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Learn Chinese in China

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    • Insectosaurus
      Hi everyone,   So, I currently have an Anki deck where I practice writing characters. I use the Taiwan Ministry of Education stroke order images found here. At the moment I add them all manually one by one by searching for the character in question. However there is a downloadable archive file with all images in it. Problem is I have no way of matching these images with the characters. If I would be able to have a list with one column for the character and one for the image name, if could all be imported in one go. Does anyone know if such a list is possible, possibly someone with a bit more tech competence than I possess. Perhaps they are even named more logically than I think?   Here is a link for the image archive, and this is what it looks like unarchived.
    • Demonic_Duck
      /ʒ/ is the sound at the beginning of the English word "genre". Its closest equivalent in Mandarin is Pinyin 〈r〉. However, it seems to be increasingly commonplace to hear English speakers use this sound to represent Pinyin 〈x〉, which is pretty baffling.   The most common place I've heard this is on news reports pronouncing 习(近平) as /ʒiː/, but I've also come across 小米 as /ˈʒaʊmiː/ and 武侠 as /ˈwuʒɑː/.   The closest English-like sound to approximate Pinyin 〈x〉 would be /ʃ/ as in "ship", or maybe /s/ as in "sip". Meanwhile, obvious erroneous pronunciations would be /ks/ as in "max", /z/ as in "xylophone", or maybe even /x/ as in the Spanish pronunciation of "México". But /ʒ/ is neither close phonetically nor obvious intuitively.   The /ʒ/ pronunciation seems too ubiquitous for there not to be some supposedly authoritative source that's promoting it, so what is that source? Is there some news anchors' style guide that's telling them all to say "President /ʒiː/"?
    • mlescano
      Hi! I just want to share with you guys a list I'm using for my personal study. I downloaded subtitles from 61 dramas available on Netflix that seemed watchable (I omitted those in the horror, crime and fantasy genres) and used SegmentAnt + AntConc to find the most common words across different dramas. In this document you'll find all words that appear in at least 6 different dramas. That is, those that appear in at least 10% of the dramas in my database.   Here's how I'm using this to study: -I deleted all of my existing Pleco's flashcards, including the default HSK cards -I then imported this list to Pleco as flashcards -While I'm watching a show, I follow along the script in Pleco document reader. You can download the subtitles as text using LLN or GlotDojo and then save as TXT so you can open them in Pleco reader. -When I stumble upon a word that is on my list, it will show a dotted square around the "add card" button. This way I know I've found a word I want to learn. -I write down the word, by hand, in my vocabulary notebook. -I then add the word to LLN's word list so I can later download Anki flashcards.  -After watching, I review the words in my Notebook. -Later that day or the same day, I review the Anki flashcards.   Note: Some of the words in this list are not in Pleco's free dictionaries. If Pleco does not found a word in a dictionary, it will obviously not be identified as a word in your flashcard database when you use Pleco reader. So the more dictionaries you have, the better this works.   Another note: The list is ordered by Contextual Diversity, not by Frequency. Here you can find a scientific paper that will explain why Contextual Diversity is a better predictor than Frequency of whether a native speaker knows a word or not: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16984300/   I'm actually creating my own Spanish course for complete beginners, and the word list I'm using is also based on Contextual Diversity across different Spanish language TV shows. You can find the course I'm creating on my YouTube channel, Spanish Input.       Chinese Netflix 10 percent words.ods
    • Fithen
