Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

Blogs

Featured Entries

  • murrayjames

    997,630 Characters to Go

    By murrayjames

    In “The 2019 Aims and Objectives Progress Topic” thread, I recently resolved to read one million Chinese characters in books and articles this year. Our esteemed forum administrator @roddy reached out to ask if I would chronicle my attempt to do this through posts on this website. And here I am.   My goal is to read one million characters in 2019. To accomplish this will require reading 2,750 characters per day, or three to seven pages of text per day, on average. That is a manageable
    • 2 comments
    • 297 views
  • anonymoose

    Mirror, mirror, on the wall...

    By anonymoose

    Not much to say for this one. Enjoy!
    • 4 comments
    • 312 views
  • abcdefg

    Toilet instructions

    By abcdefg

    One sees this sign, usually only in Chinese, in the male toilets of lots of public places. The English translation here is particularly lame.  
    • 10 comments
    • 562 views
  • anonymoose

    温馨提示

    By anonymoose

    这张照片是在哪里拍的?
    • 0 comments
    • 241 views
  • roddy

    Signese Revival 14

    By roddy

    One fairly random photo of Chinese characters in action, per week, until sometime in 2018. And perhaps longer if I'm encouraged. Those who want to contribute their own random photos of Chinese characters are welcome, just get in touch and I'll add you to the contributor list so you can post directly, from computer or phone.   This is, without a doubt, my all time favourite. Guy was just pootling along the third ring road, I think. 
    • 0 comments
    • 445 views

Our community blogs

  1. Use the translated English lyrics below to find the title and artist of the song. Bonus points for providing a video or audio link. A short audio clip is provided as an additional hint, should you need it.
     



    I suddenly get the urge to skip work
    Stare into space, be a little lazy
    But I also want to ask myself
    Shouldn’t I have more resolve?

    Dreams always go in a circle
    But you always go back to the starting point
    Shouldn’t I
    Double down on my resolve?

    I really have no time, no time, to eat breakfast
    I have no time, no time, to exercise
    I have no time, no time, to stroll through shops
    I have no time, no time, really no time at all

    I have no time, no time, to exercise
    I have no time, no time, to see my parents more
    I have no time, no time, I’m a bit annoyed
    What do I always have no time?

    More and more, I miss the past
    Free of worries, glorious youth
    But I have to still tell myself
    Shouldn’t I have more resolve?

    Dreams always go in a circle
    But you always go back to the starting point
    Shouldn’t I
    Double down on my resolve?

    I really have no time, no time, to eat breakfast
    I have no time, no time, to exercise
    I have no time, no time, to stroll through shops
    I have no time, no time, really no time at all

    I have no time, no time, to date
    I have no time, no time, to see my parents more
    I have no time, no time, I’m a bit annoyed
    What do I always have no time?

    I’m just left with an empty pocket
    I can only stare blankly in the same place
    This world changes too fast
    How can I paint the future?

    I’m just left with an empty pocket
    I can only stare blankly in the same place
    This world changes too fast
    Thinking about it, I still don’t get it

    I really have no time, no time, to eat breakfast
    I have no time, no time, to exercise
    I have no time, no time, to stroll through shops
    I have no time, no time, I really have no time at all

    I have no time, no time, to date
    I have no time, no time, to see my parents more
    I have no time, no time, I’m a bit annoyed
    What do I always have no time?

    More and more, I miss the past
    Free of worries, glorious youth
    But I have to still tell myself
    Shouldn’t I have more resolve?
     



    Answer
     

    Spoiler

     

    Title: 没时间
    Artist: 牛奶咖啡组合
    Link: https://youtu.be/hzV4DsebHTI
    Translation: https://www.notion.so/chicagochinese/04b4d2987b074890ac2d72ddc34ddc81?v=c21d14a3ff1d40cd9fa0d309644fd2b7
    Related works:

    Chinese lyrics

    突然很想 不去上班
    发一发呆 偷一点懒
    但是又要 问我自己
    是不是要 坚强一点

    梦想总是 绕一个圈
    却还是要 回到原点
    是不是我
    还需要再坚强一点

    我真的没时间 没时间 吃一顿早餐
    我没时间 没时间 去锻炼锻炼
    我没时间 没时间 逛一逛商店
    我没时间 没时间 真的没有时间

    我没时间 没时间 谈一谈恋爱
    我没时间 没时间 常回家看看
    我没时间 没时间 我有一点烦
    为什么总是 没有时间

    我越来越 怀念从前
    无忧无虑 美好童年
    但是又要 告诉自己
    是不是要 坚强一点

    梦想总是 绕一个圈
    却还是要 回到原点
    是不是我
    还需要再坚强一点

    我真的没时间 没时间 吃一顿早餐
    我没时间 没时间 去锻炼锻炼
    我没时间 没时间 逛一逛商店
    我没时间 没时间 真的没有时间

    我没时间 没时间 谈一谈恋爱
    我没时间 没时间 常回家看看
    我没时间 没时间 我有一点烦
    为什么总是 没有时间

    我只剩下 空空的口袋
    我只好在 原地发呆
    这个世界 变化的太快
    我要怎么 画出未来

    我只剩下 空空的口袋
    我只好在 原地发呆
    这个世界 变化的太快
    我想不明白

    我真的没时间 没时间 吃一顿早餐
    我没时间 没时间 去锻炼锻炼
    我没时间 没时间 逛一逛商店
    我没时间 没时间 我真的没有时间

    我没时间 没时间 谈一谈恋爱
    我没时间 没时间 常回家看看
    我没时间 没时间 我有一点烦
    为什么总是 没有时间

    我越来越 怀念从前
    无忧无虑 美好童年
    但是又要 告诉自己
    是不是要 坚强一点

     

     

     

     


    clip.mp3

  2. How does a Chinese child learn about his mother tongue (from age 3 to 8 )
    中国人小时候都是怎样学母语的 (以3岁至8岁年龄段为例)

     

    I happen to pay a visit to the bookstore and the children's book area is crowded with kids and their mothers busy teaching them how to read after the words. They get lucky to have parents around being their tutors, and I remember that I have nowhere to find mine when I was three or four, let alone to have them teach me how to read or write. It reminds me of how we learn mother tongue as a child.
    碰巧去了趟书店,我发现童书区域挤满了娃和忙着教孩子朗读字词的宝妈。都是些幸运的孩子,有父母亲自上阵充当家教,要知道我三四岁的时候连见上爸妈一面都难,更不用说让他们教我读写了。这情景让我联想起年幼时学习母语的过程。


    In China, children are supposed to go to kindergarten at about the age of four, and before that time family members play a significant part in showing us how to talk, besides, the TV programs and the materials with characters and vocal function mean a lot to us back in those days. 
    在中国,孩子们四岁左右上幼儿园,在此之前,家庭成员在教我们怎么说话这件事上功不可没,此外,电视节目、带汉字和语音功能的学习器材也起了不小的作用。


    At the beginning we have no idea what it means when we imitate the pronunciation of the adults, and they seem to enjoy teaching us how to speak without feeling bored. Later on we say the character or word presented to us before and we seem to get the things we want in return, and that's when we start to realize how speaking up will make the life of an infant easier. 
    刚开始我们只是模仿大人们的发音,并不知道其中代表的含义,大人们也看似挺享受教我们说话的过程,没有丝毫厌倦的意思。后来我们说出了之前大人们向我们展示的字词,而且这让我们得到想要的东西。那时候我们开始意识到通过说话表达出自己的诉求可以让自己过得更随心所欲。


    We still have no idea of the written forms of what we speak, and just name it after the adults, trying to make it sound not so confusing to them so our demand will be soon satisfied. Actually, we take speaking as a way to give the order, which we want the people around us to follow. 
    我们只是说着母语,并不知道发音所对应的汉字。我们只是跟着大人们讲,并尝试着让声音听起来清晰不含混,让他们更快懂得我们的意思并满足我们的需求。实际上,我们视说话为发号施令的方式,我们说话是为了让身边的人围着我们转悠。


