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Maciamo
Nov 25, 2004, 22:54
Guardian Unlimited : Japanese lost for words (http://www.guardian.co.uk/japan/story/0,7369,1359129,00.html?gusrc=rss)


With its phonetic symbols and complex vocabulary, Japanese can defeat even the most talented linguists. Now it seems to be baffling native speakers, too.
Nearly a fifth of the students at Japanese private universities have the reading ability expected of 13- to 15-year-olds, according to the National Institute of Multimedia Education (Nime), which surveyed 13,000 in their first year at 33 universities and colleges.

The students were presented with a multiple choice test and asked to define nouns, adjectives and adverbs.

Two-thirds of the respondents thought that a word meaning "to grieve" actually meant "to be happy".

The study showed that foreign exchange students who had spent some years learning Japanese could sometimes read better than locals.

The survey confirms a trend which educationists have noted for at least 10 years.

And although the Nime report gives no reason for the low standards, the Japanese have long attributed the reduced vocabulary of today's students, at least in part, to the proliferation of comics, which use simple ideograms and sentence structures.

I don't think this should be attributed to manga. I have used manga to practice my kanji reading, and some manga use many non-Joyo kanji (true that I read a lot of historical manga, but it's also a fact that there are lot's of them). And in 3 years of very casual learning of Japanese (only 5 month of lessons in a language school to learn the very basics of Japanese, the self-learning when I feel like it), I also have reading abilities of a 13 to 15 years old (actually more 15 than 13) and know many kanji that some of my adult Japanese friends don't. That brings us back to the question : why are the average Japanese so bad at languages - and not just foriegn but even their own mother tongue ? I think it is partly due to a too relaxed approach to education (as a matter of fact, almost nobody has to repeat a school year in Japan, even if they fail in all subjects).

Glenn
Nov 26, 2004, 02:23
I don't think this should be attributed to manga. I have used manga to practice my kanji reading, and some manga use many non-Joyo kanji (true that I read a lot of historical manga, but it's also a fact that there are lot's of them).

I guess people everywhere are fond of making overgeneralizations about things, and looking for the simplest explanations for things gone wrong.


That brings us back to the question : why are the average Japanese so bad at languages - and not just foriegn but even their own mother tongue ? I think it is partly due to a too relaxed approach to education (as a matter of fact, almost nobody has to repeat a school year in Japan, even if they fail in all subjects).

I don't know that this is true for most Japanese. I wouldn't be willing to make that assumption, but you know more Japanese people than I do (obviously -- I don't live in Japan).

Elizabeth
Nov 26, 2004, 07:13
The worst incident to date was a severe talking-down at the hands of my Japanese tutor for the sin of using "類似は相違より顕著" in general conversation, of all places, mostly because she didn't know what it meant and it probably was unnatural in context (which I can understand, but no one should chastise their students for using a phrase simply because it was out of their range or easily reasoned out as this is). I later asked my boyfriend about it and his answer was it wasn't so difficult, but than again there are English words he has better recall for as well....:p :blush:

でも、たまに難しい言葉を使ってはいけませんか? ひそかに自分の言葉力を誇りにしているん西洋人が多いで すね。。。。

Lina Inverse
Nov 26, 2004, 08:26
That doesn't wonder me in the very least. Of course, manga has absolutely no part in it.
The cause for this is the extremely complex kanji writing system. With such a thing, a high illiteracy (or poor literacy skills) is practically inevitable.
It's absolutely about high noon that they get rid of these way too complex kanji. They claim to be a very advanced country, but still cling to this totally antiquated spelling system, which only brings lots of pain and hardship for Japanese and non-Japanese alike :auch:
I know that replacing the kanji won't be easily done, as there are many homophones and such, but it is a dire problem which really needs to be tackled now, better sooner than later, so they should better start working on a solution!

bossel
Nov 26, 2004, 13:35
The cause for this is the extremely complex kanji writing system. With such a thing, a high illiteracy (or poor literacy skills) is practically inevitable.
Nope!
I don't think, Kanji are to blame. That's simply a task of memorising. If people grow up with that system, it shouldn't pose a stumbling block regarding literacy. Actually, some say such a system even helps, from Wikipedia:

"The use of an ideogram based writing system makes basic literacy relatively easier to attain than the use of an alphabet based one, so it is estimated that through the more prosperous decades of her different imperial dynasties China reached very high levels of basic, functional, literacy."

Anyway, Germans use an alphabetic system & where did they end up in PISA 2000? Japan actually did better than Germany on the Combined Reading Literacy Scale.

misa.j
Nov 27, 2004, 00:42
A friend of mine in Japan told me that there have been noticeable changes in school curriculum recently; reducing the number of Kanji taught at elementary and middle schools is one of them, also the formalities that students use to solve math problems are less.

To persue most of the degrees unless their major is Japanese literature, university students are not required to know the number of Kanji, which are considered to be university leves, moreover, luck of interests in learning the language they already are supposed to be fluent doesn't help much.

I don't think comics are the ones to be blamed on as Maciamo has mentioned, there are many educational comics out there.

