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Chinese Language Forums - Chinese Etymology Institute • View topic - stern criticism found
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stern criticism found

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:29 am
by pietymoon
I must thank Mr. Tienzen for clarifying some of my doubts apropos T.K.Ann's work.
The concerns remaining are mostly on the book "Chinese etymology" itself.

1. I have found some highly critical review on this book at chinese-forums.com from user mwaynewalter who claims having read the whole "Chinese Etymology" (Post #65):
http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php ... ntry216568
mwaynewalter wrote:"...The only part in English (which is most interesting and informative) is the reference and discussion of the individual "root words".

That is, it has tons of examples of characters and exercises to demonstrate and teach the method of learning the "root words" that make up the characters. But it has zero explanation of the example characters or exercise. They're just pages and pages of Chinese characters... "

Are derivative characters in the book really given without pinyin and english translation?
I guess it really takes a huge time to look all those 8000 characters up in dictionary one by one.



2. at http://www.prebabel.info/bab015.htm among other things you also write:
Tienzen wrote:"Book 4: "Chinese Etymology" (in English, 326 pages, intended as a textbook for American kid who knows not a single Chinese at the beginning) which has three Lessons and one character list (about 8,000 words). This book is copyright with US # TX 6-917-909, on January 16, 2008. This book is available in many university libraries. Please visit http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/318075862 for details.
.....
Note: as a textbook for a beginner, it contains only about 10% the etymology theory in comparison to the Book 1."

so if it gives only 10% of knowledge needed, where the student is supposed to pick up the rest?



3. Are there any non-chinese students having succeed with this system?
There are only chinese students on all photos we see at chineseetymology.com website
so it makes one think only chinese could succeed with Mr.Tienzen system.


Thank you very much.

Re: stern criticism found

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:09 am
by Tienzen
pietymoon wrote:I must thank Mr. Tienzen for clarifying some of my doubts apropos T.K.Ann's work.
The concerns remaining are mostly on the book "Chinese etymology" itself.

1. I have found some highly critical review on this book at chinese-forums.com from user mwaynewalter who claims having read the whole "Chinese Etymology" (Post #65):
http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php ... ntry216568
mwaynewalter wrote:"...The only part in English (which is most interesting and informative) is the reference and discussion of the individual "root words".

That is, it has tons of examples of characters and exercises to demonstrate and teach the method of learning the "root words" that make up the characters. But it has zero explanation of the example characters or exercise. They're just pages and pages of Chinese characters... "

Are derivative characters in the book really given without pinyin and english translation?
I guess it really takes a huge time to look all those 8000 characters up in dictionary one by one.


Thanks for being interested in my work.

This book "Chinese Etymology" is intended for 10 years old kid who learns Chinese characters as the second language. So, besides some explanation text is in English, all learning material of Chinese characters is Chinese only, indeed.

To clarify the above quote from Mr. Wayne Walter, his email to me is attached below.

Wayne Walter wrote:
From: Wayne Walter <xxxx@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 10:27 AM
Subject: Re: How are you doing now!
To: Jeh-Tween Gong <xxxxxxx@gmail.com>


Thank you.

We have returned from Europe and will begin on this project to both study your material and also develop a more user-friendly guide.

NOTE: I now have an electronic dictionary which allows me to draw characters on the screen in order to lookup in the dictionary. That makes your book usable. It was virtually useless until this. That's because I couldn't find hardly any of the characters in the dictionary. The standard stroke counting system is very confusing. And I don't know the PinYin for the characters to look them via PinYin. Now if I draw it carefully, I get the full definition and pronunciation.

I think we well tell our friends that an electronic dictionary is a prerequisite for studying Chinese characters.

That's another reason why we must make a more user-friendly version which will include cross references with the definitions of the example characters, etc.

NOTE: We will be careful to avoid any copyright issues by never copying anything word-for-word from your books.

Also, I have a friend just decided last week that he's very determined to learn Chinese and he's single and young so he has a lot more time. He wants to work on this project several hours per day creating the character set of root word characters for use in creating flash cards and writing exercises.

He is also ordering an electronic pocket dictionary for characters.

We will both be learning your system while doing this and get a rough draft up on the website for you to consider.

We are very excited at the hope you will collaborate with us on this and will show our gratitude in any way you request including granting you equal copyright ownership if you assist in editing and wish to use it in your business. Of course, our work will certainly give credit to you and your book as the inspiration.

Keep in mind, this is not a commercial endeavor. We're doing this purely to assist our volunteer group and no-one else unless you wish to use it--then you're welcome, if you assist in editing it.

