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

reading magazines and news articles is so discouraging...


babygodzilla

Recommended Posts

babygodzilla

i've been in China for a little more than a year. im currently in the C level @ BLCU.

everyday I try to practice my reading by visiting newsinchinese.com, reading Chinese magazines, etc. but it's all very discouraging. i recognize probably only 50-60% of the words, and even the ones I recognize I don't necessarily understand the meaning of.

it sucks :cry: i feel like my efforts are futile... i do have a very weak memory though. must be all that drinking back in college... :help:oops:

what the hell am i doing wrong? is C level just not very high? i hate to sound like I'm whining, but I am whining and need some encouragement...

thanks

Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

Please please don't be discouraged.

I think you write really well if you have only spent one year on studying chinese. I remember very clearly how I was impressed by your posts in the Wiiiiiiiiiii thread.

I am native chinese so I cannot comment on how hard it is to read and why one writes better than he reads (perhaps when you write you can choose the words you know but when you read you have no choice). But I had similar experience reading English newspaper.

Don't give up. 加油!! :clap

PS - perhaps instead of reading news you could read something that you are really interested in ... it might help ...

Link to post
Share on other sites

When I read newspaper in Thai (I was learning Thai) I usually prefer to read that on computer, easier to check for explanations. I think you can try some online translation services, or a program like NJSTAR Chinese Word Processor, which has a built-in word-by-word translation tools.

And most magazines I want to read are already online, so I don't really bother to buy the paper version.

Check this site: http://www.3gpda.cn/

Link to post
Share on other sites
babygodzilla

Skylee - you're a native Chinese? I didn't know that! (sh) LOL... I actually am genuinely interested in current events. Except for American politics (or any kind of politics for that matter), I enjoy reading the news, especially the Science & Tech, Entertainment, and Sports (Basketball in particular) sections. I also like to read the International section from time to time, particularly about happenings in Asia. I have no interest in the Middle East, and having lived quite a number of years in America, I just generally hate American politics.

Pazu - I'm not sure what that link you gave me is. Looks like it's a collection of articles, along with a lot of lessons. There is also a collection of books? Interesting site, I'll check it out in more detail later. I know that it's probably easier to read things online, but sometimes I prefer to read printed material because on the computer I have translators available to me, so I translate the articles and end up just reading the English version, which of course is no good...

Thanks guys, I feel better now :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Being able to read Xinhua stuff after only a year of study is no small feat. So it sounds like you're doing a good job. As far as frustration goes, we've all been there [well, maybe not Skylee... :) ]

Set small goals, try to find something outside of your university so you aren't locked in that world, and be sure to put aside some time for stuff unrelated to language study.

Link to post
Share on other sites

的确啊,加油!

Meet this challenge head on. Some things that helped me out:

1) identify your challenge, say okay, i want to improve my skills in understanding the news, and this is how i am going to freaking do it.

2) try your best to be interested in what your reading, don't just scan the article, get into it

3) don't translate what your reading to english, let the words fill your head with images and feelings, be as vivid and imaginative as possible, just like when you use english (or whatever your mother language is), you speak from feelings and pictures, not from another language

4) also listen to lots news reports (all the time if possible), when reading, allow the written words to kind of trigger a news report in your head, kinda like how some people read out loud in english, i feel chinese is interesting in that there are many characters that you dont have to know, but can still guess the meaning or by looking at the 上下文. what helped me is, listening to the 'news report' playing in my head and not just getting the meaning from the dry words on the page.

5) attack the challange every moment, every second you can afford, continue to look things up every few words like your doing, give yourself say 4 to 5 months, come back and look at this post, and laugh at why you thought this crap was so hard

Best

HJ

Link to post
Share on other sites
randall_flagg

You're not doing anything wrong. Just think about it: I'm sure when you started learning Chinese you were told that you'll need at least 3000 characters to be able to read newspaper articles. And you've been studying Chinese for a year? Mh, that looks like about 100 new characters A DAY! And even if you had the time and the brains to memorize all of that, it still doesn't mean that you've learned all the possible compound words with those characters. What am I doing? This is supposed to be encouraging. And actually, I think it is: Seems like you are REALLY advanced for the time you've been studying. If you go on at your current pace, you'll be reaping the fruits of your labor sooner than you think.

If you need more encouragement, look that the texts you were reading just a few months ago. Don't they appear to be really easy now?

You can do it!