Maciamo
Nov 27, 2004, 09:33
To persue most of the degrees unless their major is Japanese literature, university students are not required to know the number of Kanji, which are considered to be university level


Isn't it odd that foreign students who haven't grown up in Japan and who want to attend a Japanese university or college must pass the JLPT1 test and therefore know like 2000 kanji. How comes that these foreign students won't even be admitted if they fail the test, but native-speaker Japanese who have studied kanji every day for at least 12 years and must take the infamous and supposedly extremely difficult "juken" (university entrance exam) manage to go through with a 13-year old kanji level ? Isn't their mother-tongue ability part of the juken ? One of two students could be lucky, but 20% out of 13,000 in 33 universities, that really means that the problem also resides in the juken not being that difficult (apparently less difficult than the JLPT1 for non-native-speakers regarding kanji).

Glenn
Nov 28, 2004, 22:42
Isn't it odd that foreign students who haven't grown up in Japan and who want to attend a Japanese university or college must pass the JLPT1 test and therefore know like 2000 kanji. How comes that these foreign students won't even be admitted if they fail the test, but native-speaker Japanese who have studied kanji every day for at least 12 years and must take the infamous and supposedly extremely difficult "juken" (university entrance exam) manage to go through with a 13-year old kanji level ? Isn't their mother-tongue ability part of the juken ? One of two students could be lucky, but 20% out of 13,000 in 33 universities, that really means that the problem also resides in the juken not being that difficult (apparently less difficult than the JLPT1 for non-native-speakers regarding kanji).

Isn't it also true that the JLPT 1 focuses on parts of the language that are, shall I say, less than practical? I've heard that passing level 1 requires special study for the test, as opposed to just knowing Japanese at a high level. It seems as though it doesn't so much test the ability of the test taker to use the language as it does the ability to learn the material for the test.


That doesn't wonder me in the very least. Of course, manga has absolutely no part in it.
The cause for this is the extremely complex kanji writing system. With such a thing, a high illiteracy (or poor literacy skills) is practically inevitable.
It's absolutely about high noon that they get rid of these way too complex kanji. They claim to be a very advanced country, but still cling to this totally antiquated spelling system, which only brings lots of pain and hardship for Japanese and non-Japanese alike :auch:
I know that replacing the kanji won't be easily done, as there are many homophones and such, but it is a dire problem which really needs to be tackled now, better sooner than later, so they should better start working on a solution!

Aside from what bossel said, it has been proven that it is quicker to read logographs than it is to read phonetic systems, such as alphabets, because the writing is converted first to meaning in the mind. With an alphabet, the writing is first converted to sound, and then meaning.

I think that the hardest part about kanji is that there are so many of them, and that there are three different components to learn for each of them, sometimes with various subcomponents. Then there are the ones that mean almost the exact same thing. Despite that, though, I think that they are still useful and valuable in today's world. See also this thread (http://www.sf.airnet.ne.jp/~ts/japanese/message/message.cgi?thread=jpnDwlWNqXkDwjfGuYF.html).

Maciamo
Nov 28, 2004, 23:00
The question is, do Chinese people experience similar "illiteracy" problems with about 3 or 4 times more kanji to remember for common use ? Do 20% of Chinese university students have 13 to 15 year-old reading abilities ? That would be interesting to compare.

MWThomas
Dec 1, 2004, 04:35
How are Japanese students doing in the other major areas? Math, science, etc.

misa.j
Dec 3, 2004, 05:03
Maciamo,
Have you heard about "Kyoutsuu Ichiji", the entrance exam for the national universities; I believe it gets printed every year in the paper after the exam is over. You might enjoy taking it to see how well you'll do. It might be a good tool to measure reading ability required to pass the test.
The tests for entring the private universities are less tough compared to "Kyoutsuu Ichiji".

I think we can say the same thing about TOEFL using the vocabulary and reading materials that are way technical for foreign students, and there are college students whose language usage is much more limited than those of who intendedly studied English to get enough scores on TOEFL.

Glenn
Dec 3, 2004, 11:06
Yeah, I think TOEFL may be the English version of the JLPT. From what I've seen, they ask questions about things that no one really says, and some of the usages seem to be outdated.

The Kyoutsuu Ichiji Shiken sounds interesting. I wonder if it's the same as the ACT or the SAT (standard tests for college admission in the US).

Maciamo
Dec 3, 2004, 13:19
I found this (http://home.highway.ne.jp/flower/angou/exam/) about the 共通一次試験. Click on 受験 and try the test, Not so difficult I think.

Glenn
Dec 3, 2004, 14:22
Ah, the good ol' search feature. Thanks for the link. :bow:

Maciamo
Dec 8, 2004, 12:47
Here are new articles regarding younger Japanese's reading abilities :

Mainichi : Japanese kids lag world in reading skills (http://mdn.mainichi.co.jp/news/20041207p2a00m0dm011000c.html)


The reading skills of Japanese 15-year-olds have plummeted over the past few years, leaving Japan lagging behind 13 other countries, a survey by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has shown.
...
In the first survey conducted in 2000, Japan had ranked eighth in this category.

Japan placed second and sixth in science and mathematics, but officials in Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology said that with the drop in reading comprehension skills, Japan could not be considered to be at a top world level.
...
The average mark for the member countries was set at 500 in each of the four categories -- reading comprehension, science, mathematics and problem solving. The reading level of individual students was split into categories, ranging from "level 5" (626 points or more) to "below level 1" (less than 335 points).

