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Where to purchase audio for textbook "thought and society" (used at IUP, ICLP, MTC...)

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mouse
7 minutes ago, realmayo said:

No one needs textbooks at any stage but they can be a lot more efficient for both intensive and extensive study.

 

That's fair enough, but the idea of doing a textbook to prepare for a textbook is overkill. It gets to a point where you become good at doing textbooks, which is not a particularly transferable skill. I also feel that it makes sense to get used to native speed and rhythm as soon as possible. Moving onto native material at an "Advanced Intermediate or Advanced" level is very doable.

 

The way you were taught this textbook sounds great. I'm just not sure the textbook is all that necessary.

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Wurstmann
On 2019/4/6 at 6:16 PM, funnypuppy said:

The fact remains that even after a couple decades there's  still no advanced mandarin resource  that's been developed seems to have hit this unique sweet spot . At least not in the form of an advanced book with audio support. 

 

Probably because it's unnecessary. At that point using native materials makes much more sense.

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realmayo

If you're going to study a text intensively, look up every word, learn most of the new vocabulary, practise any unfamilar syntax or grammar constructions, maybe memorise the text, certainly return to it in the future and aim to internalise how the language is used -- how would you choose the right text?

 

Would you rely on luck - the first magazine you pick off the shelf?

 

Or would you ask an expert in teaching the language to foreigners what he or she thought would be best for your level, would contain the most important and useful words and grammar, and comes with the occasional gloss to help you out with proper names and so on?

 

I say this because after reading a dozen novels or so I went to a textbook, studied the texts, found words and grammar that I'd only vaguely understood, as well as ones I'd never learned - and then as soon as I picked up a new novel it felt like almost every page had something in it from the textbook. It was because the textbook was using the higher-impact, higher frequency vocab and grammar.

 

This was a while back and I've barely looked at anything Chinese for the last year or two but it's time to start studying again and I don't have time to waste on low-impact items, nor do I want to waste time only half-remembering higher-impact ones.

 

Plus, native level materials contain a lot of super-easy sentences which won't improve my Chinese because they're too easy. That's not the case with well-curated texts for learners - you don't waste time reading easy stuff.

 

Finally - advanced textbooks usually are native materials, just, as I say, well-curated, sometimes glossed, and without too much that is too hard or too much that is too easy.

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funnypuppy

Excellent explanation of why relying on native learning material  (eg books written in Chinese) is not always appropriate at the advanced levels. 

 

An earlier comment implied that textbooks are somehow used in lieu of real life stuff.   They are more like intensive and focused preparation.  Of course they still have to be well developed.  There are many mediocre textbooks out there at all levels, and many good ones out there that need revisions.     Those who have a negative feeling about textbooks at any level may just have not encountered some of the great ones, or had the right teachers. 

 The reason why there's a shortage of advanced-level textbooks is due to the CFL market.   Chinese is so damn hard that most people give up by that point.  By that point we become more much selective in what we want to study , too.

 

 

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mouse
7 hours ago, realmayo said:

If you're going to study a text intensively, look up every word, learn most of the new vocabulary, practise any unfamilar syntax or grammar constructions, maybe memorise the text, certainly return to it in the future and aim to internalise how the language is used -- how would you choose the right text?

 

 

To be quite frank I wouldn't choose a textbook published over 30 years ago. But I understand your overall point, I just don't agree that textbooks are superior material for this sort of intensive practice. You seem to be comparing your extensive reading of Chinese novels to your intensive study of a textbook. Of course the intensive study had a more noticeable impact on your ability. And of course you noticed things you learned intensively popping up in your extensive reading: that's called the Baader-Meinhof effect, and I'd bet the same thing would happen whatever you studied, as long as you weren't reading a historical novel or something. That certainly was my experience.

 

Again, I would like to emphasise that I was initially responding to funnypuppy's idea of studying a textbook to prepare for a textbook. Taking the leap to studying native materials intensively would eliminate the 'need' to do that. It might be more difficult at first, but it pays off in the long run. Yes the language is messier in the real world, but you have to get used to that sooner or later. I don't object to the use of textbooks in general, but there does come a point when you have to take the training wheels off.

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imron
11 minutes ago, mouse said:

as long as you weren't reading a historical novel or something

Nah, it will still happen then too.

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realmayo
2 hours ago, mouse said:

that's called the Baader-Meinhof effect

 

Nope, it's the high-impact, high-intensity effect - and I don't see the difference between a beginner textbook or an advanced text: in both cases, someone with experience has chosen something suited to your level, full of material they think is most worth you learning now.

 

That means that if you run into difficult material in text that someone has selected for you, you know it's probably worth spending time learning. But the same can't be said for all the difficult material in a random novel. Plus a random novel will have lots of material that's too easy, and therefore ill-suited to intensive study.

 

I still struggle to understand this aversion to textbooks. Maybe it's partly a cultural thing - the primacy that the Western tradition puts on 'authenticity'? Or it's a morale-booster: 'look, I can read real books now.' All that running around trying to find 'real audio - with transcripts' when it already exists, in textbooks!

