Tarvos' новый лог

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Cavesa
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Re: Tarvos' новый лог

Postby Cavesa » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:26 am

tarvos wrote:By the way, there are good examples here of people that have done so and derived benefit from it: a Dutch journalist, photographer annex doctor made a tv documentary on the inner workings and cultural particularities of China in a six-parter where he travelled along the Yangtze river. Now, this man had lived in China before and had learned Mandarin well - so well that he conducted all his interviews with Chinese people IN MANDARIN. This led to many situations where people, surprised at the foreigner not only speaking Mandarin but mastering it well, leading them to open up massively and give unique insights into the culture - ones that no anglophone journalist would ever have received without the cultural and linguistic knowledge of this journalist. It really boosted the quality of the production - and something as simple as having worked on your Mandarin effectively caused that result. Of course, he is a clever young man, being a qualified physician as well as a journalist and photographer and speaking fluent Mandarin - but the fact he put in that effort, learned it well, and eventually got more out of his stay in China than most people that live there speaking English in Sanlitun do for years, reveals what the use of knowing Mandarin well is - and how much the Dutch culture should continue to ingrain this mentality into the youngsters. Because he's not the only one to have done this - there are more examples of such journalism in the Netherlands.


Thank you! A very inspirative story. Something to counter all those "why don't you put the time into medicine instead of useless languages, as you can already speak English?" types of comments. This guy is much better than I am likely to become, with broader and deeper education, which I don't doubt he acquired in spite of the system (there are so many people, unfortunately across Europe and perhaps the world, who think "oh, he studied medicine, so he has to spend his whole life serving us and not to waste time on any other dreams of his"). He found a wonderful way to use his talents and all the years of hard work he must have invested in developping them.

Thanks, I love success stories like this. They give me hope.
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Re: Tarvos' новый лог

Postby tarvos » Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:06 pm

English is useful, but since he spent time in Kunming, China, English wasn't nearly enough.
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Re: Tarvos' новый лог

Postby tarvos » Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:29 am

Here's a quote from him on his time in China (in Dutch):

Ruben Terlou wrote:Les 1: Ga het moeilijke niet uit de weg.
"Mijn vwo-diploma heb ik puur en alleen gehaald omdat ik dacht: hierna ben ik vrij om te doen wat ik wil. Niet studeren, maar de wereld ontdekken. Ik wilde weg, reizen, naar China om daar fotograaf te worden. Waarom China? Misschien wel vooral omdat het niet uitdagender kon. Ik ben onvoorbereid in het vliegtuig naar Kanton gestapt. Ik wist niet waar ik die nacht zou slapen. In mijn achterhoofd zat het advies van mijn vader: als je eenzaam bent, wees het dan even heel erg en laat het dan weer los.

China was totaal overweldigend. Alles was nieuw, de schaal, de drukte, overal mensen en lawaai. Om me heen zag ik alleen maar dingen die ik niet kon duiden. Fotograferen lukte me amper. Als je niet begrijpt wat je ziet, dan kun je het ook niet goed vastleggen. Ik dacht: om grip te krijgen moet ik eerst Chinees beheersen. Dus zat ik elke dag voor zonsopkomst boven op een berg, met mijn studieboeken en een kladblok. Na een paar maanden heel hard werken had ik de taal aardig onder de knie.


I only finished my high school (note: vwo is the highest level of high school in the Netherlands) because I thought: after this I'm free to do what I want. Not study, but discover the world. I wanted to leave, travel, to China, to become a photographer there. Why China? Probably because it couldn't get any more challenging than that. I stepped into the plane to Canton unprepared. I didn't know where I would sleep that night. In the back of my mind my father's advice stuck: "when you're lonely, be really lonely for a while and then let it go".

China was completely overwhelming. Everything was new, the scale, the business, people and noise everywhere. Around me I only saw things I couldn't get the hang of. I could barely take pictures. When you don't understand what you see, you can't really put it down on paper well either. I thought that in order to get a grip on the situation, I would need to master Chinese first. So every day before sunrise I sat on the top of a mountain with my study books and a notepad. After a few months of very hard work I had started to master the language quite well.
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Re: Tarvos' новый лог

Postby tarvos » Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:30 pm

Currently working through more Mandarin, I also covered some Spanish and read an entire book in Romanian (Alive by Petronela Rotar), which consists of short stories also posted on her blog. I'm ahead on my Goodreads challenge (35 books this year) and I've already read 11 - and I am pretty sure I can read 24 more before the end of the year. I have at least 6 or 7 physical books left to read and a bunch of e-books as well. Here is the list of books I have read so far:

