Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

  • Why you should look around

    Since 2003, Chinese-forums.com has been helping people learn Chinese faster and get to China sooner. Our members can recommend beginner textbooks, help you out with obscure classical vocabulary, and tell you where to get the best street food in Xi'an. And we're friendly about it too. 

    Have a look at what's going on, or search for something specific. We hope you'll join us. 
mackie1402

Weekly Intermediate Study Updates - join in!

Recommended Posts

Wurstmann

新年快乐!

Unfortunately my studying has ground to a halt, because we are busy preparing to return to Germany in March. I still read and watch something everyday though.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

Mr John

Hi all,

 

As my last few posts probably indicated, my Chinese studies haven't been in great shape for the last six months or so. I doubt this situation will improve for a while yet, as I will be starting a new job very soon and it will need to take top priority.

 

In terms of keeping the language alive, I'm lucky in that I have a group of Chinese friends that I see from time to time. During the Chinese new year I hung out with them and listened to them 吐槽  春晚 which was cool.

 

Hmmm... Chinese Goals for 2017? I'm going to keep them fairly modest this year. Read something in Mandarin everyday (at least 15mins p/d), complete all three modules of Glossika (15mins p/d), and learn how to write the 500 most common characters by hand (10mins p/d). Anything else I can manage will be a bonus.

 

Even though I've gone quiet at times I still read everyone's updates by the way. They have pulled me back to the language at times, so keep them coming. 

 

Happy New Year!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mackie1402
8 hours ago, stapler said:

It turns out the parents had been living in the girl's apartment for two months and didn't go out because they can't communicate with anyone.

 

That was me my first 2 months in China ha!

 

8 hours ago, stapler said:

And as a bit of an ego boo everyone else there was blown away by how fluent I seemed. I've now reached that important stage where non-Chinese speakers/learners can't tell how bad my Chinese is!

 

I experienced this last year. Sometimes you feel like you're getting nowhere, until 1. your friends hear you speak and are amazed, or 2. you hear someone learning Chinese from the beginning and realize you were at that stage, but that seems years ago!

 

8 hours ago, stapler said:

 

Just checked this out. Looks like just what I'm looking for! Thanks!

 

3 hours ago, Wurstmann said:

新年快乐!

Unfortunately my studying has ground to a halt, because we are busy preparing to return to Germany in March. I still read and watch something everyday though.

 

 

新年快乐!

Any thought about what you'll do to maintain Chinese when you're in back Germany?

 

1 hour ago, Mr John said:

Hmmm... Chinese Goals for 2017? I'm going to keep them fairly modest this year. Read something in Mandarin everyday (at least 15mins p/d), complete all three modules of Glossika (15mins p/d), and learn how to write the 500 most common characters by hand (10mins p/d). Anything else I can manage will be a bonus.

 

Even though I've gone quiet at times I still read everyone's updates by the way. They have pulled me back to the language at times, so keep them coming. 

 

 

Are you doing the Glossika GMS or GSR? How do you use your 15 mins a day with it? I'm going through GSR at about 4-5 lessons a day at the moment. Hoping to hit Day 75 by tomorrow night! We shall see. It's getting a bit more difficult with longer sentences though, so I'll probably slow it down a little.

 

My plan for the next few weeks:

 

Try to do as little "sit down and study" sessions for Chinese. I seem to be short of time most days, so trying to put some things together.

 

Hoping to do a ChinesePod lesson with the audio review and shadow the dialogues while I'm at the gym. Funnily enough I am always the only one in the gym as I go at 10am, so I don't mind shadowing in public.

 

I'm reviewing the HSK4 word list on Skritter at the moment, then I'll add the HSK5 list. I only ever do Skritter while I'm waiting for something, such as on the metro, in a taxi, waiting for the lift etc.

 

I'll be continuing with Glossika, but probably cutting down to 3 a day (from the spaced repetition tracks). The sentences are getting longer, and every so often there's a word I'm not familiar with thrown in. I'm really using Glossika just to practice the flow of the language and pronunciation. I don't want to rush it, even if there aren't many new words for me at this stage.

