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It is the time of the year when both the P6 students and their parents are stressed out. Yes, PSLE is here! The Chinese Reading Comprehension, unlike MCQ, has no choices. Thus, some students find it difficult to score high marks.
For any reading comprehension, either English language or Chinese language, do the following in sequence:
1. Read the whole passage
Please do not skip this step. Many students want to save time by reading the questions first. Reading the whole passage quickly helps you to get a general idea of what the passage is about. Some answers are from different parts of the passage, thus reading the whole passage first helps you to answer better.
2. Read the questions one-by-one
When you are reading the questions, focus on the keywords：什么 (What)，为什么 (Why)，怎样 (How), etc.
3. Read the part of the passage that is related to the question
From the keywords in the question, you know (roughly) where the answer is. Try not to “copy and paste” the whole part, especially if the answer is from a conversation.
4. Answer the question and check the answer
Check the marks allocated for the question; if the mark is 4, you know you should write longer than the question with 2 marks.
Note: Some students lose marks by not writing the correct Chinese characters. It is not because the teacher is strict, but because a single stroke makes a different character. A wrong character means a wrong answer, please be extra careful.
Different types of questions
Some answers are easy to find, for example 不重视 = 忽视. When you see “视” in the passage, you will pay attention to the character and check if 忽视 can replace 不重视.
Note: Not all answers are of two characters only. Some answers may be of one character or four characters as in idioms (成语).
For this type of question, read the passage carefully. As mentioned, the answer may be from different parts of the passage. This is a “copy and paste” question, as long as you understand the question, you can get the answer directly from the passage.
(c) Comparison questions
This type of question asks you to compare two things. Frequently, the question asks for 之前 (before) and 之后 (after), but the question can also ask you to compare two things.
This question asks for your opinion. More often than not, it is asking whether you agree or disagree regarding the action taken by someone in the passage, and why do you agree or disagree? Though it is about your opinion, sometimes you can still find hints from the passage. Furthermore, the question relates to moral qualities, such as honesty (诚实), being helpful （乐于助人）, etc. Thus, reading moral stories will help you in using the correct descriptive words.
Above is the summary from my personal teaching experience. Students are advised to be prepared for other types of questions in case the format is changed in future. All the best to all the P6 students!
When you hear your 6-year-old child says: “我有二个书包。”, do not panic. It is a common mistake for young children for not differentiating “二” and “两”.
The reason is simple, the usage of “二” and “两” depends on whether you are using it with 量词 or not and 量词 is a concept in Chinese Language that does not have an exact equivalent concept in English.
二 is used for numbers, for examples:
- 二十四 = 24 (整数 = whole number)
- 二百三十五 = 235 (整数 = whole number)
- 一点二 = 1.2 (小数点 = decimal point)
- 二哥 = the second brother
- 第二名 = the second prize
两 is used with 量词, for examples:
- 两支铅笔 = two pencils
- 两只老虎 = two tigers
- 两个二哥 = two second brothers
两 is also an old unit of weight measurement. Though we do not commonly use 两 as unit of weight measurement now, but we may read it in books or the list of Chinese medicines.
The famous 成语 that uses 两 as a unit of weight measurement is 半斤八两, which means two people or things that are the same or similar. It is because in old times, 半斤 is the same weight as 八两, only in different unit of weight measurement.
With the examples above, hopefully you know when to use 二 and when to use 两. Happy learning!
Disclaimer: This article is open for discussion. I do not own this reference book with the title PSLE 华文阅读理解 (PSLE Chinese Reading Comprehension)， 第一版 2012年. Some questionable examples are found in the book.
1. Answer that does not exist?
Below is the extract of a full passage inside the book:
On the next page is the questions relate to the passage above, below is extract of the questions:
In the answer page, the answer given for question 18 cannot be found in the passage, as below extract of the answer page:
2. Extra, missing or wrong words?
Below are the three extracts from the book on different pages. After much discussion and consideration, it is confirmed that they are errors. Please feedback if you think otherwise.
(a) Missing word of “生” as the correct noun should be “小学生”.
(b) Extra word of “胡”
(c) The original word is “卖”, which has been amended to “买”. From the context of the passage, the passage is about consumers who has bought (买) the goods and found that the goods are not suitable for use.
With these examples, I hope parents and students will be careful when referring to any reference books available in the market. If you have any doubt, always find a third opinion. Most importantly, have confidence in yourself, do not feel discouraged if you find questionable information in any reference book. Knowledge is gained through questioning.
I am not sure if they have rectified the error, just want to alert parents and students if you have bought the same book with the same version as mine. I welcome comments and feedback. Thank you.