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About this blog

Documenting a learning progress.


Usually I update my efforts in the Weekly intermediate study thread. However, it is anything but weekly and I decided that I could really be a bit more organised about practicing listening skills and adding vocabulary. Doing a blog hopefully will give a better overall view of the progress. 


One is supposed to study what's interesting to oneself, but that does mean I get frequently bogged down into new material that's too advanced and overloading. Combined with a short attention span, little progress is made. When I talk with native speaker well-intentioned language partners, they always over estimate my ability. 


Finding native material at basic/advanced beginner level is a bit difficult. In this thread, there are links to cartoons at a slower pace of delivery. Bite sized pieces of simpler material sounds like a good start. 


Documentation :


Vocabulary can be classified into A) learnt before and now reinforced, B) can guess from context, C) need to look up. 


Number of difficult sentences. I. e. Know the words but listening was hard.

Entries in this blog


4Q 2023

4Q 2023

My big event is a week in Chengdu for an event. 

I am here with attending a sports event and taking some photos.


Compared to travelling to mainland China four years ago, and definitely not doing that much practice inbetween, I can get around with a bit of fumbling with words. I was asked if I wanted a bag after shopping and I understood that whereas four years ago, I couldn’t understand the words being spoken at me. 

People are definitely very friendly and helpful here. I went to the my event supposedly as a photographer. They told me I should have applied for a media pass beforehand. Unfortunately, the English information previously provided had no mention of a press pass. To cut a long story short, one of the staff at the event (with excellent English) helped me negotiate with security who were also very nice. The stumbling block was it was the first day of the event and they needed to strictly follow the rules set by the police. They checked my camera equipment and made sure it was a proper functioning camera. I should have asked what they were scared of - maybe explosive devices because you weren’t allowed to take a mobile phone recharging unit in either. After a couple of days of photography and being relatively harmless and keeping out of trouble, there were no problems with security. In fact, I also saw someone else in the audience using a large camera despite me being told on the first day cameras weren’t allowed in.


It’s been a busy day and most of the day, I am on my own doing my own thing not really communicating with anybody. The most mandarin I speak is to the taxi drivers who have heavily accented putonghua. Quite different to my experience in Qingdao where the taxi drivers had basically standard mandarin. My control of mandarin tones is imperfect - I rely on tuning in using the conversation to progressively speak better tones. This method absolutely doesn’t work with Chengdu taxi drivers. I can feel my tones are all over the place.


 I get a day off tomorrow to explore city centre. See what turns up there. The nice thing is finding that I can get around finding out simple details quite easily such as walking into the local gym and talking about their packages and rates. 


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