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No vocal Chinese contact, and bad memory.


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Hello, errbody.

So, I live in Florida, America. I began to learn Chinese about three years ago. I am now picking up Chinese after a long absence. I know the language. For instance, I know most of the grammar rules, I know the sentence structure, and I know how to use the tones. My vocabulary is very basic. I have trouble memorizing Chinese characters.

I have never held a full conversation in Mandarin. I am very good with languages, and not to insult, because I love the language, but I sometimes feel as if, I need a private tutor, constant Chinese conversation, and non-stop studying, to become efficient in speaking and reading/writing Chinese.

So my question is, does anyone have any advice, on speeding up, my learning, while becoming more efficient in my studying routines? I do not know many good websites, other than the About.com Chinese web site.

Also, I have recently been reading about Zhuyin Fuhao, or BoBoMoFo. I read in an article that said it is used for school children, for basic knowledge, learning how to use a dictionary, and *so they can write words they only know the vocal form of.*

So my second question is: Is the last statement true. If so, would this mean, I could use Zhuyin similar to how the Arabic writing system works, as in the alphabet is non Latin Characters, and they are placed together to make one word, which sounds like the sounds of the Zhuyin Alphabet?

If so, I would think this would be far more efficient, than learning how to say a word with PINYIN, and what the word looks like as a character, independently, but at the same time.

I really need advice, so I appreciate any input.

Thank you.

Katherine V. London.

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Unless you are planning to go to/ deal with Taiwan instead of Mainland China, I would suggest you study using Pinyin. You'll love it once you get into it.

For listening practice, http://popupchinese.com/ or www.chinesepod.com are good, as well as many others.

For learning to read/write characters, I love www.skritter.com

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Well, I thank you for the advice, and I will look at the links.

However, I already know PINYIN. I do not dislike it, and it is easy to me. I just do not like how it has like nothing to do with the character writing and reading system of Chinese.

I cannot look at a character and know what it says, even without knowing what it means. I was wondering if I can do that, if I know Zhuyin. Considering Zhuyin is an alphabet based on the Chinese characters. With Zhuyin, can one compose a word in Chinese based on two or three Zhuyin letters, and learn to read a Chinese character and know what it sounds like, without having to know the definition previously?

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Zhuyin Fuhao (a.k.a. bopomofo) is a transcription system similar to pinyin, with the only difference being that it's not a romanisation using Western letters. It uses specially designed symbols to represent the sounds of Mandarin, but this does not mean it carries any advantages over learning Chinese by using pinyin, as those symbols have nothing to do with Chinese characters, roughly speaking.

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With Zhuyin, can one compose a word in Chinese based on two or three Zhuyin letters, and learn to read a Chinese character and know what it sounds like, without having to know the definition previously?

No, Zhuyin is basically just pinyin using a different (non-latin) alphabet. It won't help you read a word (either the pronunciation or meaning) if you just look at the character, and more or less won't give you anything that you don't already get with pinyin.

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There's no way around studying characters if you want to read. There are tools to make it easier and books that explain it well, but it's still work.

Zhuyin Fuhao will help you as much as pinyin or Cyrillic alphabet will. In other words, none.

Otherwise, you can use TV shows for listening practice and vocabulary, if your level is high enough already.

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However, you can get children's books here in Taiwan with zhuyin fuhao marks next to the characters that'll help you read them. There are also newspapers that include bopomofo, aimed at schoolchildren. So that might be worth looking into. Although I'm sure you could get something similar with pinyin next to the characters, which would be easier if you already know pinyin.

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Thank you all for your advice. I find this forum very useful.

Until recently, I had not been studying Chinese for quite some time, and decided to begin studying again, as I certainly love the Chinese language, and culture.

I have now begun doing one lesson a day of the Practical Chinese Reader book one, which I have had for a few years, but have not worked on making it a habit, to do my lessons.

I find routine learning the Chinese language, helps me to gain vocabulary, and improve my language skills. Also, someone's advice to me of writing Chinese is the best way to learn, and memorize. Which I find true!

As for Zhuyin, and PINYIN. I understand PINYIN, and it works okay for moi. However, I found it difficult to focus on PINYIN and Chinese Characters. With routine studying I am reminded that it is not as difficult if I set my mind to it.

So, thank you, and others in my life, to help me remember that practice, practice, practice really pays off.

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With routine studying I am reminded that it is not as difficult if I set my mind to it.

That's definitely true. Studying characters, especially, might seem daunting in the beginning, but it gets easier as your studies progress. I still recall how difficult I thought it was to write 你好 in characters when I just began studying. The more you study and practice, the more you get used to it. Best of luck! :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

For characters:Not sure how much an internet person you are, but have you tried chatting online via MSN? Also, the ultimate online study tool of course is a kaixinwang (Chinese Facebook if you want) account, get a farm and start planting vegetables.

And keep in mind, today it is all about writing characters on your computer. I have been pretty much exclusively using Chinese at work now for 3 years, but I do not remember having written a single character by hand during that time..

For listening:

Chinese soap operas (if you like soap operas that is). Its very basic day to day Chinese (who loves whom, who hates whom, who has more money, who slept with whos wife etc.) so they are pretty easy to understand (even if you dont get exactely what they said, the wife throwing half the kitchen at her husband, while his girlfriend hides under the sheets explains the situation rather well). They are easy and cheap to get in China of course, not sure about Florida though.

If you dont like, soap operas, try movies or Chinese online radio (though both are usually more challenging).

For speaking:

When I was back home for some time and wanted to keep up my Chinese, I joined the local Austrian Chinese students website (there is one for Florida I am sure), started chatting there and then went out for dinner with them etc. Chinesethere will be very happy to help you if you speak Chinese to them (which doesnt happen every day in the US I am sure)


Also, though I never used it, chinesepod made a pretty good impression on me when I looked at their website.

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Thank you for the advice. I love the internet. Unfortunately, I do not have internet at my house since a couple of weeks ago, so I visit the Public Library for their limited internet. Which means no Chinese Characters. I think I will fix my Mother's netbook to display Chinese characters and install the IME's.

Haha. I love soap operas. Not the American cheesy ones, but like Desperate Housewives. I may look into that once I get my home internet back. Also, I found the webside I think it is called, youku.com, and when I try to watch a video on there, it says that the clip is blocked in my region or some such thing.

I know quite a few Chinese people, who would gladly go to dinner with me, and talk to me in Chinese. Although, they all live on the other side of Earth. I had tried to get people to use Skype, but again, now I do not have internet that provides me privacy.

Well, on the aspect of my original post, I had not studied Chinese in like a year, and wanted to keep learning but was feeling a bit out of touch. So I began learning from my Practical Chinese Reader everyday, and as I no longer have internet or television, and am yet to gain employment, I certainly have plenty of time to study. So my Chinese knowlege is going up by the day. I have attained a quite well handwriting, as I only write Chinese by hand (no internet). I signed up for Chinese Pod, and I did like it, as I like the Pimsleur CD's. However I wish to learn to read and write as I learn a langugage, rather than knowing words, without being able to read street signs, Et Cetera.

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No, but if foreign IP addresses are blocked from viewing, then it makes it harder for MPAA lawyers based overseas to find infringing works on these sharing sites, and if Americans aren't able to view programs on these sites, it also keeps them off the MPAA's radar.

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