    Therefore, what we speak is closely related to our need from within, until the adults bring about something like flashcards with pictures of animals and music instruments, story books and reading machine, etc. That's when we start to know something about the outside world instead of focusing just on the daily necessity of eating and sleeping. And what we have been exposed to at this period, somewhere around age three, will distinguish us from the peer concerning the level of language. 
    因此,我们说话的内容与内在的需求紧密挂钩。直到大人们拿出了带动物和乐器图案的卡片、故事书和点读机等法宝,我们便开始了对外部世界的探索,关注的事情也不再局限于吃和睡。我们三岁左右所接触到的东西影响着我们的语言水平,这也让语言水平在同龄人之间有了分化。


    We have no idea what this is about until we are put together in the kindergarten later, and see that some of the kids know almost everything even before the teachers start the lessons, while some of them have a hard time understanding what the teacher is talking about.    
    我们对此并不知情,直到后来上了幼园,意识到确有这种情况:一些孩子在老师授课前就几乎懂了所有内容,而另一些孩子连听老师讲课都十分吃力。


    Thanks for my grandpa's habit of watching CCTV channels and his patience reading bedtime story to me, I knew that there is another way of pronunciation of Chinese which sounds alien and strange to people speaking Cantonese originally. And my listening comprehension was pretty good before I went to the kindergarten.
    多亏外公有看中央电视台的习惯,也会耐心地给我讲睡前故事,我知道汉语除了平时惯用的粤语发音外,还有另外一种发音,听着很陌生。在上幼儿园以前,我的粤语听力理解能力已经很好了。


    The only thing puzzled me was that we talked with teachers and classmates in Cantonese but read after the tape in Mandarin when we learned from the textbook. We started learning how to identify the corresponding characters and build their connections with the pronunciations. With a certain foundation of listening comprehension, it was easy for us to link the written forms with the familiar words we'd heard hundreds of times.                                                                      

    唯一一件让我困惑的事是,幼儿园里老师和同学平时都说粤语,但一到课堂学习课文时就放普通话的录音带。我们开始认识与发音对应的汉字,建立汉字与发音的联系。有了之前奠定的听辨基础,再去识之前听了上百遍的字就显得容易了。


    Pinyin was not introduced until a term before we were going to primary school. Prior to Pinyin, we had read after the tapes for Mandarin pronunciation of the certain text. Actually we could speak Mandarin before we had Pinyin into our life. And then in primary school Pinyin was taught again and it remained an important part of our course throughout the nine-year compulsory education. Pinyin is not the necessity for someone to speak Mandarin. Language has something more important to do with imitation than rules.
    我们是在上小学前的一个学期才引入拼音的。在学拼音以前,我们已经跟录音用普通话朗读课文了。甚至在学拼音以前,我们也会讲一些普通话。上了小学后,拼音又重新出现在课堂里,并在今后的九年义务教育里一直伴随左右。不一定要学拼音才会讲普通话,对语言学习而言,模仿比规则更重要。


    I guess that people born in Beijing hardly need to learn Pinyin since they have mastered the pronunciation of Mandarin through everyday communication since childhood, and similar situation may happen to the English native speakers that they don't go directly to phonetic symbols when they study how to speak English. 
    我猜想生在北京的人可能并不需要学拼音,因为他们自幼便以普通话进行日常交流,并掌握了这门发音方式。同样,英语母语者也是通过日常发音模仿学会说英文,无需直接从音标学起。


    Pinyin is not the starting point of our connection with Mandarin, not should any pronunciation rules with any language. Speak first, then let Pinyin help us correct and polish the pronunciation we have, and lead us to more characters of which we have no idea of their pronunciation.
    拼音不是普通话的起点,其他语言的发音规则也不应该成为我们与这门语言建立联系的起点。先通过模仿去说,然后再让发音规则帮助我们纠正或优化发音,并让我们通过发音标示知道更多生字的发音。


    We started to look up a new character in the dictionary via radical and Pinyin when we read and wrote at the age of five or six as pupils in the first grade of primary school. Teachers taught us how to make words with the characters learned just now, and then the sentence with a certain word given. Building the words and sentences got us well prepared to the composition later on, and we started writing from diary. 
    五六岁上小学一年级时我们接触到汉语读写,便开始按照发音和部首查字典。老师会教我们怎样用刚学的字组词,进而用所给的词语造句。遣词造句的能力给后来的写作打下基础,我们从写日记开始写作。


    We were asked to do lots of reading apart from the textbooks, guided by the booklist recommended by teachers. But I was the one ignoring all the recommendation and went directly to the bookshop to explore books of my own taste. I read really slowly and even now I kept this habit. I preferred taking notes of the beautiful wordings applied and sometimes marking down things crossing my mind while reading. It helps my improvement in writing a lot, in native language as well as foreign language.                
    老师会要求我们读许多课外书,并相应地提供一些书单。而我通常更倾向于直接去书店发掘适合自己口味的读本,并不局限于既存的推荐。阅读的速度也是极其缓慢,现在我仍保持这个慢读的习惯,以停下来记录优美的词句,或记下阅读时闪现在脑海里的念头。这对于写作能力的提升大有裨益,汉语如是,外语亦然。          

     


    It will be a natural way learning language from listening, speaking, reading and then writing, and I'm curious about how much more efficient and effective I would become in learning English if I take the right path instead of paying partial attention to reading only. I try to recall how I learn Chinese just to see what kind of enlightenment I have for English study. 

  3. Cantonese songs in English

    • 2
      entries
    • 1
      comment
    • 84
      views

    Recent Entries

    Enjune Zhang
    Latest Entry:

    傻女

    Silly me

     

    Original by 陈慧娴

    Translated and performed by Enjune Zhang

     

     

    这夜我又再独对夜半无人的空气

    Tonight I'm all alone again

    Atmosphere lonely makes me suffocated

    穿起你的毛衣重演某天的好戏

    I'm in your sweater

    I wish to replay the show between you and me

    让毛造长袖不经意地

    Sleeves made of fleece

    Surround me casually

    抱着我静看天地

    As if you accompany me

    Counting stars quietly

    让唇在无味的衣领上

    My lips find the place

    On the collar scentless

    笑说最爱你的气味

    Murmuring how they like your smell smilingly

    我恨我共你是套现已完场的好戏

    Our story is over

    There's no us but only me

    I hate it 

    只有请你的毛衣从此每天饰演你

    I have nowhere to find you but your sweater

    Imagining that you are still with me

    夜来便来伴我坐

    Night comes

    I take it as if you were next to me

    默然但仍默许我

    It keeps silent but it allows me

    将肌肤紧贴你

    To press it onto my skin

    将身躯交予你

    I submit myself to it

    准许我这夜做旧角色

    I would like to play the part that

    I used to be

    准我快乐地重饰演某段美丽故事主人

    Please allow me to be back to the past

    Into that story with you as my darling

    饰演你旧年共寻梦的恋人

    With me as your lover in search of the same dream

    再去做没流着情泪的伊人

    I would like to be that girl happy without tears

    假装再有从前演过的戏份

    I prefer faking the scene

    Where I used to be part of it

    重饰演某段美丽故事主人

    I'd like to be back to the story with you as my darling

    饰演你旧年共寻梦的恋人

    With me as your lover in search of the same dream

    你纵是未明白仍夜深一人

    It's deep at night

    I don't wanna realize that there's only me

    穿起你那无言毛衣当跟你贴近

    With your sweater on silently

    I image that you are part of me


    silly me-enjune.mp3

  4. Enjune Zhang
    Latest Entry:

    但愿人长久

    Wish you all the best

    Original by 王菲

    Translated and presented by Enjune Zhang

     

     