 

I do though agree that people shouldn't avoid 'real' materials. But I'm still baffled why they would avoid textbooks too, if there are textbooks out there which still contain material that they haven't learned yet.

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roddy

I'm with realmayo on this. If you can learn x amount from native materials put together with no thought to what an advanced student needs, what can you learn from the same amount of textbook carefully designed by people who really know their stuff. 

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mouse

Realmayo, it seems like we’re talking past each other. I feel like I’ve put in the effort to take your position into consideration when writing my replies, only for you to start speculating about the irrational reasons why anyone might disagree with you. I think when a conversation has got to that point, it’s pretty much run its course.

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realmayo

OK I apologise if you didn't like me speculating why people on these forums often encourage others to ditch textbooks as soon as possible. We'll have to agree to disagree about whether they are "training wheels" as opposed to, say, turbo trainers.

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funnypuppy
Quote

That's fair enough, but the idea of doing a textbook to prepare for a textbook is overkill. It gets to a point where you become good at doing textbooks, which is not a particularly transferable skill. I also feel that it makes sense to get used to native speed and rhythm as soon as possible. Moving onto native material at an "Advanced Intermediate or Advanced" level is very doable.

@mouse Yes it sounds strange to think of studying a textbook in order to prepare for another textbook.  But going through textbooks is a highly transferable skill if you apply the knowledge as you go along and don't limit to just using the textbooks.

 

As @realmayoput it, trying to extract material from native sources is very time consuming. The books are curated to my needs at that time-- and let's be clear we're talking about best-in-class tested books like those used at IUP/ICLP,  etc.    They are also graded in levels of difficulty so you get the right level for your ability.. 

 

 I agree that one needs to get used to native language and rhythm.  That's not an issue for everyone though. My wife is a native speaker and I have lots of conversation in Mandarin.    But I can only read about half of the newspaper.   I want to be able to read the newspaper and native books-- you can't just jump from Upper Intermediate to that.    Even if I could look up the vocab needed, there are lots of written constructs you encounter at the higher levels that NEED to be formally explained.

 

So, ok, "training wheels" , if you must.  But I'd say at the upper levels it's more like just "training".  As realmayo pointed out, most advanced texts are using excerpts of native materials anyway.  But to continue the bicycle analogy,  "training" at being a better cyclist does not just make you better at training, you will also be better at actual races.

  Moreover, even if you did racing only, you still need training to be good at racing. 

  To me, skipping advanced textbooks to rely ONLY on native material is analagous to saying "Well I can read English, so I;ll just skip senior high school and jump into the real world. I'll just intuit and figure things out on my own as I happen to encounter them. "   

   One can take this shortcut, but it comes with a price:  gaps in knowledge.  Also one will not have the proper training for many situations, especially where more formal Chinese is used. 

 

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funnypuppy

This thread was about the text Thought and Society.  For those interested in that and other texts used at ICLP, MTC and around Taiwan here's a great blog  comparing some of the best series published in Taiwan.     The blog is no longer active as the author basically studied and reviewed most of the books as high as he could at the time.   

  I'd be happy to continue discussing similar upper-level learning materials here too.  

https://chinesequest.wordpress.com/2011/12/31/breaking-iclps-code-at-mtc/

follow up at

https://chinesequest.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/breaking-iclps-code-at-mtc-part-ii/

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mouse
3 hours ago, funnypuppy said:

The blog is no longer active as the author basically studied and reviewed most of the books as high as he could at the time.   

  I'd be happy to continue discussing similar upper-level learning materials here too.  

https://chinesequest.wordpress.com/2011/12/31/breaking-iclps-code-at-mtc/

follow up at

https://chinesequest.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/breaking-iclps-code-at-mtc-part-ii/

 

That's OneEye of this forum. You might find this post interesting.

 

Quote

I’ve been looking for “The Fix” recently. The thing that I can do that will allow me to do things in Chinese more like native speakers do them. Grammar, phrasing, word choice, accuracy, the whole nine yards. I’ve tried tons of things. Except one, until recently.

Turns out, that one thing happens to be the “One Thing” I’ve been looking for, so why was native, comprehensible input the one thing I didn’t try? I can’t figure it out for the life of me, except that I knew I was focused on learning academic Chinese, and that I knew that such a high proportion of people who use Chinese in academia went to ICLP, so I focused on using their curriculum and textbooks as my blueprint.

[...]

I should say here that no amount of listening to recordings of ICLP textbooks did this for me. I think it’s because they’re boring. As much of a fan as I am of what 思想與社會 teaches, I can admit that the lessons are mind-numbingly dull. 讓子彈飛 is fun. It’s really entertaining, so I found myself tuning into it while I should have been working, when I would tune out something like 思想與社會 even when I wanted to focus on it.

 

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funnypuppy

Than k you very much @mouse  I loved reading that blog.   I look forward to following OneEye here.     

His takeaway was, why didn't I think of watching movies..   😮  I was surprised to see that after he reached the pinnacle of a someone who has pretty much mastered Chinese (as much as a laowai can be expected to} to find the fix was...   a Chow Yun Fat movie?!  That was kind of heartbreaking for me to read!  And it reminded me that one size does not fit all.

