ICLP worth it?

Language Exchange ads posted in the Learning Chinese forum will be removed

Moderator: ironlady

Re: ICLP worth it?

Postby John Yu » 16 Apr 2012, 12:49

I once tried to audit an undergraduate level class about the history of Chinese literature and the teacher spent the whole first day showing us a hocus movie called "The Secret" (about the power of positive thinking) instead of learning anything about literature.

After reading Feiren's post, though, I realize this is but the tip of the iceberg.
"They only like me for my looks and personality"
郎才郎貌
Forumosan avatar
John Yu
High School Triad Member (gāozhōng liúmáng)
High School Triad Member (gāozhōng liúmáng)
 
Posts: 501
Joined: 12 Jan 2011, 21:11
Location: Hualian
39 Recommends(s)
19 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: ICLP worth it?

Postby Jive Turkey » 16 Apr 2012, 13:56

Feiren wrote:
I didn't even come close to achieving those goals. One problem is that the people in these programs (faculty and students) are True Believers in Chinese culture. In their world view, a foreigner is simply incapable of penetrating the ineffable mystery of it all. This is evidenced most clearly when he has the temerity to ask questions. Another problem is that most of the pre-modern faculty in literature or history are actually philologists, not historians or literary scholars that you would find teaching those subjects in North America.

This was all 20 years ago. Things may have changed, but I seriously doubt it.

I think that you might have a very different experience if you studied modern Taiwanese history or a western-derived discipline focused on some aspect of the present.

This rings really true in my ears. Here in Hong Kong, I teach a writing course that aims to help students of Chinese history and literature identify and use English-language sources relevant to their interests, and present their work in written English. The students of modern history and lit are really easy to talk to. They're open to feedback on all aspects of their writing, whether it focuses on content and argumentation, or more on language accuracy. I'd say I've learned a whole lot from reading their stuff and talking to them about their writing.

I dread tutorials with the students working on pre-modern stuff. At first I thought it was just because I am pretty ignorant of the stuff these students write about; I certainly don't score any points by not being able to read a lot of their texts in original form. Later I realized that their whole approach is different. Whereas the modern history or literature students approach things in a way similar to students of the humanities in the west, the pre-modern students are relatively romantic-minded about their subject and in their "methods," if you could call them that. I then looked at some of the publications by the people who teach these two groups of students, and there was a pretty clear division in methods and rhetorical style. Now that I think about it, I'd also say your label of "philologists" applies to these students.
Jive Turkey
Immune to Breathalizers (jiǔ cèce bù chūlái)
Immune to Breathalizers (jiǔ cèce bù chūlái)
 
Posts: 2051
Joined: 22 Sep 2003, 16:24
Location: Donald Tsang's Magic Kingdom
14 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: ICLP worth it?

Postby pzkpfwmmiv » 17 Apr 2012, 13:17

Thanks for the wonderful feedback! What all of you have said about the pre-modern scholars' pedagogical styles jives with my experiences in the Mainland as well. I personally believe that the study of classical Chinese is important for a more complete understanding of modern syntax and grammar, but my research interests are confined to 民初 and later - my undergraduate thesis focused on the Hunanese author 沈從文 and his place within the 新文學運動 expressed through approaches to stylistic and narrative realism. I was interested in 沈從文 because of the manner in which he tailored a prose filled with the lexical and syntactic qualities of 文言文 to eulogize the demise of pastoral innocence - deliberately creating a sort of anachronistic style around modern narrative techniques. I am eager to explore the Taiwanese corpus of 鄉土文學, looking at its intersections with 文言 and premodern culture in general, but concentrating on the expression of a modern sensibility bound up in notions of Taiwan as a province, country, political entity, discrete cultural entity, etc. I'm also interested in Taiwanese political and cultural history more broadly - especially the dislocations associated with retrocession, 二二八, KMT language policy, and centralized economic development.