 

Finally I'm going through one of my listening books every so often. This is my only "sit down and study" time. It's usually one listening chapter which takes about 30 minutes. I'll be using 汉语听力教程 alternating between 第二册 and 第三册

 

As you can see I'm heavily focusing on more speaking and listening these days. It's kind of because of the family thing. I really want to have smoother communication with the in-laws. Plus my wife is always watching Chinese TV soaps. It'd be nice to enjoy them with her without having to bug her every so often about what they're saying.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wurstmann
13 hours ago, mackie1402 said:

Any thought about what you'll do to maintain Chinese when you're in back Germany?

 

Keep on reading books and watching dramas. For speaking I will try to find some Chinese friends and/or start using HelloTalk again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Flickserve

Not much progress.

 

I was away from home and away from the computer. I did listen to some sentences on my smartphone but not in a big way. I can mimic sentences but not bring them up spontaneously in a conversation. Perhaps I should add some English Chinese Anki cards and ask a tutor to try to get me use these sentences in  conversation.

 

Decided this weekend to do instant tutoring on italki for a bit of random chitchat conversation practice. The first one was with a professional tutor from Hunan. It went relatively smoothly so in a fit of feeling good, I went for another session the next day with a community tutor - someone who I have not previously had contact with.

 

Well, it was good in a sense that I was brought back to reality. There was quite a lot material that I couldn't understand. We went considerably overtime so I prebooked another lesson to compensate her for this and for the remaining time, she will transcribe the recordings that I will send back to her. Always good to preserve a good relationship. The session was beneficial in a way because I couldn't differentiate whether it was difficult because of a regional accent or the vocabulary she used. After an hour, it got tiring so we stopped at that point.

 

The good thing about community tutors is their fees are lower so the transcribing service (where I am not necessarily facing the tutor) is cheaper.

 

Professional tutors have their plus and minus points. Will come back to that in the future.

 

 

Edit - forgot to add that I did do some repeated listening to Mandarin songs and shadowing lyrics for some light relief. The two songs were 爱如潮水 and 突然想起你. Yeah,old!

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
laurenth
On 25/01/2017 at 6:27 AM, mackie1402 said:

I've downloaded a few goal tracking apps. The problem I find is using them! I always forget to update my progress.

 

Same here :-) We need a meta goaltracking app to remind us to use our goaltracking app.

 

On 25/01/2017 at 6:27 AM, mackie1402 said:

What do you do during your language exchange meetings? I think I need more face to face conversations, and it'd be very easy to find partners here. I just don't know how to go about them. Do you spend half the time in each language? I feel like I'd automatically use English if they wanted to talk English.

 

I have two partners. We met via HelloTalk. One of them likes to apply a strict 30' in Chinese / 30' in French policy, which is fine, because her French is way more advanced than my Chinese, so it is difficult to hold a meaningful conversation on the same topic while switching languages all the time. As my spoken Chinese is awful, for the time being, I read a story/article before we meet, which obviously helps a lot, and talk to her about it. She corrects me as necessary.  The other partner prefers a looser discussion. I had doubts but, somehow, it also works. I think it's because his French and my Chinese are more on a par. In both cases, at first, I recorded our conversations, thinking it would be useful to work on the recordings afterwards. In practice, I haven't done that yet because (1) listening to my botched Chinese is an extremely painful experience; (2) recording quality is often poor; (3) cleaning the recordings and doing some actual work with them is very time consuming, while the time I can devote to Chinese is fairly limited.

 

On 25/01/2017 at 6:27 AM, mackie1402 said:

I want to start this approach soon with Ximalaya. Get some podcasts to try and transcribe.

The problem with Ximalaya is that it's much harder to loop through one particular sentence which you find difficult (I use WorkAudioBook for that; Audacity works too). As far as I'm aware, when you download something from Ximalaya, it's not an mp3 sound file, so it's not that easy to feed it into WorkAudioBook or Audacity. It's probably possible, but I haven't tried. Maybe someone else?

 

Being able to transcribe a podcast, or most of it, even if it takes an inordinate amount of looping, is a rewarding experience. That said, in my case, it has not translated (yet, hopefully) in any noticeable improvement of my listening comprehension on first hearing.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Publius
4 minutes ago, laurenth said:

when you download something from Ximalaya, it's not an mp3 sound file, so it's not that easy to feed it into WorkAudioBook or Audacity.

