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  2. Hi @amytheorangutan — would you recommend any comics in particular? Also since you mention chapters are these actually graphic novels?
  3. Today
  4. I can speak from a certain degree of personal experience, because I made the transition from graded readers to native-level novels about 1.5 years ago (I felt that graded readers stopped feeling profitable after the 2500 level). 活着 is a really great choice for a first book, and I think that with your level of vocabulary, you're in a good place for it. Granted, it's still going to be a grind. I had an HSK6 vocabulary when I read it, and I still had to look up about 750 words. I've read 8 different books so far, and they've averaged about 1200 new/unknown words for each book (although that number is falling off a cliff, because I'm encountering less and less new words). Using Pleco's clipboard reader (so I could quickly look up words with a touch of the screen and add them to my SRS flashcards) proved absolutely vital. Kudos to any of those old-school learners out there who managed to pull it off without any such tools. I've found that the most important thing to do (which, unfortunately, I didn't do) is to get a feel for the difficulty of a given book. You can analyze it with CTA, and you can also sample a few pages to get a "feel" for it. For me, anyway, it's never been a matter of vocabulary, because I can always look up words I don't know. Rather, I've found that some authors use really obscure, ambiguous, and/or literary sentence structures or phrases. Too often I would think, "Well, I know all the words here, but I can't make heads or tails of the sentences! I haven't even been tracking with the last 3 paragraphs!" Ultimately, I forced myself to slog through a few really hard books, when I really should have just set them aside and saved them for later. I know people often look for easy and/or good reads in these forums, so here's been my experience thus far, for what it's worth: 1. "To Live" by Yu Hua (really great for a first book) 2. "We Three" by Yang Jiang (crushingly difficult and quite a traumatic experience, though quite short) 3. "Three Body Problem" by Liu Cixin (a massive amount of vocabulary to learn--2000 new words--but it reads smoothly and has an English translation) 4. "Life" by Lu Yao (really smooth and enjoyable to read, like Yu Hua's book) 5. "Secrets of the Namiya General Store" (解忧杂货店) by Keigo Higashino (a popular Chinese translation of a Japanese book; another relatively smooth and fun read) 6. "Decoded" by Mai Jia (I thought I was getting the hang of reading since the Higashino novel, but this overwhelming book nearly did me in). 7. "Golden Age" by Wang Xiaobo (rumored to be an easy book, but I had an extremely difficult time with it and found the language quite opaque) 8. "Three Body Problem 2" by Liu Cixin (really easy and enjoyable by this point; I began to feel like things were taking off) I think I have passed the "peak" difficulty with contemporary Chinese, and it generally just gets easier from here, but in order to know for sure, I just need to continue. I haven't fully "arrived" yet. I wish you the best on your journey!

    Grand Comic Reading Project

    Good morning ... Congratulations for your postage “Grand Comic Reading Project” …Do you know a book that teaches Mandarin / Chinese, which contains basic phrases in simplified Chinese / Pynin / English translation, step by step (practical everyday situations), graded from elementary to advanced with simple illustrations / drawings, such as examples in the annexes, like “ FUN WITH CHINESE CHARACTERS “ or “ FATHER and SON LEARN ENGLISH LEARN CHINESE “ ... Very grateful to all ... of Newton, from BRAZIL
  6. Perhaps try reading a Chinese translation of an English book you've read and enjoyed before. Preferably where the English writing is simple. You might have to try a few since how complex it turns out in Chinese very much depends on the translator. That's what I did for my first novel and it helped me transition to simple non-translated works like 活着.
  7. Yesterday
  8. Wow! An amazing chart! And for me extremely motivating! By your description I’m about where you were when you began your extensive reading on broken speaking, ok listening and about 1600 characters. Now I’m about a month and 200 000 characters in and I measured my reading speed on a couple of different days at around 60 - 80 characters per minute. I’m looking forward to similar results! did you notice any effects on your speaking and/or listening skills that you can attribute to the extensive reading?
  9. Folks, the OP says he wants 豆浆 "that matches the kinds found in Chinese restaurants." Now how many Chinese restaurants do you think make 豆浆 from scratch these days: soak the beans, grind them, sieve the liquid then steep it for half an hour? I'd well guess your average 餐厅 is using a prepared mix of some sort. Most above-average ones, too. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/dfpd/jingji/2011-07/29/content_13006810.htm
  10. Hello! i saw a movie in the airplane maybe 2years ago and the plot goes something like this; she escaped her black and white reality i think they were creatures following her she needed to body paint herself in color to fit she finds love but impossible to kiss him he was poor and working in the cinema industry wrote about it when older do you know what movie it is?
  11. realmayo