    明月几时有,把酒问青天

    When could we have the moon again

    I make a toast toward the sky

    不知天上宫阙,今夕是何年

    Which year it is now in the Eden

    I've lost the track of time

    我欲乘风归去,又恐琼楼玉宇

    I'd like to be there with the wind

    But it's the jade palace in Heaven that I fear

    高处不胜寒

    Standing high makes me cold inside

    起舞弄清影,何似在人间

    Lonely me in dance alone with shadow

    It is not the world I have in mind

    转朱阁,低绮户,照无眠

    Passing the loft scarlet

    Down to the window low

    Moon gets me a sleepless night

    不应有恨,何事长向别时圆

    It shows no resentment

    But why it gets full and bright

    When it's time to say goodbye

    人有悲欢离合,月有阴晴圆缺

    Sorrow goes with happiness

    Separation with reunion

    The way moon's waned and full

    Dark and bright

    此事古难全

    Things never keep up to

    What you expect in mind

    但愿人长久,千里共婵娟

    Wish you all the best anyway

    Apart but we share the same moon tonight 


    wish you all the best-enjune.mp3

  5. js6426
    Latest Entry:

    We have just completed the first week of third year!  I can't believe I am now half way through this degree, perhaps even over half way as 4th year finishes earlier than the previous 3 years.  We have a new teacher for 综合 this year, and so far I think she might be the best teacher we've had.  She has a great way of teaching, and explains things really well.  In both 综合 and 口语 our teachers have said that the major focus this year is going to be 近义词。 This is because our vocabulary is growing, and as it does a common problem we will face is misusing words that have a similar translation in the dictionary, but can't be used in the same way in Chinese.  A good example from this first week was 保存/储存,or 职业/行业。

     

    Our other subjects are 中国历史,写作,修辞和阅读。I was really excited about history, and the book is great, but the class so far was uninspiring.  It was all focused on getting through the material and prepping for what will be on the exam, so we covered right up until 秦始皇 in one class, which was way too fast.  We also did some on 孔子,which ironically we have covered in more detail last year (twice). 

     

    Our 写作书 is actually 高级 instead of 准高级,so it's quite challenging, but the first class was laughable.  Unfortunately our teacher seems to think we are retarded, and so spent most of the lesson explaining what a sentence is, what a question is, how a question mark/comma works etc.  She also calls us 'babies', which perhaps should offend me, but when a 36 year old woman refers to me, a 31 year old man, as a baby, it grinds my gears a bit!  Anyway, hopefully this class will improve, and the material in the book looks great. 

     

    修辞 was fun, and I am also looking forward to this.  We looked at 比喻句 which are pretty straight forward, being as we use them in English all the time.  But it's interesting to see how Chinese metaphors differ from English ones!

     

    All in all this was a great first week, and I am excited for this semester!  Other good news is that I got a scholarship which knocked my fees down 20%!  My teacher said if I had done more with the university then I would have gotten a higher one, so maybe next year!

  6. Chinese version of English songs

    • 2
      entries
    • 1
      comment
    • 74
      views

    Recent Entries

    Enjune Zhang
    Latest Entry:

    Faded  

    消逝
    Original by Alan Walker

    Translated and presented by Enjune Zhang

     

    You were the shadow to my light

    你如影嵌入我命里

    Did you feel us

    能否感受彼此

    Another start

    新的开始

    You fade away

    你渐渐消逝

    Afraid our aim is out of sight

    怕我们的蓝图已遗失

    Wanna see us

    只愿彼此

    Alight

    依然明丽

    Where are you now

    你在何方

    Where are you now

    你在何方

    Where are you now

    你在何方

    Was it all in my fantasy

    难道这只是我幻想

    Where are you now

    你在何方

    Were you only imaginary

    难道你长眠于我的想象

    Where are you now

    你在何方

    Atlantis

    如岛屿沉溺

    Under the sea

    沉入海里

    Under the sea

    匿于海底

    Where are you now

    你在何方

    Another dream

    另一重梦境

    The monsters running wild inside of me

    万千思绪如猛兽追逐心际

    I'm faded

    我正消逝

    I'm faded

    我已消逝

    So lost

    迷失

    I'm faded

    已消逝

    I'm faded

    渐已消逝

    So lost

    迷失

    I'm faded

    已消逝

    These shallow waters never met

    浅水区不曾让我满足 

    What I needed

    不曾止步

    I'm letting go

    我只追逐

    A deeper dive

    更深的潜伏

    Eternal silence of the sea

    无尽海里只剩沉寂

    I'm breathing

    我在呼吸

    Alive

    尚存一息

    Where are you now

    你在何方

    Where are you now

    你在何方

    Under the bright

    身处微光

    But faded lights

    却渐渺茫

    You set my heart on fire

    你点燃我心 光芒万丈

    Where are you now

    你在何方

    Where are you now

    你在何方

    Where are you now

    你在何方

    Atlantis

    如岛屿沉溺

    Under the sea

    沉入海里

    Under the sea

    匿于海底

    Where are you now

    你在何方

    Another dream

    另一重梦境

    The monsters running wild inside of me

    万千思绪如猛兽追逐心际

    I'm faded

    我正消逝

    I'm faded

    我已消逝

    So lost

    迷失

    I'm faded

    已消逝

    I'm faded

    渐已消逝

    So lost

    迷失

    I'm faded

    已消逝


    faded消逝-enjune.mp3

  7. anonymoose
    Latest Entry:

    By anonymoose,

    From 梅县

     

    738D2EBF-B87E-467A-B6BB-DF9CED63ACCD.thumb.jpeg.1ddd6221b9f5b391d8f6fa0960344a67.jpeg

  8. murrayjames
    Latest Entry:

    Today I finished reading the novella 《偶然事件》 by 余华.

     

    The story is about a mysterious murder. In what appears to be a crime of passion, a man suddenly stabs another man to death in a coffeeshop, then hands himself over to the police. Much of the story consists of letters written between two witnesses to the murder. Following the coffeeshop murder, the witnesses become inadvertent pen pals, writing letters back-and-forth in which they opine and argue over the murderer’s motives, revealing much about themselves in the process. There are also narrative sections that provide a backstory for the characters involved in the murder.

     

    《偶然事件》 is an easy read, easier than 《活着》. There is plenty of dialogue, and even the letter-writing sections have a breezy, conversational style to them. The story is OK.

     

    Link to 《偶然事件》:

    https://www.kanunu8.com/book3/7199/159328.html

     

    Some statistics:

    Characters read this year: 517,291

    Characters left to read this year: 482,709

    Percent of goal completed: 51.7%

     

    List of things read:

    《三八节有感》by 丁玲   (2,370 characters)

    《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲   (10,754 characters)

    《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东   (18,276 characters)

    《自杀日记》by 丁玲   (4,567 characters)

    《我没有自己的名字》by 余华   (8,416 characters)

    《手》by 萧红   (7,477 characters)

    《牛》by 沈从文   (8,097 characters)

    《彭德怀速写》by 丁玲   (693 characters)

    《我怎样飞向了自由的天地》by 丁玲   (2,176 characters)

    《IBM Cloud文档:Personality Insights》 by IBM   (25,098 characters)

    《夜》by 丁玲   (4,218 characters)

    《虎雏》by 沈从文   (46,945 characters)

    《在巴黎大戏院》 by 施蛰存   (6,181 characters)

    《分析Sonny Stitt即兴与演奏特点——以专辑《Only the Blues》中曲目 《Blues for Bags》为例》   (5,483 characters)

    《一个女剧院的生活》 by 沈从文   (61,154 characters)

    《致银河》 by 王小波   (17,715 characters)

    《在细雨中呼喊》 by 余华   (132,769 characters)

    《熊猫》 by 棉棉   (53,129 characters)

    《1988:我想和这个世界谈谈》 by 韩寒   (81,547 characters)

    《偶然事件》 by 余华   (20,226 characters)

  9. This entry has been delayed a bit for a variety of reasons, mainly due to lack of time, as I've got so much to say on this topic, but also because this is my most dreaded class. For more context on what I'm talking about, skip back and check earlier entries. For clarity, I am a native English speaker that is on the Chinese-English Interpreting and Translating masters course at Bath University, UK. We work in both directions, and I am the only 'foreigner' on the course.

