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ablindwatchmaker

Is this article too advanced for me?

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ablindwatchmaker

I'm just wanting to get some thoughts about setting reasonable goals with respect to reading practice. In accordance with a study method mentioned by Imron a while back, I decided to start reading  native material every day until I've encountered ten unknown words, at which point I stop, review what has been learned and then rinse repeat the following day, along with periodic reviews. I also listen to CRI political news and apply the same method.

 

The articles I am currently using are from the People's Daily, pertain to international relations, and I would imagine are considered to be at a college level.

 

My question is if, based on the number of unknown words encountered, I should find easier material, or if I should continue on this path.

 

Aside from the unknown words, my understanding of the grammar and content is about 99%. It feels about the same as using a textbook, for the most part.

 

Any thoughts are welcome! Since I can't attach it, I'll just copy paste it below. Unknown words are either italicized or bolded within the "answer" section. I had some formatting issues....

 

人民网北京5月27电 据外交部网站消息,外交部发言人华春莹27日主持例行记者会,就南海局势、《中国的军事战略》白皮书、外国记者在中国采访工作环境变差等答记者问。全文如下:

问:本周,中方明显采取了一种更加强硬的军事姿态,中方想借此向世界传递什么样的信息?你觉得世界应该如何解读中方此举?

答:你提到的应该是中国政府昨日发表的《中国的军事战略》白皮书吧?国防部新闻发言人在昨天国新办记者会上已经详细介绍了中国发表《中国的军事战略》白皮 书的背景、考虑和主要内容。白皮书系统分析了中国目前面临的外部环境,虽然总体有利,但仍面临多元复杂的安全威胁。中国军队要负担起相应的战略任务,奉行 积极防御军事战略方针。中方此时发表白皮书是根据白皮书本身撰写拟制工作的进程决定的,与当前的国际和地区安全形势以及中外关系的发展没有关系。

问:香港“学民思潮”组织召集人黄之锋马方拒绝入境。昨天马方官员表示黄被拒入境的原因是其演讲可能影响中马关系。中方对此有何评论?

答:我看到了有关报道,不了解情况。我们尊重马来西亚依法实施出入境管理。

问:一些国家认为中国在南海进行岛礁建设是要重新划定边界,中方不断增强海军力量、填海造地,是否旨在强化这些新的边界?

答:我注意到昨天美国国务院发言人也有类似言论,我认为有关言论是偷换了法律概念,混淆视听。中国对南沙群岛及其附近海域拥有无可争辩的主权。我们已多次 强调,中国在南海的主权和相关权利是在长期的历史过程中形成的,并为历代中国政府所长期坚持,有着充分的历史和法理依据。中方根本无需通过岛礁建设活动来 主张或者强化领土主权。

中方是在自己的主权范围内进行合法、合情、合理的建设活动。就连美方一些高官也公开表示,中方的有关岛礁建设活动并不违反国际法。那么有关地区为什么会出 现紧张气氛?大家对此心知肚明,这是由于个别国家出于一己私利,不断渲染炒作紧张气氛,抹黑攻击中国。希望有关各方能够以真正负责任的态度全面、客观地 认识当前形势,理性冷静处理有关问题,真正为维护南海地区和平稳定发挥建设性作用,而不是煽风点火

问:菲律宾与越南军方近日在南海岛礁上举行了足球、排球比赛。你是否担心菲越加强合作会阻碍中方对南海的主权声索

答:我还没有看到你提到的这个报道。你问我担不担心,中方一贯立场是,我们不去招惹别人,同时我们有意志有能力捍卫国家主权和领土完整。

问:美国国防部发言人表示欢迎中国发布《中国的军事战略》白皮书,但重申美国将继续在南沙岛礁附近进行侦察活动,此举是为了维护相关区域的航空和航行自由,中方对此有何回应

答:近期,美方一些人老提航行自由,只要认真研究相关国际法,比如说《联合国海洋法公约》,就会发现航行和飞越自由绝不等于外国的军舰、军机可以不受限 制、无视甚至损害其他国家的主权和合法权利及航行航空安全。《公约》明确规定,沿海国家的和平、良好秩序和安全不得损害

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imron
Unknown words are either italicized or bolded within the "answer" section.

