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andrespi

Mandarin course at university: extremely hard

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Lugubert

(continued from #18)

Later in life, I bought a hand-held and Plecodict. Way more forgiving handwriting than Wenlin, but I still find identifying radicals an indispensable tool especially for complex and crowded characters. I wish, though, that I could find a pocket something that allows more than one character at a time for look-ups.

Slightly aside, do any of you guys know of a decent English manual for WaKan?

On "mixed" classes: We might find it unfair that some indigenous speakers will find our chosen study language easier then us. But University isn't about equivalent chances to pass, but producing passes on a constant level. You may think that people of Chinese first language handle Chinese better than you, but not all of them will produce top quality Chinese to English translations, and quite a few of them will probably encounter problems in adapting their language/dialect to the Modern Standard Chinese that the curriculum perhaps is supposed to teach.

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rebor

My first semester I didn't use SRS. I constantly felt overwhelmed and like I was forgetting more old vocabulary than I was learning new, despite studying a lot. This second semester I've used Skritter, and I feel like my knowledge is constantly expanding. What's more I'm never stressed about forgetting words, because I have a system that will pick up the words I forget sooner or later. This has already been said, but 40 characters a week is only a few words per day. Between doing reviews and learning the new ones, I think half an hour would suffice, forty-five minutes at the most. I don't find it too surprising that most universities don't teach their students of Chinese how to use Anki or the like, based on previous experiences. Why I can only guess, perhaps the teachers aren't too familiar with SRS, or they just assume that all students use it.

Give it a try if you haven't! I think you will find that SRS frees up a lot of time for doing stuff other than characters, and that you might come to find the level to be suitable or even a bit too easy.

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imron

Skritter also has all the vocab for various different text books set and ready to go, so just tell it you're learning NPCR and you won't even have to worry about flashcard creation.

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外国赤佬

Chinese cannot be learned in a classroom environment only. That's why you were actually relocated to China. Immersion is essential and you blew your chance.

I passed HSK5 (271/300 points) (I guess I must know 2000-3000 characters then) only after 1.5 years in China, from complete zero knowledge of Chinese. Surround yourself with Chinese friends, watch TV, chat on QQ, do anything you can that immerses you in Chinese.

Personally, I don't like Anki, Skritter or other SRS methods because there's no tangible short-term "reward" which is essential for my motivation. Trying to chat up a girl is much more rewarding for me. And no, it's not that simple. She could talk to you on any number of topics, including economics, sociology, psychology, ancient Chinese poetry or her favorite dog breed. You're trying your best to keep with her and immediately notice your vocabulary growing very, very fast (and you actually learn how to use the words in the RL environment instead of just drilling them, like what you get with Anki et al).

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andrespi

@ 外国赤佬 : I'm not sure if I understand your first sentence. (I don't know how to quote on this forum, i can't find a button to quote other people).

I was never relocated in China (I live in UK and I have never even been to china) and being in london it's a bit hard to immerse myself, considering that it is a joint degree (half chinese and half IR, but lectures are completely in english). Also I mean surrounding myself with chinese friends; yeah it's a good advice, but let's be honest how am I supposed to do that? (sure there a lot of chinese people in london, but still it's not that easy, and even if I met one, i mean it's not like I could speak much to them).

also about the characters you learned in 1,5 years; mine was in 8 months while doing also multiple presentations and essays for IR, and while being in UK, so not immersed in a chinese environment. I can understand that 700 characters may not be much for you, but yeah let's not forget that this was a joint honours degree, 50% chinese and 50% IR (so it wasn't a full chinese degree; I was supposed to do/learn half chinese modules compared to single honours chinese, because 50% of the degree was IR/politics modules). Also as i said I never stopped revising even during the breaks, but of course during the breaks I have also essays to prepare, so it's not like we can just focus 24/24 on Chinese.

Yeah, also about watching chinese tv, yeah sure I could watch a few hours on streaming of chinese programme on the internet (never tried during this year), but I mean it's not that easy while you live in UK and study full time and try to look for work.

Anyway I will try to use more flashcards, maybe that will help; which I used to be honest during the second semester but maybe not enough (even though the teachers never told us to use them). Thanks everybody.

@ li3wei1:

so the Open University chinese first year course covers 500 characters? yeah, that seems more reasonable, it would have meant a lot less workload for me. When I will go talking with my personal tutor (to discuss my situation) I will mention it.

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imron
Anyway I will try to use more flashcards

Just to make sure we're on the same page, be sure to use software for this rather than actual physical flashcards :mrgreen:

You should also seriously consider Pleco with the flashcard module and also the ABC dictionary. It costs money, and its flashcard format may not be as flexible as something like Anki, which is free, but it has the benefit that flashcard maintenance time is effectively zero. Look up a word in the dictionary, and then press a button and it's added to your flashcard list. As mentioned above, many people also have good things to say about Skritter.

Finally, for quotes, surround the text you want to quote with [ quote ] [ /quote ] tags, or click the 'text-bubble' icon on the toolbar when replying (2nd toolbar, 7th from the right).

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andrespi
Just to make sure we're on the same page, be sure to use software for this rather than actual physical flashcards :mrgreen:

You should also seriously consider Pleco with the flashcard module and also the ABC dictionary. It costs money, and its flashcard format may not be as flexible as something like Anki, which is free, but it has the benefit that flashcard maintenance time is effectively zero. Look up a word in the dictionary, and then press a button and it's added to your flashcard list. As mentioned above, many people also have good things to say about Skritter.

Finally, for quotes, surround the text you want to quote with [ quote ] [ /quote ] tags, or click the 'text-bubble' icon on the toolbar when replying (2nd toolbar, 7th from the right).

Yeah I never used software flashcards, only paper.

I'm looking the websites you linked; they seem great. Maybe that's part of the problem, I always used paper flashcards during the last year, not electronic ones.

I will try them (even though 40$ is really a lot for my budget), thanks again.

P.S.: thanks also for the quote explanation.

Anyway I think I will just probably drop chinese from my degree and switch to single honours IR, and study Chinese as an evening or optional course if I have time (so outside uni or outside the degree). I can't risk getting a bad score next year (since it would count for the final degree classification).

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imron

There is also Anki, which is free, however it will take more time to enter the flashcards in manually.

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jkhsu

@andrespi: Don't feel bad about dropping the Chinese part of course. When I was in undergrad, I wanted to take Chinese but was told it was really hard. Ultimately, I decided not to take it because I wanted to spend more time on my major (Chinese was not my major) and work on getting a better GPA. I was able to find some time later in life to take some classes and study on my own when I didn't have the pressure to graduate with a degree, etc. The great thing for you is that you really don't need to take any more formal classes. With the resources available online, you can learn on your own and at your own pace. Good luck.

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HusbandOfWuhan

All I can say is that if you had me as a personal tutor, I could've got you through all that they didn't tell you. I'll tell you everything I know. I got a HD in my second year Chinese at uni. But pity you're not anywhere near me. The uni didn't explicitly teach us about radicals or how to look up words in a Chinese dictionary either. At that time, we didn't even have good internet websites that we have now. We just asked more experienced people. If you have a nice native friend, they will tell you this or that. Sometimes it's who you know, not what you know. Hope that helps.

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abcdefg

There is no shame in a strategic retreat from a project you can't handle just now. You don't need permission from this or any other forum.

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