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  2. I don't want to study HSK and have never taken the test. At one point I was preparing to take the old HSK advanced but half way through that they brought in the new HSK and I lost interest. As for 'beyond', to me, that's native material and there is plenty of interesting native content that makes this worthwhile. Total official vocab up to HSK 6 is 5,000 words, which is about half of what you need for a good general working vocab. I wrote about this in more detail here.
  3. Today
  4. roddy

    半生缘

    再 before an adjective = more. So "couldn't be more bad", "couldn't be worse" . 打 can mean to create, make... So something like "create a path for herself where none existed."
  5. Andrew1556

    HSK 1 Audio Tracks

    @mungouk No one else recorded them at a professional voice over quality with nearly perfect pronunciation in English AND Chinese. Even the official HSK Academy track sucks and has many mispronounced words in CHINESE. Anyways, this will only be a very small part of my channel... I hope to make my channel a supplementary channel where I can get people excited to learn Chinese with stimulating and fun videos. I noticed most Chinese learning channels have older teachers who tend to teach in a very boring and traditional fashion. I'm learning Korean myself and there are many Korean channels with much more interesting content that I hope to bring to the Chinese learning community. Thanks for the feedback btw!
  6. 大块头

    The ups and downs

    Foreign language performance (listening comprehension, reading rate, speaking intelligibility, etc.) can be regarded as a random variable subject to variance caused by external factors (Did you get enough sleep last night? Are you in a noisy environment? Have you ever encountered the current conversation topic?) Some performance metrics have so much variance that it is hard to see your progress at all over time. For example, the plot below shows about a year's worth of my data from daily reading practice. Some days I breeze through the material, and some days I feel like I'm plowing through mud, but the mean shows slow, steady, and statistically significant improvement. Don't be discouraged by your "downs"; the "ups" will cancel them out.
  7. Get a different teacher. Because HSK4 doesn't have "subtle" grammar points. If so; please lend be that book you're using. My Chinese grammar isn't to write home about, but that's because of self-imposed standards. Ask them: "Do I sound native? Or do I sound foreign?" Because in the end subconsciously natives will always figure out that you're different. And you'll always be different, but you have to work towards making it be the "ingenious" kind of different. Not the foreign monkey kind of different. Your students should get a different teacher. Hey, equality.
  8. Weyland

    The ups and downs

    Had to look it up. After reading the first page of said conversation it feels like this person, Adam, is doing everything in his might to disadvantage himself. If you want to improve your skills the least you can do is put yourself into an unconformable situation where you're allowed to fail. Adam is also very pessimistic, and delves into defeatism in his later posts. If you have as much anxiety as he has that he just shuts down when he doesn't understand or doesn't properly hear something... then, yeah... I can see how he's "stuck". His mindset is the problem, though I'm going to get on my high horse and also say that he has done very little to remedy his own failings. Like Adam I suck at listening. I suck at pronunciation. But, not because of my lack of motivation or because I'm daunted by listening to someone speak Chinese. When I was younger my brain got starved from oxygen and one of the impacts is deafness to certain sounds. While it certainly has improved over the years, I still have to read people's lips when there is any noise in the background. I often have to guess at what people are saying and when studying a new language, I will go out of my way to learn the accents and to be prepared for when I encounter them. A few months ago I started recording myself and other people to improve my pronunciation/intonation. Because hopefully in the end I'll be able do the voice-over of the documentary I've been preparing for over the last 2 years which I want to shoot in China. I'm physically handicapped. I have people that tell me to "moderate" my efforts, who tell me that I don't need to improve any further because I'm a foreigner. You know what? Fuck all that. Mediocrity depends on the person's own capabilities, and I sure as hell won't lavish in it.
  9. Thanks @Weyland, this is exactly the kind of advice I was looking for. Also useful to hear @imron say that HSK5-6 is really only upper intermediate, compared to the old test. It's the exponential increase in vocab that's putting me off right now... plus the number of times my teacher has commented on grammar points that are so subtle (in the standard course books, even at level 4) that she thinks many native speakers wouldn't get them right. (To be fair I say this fairly often with my students who are learning English...)
  10. mungouk