The percentage of Japanese students below level 1 rose to 7.4 percent, up from 2.7 percent in the previous survey and above the average of 6.7 percent for OECD member countries.
...
In reading comprehension the top 15 countries and their scores were as follows: Finland (543), South Korea (534), Canada (528), Australia (525), Liechtenstein (525), New Zealand (522), Ireland (515), Sweden (514), Holland (513), Hong Kong (510), Belgium (507), Norway (500), Switzerland (499), Japan (498), Macao (498). (Mainichi Shimbun, Japan, Dec. 7, 2004)

I'd like to know how Japan ranks in foreign language, history and geography. The two first are of course more difficult to evaluate. As I said earlier, I don't think the maths and sciences skills of the Japanese are bad by OECD standards. This test seems to confirm my expectations. But from the hundreds of Japanese I have met, their geography, history (even their own) and foreign languages skills are way, way below average. I'd say the last among OECD countries, and I know people from and have been to all main OECD countries.

Yomiuri : Japan academic skills fall (http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/newse/20041208wo31.htm)


The percentage of Japanese students who recorded the poorest performance was remarkably high.
...
According to a questionnaire included with the ability survey, Japanese students spent an average of 6.5 hours a week on homework compared to the OECD member average of 8.9 .


That is strange. Japanese are often said to be very hard working, and students typically spend their evenings studying in juku or at home. I personally never spent more than 1 or 2 hours a week studying in primary or secondary school, but that was enough to learn 3 foreign languages in addition to my main subjects which were sciences and maths and in the last 2 years also history. In secondary schools, we had 32 hours of class per week, much more than what Japanese usually have from what I have heard. They start school later (9 or 9:30am instead of 8:30am) and finish earlier (3 or 3:30pm instead of 4 or 5pm where I grew up). In some parts of Germany (eg. Berlin), I know that they start school at 7:30am, but they finish quite early and often have the afternoon free or for sports. German people (except in one state, I think) also have 13 years of schooling instead of the usual 12. So there are noticeable differences among European countries, which shouldn't be forgotten.

I would be interested in the efficiency rate of each country or state's system.
Cnsidering that :
1) some countries (like Japan) have few subjects apart from maths, sciences and their mother tongue, they can spend more time on these subjects
2) some countries have more teaching hours per week or per year than others.
3) some countries have a few years more or less of compulsory education (18 in Belgium, 16 in many other countries, 15 in the US).

The scores of the above test alone are somewhat misleading. We should take the total number of teaching per subject for all primary and secondary school for each country and calculate the average score per x hours (eg. per 100h) for each country. So that countries with more emphasis on one subject or longer school hours are not advantaged. This is necessary as there are many usually optional subjects (foreign languages, arts, psychology, history...) which cannot be compared on an international scale, but which are given more emphasis in some cultures than in others.

To give a practical example, if country A had only maths, sciences and mother tongue classes, and country B had many other subjects for the same total of teaching hours, it is evident that students from country A will perform better in maths, sciences and their mother tongue. I am wondering if that is not also why Japan does so well in maths and sciences, as students cannot have more than 1 foreign language, do not have 6 years of history and geography, and normally do not have economy, psychology or other such options.

In my former secondary school, even with maths and sciences as main options, all students had to have 2 to 4 foreign languages (including Latin and Greek in the choices). Likewise, I studied economics at university, but had to choose 3 foreign languages and study abraod twice, as all other students. This may seem strange or even incredible to Americans or Japanese, but it is pretty normal in Europe nowadays.

Sally_Hawn
Dec 8, 2004, 23:30
Yesterday, I saw it on Canadian news that Japanese high school students rank No.1 in Science according to a research conducted by an organization (forget the name, Economic something...) based on Paris.

So, maybe technology is more emphasized than literature in Japanese educational system.

Oh, by the way, Hong Kong high school students rank No.1 in Maths, followed by Finland and South Korea.

miu
Dec 10, 2004, 05:10
I don't know anything what teaching in Japanese schools is like, but I was told that for example in math, you only have mechanical exercises (a+b=c, ?+b=c etc) and not the more practical exercises (e.g. Jack and Jill bought apples at 10 cents each etc ...). I was on a course that had a Japanese lecturer on it she said she thought it was a very bad thing indeed...

Many people have told me the "mechanical studying" also contributes to the fact that Japanese don't know English well either. But on another hand, in Finland studying foreign languages is more about studyign grammar than anything else. We have subtitles on foreign programmes, though, so you can't avoid hearing English (not to forget music either).

masayoshi
Dec 10, 2004, 07:02
The question is, do Chinese people experience similar "illiteracy" problems with about 3 or 4 times more kanji to remember for common use ? Do 20% of Chinese university students have 13 to 15 year-old reading abilities ? That would be interesting to compare.

The mainland Chinese use the simplified characters which came into practice exactly to remedy to the illiteracy problem there. Perhaps the Japanese should forget about political differences and borrow simplified kanji from the Chinese. I read that Koreans are making more use of Chinese characters again after totally replacing them with native hangul.

