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roddy

The Grand First Episode Project. . .

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roddy

Excellent to have you on board! You might want to try covering up the subtitles when watching - forces you to listen rather than read. Depends on the level of course - if it just results in you having to stop every two lines to go back and check the subs then it's not helpful.

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atitarev
if it just results in you having to stop every two lines to go back and check the subs then it's not helpful.

Yeah, something like that. I still have to work a lot, it's not easy even WITH the Chinese subtitles. I see some improvement, that's the main thing.

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renzhe

Yeah, you'll have to improvise with the subtitles depending on your level.

I used to pause after each sentence to try to figure out what I'd just heard, now I mostly listen and glance at the subtitles in real time. It gets much better after lots of exposure.

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atitarev

I am doing the same occasionally, Renzhe. Still, I will linger on some slow-speaking episodes to get more details. So far, there is more frustration than satisfaction but I don't give up. You're right, it gets much better after lots of exposure.

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renzhe

I feel your pain. About a year and a half ago, it took me 5 hours on average to get through 40 minutes of an intermediate-level series. An exercise in futility.

Now I'm amazed at how easy I find it to follow those same episodes. Sure, I pause now and than and have to guess at times, but it's very enjoyable. Even stuff I found difficult months ago is much easier.

I'm just saying it to motivate people who struggle with this. This is probably the best listening comprehension exercise there is (short of buying watermelons in a market in Beijing somewhere), and you don't have to be advanced to enjoy it.

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rob07
I feel your pain. About a year and a half ago, it took me 5 hours on average to get through 40 minutes of an intermediate-level series. An exercise in futility.

Now I'm amazed at how easy I find it to follow those same episodes. Sure, I pause now and than and have to guess at times, but it's very enjoyable. Even stuff I found difficult months ago is much easier.

It is an interesting question - when your language skills are less than perfect, how often should you use the pause button? The first time I had a bash at watching Chinese TV (the first few episodes of Chinese style divorce), I used the pause button a couple of times and before I knew it I was pausing after every set of subtitles so I could take my time reading every single character. It just killed the fun out of it.

Now, I've moved to the other extreme and just gone cold turkey on the pause button. Sure, I miss bits, but most TV is pretty predictable anyway so I can still follow what is going on. Of course, this approach means that some shows are just too hard - I gave up on 武林外传 pretty quickly.

I would be interested in hearing what approach other watchers with shaky language skills take towards using the pause button. If there are any of course; it seems most of the talented people posting here don't even need subtitles.

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renzhe

It all depends. Generally, it's good to concentrate on listening, but pausing and understanding can really improve your language skills. I try to watch and read in real time, and pause if I lose track of what's going or get lost. I try to keep the pauses short (often less than a second, for my brain to catch up). As long as you see the progress over several months, from lots of pauses to mostly listening, you're fine.

BTW, not everyone is a high-flier like roddy, imron, muyongshi & co. I'm intermediate at best and still need lots of concentration even for easier shows, and I imagine the same is true for atitarev, ABCinChina and some others.

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roddy

Quick note to anyone planning to watch 康乾盛世秘史 via Emule - seems to be downloading very slowly, I'd guess there aren't many people uploading it (always a good sign :wink:). You might want to get your downloading started, or just opt for Youku.

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rob07

Another issue of course is what you are looking to get out of it. Relative to the amount of spare time I have, I've invested a lot of hard work in Chinese and even though my level is still rubbish, I now don't do anything Chinese related unless it is fun. So I think if I did a bit more pausing to make sure I fully understood everything that was said it would be a better learning experience. But it would be less fun, so I don't bother.

It is a really good feature of this forum that you can see what the "high-flyers" have achieved and that they encourage everyone to join in things like this; still it can also be a bit intimidating at times. But what I'm finding with having a go is that you can have a lot of fun trying to watch Chinese TV even if you miss bits because your Chinese is really not any good and you don't necessarily have to kill yourself with the effort.

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zenflaver

Roddy, This is such a great idea. I just recently joined this forum, and I enjoy immensely tthe wealth of treasure found here to learn Chinese. Thanks.

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Lu

Roddy, considering the number of First Episode threads you have going now, maybe you could give the project a subforum?

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bagz007

Just a quick update on using Youku from the US...I finally gave up on it after several consecutive days of problems. Also, the quality issue really did start getting on my nerves.

After steeling myself, I endeavored to set-up the emule thing, which I was totally ignorant of prior to this great project. A couple of things for any fellow newbies like myself who want to figure this thing out:

1) I found that downloading the Chinese version of Emule straight from the verycd.com website worked better than downloading Emule from a US website. Perhaps it's because the Chinese Emule is already configured to download China-hosted files?

2) I used "Real Alternative" to play the downloaded DVD files--this worked fine after the "VLC Player" utterly failed to load the files.

So far so good. This is clearly the way to go once you get the kinks worked out.

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imron

I guess Youku is much faster here in China than it is overseas. The thing I like about Youku is that I can just go the page and start watching straight away without needing to wait for it to finish downloading. For me here in Beijing, episodes stream faster than they playback, so it's essentially video-on-demand but with poor picture quality.

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roddy
Roddy, considering the number of First Episode threads you have going now, maybe you could give the project a subforum?

Might be wise, we could shift it into the TV Series forum dating back from our 中国式离婚 period. It is dominating the TV and Movies forum somewhat (incidentally, anyone want to start a movie watching equivalent? One per week?)

If Youku is too slow you could try searching on Youtube - some of the shows are also on there. However they are broken up into 10 minute segments as that's the longest allowed on there.

Re: Emule. I use the 'official' distribution, not sure if there are any speed differences between that and Verycd's own. I think ipsi mentioned another version further up the topic.

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renzhe
Might be wise, we could shift it into the TV Series forum dating back from our 中国式离婚 period.

I think that's a good idea. It is a learning resource, after all. I'd sticky this thread, and let it act as some sort of index into threads covering different popular TV shows. Good resource for people new to the forum looking to try their hand at watching stuff.

(incidentally, anyone want to start a movie watching equivalent? One per week?)

That's a great idea, but I think that the same people who are watching these TV shows would be watching that, and there's enough work as it is. Perhaps the next grand project?

And any eDonkey-compatible program should work for downloading. I've used MLDonkey, and I've also tried aMule, and they both work very well on verycd links. They don't include the integrated verycd search, but that's a minor thing.

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Lu
(incidentally, anyone want to start a movie watching equivalent? One per week?)

Most major new Chinese movies quickly get their own thread with discussion as it is now. That's usually more about content than about language, but no one is stopping anyone from discussing language issues there. I don't think it's necessary to start a Grand Project for it.

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roddy

Ok, we've only got one and a half weeks of stuff left on the schedule - 好想好想谈恋爱, 暗算 and 编辑部的故事. Would anyone like to make some suggestions for other shows before I go and pick some at random?

I'm also about to move all First Episode threads into the dormant TV Series forum, which I'll be renaming as something suitably grand.

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imron

I suggest also throwing in 中国式离婚 and 北京人在纽约 for those whose missed them the first time round. Might as well put in 金婚 while you're at it too.

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renzhe

I've been promised a list of good shows as soon as the person in question returns from a trip next week. Should be before we run out of stuff in any case. I have a recommendation at home too.

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