Learn Chinese in China
StChris

The 2016 Aims and Objectives Progress Thread

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It's a case of continuing to learn as real life gets in the way. Finding a way to review stuff I've tried to learn has been a problem, so the other half has decided that I should broaden my knowledge of popular music. Learn a song of her choice every few weeks. 

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Last year's goals:

 

1. Save enough money to go back to China and study in a private school intensively for between one and two months. (It didn't happen)

 

2. Try to achieve greater parity between my reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. (My speaking and listening are still well ahead, but my reading caught up, somewhat)

 

3. Improve my level sufficiently that I'm able to watch a Chinese t.v show and understand the bulk of what is said. (Partially successful. Through repeat listening and occasional look-ups I came close to achieving this with one series)

 

4. Abandon perfectionism. (Nobody cares how well you can say 你好 if you can't say anything else). (Success. I know there are still lots of things I need to work on but I don't beat myself up about it as much anymore)

 

5. Take and pass one of the HSK exams. HSK 3 would be acceptable, HSK 4 if possible. (Passed both)

 

This year's goals:

 

1. Learn 5 new words per day during week days.

2. Watch at least one episode of a t.v series each week.

3. Read for a minimum of 15 minutes everyday in Chinese.

4. Have an online lesson once a week.

5. Attempt HSK 5 at the end of the year.

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Grawrt said: 

3. Watch Chinese drama/TV at least once per week. I actually kind of missed this? Chinese TV is really funny in a not trying to be funny way. I think I stopped once I got back home because the access to it wasn't as good as in China

Mr John said:

2. Watch at least one episode of a t.v series each week.

 

Who else is signing up to that?

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I'm a newcomer and roddy steered me to this thread. It has been rightly said that "after 40, one is either a fool or a physician", so...

 

1) I plan to eat and sleep in a regular and responsible manner.

 

Whether I have success with any of my other goals likely depends mostly on whether I have any success with that one. Once the DeFrancis readers arrive I will

 

2) spend 20 minutes a day admiring and writing 字 (traditional Chinese characters);

 

(using color coding) and

 

3) 40 minutes or more reading from the textbooks.

 

My experience with characters, I am hoping, will follow my experience with learning English. Back in 1950 when I was being taught the latter, the vogue was what was then called "sight reading". Rather than teaching first graders (kindergarten was nearly unknown then) how to sound out words, they were taught just to memorize whole words which the teacher wrote down on the black board. Couldn't read a thing until, sometime in the second grade, I could suddenly read everything. I am hoping that will work with Chinese characters, which I have been looking at off and on (mostly off) for about 34 years. I am thinking that if I put some regularity into it, the overdue epiphany may come. Until that happens I will just have to get my satisfaction from the reading.

 

Perhaps something similar will show itself  if I

 

4) practice 功 an hour a day.

 

One never knows what work he might be called upon to do, and as such he might be called upon to express himself or say dig a hole, or perhaps shovel snow. To prepare for the latter it were well to

 

5) do physical work or exercise for an hour a day.

 

For the former learning

 

6) Donald Knuth's TeX book

 

and enough of the

 

7) C programming language

 

to write figures into PDF files  using

 

8] Hellmut Michaels' Dislin software

 

should suffice.

 

The brilliant old scientist Karl von Reichenbach wrote some good stuff about and 陰 (which he called negative and positive od), back in the 1840's and 1850's and learning some

 

9) classical German

 

would help in going through his actual scientific journals. Von Reichenbach pointed out that the nature of qi is closely connected with electro-magnetic phenomena, although yet distinct from it. Thus, to understand what is going on there, one should take a look at Maxwell's equations which attempted to explain what Faraday, Ampere, Volta, Oersted, Coulomb and others had been finding out in von Reichenbach's time. This led to Minkowski's geometric description of Einstein's theory of special relativity which was an implication of those equations. The key to understanding what Minkowski wrote are the basic notions of synthetic

 

10) projective geometry

 

which notions are all inherent in sound understanding  of the

 

11) circle

 

which seems pretty much the key to everything (if stared at long enough :D ).

 

I suspect I have followed this resolution topic quite far enough. :-?

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Grawrt said: 

3. Watch Chinese drama/TV at least once per week.

[...]

Who else is signing up to that?

 

I've been doing this, and the occasional movie.

 

Goal for 2016 is to get back to studying Chinese grammar and building reading skills.