Italics and bold work really badly with Chinese characters.  You're probably better off changing the font colour to red or something.

 

Anyway, there seems to be a large number of unknown words.  A good rule of thumb is > 95% known words, >98% is even better.  Otherwise you'll probably struggle your way through it, and it won't be as productive as choosing easier material.

 

Have you heard about the chairman's bao?  They have native news content graded by different levels.

 

I'd also recommend my own Chinese Text Analyser which analyses Chinese text and lets you keep track of known/unknown words.

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ablindwatchmaker

 

Otherwise you'll probably struggle your way through it, and it won't be as productive as choosing easier material.

 

I would say this article is one of the more difficult articles I've encountered. I once took three articles related to business and calculated that I knew about 95%, and so I thought I was ready to keep doing that, but then I ran into this one and obviously got nailed.

 

 

They have native news content graded by different levels.

 

According to the website, they get a teacher and then write articles "in strict accordance with the HSK word listings." I'm really trying to avoid anything that isn't intended for native speakers. This is why I'm thinking that it might be better to just find native material that isn't political or business related. I'm still debating...

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889

I think that's a good sort of article for study. It's essentially a press conference transcript, so you're working with 口语,though a high and very structured level of 口语.

 

But it deals with current affairs, so if you don't know who Joshua Wong is, for example, you can get stymied.

 

In any event, a limit of ten new words/day sounds exceptionally modest. If that's because constantly looking up words in an article like this is a hassle, then use something like Wenlin which'll give dictionary readings on the fly. Also, there's always a surprising number of words you think you know but really don't, or don't know very precisely, and it's much easier to catch these words with Wenlin since looking them up is so quick.

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imron
In any event, a limit of ten new words/day sounds exceptionally modest.

Deceptively modest you might say.

 

But if you are doing it everyday, including revision, then it very quickly adds up.  Unlike higher word counts though, 10 a day is a very sustainable rate that you can continue with for a long period of time, and if you can do it everyday it will be far more useful than doing bursts with high numbers of new words per day and then burning out.

 

It's also a good indicator of how suitable the article is based on your level.  If you get 10 words in the first 2-3 sentences, then you're probably reading something a little too hard - yes you can struggle through it, but it won't be as productive as choosing something where you don't hit 10 new words until after several paragraphs (or pages!).

 

Also bear in mind that this is part of a broader strategy that includes more than just raw vocabulary acquisition, so in addition to just learning the vocab, he'll also be spending a large portion of time reading/consuming native content - see related posts here and here which I believe are the ones OP was referring to in his initial post.

 

but then I ran into this one and obviously got nailed.

If you are happy with the source, then my suggestion would be simply to choose a new article when you encounter one that that nails you.  If something seems too difficult don't be concerned or worried about dropping it and picking something else.  As long as you have a ready source of new material where you can understand most of it, there's not much point slogging through something too difficult.  And don't worry about missing out on words in the more difficult article.  If you are reading every day and learning new words as you go, eventually you'll pick up any useful vocab that you would have missed.

 

I'm really trying to avoid anything that isn't intended for native speakers.

A more important thing I think is reading something where you can understand the majority of it.  Reading 5 articles at a suitable level is going to be more productive than reading 1 article even if they're not aimed at native speakers.  As long as you are learning new words and your vocabulary and understanding of Chinese improves, you'll eventually be able to move on to more difficult articles, but you'll do so at a very gradual and natural pace.

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Demonic_Duck
Italics and bold work really badly with Chinese characters.  You're probably better off changing the font colour to red or something.