   I  have noticed laowai are usually much stronger in reading /writing OR in conversation.  I am the latter.

So  I;m coming at this from the opposite side as OneEye.     i.e. conversational from socializing in Mandarin more than studying, and watching Taiwanese TV shows as a language learning tool.    But what I crave is Much better literacy.  I can only read half of the newspaper  ...the easy half.    

      思想與社會 is extremely attractive to me because  it's  mentally stimulating.  I guess someone who did very rigorous study like OneEye was so glad to take a break from books by that point.   I dont know.    In his study, he had already accomplished what I aspire to.   You may think this sounds silly but mastering the contents of 思想與社會 is actually one of my life goals.

 

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mouse

Have you seen 讓子彈飛? It's a great film. And what's wrong with Chow Yun Fat?

 

37 minutes ago, funnypuppy said:

You may think this sounds silly but mastering the contents of 思想與社會 is actually one of my life goals.

 

That is a very achievable goal. I'm sure you won't need it, but I wish you the best of luck.

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imron

I think textbooks are great, but at some point you have to make the switch.  Maybe that's after the 'advanced' textbooks, maybe that's before (and of course it depends a lot on your definition of 'advanced'), but one thing I wanted to address is this:

 

6 hours ago, funnypuppy said:

 I want to be able to read the newspaper and native books-- you can't just jump from Upper Intermediate to that. 

Why not?  At upper intermediate (say a vocab of 5,000-6,000 words) many books should be accessible.

 

I personally found that it doesn't matter when you do it, the jump to native content will always be intimidating, and the only way to stop it being intimidating is to do more of it.

 

It doesn't matter what textbooks you've been reading, because the vocabulary frequencies of the text book(s) are unlikey to align with the vocabulary frequencies of the content you want to read.  This means that whenever you decide to make the jump and for whatever you decide to read, there is going to be a large hurdle of unknown vocabulary and grammar patterns, but once you learn those frequently occurring unknown words/patterns the rest of what you are reading will be much easier.  The same applies for newspapers articles because most people are usually interested in specific areas of news - maybe finance news, or political news or tech news or enterntainment news, or whatever news - each of which will have its own commonly used sets of vocabularly distinct from the others.  Start with what you like most, and slowly branch out in to other areas as you build up your reading skills.

 

Yes you will still need things explained to you - but by upper intermediate, I'd expect you'd have teachers/friends/spouse/co-workers who can explain things sufficiently to understand them.  It's maybe not as organized, structured or precise as a textbook, however reading native content has one major benefit over textbooks in that it allows you to find concrete things that you don't know that are also relevant to you (because by definition, if you come across it in reading, it is relevant to you at that point in time).  Textbooks on the other hand will contain a whole bunch of useful information that you don't know (and that you should learn at some point), but whether the things you are learning are relevant to what you want to read is not so certain - and you won't find that out until you start trying to read things.

 

The other thing about reading novels and other long-form texts is that there are several skills required that are difficult to acquire without doing reading, such as identifying word boundaries at speed conducive to reading, dealing with unknown words in a way that won't significantly interrupt the reading process, and building up the stamina to read for prolonged periods of time without it becoming a mental strain.  You can pick up some of this from a text book that is very text heavy, but these are skills that really only come from doing a significant amount of long-form reading, and until you have them, they will be a barrier to reading.

 

1 hour ago, funnypuppy said:

 But what I crave is Much better literacy.  I can only read half of the newspaper

Train what you want to learn.

 

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imron
1 hour ago, funnypuppy said:

a Chow Yun Fat movie?! 

I prefer to think of it as a 姜文 movie :mrgreen:

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Publius
11 hours ago, funnypuppy said:

To me, skipping advanced textbooks to rely ONLY on native material is analagous to saying "Well I can read English, so I;ll just skip senior high school and jump into the real world. I'll just intuit and figure things out on my own as I happen to encounter them. "   

But students start reading novels long before they enter senior high school. See the reading list for 7-9th graders: http://www.sohu.com/a/240600202_661695

As per 高中语文教学大纲,  senior high students are expected to do at least 3,000,000 characters in extracurricular reading and achieve a reading speed of no less than 600 characters per minute. Much of the teaching happens outside the textbook. Sitting in a senior high school classroom means you will be forced to jump into the real literary world whether you like it or not. Do you think native speakers are good at their language simply because they have finished all the textbooks?

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funnypuppy
1 hour ago, mouse said:

Have you seen 讓子彈飛? It's a great film. And what's wrong with Chow Yun Fat?

Thank you...  Chow Yun Fat is a living legend. All respect due to him but I'm repulsed by anything related to guns or violence. 
 After reading the Chinesequest blog, anyone here would certainly admire his great achievement in learning Chinese.  I was just expecting a more enlightened revelation after all of that study.,like I don't know, the I Ching in multimedia format, discovering a great documentary series, maybe  new interactive technology.

   Chinese movies and TV had been there all along!

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