Listening to words – 听话


I have been longing to write a post about a very much phrased quality – 听话(listening to words). The English translation does not do its job remotely well. In English, one ‘listens to words’ that others say. He/she has the option to agree and the option not to. In Chinese linguistics, it means something different. It means listen to what is being said, to hear and interpret it subsequently and to agree with it and act accordingly.

I will save the trouble to make comments about the quality. There are situations such quality yields high productivity, there are also situations we see disastrous results  in human history what unconditional obedience did.

Meanwhile, it does help me to understand why Chinese way of teaching is one dimensional – from the teacher to the students. If ‘listening to words’ is valued in the bigger cultural context, it will be equally valued in the classroom context. Why would you need feedback if all students need to do is ‘listening to words”?

okay class listenI do not intend to evaluate the effects of such mentality and behaviour. All civilisation has a history and there must be a reason/motivation behind certain things and styles. I read one sentence today and will use it as my conclusion remark – ‘We must simply rest in ignorance’.


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