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

  • entries
    32
  • comments
    119
  • views
    3,986

About this blog

Well, I thought that starting a blog might help me keep focused on studying a little bit, and also just be helpful to continue gauging my process.  My name is Jonny and I am not really sure how long I have been studying Chinese, it has kind of been off and on.  I would learn some characters and a bit of vocab and then stop.  Then I decide that I really wanted to learn the language so moved to Harbin, and just finished a semester of a language program at the language school there.  In September I will be starting a 4 year degree.  I haven't taken any exams to assess my level, but I bought the HSK 4 book, did the first practice test just to see how hard it was, and passed with no real problems (238 or something I think).  My listening is where I really struggle, because I never had the chance to hear people speaking Chinese much before coming to China.  

I am on my break right now, but I bought the book for the level above the level I just studied at HIT, and I am slowly starting to make my way through that (whilst also trying to enjoy my rest)!  One of my teachers would actually like to do language exchange with me when she starts her break at the end of the month.  I think this would be beneficial because although I can easily learn Hanzi and new words by myself, context and getting the grammar down can often be a big challenge, so having a professional teacher will definitely help!  Normally I would avoid language exchange, but being as it is free and with a teacher I know well and who knows me, this sounds like it could be just as useful, if not more so, than a regular tutor.  

The materials I am currently using:

 

Anki - for new vocab etc.

Short Term Spoken Chinese (Elementary) - Beijing Language and Culture University Press

Hanyu Jiaocheng (Book 3, the blue one) - As above

Also just chatting with people as much as possible out and about

 

Today I had to go and get my physical health check done for my 4 year visa so I haven't gotten anything done Chinese wise, and now I am about to take my kids out to play.  Hopefully this will be a great chance to try chatting with some people!  Not sure if there is anything I should have added here or what, but that's it for now, and I am really looking forward to seeing how this looks in 4 years time!

 

 

Entries in this blog

js6426

Week 10 - 衣服

Last week was another great week!  I got my midterm results back for listening and speaking - 95% and 96% respectively.  That put me third for listening and top for speaking so I can't complain!  I was somewhat annoyed with myself when it came to my listening though, as I could easily have gotten a better score. The teacher graded something that I had dismissed as unimportant, although that wasn't the case (at least not for this test) - which vowel you place the tone mark over on the pinyin!  It's annoying because we learned it and I could have studied it, but I didn't really think it mattered.  So even though I got the correct tone with a few word like 'jiu', jue' etc., I put the tone mark over the wrong letter and got penalized hah!  I am happy that after our final exam there will be no more pinyin anywhere!  This coming Thursday is our reading/writing midterm, and then that's all 4 out of the way, and we just have finals in January to look forward to!

 

Last Wednesday was a really fun day in our speaking class - we were on a topic which involved clothes, and so the day before our teacher told us to prepare some items of clothing in Chinese, and she would split us up into 3 groups the following day and we'd have a competition writing as many different items of clothing on the board as possible.  Not overly surprising at this point, but there were only enough students there to make 2 groups, but all in all the groups got 63 and 64 separate things written on the board.  I don't think I know that many in English, let alone Chinese!  My list of 12 that I had prepared seemed somewhat inadequate, but it was great to pick up lots of new clothing terms, and by the end the board was crammed with Hanzi, written by 9 different people, and so it looked awesome (our group actually had to wipe some off to make room for more)!  I also picked up a couple of new words in class, and then some more from my own personal study.  Some personal vocabulary highlights from the week were 发抖,浮躁,后悔,激动,抽象 和 承担后果。

 

As I write the almost mandatory update on the ongoing student saga, it might become clear why I wanted to know the final phrase!  There was an incident with a Russian student in the 3rd year of the program I am studying.  At a bar, ironically named Russian Size, he had a fight with another Russian student at 3am in the morning.  Damaged the tooth of the other student, was arrested and is spending 7 days in prison.  My assumption is he'll be deported after that.  Regarding the students in my year, this week 9 of them were told they won't be allowed to take the final exam, they will have to resit it next year.  Furthermore, they all had to sign a statement declaring that if they fail to attend 10 or more classes (one week's worth in total) between now and Dec 30th, without any good reason for doing so, they will be expelled.  It seems the hammer has finally been laid down, and now they have to 承担后果!

js6426

I believe I said in my first entry that this blog was actually mainly for myself, so that I could look back four years down the line and see how far (hopefully!) I have come.  I do of course hope this may be of help to others also, and because of that I will just apologize in advance for any time that I may repeat myself, as it is bound to happen!

 

With that out of the way, I can talk about week 9!  I got my results back from my 综合考试 and I got 91%, which was also the best grade in our class, so I am pretty pleased with that, especially in light of the stupid mistake I know I made.  I even got a present - one of those ornament things you hang on the wall with the tassles on the bottom, and it has HIT etc. written on the back!  Around half the class failed (less than 60% here), with some getting as low as 20%.  Unsurprisingly it was mainly the students that haven't been coming to class that failed, surprisingly, I attended classes this week with less than 10 out of the 26 students in my class, after we had gotten our results!  Our teacher said overall he was 不太满意,which I think is completely understandable.  For those of us that did well though he was incredibly encouraging, and he both shared the areas many students did really well in, and areas which we want to work on to improve.  The rest of my 综合课 this week was going back over a lot of the new words we have studied in the second book, lots of dictation stuff, finishing up with a sort of practice test on Friday.  Next week we start the third and final book that we bought at the start of the semester.  I assume we will move on to the second level of this book series next semester.  My teacher told me to just start going through the vocab at the back of the new book and learning any Hanzi I don't know.  I had a look through and there's maybe 20 or so new ones, so I will learn those along with all the other vocab I am picking up in class.

 

My listening exam seemed to go ok.  I really struggle with hearing tones, especially differentiating 2nd and 3rd.  There were a few questions where we had to mark tones, and thankfully I knew most of the words from the context, even though they were written in pinyin, and so I was pretty much able to mark the tones before even hearing the audio, and then just confirm them when I heard them.  I guess that's helpful for an exam, but no good for new words!  That actually reminds me of a point my teacher made when he gave us our results for 综合 which I found quite interesting - I had asked in a previous class what happens if we write pinyin instead of a Hanzi as we don't know how to write it, and I was told we get half marks (only at this stage, not later on).  So I then asked what about if we try and write the Hanzi but get it wrong, and was told we don't get any marks.  Once the exam was over, our teacher said during exams, just go with what we know and make it simple.  He said it's better to write a simple text of 200 Hanzi than a shorter, more complicated one with lots of mistakes, as it'll really knock our score down.  He said anytime EXCEPT for exams, we should be doing it the other way round - try new words, new grammar structures etc.  I found this to be very helpful, because at first it annoyed me that you could get a better mark for going back to pinyin than for at least attempting to write the correct Hanzi, but now I understand the reasoning behind it and it makes much more sense. 

 

Coming back from that rabbit trail, the speaking test also felt like it went quite well.  The hardest part was actually reading broken up bits of pinyin!  If it's a full 'word' then I am fine, but I always forget when I have to read the most foundation pieces, and so I mispronounced the 'un' I had to read.  The two topics I had to talk about were 'My family' and 'My school'.  It's hard to know how I did as I'm not really sure of the criteria by which she grades it, but comparing myself to what I heard others saying I think I was of a similar standard.

 

Finally, our reading/writing exam will be on the 9th of next month.  It covers the first 14 chapters of the book we are using, which are mostly Hanzi I know fairly well.  There are 5 sections, each worth 20 points.  I can't remember them all, but there is one where we are given a single Hanzi and we have to make a word using it, then use that word to write a sentence of at least 10 Hanzi.  One section with 20 Hanzi, we write the pinyin, another section which is the opposite.  One section is a passage that we have to answer some questions on.  The fifth section I have forgotten, but there's nothing on there that seems really difficult or far from the kind of exercises we have been doing in the book.

 

Well, that's it for this week.  Until next week!

js6426

Week 8 - 准备考期中考试

This week we started our midterms - I had my 综合考试 yesterday, and then next Wednesday I have 口语和听力, then the following week is 阅读。The test yesterday was pretty straight forward, I think I will have scored around 90%.  I made a really stupid mistake and kicked myself afterwards - the question gave us 3 sentences, and we had to choose which one was correct.  The two I struggled with were - '同学们送一本书我‘ and'同学们送我一本书’,I kept going back and forth and eventually switched my answer to the first one! I think the reason I did it is that I would usually say something like '同学们把一本书给我‘,and so I made the stupid assumption that I should just leave the 'wo' at the end of the sentence hah! Aside from that think I did ok.  The test itself was broken down into 10 different sections, with 5 questions in each section.  Some of the sections were - convert the pinyin into Hanzi, convert the Hanzi into pinyin, sort the jumbled Hanzi into a sentence, from the response and a word given in brackets, make an appropriate question, give the correct measure word for the noun, and then finally write a paragraph of at least 100 Hanzi about ‘Your School’.

 

I really liked the section on measure words, I don't know how many there are in total, but I feel like we learned a lot, and even though I knew there were only 5 questions, I made sure I learned them all.  It's nice to feel like I can actually use a lot more than just 'ge' now!

 

I'm not overly concerned about my kouyu and yuedu tests, I think they should also be fairly straightforward.  My biggest worry is tingli, I find it by far the hardest.  I really struggle with distinguishing tones.  I can handle the pronunciation of the actual sounds, but when we get given sentences to listen to in pinyin and there is a word in there which we have to mark with the correct tone, I usually don't do so well.  Fortunately because the content is still quite simple, sometimes I know what the tones are because I can understand the sentence from reading the pinyin!

 

I am interested to see what happens with some of the other students after our first tests.  One class this week 10 of us showed up out of 26!  Miraculously, and actually much to the surprise of our teacher, everyone showed up for the test.

js6426

Week 7 - 听写又来了!

Well I guess I mistook which week we are in, because apparently this is week 7!  I didn't update the blog last week as we had the week off, which was actually really nice and relaxing. 

 

Anyway, things are continuing to go well as we start back up after our week off.  Still a fair amount of students not coming to class.  Week 9/10 is our mid terms, and it is doubtful whether or not some of the students will be able to sit the exams, as they may not have been to enough classes.  If they aren't allowed to sit their mid terms, they automatically get disqualified from taking the final exams too, so I wouldn't want to be in their shoes!

 

Yesterday our comprehensive teacher told us that we have a big dictation deal on Friday, covering all the hanzi we have learned so far.  Then today he dropped a 22 word dictation test on us out of the blue, said there will be another one tomorrow, but the one on Friday will be much bigger.  It was nice to be able to see where I am at with no prior preparation or knowledge of what words were going to come up.  Along with 2 other students, I got 100%, so needless to say I was pretty happy with that.  We also had homework for that class which was to talk about our room and what it contains, but for me I had to do my whole house as I live off campus.  This was also really good because it meant looking up new words and their measure words, as well as putting into practice the location words we've learned.  Some of my new words were cactus, scales, drawer, punching bag, and a fair few measure words for those and other items. 

 

We also had homework for our speaking class.  We just finished up a chapter on time, and so we had to describe a typical day.  I tried to make it interesting and add more than just 'I get up at x o'clock.  I have breakfast at x o'clock.  Class is from x-x o'clock.'  I'm sure there were mistakes in there, but I want to get things wrong in order to learn more. 

 

I definitely feel like I am improving across the board, but still find listening to be the hardest by far.  I am usually there early so I chat with the teachers, but compared to regular people I meet in daily life, they are so easy to understand!  I also find that I can usually do fairly well in the comprehension type listening exercises, but when it comes to the ones where we are given a sentence in pinyin and there are 3 words or so for which we have to mark the tones, I struggle a bit.  I guess it's just practice, practice, practice!

js6426

Week 4 - 生词,量词,动词

So I am going to add a few photos of the campus to this post as was requested, and then hopefully (if I can move my fingers enough to take a picture!), I will grab some of the same shots in mid winter so people can compare. 

 

I should probably update my blog at the end of each week rather than the start, so I might change that once I start back.  This is our last week before we have a week off.  Things are continuing to go well.  Yesterday one of my teachers lost it at some of the Korean guys at the back.  They were talking all the way through class and it was very distracting for those of us who actually want to learn, or paid our own money to come and study, rather than coming on mummy and daddy's money.  I was speaking to the teacher about it today and she said they won't be here much longer - they are being given one more chance.  But at the rate most of them are missing class they won't be allowed to sit their final exams in January anyway. 

The highlight of last week was a really good method (or at least I thought it was) of learning vocab given by one of our teachers, after we covered some in class.  We hit nouns, firstly what we could see around us in the classroom and all of our stationary, then then things that we have in our rooms.  He said this is a great way for us to learn the names of new things, but then he said don't just leave it at that, learn the measure word for each item, and verbs commonly associated with it, so we did that too.  I have also started doing this in my own room and it has been really helpful.  For example I looked at my scales and learned 体重器 and 称量,although I still need to learn the measure word for scales!

 

The method I use for my own learning is pretty much rote memorization (which fits really well with the education system here) until I feel I know the word and hanzi (including tones of course), and then after 2 or 3 days of getting the words (5-7 at a time, as many time as needed/possible per day), at which point I put it into one of my anki decks.  I try and go through my decks every day, although there are the odd days that I miss for various reasons.  If I run out of words to learn then I go through the books I have and look for things I don't know, although with this new way of learning household items etc, I don't think I will struggle to find new vocabulary for the foreseeable future!imageproxy.php?img=&key=e74cb0a3ecc063bb

 

It looks like a couple of the photos failed to upload, but these ones will do for now.  The building with all of the flags outside it is where I study.  This is just a snippet of the campus, it's really big.  There is also another campus, possible even two, although I have never been to them.

IMG_1263.JPG

IMG_1264.JPG

IMG_1269.JPG

IMG_1270.JPG

IMG_1272.JPG

IMG_1274.JPG

js6426

Week 3 - 我们用什么书?

Sure thing!  So the book I was too lazy to grab is called 'Conversational Chinese 301'.  It's not bad, but unfortunately it has pinyin all the way through.  I find it so hard to concentrate on the characters when the pinyin is written underneath, but in theory you don't even need to pass HSK 3 to do this degree so I can understand it.  The degree itself is 'Chinese Language and Literature', and the only requirement was high school graduation, so very easy to get in for.  However, once you're in it seems like they won't have a problem kicking you out if you're not serious.  My teacher was not amused today when a guy strolled in an hour late, and another of my teachers said our class will probably go from the 28 we are out now down to around 20 students or so in the next couple of weeks as they deal with people not coming to class etc!

Tomorrow we will finish the final chapter (8) of the first book of the 'Threshold' level of the Road To Success series, which contains 4 books.  On Wednesday we are meant to have a test on all the characters we have covered in the book (there aren't actually any in there, but we either had to find them or were given them so we could learn them).  By the end of the 4th book in this series we should have studied 1200 words (according to the back of the book).  The next stage then has 2 books, which gets us up to 3000 words, then the final stage has another 2 books, leaving us at 6000 words.  I actually really like this book, in fact I really like all the books we are using, I have found them especially helpful for stroke order.  I am far from perfect, but I find myself actively thinking about stroke order and getting it right much more of the time now.  Also, even though they are beginner books, I find I am having to learn characters that I would never have taken an interest in learning to write otherwise (things like fruit and vegetables).  This is great because it means I'm not getting bored just hearing stuff I have already learned repeated. 

Last Friday I gave a brief description of a family photo.  It was an on the spot thing rather than prepared, so it wasn't until afterwards that I realized how bad it had been!  I pretty much just went through and said who everyone was, pointing at people or using the colour of their clothes to describe them.  I should have been using words like 旁边,前面,后面 etc. but I didn't.  Anyway never mind, it was good fun and reminded me to slow down and think a little bit more before I speak. 

 

The quality of the teaching at this point is fantastic.  It's almost 100% Chinese which is great (although obviously spoken at more of a basic level so we can understand).  Our 'comprehensive' teacher relies very little on the book, and breaks off into his own little world all the time, which I actually really like as we end up getting all sorts of new words and culture points out of it.  He also teaches us things that we probably wouldn't learn for a while otherwise, like 公主病, 王子病,or how Q is commonly used in place of 可爱 on social media, or 3Q for 'thank you'!

It's hard to know what to put in an update, but as I said, I would love to look back on this in 4 years and remember the start of this journey, so most of this is for me rather than anyone else!  But if anyone has any questions or anything, then please feel free to ask!

js6426

First Update - 刚刚开始

Suddenly occurred to me that I have a blog on here that I haven't used yet!  My degree started last Monday, so I thought I would give a short update.  Right now in many respects it's really easy.  It's right back to basics, although the teachers are speaking all Chinese for the most part, which is helpful for me because listening is my worst area by a mile.  The basic listening is also incredibly helpful.  Another foundational aspect which is helping me a ton is stroke order.  I never learnt it, and didn't think it was very important.  But now going back to the basics they take us through stroke order, so that's great.  I've picked up a few new words here and there, and I am also trying to learn every character in each of my books along the way (as in all the ones used when instructions are given for exercises etc.), the books have a lot of pinyin, but I also find out the meaning of those, and then try and learn those and the hanzi to go with them.  I don't want to just waste my time while stuff is basic, but really try and learn new hanzi/words that will help me as I move into second-fourth year.  

So yeah, so far not much to report, but all in all things seem to be going well.  My class is composed of me (English), 2 Russians (maybe 1 as 1 guy hasn't turned up almost every day), then all Thai and Koreans).  Breaking into the Korean clique is somewhat of a struggle, but the Thai are all really friendly and easy to get on with.  It also helps that some of them have next to no English, so we have to converse in Chinese.  The students range from those who have been studying Chinese for 8 months, to those who have been studying for 3 years (and really should be starting year 2 instead of doing this year according to the teachers).  This makes it hard for the teachers I imagine, they have to try and even it out so it isn't too slow for the more intermediate speakers, but not too fast for those who only know the basics!

×
×
  • Create New...