It's .m4a (I used Firefox+FlashGot). WorkAudioBook only works with mp3 but Audacity should be able to read and convert it. But the segmentation doesn't work very well. They talk too fast and often over each other and there's music...

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
roddy

First off, this is a fantastic topic and thanks to everyone who's participating.

 

Second - there's a risk of a lot of excellent information in here getting buried. There's stuff here just on this page about audio apps, the stresses of dealing with a new interlocutor, benefits of practising characters on paper - all of which is going to be harder for people to find as it's all mixed in with other stuff.

 

Please do keep posting, wherever you want. But if you have the time to find or start a more specific topic, and then in here say "I've been doing a lot with Anki recently, which I posted about in link" you'll probably spark more overall discussion and more people will benefit. 

 

Again, thanks. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Flickserve
6 hours ago, laurenth said:

(1) listening to my botched Chinese is an extremely painful experience; (2) recording quality is often poor; (3) cleaning the recordings and doing some actual work with them is very time consuming, while the time I can devote to Chinese is fairly limited.

 

1) I use a recording software called Evaer. It can be setup up for single channel recording i.e. only the other side gets recorded and doesn't record your own voice. How are you recording?

 

2) with Evaer, it is more to do with the internet connection

 

3) workaudio book then subs2srs to split off the sentences and you have many sentences to listen to again.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
laurenth

@Publius Thanks, it works!

 

20 hours ago, Flickserve said:

I use a recording software called Evaer

 

Evaer is used to record Skype sessions. I'm talking about face to face sessions in potentially noisy public places. On the other hand, I also use Skype for more formal Chinese classes, so that software may come in handy. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Flickserve
2 hours ago, laurenth said:

I'm talking about face to face sessions in potentially noisy public places.

Ahh, got it. From my perspective, I would still record it but probably only review very specific parts for some really interesting vocabulary.

 

Just a word about Evaer - I paid for it specifically for Skype sessions. Apparently, Audacity can also be setup to record Skype sessions. I think it was Shelley who provided the information on that. But I had already paid for Evaer as I didn't know Audacity could be setup like that. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mati1

I want to quickly post my challenge for the upcoming week before the weekend ends here.

 

Chinese:

  • Keep learning those characters, 10+ per day and reviews.
  • 1+ hour per day combined for reading and listening.
  • Special: Write my first Chinese letter by hand.
  • Contact my friends on Wechat by sending audio messages again.

 

Sports:

3 - 4 times in this week:

  • Jogging, 30 - 70 minutes (depends on the route / my willpower)
  • Some strength training

 

Work:

  • Use a daily routine to get enough hours done.
  • Reduce the length of those todo lists.

 

Notes for the Reader

I'm using the character learning routine for two weeks already (more on that later), but my reading and listening is sometimes less than the stated hour, which means less than the time spent on characters.

I've never written a real text by hand before. I only remember writing sentences one or two times before, but not more than maybe three simple sentences maximum.

My sports history is much worse than my learning Chinese history; haven't dont that for more than two weeks in a very long time.

Every time I go out running I listen to something in a foreign language, usually Chinesepod, so this helps to get much more listening done. I want to try listening to upper intermediate lessons for some weeks and hopefully get an improvement in my listening skills. Due to lack of vocabulary upper intermediate is actually too difficult for me, but intermediate lessons are getting kind of easy and use too much English (+ I've already listened to them way too often).

Work and procrastination make a bad combination.

 

The challenge starts when I get up tomorrow. Wish me strength! :D

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
imron
3 hours ago, Mati1 said:

Use a daily routine to get enough hours done.

This will be the most important part if you want to succeed in those things.

 

Motivation comes and goes, if you have a strong routine you'll keep going when you have low motivation.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mati1

There is a new discussion regarding the future of opening personal progress threads or (micro-)blogs.

