Learn Chinese in China
mackie1402

Weekly Intermediate Study Updates - join in!

212 posts in this topic

The New Year is over. Been and gone. In fact tomorrow is the start of Feb. That's flown. Time to get down to the nitty gritty.

 

Long story short, I'm sitting on about HSK 4 twiddling my thumbs. I've got a huge selection of books. Textbooks, grammar books, HSK books & dictionaries, history books, reading books and even a whole bunch of Chinese children's Grade 1 school books such as 'Write about the picture', 'Write a diary', 'Write 500 characters' etc. I'm more of a collector than a reader it seems.

 

Any others similar to me? Great! Let's actually do something about it.

 

This isn't just a "let's post our progress thread". Let's call it an oath.

 

If you're in my shoes (similar level? Fantastic!), then put your name forward and I'll see you here weekly.

 

What have you done this week? How did it go?

Found any new resources? How did they help?

Feel inspired? Great! What happened?

What are the plans for the next week?

 

If you're in, you're in. Who's posting next week?

 

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I'll go first.

 

I will post next Sunday (7th) or Monday (8th).

 

  • I'm spending this week sorting out my audio. Finally putting my textbooks CDs on the computer.
  • I'm half way through Mandarin Companion's Great Expectations 1. My target is to be about 90-100% through the book.
  • I'm going to give three ChinesePod lessons a go. Can't be sure which level yet. That'll be in my update!
  • Let's call this week a warm up. Don't want to rush into it.

 

How about you?

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I too have a shelf of books, and have decided to quite flashcarding and just read. Recently I had to go on a trip, and I took my children's version of 红楼梦 (with pinyin) as my only reading material, and got through 48 pages in 10 days or so. I'm now working through 解读中国(中国文化阅读教程II), and on a good day I can get through 3-4 pages, but I've got a bit of work on, so not every day is a good day.

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Sounds interesting, I'm in.

 

I'm currently bashing my way through the Mandarin version of "The Big Friendly Giant" by Roald Dahl. It's tough going in parts, but I'm already over a hundred pages in; with a bit of luck I'll be close to finishing it by this time next week. (total pages 255).

 

I'm also working through roughly a chapter a week of my textbook at five words per day.

 

Lastly, I'm watching, then listening to audio recordings of a corny crime / love story called "Love Me if you Dare."

 

I'm getting pretty close to starting up uni again, so hopefully this thread will help keep me accountable!

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Great plan. Mackie, maybe you should edit a list of participants and the date of their last contribution into the first post. Then we can send abuse.... I mean encouragement... to anyone who slips....

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Sounds interesting, I'm in.

 

I'm currently bashing my way through the Mandarin version of "The Big Friendly Giant" by Roald Dahl. It's tough going in parts, but I'm already over a hundred pages in; with a bit of luck I'll be close to finishing it by this time next week. (total pages 255).

 

I'm also working through roughly a chapter a week of my textbook at five words per day.

 

Lastly, I'm watching, then listening to audio recordings of a corny crime / love story called "Love Me if you Dare."

 

I'm getting pretty close to starting up uni again, so hopefully this thread will help keep me accountable!

 

Sounds great! I'm not a great reader but I love to read. That's one of the main reasons I bought the kids books for Chinese students about writing a diary and short compositions. They're not too difficult, lots of repetition, plus I love native material. Just feels so much more authentic. Without kids native materials, how would I learn how to describe the shape and size of someone's eyes and mouth so well (ha!). 

 

I was always put off reading by the first few pages, but once you get a few key words down then it gets a lot easier. A hundred pages in and I'm sure the rest will fly. Every so often I pick a few of my students English books. They have English on the left page and Chinese on the right. Also, as they're all graded readers the Chinese isn't too difficult for me. Don't be fooled by the 'kids books' though, they have all of the classics! Great Expectations, Sherlock, David Copperfield, etc. 

 

How you getting on? Managed to fit in any time?

 

I too have a shelf of books, and have decided to quite flashcarding and just read. Recently I had to go on a trip, and I took my children's version of 红楼梦 (with pinyin) as my only reading material, and got through 48 pages in 10 days or so. I'm now working through 解读中国(中国文化阅读教程II), and on a good day I can get through 3-4 pages, but I've got a bit of work on, so not every day is a good day.