     

    This last point is of crucial importance, as it has naturally set me apart from everyone else on the course. Just not always in the ways I was expecting before beginning this process. One of the most noticeable areas in which my background, different from my Chinese peers, impacted my performance was in the consecutive interpreting class. Unlike translating, which can be done at the safety of your own home, or simultaneous interpreting (aka 'SI') where mistakes can be forgiven due to time constraints and the high-pressure environment, consecutive interpreting (CI) is the most unforgiving and most difficult part of the job, as it requires high quality intepreting of complex topics. This of course runs counter to what most people believe, and when one of the course instructors said this at the beginning of the course, I found it difficult to believe him. But he was right. And there are two main reasons:

     

    1. You must understand everything. 1-2% non-comprehension is natural, 3-5% is acceptable, 5-10% is just about workable, but anything more and you lose the ability to accurately infer (yes these are arbritrary numbers, but I'm basing such estimates off my own experience this year). If you don't understand, you can ask the speaker. But 9/10 they will just repeat the phrase you didnt understand word for word, or if they are kind enough to rephrase, the chance you will still not understand a concept you don't even know in your native tongue is 'too damn high'. And I'm the kind of person that goes red in the face when they dont get it. The speaker will also think that your job is easy, as they have to stop for you and 'wait' for you to catch up. As a result, the speaker often speaks much quicker than normal, use more complex terms, and will sometimes even forget to stop for you in the bits they consider 'easy'.

     

    2. You must use a notetaking system. If someone says you dont need symbols or shorthand, just write down the main details and youll be fine...you know they are almost certainly a bad consecutive interpreter. There are simply too many details to remember in a live speech. You must find a way to take down more information than you can possibly remember. In our final exam this was 8 minutes of speech without any break. We then had to deliver the speech in the target language, hoping to also reach an ideal length of 7-8 minutes in our own delivery.

     

    This skill was the largest hurdle for me to get over (and I still havent to be honest), and it was the biggest difference between me and my peers. Nearly all the other students were coming into the course with a knowledge of a notetaking system, having taken courses in it back in China in order to prepare for the MA in Bath, or having previous undergrad experience in interpreting. Either way, from day one the teachers were calling us up to the whiteboard to 'show off' our own personalised notetaking (with each student having their own unique ways of taking down 5 solid minutes of statistics speeches, or symbols for taking notes on sustainable energy sources...). Consequently, I never had the chance to formally study this skill on the course, and this is the only area where I felt short-changed in my training on this MA.

     

    The first point was manageable, I just had to improve my listening comprehension. I have watched A LOT of news and public speeches in the last year to improve this. While I am watching, I actively ask my brain at the end of each sentence 'can you repeat that sentence back in Chinese? Are you hypothetically able to tell the person next to you what it means in English?' If the answer was 'yes' or 'pretty much' then I keep watching, keep listening. If the answer is no, I pause, search and take down all the words, listen again, add the words to a 'new words' deck in anki, then continue. Rinse and repeat for the rest of eternity.

     

    But the second point has been so difficult to deal with. While I was able to understand 99% of an English speech, there was too much information and too little time to write everything down. And yet, the person next to me was drawing pictures of little people and arrows everywhere, intermixed with shorthand chinese characters all over the place, then would stand up and deliver a near identical speech in English, far better than my own English! What do you do in a situation like that? Well I sat down with a friend and we ran through a basic set of maybe 150 or so 'concepts' that could be given symbols (see below), and began to learn them by heart. Gradually my notetaking did get better. But then I came across an additional third reason for why CI is so difficult:

     

    3. Our course is bidirectional, so I was not only required to interpret from Chinese into English (based on scruffy, incomplete notes), but also from English into Chinese. It was at this point where I realised why symbols were so useful. They sit in between the solid words and grammar of language, they represent the ideas and concepts that have yet to be given body by a particular language. So you can use one system to take notes from two (or more) different source languages. For example, if I write the words 'your country' down, when it comes to referring to my notes during speech delivery, I will naturally look down at this and blurt out '你的國家‘. But what if it should have been '貴國'? What if the original English sentence was 'the development of your country is important for the global economy' and thus the use of 'your' in the Chinese is totally redundant? Using notetaking, you dont need to worry about the difference between expression in different languages. You can take the concept of 國/country and write it as 囗 (a commonly used shorthand symbol in notetaking). Once conceptualised, you can look at it and express the idea naturally and uninhibited in either language. A symbol's usage can be expanded across your whole system, eg. I can write the phrase "the development of your country" as "'dev". By extension, the whole sentence becomes something like: "囗'dev=!>O" (where ! is important, > is 'to, affect, influence' and O represents global, all over the world). 囗 can be used not just for country, but also - 囗° =...國人(°=person), 囗al (national), 囗ty (nationality), 囗z (nationalize). etc. To get a real flavour of what CI notetaking looks like, I've posted some pics of my own (bad examples) below. In this way, you can write down more information at higher speeds, with higher clarity and accuracy, all while avoiding 'Chinglish' (or 'Englese'...?) pitfalls.

    So, now we know that notetaking systems can dramatically increase the amount and the accuracy of information one can take down at the speed of natural speech delivery. And we also know that it can reduce the amount of Chinglish one might otherwise say when reading notes written in longhand in the source language. And so that leads me to my last area I wanted to mention. The required quality of output in the target language. Unlike SI, the quality of CI sits closer to written translation in terms of quality. One must be able to understand the original speakers intentions, 'translate' it into notes, then produce a coherent stream of thoughts and ideas based on the notes, where the original speech is often reordered and reworded (like in written translation) in order to better mimick the ways of speaking in the target language. Some students were AMAZING at this. In fact I was in awe on an almost daily basis. That being said, I don't believe the ability to do this is something 'innate'. It obviously requires significant cognizant ability, but these skills have clearly been trained for years and years...and years. Although I am still yet to be able to perform at a professional ability in this area, I have seen myself make positive progress and believe if I really dedicated maybe another 5 years to this I could reach a very high standard.

     

    That being said. As it stands, my ability in notetaking is still rudimentary. In the end, it didnt matter how good my comprehension was, or even how good my actual oral language abilities were, the notation 'filter' in the middle of the CI process consistently stopped me from producing good output language. I mean, I've never heard myself speak such strange English before! We're talking saying things like 'this food good eat' if I wasnt paying 100% attention to the notes I was reading.

     

    And at this point I would like to say, I strongly, strongly recommend the course at Bath, as the course instructors are fantastic, and surely among the highest qualified in the world to teach such skills. A caveat should be noted for native English speakers: a prerequisite for the course should be a prep course in notetaking for native English speakers, and this should be explicitly stated on all interpreting course details (as all the Chinese speakers had all done this in China, without me knowning until after the course had started...). The course instructor of the MATBI course, Miguel Fialho, has absolutely blown everyone on the course away. His 普通話 is phenomenal, perfect tones, better spoken than any of the Chinese students in the class, and most importantly he is incredibly humble and understanding. You will see him on CCTV whenever there are meetings between the Chinese and Portuguese governments (he is half British, half Portuguese, and also does Chinese-Portuguese interpreting......). He. Knows. Everything. Pretty sure he has learnt an entire encyclopedia off by heart in three different languages. Jane is his equivalent for the Chinese students, and her English is far more eloquent than my, often ending up in me taking notes on how to speak better English after listening to her speeches! Dr Kumar is highly knowledgeable in economics and politics, is ultimately responsible for the excellent course structure and content, and most importantly, is really funny, so that really made things a lot easier when you're in high stress environments.

     

    WIN_20190627_14_37_13_Pro.thumb.jpg.16f88053498d811247710518fa1dc3e8.jpgWIN_20190627_14_36_58_Pro.thumb.jpg.b01c31421ee79593c4f512120960bf30.jpgWIN_20190627_14_36_37_Pro.thumb.jpg.2569493f05656cc73dfe15a304c51361.jpg

     

    what my notes at the beginning of the year looked like. I was using a pencil, writing everything down longhand, and getting totally confused. I often ended up giving up and just trying to recite everything I'd just heard in one language in the other.