    Pronouncing "qu"

    I think the mouth shape is a function of the 'vowel' sound that follows.
  12. Good morning, Singe....Thanks very much for information...I took a look at 'What's in a Chinese Character', found it at libraries and really it is a great neumonic tool for remember characters....I saw "English Made Easy Volume OneThanks" vol1 & 2, too..they have a lot illustrations but is for learn English but i think the editors will do as soon as possible ones in Mandarim/Chinese...Thanks again....Regards, from Newton-BRASIL
  13. Hi, I'm also fluent in Japanese and have studied Chinese for a couple of years now. I agree that getting the tones and pronunciation down should be the first priority with Chinese and personally I found the Chinese pronunciation to be the most difficult part of the language so far. Pinyin is helpful in the beginning, but I moved to characters as soon as I was comfortable with the tones and now I use pinyin only to check the pronunciations of unknown characters. Knowing Japanese is a great advantage here! When studying pronunciation, I created an anki deck for myself with each Chinese sound along with a recording, pinyin and some related information. A year ago I got permission from the guys at Mandarin Blueprint to use their recordings in the deck and recreated it with multiple native recordings for each sound in order to publish it. I also asked a few people to give me feedback on it but they never got back to me so I had forgotten the project until now. If you are interested, please give me an email address where I can send a download link and please also give me some feedback on it. I'll publish it in Anki web at some point. The license is basically, you may use it but the rights to the audio files belong to their owners and using them somewhere else requires permission from them and Mandarin Blueprint required a link to their site on every card that uses their audio. The deck has one note for about 1200 possible mandarin sounds. It is divided into four parts. "1. Pronunciation Practice" shows a pinyin syllable and plays the audio from 1 to 3 different native speakers. All of the cards have audio from Liang Sihao from italki and most of them have audio from Annie and Jerry from MB too. Each card also shows how many of the 6000 most used characters use that sound and up to 5 most frequent ones of those. I have also added pictures showing the correct tongue position for the few difficult initials. "2. Pinyin Recognition Practice" plays the native sound from the three teachers and waits for the student to type in the pinyin using the tone numbers. It then shows if the input was correct or not. "3. Tone Pair Pronunciation Practice" works the same as number 1 but it has few examples of each possible tone pair combination using audio from Mandarin Blueprint. "4. Tone Pair Pinyin Recognition Practice" works the same as number 2 but with the tone pairs. I think Anki also has some "record your own voice" feature, but I haven't used it. The main ways I think the deck can be used is by first studying a course like MB Pronunciation Course and then using this deck to practice recognizing the syllables. There is research that shows that a person can learn to discern the mandarin tones in a few weeks with practice and even more interesting is that research also shows that learning to recognize the tones also transfers to being able to produce them! Immediate feedback is also the best way to train yourself to hear the tones and the differences between the different syllables. The original idea with the deck is to train to hear each syllable as a whole unit rather than treat the initial-final combination and the tones separately. With a tutor I would recommend first suspending all cards, then studying a set of sounds with the tutor, and then unsuspending the studied sounds and practicing them with the deck before studying another set of sounds with the tutor the next time. Each card also has labels to mark the syllable and the tone used so that it is easy to find the specific syllables and/or tones you want to concentrate on.
  14. Jan Finster

    Pronouncing "qu"

