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Wurstmann
2 hours ago, Flickserve said:

One to ten in Korean is already difficult.

 

Because of the two counting systems? 

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Flickserve
7 hours ago, Wurstmann said:

Because of the two counting systems? 

 

I am pretty bad at languages. I cannot even get past the hangul for one to ten let alone two systems.

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AdamD
5 hours ago, Flickserve said:

I am pretty bad at languages.

 

I was terrible at Chinese the first time I tried it. I couldn't remember four characters and chucked a tantrum for a whole year. It all changed when I found a method that worked and that suited my style of learning.

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Flickserve
6 hours ago, AdamD said:

I was terrible at Chinese the first time I tried it

 

I can't say I have an ear for languages. I have tried French, German and Latin at school. And Chinese twice over.

 

However, I am much better at sports so life is not a total loss. :)

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stapler

@Flickserve you speak two languages fluently already. That makes you better with languages than most English speakers already. Also pretty much no one has a natural talent for languages. The difference is between how much work people put in. If someone complemented me on a second language and then said they don't have "an ear" for languages, that's basically a slap in the face, suggesting I was just born lucky rather than busting my balls every day every year to learn the language!

 

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Wurstmann
1 hour ago, stapler said:

they don't have "an ear" for languages, that's basically a slap in the face

 

Yeah, I hate that too. It's the same with drawing or playing an instrument or maths.Nowadays I just ask "So, how many hours do you practice every day?". That seems to make some people think.  

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AdamD

Yeah, there's an implicit myth that you'll get better at a language just by being around it. That might be true for infants but not for adults. I feel this myth gets people's hopes up and lets them down.

 

I don't have an ear for languages either (my failed attempts at Indonesian and German are testament to that). The only progress I've ever made has been through focused study, exhaustive repetition, paying undivided attention to loads of material, daily self-testing and, most importantly, finding techniques that work for me.

 

-------------------------

 

My listening has gone backwards this week, but that's how false plateaus work so I'm not worried. I did realise that reading Chinese subtitles while listening stuffs me up completely, and in fact might have been hindering my progress for years, probably because I was trying to interpret two things at once.

 

I've had LE app voice calls with strangers four days running, so I'm much less anxious about it now. The only real problem has been finding a suitable partner: one insisted on giving me lessons on ancient history even after I said I didn't want that; another lectured me on my life choices before we'd even started (I refused to call this one). The rest were great. Despite the false starts I'll keep doing this as often as I can.

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Kelby
20 hours ago, AdamD said:

Yeah, there's an implicit myth that you'll get better at a language just by being around it. That might be true for infants but not for adults. I feel this myth gets people's hopes up and lets them down

 

The siren song of many a gap-year, part time ESL teacher. The only way I'be made it work for me was by marrying a woman who can't (read: doesn't want to) speak English. 

 

20 hours ago, AdamD said:

The only progress I've ever made has been through focused study, exhaustive repetition, paying undivided attention to loads of material, daily self-testing and, most importantly, finding techniques that work for me.

 

Care to share what material you're working on right now? I just bought two HSK 5 books from the Zhengzhou mega-bookstore, but I'd love to find something a little less boring to work on. I cachet China'/ 'Running Man (奔跑吧兄弟)' every week, and I'm scratching my head through 盗墓笔记, but the latter feels in no way on my level. 

 

PS, how does this thread work? Just post progress and discuss, or is there any protocol I'm missing?

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AdamD
3 hours ago, Kelby said:

Care to share what material you're working on right now?

 

I'm working through the HSK5 word list, listening to a lot of ChinesePod, and watching the TV shows and YouTube channels I wrote about here and here.

 

3 hours ago, Kelby said:

I just bought two HSK 5 books from the Zhengzhou mega-bookstore, but I'd love to find something a little less boring to work on.

 

Chinese textbooks are almost universally boring. I stick with ChinesePod because their whole aim is to be the opposite of boring textbooks, but it's also more expensive than textbooks.

 

3 hours ago, Kelby said:

I'm scratching my head through 盗墓笔记, but the latter feels in no way on my level.

 

Persevering with difficult content is soul destroying. I don't stay on with anything that's too hard, but I do come back to it regularly in case I've improved enough for it to be worthwhile.

 

3 hours ago, Kelby said:

PS, how does this thread work?

 

There's an introduction right up the top. Really a few of us are just posting our progress on a (roughly) weekly basis.