RockLee
Dec 10, 2004, 08:47
I think that it's mainly because the Japanese don't spend too much time on languages...but more on math and other technical courses..for instance, a 1st grade highschool student in Japanese class learns to count,subtract,multiply,devide with numbers till 100(or 1000) in that year alone...in other countries it's far less..they just work at a high speed..and the fact nobody actually fails is kinda retardet I think, they are going to school even after school, to catch up or for intelligent kids who are bored in class...as to come back to languages...with foreign languages they don't have enough GOOD teachers, and the pronounciation can be hell for a japanese person(remember the R & L ;-))

Maciamo
Dec 10, 2004, 11:25
But on another hand, in Finland studying foreign languages is more about studyign grammar than anything else. We have subtitles on foreign programmes, though, so you can't avoid hearing English (not to forget music either).

Well, that sounds very much like Japan. Schools teach mostly grammar and most movies are subtitles (Japanese TV is often bilingual, you can get the news on NHK in English and foreign movies and series in their original language). Considering that Suomi is not an Indo-European language, and that Japanese has maybe (please confirm) more imported English words*, why do Finnish people usually speak very wel English while Japanese pain so much. I could say the same of Indian people (from middle class upwards). Eventhough India is a former British colony and English is one of the 22 official languages, after spending 5 months in India and 3 years in Japan, I am positive that there are much more opportunities for locals to learn English in Japan than in India (just turn on the TV, look at an ad outside, go to one of the omnipresent Eikaiwa school, or use new kakatana words uttered by your friends).

* eg:table, cup, door, chicken, tv, pc, bag, hiking, (swimming) pool, gym, tobacco, lion, cheetah, notebook, pen, calendar, camera, or thousands of other everyday words.


I think that it's mainly because the Japanese don't spend too much time on languages...but more on math and other technical courses..for instance, a 1st grade highschool student in Japanese class learns to count,subtract,multiply,devide with numbers till 100(or 1000) in that year alone...in other countries it's far less..

That's funny because some Japanese people I know thought that "foreigners" were better at mental calculations because they learned it more at school. They cited the examples of Indians who learn their counting tables up to 20 (eg. 19x19=361), while Japanese (I was told) only learn until 10 (eg 9x9=81).
They seemed so amazed that, as they saw on TV, Indians usually learnt their tables till 20. What's the big point ? I learned these tables when I was 6 and 7 years old, and after we were supposed to do mental calculations like 49x23 (still in primary school). No need to remember it by heart. We learnt how to intelligently calculate fast. Eg. 49 is almost 50, so 50x23 => fisrt x100 then divide by 2 => 2300/2= 1150, then remove once 23 => 1150-23= 1127. That takes about 5sec. and this is 9 year-old level calculation in the school I went to. In "junior highschool", we learnt to calculate square roots mentally by approximation. Eg. what's the square root of 24. Well, we know that the square root of 25 is 5. 4 would be 16. 25-16=9, 24 is the 8th number, so it's 4+8/9 = approx. 4,88888 (that requires to have previously remembered that 1/9 = 1,1111, but that's in primary school). I tested a few Japanese (men amd women), and they can't do such simple calculations. How did they even managed to go to university (or highschool for that matter) ?


The mainland Chinese use the simplified characters which came into practice exactly to remedy to the illiteracy problem there. Perhaps the Japanese should forget about political differences and borrow simplified kanji from the Chinese. I read that Koreans are making more use of Chinese characters again after totally replacing them with native hangul.

I personally dislike simplied Chinese kanji. Japanese kanji were already simplified from Meiji (eg. 国). I don't think it makes any difference in recognising the kanji that they are simplified or not. The test above showed that many Japanese university students couldn't recognise some kanji; we are not talking about writing them.

stupidumboy
Dec 10, 2004, 14:43
Well,I am sorry ,I might sound very rude and NO, I am not one of these elite pupils what I am about to saying ,

But I personally do not put much meaning on this kind of test ,
It just shows average performance of each nations' pupils and from my checking of the test materials -they deserve only to test how the national average pupils complete very basic curriculum.

The global leaders who can make serious contribution for the national weath and global technology improvement mainly from the elite class.

To check the elite class national competiton,we need to look at the result of the world math/science(physical science and chemistry) Olympiad/Skills competitoon.

to leave some comments on the result of the International Math Olympiad,

USA elite pupils did very well result in 2004 MATH Olympiad competition although their average result in PISA was not so impressive.

Total score 212 the second standing just behind China(the total score 220-the TOP standing)
That means USA elite pupils still doing very well and they will make serious contribution to move the world.
China has the most numbers of elites in every category,

TOP performers in math Olympiad 2004 were China,USA,Russia,Romania
Even Germans(who are very unpleased with lower PISA rank) did better than any other EU elitist pupils in math Olympiad.

South Korea had been one of the major top 5 in math Olympiad to the 2003 but this year 2004 ,we slipped to the out of top 10(behind Taiwan and Japan) and it was big alarming in Korean medias this year.

Some average successful nations(in PISA test) did much lower performance in this kind of elite test.

Korean medias focused much more concernings on this elite test than the average test OECD PISA. But Korean elitist pupils still one of the best performers in Physics and chemistry Olympiad and they will lead the national wealth and technology improvement in future unless our corruptive social system and mind would prevent their performance.

average pupils actually are very difficult(or needs a lot more efforts) to make big deal for the world science and economical improvement.
Yes just average. I am one of them.