      Searching the forums, I'm surprised that this wasn't mentioned here before, so I'll do so myself:   I've been using the Readibu app for the past several months, and it's been an indispensable app for my learning. In a nutshell, it's a reader for any Chinese content that you can find online - much like the Zhongwen/Zhongzhong Chrome extensions. The app allows you to tap on and save words, click a sentence for its translation, search a massive repository of categorized novels and short stories for content to read, underline multi-character words, etc. While some of these are Premium features (but well worth the buy!), the basic app is still extremely useful to anyone HSK 4 or above and looking at reading native content.   You can find out a bit more on the site, with fuller details on the app page (Android, iOS).   The primary advantage, aside from the wealth of features, is the portability of the app - as opposed to using Zhongwen on a computer, you can easily take it out and read at nearly any time or place. This is far better than switching over to Pleco every time you see a new word or using its rather UI-unfriendly paid Document Reader.   When I started using this app after HSK 4, it was a challenge due to the inherent difficulty in native content. However, many of the HSK 4-tagged children's stories were pretty readable (if at an intensive level). Likewise, I've been able to go through nearly a dozen of the books on this list from a group I'm in (Books & Webnovels tab) ordered by difficulty - intensive at first, near the end I counted 98%+ comprehension! - but that's enough to be an entire post of its own.   (No, I'm not the developer of the app)
    • mlescano
      Nowadays there's a LOT of options if you want to watch Chinese movies/TV shows with the purpose of learning Chinese.   Back in 2017, when I created this post, there was almost no watchable Chinese content on Netflix, and Chinese video services were slow outside of China. I remember some people in this forum looking for ways to find a text version of their favorite dramas' subtitles in order to use a popup dictionary, because at the time dramas often came only with burned-in or image-based subtitles. But how have times changed!  Nowadays Netflix keeps adding more and more Chinese dramas, including some pretty new ones. And if that's not fresh enough for you, you can go to the international versions of Iqiyi (iq.com) and WeTV (wetv.vip) to get your drama fix. All three sites include text-based subtitles in Chinese and several other languages, and now there's a bunch of browser extensions that take advantage of this for language learning. And if you get tired of all the drama, you can watch teacher Li's fantastic lectures on YouTube (with multilanguage subtitles) on pretty much any subject, from economy to science and health. So, let's cut to the chase. Each name links to the extension's page.   Common features of most extensions: -Autopause after each subtitle -Repeat subtitle line -Hide main subtitles, translations or both, but show them with a keyboard shortcut -Change video speed -Export subtitles as text (so you can load them in Pleco)   Netflix Dual Subtitle by Niko: As far as I know, this was the pioneer! It dates back to 2018, and it's the first extension I used seriously for learning Chinese, before LLN/LLY even existed. I used to have the Pro version back then and kept paying for it until the pandemic started. (It was $0.99/month) The developer is Japanese, and he's very responsive. I only stopped using it because sometimes it failed to load, and LLN/LLY is more feature-rich. Niko was a trailblazer, so his keyboard shortcuts are not the most intuitive. After LLN, other extensions seem to have adopted a variation of LLN's keyboard shortcuts. I must say, I was so attached to Niko's extension that at first I thought LLN was a clone.   Pros: -It's very simple and basic. -It's just $0.99. (Or used to be).   Cons: -It's very simple and basic. It lacks subtitle export and other features. -It's $0.99 and there's no free tier, but it will offer you a 3-day trial period.   LLN and LLY by Dioco:   Full names: Language Learning with Netflix and Language Learning with YouTube. First released in 2019, these now famous Chrome extensions for Netflix and YouTube are my favorite for language learning. The developers are David Wilkinson and Ognjen Apic and they've been featured in several articles on Lonely Planet, The Guardian, Wired and more. The extension is now used by more than a million people. I have the Pro version. Before LLN, Ognjen first created an offline video player called Lingo Player, which is no longer being developed.   Pros: -You can save words and create flashcards with both screenshots and sound. This feature alone will save a lot of time in flashcard creation. (It's a Pro feature. $4.95/month) -The flashcards it creates are Cloze deletion cards. Ideal for active recall of words. -Can generate a machine translation in case the show you're watching doesn't have a human translation (Pro feature). -They're the most stable extensions I've tried.   