 

I agree Chinese fake-italics look horrible and are awkward to read, but I don't see what's so bad about bold. After all, it's only analogous to writing the character with a thicker brush/pen/other writing implement.

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imron
but I don't see what's so bad about bold

I just find it doesn't really stand out in Chinese like it does in English.

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Silent

 

Aside from the unknown words, my understanding of the grammar and content is about 99%

 

If this is true and it doesn't take too big an effort to understand 99% I would say just keep reading, only limit the number of vocabulary items you will pick out to learn.

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Demonic_Duck

 

but I don't see what's so bad about bold

I just find it doesn't really stand out in Chinese like it does in English.

 

Don't know why that is, the difference in thickness seems to be about the same.

 

That said, I'd recommend against bolding if the font size is too small. I just received an email the title of which appeared to read “汉宇演变历史” (see attachment). I figured it was a pun on “汉语” or something, turns out that it's just “字” looks like “宇” in that font at that size if it's in bold.

 

If this is true and it doesn't take too big an effort to understand 99% I would say just keep reading, only limit the number of vocabulary items you will pick out to learn.

 

I'd agree that 99% recognition of vocab items is plenty enough, but the amount bolded/italicised in the original post far exceeds 1%. If you're finding it a chore to get through and difficult to understand the main points of the article, then switch to something easier. However, if you can still understand the main gist without using a dictionary and it's not too laborious to get through, there's nothing to stop you continuing with articles at this level and continuing to limit yourself to trying to learn ten new words a day.

post-44958-0-29841700-1433608703.jpg

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Silent

 

I'd agree that 99% recognition of vocab items is plenty enough, but the amount bolded/italicised in the original post far exceeds 1%.

True, but there is a difference between understanding everything and knowing the vocabulary. When talking to people in a noisy surrounding it's sometime amazing how much you can miss without significant impairment of understanding. The other way around is possible too, knowing all the words and still not having a clue what's it about. If having a decent understanding without too much effort I'ld say the level is fine. Just be picky with the vocabulary you want to learn. It's hard enough to find material that's interesting and the right level. It's better to read something not perfect then wasting the time looking for something better.

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ablindwatchmaker

 

If having a decent understanding without too much effort I'ld say the level is fine.

 

Once I know the vocabulary I'm able to translate most of the sentences into precise English, so it doesn't seem much different than the Chairman's Bao or other learning material featuring lots of unknown vocabulary.

 

 

It's hard enough to find material that's interesting and the right level.

 

This is another reason I'm hesitant to branch out from the People's Daily. It's hard to find good articles at the Chairman's Bao, or any other place for that matter, about issues related to IR. One strategy I'm considering is reading 3 consecutive articles, over time, that pertain to the same topic and then switching to another topic and doing the same thing. I think it's important not to get stuck with too much specialized vocabulary in one area and neglect others. Maybe I can break it down into categories like the following:

 

1. Politics/IR

2. Business

3. Travel/Entertainment

4. Popular Culture

 

Something like this perhaps?

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Silent

 

I think it's important not to get stuck with too much specialized vocabulary in one area and neglect others.

Broader, less specialised vocabulary is in principle better. However I think a perfectly valid argument can be made to focus on a specific subject. A subject you're interested in will me more motivating, is easier to read as your knowledge of the subject makes it easier to understand even when missing some of the vocabulary and you're likely to reach a level where you can handle native material earlier as far less vocabulary is needed.

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gato
You're probably better off changing the font colour to red or something.

You can also use underline to highlight text.  Underlining might be easier as it can often be done with a keyboard short cut, unlike changing font colors.

 

 

 

The articles I am currently using are from the People's Daily, pertain to international relations, and I would imagine are considered to be at a college level.

 

About the same level as a State Department or White House press conference. 

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imron
It's hard to find good articles at the Chairman's Bao

I'd get in touch with them.  I'm sure they'd appreciate the feedback.

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