     

    WIN_20190627_14_34_04_Pro.thumb.jpg.47e6c9032101f8fd69c1a08c962fcf82.jpgWIN_20190627_14_33_49_Pro.thumb.jpg.6ef08fb34d24ff3a713ea302dd1f8de1.jpgWIN_20190627_14_34_15_Pro.thumb.jpg.3564932f6e8c4b46d455e451648433bd.jpgWIN_20190627_14_33_17_Pro.thumb.jpg.aed3f361117b066a1989b74be9cba41f.jpg

     

    What my notes looked like by the end. You can see that for complex terminology, you can write down the word, assign it a number, then just write the number when the term is used. The red is for marking mistakes when going back and comparing notes to the original speech.

     

    WIN_20190627_14_33_36_Pro.thumb.jpg.56c3e1fe2e021fa5cf0c90496b851d0e.jpg

     

    Practicing symbols. good god.

     

    OK I'm done for today, next blog entry will probably be more geared towards some thoughts on written translation. I'm just beginning to write my dissertation, which is a written translation, so will share anything interesting I come across.

  10. Flickserve
    Latest Entry:

    I just came back from a conference in Beijing. Second trip ever there.

     

    I wasn't able to use as much Mandarin as my trip to Qingdao a few weeks ago. That was because I went up with some people who could speak better Chinese Mandarin and Cantonese so I couldn't be forced to problem solve in Mandarin as much as in Qingdao. 

     

    I went down to the wangfujing bookstore and spent a lot on books. Hope I will make good use of them. A few graded readers, textbooks on listening skills and a few books on learning from sitcoms. Should keep me busy for a few years.

     

    I tried to arrange a badminton lesson with a coach. It nearly worked but he cancelled saying his mother had needed to go to hospital the evening before. Unfortunately, it was not possible to arrange for something else. 

     

    I met up with some of my Beijing based "language partners". Actually, these people are not true language partners in the sense that we only communicate infrequently. I regard them as friends with an interest in English. I don't have anybody who I regularly have exchange verbal conversations with once I am at home.

     

    Some observations on learning experiences :

     

    - bars are too noisy, but there was a cylinder marked as 二氧化碳。A quick looked up in pleco confirmed it was carbon dioxide. 苹果酒 is cider so that was very useful.

     

    - Went for a few meals. One of them was with a almost fluent English speaker. Loved the way I could listen to the staff and she could provide an instant repetition and clarification. For example, we were waiting in the queue for a table with a number and I thought they called out our queuing number (六六 as an abbreviation of 六十六). I was in about a 70% tuned in mode. In fact, they had called out number 60 - 六十零 dropping the sh- and -ng sounds. Since there was a few other tables still to be called out, I had the chance to carefully listen again.

     

    - another couple of occasions I met up with minimal verbal English skill speakers. Lots of Mandarin spoken by them but not much comprehension on my side. Good for passive learning.

     

     

    All in all, yes I learnt some more Mandarin but I think my experience in Qingdao was better due to me needing to sort out things for myself more there. Also, it was not easy to switch to English in Qingdao, Beijing is easier for that. Looking forward to going through those books.

  11. feihong
    Latest Entry:

    Terrace House is a pretty big hit on Netflix, but did you know that there are already three Chinese clones of Terrace House? The latest one, 遇见你真好, set in Shenzhen, is definitely the best one yet.

     

    I'm a huge fan of 中国好歌曲, the music competition where artists sing their own songs, and now there is finally a spiritual successor in 这!就是原创. Two episodes in, here are some of my favorite performances:

     

     

     

     

     

     

  12. He says Xi says

    • 1
      entry
    • 0
      comments
    • 409
      views

    Recent Entries

    Quote

     

    意思是:对照明镜是为了看清自己的面容,研究古事是为了知道今天的时势。说明研究并借鉴古代的经验教训,才能更好地作出决策,求得好的形势。

     

    语出《韩诗外传》卷五 原文是:夫明镜所以照形,往古所以知今。夫知恶往古之所以危亡,而不袭蹈其所以安存者,则无异乎却行而求逮于前人也。成语 却行求前 即出于此。

     

     

     

    I heard it in:

     

     

    同舟共济创造美好未来——在亚太经合组织工商领导人峰会上的主旨演讲 (2018年11月17日)

    Jointly Charting a Course Toward a Brighter Future – Keynote Speech at the APEC CEO Summit

     

     

    然而,不是所有故事都这么美好,人类也有过惨痛教训。上世纪发生的第二次世界大战,让人类陷入了滔天浩劫。就在离我们不远的地方,曾经爆发第二次世界大战期间惨烈的珊瑚海战役、瓜达尔卡纳尔战役。今天,这片海面已经波澜不惊,但我们不能忘却历史上的风风雨雨。“明鏡所以照形,古事所以知今。”我们回顾历史,是要以史为鉴,不让历史悲剧重演。面对历史大潮,如何才能为世界经济发展把握正确方向?如何才能为国际社会找到有效治理思路?这里,我愿提出以下主张。

     

    my English version: "Like looking in a mirror, the past can be looked upon to understand the present"

  13. grawrt
    Latest Entry:

    Haven't really had a chance to update since the new term began, I had my thesis proposal in early September which felt like more of a defense than a proposal. Out of my panel only one of the professors could really ask me questions because the other two didn't have a background in cognitive linguistics and didn't really understand my topic. So I spent 20 minutes of defending my topic with this one professor (Actually my old Consecutive interpreting professor)  who began with "honestly this just feels like an idea on paper" ... ummm.... yes.. thats what a proposal is lmfao. but I continued to humor her and stand by my topic. It was rough, actually the entire classroom went through this slurry of vicious attacks toward our topics that if you were unable to defend yourself you would just be stuck standing there listening to them shit on you for 20 minutes. The hardest part was that everyone had to stay in the room so it was roughly 4 hours of listening to each student present and defend themselves. But I survived and my proposal passed somehow even though one of the panel told me that she felt that my topic was really interesting but just not for me. 

     

    This term I only have 4 classes. Written translation on Mondays, And 2 simultaneous interpreting courses on Friday. Our Tuesday classes (4 hours) began sometime after the holidays and every week since then has been a mental torture. The original teacher for the class "cross-cultural communications" was supposed to be an interesting guy from Australia. Unfortunately this guy is under Confucius scholarship studying his Phd and cant continue his teaching so we got stuck with the same guy who taught us last semester in 4 hour brackets. 

     

    Yes... that professor. I don't like to judge but this class should just be renamed "My musings" because every class has just been about him rambling off  things from his mind for four hours. Nothing he says has anything to do with the class or to anything even remotely useful. It actually feels like he's just trolling the class, because I don't understand how someone can talk about an ant and tiger analogy for four hours straight. I think the worst part of this class is that his musings always lead to something totally inappropriate. So something extremely racist or sexist, or homophobic crosses his mind and he just goes on and on and it really hurts me to hear that so many of my classmates find this "PHD" so interesting, when he would literally be crucified in my country for the things hes said. I don't know how someone like him has studied in America. I've been bringing my study materials and books to read in class so that I don't have to listen to that garbage that he says, but you know its really hard to block out something so completely inappropriate. 

     

    But other than his inappropriateness his classes are just a waste of time. I'm not even kidding when I say that I had to listen to him talk about colors yesterday. He started from Red and ended on Gray and then looked at the time and we had about 20 minutes left of class and he mused "what other colors have i missed? Oh yeah Brown!".