Cons: -The "word highlight" feature that is supposed to help you identify frequent words... Is kinda not there. I checked it with Spanish and it even has some non-words in the database. -You can't copy-paste anything unless you open the subtitles/saved words panel -The Chinese word segmentation is often not correct, so the popup dictionary often gives you definitions of non-words. It's better to keep the popup dictionary off and instead use Zhongwen, or even better, export the full text of the episode and follow along with Pleco reader. -You can't make a custom selection to create flashcards. This, paired with the wrong segmentation issue, means you'll have to do manual corrections to the flashcards it creates. -Right now it only uses TTS for the audio in the flashcards. They're supposed to soon add original audio, tough. -Not available for any other streaming services.   GlotDojo by eJoy English: GlotDojo's strong point is that it supports many different streaming sites, including Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, IQIYI and WeTV. I'm using the free version. The developer is eJoy English, a Vietnamese company that has been around at least since 2017 and mainly offers English language instruction. They have another Chrome extension for English learners called eJoy English, which is a lot more popular than GlotDojo.   Pros: -Supports IQIYI and WeTV, which makes this extension a must for Chinese language learners. -A LOT more customizable than LLN/LLY. Choose subtitle size, color, delay in ms, etc. -Load your own subtitles. Useful if you want to help a friend who doesn't speak one of the languages already offered by the streaming service. -Press Alt+C to copy a subtitle line. If you have a Mac and an iOS device with Pleco, this means you can copy-paste the line to Pleco. -Machine translation.   Cons: -Settings can be confusing. It has what you want, but it's not obvious where to find it. -No Anki export. Ejoy English says they're working on their own Anki-style app, though. -No attempt at word segmentation. It only recognizes individual characters, making the pop-up dictionary useless. Turn it off and use Zhongwen instead, or download the full text of the episode and follow along with Pleco.     Language Learning with Netflix and YouTube by App For Language Not to be confused with Language Learning with Netflix by Dioco. As far as I know, this was first released in 2020. According to the website, they're from Germany, but, strangely, the mother language defaults to Korean when you install it for the first time. The name, UI, settings page and keyboard shortcuts all draw a lot of "inspiration" from LLN. Totally not a LLN clone. Since LLN has proved so successful, it's only to be expected that we'll see more extensions like this in the future.   Pros: -It has LLN features, look and feel. -You can upload subtitles. -Seems to be very actively developed.   Cons: -Not as stable as LLN. -Segmentation seems to be even worse than LLN. It puts a space between "words", so you can't even use Zhongwen properly.   -----------------------   Of course, there are other extensions with similar features, but these four seem to be the most complete from the point of view of a language learner. As you might have guessed, I'm currently using a combination of LLN for Netflix and YouTube, and GlotDojo for IQIYI and WeTV. If there's any other extension you're currently using, I'll be glad to add it to this list!  
    • Lu
      Main character in the novel I'm translating is living with his retired aunt, who never married. Aunt could have left with 小唐 at some point, when main character was still a boy, but didn't: she couldn't bring herself to leave main character with his vicious grandmother (aunt's mother), so she got off the train at the last minute. Main character didn't actually ask her not to leave, but did imply that he would get himself in trouble if she went away. Now she still occasionally mulls over whether she should have gone with 小唐. She can spend long evenings asking herself two questions:   一个是小唐后来过得幸不幸福,这个问题还有一个衍生问题,就是她当时应不应该跟小唐一起走。随即会引发对我的怨恨,要是我说是谁说自己不后悔的,她就会说,看看你现在是什么鬼样子,继而爆发激烈的争吵。   I don't get what 要是我说是谁说自己不后悔的 means here. The author likes to use direct quotes without quotation marks and that might be happening here too, but I'm not sure. Mainly I'm not sure who 自己 is here.   Can anyone help?