    The ups and downs

    That "listening rut" thread was a hard-to-read exposition over some months of a learner deciding they had reached "their level" and was ready to give up. I guess we are disputing that nobody has "their level". I agree. I believe that we can all learn... but we just have to have the right environment, encouragement and most of all motivation.
  11. Fred0

    半生缘

    Manzhen, in the process of trying to plan her divorce from Hongcai while the Japanese have occupied Shanghai, and honest businesses are at a standstill, thinks about trying to find a job: 现在这时候出去找事,时机可以说是不能再坏了,一切正当的营业都在停顿状态中,各处只有裁人,决没有添人的。 而且她已经不是那么年青了,她还有那种精神,能够在没有路中间打出一条路来吗? -what does 不能再坏 mean? “...cannot (could not?) be again (this) bad?” -what does 能够在没有路中间打出一条路来吗?...enough, in the middle of there being no road to hit, a road comes? Is this saying, when the situation is hopeless (without opportunities) does she have enough energy to (nevertheless) find and job?
  12. If you're already wondering whether HSK5 will be worth it to you... then, forgive me, maybe you should just stick to having someone do all the talking for you. Words like neck, glass, playground, product, to quarrel, and the like aren't what you might call "low frequency". Personally, and let me make myself clear in saying that I don't belittle people for just wanting to get the base essentials in a language; I think a language is there solely for communication. I don't care about ancient Chinese, nor do I care about calligraphy. I study Chinese because I have Chinese people I want to talk to about topics that go further than kindergarten-grade. For example; people rarely use ”粗糙“ in their day to day lives (from HSK5), which translates to rough, whether it be as a material or to describe a situation/way of doing things. Still, it's a word I've used quite often due to having had surgery and the rough lining around my tongue is driving me crazy. It's a word I could do without, but then I'd have to use 10 words to describe one.
  13. mungouk

    The ups and downs

    Common experiences for me when I first arrived in China: (Orders food in Chinese in a restaurant) Waitress: (in Chinese) "wow, your Chinese is really good!" Compared with: (Orders food in Chinese in a different restaurant the next day) Waitress: ???? Zero understanding of what I just said. We try to communicate but in the end I point the menu and say "这个". And similarly for taxi drivers, etc I think some of it is down to whether people are used to dealing with foreigners. Chinese is difficult! 加油!
  14. Shelley

    The ups and downs

    Welcome to the joys of learning Chinese. This must be one of the commonest comments people make, sometimes called the plateau effect. My advice - Don't worry about it, plod on and eventually you will have another aha moment and you will be filled with enthusiasm again. the important thing is consistency, keep at it and you will find the plateaus get smaller and the highs are longer, but I don't think it ever gets totally flat. I think its just the nature of language learning, some of is just hard work and some of it is intuitive and when the hard work outweighs the intuitive it feels like you are not making progress. There will always be progress but it get less and less as there becomes less and less to learn. Its also a case of diminishing returns, as explained very well by our good friends at Hacking Chinese https://chinesehacks.com/study/learning-chinese-and-the-law-of-diminishing-returns/
  15. Thanks guys for your considered opinions! Much appreciated. I guess I'm thinking out loud here and trying to decide my next steps. I'm aiming to take HSK 4 early next year, but given the potential pain of having to learn 1000+ new words of relatively low frequency for HSK 5, I'm trying to work out if it's going to be worth it for me. And if not, then what I should be doing with my Chinese teacher, if anything. She's brilliant, I like her a lot, but I'm beginning to wonder if I should shift strategies and work more on reading/watching "native" material and improving my pronunciation. I want to be able to have proper conversations in daily life, and I'm getting tired of having to say to a 美团外卖 driver who phones me up: “不好意思, 我的中文不太好". I've been learning for about 2.5 years and living in China for about 7 months. I hope to be here for a few more years yet. Related but different question: What makes you guys want to study HSK 5 or 6 and beyond? Is HSK certification important for job, study, visa applications or is it rather the prestige (for want of a better word) or satisfaction of proving you can do it? Neither of which I would refute btw.
  16. PerpetualChange

