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mackie1402

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edelweis

I got placed above B1 and below B2 (listening and reading only) by two different schools.

So I guess my level is intermediate :P

Anyway I'm about to start taking classes again. Just 2 hours per week.

又 exciting 又 scary :mrgreen: :help

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Flickserve

My motivation for Mandarin is better these last couple of weeks so better make the most of it! 

 

Hellotalk developments - I joined a couple of groups and observed how it helps language learning. Many groups are not specific to language learning and end up just being chat groups. After putting some thought into things and discussing with one of the admins, I decided to create a new small focussed group with the very specific aim of 中英 说话 听力 aimed at budding intermediates like myself. A very good thing is that you get exposed to other language learners who are working very hard - I get pulled along with them. 

 

Italki - haven't had many lessons. Still occasionally using it. The TPRS teacher I had doesn't quite the right schedule to match my needs. Bit unfortunate.

 

Anki - was on a roll. I dug out my old songs. And switched it round a bit. Previously, I went through the lyrics line by line. It was hard and eventually dropped it. This time, I took two or three lines of lyrics depending on the song. Then made these into one note and a reading card. Each song results in about only ten cards being made. I found it much easier to think of the rhythm and then get the lyrics. Next time I make a deck from say a podcast, probably I can try making it with two sentences on a card. That might help me learn with some context. 

 

General listening - I haven't had any native Mandarin speakers as friends before. My interactions with native speakers in life are infrequent. That is until recently. I have met one family who attends the same activity as I do. They have been in HK for 3 years, previously working in Beijing. The mother learnt some Cantonese to integrate into HK and the father hasn't learnt any. I told them I am trying to learn Mandarin and wow, I get loads of Mandarin spoken to me. I meet them an average of once a week. 

 

Watched a couple of YouTube videos. I feel I am following a bit better. I have watched a couple of Asian boss interviews with the subtitles. I like those. They give a question and edit to give the answers of a few people. Then they move on to the next question. That's really great because that way, similar vocabulary gets used in different sentences with different accents very frequently. That helps reinforcement of vocabulary listening at native speed level. 

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stapler

I'm currently watching the 2018 version of 流星花园. This is the first drama I've been able to watch and understand a decent amount without [Chinese] subtitles. I think it's a combination of it being completely dubbed and the incredible simplicity of the dialogue. As such I'm finding it quite enjoyable to finally be engaging with native media without any crutches for the first time. I still have a long way to go before I can ditch subtitles when watching more complex dramas and I'm not sure if I can find the energy to study the more advanced vocabulary necessary to watch them.

 

I haven't had any study routine at all over the last few months, but for some reason I think my listening ability to still slowly getting better. It's almost as if after I study it takes a few months before what I did sinks into my brain. Very strange.

 

I've also been having a lot more encounters with Mandarin "in the wild". I now aggressively pursue opportunities to speak Mandarin with people. By that I mean when I bump into strangers and need to talk to them (or they me), and if I know they're Chinese, I only use Mandarin when talking to them - even if they try and use English with me. This has actually had some very comical effects. In half of these encounters I am fairly confident that the counterparty has not realised I'm not speaking English... well that or so many people now speak Mandarin they just shrug it off like I do when 'foreigners' speak English.

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Flickserve

Still managing to keep up.

 

Anki, didnt do much. I am gradually turning some podcasts into anki cards.

 

hellotalk, still going. Lots of China people on holiday and I am not.

 

italki lesson - My listening seems to have improved recently so for my last italki lesson, I decided to do dictation on the recorded lesson. The recording software records only the teachers voice, the silence gaps were edited out by audacity leaving a mp3 file of about 14 minutes long from a 45 minute lesson. I then loaded up workaudio book (WAB) and tried to subtitle the teachers sentence and then exported the sentences plus unknown words (represented as asterisks) into an .srt file. The nice thing about the PC version of WAB is that when it selects the audio, it autoloops making it much more convenient to do dictation. The android version you have to keep pressing a button for it to play again.

 

I intend to send the sound file, with the srt back to the teacher. The teacher can then review my transcription with corrections.

 

After I get the corrections, I can easily turn the lesson into Anki cards for review if I want.

 

I couldnt do dictation before as I just didnt have the vocabulary nor listening skills. But after playing with Hellotalk, dictation is easier. This time, the teacher spoke pretty standard mandarin so it was pretty straight forward to transcribe 80-85% of the material.

 

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sekkar

Skritter - It has been about 2 months since I cancelled my membership and stopped adding new words, but I'm still getting 100+ reviews a day. This is a bit too much for me at the moment, but I'm reluctant to give up Skritter as I still enjoy it and don't wanna completely lose my ability to write. Maybe I'll try turning of all other questions except for writing or just stop worrying about the number of questions in the review queue (will never happen....)