1. Isaac Asimov - Foundation
2. Γεωργία Δεμίρη - Ντετέκτιβ μόνη ψάχνει
3. Stefan Zweig - Schachnovelle
4. Maria Dueñas - El Tiempo entre Costuras
5. Марина и Сергей Дяченко - Армагед-дом
6. Håkan Nesser - Kim Novak badade aldrig i Genesarets sjö
7. Karel Čapek - Válka s mloky
8. Patrick Modiano - Accident Nocturne
9. José Saramago - Ensaio sobre a Cegueira
10. Charles Darwin - On the Origin of Species
11. Petronela Rotar - Alive

Out of the languages I speak well, only Dutch, Esperanto and Italian have not yet been covered. Oh, and Norwegian I guess. But I've never read anything in Norwegian, although I don't suppose it would be very problematic.

Also note that this year marks my first full adult novels in Czech and Modern Greek.

I think my next victim will be Pelevin's Yellow Arrow, because it's short and thus a quick addition to the list. Also note that I am leaving some of the physical books for my trip to the Gathering, as I am travelling by train and will have oodles of time to finish some books, particularly in German and French or similar.
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Re: Tarvos' новый лог

Postby rdearman » Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:53 pm

tarvos wrote:10. Charles Darwin - On the Origin of Species

I always tell myself I'm going to read that book one day... but never do. What did you think of it?
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Re: Tarvos' новый лог

Postby tarvos » Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:34 pm

It's indispensable reading material if you're at all interested in biology and evolution, and it makes pretty clear how evolution works (and we have to remember that Darwin had no knowledge of genomes, DNA, and so on - so that makes his discovery all the greater). The style is a bit hard to read, and a little dry, but I feel that it comes with the territory.

For me it would be much more fun to read this when it comes to old, dry books than reading some holy scripture...
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Re: Tarvos' новый лог

Postby tarvos » Sat Apr 08, 2017 8:59 pm

Having finished Pelevin's Yellow Arrow in Russian (a short story about people stuck on a train to nowhere trying to escape), I've started on Kundera's Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí. Yes, more Czech in preparation for the Gathering, but it will take a while before I finish this. I've finished the first two chapters now, and I am already three books ahead of my challenge goal for this year. I expect to read a lot at the end of May/beginning of June because I will have some long train journeys and I'll bring some books to finish, especially because two journeys will take up almost a whole day.
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Re: Tarvos' новый лог

Postby Vedun » Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:05 pm

rdearman wrote:
tarvos wrote:10. Charles Darwin - On the Origin of Species

I always tell myself I'm going to read that book one day... but never do. What did you think of it?

tarvos wrote:It's indispensable reading material if you're at all interested in biology and evolution, and it makes pretty clear how evolution works (and we have to remember that Darwin had no knowledge of genomes, DNA, and so on - so that makes his discovery all the greater). The style is a bit hard to read, and a little dry, but I feel that it comes with the territory.


Yeah, I like how he figured out there must be some common unifying mechanism that drives all ontogeny, speciation, diversification, etc., on the basis of solely good reasoning. Another interesting thing is how the people at the time had noticed gene interaction and a single gene controlling multiple things without having access to any modern technology and just by way of observing their breeding results.
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Re: Tarvos' новый лог

Postby tarvos » Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:56 am

Currently my language learning rhythm is being affected a bit by life getting in the way (there are some important things going on in my life outside of language learning right now which require my attention), and this has particularly gotten in the way of my Mandarin. I also seem to have a continuous desire to dabble in some other languages, but I must resist the urge a little bit because I really have enough languages on my plate as it is and my Mandarin improvement project is not done yet.

However, I really have upped my Czech a few notches. I can now read Kundera reasonably well in the original and speak Czech quite acceptably, though with some errors still. But it's clearly much more confident and fluent, and as a bonus, I managed to buy my train tickets from Brno to Bratislava online using the Slovak national rail website in SLOVAK. Ah yes, language discounts...

That said I have no intention of actually learning Slovak (mostly because if you speak Czech, there's no rush) so that is not on my dabbling list right now.

Languages I am interested in dabbling in right now include various Asian languages and Polish. But the problem with Polish is, is that any dabbling in that language would probably lead to rapid improvement - and another language to maintain.
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Re: Tarvos' новый лог

Postby Teango » Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:16 pm

What did you think of Pelevin? I'm considering adding him to my Russian reading list, having heard his name recommended now and then on both this and the old forum.

(Congratulations on being able to read Kundera now in the original, by the way!)
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