Sincerely,
Wayne




pietymoon wrote:2. at http://www.prebabel.info/bab015.htm among other things you also write:
Tienzen wrote:"Book 4: "Chinese Etymology" (in English, 326 pages, intended as a textbook for American kid who knows not a single Chinese at the beginning) which has three Lessons and one character list (about 8,000 words). This book is copyright with US # TX 6-917-909, on January 16, 2008. This book is available in many university libraries. Please visit http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/318075862 for details.
.....
Note: as a textbook for a beginner, it contains only about 10% the etymology theory in comparison to the Book 1."

so if it gives only 10% of knowledge needed, where the student is supposed to pick up the rest?


Kids are not taught about the linguistic reason or theory of Chinese etymology but are taught the discovered results as they are. All Chinese words (8,000 in the book) are learned by knowing only 220 roots and 300 sound modules together with the methods of dissection and decoding those words. Indeed, the background theory is mentioned as little as possible to lighten kids workload.


For anyone (including students) who is interested in the theory of this Chinese etymology, there are some free material available at,

1. Chinese Language & Etymology
http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/

2. Chinese Language & Etymology Blog
http://chineselanguageetymology.blogspot.com/

For more advanced material, they are available for purchasing at,
3. "Chinese Word Roots and Grammar" (中 文 的 字 根 與 文 法) at http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/cw3.htm

4. Linguistics Manifesto (ISBN 978-3-8383-9722-1), available at amazon and Barnes & Noble at’ http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Lingui ... +manifesto


pietymoon wrote:3. Are there any non-chinese students having succeed with this system?
There are only chinese students on all photos we see at chineseetymology.com website
so it makes one think only chinese could succeed with Mr.Tienzen system.


Most of my non-Chinese students are on-line students.

Re: stern criticism found

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:02 pm
by pietymoon
Dear Mr. Tienzen, thank you very much for your answer.

Tienzen wrote:This book "Chinese Etymology" is intended for 10 years old kid who learns Chinese characters as the second language. So, besides some explanation text is in English, all learning material of Chinese characters is Chinese only, indeed.

10 years old kids whose first language is English can not read Chinese characters without pinyin and translation.


Tienzen wrote:To clarify the above quote from Mr. Wayne Walter, his email to me is attached below.
Wayne Walter wrote:
From: Wayne Walter <xxxx@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 10:27 AM
Subject: Re: How are you doing now!

mwaynewalter wrote:mwaynewalter
Posted 20 June 2010 - 09:17 AM
Here's my assessment of his book after a year. I have progressed nearly zero at learning to read Chinese.

This letter you give us is one year older than the post of Mr. Wayne Walter that I cited:
Tue, Aug 18, 2009 -> 20 June 2010
So within of that year Mr. Wayne Walter apparently desperated.

Re: stern criticism found

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:22 pm
by Tienzen
pietymoon wrote:Dear Mr. Tienzen, thank you very much for your answer.

Tienzen wrote:This book "Chinese Etymology" is intended for 10 years old kid who learns Chinese characters as the second language. So, besides some explanation text is in English, all learning material of Chinese characters is Chinese only, indeed.

10 years old kids whose first language is English can not read Chinese characters without pinyin and translation.


In my system, learning the verbal is discourage at the time learning the written. My class students are prohibited to learn verbal before they learned 3,000 characters. Please read my article "The new Paradigm of Linguistics" on the issue of learning anchors (at http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/nparadi.htm ).
1. Mother tongue --- verbal is the anchor for written.
2. Second language (especially on Chinese) --- written is the anchor for verbal.

pietymoon wrote:
Tienzen wrote:To clarify the above quote from Mr. Wayne Walter, his email to me is attached below.
Wayne Walter wrote:
From: Wayne Walter <xxxx@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 10:27 AM
Subject: Re: How are you doing now!

mwaynewalter wrote:mwaynewalter
Posted 20 June 2010 - 09:17 AM
Here's my assessment of his book after a year. I have progressed nearly zero at learning to read Chinese.

This letter you give us is one year older than the post of Mr. Wayne Walter that I cited:
Tue, Aug 18, 2009 -> 20 June 2010
So within of that year Mr. Wayne Walter apparently desperated.


Is he desperate? I did not get a sense of that after read his post.

Again, he did not give out the info about how much time he has spent on the study.

Anyway, if you don't like my work, don't waste your time. Why are you taking one person's comment over the comments of many Presidents of Chinese Universities? Their comments are available at http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/cw2.htm

Re: stern criticism found

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:09 pm
by pietymoon
Tienzen wrote:Anyway, if you don't like my work, don't waste your time. Why are you taking one person's comment over the comments of many Presidents of Chinese Universities? Their comments are available at http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/cw2.htm


My statement is that even if you're absolutely and only genius in chinese written language for the past 2000 years,
it could help only chinese people as we didn't see any non-chinese person having succeed with your method so far.