Please give us your opinion in Study journal blogs

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stapler

Okay it's been a while since I've made an update. Part of that might be because I'm not studying too much this year. Some things I've done (besides reading novels/books daily):

 

Video games

I discovered Final Fantasy 6 was available in Chinese on iOS/Android and have been playing it. The language is very formal, with lots of chengyu. But it's fun and good to practice a different style of writing. One of the hard parts of playing this game are all the item/weapon/monster names. Because it's all just text based however I can take it slow. The other thing I've done is started playing Starctaft 2 in Chinese. It's fantastic in that all the cutscenes and dialogue are done in Mandarin. Again the way they speak is bizarre to me. It's definitely not daily conversational Mandarin. And that's not just because of the vocabulary. It's because of the level of formality. As a native English speaker I still find it quite strange to deal with a language that will arbitrarily switch from casual to formal registers even for something like a video game. Anyway the dialogue is complex but easily repeatable for practice. And it's fun! I feel like it's quite rare to have a video game completely translated into Chinese audio. I'll have to dig around and see what else has been done.

 

Listening

The large amounts of audio sentences Ive been drilling/repeating/listening to on Anki I think is starting to pay off. As long as the vocabulary is not too specialised I'm now constantly finding myself comprehending many conversations around me in my daily life. Recently some Chinese moved in next door to me. Being Chinese the volume they speak at is roughly the same level as jet fighter doing a flyover. When I'm washing dishes or even on the toilet I can often hear them talking and I find I understand the majority of what they're saying which has been encouraging.

 

Newspapers

There's lots of free local Chinese newspapers around. I've started reading them. I'm not sure why I didn't think about doing this earlier. There are two benefits. On one hand there's lots of local news (which I find more interesting than most overseas Chinese news) and on the other hand I get to hold something physical. I can't stand things like kindle etc and prefer to hold something.

 

That's about it for now!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Flickserve

Here is my update 

 

I am always on the lookout for different ways of learning that make a difference.

 

Previously, I was going through the series 'Growing Up with Chinese'. Short pieces of dialogue and to be honest, difficult for the beginner. I made Anki cards and went through them by the audio coming out first, then trying to workout what they said. After going through the cards, I took a few weeks break and tried them again. The results were frustrating as I failed a number of cards but more importantly, when listening to the audio, I had no feel for even guessing the words that were used. On a practical sense, this is important as what I thought would be a powerful learning tool, is not working for me, in so far as trying to increase listening skills.

 

However, as documented before, the actual process of creating the srt files from the series seems to have helped my general listening skills which I will come back to later. I have stopped at episode 40 of GUWC because of a practical point. When pulling out the script from the PDF to word, the pinyin above each character would come after the Chinese character. It would be very tedious to delete each pinyin manually.

 

I still have not been looking at textbooks despite buying new ones!

 

I watched a couple of episodes of a drama and ended up reading the subtitles more than being able to understand the audio. Again, rather frustrated.

 

I went through relearning my song 爱如潮水. There are a couple of lines to sing very quickly. I booked an italki teacher to help me go through the song. It helped reinforce the words and train my speed. To be honest, learning the song is for light relief but if I ever need to karaoke, at least I can make people suffer with one song. 

 

I went through my recordings of previous lessons with teachers. From a few lessons, each sentence was cut up and put in a folder. For each lesson, I loaded them up ten sentences into a playlist, shuffled and played. For those sentences I am able to comprehend, I take them out of the playlist so gradually the playlist is whittled down to sentences I  cannot understand. The repetition seemed to help but if I am left with three or four unknown sentences, it seems difficult to imprint them into comprehension. I.e. I might be able to listen and pick out the words (or what I think are the words ) but I can't really understand. If I recheck the corresponding text, then I find I am really quite off in what I think I heard. In effect, this method is a bit like the Glossika method but gradual culling of sentences that you do know. However, despite looking at the text again, I was still not confident about the words.

 

It was a bit of a dilemma. On one hand I am making progress, but on the other hand experiencing some blocks.

