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luminormarina

Advice for a heritage speaker?

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luminormarina

Hi everyone,

This is my first post on the forums! To give a quick intro, I was born to a Mandarin-speaking family and grew up speaking/listening. I consider myself to be pretty fluent although spending 3 years away from home (university) has led my skills to be slightly dulled. Last summer, I spent 2.5 months at BLCU studying some advanced Chinese. At the end of the program, I was very proficient (compared to my somewhat dismal capabilities before)... however, I've managed to lose all of that once I went back to school and hopped on my internship.

My question is, what are some ways to "relearn" Chinese. My main problem is that I already speak/listen at a pretty high level - how can I learn reading/writing?

I would appreciate any suggestions..

Best,

David

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skylee

Do you mean you want to "learn" or "re-learn" reading and writing?

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imron

Unfortunately the best answer is probably going to be: with a newspaper, a dictionary, a flashcard program and regular, continual practice.

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skylee

hmm ... #4 reminds me of a comment someone made on 23 April.

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Hofmann

Hehe...certainly. You can practice the shit out of yourself and still be a n00b if you practice the wrong material or practice inefficiently.

Do you have any friends that primarily use Chinese that you can keep in touch with? Are there any hobbies or projects you do that have a Chinese-using community you can talk to? For instance, I like to study calligraphy, and there are materials and discussion boards that focus on it. (But I just found out that one just prevented unregistered users from reading it. Fail.) The nature of calligraphy also gives me in-depth writing practice.

Or perhaps you like playing video games. There's a thread about Chinese translations of video games somewhere. There's also a comic reading group here. Although it's not writing practice, reading directly benefits writing (And I hope you believe me because I'm to lazy to dig out a source now).

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feihong

The gaming project is here: http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/32078-the-grand-gaming-project/

The comic project is here: http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/27354-grand-comic-reading-project/

Personally, I think you should consider taking more courses. I grew up speaking some Mandarin, but couldn't really find the motivation to teach myself reading and writing. Only after I took a college course and learned the basics could I embark on a self-learning program. After that it wasn't too hard, since I just kept playing video games until I reached 2000+ characters, after which I started reading comics.

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luminormarina

Sky, yeah I want to raise my skills above and beyond their previous level. I don't think I ever achieved true 'proficiency' in reading and writing, nowhere near the level I would like it to be at.

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luminormarina

Totally know the concept of "practice, practice, practice" - but I'm honestly not sure where to begin for someone like me. It seems like a lot of the material is geared torwards people who need to learn how to speak and read (assuming both are at the same level).

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luminormarina

Thanks everyone for the replies - much appreciated.

I like the ideas of looking at 'unconventional' ways of practicing/learning Chinese (AKA gaming/comics). At this point I'm really not prioritizing writing as much as being able to read, as being able to type would be satisfying enough :)

I'd love to take courses, just not sure when or where I can do it at this point. Pretty much jam packed schedule at my university - it'd be impossible to take an additional course without overloading courses or delaying graduation :(

Any other helpful suggestions would be great!

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yialanliu

I am in the same boat.

I just read read and read. Xinhua news is good especially if you use http://www.popjisyo.com/WebHint/Portal_e.aspx

I personally think if you can read and are fluent(speaking and listening), you can type which is great to do before you start writing.

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luminormarina

Wow sorry about that long string of approved posts. I meant to quote each one of you in a reply but I guess the approval thing screwed it up.

Keep those suggestions coming :)

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yellowpower

Hi

your problem about retention of what you've learned is a common problem and a thorn in my side at times. The old adage, use it or lose it.

For me, instead of just re-reading the textbooks or reviewing vocabulary learned, I practice writing expressions or vocabulary on paper a couple of times. Sometimes reading the texts out aloud is helpful as well.

Another suggestion by a former teacher, was to google important vocabulary and see how they are used in different contexts and different sentences. Sometimes the added clarity can be a great memory aid.

The other thing is that if you have audio recordings of your texts studied, load it up into MPS player or IPhone, etc and listen to it repeatedly. It's like learning a song.

I also find listening to AM Chinese radio stations or Internet radio and watching out for the learned vocabulary...and it's always a thrill to catch some of the words and more.

I'm a heritage speaker background too...Was wondering about BLCU advanced chinese classes and deciding still whether to take the plunge or not...is it true that they separate students who are heritage speakers (studied Chinese as a second language) or rather do they attend a different set of classes?.

Can you share if there is any emphasis on developing chinese written skills (business letters, memos, academic papers, different styles of composition/essay writing). How and what was the style of teaching (is it mostly drills, vocabulary memorisation and exercises) and what about the textbooks used? Is it possible to do a degree in Chinese after completing the advanced chinese course at BLCU?

Thanks...

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