    You do not elaborate on any of those claims. So, I looked it up myself. The lips are wide on "q" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUlnp0wm5dk (2:29 following)), but it is true that at 6:30 he says "qu" with a static and less wide mouth. Interesting. Apparently, I was over-complicating the "qu" and tried to move from wide mouth to small and round mouth....
  15. We have this machine from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/CTS-2038-Easy-Clean-Automatic-Stainless-Capacity/dp/B00CU774R8/ref=mp_s_a_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=joyoung&qid=1611489630&sr=8-5 It makes chinese style doujiang. But it is fairly expensive.
  16. My issue with comics and short stories is that they aren't long enough. If I remember correctly, John Pasden made this point in favor of using long graded readers over short stories. You need a lot of encounters with any given word to internalize it and that requires huge amounts of reading. @blackfalcon, I think I'm around the same level as you. I passed HSK4 in last June and I have been reading short stories and Graded Readers up until now. I also purchased the Chinese translation of one of my favorite books some time ago and my goal has been to read it. I finally began this task about a month ago and I'm about 190 000 character in. The book is from the middle of The Wheel of Time series and I know the story and characters very well, so even though my vocabulary isn't anywhere near the often quoted 98% for extensive reading, it is fairly easy for me to follow the story and I'm already seeing improvement in my reading. I was only able to get the book in paperback and not in electronic format, so what I have been doing is, I've scanned the pages and ran them through OCR in order to get the text into a word file. Then, as I read, I'm using a font, that includes pinyin on top of the characters, to add pinyin to any character that I can't instantly read correctly. This allows me to calculate the percentages of "pinyined" characters in the text and I'm using that as a proxy to gauge my reading comprehension, although it is not the same as "known words". This also allows me to record my "reading performance" of each individual character as I move along the text and later focus my character study on the ones that seem difficult. I also just found out about @imron's Chinese Text Analyzer and I'll have to give it a try! I'm attaching some of the stats that I have recorded. The prologue in the book was quite long and while reading it I added pinyin on whole words that I had trouble with, but after the prologue I began very strictly adding pinyin only on top of individual characters that I couldn't read. This sqews the data a little. I guess this is closer to Intensive Reading than Extensive Reading and in the beginning it was quite slow and arduous but now it is already actually quite enjoyable and I'm finding myself getting drawn into the story. I only check words once in a while in a dictionary and just keep going. At one point I copied each paragraph to google translate and read the translation before reading the Chinese version, but now I don't do that anymore and just check individual words that begin to bug me. I'm finding this a good method and at least character wise I'm closing the magical 98% zone.
  17. I wouldn't do it weeks apart. My visualisation method is a skill that you build up slowly over time. You'd be better off doing a little bit every day rather than going weeks without doing it. I think so, but with a sample size of 1, it's difficult to draw conclusions.
  18. Demonic_Duck

    Pronouncing "qu"

    If this is true, and assuming you can produce other aspirated/unaspirated pairs such as de/te, ji/qi, etc, you can pronounce "qu" too. It's just an aspirated version of the same syllable, in other words you expel a strong gust of breath with the consonant. You don't need to do this. Nor this. Your lips can retain the exact same shape throughout the whole syllable "qu" (or "ju", "xu"), the same shape as for "yu". No idea why "xu" would be more challenging, it's a less complex version of the sound in "ju" (omitting the initial stop).
  19. alantin

    Getting better at speaking

    Hi all, I just registered wanting to comment on this thread! I've been studying Chinese for about two and half years now. I have mainly done what interested me at any given time, beginning with focusing on pronunciation and tones for a long time, then simple stuff with various apps, took a couple of courses at a local university to get some basics down, used about a year focusing very heavily on the characters and vocabulary lists with Anki, and so on. One thing that I have done for about 1 and half years now is having one or two free talk sessions with italki teachers each week. I'm quite independent and dislike someone else imposing a study program on me so free talk sessions have been perfect for me. From the beginning I have requested the teaches to avoid speaking English to me and I actually prefer it if the teachers English isn't that good. In the beginning I could hardly speak any Chinese and so I requested the teachers to type sentences out for me in hanzi as we came up with them during the lessons and then I requested them to record those sentences for me so I could make Anki decks which I would then review constantly and often shadow sentences until I could keep up with the audio. After a few months I stopped doing that and instead focused on just free talk and trying to reduce the amount of Engish I used during the lessons. This is quite hard since I still struggle with active vocabulary even though my listening comprehension is quite good. Nowadays my speaking comes and goes and also depends heavily on the tutor and the topic. There are few people who I talk to regularly of whom two stand out. The first is a professional teacher who will very quickly tell me to say the same thing in Chinese if I switch to English. The topics are every day and the teacher speaks a little bit slowly and simply to me. Lately I have had some success holding whole one hour sessions in Chinese with her and she is very good at throwing topics at me and pulling Chinese out of me while giving instant correction. The topics aren't very engaging though... The other one is a PhD student, who speaks 100% Chinese to me and the topics very easily jump to things like the Opium Wars, the development of China in the last 100 years, Belt and Road initiative and Chinese investments abroad, the elections and recent unrest in the US, etc. The topics are very interesting and the lessons are one hour long sessions of her launching a deluge of Chinese at me at a rapid pace which I'm frankly amazed I can usually understand enough of. I probably speak only about 20% Chinese and 80% English during those sessions due to my lack of active vocabulary but these half Chinese half English discussions are very good for my listening comprehension and train me to hear more normal Chinese speech. Lately I began reading my first Chinese book, which is a translation of one of my favorites, and I've asked my teachers to record them reading a couple of pages of it for me, which I have then used for shadowing. I'm currently easing into extensive reading, which I expect to help me broaden my vocabulary, and I think I'm already seeing some improvement in my italki sessions.
  20. We.soak yellow beans and then use normal blender to make the doujiang. If your blender does not have filter, you may use filter bags (bags for boiling fish soup) to filter away the bean bits. Then you boil the doujiang in a pot. Filter bags can be like below: https://www.hktvmall.com/hktv/zh/main/建成行有限公司/s/H7545001/超級巿場/超級市場/湯-熟食-醃製食品/中式湯/煲魚湯隔渣袋-x-12/p/H7545001_S_cook007
  21. I too love doujiang and I can second most of what's been said above - doujiang in China differs from shop to shop and region to region. I most frequently had the Family Mart one as it was on my way to class - I'm pretty sure now that that was just made from powder, and you can get pretty decent instant doujiang powder in most Chinese supermarkets. The best doujiang I ever had was from an ayi's tiny doujiang stall in Anshan, Liaoning, and she just used soaked, cooked beans and a normal kitchen blender (the jug type, not a hand blender). I think the main thing would be to get the water/soy bean ratio right (plus sugar if you're so inclined) and have a fairly powerful blender. You don't need those doujiang makers as they don't do anything a normal blender can't do, except that some of them will give you the option of just putting in raw beans and water and cooking the beans for you, but that will never give you proper doujiang. It's just a very watery version with lots of dousha because you'll have skipped the soaking process. So, my current verdict is: there's no easy way (you can't skip the pre-soaking and pre-cooking process) but at least it's super cheap!
  22. Madarincave