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stapler

Okay I think I can make a small update. I finished a drama called 完美男人 and I've started watching 歡樂送 第二部. I've found the characters easier to understand than the first season. But I'm fairly confident that's just because there's way more dubbing going on this season. I really liked turning whole episodes into audio flashcards for the first season but it's too much work to do that anymore and I really don't have much time for that at the moment.

 

What I have done is gone back to adding more upper intermediate ChinesePods into flashcards. They're definitely starting to feel how I remember the elementary ones felt a few years ago. I'm so comfortable with them that I delete all the speech pauses from the sentences as I just get impatient waiting for them to finish the sentence. Another good sign. I think the main benefit of these podcasts at this point is vocabulary building and habitualising some of the more exotic vocabulary.

 

I listened to a whole bunch of HSK5 audio test material in the example quizzes (didn't do other sections as they seem a bit trivial, except for maybe the synonym distinction) and found I could only get around 50% correct. I think the lack of vocabulary was the problem. But not sure.  Could just be that my listening is still not up to scratch. Also the pacing and style of delivery of the audio material I find really annoying. So artificial. I think I'll stick with the podcasts, audiobooks and tv shows for listening material. 

 

Ive almost finished reading 工廠女孩 and 流星蝴蝶劍 and I finished 黄昏的男孩. I'm making an effort to finish more novels because im in the mood to buy some more and I don't want to just amass lot of unread novels. 

 

My efforts to actually speak more have gone well. Ive found someone whom is willing to speak to me for 15 minutes each week which I find helpful. Obviously not enough but it's a start. 

 

Reading about everyone's successes here, seeing other people speak fluently and passing HSK6 is providing me with inspiration to keep trying.

 

I still hope one day I can go to a Chinese speaking country one day too so I can put into practice everything I've been doing here at home. I think this is my "end goal"

 

thats about it!

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imron

It happens :-)

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Flickserve

It has been some weeks since I touched my Chinese. All I have been doing is putting on the Chinese radio on my commute to work and back. It is a Shenzhen station and also plays Mandarin and Cantonese songs. The opportunity to use Mandarin has not arisen for a fair number weeks since I stopped my italki interactions.

 

I am still orientated to my physical training. Met some friends at a sportshall this morning and a lady speaking Mandarin came up and spoke to me friend. I followed the conversation and joined in with a few polite chat sentences.

 

What's nice was it felt completely natural not struggling to think.......

 

 

 

 

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Vanderlander

Hello all!

 

I lurk here a lot and thought it would be time to join in! I like reading what everyone's been doing and seeing similar frustrations to me. I've been travelling in Europe for the last 4 months and trying to keep my Chinese moving (god bless long train rides).

  • Reading - It took me about 4 different novels before finding one I could make it to the end of, 猫眼 (readable even for HSK4 learners!), and even then it took 4 months to finish that. After I finished that I used the motivation-momentum to finish Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in a month. So, right now my goal is to read one book per month. This month's book is: 浪矢杂货店。A very easy book translated from Japanese. Right now I'm reading it on Kindle and I'm at 21%, I should be reading around 25% per week.
  • Anki / Vocab - My goal is to keep up my anki streak, 30 days so far, and add between 5 - 10 words per day from the novel I'm reading. My goal for the year is 90% days with Anki. I also have a backlog on my Glossika deck, so I need to do 100 Glossika cards per day.
  • Speaking - Speak with my language partner once per week - this has been hard, I need good internet, a schedule which allows for the Chinese time difference and privacy. I might also try some advice I heard and do 2 recorded 3 minute speeches into my phone this week.
  • Listening - I've recently downloaded 坏蛋调频 - I'll try to listen to an episode a week, I understand around 80 - 90% of it and it's nice exposure to a cool Beijing accent. My headphones just broke but I'm planning to listen to the audiobooks of novels I've read.
  • Writing - Write a plan for practicing Chinese writing... I tried a journal in the past but never really did it.

Longer term goals - Read HuoZhe before September (this was a New Year's goal and is starting to look very achievable), pass the HSK5 (will book in for August 15th). Gain acceptance the the Mandarin Training Centre at National Taiwan University.

 

Chinese studying to-do

---

 

I have literally hundreds of clippings on Kindle from the Chinese novels, I really need to go through them, see which ones are useful examples, which ones I highlighted because they were idiomatic and which ones I didn't understand (to ask my language partner. I also have the 330 Common Chinese Patterns book, I'm on number 50, they're useful and I see them crop up a lot. I also found some advanced learner textbooks I'd like to get my hands on. I just need more dedicated study time but ach, who dusnae?