 

About two weeks ago, laurenth posted a link to a language learning forum. I browsed through the forum looking for anymore different techniques and something caught my attention. Some people wrote about mass repetition of sentences but not in the method of Glossika. What they wrote about was mass repetition of a single sentence and what was really significant is that they would repeat only that one sentence over and over again for 10-15 minutes, first just listening and then shadowing. They reported good results in imprinting of the sentence and on their fluency and accuracy. Of course, previously, I had performed repeated listening of sentences but not as many times as these people were advocating when working on a single sentence. In ten minutes, you are probably looking at 200 repetitions of a 3 second sentence. I looked it up on this forum and found one post on it many years ago. 

 

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/8213-near-native-foreign-accents/

 

I tried it out. First on my song. Just on those difficult fast couple of lines. Two to three hundred repetitions. Oh, definite further improvement from after my lesson on the song. 

 

I picked another one sentence where the teacher gave me an example sentence using  a 成语. Unfortunately,I am not familiar the other vocabulary for that example sentence. Anyway, since the sentence overall was a fairly short one, I tried it out - 15 minutes of one sentence in a loop. Definite improvement. I looked up some of the words to get a better meaning and asked some of my HK colleagues the subtle differences. That also improved my Cantonese...

 

So far, I haven't been able to systematically go through all my recorded lessons but this method is certainly something to go forward with although it is rather laborious. Concentrating on listening skills means I have drastically dropped the frequency of on-line lessons.

 

Finally to recount an experience from last night when I attended a University alumni event. Well, normally my de facto language is either English or Cantonese. But with a lot of mainland Chinese graduating from UK universities, there are more attending these events. I ended talking spontaneously in Mandarin to two different groups who were using Mandarin, being understood and understanding the flow of the conversations. Never mind my crap accent and all that. They still understood me. When the conversations got a bit deeper, naturally I started failing. A mind blowing leap in my Mandarin experience indeed after all the past frustrations.

 

To summarise, spending a much greater proportion of time on deliberate listening of recorded material has helped a lot and this learner now appreciates mass listening of individual in a loop means repetitions of 200 times or more and not  20-30 as previously practiced.

Edited by Flickserve
link added
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Flickserve
On 01/03/2017 at 7:21 AM, stapler said:

The large amounts of audio sentences Ive been drilling/repeating/listening to on Anki I think is starting to pay off

 

This is not working for me, at least for new sentences. Perhaps because I get distracted by everything on screen and needing to press replay audio. However, in the future it may serve better as a reinforcement tool. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stapler

I think when you're feeling frustrated like you are at the moment it's important to remember that this is a part of learning the language and that continuing despite the frustration ultimately bodes well for you. Also, maybe try doing something different/easier/more interesting in your language learning for a while.  When I hit a wall I have found that having a variety of stuff to do is helpful.

 

What you said above about listening 200 times makes sense to me. I couldn't stomach that kind of thing so I wouldn't do it. But I do believe it is important to get lots of input, no matter how or what form it is in. I think Anki works for me because it's sentence by sentence with manual interaction. That helps me keep focused. I don't think the grading or spaced repetition is important. I can't listen to audio dialogues because I drift off eventually. If I could it would probably be a better way to get mass sentence input.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
imron
1 hour ago, Flickserve said:

I watched a couple of episodes of a drama and ended up reading the subtitles more than being able to understand the audio. Again, rather frustrated.

This is what's great about 锵锵三人行 - no subtitles, but full transcripts.  That means you have to rely on listening skills, but you can still look things up if you don't understand.

 

Welcome to the intermediate plateau.  It gets better if you persist

1 hour ago, Flickserve said:

I tried it out...definite further improvement

 

Yep.  Drilling repetitively like this works.  This post from 10 years back is the approach I used with great success.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Flickserve
1 hour ago, stapler said:

When I hit a wall I have found that having a variety of stuff to do is helpful.

 

What you said above about listening 200 times makes sense to me

 

I definitely agree with you about variation. It is easy enough now. I went to italki a couple of times for instant tutoring. Only lasts half an hour and fits in with my irregular schedule. This is still average once every two weeks or so. 

 

The mass listening I am still working out how to utilise it effectively. I will try to use it in the gym with some bluetooth headphones and I can just drift in and out of listening. The HK subway system has an extremely high level of ambient noise (from the train and not other passengers). Wired headphones are just a little distracting unless at home.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...