    • tsitsi
      Hi all! Here is a write-up of my HSK challenge experience. TLDR: I wrote HSK2 and 3 after 32 days of study and got 165 and 206 respectively. Calling myself HSK 3 though would be bit much I'm squarely in HSK 2 territory.     Long version. -> you can read my daily log here -> https://www.chinese-forums.com/blogs/blog/146-hsk-challenge/   Some disclaimers off the bat: This challenge was just an exam challenge not a fluency or anything else challenge, it was to test how quickly one can write an HSK exam. It was not a test of how good or bad or anything the HSK exam is, it was just about can I pass it or not. Experience and opinions here are my own and just that, experiences and opinions. The challenge evolved as I got new info so the exam prep for 1 and 2 and 3 were not treated the same. Some background: I love learning, experiments, proving people wrong and I have a fascination with languages. I speak 3, and have learnt a smattering of others on and off for 1 to 3 months, mostly to travel and just get by, and because 90% of the media I watch is in foreign languages, (bulk is Korean and then Chinese, then Hindi, French, Japanese, German, Zulu... anything really). And I know how to study, I have three bachelors degrees and some courses covered linguistics and language development. Would I recommend this to anyone?-> it depends on your learning styles and goals, I saw that some schools offer Chinese language scholarships to people who have HSK 3, so maybe yes for that reason in order to get tuition   How did the challenge come about I occasionally get Chinese language videos recommended as I watch c drama, and the new upcoming HSK 3.0 came up and I watched a few and I thought wow that looks intense. I have always wanted to learn Mandarin especially after travelling to Shanghai and Beijing for work a few years back so it was interesting to see what was happening that sphere. I kept seeing people saying the current exam was easier so I wondered how easy. I ended up down a research hole and saw a comment or blog somewhere that said one could write HSK 1 in 40 hours. I thought, if that's the case does that mean one could do it with a weekend of study, after all I work 50 to 60 hour weeks? I kept seeing though, to my chagrin, people saying Mandarin was hard and it is impossible to learn anything meaningful in a short amount of time, others even saying learning anything in a day is impossible, and I asked myself if they have ever seen babies or grade one kids learn in an hour let alone a day...? Do they know what it means to learn? I then looked up the format of the exam, and saw that it was very cheap and thought why not? I then saw the next exam date was two weeks away and in that moment the challenge was born. 40 hours spread over two weeks between work and life and write HSK 1? Why not indeed.   From HSK 1 to HSK2 to HSK 3 That weekend I then set aside time to get started, I spent 2 hours researching materials to use and the parameters of my challenge, the focus was not on fluency but on passing the exam, so exam study techniques were going to be in play, knowing the 'syllabus' and then going from there.   I downloaded word sets, pdf practice sets, grammar cheat sheets, over a dozen apps to try, looked for free courses, and read HSK prep guides. I did a test first to see what innate knowledge I had from drama and I had started a YoYo Chinese pinyin course years ago when I first thought about learning Mandarin. I got the numbers as I learnt to help learn guqin and guzheng, and about 15 characters I recognised. So not much there to go with. I'm a systems person so I put systems in place; a Notion study operating system, and browser system, and recording systems in order to log all my time. I spent on average 2 to 3 hours a day, usually from about 8:30pm to 11 pm, occasionally in the afternoons during lunch or when taking a walk/ break etc. More so closer to the exams when I needed to put in more time.   I could not register for the test as I had hoped, so I gave up for a couple of days. I took a mock after 20 hours, aced it, and thought, well if the only exam I can register for is home based in 4 weeks time, why not write HSK2; thus the challenge levelled up. I then came across an HSK 3 guide and toyed with the idea of taking 3 too... I mean it was only double the number of vocab... So I changed tack and began to focus on getting vocab in and completing coursera courses and Hello Chinese. My aim was to get as many words in to register for both. After a few days, two weeks before the exam, the challenge called to me. I had also seen more comments online with people saying a whole year was needed for HSK 3, and a lot of people discouraging self learning, which drove my ire and that ire turned into registering for both, and writing both after 96 hours of study spread over 32 days . Truthfully the Thursday and Friday before the exam were brutal, very little sleep between work and study but to each their own   What would I change I focused too much on vocab and not enough on whole sentences and usage. I can know and recognise all the vocab in a sentence, but still fail to deduce the correct meaning, or it takes me too long. I only did Anki sentences for two days, not even close to an iota of what was needed. I would definitely focus on sentences earlier in a do over. I also only figured out sentence construction rules two days before the exam, this was a silver bullet of sorts and doubled my learning once I knew it, had it happened sooner... well shoulda, coulda, woulda. I would have done HSK2 properly before hybriding with HSK3, because I added material for HSK3 early thinking if I can write three then two will take