The comments you quote being all of presidents of Chinese universities just confirm that statement of mine.

And thank you very much for taking care about my time.

Kindest Regards

Re: stern criticism found

PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:00 pm
by david
pietymoon wrote: I have found some highly critical review on this book at chinese-forums.com from user mwaynewalter who claims having read the whole "Chinese Etymology" (Post #65):
http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php ... ntry216568


I have read Wayne’s post at the link you provided above. My take of that post is more praising than criticism. I am quoting the entire post below.

Wayne wrote: Here's my assessment of his book [Gong's] after a year. …

As an aside, I showed it to Chinese coworkers and they all verified that they were convinced after looking at a number of his examples that it seems a clever way to learn the composition of characters. They were pleasantly surprised to realize the meanings of some of the "root words" that they never realized before.

If you are a Chinese Teacher who can read the example characters to your students so they can simply note the meanings and work through the examples with your assistance....then it seems it will be great!


These are very positive comments.


Wayne wrote:I discussed at length with the professor a project to do the following:

Create a new version of the book myself that puts example characters in much larger font, adds brief English meaning under every example character, has useful shortcuts, etc.

Additionally, the examples should be reorganized to build knowledge progressively so that for example it takes a specific character that contains 2 or 3 root words, then teaches each root word in succession with excercise until you can see how those few root words come together to make the original main example.

Then select a character that has uses one of those already known root words and adds on another one, etc.

Oh, one more important thing is to focus on the frequently used character lists. It's relatively easy to acquire lists that analyze newspapers and books to find the top several thousand most used characters.


These are also positive to me.


Wayne wrote:Other problems with the book is that the example characters are in normal font size.

For a novice they seem so small it's very challenging to make them out clearly enough to enter them into my handheld by drawing the strokes. Oh, it also takes some practice to get the hang of the correct order to write the strokes so it will recognize them. That requires lots of "trial and error" at first.

Finally, his book lacks any useful "cross reference". In other words, on the examples and exercise sections there are no useful number of each "root word" character so you can quickly find it in the reference and definition section. The only way is to "scan" the couple hundred "root word" characters looking for a match.

I have already done the work in my book to number all the root words in the margin and then mark the reference number of each root word in every example. Plus the discussion section has those references in the margin, etc.


These are only technical issues and having nothing to do with the substance on this new methodology.


Wayne wrote:I have progressed nearly zero at learning to read Chinese. (But have progressed superbly at pronunciation and speaking.)

Why so little progress? Professor Gong's book is a "teacher's guide" and not a student workbook, IMHO.

Oh...wait, I just realized I have a great friend now who is Chinese, the owner of a restaurant. He would probably love to spend time each week to help me work through Gong's book. I think I'll bring it up to at least try it out.


Seemingly, Wayne simply did not spend enough time studying the book.

Re: stern criticism found

PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:43 pm
by votusa
pietymoon wrote:I must thank Mr. Tienzen for clarifying some of my doubts apropos T.K.Ann's work.
The concerns remaining are mostly on the book "Chinese etymology" itself.

1. I have found some highly critical review on this book at chinese-forums.com from user mwaynewalter who claims having read the whole "Chinese Etymology" (Post #65):
http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php ... ntry216568


I just discovered a post from Wayne. The following is quoted from his post (which is available at http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php ... ge__st__40 )

mwaynewalter wrote:...

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.

For example the character for beautiful means includes big and sheep.

In an ancient society where herding sheep was of much greater importance, having large, healthy sheep was beautiful.

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.

I'm not interested in publishing anything but if the Professor will review and edit the work when complete, I'll let him have a copyright to include it in his commercial work.

Hey, would anyone else 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.

Sincerely,
Wayne



In this post mwaynewalter was very positive about this new Chinese etymology. And, I share his positive view after I have studied the book. Do you, pietymoon, study that book yourself? If you do, you will share our positive views too.

Re: stern criticism found

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:55 pm
by hantze
pietymoon wrote:My statement is that even if you're absolutely and only genius in chinese written language for the past 2000 years,
it could help only chinese people as we didn't see any non-chinese person having succeed with your method so far.

The comments you quote being all of presidents of Chinese universities just confirm that statement of mine.



Mr. Wayne Walter is obviously not a Chinese. While his comments were quoted in the previous threads, I just found his newer comment which gave a fair review on Tienzen’s book. The following is quoted from a post of Mr. Wayne Walter.

waynewalter wrote:FYI, I purchased the book 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 what I consider a poorly written text."

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 post is available at http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php ... ntry168668