 

Yeah, I like flashcards for any new vocabulary which I need to stick short term, but nothing better than reading to maintain. I have a similar problem with work, got a lot on my plate these days. Trying to squeeze in a bit wherever I can. So, you in? :wink:

 

 

Then we can send abuse.... I mean encouragement... to anyone who slips....

 

I'm on it  8)

 

Update:

- Sorted out majority of my audio files now. Even bought an iPod Shuffle, mostly because of nostalgia (didn't know they still made these!). I've started filling that up with my ChinesePod dialogue files. Yeah, I can use a phone for listening and for reading eBooks, but there are no distractions this way. Another reason why I got a Kindle this year! 

- Had a trip to Shanghai for my wife's visa yesterday, so managed to sneak in a few chapters of Great Expectations. Going to head to West Lake in a bit for the purpose of a reading catch up. What better setting than an icy cold lake!

- ChinesePod will be my running partner tonight! 

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I've edited the title to be a bit more descriptive - let me know if you want it changed again / back!

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I still haven't quite figured out how to continue my studies now that I'm back from China (and back to a full time job), but maybe this thread will help...

 

I guess our levels are similar, I just took (and passed :lol:  ) the HSK 4 in November after 3 months of studying full time in China (i.e. 30 hours a week of language classes), starting pretty much from zero when I got there.

 

This means that a lot of the Chinese I learned probably hasn't quite made it into my long-term memory, so my goal for now is to at least maintain, possibly improve the level I'm at now.

 

What have you done this week? How did it go?

Just had my first Chinese class back in Germany. I'm taking a B1 level group evening class once a week (2.5 hours). It went pretty well, I think, I really liked it and I think it will help me not forgetting everything I learned.

 

Found any new resources? How did they help?

I downloaded the "The Chairman's Bao" app, really like it so far. The included dictionary is awesome, and I feel like the writing (for HSK 4) is at my level, but the vocabulary is slightly more "advanced". Or maybe "advanced" is the wrong word, but it includes lots of "newspaper vocabulary" ("government officials claimed that...", "according to the new regulation recently passed...", "smoking ban", "economic growth", "import and export" etc...), that might not turn up on the HSK vocabulary lists, but might help a lot in actually trying to one day read an actual Chinese newspaper.

 

My plan is to try and dedicated at least 7-10 hours per week to Chinese, that basically means 2.5 hours of class, plus another roughly 5-7 hours of homework, reading "The Chariman's Bao", reading children's books I bought in China, watching Chinese tv series, doing vocab flashcards on Pleco or The Chairman's Bao etc...

 

I did not make a more detailed schedule on purpose, because I think if I force myself to, for example, do vocab flashcards, even though I'd rather feel like reading in article, I doubt I'll keep up. I feel like I am at a level where I do have the basics to continue and improve by simply exposing myself to the language as much as possible. And I do still have the once per week class with more structured studying. Also, I just started a very busy new job, so more than 7-10 hours per week is not realistic at all (I'm not even sure I'll be able to keep up with that - but I'll try!).

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Just wanted to let you know I got a time tracker app for my tablet (which I also use for reading The Chairman's Bao and the "Great Expectations" adapted version ebook).

 

I think it is a great way to log the time I actually spend learning Chinese, as it would be hard to keep track otherwise without designated study time (for example, I often read on the subway on my way to and from work, it's only around 15 minutes, but it adds up).

 

How are you keeping track of your time spent studying?

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I've tried the Chairman's Bao and think it's great. Just wish there was more of it. The articles are the perfect size to provide a distraction break from boring work. I don't keep track of my study time, but I'm doing a few pages a day, on average, I think.

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1. BFG - I'm on page 160 now, so less progress than I had hoped, but I'm enjoying it.

2. Five words p/d - Completed as planned.

3. Watch an episode of said corny drama, check. Still haven't listened to the mp3 yet though.

 

In addition, I managed to make it to two language exchanges last week. Got a decent conversation going around the topic of boredom lol.

 

No change in my plans for the coming week.

 

I forget to mention, I watched a Taiwanese movie called "我的少女时代“ or "Our Times" in English. I enjoyed adjusting to their accent and the acting wasn't too bad, although it was basically a love story. Might be worth checking out if any of you have the time and inclination.

 

Lastly, I started reading about sub-vocalisation. I'm probably not at the level where it matters yet for my Mandarin, but it has definitely got me thinking about how I read in English.

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Sure thing! I'm roughly the same level (proudly failed my HSK4 in December), so put my name down. 