But I admire elite class pupils and we should encourage them.

elite focused test-check the result which countries keep on the great performance steadily.

Math Olympiad
http://imo.math.ca/

Physical science Olympiad

http://www.jyu.fi/tdk/kastdk/olympiads/

Chemistry Olympiad
http://olympiads.win.tue.nl/icho/

World skills competition(meister elites)

http://www.worldskills.org/site/public/index.php

Maciamo
Dec 10, 2004, 20:51
I am not sure the results of the Olympiads are very significant. As you see, lots of communist countries (China, Russia, Romania...) performed well, and that is strikingly similar to how they perform at the Olympic Games. These people are drilled for tests because they want to show how brilliant their country can be. The truth is that many other countries care very little. I have participated to the maths olympiads once when I was 16. Anybody is free to try, but there was only one other person in my class who tried. I was qualified easily for the 2nd turn, but as it was in another city and on SATURDAY (i.e. holiday), I decided not to go. The truth is I care very little, and 95% of the other students cared even less as they didn't even try the first turn in our school.

Anyway, I never considered maths as a very useful topic. Although I was good at it when I felt interested or receptive to the teacher (in which case I was first of my class, otherwise I could be last because I just didn't listen in class and didn't even care to try the test if I was too tired, as often happened when I was a young teenager), maths would have been the last subject I would have chosen at university, because it doesn't bring any knowledge that distinguish one from the masses (like philosophy, psychology or history), and is not practical enough (like economics, law, languages or medicine) to get an interesting job. I have always felt that computers are better at maths than humans, and it is therefore a waste of time and energy.

If fact, that's about the same for sciences. I used to love sciences, and took it as my main option throught secondary school (esp. chemistry), but I now find that what I learned is basically useless.

So contributors to the society from the elites will usually be those with a wide range of interest, philosophical mind (in the sense of thirst for knowledge and understanding the world), high IQ, good interpersonal skills and pragmatic personality. Mathematicians usually lack all of these, except maybe the IQ (but that really depends on the person).

RockLee
Dec 10, 2004, 21:01
to compare countries how smart they are with only ELITE student is total bullcrap...cause there are only a few ppl in the country who are that smart and as maciamo said..they have been drilled for this...besides, it doesn't have ANYTHING to do with the topic ;-)

Maciamo
Dec 10, 2004, 21:05
to compare countries how smart they are with only ELITE student is total bullcrap...

You know, there is a way of saying things, and I would like that to avoid associations with bovine excrements. :52: :erm:

stupidumboy
Dec 10, 2004, 21:16
Yes, my comments has nothing to do with this topic but I just mentioned about elite students because I found PISA related posts here.

based on my experinces of meeting some really ahead students in math and science ,I was really amazed by their ability.

I felt limitation and aveage people like me need much more efforts to become their level or impossible. No I cannot be like them even if I driled that much.

I seriously thought they are the real humans who will lead the global improvement.

Thats all and NO, I do not decry the average or lower class students.
I just value them highly.

RockLee
Dec 10, 2004, 21:26
Yes, my comments has nothing to do with this topic but I just mentioned about elite students because I found PISA related posts here.

based on my experinces of meeting some really ahead students in math and science ,I was really amazed by their ability.

I felt limitation and aveage people like me need much more efforts to become their level or impossible. No I cannot be like them even if I driled that much.

I seriously thought they are the real humans who will lead the global improvement.

Thats all and NO, I do not decry the average or lower class students.
I just value them highly.I also have more respect for someone who is limited in skills but does his utter best than someone who does nothing and gets elite scores...but I don't think in the future they will lead to global improvement tho
:souka:


@maciamo:...there are too many smileys...it takes about 20 seconds to load every smiley >_<# :137:

stupidumboy
Dec 10, 2004, 22:03
but what if you saw a man who is able to do mental calculation for hydrodynamics?
(not just a few typical problems but he can do every various situated kind of problems by using mental calculation so i was just very zmazed)

hmm,sorry ,should I have used the word "genius" instead of 'elite' ?
I do not think not every olympiad participants are genius but anyways I think I can call them at least as elites.

I think the genius persons or some elite persons that I am mentioning have higher chances to make contribution towards any sciencetific or technological innovations.

I thought that kind of genius' thought was deeper and wider than general average people's. But if they become very insolent or arrogant,they will lose chance to shine their ability. but if they keep on their regular track ,they are going to hold better chances.

Sure average persons like me still have chances but needs much more time and efforts to become those genius level.

anyways its offtopic,lets close this genius/elite talks.
The world is very wide and there are many kind of people.

:)

Maciamo
Dec 10, 2004, 22:19
but what if you saw a man who is able to do mental calculation for hydrodynamics?
(not just a few typical problems but he can do every various situated kind of problems by using mental calculation so i was just very zmazed)

I still think it's not very useful in the age of computers. Would have been great and very looked after until the 1950 or 60's though.


hmm,sorry ,should I have used the word "genius" instead of 'elite' ?

Then non-verbal IQ tests (like those of Mensa (http://www.mensa.org/info.php)) are more relevant than Olympiads, as preparation is almost useless and it is culturally fair.