Link to post
Share on other sites

You might try some of these texts, which are graded by level of difficulty:

http://www-personal.umich.edu/%7Edporter/sampler/sampler.html or

http://anonymouse.org/cgi-bin/anon-www.cgi/http://www-personal.umich.edu/%7Edporter/sampler/sampler.html

A Chinese Text Sampler

An Annotated Collection of Digitized Chinese Texts for Students of Chinese Language and Culture

Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe you can try this:-

Get yourself two copies of National Geographic every month.

One copy in English, the other in Chinese.

You then can compare how certain things are being explained, written in different languages...

Link to post
Share on other sites
babygodzilla

Thanks everyone for the advices and nice words :)

赫杰: i know what you're saying. instead of pushing myself to recognize every frickin character, i should instead focus on the meanings. but, maybe its because im a little bit of a perfectionist, i just hate myself for not knowing a character, and i just cant sleep until i find out what it is. :mrgreen: ill try to go through an article without touching a dictionary next time!!!

Koneko: I tried that. I picked up a copy of Time Out Beijing both in English and Chinese with the intention of reading the Chinese and comparing what I understood to the English version, and lo-and-behold, the contents are 90% different... :oops: haha.. i guess i just picked up the wrong media. I'll give National Geographic a shot. I do enjoy reading the English version of NG.

Thanks again everyone! More advice is most welcomed!

Link to post
Share on other sites
wushijiao
attack the challange every moment, every second you can afford, continue to look things up every few words like your doing

I agree with that. Everybody has given great advice, but the key ingredient, I think, is keeping up the intense stamina required for the months and months of arduous studying through the phase in which textbooks become kind of boring and useless, but newspapers/TV are a bit too difficult to understand. Once, about three years ago, I was reading 中国大历史 at a slow snail’s pace, looking up between 10-25 words per page. I got so frustrated that I threw the book as hard as possible at the wall, denting the book pretty good. So, I understand how you feel. :D

Anyway, about two years ago, over the course of a few months, I felt like I started to get out of that plateau. A lot of the things that helped me, I wrote down here:

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/510-phoenix-tv7&highlight=%E5%B0%8F%E8%83%96%E5%AD%90

Also, you might want to consider studying for an HSK. I’ve never done too well on standardized tests, and so I didn’t even consider taking the test. But then I happened to buy a few HSK materials, and I think that the studying process really helped. If you are like me, you might have some real weaknesses concerning grammar or vocabulary that you may not be aware of (unknown unknowns). I think studying for the HSK can help bring these to light, and help you improve. For example, once I studied for the HSK and formally studied common sentence patterns and how Chinese clauses worked, my ability to understand newspapers and to speed read improved dramatically. (At the time, I had fallen under the myth that Chinese grammar was "easy, just SVO with no verb endings or declensions" and other such stuff, and therefore wasn't worth taking seriously).

Also, keep in mind that newspapers contain spoken slang, Internet slang, formal Chinese, some classical Chinese, abbreviations, and the vocab differs from subject (celeb sleeps with celeb) to subject (nuclear disarmament). So, newspapers are, in a sense, the most difficult type of texts for a foreigner to read.

加油!

Link to post
Share on other sites
dporter1465

What I'd really like to find is an online Chinese news source that provides BOTH short, interesting articles and audio recordings of the same (eg news broadcast). That way one could practice listening and reading together with the same text, which would presumably be a big help for both listening to the radio and reading newspapers. Has anyone seen anything like this out there?

Link to post
Share on other sites
赫杰: I know what you're saying. instead of pushing myself to recognize every frickin character, I should instead focus on the meanings. but, maybe it’s because im a little bit of a perfectionist, I just hate myself for not knowing a character, and I just can’t sleep until I find out what it is. ill try to go through an article without touching a dictionary next time!!!

ai ya, I saw this and I was like, ummm, why did he say this? because I even said:

continue to look things up every few words like your doing

I think it is because my third point is not very clear, damn English

3) don't translate what your reading to English, let the words fill your head with images and feelings, be as vivid and imaginative as possible, just like when you use English (or whatever your mother language is), you speak from feelings and pictures, not from another language

what I mean by "do not translate what your reading to English" is, "do not translate (in your head) what your reading to English", just allow the words to paint pictures and scenes in your head, of course when you come across characters/phrases you don’t know then by all means look it up. but im just saying, what helped me is the next time I saw the word that I looked up, I did not look at it and immediately think of its English counter part, but thought of whatever the message and meaning it was trying to convey. so don’t stop using the dictionary!! I still use it a lot when reading articles, perhaps now not so much to look up meanings of words, but at least to check their tones.

