Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

Mekkalomp

mission impossible: 300-400 characters a month?

Recommended Posts

Jaxx Morton

This is totally possible I think I might be doing it right now actually. I memorize between 30-40 words per day. However, I am currently on taking a gap year in Changzhou, China through a NSLI-Y scholarship so legit all I do all day, school day is 7 AM to 6 PM, is learn Chinese. 

 

@GotJack I do both of those together and I think that works best. My theory is that use as many methods as you can think of to memorize words, anywhere from yelling them at random to writing sentences that include them. Its all about experiencing the word as many times and in as many different ways as possible. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

Sue Ottawa

I do not like/find useful writing characters again and again. I think up a story for each new character. For example to learn 照片(zhao pian photograh/picture) I look a the component parts of the character and make up a story. Here 照 is made up of day, a knife, mouth, and fire. My story is: Never let yourself be photographed with a knife in your mouth of your mum will light a fire under you for stupidity. For the 片character I just know I don't want a picture of me sitting on a chair like this. Not sure what it is supposed to be but that is how I remember it. When I discovered that 片is also used to indicate a slice of bread as opposed to a lump or loaf, I remembered I do not want to eat a slice of bread on a chair like this.

 

I should mention that my adverage character memorization rate is 3/day for 1 and half years. However, I learn all composite words that look useful that contain characters I already know at the same time. I also hand write a 100 character essay a day, ,work on my grammer, reading comprehension, and read aloud (characters with no pinyin) every day. About  1 to 2 hours work. I seem to just about never forget a character a week after learning it. I think my way of learning is more fun than flash cards. I have no idea how many multi sylable words I know. I have also never looked at the HSK lists, something I will look at soon. 

 

I think different methods work better for different people, and suggest you experiment with different methods and combinations to find what is best for you. I find my mood of the day influences exactly how much time I spend on what activities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
smartmandarin

In my personal opinion, the amount of your vocab. doesn't matter.

But the ability of using your vocabs MATTERS!

 

Imagine thereare two differnt kinds of people

 

One who knows tons of words in Chinese, but not know how to use in different contexts, or not know how to have an appropriate Chinese conversation.

 

The other one who doesn't know as much vocab. as others, but can fully use all his vocab. in a right context, and make people understand what he tries to say with a  limited word bank.

 

To me, I'd rather to be the second perosn. Learning a language sometimes is not about how many words you know, but how well can you speak and express yourself in a different language.

 

:)

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tysond

While vocab is super useful and I wouldn't write off the value of having 5000 words at your disposal, I think I would agree I have found it very useful to have a solid understanding of very simple words and how they combine to create meaning, especially while speaking.

 

A great example of this I read somewhere was asking - can you explain how to button up a shirt in your language (in a natural way)?  There's not a lot of specialized vocabulary required -- it's a relatively complex task that needs a simple vocabulary, combined in interesting ways, to explain.

 

Learning ten words about nuclear reactors is much easier than this... but probably much less useful.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
roddy

Agreed. Way back I was having a pretty decent phone conversation, right up to the point where I got completely stuck when I needed to say 'hang on, I need to untangle my headphones'

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Touchstone57

Like people have said, it is definitely possible to learn 300 - 400 characters in a month. 6 months previously I was doing a minimum of 20 characters (sometimes 30) per day until I reached 1500. As long as you remember why you are doing it. As I already had intermediate level speaking it wasn't too difficult to build up good reading skills by associating meaning with the characters, combined with SRS and regular usage it is worthwhile. 

 

But you can burn out if you are building up massive amounts of vocab without using them, without building strong links with usage and context. What I love about learning Chinese is learning how to learn - the whole process has taught me a lot, and if you have a bit of an interest in neuroscience there are some interesting articles about the study of learning. Chunks of information with strong links and associations with each other is how the brain is wired (semantic memory) and works best when applied to learning. 

 

Recently I kept coming across the idea of fluency from the beginning - (not native fluency). but fluency in what you have acquired already. This could mean having a small base vocab but learning the hundreds of different contexts that it can be used in, and building from that. I read the whole level 1 of Chinese Breeze books, which each use 300 base words, and it is really useful as it uses the same words with high frequency and in different contexts - all building up fluency with those 300 words. It fits in with what was said above - eg. getting your hair cut (short on the sides, long on top, a bit longer here, more even here - harder than I thought but all with simple vocab!). 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sparrow

I would focus on 300–400 WORDS per month. This is extremely easy and will give you a lot more utility—10–15 words per day is not bad at all. When I was in China, there were several days where I had to learn +30 new words by the next day for a 听写. It's not too spend 5 minutes several times a day writing words, and you write each word one to three times, depending on your familiarity.

 

Characters by themselves are often useless because single-character words in Mandarin are the minority.

 

To be more specific, for another thread, I just analyzed the HSK vocab lists for how many words are multi-character. 86% are multi-character out of the nearly 5000 words on all the new HSK lists. And if you look at the 10,000 most frequent words in Mandarin, that number probably skyrockets to +95%.

 

Here are the results, broken down by HSK Vocab List.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...