 

Just a note, I read 陳德聰's post on Success stories and I liked his stories about his Chinese learning was quite social, I think that's quite important in learning a skill - making it a part of your social life and having more connections to it irl (classes, friends, meetups etc.)

 

 

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AdamD

Another week of slow/no progress, but other areas of my life seem to be picking up. I'll take the trade right now.

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艾墨本

This week has seen a shift in my Chinese. While originally I intended to only use the first two weeks of May to review, I ended up needing the whole month for it as I became very busy. It worked out well, especially because I'm pretty sure if I was pushing myself to learn more during this last month I would have ended up doing nothing instead of something.

 

This last week I shifted from that review mindset to starting to study new content. I haven't added any new words but am diving back into books and TV. I've rediscovered 锵锵三人行 and am finding it much more enjoyable to watch as it doesn't take as much effort as before. I've also gotten through the first 30 pages of 圈子圈套 and am really enjoying it so far. I hope to read some every day while I have the time. I set some grammar-oriented goals at the beginning of last month and completely fell off on that one. I want to get back on that seeing as I was finding it helpful even though it was very boring. I just need enough not-boring stuff to balance that out. I hope 圈子圈套 can quench that thirst.

 

The last thing I want to do is start into my anki deck for 圈子圈套. I haven't added any new words to anki for the last month and am craving for some new vocabulary to play with.

 

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xit

Finally back! Had a lot of not-related-to-Chinese studying to do. So I decided to pause with the Chinese until it's all finished, and now here I am~ It felt soo good picking up a Chinese textbook again, I'm pretty sure I've gone crazy. I've just started boya 中级,the second book. Also watching youtube videos, so yey for listening practice. I'm following a drama, 三生三世十里桃花,I really like it, but I'm using the English subtitles and it is a xianxia, so not much studying there.

This week I hope to continue with the textbook and youtube, and finally continue reading the book I started months ago. I'm keeping track of time I spend studying, so hopefully I won't be too lazy.

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Flickserve
On 8 May 2017 at 6:51 AM, stapler said:

Will be waiting for you to start again in a month or two :D

 

Dang, yeah. Started again. You will be pleased to have been correct. I did a sort of language exchange. Actually, she is a chatty person who does italki community tutor but gave me a bit of free time. She said my speaking skills have deteriorated. I still can't understand 50% of what she is saying. But I am not letting that get to me.

 

I think what also tired me out previously was me trying to improve speaking at the same time as listening. I will just go for listening for now which I can do in my own time for now. No point in being overly ambitious. There is plenty of material to work on.

 

I watched the first episode of Happy Chinese just to make my own anki notes. I tried to keep it to difficult to understand sentences, ie. sentences spoken quickly, those with unknown vocabulary and those where the accent throws me off. Set anki to just show listening cards (answer cards have characters, pinyin and no translation). Loaded it up on Ankidroid and practiced listening.

 

On my android phone, if I select the Chinese characters within anki, there is an option to go straight to Pleco within Anki. Pretty useful and the vocab I looked up I stuck into Pleco flashcards to review later. I watched the episode again covering the subtitles with my hand (ultra hi tech), and felt a worthwhile step up in comprehension level. Let's see how things pan out.

 

As for other real life interactions with Mandarin, it has been fairly sparse unfortunately.

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Flickserve

Took a couple of italki lessons. For one of them, we went through an interview that I found on YouTube.  Although it was useful, being the first time I tried this method, it was rather inefficient. I thought the tutor was in HK, but she had actually returned to China and of course, her connection to YouTube was rather flaky. In retrospect, I should have ripped the interview to MP3 and sent it to her so that she could listen to it much more quickly. For each sentence, I first tried to identify what the interviewer and interviewee said, and she told me what they really said. Our internet connection wasn't that good so I felt a little dissatisfied. 

 

I took a second lesson with a guy in Shenzhen. Connection was still flaky over Skype. For this lesson, I asked him to emphasise on my intonation and tones. Just concentrate on my big mistakes as pragmatically, I would not be able to train to standard Mandarin. I haven't done such training for quite a while so, in a masochistic fashion, I quite enjoyed the satisfaction of having identified where I say some words within sentences imperfectly. For example, 很高兴认识您. My 高 was a little long in duration and sounds rather forced. Not really a bad problem But my 认 is too loud and he said that makes the sentence come out a little sarcastic if it were to be said by a native speaker. Of course, I get leeway but it is good to know these types of details to avoid misinterpretations. It also helps reinforce the correction process. I see so many Chinese first language speakers in HK who have decent spoken English communication skills and yet can come across without empathy or sincerity in an English conversation because of similar problems. 

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