So, I give this background by way of asking the question, would an MA in history (in Taiwan) be more appropriate for a person of my interests and background? I take your point on the pre-modern faculty but wonder if the professors specializing in modern literature take a more western approach to scholarship? I have always thought that reading literary works, essays, and commentaries are the best way to simultaneously develop my language skills along with my understanding of Taiwanese culture, but am not too interested in getting mired in the whole "philological" sinkhole of what we might call traditional scholarship. I would like to repeat feiren's question, are there any programs offered by the Academica Sinica in modern literature/literary history? Who has experience studying in these fields?

To feiren:
What was your specialty in your Chinese literature program at NCCU? Would it be required to take classes in pre-modern literature for a modern literature student? Any impressions of the other departments? And how did you get the scholarship - directly applied?
pzkpfwmmiv
Ink Still Wet in Passport (shífēn xīnshǒu)
Ink Still Wet in Passport (shífēn xīnshǒu)
 
Posts: 4
Joined: 12 Apr 2012, 23:38
3 Recommends(s)

6000

Re: ICLP worth it?

Postby Feiren » 17 Apr 2012, 13:30

pzkpfwmmiv wrote:To feiren:
What was your specialty in your Chinese literature program at NCCU? Would it be required to take classes in pre-modern literature for a modern literature student? Any impressions of the other departments? And how did you get the scholarship - directly applied?


I think a few classes in literary Chinese are probably enough to help you with the simplified literary Chinese embedded in modern texts.

Shen Congwen is one of my favorites.

I think Taiwanese history or even Taiwan studies might be good. For Taiwanese history, good Japanese is probably essential.

NCCU has a graduate institute in Taiwanese literature.

http://tailit.nccu.edu.tw/main.php

Looks like NTU, Qingda, and Chunghsing all have them. I bet there is one in Tainan as well. I'd check the faculty profiles and see who looks more interesting.

I think I applied for admission and they told me about the scholarship. That reminds me of an important point. Although the info may be available online, I'd strongly recommend going by the office of wherever you are applying and asking about the application process and the program. This is always a good idea in Taiwan where in-person contact is king and usually leads to important details that you will not find out about otherwise. One thing would be to ask about support for international students.

I'll PM you with a couple of contacts in the field who might have some advice.

This post was recommended by pzkpfwmmiv (17 Apr 2012, 14:18)
Rating: 5.88%
Feiren
Former City Mayor (qiánrèn shìzhǎng)
Former City Mayor (qiánrèn shìzhǎng)
 
Posts: 4831
Joined: 05 Jan 2002, 17:01
Location: Drum Tower
4 Recommends(s)
185 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: ICLP worth it?

Postby California » 01 May 2012, 18:17

Anyone who chooses MTC over ICLP is a absolute madman. Just thought I should tell you.
Forumosan avatar
California
Grasshopper (cǎo měng)
 
Posts: 82
Joined: 12 Feb 2009, 06:41
2 Recommends(s)
3 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: ICLP worth it?

Postby ironlady » 01 May 2012, 21:16

Anyone who truly believes there is a substantive difference reflective of the price differentials between any two programs on the island these days could very well be a madman.
Terry Waltz, Ph.D
Click here to Finally Learn Mandarin!
Squid for Brains Learning Games -- not your nainai's flash cards!
...although his father beat him every day, wishing him to learn the speech of Ts'e, it will be impossible for him [at least using current methods]...-Mencius
Forumosan avatar
ironlady
Goddess of Fornication & Prostitutes (tōngjiān hé jìnǚ de nǚshén)
 
Posts: 8087
Joined: 13 Nov 2001, 17:01
Location: A place where people can't sleep or teach English in McDonald's
63 Recommends(s)
251 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: ICLP worth it?

Postby ChineseQuest » 03 Dec 2013, 20:36

I'm going to bump this thread with an update.

I ended up not going to ICLP, and I haven't regretted it a bit. I stayed for two more semesters at the MTC (for a total of 5), and then after taking 思想與社會/Thought and Society in my last semester, I had had enough. I got a tutor, audited classes in my field, read a bunch, and did some pretty intensive work with movies and TV shows*. I applied for an MA program in a Chinese department here (despite what you all said :lol: ), and my tutor helped me through the application process, writing my study plan in Chinese, etc. Shortly after finishing that (March of this year), I started working as a freelance translator, which helped my Chinese tremendously. I'm still translating, but not as much as before because I got accepted into the program I applied for and am mostly doing that now. My Chinese has gotten another huge boost since starting the MA this semester, because I'm constantly reading, listening to, writing, and speaking Chinese. I don't know if I'll finish the MA or not before moving on a PhD program in the US, but so far it has been invaluable, despite my frustrations with the program. I recently attended a big conference in my field and made some contacts with some very influential scholars, one of whom invited me to take his class at another university here in Taipei next semester.