I do not think not every olympiad participants are genius but anyways I think I can call them at least as elites.[/quote]

I don't agree. Anybody can participate and it's only a matter of how many people really participate (as a %age of the total) and how motivated they are, to determine which countries performs the best.


I think the genius persons or some elite persons that I am mentioning have higher chances to make contribution towards any sciencetific or technological innovations.

Only if they are creative, motivated and have relevant interests.


I thought that kind of genius' thought was deeper and wider than general average people's. But if they become very insolent or arrogant,they will lose chance to shine their ability. but if they keep on their regular track ,they are going to hold better chances.

Really ? What about luck and the social environement in all this ? Many geniuses have never the opportunity to work for any big company or governmental organization to put their intelligence into practice. Some try and don't manage to reach the right place, others just don't care or don't realise they are geniuses. That's a big problem. Lot's of brilliant minds are wasted all over the world.

stupidumboy
Dec 10, 2004, 22:38
Even in this age of comupter ,deeper and quicker undersatnding programmers have higher chances to do better jobs.
The computer is nothing if the user does not understand anything about the working theories.
The computer result would be slower if the users understand the progress slower.
The computer would output endless errors if the users input wrong numbers due to his mistake and short understanding of the working thoeries.

Maybe mental calculation might be too much for this age but still the better mental calculators have higher chances. since better calculators can be considered as the persons who better grasp of the progress of making the best answers in the whole pic.

Interests and motivation is just basic esential thing. we do not need to mention about them here.


Does every person who want can participate in the International math Olympiad?
I never knew that.

Maciamo
Dec 10, 2004, 22:52
Even in this age of comupter ,deeper and quicker undersatnding programmers have higher chances to do better jobs.

But you change completely the topic. First you talk about mental calculations (arithmetic), then about understanding things quickly and deeply. These are two very different things. Understanding depends more on IQ, and can be very different depeding on the "subject". Some people understand very quickly maths, but can't make head or tail of how politics work or are very bad at understanding people's minds (psychology). Other people are geniuses of music, but can't solve a simple math problem.

Arithmetic is more about drill and learning the "tricks" than about real intelligence.




Does every person who want can participate in the International math Olympiad?

Of course. Or are the rules different for each country ?

miu
Dec 10, 2004, 23:29
that Suomi is not an Indo-European language, and that Japanese has maybe (please confirm) more imported English words*, why do Finnish people usually speak very wel English while Japanese pain so much.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we consider ourselves a very small and rather insignifcant nation so we have to learn English if we want to do well. I'm pretty sure no American (for example) is willing to learn Finnish just to do business with us. Finland has also been called the most americanised country in Europe, so maybe that's another reason. We're less into the US nowadays, though ^^;

I don't know if this is true at all, but if you consider how closed Japan used to be and also the fact that everyone always stress the difficulty to live in the japanese society, you could also find a partial reason for poor English skills in Japan. If you don't open your mind to learning the language, you probably won't learn it. This is clearly proved with the Swedish skills of Finns people: Swedish si the second official language in Finland, everyone has to begin studying it when they're 13 (we start studying our first foreign language when we're 9, usually it's Ebglish. My L1 is German, though). Basic Swedish is a lto easier than English. Even the spelling is a lot easier! And still, most people are able to speak English better than Swedish. This, I think, can be explained witht he fact that Finland was a part of Sweden for a long time and Swedish was a language of the upper classes, so most people probably didn't have very warm feelings towards speaking the language... Besides, right now the majority of Finns have to study the language of a minorityt hat makes up about 9% of the entire population.

I'm not saying that they should stop teaching Swedish as a compulsory language, though, because in my oppinion it's easy to elarn and also very useful because Finland's a part of Scandinavia.


How did they even managed to go to university (or highschool for that matter) ?
I have to confess that I can't count. I really can't... :bluush: And yet, I made it through high school and to university. Why? Because you can take either the more simple math courses or the more difficult ones in senior high. You learn soemthing so-so and then forget it because you really couldn't care less. As for university, you're not required to be able to do maths if you apply to the faculty of Arts, I was asked to analyse literature not formulas :blush: In my oppinion what you're implying here about the intelligence of people is pretty harsh... Some people just care about math. Intelligence can be measured in different many ways as you probably know.

stupidumboy
Dec 10, 2004, 23:37
The better mental calculator can be the persons who better grasp of the working theories amongst numbers,(although I agree its more related to the memory somehow) and it can be extended to many more subjects like economics or science(usually their head set by the abacus arrangement and they do not need to write them on the paper like other normal people but inside their brain they can draw the movement on the abacus and memorize more things than the genral persons-in other words their thinking capacity can process and imagine many more things compared to others on the same given time and situation and I think the abundance of imagination on one's brain would make a key role for any creation works.Memory still helps )

If you know some famous achivements or thories by global renowned economists -you will find that their invented thories are more likely to be related to the advanced mathmatics-in other words they can be called as the mathmaticians.

By the way,I consider the mathmatics itself is just simply the working under the regulated rules therefore the solving math problem itself has less things to do with creation or imagination but what I mentioned above is that the better calculators still are more likely to hold better imagination and memorization and that will help.