care of itself, I messed my mojo and had to backtrack in the last week, complete two properly and then go on to three. I would start each study session with a mock exam, I always left them till last and so they got left out a lot... and mocks help with active recall, as well as time management. During the HSK2 exam I did not answer 5 questions, I was too slow somehow and when I realised it I had seconds left on the clock writing these could have brought my reading score into the 80's or 90's and not 60's... oh well. Abandon pinyin on day one somehow!! It was so hard to find HSK 1, 2 and 3 material without pinyin, and when it's there my eyes jump to it, my brain betrays me all the time, so my reading is still laboriously slow with characters but super fast with pinyin arrrghhh!!! I began using a piece of paper to cover up pinyin on my monitor just to try get rid of it.   Things I knew too late to change. I would have completed all coursera courses earlier too had I known how good they were, one only needs to do them once and get it. I managed to finish courses for HSK1 and 2 and only a 6th of HSK3. I also found amazing course material on YouTube which I binged in the last week, had I discovered that earlier it would have helped more.   My favourite resources Hello Chinese ->Great filler for in between stuff, when taking a walk or taking break Stick study -> characters only or vocab, just what I need and no more. Was the only way I also got rid of pinyin to increase my character and word recognition speed. Coursera courses YouTube HSK courses   Whats next? So I have taken a break as I figure out what my next challenge is. I know I will write HSK4 this year still, and I'm thinking the next challenge will be speaking and writing based to bring up all language skill areas. Just to see if I had forgotten it all, I watched a Chinese reality show and I could get whole sentences! And today I still have 90% of my vocab, I keep getting wrong the same old tricky words, and mock test scores are still high . I'll decide this weekend what the new challenge looks like and when it will start. I have also decided to write the next TOPIK (Korean) which is in October and JLPT (Japanese) which is in December so... I need a game plan to fit it all in   Conclusion It IS possible to get HSK3 in one month, and even better scores than mine if one is more strategic about the study, and has more time than I did. I still had work and this was definitely extra. The exam is structured in such a way that even with plain guessing one could get at least 30 percent, and if your stars are aligned who knows even more. Knowing what can be asked and studying to format helps. Speed is of the essence, get to reading quickly and creating sentences quickly. Character recognition and recall was way easier than I expected. Listening was harder at HSK3, a lot of squished consonants that sound the same (q,zh,j,sh,x), and for now I can only hear and produce two tones at speed, the other two need training. Grammar at this level is quite simple and very logical, which I love.   If you have any questions or comments fire away!!!
    • 三百
      大家好! Sorry for what might be such a simple question, but the more I look at it, the more I'm unsure.   If I'm meeting someone for the first time and talking about myself, how would I say "I went to China for the first time in 2008"? Maybe we were just talking about China, or travel, and I proceeded to say this.   What is the most natural way to say it?   我第一次去中国是在2008年。(Google Translate) 我第一次去中国是2008年的。(me attempting to modify Google's translation) 我是2008年第一次去中国的。(my own creation)   My instinct is to not use 了 or 过. Is this right? Or can I use 了 in this case?   我2008年第一次去了中国。 I saw on the Chinese Grammar Wiki you do not usually use the "shi...de" construction for new information, so I'm not sure how unnatural it would sound if I try to use it. Many thanks!
    • ppzhao1
      I remember my parents owning the movie in early 90's, and I watched it several times.  Trying to find the movie.  It could've been released a lot earlier.  Below is what I remember: Comedy Kung Fu type movie A variation of Royal Tramp, I think the main character's name is Wei Xiao Bao Scene of a bunch of a previous king's prostitutes running away or escaping, including a black one Scene where he fights the young king and his sister not knowing who they are, they're having fun because they've never been hit.  I think he also grabbed the king in the nuts as  a part of a fight. Scene where the princess grabs his nuts thinking he's a eunuch and was really surprised Scene where he was captured by a powerful woman, for some reason she had to have sex with him, and he became powerful somehow.  She grabbed him by tossing her long robe strings and wrapped her up, she screamed "ahhh, spider demon!" A scene where he is powerful but doesn't know how to fight, he was attacked by a bunch of people and they threw large metal rings at him the size of hoola hoops.  He juggled them, and threw them all back in one large move and hit the people that originally threw it. Ending with the king grabbing his nuts, telling him "I see your kung fu has improved a lot, you're a lot sharper and harder.  And he walked away with a few different women he met, something like "Wives, let's go". Trying to find it again for nostalgia reasons, thanks everyone for the help.
    • Shelley
      On 6/16/2021 at 12:15 PM, Lu said: (for example, 土豆 is potato in China, peanut in Taiwan) Wow, thats scary as a person with a severe peanut allergy. This is actually one reason I never made it to China, fear of eating anything    Topic split from here by Lu.
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