Friday, January 11, 2013

Mandarin Chinese Progress January 2013

I have been following the input based learning system for Mandarin Chinese, and it is going along smoothly. All this time, not once have I picked up a single pen or piece of paper. Everything I have been learning in Chinese has been one hundred percent audio lessons.

Yesterday I listened to Chinese on the bus, the subway, and walking. When I started getting bored, I switched over to Spanish vocabulary. On my way home, I went back to Mandarin. Living Language lessons are different in that they go over sentences, nuts and bolts, then the sentences again with English translation. I have been slowly moving up in my Chinese abilities. I am understanding basic sentences, basic greetings, and able to recognize Chinese words in new sentences.

As I listen over and over to the tones of the language, they are slowly growing on me. I read that Chinese tones are one of the more difficult things for anglophones to acquire. I do not know how I have acquired them yet because I am still in the listening phase.

So the progress is going along slowly, but consistently. I am wondering when I should start practicing the writing system?

While looking at images of Chinese provinces, I discovered that Chinese are working to develop a mega city around the Pearl River Delta in south China. The scheme will create 16,000 miles of urban area that is twenty six times larger than Greater London, or twice the size of wales. The state of Maryland is 12,600 square miles. Imagine a city bigger than the state of Maryland.  The mega city will cover much of China's manufacturing heartland, accounting for about one tenth of the Chinese economy.

They planned 150 major infrastructure projects from transportation, highways, subways, trains, rails, energy, water, sewer and telecommunication networks that will link the nine cities together. They will spend about 300 million dollars. An express rail will connect the new city to Hong Kong. The project will spread jobs more evenly across the region and distribute public services more fairly. Residents will be able to use universal rail cards, buy annual tickets and commute around the mega city.

The Chinese government is planning to build twenty-nine new rail lines, totally three thousand miles of tracks and will cut commute time to a maximum of one hour between city centers. The new services will cut phone bills, electric bills, provide better schools and access to hospitals.

If you thought that China was an economic powerhouse, just wait until they are done with this project.The PRD's (pearl river delta) role in China's economy is pivotal. Home to less than 3 percent of China's population, it contributes almost 7 percent of its GDP. The PRD economy, measured in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms and excluding Hong Kong and Macao, is larger than the national economies of Malaysia, Portugal, and Greece, two-thirds the size of the Philippine economy, and just under half the GDP of Australia. Including Hong Kong and Macao, the delta's economy (also in PPP terms) is the size of Thailand's, half that of Spain, and just over 45 percent of Canada's. Per capita GDP in the PRD (excluding the two SARs) is triple that of Vietnam and 1.5 times that of the Philippines.  If they manage to keep wages low, drop the cost of living for the working class people, I see Chinese as being an essential language to know if a person wants to compete economically. 

No government has ever tried to create a city this big. They have a lot of work and planning to do. I have the greatest confidence that the Chinese will succeed at this wonderful project.


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