My daughter, who is in kindergarten, goes to a school where the foreign language that the children are learning is Chinese (Mandarin). That’s great, except when it comes to helping with school work at home. I have no idea what she’s saying or what I’m looking at when presented with Chinese characters. Even the phonetic spellings don’t help much. The books that she takes home from school are generally pretty good, and there’s a CD that comes with them so you can follow along.
We recently acquired a cache of what I can only assume are – ahem- Chinese knockoffs of Chinese language educational materials. They are completely baffling – even with an English translation. At least they were cheap. Check this sample page out:
So first you have talk to your kindergarten student about the medical healing properties of nine-colored deer’s liver for the treatment of weird diseases. Kindergarten kids will not let you be vague about this sort of thing. But what do you do with, “Seeing that, the snake catcher came to the palace to blow the gaff”? Given the fine eye for quality of the translation, I can only assume that the ink used in this book is lead-based paint. Don’t worry, there’s plenty more where this came from.