     

    The Monday translation professor is a close second to a professor I have no respect for this term. This lady prepares nothing for class. Her classes are prepared by a different classmate each week. And I'm not talking about just a short presentation. No. I'm talking about a full class, including creating group work exercises etc. She does nothing. What she does is sit there and when shes given the remainder of the class to add anything (roughly 20 minutes) her response is "well what am I supposed to do?" ...... um. Teach. That's what you get paid for . That's your job. In the very beginning of the term the professor wasn't clear she wanted us to basically teach the class every week so in week 2 when we came to class this lady had some nerve to criticize us all for being irresponsible and unprepared for class. She does this from time to time when people are late. I'm legit rolling my eyes in that class every week. 

     

    The only class worth mentioning is our simultaneous interpreting classes held on Fridays. The classes have been really difficult but really good for exercise. The only qualm I have is that I have my recordings played every class for both sections, so every week I have to hear my lousy interpretations twice in the same day (from E-C and C-E) its rough but I've gotten so used to it that Its kind of like meh whatever to me. Though its kind of irritating that its always the same people played every week. I haven't heard half of my classmates in that class even once. 

     

    So other than classes what have I been up to? Its a semester that leaves a lot open. I've been trying to work on honing my interpreting skills, especially in simultaneous interpreting which I find to be quite challenging. My professor suggested shadowing for about 10-15 minutes a day to get used to keeping up with the pace. A problem that many of us have with simultaneous is waiting too long to begin, and only speaking in 3 word clusters instead of having a fluid sentence. I've been shadowing with this program 《绝密档案》 from the app 蜻蜓。 The app itself has a lot of different podcasts to choose from to listen. I just find this program particularly interesting so after 15 mins of shadowing I just continue listening to the rest of the story. I've also made use of going over some of my old resources that we had from past classes so Ive been going over speeches that have Chinese and English to work on a more formal register and also to get a feel for collocations. 

     

    I wanted to work this semester but I think that with the thesis and everything I'd rather just focus on my studies this term. Its sad to be without the extra cash but I have my whole life to make money but just this year to really work on my studies. I've still been keeping my eyes on jobs because I'd like to find a job after my studies and stay here for another year. As much as China kills me at times, I'm not ready to leave. 

     

    That's it. Our first draft of our thesis is expected to be ready by December for our pre-defense. The date hasn't been confirmed yet but we've been told already we should have a minimum of 19,000 written. I still need to set my study up and get a move on it.  I'll try and keep this blog up to date! 

  14. Paradox Diary

    • 3
      entries
    • 2
      comments
    • 792
      views

    Recent Entries

    Paradox
    Latest Entry:

    我很失望。

    七月十四号我开始新的日记只用汉语。

    到七月十五,我停了!

    我停为了集中提高我的听力。[See Note 1]

    从今天我会集中写句子因为。

    我很难写对法语的句子。[See Note 2]

    这使得说汉语很难。[See Note 3]

    我先提高我汉语写的能力然后我提高我的口语能力。

     

    Note 1: Can I use 了 here? I've been told I need to use 下 but not sure why.

    Note 2:  Trying to say "I find it very hard to write grammatically correct sentences."

    Note 3: Trying to say "This makes speaking Hanyu very difficult."

     

    我正在看《如若巴黎不快乐》。

    我觉得不很好中国戏剧。

    为什么在中国戏剧主要男的演员常常逼女人做不想做的东西?
    女人说“不,不,不” 可是男人还逼她。
    在英国,观众会抱怨。

     

    Sorry for my poor writing!!!!

  15. Shelley
    Latest Entry:

    Hello everyone,

    It has been a while since I last updated my blog. There were a couple of reasons for this - My eyes:shock:

     

    My vision was deteriorating quite a lot and last November the decision was taken to under go cataract surgery. As this was in the UK and on the NHS the wheels grind (no complaints it just the way it is) and eventually I now have 2 new lenses and can see better than I have been able to for many years. I found it was becoming increasingly frustrating trying to read characters with bad eyes and magnifying glasses are a pain, hard to scan pages with one.

     

    I am still in recovery, it is only the third day after my second eye so slowly slowly does it. 

     

    My intention is to return and update my blog with my new learning schedule and updates as to my successes and failures and hopefully help myself and others to progress with learning Chinese.

     

    Just wanted to update anyone who was interested that my hiatus from learning is now turning slowly into a return to learning.

  16. Daniel ZHPY
    Latest Entry:

    In most of the world's languages, you can turn a word into its respective occupation by adding affixes to it. However, as Chinese doesn't conjugate, we attach an additional character to a word instead to form that corresponding job. One aspect in which Chinese differs from English when forming occupation words is that in English, what suffix is used depends mainly on the origins of words, but in Chinese people choose occupation particles based on the properties and characteristics of that job. Here're some practically and frequently used occupation particles in Chinese.

     

    1.家

    家, with its original meaning of a family or a clan, can be extended to refer to a particular philosophy, theory or ideology. Hence, when it's used to form an occupation word, that occupation would be usually related to a professional skill, interest or talent. For example:

    -文学家: a person who has been educated on literature — a litterateur.

    -画家: a person who is professional in drawing — a painter.

    -科学家: a person who has professional knowledge about science — a scientist.

    -音乐家: a person who is well-educated and professional in music — a musician.

    -美食家: a person who is passionate and authoritative in appraising foods — a gourmet.

    It's good to note that when two different occupation words are derived from the same origin, the one with 家 added often has a higher level of profession, authority or recognisation. For instance, 歌手 and 歌唱家 are both people who take singing as their jobs, but 歌唱家 is definitely regarded as an artist while 歌手 is probably just a public performer or a pop song singer.

    Another interesting fact is that when we come to players for specific musical instruments, the only two that are conventionally named with 家 are 钢琴家, a pianist and 小提琴家, a violinist.

     

    2.师

    师 originally means a teacher or an adviser. When a job is named with 师 attached, it refers to people who are well-trained or experienced in a particular area. The difference between it and 家 is that a 师 may not necessarily have the profession or talent. Here're some examples:

    -教师: a person who is trained to teach others — a teacher.

    -厨师: a person who is trained to work in a kitchen — a cook.

    -理发师: a person who is trained to manage people's hair — a barber.

    -会计师: a person who is trained to account money — an accountant.

     

    3.手

    手 means hands, thus referring to people who have high skills or talents, but only in a small area. Unlike 家, a XX手 usually doesn't have an overall profession in a general field, but in a much more specific section. It is very often seen in players of a particular instrument. For example:

    -鼓手: a person whose task is to play the drums — a drummer.
    -吉他手: a person who plays the guitar — a guitarist.

    -小号手: a person who plays the trumpet — a trumpeter.

    -舵手: a person who is responsible for managing and controlling the helm — a helmsman.

     

    4.工

    工 means originally work or labour. Hence it is usually used to name those jobs that need hard labour or manual processes. For example:

    -技工: a person hired to manage technical issues — a technician.

    -水管工: a person paid to repair waterpipes — plumber.

    -电工: a person paid to check and fix electrical devices — an electrician.

    -油漆工: a person who paints buildings — a painter.

     

    5.匠

    匠 basically means a craftsman, so it is used for any job related to crafting and designing. Though it also involves laborious processes often, it's different from 工 as the labour is done in order to craft or make a certain object or artefact. For example:

    -木匠: a person who uses woods to do handicrafts — a carpenter.

    -铁匠: a person who crafts metal objects — a blacksmith.

     

  17. DrWatson
    Latest Entry:

    Two-unit characters are characters that can be divided into two units based on the shape of a character. This can be a division based on left-to-right, top-to-bottom, or outer-to-inner. If you are familiar with radicals then the concept is not so alien. For left-to-right often a spacing, or lack of connecting from the left side of the character to the right side of the character, is where the the character is divided up into two units. For top-to-bottom it can be more tricky, but again if you think back to character radicals it is not a leap. For outer to inner, there is an outer shell unit that encompasses the inner unit.

     

    Once the character is divided up into two units, the following rules apply for determining the Cangjie input code:

    1) The first unit may only have up to two Cangjie symbols input. If there are more than two symbols in the unit, then only the first and last Cangjie symbols are input on the keyboard.

    2) The second unit may have up to three Cangjie symbols input. Again, if there are more than three, some skipping is involved. In this case, the first, second and last Cangjie symbols are input on the keyboard. 

     

    This may seem a bit abstruse, so let's look at some examples. Unfortunately I am on my android device right now and I don't yet have a very good Cangjie input method tool, so I'm still looking for a better way to bring up just the Cangjie symbol to show how things are built up. As such, to make sense of the following I suppose you need some familiarity with Cangjie symbols. I will try to update this post later if I can figure it out.

     

    1) 風 / 风    

     

    A quick visual examination yields a clear outer-to-inner relationship in both the traditional form and simplified form of the character. The outer unit is 几, which can be made up using Cangjie codes that look like 厂乙 (note these are radicals on don't reflect the exact Cangjie symbols, but I wanted to provide something to help see how the unit is broken down to Cangejie symbols. To build the unit, the input code is HN for the outer unit. The inner unit looks like 虫 with a "hat" on top. This unit requires four symbols, so we have to skip the third, with the Cangjie code being HLI. The resulting Cangjie code for the entire character is HNHLI.

     

    For the simplified character it is similar. The first unit is HN still, but the innter unit is simplified. It turns out that this unit actually represents a Cangjie symbol, so the Cangjie code for this unit is just K. Putting it all together, the resulting code for the entire character is HNK.

     

    2) 鍾 / 锺

     

    Upon visual inspect, this character is a left-to-right two-unit character. The first unit is 金 or钅, and the second unit is 重. Well, 金 is actually a Cangjie symbol, so for both the traditional and simplified forms, the input code for the first unit is C, and that completes the unit. The second unit, however, has four Cangjie symbols in it, so we have to skip the third since we are only allowed up to three symbols. The unit is made of a "hat" stroke on the top, 十 just below it, then skipping 田 because it is the third symbol, and finally 土. This turns out to HJG, and thus the entire code for this character is CHJG.

     

    3) 規 / 规

     

    Again, this is a left-to-right two-unit character. Based on the Cangjie symbols, the left side is built with the codes QO. For the right side, the code comes out to BUU for the tradtional. For the simplified, it is BHU. Again, I wish I could input just these Cangjie symbols for reference, but this one is proving challenging for my Android input method. The final code is QOBUU for the tradtional version,a nd QOBHU for the simplified version.

     

    Well, that is it for today, looking back at this post I am not even sure if it is useful. But oh well, this is kind of my journal too. When I am back on a real computer I will see what I can do.

  18. mlescano
    Latest Entry:

    This morning I finished day 90. I used two types of content: 

     

    1) Clearly spoken stuff:

    Slow Chinese, HSK5 recordings, and a magazine podcast for natives. Sometimes I prepared subtitles beforehand using WorkAudioBook, and during the transcribing session I thus was able to do corrections immediately after each line. This lead to time "wasted" doing the corrections, but also stopped me from repeating the same mistake again. Other times, I did not prepare subtitles, and just used WorkAudioBook for automatic segmentation, and did the corrections after finishing each session. This, of course, can cause an accumulation of errors in repeated words, but also means I could write more in a session, as I was not distracted with corrections. So... The left column in the data is not very consistent in how it was done, and even less with the material used. In day 52 I forgot to start the pomodoro clock, so I got an outlier score. I'm leaving it out of the monthly averages.

     

    2) A TV drama called Great Marriage.

    I downloaded both mp4 video and srt subtitles from YouTube and used them with the fantastic Lingual Media Player, which can automatically stop after each subtitle line and makes it easy to toggle subtitles. In 90 days I only reached episode 8 of a 40+ episode drama, and that's watching long parts without transcribing! So, with this abundance of ready-made material, the right column is consistent both in source and in execution.

     

    During the first 75 days, I did 2 pomodiri (50 minutes) per day for each column. But two weeks ago I signed up for December's HSK5, so, to make time for vocab study and practice tests, during the last 15 days I only did 1 pomodoro (25 min) per day for each column. So, in order to "normalize" the scores with the previous days, I added a *2 in the formula.

     

    You can also notice that around day 32 I also started to seriously attack my Pleco SRS backlog. The number here is how many pending cards I have each morning. 

     

    My observations:

     

    Clearly spoken stuff

    You'll notice that during the last month my average score actually dropped for "clear stuff". Maybe in part because I switched exclusively to a magazine podcast for natives in day 60. I must add that, although this podcast is for natives, the magazine is a Chinese translation of the English original, and the podcast is actually just read from the magazine, so it's not at all like 原来是这样 or any similar 100% native, conversational podcasts.

     

    TV drama

    In the graph, you'll also notice that, after a fantastic increase in comprehension from the fist month to the second month, the're no such big increase for the third month. Maybe I'm hitting "diminishing returns" with this particular drama. Still, I've learned a lot!

     

    HSK5

    As mentioned, I'm attacking HSK5 on December, just as a personal challenge, not for scholarships or anything. My cousins, who are Chinese teachers at the local Confucius institute, passed this exam two years ago and then went on to get their Master's degrees in China, but my current level is nowhere near what theirs was two years ago! My current level fits perfectly the B1 description given by the Europeans. Still, after measuring myself with a couple of old HSK5 papers, I discovered I can pass, even if they completely discard my two essays. So in part I'm taking the test to prove a friend of mine that HSK is actually just B1... So I signed up for a test preparation class at the local Confucius. Nobody else signed up for level 5, so I accepted being put with level 4 test takers. My teacher can't speak Spanish, which helps.

     

    Conclusion

    So yes, this helps. The data shows it. I believe this has mostly given me confidence with my handwriting, as, before this, I only wrote individual words. This will certainly come in handy during the HSK5 writing part, because the only option available in my country is the paper test. During my attempts with past papers, I found this part to be the most relaxing. I can finish it in half the time. Of course, with awful grammar! (My teacher will help me with my writing). I haven't really done any traditional study of grammar after an introductory course back in 2012. It's been mostly input, input, and more input, particularly after I finally took Chinese seriously in 2015 and started with Heisig's Remembering Simplified Hanzi. Of course, I've checked difficult to understand points with Pleco and the Chinese Grammar Wiki along the way.

     

    So, what will my listening practice be now? I'll be attacking every single HSK5 past paper I can find, so that will be it, for the most part. I'll also keep watching the drama with LaMP, but without transcribing it. I might transcribe dubbed videos of talks, however, just to keep writing.

     

    Thank you for reading! Suggestions are welcome. I'm attaching the raw data, the monthly averages and a sample of my "day 90" handwriting. Now my focus will switch to reading speed, as it's currently my weakest point. I'll soon write another post about it.

    part1.PNG

    part2.PNG

    graph.PNG

    IMG_4272.jpg

  19. Chinese listening challenge

    • 2
      entries
    • 7
      comments
    • 1448
      views

    Recent Entries

    neverending
    Latest Entry:

    A little embarrassed to notice I haven't updated on my progress since the first post - perhaps should have been predictable given how far down my list of priorities it this blog sits, but all the same...

     

    On the other hand, the challenge is still going strong - 74/112 days completed now, none missed so far! My method for keeping track of this, and motivating myself, is the old but classic crosses-on-a-calendar method. I've tried some phone-based "don't break the chain" apps in the past, but none of them have quite the same impact as keeping physical track of my progress. It's gotten to the point that, when planning excursions or family days, my first thought is often "how can I plan my hours around that to guarantee I don't miss a day?" 

     

    20170417_180905.thumb.jpg.99f8d82b99626cd3499f9ac72d0b1c70.jpg

     

    That's not to say it's become easy. I've almost never felt like the 2 hours were effortless. It's just without this motivation I'd probably do less and less every day until I stop altogether. Anyway, if you're struggling with motivation to keep a daily habit (as I often have), I can definitely recommend buying a cheap calendar and just marking it off every day. Super effective.

     

    So what have I learned over the 46 hours of Chinese since I last updated this blog?