    Pronouncing "qu"

    When prounouncing yù, your lips will be like whistling and extending forward. For pronouncing qu, it i like yù, but you will pull your lips inward. When you put your palm in front of your mouth, you should feel air coming out.
  23. Well it's been a very long time since I've posted an update, so here goes. Just finished up the first semester of 4th year, one more to go which starts at the beginning of March. Should be graduating in July. We are still in Cambodia, for obvious reasons. I feel like my Chinese has gone downhill, simply because online classes just aren't the same as actually being there, and the environment here is nothing like as helpful for learning as being in China. Some classes were a complete waste of time. Learning about world literature in Chinese is interesting to a degree, but something I will probably never do again, and so I feel my time could have been used much more productively. With 30+ students in a class, the time to talk was minimal, and the exams were somewhat of a joke. It's always nice to get good grades, but far better when you feel like you actually had to work hard to get them, and the exams were a challenge. Currently writing my thesis on 《三体:地球往事》,which has been incredibly interesting and enjoyable. We have until June to finish the whole thing, and it's supposed to be around 10,000 characters (which really isn't many for a 'thesis'). I've written 13,500 so far and just sent it off to my tutor a couple of days ago. He said there are no major issues, just a couple of sections are a bit too short (comparatively), so I will go back and edit those. Feels pretty good to have the bulk of it done a few months early, and will certainly make the final semester far easier. I feel a lot more confident with my Chinese now, even though it has fallen behind somewhat, and when I think back to starting first year, the improvement has been vast. Certain tones are still a big struggle for me, especially when speaking fast. The 4th tone + 1st tone combination really trips me up! It's going to be great to graduate, but really for me the point was never the degree, rather I want to be able to converse fluently in Chinese, and continue to build on that in the future. I will give a full report when I graduate, but if I had to go back I would still choose to do the degree, as the benefits have outweighed the struggles and frustrations. At this point I highly doubt we will be getting back before graduation, and with having to redo visas for the whole family, quarantine, pay for flights, find a place to live again, I am actually quite relieved about that. Would love to go back to China, but not just for a few weeks before graduation. As I say, a more in depth review will come in a few months when I am finished, but just wanted people to know I am still here and still trying my best to study hard!
  24. You reminded me of a book I have in my collection by Tan Huay Peng, 'What's in a Chinese Character'. It has illustrations drawn for each character similar to the ones you have shown. It doesn't really have phrases but has up to 7 word examples for each character. Easy to search on goggle (unless you live in Australia judging by recent news....). It's probably not exactly what you're looking for in terms of a structured course but perhaps it will add a little for you.
  25. I also know nothing about her but she has an 8-part very, VERY detailed instructional series (approximately hourlong videos) at: https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1BK4y1575Q/?spm_id_from=333.788.videocard.18
  26. Thank you, that's pretty much spot on for what I was told..I got them while working at a tattoo shop in Hawaii, and had been studying Buddhism for a few years
  27. Last week
  28. I'm gonna hafta check out YouTube from the 2000s to see what the videos reek of 😜. As long as the content doesn't go to waste, then that's a good thing...
  29. We occasionally make it with a normal blender (soaking the beans overnight). Might not pass the examination of a connoisseur with a particular regional preference, but turns out pretty darned good if I may say so myself
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