I wonder if any of this would have been possible had I been at ICLP. The students there are always so busy, I doubt I would have even had time to apply. I'm convinced I've made more progress than I would have at ICLP anyway, because the quantity and variety of material I've been exposed to through translation, reading, and coursework has been much greater than it would have been there. I can say, however, that the former ICLP students I know tend to have a better command of more formal language when speaking. The flip side of that coin is that some of them can't hold a normal conversation. They sound like they're giving a formal lecture when talking about the most mundane things, and have very limited feel for using the appropriate register. So they got "advanced," but awkward Chinese, and I've ended up with reasonably natural-sounding Chinese but limited ability to speak in higher registers. Either of those deficiencies can be fixed in time, of course, but I prefer what I got. I'm also something to the tune of US$10,000 ahead of where I'd be had I gone to ICLP, so I'm happy.

So anyway, I wanted to say "thank you" to those of you who offered your advice. I may have been stubborn at the time, but I came around later and I'm thrilled that I did.


* I found that if you print out the subtitles, they make outstanding "textbooks." Look up the words you don't know and define them in the margins. Add in a heavy dose of shadowing and chorusing, especially for the lines that give you a hard time, and throw the audio track from the movie on your phone and listen to it over and over while on the go, and then tell me your Chinese doesn't benefit from it.

This post was recommended by Ermintrude (04 Dec 2013, 08:03)
Rating: 5.88%
ChineseQuest
Memorized My Password (gāng jìhǎo zìjǐ de mìmǎ)
 
Posts: 63
ORIGINAL POSTER
Joined: 06 May 2010, 12:52
Location: 台北市
1 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: ICLP worth it?

Postby ironlady » 04 Dec 2013, 00:43

If you want more formal language, just hunt up a couple dozen formal speeches and study them. Input what you want to output. You've done so well for yourself after leaving the MTC, that would be no problem at all. (The only problem with the whole input into yourself approach is having the discipline to actually do it. Don't ask me how I know. :-( )

Can you share how you print out subtitles?
Terry Waltz, Ph.D
Click here to Finally Learn Mandarin!
Squid for Brains Learning Games -- not your nainai's flash cards!
...although his father beat him every day, wishing him to learn the speech of Ts'e, it will be impossible for him [at least using current methods]...-Mencius
Forumosan avatar
ironlady
Goddess of Fornication & Prostitutes (tōngjiān hé jìnǚ de nǚshén)
 
Posts: 8087
Joined: 13 Nov 2001, 17:01
Location: A place where people can't sleep or teach English in McDonald's
63 Recommends(s)
251 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: ICLP worth it?

Postby ChineseQuest » 04 Dec 2013, 07:59

Yeah, I took an interpretation class this semester (not in my department, of course) in hopes of fixing some of that. Unfortunately, my other classes are taking up so much of my time that I haven't been able to devote much to the speeches we've been using. Oh well, at least I have them for later.

For subtitles, I find and download a subtitle file (usually .srt), then open it in a text editor, get rid of all the extra stuff like time stamps and such, and print. It's been several months since I've done this, but it's one of the best things I've ever done for my Chinese.
ChineseQuest
Memorized My Password (gāng jìhǎo zìjǐ de mìmǎ)
 
Posts: 63
ORIGINAL POSTER
Joined: 06 May 2010, 12:52
Location: 台北市
1 Recognized(s)

6000

Previous




 
 
 x

Return to Learning Chinese



Who is online

Forumosans browsing this forum: No Forumosans and 1 visitor

Now is the time to get drunk! To stop being the martyred slaves of time, to get absolutely drunk - on wine, poetry, or on virtue, as you please -- CHARLES BAUDELAIRE, "Enivrez-vous," Paris Spleen, 1869