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Moved discussion about word limits here.

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My 2016 goal is to keep with it for the entire year.

 

I took a Chinese class about 10 years ago and barely learned anything (we covered Level 1, Part 1 of Integrated Chinese). I didn't bother learning the characters except to cram for the exams. I figured I would just learn to speak Chinese (lol). A couple years after that, I visited China for awhile on vacation. Again, I didn't really learn much (but the survival Chinese from my university class certainly came in handy 。。。 師父,我的朋友不太舒服。請在這兒停車。。。 從這裡到九寨溝需要多長時間?。。。 請問,洗手間在哪裡?。。。 在那個路口請左拐。 etc)

 

My 3 month plan

 

1. 50 new characters per day following Heisig's list. I want to get through all 3000 of the most common Chinese characters. I want to know the ABCs. Yes, I know this is probably a bad idea. 

2. 1 new DeFrancis Beginning Chinese Reader lesson per day (unless I need to have read the accompanying chapter in DeFrancis' Beginning Chinese textbook, in which case I do that first)

3. 50 Glossika sentences per day (I'm just doing the spaced repetition lessons passively while walking the dog, driving to work, etc. I will focus on the sentences more intensely for accent formation later)

4. 1 - 2 Chinesepod lessons per day. 

5. Master the first 17 chapters of Claudia Ross' Chinese Grammar text. I'm super rusty with grammar, period. I want to know the basic parts of speech inside and out so when I reference grammar books in the future I'll know what a verb phrase, predicate, stative verb, etc. are. I didn't even know what an object was two weeks ago. 

 

At 3 months I'll re-evaluate things. I've already cut down quite a bit from my initial 3 month plan or refocused it (for example, I was going to go through Integrated Chinese 1 + 2 in a couple of months... instead, I will stick with the ancient DeFrancis series because it corresponds with the readers a bit better. And they're actually really fun texts). 

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1. 50 new characters per day following Heisig's list. I want to get through all 3000 of the most common Chinese characters. I want to know the ABCs. Yes, I know this is probably a bad idea.
I hope you mean 'per week'? In university we started out on 10 characters per week, which was soon upped to 20 and then to 40-ish I think. This was a pretty heavy study load. Per week. I studied Chinese in various programs, in Holland, Beijing and Taipei, and nobody ever made me study more than that.

Also, consider learning words rather than characters.

 

2. 1 new DeFrancis Beginning Chinese Reader lesson per day (unless I need to have read the accompanying chapter in DeFrancis' Beginning Chinese textbook, in which case I do that first)
Again, one per week sounds more reasonable. Don't forget you need to take the time to repeat things if you want them to stick.
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Nope, 50 per day. I am at 950 right now, which means I have averaged about 45 per day since starting. I learn "50" characters a day, but sometimes the characters I learn are rarely found on their own. For instance, today I learned "佛". Instead of learning it as one chunk, I learned the right hand side  on its own first and it counted towards the 50 I learned today (If I hadn't, I would've been confused as to why 佛 is fo2, and I wouldn't have been able to build a mnemonic very well either). 

 

I don't pretend that I am learning these characters thoroughly.

 

I am only learning: 

 

1. One or two broad meanings associated with them (for example, I only associate 佛 with Buddah/Buddishm)

2. Their pronunciations (fo2)

3. How to write them

 

When I took a Chinese class years ago, I was always frustrated that new words contained new characters... and many new characters were built using several other new characters! 20 - 30 new words might only have 5 - 10 more characters, but to truly understand those characters you would need to decompose them and learn their parts. This really annoys me and is why a. I love the DeFrancis Reader because it introduces characters systematically, builds words out of them, and uses each character's many meanings (however, it often doesn't introduce each constituent that makes up a character) b. I really enjoy Heisig's list of the 3000 most common characters because it teaches you the components of characters used to build ones later, which  means them very easy to "learn."

 

"Learning" 950 has been fairly easy so far. The meanings are fairly easy to remember based on the memonics I devise. I learn the pronunciations implicitly by a. repeating the pronunciation every time I heard a card and grading the card "hard" if I get it wrong and b. recognizing which component is phonetic and which is semantic (Heisig's list unintentionally groups characters with the same phonetic components together, so even though Heisig warns against learning pronunciation together with meaning, the phonetic components are pretty much impossible to ignore if you pay attention). As for writing, I don't care about having nice hand writing -- I just scribble the characters into my palm; this is another way to embed these characters into my implicit memory (if I don't remember a character immediately, I often start scribbling in my palm or remember its pronunciation and then the rest comes to me).

