi, etc. unlocks greater meaning from characters.

I'm personally creating a much more approachable beginners guide to how this all works. I have proposed to Professor Gong to collaborate. FYI, I'm trained language teacher and speak and teach French and Spanish as well as my native English. …

Hey, would anyone else would like to join in this effort?  If so, I can give you an outline of how I will approach it to make it easy and useful. And I would love ideas, input and feedback.

I will follow a style like the book Reading and Writing Chinese but with some major differences and an emphasis on teaching the roots primarily with enough examples and etymology so the beginner gets immediate satisfaction with understanding the compositions of popular characters.”

The original discussion about this review is available at

1 comment: