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Learn Chinese in China

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Did I do better?



Despite learning Chinese Mandarin, I don't get the chance to use it very often. I get the feeling of minimal progress.


I haven't really been watching many intermediate learning materials since my last post. A bit boring for my liking...


I wasted a lot of time on the hellotalk app. Being a native English speaker is a big advantage when learning Chinese. Eventually, I decided to tell people I am only interested in talking verbally and real time conversation. This proved helpful in screening out quite a number of people who just wanted a friendly text chat with a foreigner. I tend to screen out people who have a strong 南方 accent though Taiwanese are fine. In the end HT is just an area for practice and I cut down my time on it.


For learning, I have been using Glossika. 25% through the A1 course. It's a bit boring but I stick with it. I don't like that it only gives two reps of a sentence. I prefer 3 or 4 at one time. Does it have an effect? I think it is hard to say for me - maybe a longer duration of practice would help.


I recently dug out some old ankicards that I made long ago. These were made from the Growing up in China series. I remember I had tremendous difficulty in following the speech at time of making them. Well, amazingly, I found my listening comprehension is definitely much better. There are words which I forgot but definitely relearn much better and it's much less frustrating.


I recently went to Qingdao for business and badminton. Initially a bit apprehensive yet looking forward to trying out the field experience. Last time I was by myself in China was two years ago in Guangzhou and I fell back to using Cantonese much of the time.


Pleased to say I didnt really have any major problems using the language for day to day life. Of course there were the trip-ups. What I particularly liked was I had to use the language for some simple problem solving which sharpens the mind considerably. Although there is still a lot to learn in terms of extending conversations, the initial handling of issues went quite smoothly. I had a couple of nice conversations with taxi drivers and made a large number of wechat contacts from playing badminton. I played a lot of amateur competitions in the past and when I played my trickshots on this trip, they were really well received. Of course, there was also the novelty factor of being an overseas Chinese.


So a great morale booster that there is some progression and I got a lot of extensive listening experience even though I didn't understand all of it.


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 I had to use the language for some simple problem solving which sharpens the mind considerably




Reminds me of one time I had to argue like hell to be allowed to get on a Eurostar train at Calais, to get back to the UK from France. 


I considered myself fairly competent in French at the time, but being able to strongly argue my case with the result that I was allowed to get on the train and actually get home... if that isn't a textbook case of using L2 to solve a problem then I'd like to know what is.  

Plus: double satisfaction 😉


I hope the conference was at least as enjoyable as the badminton, and as for HelloTalk... well, these things blow hot and cold I suspect. 加油! 


(FWIW I'm chatting loads on WeChat with Chinese teachers of English at the moment, and we manage to keep a pretty good balance of L1/L2.)


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When in the Mainland, look for opportunities to use transactional Chinese:


-- Head around to several banks and try to open an account. Then go back for help when you can't get online banking or WeChat to work.


-- Stop in at various mobile shops and learn about their current SIM card offers; you'll get different offers from different branches even in the same city.


-- Line up at a train station ticket window and try to work out your trip to Urumqi and back, with various stops along the way. Have brief conversations with impatient travellers waiting behind you.


-- Visit collectibles malls and talk to stamp dealers and the like about what they have to offer. Often these are retired folk with plenty of time to talk about their field.


-- Lose your Metro ticket and negotiate how to get out of the system.


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On 4/16/2019 at 2:02 AM, mungouk said:


I hope the conference was at least as enjoyable as the badminton, and as for HelloTalk... well, these things blow hot and cold I suspect. 加油! 


Now this was very interesting indeed.


I attended some lectures in Chinese. I can roughly follow what's going on even though the lecture were in Mandarin. It gets tiring though. I notice my attention with any lecture, whatever language will start to wane after 45 mins.


I went around the exhibitors stands talking to the sales people. C'mon, I don't really know Mandarin and only following along but it was cool. I just kept listening and trying to make some comments that made me sound half educated.


I needed to get an attendance certificate but the organisers didn't issue one as part of the norm. Using a mixture of Chinese and English, I managed to sort something out. They were really good about it - I presume in China you need a certificate for lots of things so my request, although a bit unusual in terms of a China conference for local Chinese, was fully understood.


Next year's conference will be in Shanghai. It will be a good chance to renew some contacts. I think I can be better prepared and have a recorder with microphone on me. Then try to isolate some interesting conversations to decipher later. Sounds a bit strange to do so but with vlogging and filming being popular, I don't think anybody really bats an eyelid.

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5 hours ago, Flickserve said:

have a recorder with microphone on me. 


A half decent smartphone sitting on the table will do a good job if you’re not sitting somewhere very noisy. 

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