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The 2014 Aims and Objectives Progress Thread

Meng Lelan

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In August 2010 I decided to moved to Guangzhou for one year. Four years later, I work part time as an tutor and English teacher at Guangdong Pharmaceutical University. Learning how to teach a language has taught me a wealth of information. And while teaching English isn't my dream job it certainly is my wife's dream. She teaches academic writing to English and translation majors at Guangzhou University. She absolutely loves her job here. She is respected by her students and foriegn English teachers alike as she is "the real" English teacher at GZ . lol.


I made the decision to invest more time and hard work studying Chinese since we chose to live here long term. I decided to study for the HSK 3. Surprisingly, I actually passed with a 91 in listening, 88 in reading, and a 96 in writing. This was the make or break my desire to learn Mandarin further. I am now studying for the HSK 4 and eventually 5.


During this journey I realized that it has never been easier to learn Chinese. Even though language learning still requires tons of diligence and hard work, with tools like Chinese Forums, Chinese Grammar Wiki, Pleco, and others, I believe learning Chinese has never been more easily achievable than in it is today in 2014.


My goals for 2014:


Pass HSK 4 by August and  HSK 5 by December with a score of 272 or higher. I want an A, not this I barely passed with an 180 score.


To achieve this I will do two 30 minute SRS flashcards daily. I use Sticky Study app.

Do one practice mock HSK test Monday though Friday.

Continue doing the e-Putonghua daily dialogue on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX-YkTWRPEVVA_U2XO0GX_g

Go to three Chinese classes a week.


All of these I'm already doing. I'm a bit hungry to learn.
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Now that it's summer, I've got lots of time to catch up on my Chinese!

I teach English during the school year, so I rarely get to focus on my Chinese.

I've mostly learned through shopping and chitchatting.


I want to invest at least 4 hours a day to improving my Chinese.


Here are some of my ideas for studying over the summer:

a. go through one chapter a week in QingSong HanYu first book (dialogues)

b. learn one sentence a day using e-Putonghua daily dialogue on youtube, review at the end of the week.

c. watch the same movie clip everyday for one week then change the movie clip for the next week (dialogues)

d. write characters for 30 minutes, twice a day (handwritting)

e. play chinese games and apps, like Pleco, for 30 minutes, twice a day

f. take HSK 3 practice test once a week


I've never thrown myself into studying Chinese, but now I feel I have a good understanding of tones (even though I still struggle with hearing the 3rd tone) since I've lived in China 3.5 years. My husband and friends will tutor and correct me, so I'm not alone : )


I'm excited to see how much I can grow in the next few months.

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I guess it was considered too sensitive to include in the movie

I haven't seen the movie in ages but I don't recall anything particularly sensitive happening - just playing ping pong.  Not sure what could be so bad about that.

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I'll throw in my goals for fun:


Get 一乙,but will be more than happy with 二甲 on the 普通话水平测试


Improve my translation and simultaneous interpreting abilities.


Finish my Ming/Qing literature reading list: 3/10 finished. Roughly halfway through the 4th.


Apply for grad school.


Going to need to work hard over the next six months!

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Re: Forrest Gump... here's the only thing I could find that was possibly not nice about China.



I thought I was going back to Vietnam, but instead they decided


the best way for me to fight the Communists was to play Ping-Pong


... later ...


你能不能告诉我们 嗯 中国是怎么样的?

Can you tell us,um, what was China like?


In the land of China...people hardly got nothin'at all.


No possessions?

在中国 他们不去教堂

And in China,they never go to church.


No religion,too?


Hard to imagine.

嗯 只要你肯试着想象 迪克

Well,it's easy if you try,Dick.


Dialog doesn't seem so bad, not sure what the video was like it has been over a decade since I saw it.

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Goals for June: finish school (and do well), study Japanese, don't go crazy, get ready for the move to Tokyo.


Finished school. Did well. I have one paper to finish, but it shouldn't be a big deal. I mostly maintained my Japanese, didn't really study much though. I did spend some time planning for how I'll be studying in Japan. Managed not to go crazy, as far as I know. And we're now moved out of our apartment and into a friend's place until we move to Tokyo at the end of July. All I really have left to do is ship my stuff. So, a successful month altogether.


I finally started my programming project back up. Well, not really programming yet I guess. I'm working on learning Unix and shell scripting, as well as regular expressions. Those will be the most useful things for me right now.


Goals for July: finish the paper for my dialectology class, enjoy my remaining time in Taiwan, study some Japanese. Once I get settled there, I'll have a better idea of how my days will go as far as work and study.

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oh, it's the end of the month already...


In June,

Chinese: about 10 hours, mainly SRS and listening. And in addition, passive listening and toying with chengyus a little. I also started reviewing/learning the 100 most common surnames and I intend to learn/review some place names after that.