 

Over the last week (1st Feb-8th Feb) I've:

 

  • Studied and revised 86 new characters (through studying their radicals, making mnemonics and using Anki religiously)
  • Translated one article on The Chairman's Bao (link here)
  • Had a language exchange on Skype with a Chinese student living in the UK.

Resources wise, I've been using YouKu for TV alongside iqiyi for movies (a Chinese language movie site, also has some good English blockbusters on there with Chinese subs).

 

Struggling for motivation. Hoping to find some soon.

 

See you next week!

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I'm I on this

I am planning to increase my mandarin a lot this year and it's not going as planned mainly due to work. Past 3 weeks I have been doing a certification for my job to become a police general topics instructor ( I am a academy instructor for state police ).

So know that's done and behind me I am going 200% into my studies.

 

I'm a newbie still

 

My materials

Npcr level 1 textbook and workbook - Plan on doing a level a week and starting from beginning again but I will go through first 4 chapters in a week hopefully

Pimsluer audio - I'm on the second box set intermediate level and will listen to them on the train to and from work

Chinese pod- subscription expired but have a few lessons downloaded that I can do - hopefully I can it again later

Italki- I have a  gift card and want to get a few lessons under my belt since I still don't feel confident chatting with people due top my low level of speaking and comprehension

Pleco- Flash cards whenever I can of all the npcr lessons that im up to, right now I have up to lesson 6 on there

Graded reader and Tuttle common Chinese characters- will work through these if time permits

 

if I need to change or add anything im always open for suggestions 

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Sarah123 I know how you feel! I've been working 2 jobs for the last couple of years (what can I say, I love my job!). Even though I'm in China, I found it difficult to dedicate enough time to studying. At first I thought "Oh hey, I'm in the perfect setting, I don't really need to study", now I've learnt it's a lot more than just being here. HSK4 after such a short time sounds great, just try to retain that vocabulary! When I was studying a language program here I struggled to retain a lot at first. I started using Skritter which really helped me tuck them words away. I think 7-10 hours a week with a full time job is plenty of time as long as it is time well spent. 

 

Regarding tracking my studying hours, I don't see this as a big deal any more. I used to think that I should do this many hours in this many days etc. Now I just have targets such as I want to finish a book, I want to study a number of lessons. I find these much more attainable and enjoyable!

 

li3wei1, if you're anything like me and have a nice collection of books, but don't find the time, have you considered a kindle? I got one from Amazon in January and I never put it down. It's always in my coat pocket, ready for when I'm on the metro, having a coffee in Starbucks, or waiting for my wife while she shops. 

 

Mr John still great progress. Every little counts! Before you know it you'll be half way through your next book! Any ideas what you'll read next? What textbook you working through? Maybe you didn't reach the target for the BFG, but putting language to practice is better than anything. How were the language exchanges? Did it seem to flow? I usually find after a while it gets a little slow. Usually a drink helps.Ha! Any interesting links regarding sub-vocalisation? I'm just about to Google it after my update. 

 

Napkat it's great that you've joined us! How did you find the HSK4? Which areas did you struggle with? I always try to get into Anki, but I always find it frustrating! I've decided to stick with a combination of Skritter and Pleco (that's when I even do flashcards!). Recently however, I'm just trying to read a little more. Definitely noticed how the words pop up again and again. Much more fun than my old flashcarding days. I watch a lot of TV with my wife in the evenings. Our TV connects to the WIFI and has iqiyi built in, pretty cool! We don't watch too many Chinese films, but it's always nice to watch Western TV with Chinese subtitles. Plus, I always get pulled into a few of the war dramas my wife watches. Any targets for the next week? What do you want to start or finish?

 

Keep it up team!

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Update time. It's been a busy week in China, of course. It's Chinese New Year! So, firstly happy new year to everyone. 

 

My wife and I did our annual tidy for the new year. I tidied up my books and what not and thought I'd give you guys a peek:

 

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Regarding my targets I set last week:

 

  • I finished Mandarin Companion's Great Expectations - Part 1
    Have to say I was a little disappointed with my Kindle. I was at about 50% last week and thought I was halfway. Turns out the Kindle included the 'key words' section at the end which took up a fair chunk. I actually finished the book by about 75%. Therefore, I started Great Expectations  - Part 2. Got through Chapter 1 and want to progress to about 50% again this week. Shouldn't be too much. I'm a little worried about after I finish though! I love the style of Mandarin Companion and have no idea when the next level of books will be available :-? . I understand it's hard work though! 
     