About International math Oympiad,Korea adopts different selection system for the participants.Everybody who want to take part in the Olympiad has the right to apply for the regional qualification exam but they need to pass the qualification exam first and shoud get ahead of the other competitors,and we just select the best pupils to representative of the nation.

If Korea and other participating countries can send every pupils who want to take part in the International math Olympiad?

Maciamo
Dec 10, 2004, 23:54
I have to confess that I can't count. I really can't... :bluush: And yet, I made it through high school and to university. Why? Because you can take either the more simple math courses or the more difficult ones in senior high. You learn soemthing so-so and then forget it because you really couldn't care less. As for university, you're not required to be able to do maths if you apply to the faculty of Arts, I was asked to analyse literature not formulas :blush: In my oppinion what you're implying here about the intelligence of people is pretty harsh... Some people just care about math. Intelligence can be measured in different many ways as you probably know.

Sorry, what I wanted to say is that I wonder how Japanese people, who have to take university entrance exams testing maths and Japanese skills, whatever subject they are planning to learn, managed to enter university if they can't do 12x13 in less than 15 sec. In most European countries there are no university entrance exams after completing secondary school, except maybe for engineering or medicine.

As for maths, as I said above, I think it's pretty useless and just measure people's preparation and drilling (as it's one of the subject that people forget the most easily). There are so many kinds of intelligence that it is very difficult to test all aptitudes. Then memory may not be intelligence, but it is as decisive for success in life. Openmindedness and interpersonal skills are also very, and sometimes more important than pure intelligence itself.



If you know some famous achivements or thories by global renowned economists -you will find that their invented thories are more likely to be related to the advanced mathmatics-in other words they can be called as the mathmaticians.

They could also be called scientists, as what is not pure mathematics is usually part of science (understanding the real world), including economic science, psycholgy, etc. I would rather say that mathematicians are purely theoretical scientists, rather than call economists or scientists mathematicians.

What's more there is a huge difference between inventing theories, learning them (theoretically) and applying them in practice. Very often, people are better at one of these than the others two. People who calculate fast are good learners or have a good memory, but not sure they have a good enough imagination, creativity and knowledge of the world to make new theories. Personally, I feel muc stronger at inventing theories than applying them, with learning somewhere in the middle (closer to inventing). That's probably related to my personality as I am very creative and love learning, but dislike doing what people tell me to do (receiving orders or just do things I don't feel like doing). In other words, I would be a good inventor, creator, self-starter, entrepreneur, but a very bad employee.

stupidumboy
Dec 11, 2004, 00:06
Better memory still somehow(not absolutely though) can be related to the better imagination and creation.

The better memory can mean how you can remind related things better.
But maybe the higher motivation and interets can stimulate better imaginations.

anyways I talked too much and that had nothing to do with this thread topic.
So I'd better stop here.

miu
Dec 11, 2004, 04:57
Forgot mention to mention about the simplified characters:

The simplification in Chinese just makes some of the characters really abstract... Take "car", for example. It looks nothing like a car, vehicle or a cart. I think the traditional version isn't even that much to write and it looks like what it means. But as a lazy person, I'm not all against into making things simpler ;)

Mahoujin Tsukai
Jan 30, 2005, 02:51
Guardian Unlimited : Japanese lost for words (http://www.guardian.co.uk/japan/story/0,7369,1359129,00.html?gusrc=rss)



I don't think this should be attributed to manga. I have used manga to practice my kanji reading, and some manga use many non-Joyo kanji (true that I read a lot of historical manga, but it's also a fact that there are lot's of them). And in 3 years of very casual learning of Japanese (only 5 month of lessons in a language school to learn the very basics of Japanese, the self-learning when I feel like it), I also have reading abilities of a 13 to 15 years old (actually more 15 than 13) and know many kanji that some of my adult Japanese friends don't. That brings us back to the question : why are the average Japanese so bad at languages - and not just foriegn but even their own mother tongue ? I think it is partly due to a too relaxed approach to education (as a matter of fact, almost nobody has to repeat a school year in Japan, even if they fail in all subjects).

I thought Japan has toughest education system in the world?

Maciamo
Jan 30, 2005, 10:54
I thought Japan has toughest education system in the world?

I also heard that before coming to Japan. After living and teaching (in schools, or working adults) for a few years in Japan, I know that it is very very far from the truth. What may be true is the time they spend studying is the longest of any country, although not at school itself but including the after-school "juku" (cram school), justly because the education system is not efficient and they don't learn anything there. The fact is, Japanese can hardly master their own language after after 12-years of schooling (let alone a single foreign language), and can only reach similar knowledge levels as Europeans in maths and sciences, but have no critical sense, no ability to debate and a virtually inexistent knowledge of history, art history, geography, geo-politics and philosophy when they leave highschool.

I was told that the purpose of secondary education (highschool) was to create individuals with a good overview of human knowledge and society on the whole. In some EU countries secondary school is sometimes dubbed 'the Humanities', because people learn about Greek philosophy, Roman rhetoric, world history (so as to understand the present situation anywhere in the world), one's language's literature, about the current world's physical and political condition (geology, geography, geopolitics), several (modern) foreign languages, as well as the basics of maths, physics, chemistry and biology to be able to study one of these subjects, or engineering or medicine at university. A student completing secondary school should have the sufficient knowledge to study any subject at university.