 

I won't be able continue 1 lesson of DeFrancis per day, but I hope to finish Beginning Chinese and the Beginning Chinese Readers within 2, if not 3, months. 

 

I would be wise to take your advice, but I am not wise, and I'm having a lot of fun so far. 

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I would be wise to take your advice, but I am not wise, and I'm having a lot of fun so far.
Fair enough. If it works for you and you're enjoying it, just keep at it. Don't forget to repeat things though, that's how they stick. Good luck!

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In this Year of the Monkey, there'll be no monkeyin' around from Yours Truly. In 2016 it'll be time to make good on a dream I've had since 2001.

 

My desired endeavors:

 

1. submit a CSC application to attempt to gain a scholarship to support one year of Chinese language study in a non-degree program at a mainland university

2. end up on a mainland campus as a full-time student studying Chinese (either from a scholarship or through self-financing)

3. take HSK, Level 5 at the end of 2016 and see what happens

4. (from September onward) make sure I tick the boxes on a daily program of reading, writing, listening, and speaking practice (regular practice of all four skills will be key for me)

 

I feel I am currently at upper intermediate level (whatever that really means) and I just want to enter into the abyss of "advanced language student" this year (again, whatever that really means).

 

In 2001 I enrolled in a short-term summer language course at the Dalian University of Foreign Languages. I absolutely loved everything about that experience. Ever since then, I've wanted to take a professional gap year and just be a full-time student of Chinese somewhere on the mainland. Personally and professionally, things are failing into place to finally allow me to take this professional gap year for the 2016-2017 academic year. I really hope to make it happen. I shall add oil.

 

Warm regards,

Chris Two Times

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Lu, I am definitely trying to repeat things. I am using the DeFrancis Beginning Chinese Reader (BCR)  along with his textbook. BCR has a ton of repetition built into it (1000 pages, only 400 unique characters, 1200 - 1600 words, 40 content lessons and 8 review lessons). As well, I am continually reviewing previous lessons, often because I didn't understand a particular grammar point or sentence construction; I have a thread where people have been kind enough to help me with some of my questions: http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/50675-a-few-basic-questions-regarding-defrancis-beginning-chinese-reader-lessons-89/. 

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I'd like to beef up my vocab big time, as that seems to be my biggest weakness at the moment. My goal is to do HSK4 in the spring, and HSK5 and HSKK intermediate by end of the year. Currently using Skritter to pump in the vocab, as well as Heisig characters #1500-3000.

In addition: Keep talking (and asking native speakers to not be shy about pointing out my mistakes); Keep reading (Mandarin Companion, Chinese Breeze); Keep listening (Pimsleur, Glossika, Chinesepod, 快乐汉语); Keep writing (Skritter, text messages).

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Monthly update -- not sure if it's OK to post updates here or if there is a thread/forum for language logs. 

 

I just finished my 1500th character today. It took a bit longer than I wanted (34 days instead of ~30), and the review time/count per day has ballooned to umanagable levels, but I made it through it. 

 

Here was my main deck as of yesterday: 

month1heisigcardtypes.png

 

If you're interested in more stats and details on my progress, I do have a blog. As I wrote in a post on my blog, there were several wise chinese-forums.com users in an old thread about learning 1500 new words in a month. They called it the linguistic equivalent of the Great Leap Forward... “Learning 1500 words in 30 days won’t be your biggest challenge. That will be not to forget 1300 words in 90 days…” Based on the amount of time my flashcards are now taking (about 90 minutes a day), and the number of reviews I am putting in (around 700), the not-forgetting part of the equation is going to be taking up a long time. I haven't really learned those 1500 characters until I know them a year from now. There are no shortcuts. 

 

Monthly Fails

  • Haven't been listening to Chinesepod
  • Didn't keep up the 1 lesson per day of DeFrancis Beginning Chinese Reader pace (but that was unreasonable to start off with). I'm on lesson 24. 
  • Didn't finish the first half of Claudia Ross' Grammar (although I suppose I gave myself 3 months in my initial post). I stopped around chapter 11. I have been referring back to it, though. 

Success

  • learning the characters, of course
  • I made it through Glossika Fluency 1. However, I didn't do the GMS method for all of it, choosing instead of just go through the GMS rapidly (can do it while driving, walking the dog, waiting for an appointment, etc.)