     

    Firstly, just as intermediate learners often observe, the rate of progress feels slower every week. I'm still on the boundary between intermediate/upper intermediate on ChinesePod, and when I listen to hard dialogues I downloaded three weeks ago, I don't feel like they've become any easier to decipher in the intervening time. New stories and dialogues introduce just as many new words now as they did two months ago, and I'm getting a visceral sense of just how vast a task learning a language is. The number of near homonyms makes this no easier, and I'm constantly confusing the meanings of words that to a Chinese speaker sound nothing alike.

     

    On that topic, tones in particular continue to frustrate me. I'm not exactly tone-deaf - a few weeks ago I tried Olle Linge's tone training - 100% on the initial level placement - and John Pasden's tone pair drills - no problem there either. But I still often make comprehension mistakes in full sentences due to tones, and still can't reliably predict the tones of an unfamiliar word when spoken as part of a larger utterance. Even when hearing a tone isn't necessary to understand a sentence (at my level context is still mostly enough) it feels like full comprehension is slower than it should be, I'm using grammar/context as a crutch, and the other shoe is going to drop when I try to advance to native materials. It seems like there's a big gap in the market for intermediate tone training - forcing students to listen for tones until this habit is fully internalised. Does such a product already exist? I'm also quite curious what others think about this problem, and whether it's really an issue - particularly from those who have learned Chinese to a very high level of proficiency.

     

    On the other hand, I do feel like I'm currently developing in three related areas. 

     

    • "Chinese subconscious" - occasionally in the past two weeks I have found myself following some non-trivial material without actively concentrating on the language at all, just thinking about the subject material. This is one of the things I had been hoping to achieve through mass listening, and it's good to feel it might eventually pan out. I have very limited stamina to fully concentrate on spoken language (I can't maintain 100% concentration for more than a few minutes!) so this is very necessary in the long run. This point might seem trivial to many here, but it's a big breakthrough for me!
    • Speed of listening. The 4th level of the Chinese Breeze books has helped with this, as the narrators have stepped up the speed a bit for this level, forcing me to internalise more of the very high frequency words and grammatical structures. (I'll give a more complete review of the Chinese Breeze books later if I can find the time)
    • Ability to learn. The more words I learn, the easier it seems to be to remember new words, and the better I can distinguish between similar words. And because I can listen faster, I can hear more words and grammar structures in 2 hours. It feels like entering a virtuous cycle. Of course because I've properly hit intermediate level now, it still feels like my rate of progress has slowed in spite of all of this.

     

    Finally, I've entirely dropped SRSing of new words in isolation. I've just found it a drain on my mental energy with seemingly little-to-no gain. The SpoonFed Chinese Anki deck is doing a great job of introducing me to new words in context, and providing regular reminders. I re-listen to ChinesePod episodes at regular intervals when they have lots of new vocabulary (is there SRS software that can schedule this for me more conveniently than Anki?) The graded readers use the same words so often that there's no need to SRS them. And best of all, all of these activities are simply more fun than grinding Anki decks of words (well SpoonFed isn't much fun, but is definitely more effective). The only thing I'm losing here is the ability to recognise characters of words I'm learning, but given that all of my learning material currently comes with pinyin, this is something I can tolerate (and will probably fix through extensive reading after the challenge is over)
     

  20. pon00050
    Latest Entry:

    Here is the line that made me write this blog post.

    奇点:那结果怎么样?找着了吗?

    I am familiar with the 着 for a continuous state.

    However, 着 in this line doesn't seem to indicate continuous state.

    What is 着 doing in this line?

    It does look like people say 找着了吗 based on the quick search online. LINK

     

     

     

  21. Bigdumogre
    Latest Entry:

    Well its been a while since I updated this blog and I have tons of excuses why and why I haven't studied for 6 weeks until last week. But that's what they are just excuses, and I should of never of stopped. So I am going to redo all the NPCR chapters I have already finished, redo most of the pimsluers I have completed and re listen to podcasts that I already know. I know this will take a few weeks but I will be back up to where I was and with accurate tones and words. Has this happened to anyone else? Seems like at times stepping back a few steps will help your get to your destintion.

  22. This was copied from the conclusion of a research paper I wrote. I'm not super confident on the quality of the paper so I'm not putting it here. A lot of this should be "no shit" to many of you. Some of it might be surprising.

    A teacher’s ability to naturally gravitate toward good pedagogy depends on target language proficiency, linguistic expertise, and familiarity with current research and technology. Based on the studies referenced in this paper and the discussion in the previous section,

    • Reading complements writing and writing complements reading. They should be developed together, with reading prioritized.
    • Students should not be expected to write whatever they can say or read, but should be expected to write something in order to develop sensitivity to orthographic features of Chinese.
    • Students should be shown and be allowed to use the best learning tools available on their various devices.
    • Allowing novice students to produce written Chinese using phonetic input methods is not a handicap, but a scaffolding tool providing reinforcement of the connection between phonetic notation, meaning, and written representation of words.
    • Learners who are freed from having to handwrite everything in their oral vocabulary should learn handwriting at a more deliberate pace, where more attention is paid to form.
    • In particular, the modular structure of Chinese characters should be taught explicitly.
    • Although unfashionable, rote repetition is still useful in developing motor memory, which automatizes encoding, allowing a focus on meaning.
    • The same stroke order should be followed each time a character is written.

  23. navaburo
    Latest Entry:

    I have had trouble with the trio of traditional characters which simplify to 干. It turns out (as usual) that all three have curious and twisted etymologies. Here are some mnemonics for keeping the traditional characters 幹干and 乾 straight in your head:

    乾gan1

    This is the most straight-forward of the trio.

    It means "dry":

    乾果

    dried fruit

    乾淨

    clean

    In its qian2 pronunciation, it is also one of the Eight Trigrams, and a surname, but those are much lower frequency uses.

    Mnemonic: When there is a drought you beg for even a little mist.

    Etymological note:

    Wieger clarifies that "dry" was originally written using 旱 on the left (with 十 above it?). The character 乾 originally was read qian2 and represented the sun shining into the jungle, dislodging vapors which then rise up into the sky.

    幹gan4

    This character can mean "to do" or "tree trunk".

    It can be used alone:

    你幹了一件蠢事。

    You have committed ("done") a folly.

    Or in the common idiom gan4ma5:

    你幹嘛/ 你幹甚麼?

    What are you doing?

    A canonical example of the "tree trunk" meaning is:

    樹幹

    shu1gan4

    tree trunk

    Mnemonic:

    A tree (which originally was made of wood but is now a post-modern clothes hanger pole) is topped with an umbrella of leaves. But, through the mist, you can only see the trunk.

    Etymonlogical note:

    Wieger says the 干 component in 幹 is supposed to be 木, the former being an "absurd phonetic redundancy" This would make more sense.

    干gan1

    This is the odd-ball in the group. It has several meanings. Its most prolific meaning is "to offend":

    干犯

    gan1fan4

    to offend or to violate

    干涉

    gan1she4

    to meddle

    But this gan can also mean "stem" in:

    天干

    the Ten Heavenly Stems

    An archaic meaning is "shield":

    干戈

    gan1ge1

    weapons of war, literally "shield and spear"

    Mnemonic:

    In Toronto, up until a couple of years ago, it was illegal to hang clothes outside, i.e. one of the biggest offenses and ways to offend the sensibilities of people was to hang your clothes outdoors. Silly, but unfortunately true. (credit: koohii user vorpal)

    Etymological note:

    Wieger tells us that 干 represents a pestle. By extension it means to grind or destroy. Destruction in the moral sense gives offense. Destruction in the martial sense gives the warlike association in 干戈.

  24. jbradfor
    Latest Entry:

    Just a warning, in case all of the "女" confuses you into thinking that a "女婿" is female. I assumed it was, and boy did I get the wrong impression of that relationship!

    "姪女婿" is male too. Just saying.

×
×
  • Create New...