    The ups and downs

    Absolutely, don't beat yourself up. If something isn't working for you, or you need a break, try doing something different. For example, if you're getting burned out on a textbook you could take a break to dive into a podcast, try deeply watching some TV, or maybe read a short story. If you are getting burned out on grinding through books or TV, maybe do the opposite - pick up a graded reader or textbook and see if that brings some focus back to your study.
  17. I'm currently working on a compilation based on the HIT-MW database, which was collected from people copying texts out longhand. I think the examples here are more reflective of the sort of handwriting you'd actually encounter in day-to-day life.
  18. I noticed that too with 一.png, but I didn't see any others with this issue? A lot of the handwriting in HCL2000 certainly looks no better than mine! The 1000 writers were selected to be from a variety of age and educational demographics though. It's not stated in the paper, but I think they instructed them to write in a 楷书 style, which may not result in good penmanship for most people if they are trying to write quickly.
  19. Do you ever use handwriting recognition inputs on your phone? Modern recognizers are almost certainly built with a massive amount of samples such as these. So yes, very useful.
  20. Just downloaded and took a look. That is a lot of ugly handwriting, it looks like a team of middle school students were given lines for punishment, which were then compiled into a database. Useful nonetheless I suppose 🤔
  21. There is premium content only available to subscribers. See the list at the top of the page under "最新會員限定文章". I haven't subscribed so I can't tell you if the subscribed material is worth it, but they release a free podcast every week or two, along with a couple of free articles, which is enough for me.
  22. The jump to native materials is always going to be difficult no matter when you make it because there are skills and stamina required for reading native content that you can only build up by reading native content.
  23. Weyland

    The ups and downs

    ... Are you saying there is a hard-limit to the possible vocabulary someone can have? Or that they'll never be able to understand the nuances of the language anymore than they do now? Like what does "continually improving" mean to you? Seems like a self-defeating attitude to me.
  24. Added it under the other podcasts. My question is though; what's the monetization model? As when I try to make an account it asks for a subscription fee, yet I seem to be able to listen to their latest podcast. Care to shine any light on their monetization model?
  25. What? You've never had deep discussions about the Loess Plateau and soil composition? Man, you haven't lived. /s That hits way too close to home, haha. Though when it comes to verbs it isn't that uncommon, for example "沁". Or the names of animals/dinosaurs. I don't mind the broad scope of the word lists. The perfect solution would be a brief introduction to topics, with relevant vocabulary... Or you know... better focus on grammar, writing, logic etc... In the end you all have to admit that the jump from HSK to "native" materials makes you launch from a pretty shaky foundation.
  26. DavyJonesLocker

    Phaidon's Authoritative Cookbook on Chinese Cuisine

    i am pretty forgiving about altering chinese recipes to suit western tastes and cooking abilities, .... well within reason......, not like a 宫保鸡丁 where it's just full of sugar in the UK (hence the popularity), however altering the oil, sugar, chilli can make a big difference to its acceptability to a western audience. also some ingredients are difficult to source in the west. I have never seen 陈皮 in the UK I often add a western(ish) ingredient into my dishes and it goes down quite well with the chinese. Of course I don't mention it before hand as it would cause a uproar! Simple things like adding red wine can improve a chinese beef quite considerably. Sometimes I add cardamom pods / cloves to dishes which work out well actually Chinese themselves adopted imported ingredients to their traditional dishes over the years which has now become a mainstay in cooking as far as I am aware. I personally like to see dishes experimented with and chefs keep an open mind, it allows creativity
  27. DavyJonesLocker

    The ups and downs

    yes for the last 5+ years i think some learners just asymptotically tend to a level, that 'level' may be be high for some and pretty moderate for people like me. people always seem to have this idea that you can keep continually improving, (noting the bumps). I can't see any evidence of this myself as far as language study is concerned
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