 

Reading - Still reading 盘龙. A bit over halfway through it, only 1.5 million characters to go! I'm still finding it very enjoyable, but I'm also looking forward to starting something new.

 

Podcasts - Almost done with all the available podcasts for 酸菜馆 and 婊酱,which means I will have to start looking for new content soon...

 

Watching - Finished 白夜追凶 which was quite good. Started 扶摇 but I didnt find it very enjoyable, quit at around episode 8. Currently watching 锵锵行天下 which is a great travel show that just started airing as well as rewatching  小資女孩向前衝.

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milkmints

Long time lurker of these forums - finally deciding to jump in and join the discussions. :D

I've been learning on and off for around 7 years (2 years university, 1.5 years private classes, spotted months of waxing and waning investment in self study). 

Listening - I've been watching 欢乐颂 and finding with the occasional dictionary check i can get the gist of most scenes (to varying degrees), while probably missing lots of details and jokes, but still finding it enjoyable. Also recently watched 我的前半生 in its entirety which I was able to understand a bunch of too. So I plan on continuing to get lots of input from tv and podcasts. I have pretty much the entire work day to listen to whatever I want so that's easy as long as I make a habit of it. 


Reading - I've got a (bad?) habit of diving into material thats too difficult for me and getting bunt out. Hoping to slowly start reading Yu Huas' To Live in the coming months, but for now I've been working through Skritter to work on writing and character recognition.  I started Skritter 2 months ago and am using Traditional characters. Just broke 1700 today, almost all of which I knew in simplified before. Set a lofty goal of 10 characters a day while the characters and words are still familiar/ at least partially review. Currently going through the HSK5 list which has been pretty easy going. Stats are Characters:1705, Words:2750. Lower than reality but the gamification of studying has helped me keep a steady increase in numbers. 
 

Speaking - Despite living in a City with a huge Chinese population, I've barely spoken outside of the now years past private classes and the occasional language exchange. Planning on holding myself more accountable for seeking out more opportunities to speak. 

Anki - Ideally I'd make my own flashcards for words I run into in the wild (I had great success with this while studying Japanese), but I've recently started going through the spoonfed chinese deck (skipped the first 2500 cards out of 8000 to find words and constructs I was less familiar with). 

I'm a classic example of someone who decided to study Chinese and Japanese concurrently, which meant dropping one for months at a time to focus on the other. I'm currently trying to at least keep my Input up for both languages  even if one gets more active study at any time. So far its been roughly 3 hours of Chinese listening at work, 3 hours of Japanese listening (both largely passive depending on workload of the day and the topic of the audio), then an hour of both Japanese and Chinese tv in the evening at some point. Flashcards/Skritter during 1 hour of commute. I've reached a comfortable level of being able to understand Japanese TV so my main goal for the rest of the year is reach something closer to that with Chinese. 

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CherrylS

Might as well post an update!

I've been self-studying Chinese for a while, but I never spoke to anyone in Chinese ever.

I decided to try iTalki last week, it was a bit awkward, I think I have to improve my pronunciation and my output skills.

Although I can understand most spoken Chinese, it's really hard to create sentences for oneself.

 

I tried it twice so far, one with this girl, she was asking me a bunch of questions and it kept going in Chinese the entire time. 

The second one was the same thing, but then they asked me why I want to pass the HSKK and I said for a scholarship,  after that they said that after they took the English test no one gave them a scholarship. It made me feel bad for the rest of the conversation.

 

But overall I think it was still worth the learning experience.

----

 

Does anyone have any advice for improving one's pronunciation or output skills.

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milkmints
14 hours ago, CherrylS said:

Does anyone have any advice for improving one's pronunciation or output skills.

A Chinese tutor I had made a point of correcting and drilling my pronunciation whenever I made a mistake, which I found really tedious but I think helped a lot in the long run. If you keep doing Italki lessons that might be worth requesting.
 

 

1 hour ago, stapler said:

more relaxed I become about actually using the language.

Thats awesome, I've always hoped the late stage language learning was more about using the language in life than actively studying. Congrats!

-----

Quick update from me:
Skritter: The reviews eventually became unsustainable, so I've let this fall off for now. Most of the words on here were review and or learning the traditional form of a word I knew, so it served a good purpose for the time I used it. I exported the words from this and imported it to CTA which was really easy. (If anyones trying to do the same, using the 1.0 version of the skritter site is where I found the export all vocab option).

