Steve, Friedemann is challenging me

Steve, I have been challenged by Friedemann. He came to my blog with his false ideas about language learning and having seen my first attempt at conversing in Chinese, he came to the conclusion that I can’t possibly understand anything of the dramas that I’m watching just because I don’t know some words that he deems are basic and frequent, which I think he got from his textbook studies. Just because he learned those words early on and they have been relevant to him, he seems to think they are some kind of marker of whether a person knows anything of a language or not. He’s got all these wild and crazy ideas.

So he’s decided to challenge me to see if I can tell him what is being said in a TV show. Obviously, he thinks I’m bluffing and he wants to call my bluff. He wants to meet up on Skype for his challenge. I guess he thinks I’ll refuse his challenge. But how do I know if he’ll be fair or not? He doesn’t seem like a very reasonable guy. I mean, he can’t think outside of his own paradigm. And he’s so set on seeing me fail that he’s put this challenge out there.

I don’t know what’s in it for him. I don’t see why he cares so much. What’s his motivation? Is he the kind of person that enjoys making other people fail? He seems really bent on being right.

Is there something I should know about this guy before answering his request? I’m scared, Steve. What should I do? Should I be worried?

(not Steve but I’ll answer anyways cause I’m awesome like that)

A person challenges you online? There are far scarier things.

As for accepting his challenge- you have to agree what it is the “challenge will be about”- what level of understanding of the tv program he will want to disprove that you have (like, for example, being able to understand 70% or more for example)

I am not a great English speaker, I don’t understand perfectly English for a short time.
But I don’t think Friedemann is challenging Keith.
Friedemann left a comment very honestly. I appreciate his criticism.

However, I appreciate Keith’s method, too. Watching without transcript naturally is a good way to familiarize with its natural sound, but in my view, watching for 2000 hours is too long. 100 hours is enough to switch to the next step (reading subtitles, reviewing a little grammar, learning words, etc.)

Keith, if I were you, I would ignore “challenges”. Just stick to your learning and study plans, and don’t think much about other people’s opinions.

a “mano a mano”???
duel at dawn???
an insane prison fight???

well, if not, just do it knowing that whatever your results could be chances are that he’s gonna come to the conclusion that you won’t possibly understand anything

p.s. sorry if I misunderstood the tone of your post. it’s difficult to say if you are really being too emotional or you are just trying to get some fun (if that’s so, please be like this “robot” - YouTube :stuck_out_tongue: -have a nice fight)

I do not know what to say. Language learning is a personal thing, we do it for ourselves. As Hirohide said at our Osaka meet up “there is no finish line in language learning.”

I would not respond to this kind of challenge. I did think that your tones were quite good. As I said, your television marathon watching is not something that I would do, but obviously you enjoy doing it and that is all that matters.


from reading your post above I agree with Steve that maybe you shouldn’t accept that challenge. I think you totally misread my motivation. Chinese has always been a mysterium for me because I struggled so much more with comprehension than in any other language. I always wonder how other Westeners do with Chinese but so far I have never met one here in China who speaks it.

Now, judging by your video, I cannot imagine that you understand what is said in dramas. I guess I was just curious to find out. It wasn’t about a public showdown either, I never said I would record or post it anywhere. And if you don’t like this little experiment I am sure I very much enjoy just hearing what you have to say about comprehension and Chinese in a skype conversation.

I agree that my initial statement about the video was harsh but while disagreeing with you I think I was polite and respectful,


Steve said: “I do not know what to say”

A challenge between us language buffs is no hostile act. You did this several times yourself with another blogger.

I do not recollect a challenge. I do recollect having conversations in different languages with language keeners but it was never presented as a challenge. Every learner’s level is personal, and so is his or her understanding of what they read or listen to. I am totally opposed to any kind of comprehension test or competition. What are you referring to?

@yurithebest, you are right about setting some agreements. Friedemann thinks I do not understand more than 10%.

@dilleme, the challenge was posted in the comments on my blog. It’s exactly what Friedemann called it, a challenge.

@hape, I would like to ignore it, but that would make me look… um, what’s the word?

@2tmp011007, Yes, I believe you are right. He will come to the same conclusion no matter what. First he says, I don’t understand more than 10%. Then afterwords, he will still say that my level of comprehension is not good enough for enjoying what I watch. I don’t think he would be willing to concede. If I do really super on his test, then he’ll say that I was fooling everyone in my first conversation about my comprehension. He has already stated exactly that as a possibility.

@steve, Thanks for answering. I am always interested to see what you have to say. I feel the main reason people want to criticize me is because my beliefs conflict with theirs. I could have done the whole thing in secret by myself, see how long it takes to get to full comprehension, and not have said anything about it until after I was able to speak Chinese well. But I do not think that is beneficial to others. There is less credibility when someone shows up one day with hard-to-believe claims and no proof of their progress. So I have been blogging about it, why I’m doing it, and my first displayable evidence. I will be improving, just as I have improved from the beginning.

– some more posts have come in while I was writing this up –

@Friedemann, I don’t think I should turn down your challenge. I don’t know how the results will turn out, but I don’t want anyone to think I am lying. I will respond to your challenge in a new post on my blog. I don’t mind your initial statement about my video at all. I don’t know why you haven’t met any foreigners in China who speak Chinese. Maybe China hasn’t been open long enough. Or maybe you are not in the right circles. Part of what I am doing is in an effort to show that we don’t have to live in China to learn Chinese. We don’t have to live in Hong Kong either. Except for Steve, all other Chinese-speaking foreigners I have read about have lived in China.

If I could post more often on my blog, I would clear up a lot of the misconceptions. Or at least try to. People tend to hang on to their misconceptions. If they want to disagree, that is fine. But when they start falsely attributing certain claims to me, that is not fine. Such as the “shortcut” claim somebody made.


the westeners I meet in China I all meet through my job and none of those speak Chinese. I don’t actively seek the company of westeners here because I don’t want to be trapped in the expat bubble.

If you think I am such a nasty person as it seems from reading what you said about me in your response to 2tmp011007, I really think you should just forget my challenge.


let me refresh your memory. You suggested to Benny that he makes a recording of him speaking Czech and upload it to proof the effectiveness of his method, which BTW I thought at the time was a reasonable proposal.

I do remember that and it was in response to his aggressiveness in promoting his “hacking techniques” when in fact he has not provided any proof of their effectiveness and in general failed in Prague Thailand and Budapet when trying to learn a language from scratch. Keith is not promoting a book, but is just enthusiastic about something that works for him.

Keith is a good man and I have no interest in humiliating him in public.

Keith, I think you were a bit overreacted. Friedemann has a lot of doubts in your method, and his comments sound somewhat challenging sometimes, but I don’t think he is humiliating you personally.

Keith, either accept his challenge or don’t, but this thread is getting wussy real fast.



Keith the guy who watches a lot of tv


The nasty German with a doctorate who’s angry cause Chinese is challenge unlike any other he’s ever faced!!!

Mud. Language. BLOOD!!!


All we need is to get Steve in a bikini to hold up the number cards in between rounds.

(the above was supposed to sound like this youtube link:

"Mega Monster Truck Rally" Commercial - Sunday! Sunday Sunday! - YouTube

you might have to reread the post for the proper effect



This is the best comment I have seen here on LingQ. LOL

But I mustn’t forget that Keith makes great efforts to study Japanese Kanji, which are quite different in terms of pronunciation from those of standard Chinese. I watched other Keith’s videos. I highly admire his hard works.

Oh, sorry for using melomane. Actually I have another one to check up my activity.