Japanese schools, however, mostly teach Japanese, maths and sciences, so that there is little difference between primary and secondary education in Japan. It only covers about 1/3 of the European-style education at the same age.

I don't want to be harsh, but in my opinion the Japanese education system is highly deficient, ineffective and lax - compared to the European one, which I already found too easy before setting foot in Japan. Now if many Japanese find their schooling difficult, it may be because they have not been trained to think (I mean, "not just memorize") since an early age, or (of that is the only explanation left) because they do not have the same capabilities.

Maciamo
Feb 24, 2005, 11:49
Yomiuri Shimbun : Location of Iraq on world map stumps students (http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/newse/20050224wo31.htm)


The location of Iraq is a mystery to 44 percent of university students, and 3 percent cannot find the United States on a world map, according to a survey conducted by the Association of Japanese Geographers.

As a result of the findings, the association has called for an improvement in geography education.

The survey of 3,800 students at 25 universities and 1,000 students at nine high schools was conducted between December and February. In the first survey of its kind, students were asked to identify 10 countries, including Iraq, North Korea and the United States from a list of 30 on a world map.

The hardest country for students to find was Ukraine, with 54.8 percent of university students and 33 percent of high school students able to identify it correctly.

Despite extensive media coverage of Iraq during the war and on the dispatch of Self-Defense Forces personnel, only 56.5 percent of university students and 54.1 percent of high school students could find it.

Just over 76 percent of university students and 59.4 percent of high school students were able to correctly identify Greece, site of the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The highest rate of recognition was for the United States, but about 3 percent of university students and about 7 percent of high school students still failed to correctly identify it on a map.

The situation seems so desperate ! I couldn't even imagine that some Japanese students could not recognise such a huge and famous country as the USA on a world map ! :mad:

That is in sharp contrast to the basic geography education I received in Europe, where all 14 year old students are supposed not just to know and recognise all countries in th world, but also to name their capital (and in some regions also the names of the main rivers, mountains, plateaux, etc.).

I remember some of my university professors who said they were appalled at the low general knowledge of some of this (my) generation's students, because some didn't know Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America or confused Pyong Yang with Phnom Penh (and I studied economics, not geography).


Since revisions to government teaching guidelines in 1989, high school students have been required to choose at least two subjects, including world history, in the topic areas of geography and history. But only half of students choose the geography course, according to the association.


I just can't believe that Japanese have to choose between either history (Japanese OR world-wide) and geography, while European students MUST take both for 6 YEARS EACH. I imagine that before the 1989 revision, that was even worse (maybe they didn't have any before university ?). How could Japan be considered a developed country education-wise ?

Yellow Emperor
Feb 24, 2005, 12:19
Regarding Chinese Hanzi (Kanji)

Mainland China's simplified Chinese characters do little to improve illiteracy in mainland China. Of course, the purpose of simplifying Hanzi was to increase illiteracy AND to differentiate themselves from the "old China". That act was more ideological than practical. Think about this, you're going to memorize 4000-6000 characters anyway, what difference does it REALLY make when a character has one less stroke or one less dot? Not really. For those who grow up in a Hanzi environment,and read/write/learn Hanzi practically everyday, they will know Hanzi, however "complex" they may be. For example, Taiwan (Republic of China) and Hong Kong, which both use traditional Chinese characters, have literacy of approximately 96%. While mainland China, which uses simplified system, has 90% literacy only. So when it comes to Hanzi, complexity doesn't play a big role. It may be troubling for foreigners at first, but which language isn't? In this case of China, general wealth and mass education are the only factors. However complex Hanzi is, as long as the country is rich enough to educate people, it is not a problem. Likewise, mainland China's relatively low literacy rate is due to poverty, not because Chinese people have to memorize 5000 Hanzi.

cacawate
Mar 16, 2005, 20:30
I found this (http://home.highway.ne.jp/flower/angou/exam/) about the 共通一次試験. Click on 受験 and try the test, Not so difficult I think.

That was probably a joke, but for the readers who really think that's a university entrance exam; it's not. On a further note there is no more 共通一次, it's now called the センター試験 and if you'd like to try it or find out more about it here are some links:

http://www.nabe3.net/center.html (センター試験について)

http://season.goo.ne.jp/center2005/2004/ (センター試験)

http://nyushi.yomiuri.co.jp/nyushi/honshi/05/index.htm (私立大学入試・二次試験)

Happy testing!

-Jeff

PopCulturePooka
Mar 16, 2005, 21:19
I just can't believe that Japanese have to choose between either history (Japanese OR world-wide) and geography, while European students MUST take both for 6 YEARS EACH. I imagine that before the 1989 revision, that was even worse (maybe they didn't have any before university ?). How could Japan be considered a developed country education-wise ?
Similar in my state of Australia.

You do history and geography standard in primary school (but they aren't named, you just DO them. Thats seven years.

Your first year of high school you do both. Syllabus rules.

In 9th and 10th grade you must choose at least one out of History, Geography or Studies of Society. Can chose more than one, but must choose one at least.

Then in 11th and 12th grade History (Modern or Ancient), Geography or SOS are completely elective. I didn't need any of them as pre-reqs for my uni course so I didn't do any.