Goals for month 2

  • Finish BCR 1 and get around 10 lessons into BCR 2. This would put me at about lesson 43/44 -- nearly finished. 
  • Do 5 lessons in Beginning Chinese, the DeFrancis text. 
  • Maybe crack open Integrated Chinese again if the above is starting to bore me
  • Start Glossika Fluency 2 but at a reduced pace -- 10 - 20 sentences per day
  • Do the GMS for Fluency 1 and ensure I actually know that material well 

I also should say another thank you to those who have helped me tremendously in this thread: http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/50675-questions-regarding-defrancis-beginning-chinese-reader/page-3#comment-389761. I've asked a ton of asinine questions, and the answers have enabled me to keep moving onward. 

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the not-forgetting part of the equation is going to be taking up a long time. I haven't really learned those 1500 characters until I know them a year from now. There are no shortcuts.

So what you're saying is, one year from now you'll be in the exact same position as if you had decided to learn 4 characters a day, except at 4 characters a day you would have had more time to spend on other aspects of your Chinese :mrgreen:

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January 2016 Progress Report

 

My original goal statement:

 

Passive Vocabulary
I am working on an Anki deck based on the SUBTLEX-CH word frequency list. I have approximately 6000 more words to learn, and I intend to learn them at a rate of 20 words a day. Consistently studying my Anki cards has always been a struggle for me, so I created a stickK goal to motivate myself.
 
Listening
I intend to spend at least 4 hours a week passively listening to Chinese podcasts and radio. I will have a 30 minute walk to and from work at my new job this year, so I can easily find time to do this. I created a Google form to log the time I spend practicing and track my progress as I gradually understand more and more of what I'm listening to.
 
Reading
I intend to spend at least 30 minutes every week reading Chinese. I created a Google form to log the time I spend practicing and track my progress as I increase my reading speed and reduce how much I rely on a dictionary.
 
Speaking
I intend to spend 30 minutes every week speaking Chinese with a language exchange partner.
 
Writing
I intend to write at least 3 journal entries (length ≥ 50 characters) a week on Lang-8.

 

Passive Vocabulary: satisfactory
I haven't missed a day yet, although I may reduce the number of words I learn every day because my daily review time is creeping towards the 90 minute limit I have to spend on it. I also found what I think will be a good referee for my stickK goal.
 
Listening: satisfactory
Walking to and from work listening to ChinesePod has been engaging and pleasant. When I have more data I hope to have a graph that shows my comprehension rate increase over time.
 
Reading: dissatisfactory
I have not found enough time to work on this aspect of my study goal because I am still adjusting to my new job. I hope to spend my lunch breaks reading articles from an industry news website.
 
Speaking: satisfactory
I have found 2 or 3 potential language exchange partners over the past month and will establish regular meeting times with them soon.
 
Writing: dissatisfactory
I have not found enough time to work on this aspect of my study goal because I am still adjusting to my new job.
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imron - I think the total time commitment will be about the same. There are advantages and disadvantages to learning them in one big chunk. One of the advantages if you immediately pick up on phonetic component patterns because you're confronted with a series of characters in a row whose pronunciations are very similar due to a particular phonetic component (this is just a happy unintended coincidence of Heisig). Another is that I will be able to study my textbooks stress-free; I hate it when a new word is introduced that uses characters that I haven't already studied in isolation. For instance, the first two Integrated Chinese texts use nearly 800 characters, and that's not including the components used to make those characters! I won't need to stop and break down each character since I will already know it. Really, this is the biggest advantage -- learning 4 characters a day doesn't get you very far in Chinese unless you are comfortable learning a bunch of words that use characters you don't already know. I'm not. The disadvantages are it is a huge time sink in the beginning, and it is an extremely easy and fun activity, which encourages you to spend even more time doing it. I would happily learn 4000 - 5000 characters doing this method if there were an immediate need to do so. But I would rather get through my DeFrancis readers first. Another disadvantage is it encourages sloppiness and inattentiveness, which will lead to weaker memories that need to be reinforced more times -- this is where it could end up taking more time. 

