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Shi Tong

South East England Chinese learners

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Shi Tong

Hello..

This forum has been great for looking at all kinds of new things and is really helpful when you're trying to think of new methods for learning stuff.

I was wondering though, weather or not there were any London/ South East England based people in the UK who were learning Mandarin and wanted to exchange ideas etc.. my main problem is that I'm not a beginner and I'm not an anvanced learner (especially with writing), so I feel I cant go to beginner lessons to learn the basics I know from 10 years ago and I cant go to intermediate.. I need to learn to write and seeing other people's learning material and books might be helpful- especially if I can find out how useful those have been to other students.

Same the other way around for those who might want to contact me- I might be able to direct people the right way in terms of what they're struggling with.. so is anyone around who thinks this might be a good idea?

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johnk

Hi,

I am in south east England (live in Bershire and work in Oxon) and I have been self studying Mandarin for about 2 years now.

Like many in my situation, I have no real idea of my level. I did the HSK level 1 at SOAS last May and I feel I should have passed it easily. I could do the practice tests up to level 3. Right now I am trying to enroll in one of the SOAS intensive summer courses but there is some doubt about whether the intermediate course will run or not. I am not sure if I want to do the beginner level course, though I probably will if it is the only course available. I am also considering the an oxford university course as described here..

Up to now my study routine consists of:

*) arrive in work an hour early and study my text books. I use 'Elementary Chinese Readers' (ISBN 7-80052-135-4). I usually just copy out the text and try to do the exercises. I do about 1 lesson a week - sometimes less.

*) At home after work, I normally browse to nciku.com or www.china.org.cn/learning_chinese/index.htm and transscribe and translate a text with the help of mdbg.net.

*) Driving to and from work, I listen to CDs - I started with teach yourself Chinese and the fsi recordings. I have recently bought the 'Graded Chinese Reader' books and I now listen to the recordings that came with the first book.

I know quite a few native speakers. While I can ask for help on specific points, most people don't have the time / patience / experience to teach me. If I got to the point where I could hold a conversation, then I probably could have lots of practice partners. But getting to conversational level is difficult.

That is more or less my study routine. As you can see, it is biased toward writing. I write a about 3-4 A5 pages of hanzi per day. My speaking is terrible. My listening skills are not great either, real people speaking is a lot different from recordings. Even my reading skills are not very good.

All in all this is a lot of work and I will have to cut down on it to concentrate on doing employment stuff soon.

The important thing is I now believe that learning Chinese is possible - I wasn't quite sure before.

regards,

JohnK

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Farkas

Yes,as a native speaker of chinese,I think the experience of teaching foreign learners is important.We can speak Mandarin and conmunicate with others without any diffcult,but if you want us to explain why must say like this or that,the teachers must have more knowledge about lanuage tips,only in this way can we make you more clearly.In fact ,it's diffcult.What you should do is just repeat,like child,when we were young,we just follow the others' voice and repeat,once,twice,and so on.we need study hard,at the same time,many questions don't need to ask,just remember it and the next time when you face the same problem you can repeat.that's all right,you know how to use it.

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Shi Tong

You're quite a way away from me johnk, I live in Caterham in Surrey, which is probably a good couple of hours drive away from you.

I suffer the opposite problem from yourself- I find conversation, listening and speaking very easy.. I'd like to know how you manage to learn Chinese characters, as it's driving me mad!! ;)

Either way, keep in touch.. I'll take a look at your methods you mentioned above and see if I can help myself some more.

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johnk
I'd like to know how you manage to learn Chinese characters, as it's driving me mad!!

That's easy. Get some Chinese exercise books (田格本 or 抄书本) - I got mine from the guanghwa bookshop in London's china town.

Pick a random sentence and get MDBG to translate it for you. You are not really interested in the translation but in the individual characters displayed below the translation. Copy the sentence (characters) to the exercise book. Mdbg has a drawing applet that will draw any characters you are not sure of.

In the beginning, I was using the mdbg drawing applet to draw most characters, and I used 田格本 (squared paper) exercise books. Now I use an ordinary A5 pad and I rarely

need mdbg to show me how to write a character.

It gets easier with practice.

For example, my friend's name is ming chao. I knew how to write 'ming' but not 'chao'. My friend explained that chao is zuo (to go) on the left with dao (knife) over kou (mouth) on the right. I found I could write the character based on that description.

I guess it helps that I find writing hanzi relaxing.

I don't worry about setting goals or even remembering stuff. I reckon that if I write the same character enough times it will 'stick' eventually.

regards,

JohnK

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Shi Tong

Hello John,

Thanks for your thoughts.. definately useful.

I've found that the rote learning I am doing is pushed to it's limit, and while I can read well to about 700 words right now, learning to write more is just leading to me writing things wrong, or remembering them wrong.

The one thing I'm finding good though, is that I can READ the characters I learned to write before, regardless of weather or not I can reproduce it when writing, which is why I'm considering getting some really simple books and learning to read lots more. I will probably NEED to write the characters out sometimes so that I can see the different "bits" of the character *(a bit like you seeing that chao1 was written as 走 with a 刀 and a 口)*

This kind of memory key for me, I feel is the key to the whole language-- with those kinds of promts put to mind I can remember how to write.. one of my favorites is 休.. a person leaning on a tree (for a rest).

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