I am quite the perfectionist as well, I think you have to be if you want to have good Chinese. this is not supposed to be easy, so go ahead and start feeling dejected, the trick is to keep fighting and not giving up, just like wushijiao awesomely put it in another post, learning this is like a rollercoaster or mountain, climbing up is hard hard hard, then (usually all of a sudden) you will realized that you have cleared the top and can relax as you sail down, then if you really care about your Chinese, you will find another mountain and repeat the whole process again, fun aint it?

Link to post
Share on other sites
babygodzilla

lol damn english... it sucks! :mrgreen: no, just kidding.

well actually if i keep looking up every single word and character that i don't know, ill probably be doing that at least once a minute, and then it'll take me a month to get through whatever i'm reading... so if I can't guess the meaning I'll look it up, otherwise i'll just skip it for next time huh? :)

anyways, i just bought some Doraemon comics. they make me feel better cause i can actually read and understand most of it!! HA HA!! :twisted:

Link to post
Share on other sites
well actually if i keep looking up every single word and character that i don't know, ill probably be doing that at least once a minute, and then it'll take me a month to get through whatever i'm reading... so if I can't guess the meaning I'll look it up, otherwise i'll just skip it for next time huh?

Try underlining words you don't know but don't look them up until you have a dozen or two or them. Then look them up en masse. Call it the assembly line dictionary lookup. It'll save you time whether you're using a paper dictionary or an electronic one. If you're using PlecoDict, you can store every word you look onto a flashcard list with just one button tap. If you don't have have PlecoDict, it would still be a good idea to keep a notebook of all words you look up so you can review. Practice makes perfect. After 30 days straight of doing this, you'd already know a lot more words even if you are just learning few dozens a day.

Remember that the 1500 or characters cover 95% of texts rule is really only meaningful for native Chinese speakers who know many of the words already and just need to recognize them in the written form. Foreigners who are starting with a very small vocabulary (written and spoken) should concentrate a lot more on learning words instead of characters.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am staying away from reading articles in Chinese for the moment ( I read a few from News in Chinese, though), sticking to simpler reading, although I am OK with reading them in Russian, English, German and to some extent Japanese - yes, NJStar or Wenlin are a great help to go through an article.

Does someone know where you can get exact copies (Chinese/English) of articles.

I use CNN, BBC, NHK (Japan) and sometimes China Daily to read multilingual articles but often it's hard to find exactly the same contents when you switch to another language!

That would be awesome - having 2 online articles - English and Chinese. Does anyone know such news sites?

Is National Geographic available online in 2 languages? I am incredibly slow looking up characters, would prefer an online version, so I could use electronic dictionaries.

I am in the same boat as babygodzilla with Chinese but I am not discouraged. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
If you don't have have PlecoDict, it would still be a good idea to keep a notebook of all words you look up so you can review. Practice makes perfect. After 30 days straight of doing this, you'd already know a lot more words even if you are just learning few dozens a day.
On a related note, I once was recommended to make a dot next to the dictionary entry of all the new words I encounter. Once a word has two or three dots (depending on how eager you are to increase your vocabulary), you go and add them to your vocabulary list. This way, you avoid the obscure impressions some reporters think will give their articles an aura of professionalism...

Haven't gotten around to starting that system yet, but it sounds like a good idea!

That would be awesome - having 2 online articles - English and Chinese. Does anyone know such news sites?
I read the Financial Times in Chinese.Apparently, most of their articles are translations from the English articles, link to which are provided. I have been looking up the occasional sentence I didn't get in the English article; the translations seem to follow the original quite strictly.
Link to post
Share on other sites
I read the Financial Times in Chinese.Apparently, most of their articles are translations from the English articles, link to which are provided. I have been looking up the occasional sentence I didn't get in the English article; the translations seem to follow the original quite strictly.

Thanks, Gougou! I see, you use the 查看英文原文 button.

Cool! :) Do you you know non-financial sites, e.g. general news, which has the same functionality?

Link to post
Share on other sites
wushijiao
Does someone know where you can get exact copies (Chinese/English) of articles.

Danwei.org often has interesting articles translated into English (some by forum members here) with links to the Chinese original. I suppose you could also try that if you're not to into business topics.

http://www.danwei.org

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...