 

Over the next two months, I will probably begin to tackle the latter 1500 characters. When I'm not learning new characters, I only have to review a bit over 250 a day, and that number will, I'm guessing, stabilize at around 100 within a couple of weeks (Anki forecasts 20 reviews two weeks from now, but we know that "forecast" is a bit misleading). 250 reviews takes me about 30 - 40 minutes, which I can spread out over the course of the day. Once it's only taking 20 - 30 minutes, I might start learning new characters again. 

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I've just quit my increasingly stressful job (something I should have done a loooooong time ago), which in retrospect cut heavily into my Chinese ability and study time. Once I start to wind down (I'm still coiled like a bloody mouse trap), I should have plenty of headspace to study properly again. That's pretty much the only goal I can manage right now.

 

If I can get it together and find work that has something to do with Chinese language and/or an organisation with a presence in China/Taiwan, I'll have reached a 2014 goal. Yay?

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About two weeks ago, I was finishing my first 1500 characters and was exhausted. Here was what that deck looks like now post-63757-0-98231400-1455685580_thumb.png vs two weeks ago post-63757-0-31277000-1455685628_thumb.png. For those of you who don't use anki, a mature card is one that won't appear for at least 21 days. I'm not quite down to 100 reviews per day as I wanted in my previous post, but that's partially because I combined another deck with this one. I'm at 150, which is manageable. 

 

About a week ago, once my daily anki sessions totalled thirty minutes, I began learning new characters again. This time, I'm learning 30 new characters per day. If all goes well (it won't), I will be able to finish another 1500 by the end of March. Most likely, it will be mid-April, if not May, before I finish. If/when my total reviews/day reaches 300 cards, I won't add any new cards that day; I never want to experience the pain of 400 reviews in a single day again. 

 

My forecast and intervals: 

post-63757-0-88082900-1455686108_thumb.png
post-63757-0-80474200-1455686113_thumb.png

 

post-63757-0-98231400-1455685580_thumb.png

post-63757-0-31277000-1455685628_thumb.png

post-63757-0-88082900-1455686108_thumb.png

post-63757-0-80474200-1455686113_thumb.png

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Ugh. I've been back home not doing Chinese for so long. Gotta get myself back on track soo my goals:

1. Glossika lesson once per day!

2. Read in Chinese 30 mins per day (Newspapers, novels, comics, its open to whatever I feel like)

3. Watch Chinese drama/TV at least once per week. I actually kind of missed this? Chinese TV is really funny in a not trying to be funny way. I think I stopped once I got back home because the access to it wasn't as good as in China

4. write an entry on Lang-8 three times a week. This might kill me but I need to get back into the habit. Or.. I might switch to govoluble?? Ill see..

Next month I'd like to try finding a teacher/language exchange partner to work on but for the month of January I just kind of want to work on getting out of this rut. I know its bad to admit but speaking to native speakers usually really discourages me regardless if they're teachers or not. Wish I knew why.

 

Anyway, I liked reading everyone's goals...... I might steal some (if not already) :P

 

February Update:

 

1. Glossika Lesson once per day: Completed for the most part, I started to up my lessons to twice  a day and then about 3 days before the end of the month I just decided this wasn't for me. So no more.

2. Read in Chinese 30 mins per day. I completed this for the most part, Some of the reading material I liked going through were from slow-chinese, the Chinese version of the NY times, and random baidu wikipedia like articles. I tried the chairmans-bao but it really wasn't for me. I didn't think the writing was very good and the articles were a bit boring.

3. Watch a Chinese drama/TV at least once per week. This was the goal that I kept up with the best and I actually ended up watching more than once a week.

4. Write an entry on Lang-8 three times a week. Really bombed this one. I think I managed for two weeks and kind of just stopped. I think 3 a week was a bit unreasonable, because I don't particularly find joy in writing in Chinese. But I should try and practice it more.

 

Finding the teacher thing. I actually did do this, I contacted my old teacher and we did a few skype sessions but I think I'm just a bad student. I noticed that I'm really not good at preparing for sessions and don't really know how to use my tutor effectively. I looked up some articles and they suggested taking a topic, and sticking with it so I'm going to try that. My friend also suggested I try another tutor so I looked up some tutors on italki that I could try out.

 

Updates for this month:

I decided to take the HSK 5 this Sunday so I've been studying a lot for it these days and doing mock exams. Its boring I wont lie, But I really want to pass it because after a lot of should I shouldn't I, I decided to just try for my masters in China. Wish me luck!

 

So this months goal was basically pass HSK5. lol. I'll try and add some more goals for next month.

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