Other languages: almost nothing.


I should be done with HSK5 vocabulary recognition this summer and then I'll have to think about where to go from there. On the one hand, I really should consolidate and practice active skills such as writing and speaking. On the other hand, is it really a good idea to stop something that goes reasonably well? my current system for HSK5 words will work as well for HSK6 words...

Also I have been thinking about selecting one textbook and keeping at it until I reach the last page... also not one of my strong points. In my dreams, in finish my 科普汉语听记 book, and then a 报刊阅读 book and a 新闻听力 book and a 写作 book... :roll:


About culture classes at a university in the fall: my big worry is that throughout my studies, history and geography (and that mandatory philosophy class...) were my worst subjects. I'm afraid I just don't know how to learn such subjects and write the exams in the format required by the French education system... so it might not be worth it to spend money and vacation days on that.


Anyway, in July I really need to get back on track with Spanish and English, a little bit everyday, and see whether I can stick to a Chinese textbook.

And read "Un chino en bicicleta" which is supposed to be "la historia más hilarante que se ha escrito sobre la inmigración china en Argentina". But I'm afraid it may be somewhat above my level from the first few pages I read. It had better get very very funny very very quickly.


Now I should study a little bit and go to bed at a decent hour. Unfortunately I'm afraid I'm just going to have to watch Germany vs Algeria and go to bed at midnight or later :P

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Been absent a while (my dumb unicom connection), my attempt at reading one of skylee's short novels was an epic fail but I've been reading the school paper (does that count?). My spanish has made a comeback thanks to portugese so there's still some hope.


I manged to hack a video player together in the winter break but I haven't touched it months, probably need to join an open source project to keep occupied on that end.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello everyone,

My aims and goals are (for Chinese :) ):

  • Acquire 3000+ Vocabulary (It's at ~2000 now). Aiming for finishing HSK 5 Vocabulary list.
  • Start talking more in Chinese to my Chinese friends
  • Make the most out of a trip to mainland China this year for a few weeks
  • Start listening to Chinese podcasts more (I can finally understand most of it)
  • Start reading some Chinese texts
  • Start watching Qin's Moon (Looks awesome!)
  • Think more in Chinese
  • Incorporate some Cantonese into my otherwise Mandarin conversations (with those who know Canto. of course :P)
  • I'm thinking of starting a language blog and forcing my friends to read it :twisted:

Probably the most important is getting confident speaking in another language. I have the vocabulary to express myself for many situations (I know because I think of what to say) but cannot bring myself to say anything out of fear of embarassment. 很丢脸 XD

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just totted up the character counts from the books I have read in the last year.


I have reached the quota of my six month plan of one million characters per period for the previous two six month periods. Hitting this target included no recycling of old books, theft of others reading totals, misreporting to higher authorities or other similar reactionary or actionary actions. Books in this period include 家、春、人生、围城、一九八四、美丽新世界、我们、第七天 as well as other books of differing lengths and myriad complexities that are currently misplaced in my databanks.


In light of this great triumph, magnificent harvest and the various attendant glories it brings to the leadership and masses of the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat of the mind, it has been deliberated, discussed, decided and announced that quotas will rise by a minimum of 50% for the next period. 

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it has been deliberated, discussed, decided and announced that quotas will rise by a minimum of 50% for the next period.

I'm not sure what your reading speed is like, but It might be worth spending some time trying to increase your reading speed.  A 50% increase in reading speed (quite doable for most people) would enable you to hit your target without spending any extra time on reading.

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Thanks Imron,


Reading speed is coming along, it's really very dependent on tiredness, difficulty of text and interest in text.


I'll have a go at your regimented exercises.


My main problem at the moment is more blocking out external interference, ie. reading in a room with conversation and tv on rather than needing to be by myself in another room. Once I can do that, I'll be much happier. Reading is intrinsically an anti-social activity, especially if surrounded by non-readers.


What I have been doing to up the speed have been mainly things like, finish this chapter before end of lunch break, before I can smoke etc. It works quite well.


For the first several chapters of 平凡的世界,你是我地小苹果 was on loop (I was on a train), even though the book is quite easy, I found myself having to read certain sections again, if just to check that nobody talking actually said 你是我地小苹果。。。

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Reading speed is coming along, it's really very dependent on tiredness, difficulty of text and interest in text.

That's definitely true, which is why choosing the right content is important when doing those drills, but the effect of these things is also dependent on your baseline speed.  E.g. if you can read at 400 cpm normally but are tired, your speed might drop to 200, whereas if you normally read at 200 cpm then it might drop to 100.


My experience has been that upping your baseline will generally have a positive effect on reading speed, even in sub-optimal conditions.

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