  • I went through my audio files and put a whole load of my ChinesePod intermediate lessons on my new iPod Shuffle. I put just the dialogue tracks and listened to them quite a bit, but never tried to study them. That'll be on my list again this week!
     
  • Now I've arranged all my books, I've decided to pick 1 or 2 textbooks that I've never even looked through (that's right, some I have even opened, they just looked nice as set! :lol: ) and start picking through the words and dialogues. I'm sure it'll be a nice recap from some older books I've used, plus a few new bits thrown in here and there! 
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猴年快乐!I‘d like to join in.

 

I'm not quite sure if I'm actually intermediate level, but I definitely am not a complete beginner anymore :P Since I've recently finished reading my first book (EVER) (even tho I'd watched the drama and read the translation beforehand, but oh well), I really feel the need to step up my game.

 

My goals for this week are:

  • to read 7 chapters (one a day) of 至此终年。I'll basicly be using this as a textbook, I'll be choosing new words to learn from this book. The audio book is just perfect, with male and female voices, and even songs at the end of each recording~~ I'm still not sure if I should listen or read first, and also if I should look up unknown words as I encounter them, or if I should just read everything first, without interruptions... The book is also being translated, with the first I think 8 chapters already finished, so I'll definitely read those after I finish each chapter. This book does seem a bit harder, and I do encounter quite a few tricky words, tho maybe it's just until I get used to it. My ultimate goal, tho, is just to finish it, with good enough understanding to make it an enjoyable read. I really need some advice on this. :help
  • to practice pronunciation. Sadly I know 0 (zero) chinese ppl with whom I can practice, so I'll be using FSI pronunciation recording for this. My aim is also one per day. I think that my j, q,x and zh, ch, sh are kinda ok, but I find the chi (吃)- che (車) vowels kinda weird...And, of course, the tones... Tho, I think I'm at the point I can actually hear them in longer recordings  :shock: I'm thinking of making a recording of myself where I'm actually reading something, after practicing, and do this on a weekly basis, to keep track of my progress.
  • to keep writing something (anything) in my journal on a daily basis. I was never really a type to write a diary in my mother tongue, partly because I couldn't really stick to it, and partly because there was always this fear of someone accidentally reading it. But chinese (especially with as many mistakes as mine) is like a super secret unbreakable code. And I've been looking up 手帳 like crazy, they're so pretty ♥ Does anyone know how to properly write a diary or a bullet journal, and the necessary vocab for it? I could maybe try making audio journal, where I just talk about anything, but this seems too scary right now.
  • study grammar. I have a pdf copy of some grammar book, so I'll just use that.

 

Sorry for the long post. It seems I really lack structure, my only real studying will be from the grammar book, the rest is pretty much just goofing around. Let's see how this week goes first, and then I'll decide how to fix it.

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Welcome, Xit!

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@mackie1402: I also finished Great Expectations part 1 yesterday. I was kind of disappointed, because the writing was so simple (both the vocabulary and the way it was written, which made the characters feel kind of "flat"). Obviously, making things simpler is the point in an adapted book, but still, it didn't feel like reading actual literature at all. On the other hand, it felt pretty good to be able to just read along without having to look stuff up. I'm still much slower than when reading German (native language) or English (pretty much fluent), but it was the first time reading in Chinese didn't feel like a chore, but was fun (like it is when I read books in other languages). But it felt really short. Only took me like 3 hours of reading time to get through (and like I said, I wasn't fast), so nothing compared to a real book.

 

I think I'll still get the 2nd part. I feel it's a good way to review vocabulary, since the repetition of lots of words helps you remember them, and at the same time, it's more interesting than just doing flashcards.

 

I also got some western children's book classics in Chinese (Roald Dahl's Matilda and Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking) when I was still in China. Right now I feel like the vocabulary is too advanced for me, at least with Matilda I only made it to page 15 or so because I had to look up almost every other word. On the other hand, it makes the story and the characters way more interesting, complex and fun... and I feel like I should be reading stuff aimed at Chinese readers (even if it is children), because I want to learn "real world Chinese" not "adapted language Chinese". I guess I'm still looking for a middle ground here.

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I think it's good to have both kinds of reading material at hand, the kind you can read without looking anything up, for when you're tired, or when holding a phone/dictionary isn't convenient, and the kind where you have to look things up a lot, for when your brain is awake and you have a desk to sit at.

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