Reading: Slowly starting to read To Live. So far so good.

 

Anki: In addition to the spoonfed Chinese deck, I've grabbed the top words from To Live and a few other novels with the help of CTA (and a list of top words from qiangqiangsanrenxing) and made a deck. So I have about 2000 cards outside of spoonfed that i'll work my way through. 

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Flickserve

The silly season started and self study Chinese almost ground to a halt. I could not play with hello talk, nor sit at my computer to play with audio files. November / December is always busy in Hong Kong but when is HK not busy?

 

There were a few incidents which gave me food for thought. 

 

Talking to a HK girl at an alumni event, it transpired she had PSC 2 upper. She asked me to speak a bit of mandarin. She says “Hmm, your mandarin sounds like a Cantonese structure and choice of words “ and then repeats a more native mandarin sentence. (Note, my mandarin pronunciation itself has improved - more on this later). That got me to dig out an old glossika triangulation package of cantonese- mandarin - hokkien which I had never gotten round to listening to. Initial thoughts (ignoring the hokkien part) is that it seems easier than English to mandarin. Need to do more work on this. I am an inconsistent glossika listener so further investigation is needed. 

 

With glossika, I don’t really shadow very much. However, I do try to understand each part of the sentence if I don’t know the words. In fact, I never refer to the pdf and written sentence - just the audio. So it’s lots of short rewinds to listen and review the translation.

 

In my daily life I am getting a little bit more practice. I’ve met a lady from Beijing in a parents group and we meet on a regular basis about twice a week. She speaks Cantonese having lived in HK for many years but when I told her I was trying to pick up more mandarin she kindly offered to talk to me in Mandarin. Hope she doesn’t get bored of me. We usually talk about children related stuff. It’s starts in Mandarin until I run out of vocabulary (I.e. after a few sentences). The worst thing is is when another parent is near by and then we convert to cantonese out of “politeness “. It would just feel wierd talking to a HK person in their weaker language when I can use a stronger language.

 

I had a very really strong work related conversation a couple of days ago with a Beijing lady who had come to Hong Kong. In a work setting, I was able to communicate much better reaching about 80-90% effectiveness. Obviously there were some words that I couldn’t understand but in context, I worked some of them out. My colleagues were like “wow” and I was like thinking “what did I just do...?”

 

One amusing meeting was with a professional footballer from Africa. It transpired he played for Dalian for four years and we played around with mandarin, English and a bit of french. His Mandarin pronunciation was good! With a shrug of his shoulders he said “when you gotta learn, you have to learn. The whole team spoke in Mandarin “. 

 

Back to something mentioned earlier about my pronunciation. I have noticed myself self correcting as I speak in mandarin. I sort of feel myself saying a wrong tone and repeating myself to get the correct tone (or pronunciation). That’s really encouraging but why this suddenly started happening, I haven’t a clue. As mentioned above, I really have done shockingly little self study. 

 

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mungouk
On 11/21/2018 at 8:21 PM, stapler said:

practice recording yourself, listening to yourself, and working on improving your errors.

 

I've not tried it myself yet, but on the speechling platform you can get native speakers to review your recording. 

 

The free account allows you to do this a limited number of times a month.  Could be worth a look.

 

 

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mackie1402

A friend of mine suggest studying an online university course based in Europe as it's free education for europeans. 

 

I enrolled to study 45 uni credits (technically 30 credits is the same as a full time student at Uni) in Chinese and just got my course materials. I'm pretty excited! The classes include Chinese speech and writing, Chinese translation and practical writing. 

 

The only downside are the classes are European time and I'm based in China, so I'll have to get up at 1am for some of my classes! Nonetheless I'm still buzzing to get started!

I'll keep everything updated here so I will finally have an excuse to study.

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roddy

A friend of mine suggest studying an online university course based in Europe as it's free education for europeans. 

Ha, clever. Never thought of that. Which country is this?

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mackie1402

The Uni I'm studying at is Swedish, but after looking around quite a few European countries are the same!

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roddy

Hmmm. For anyone curious how this works... EU nations (Sweden in this case) are obliged to treat members of other EU nations at least as well as they treat their own citizens. So if Swedish citizens get free education from Swedish universities, members of other EU nations also get free education from Swedish universities. And if it's an online course, you don't even need to go to Sweden. I knew about the free education 'trick', but never occurred to me to combine it with an online course. Well done, mackie1402!

 

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sekkar
2 hours ago, mackie1402 said:

A friend of mine suggest studying an online university course based in Europe as it's free education for europeans. 

 

I enrolled to study 45 uni credits (technically 30 credits is the same as a full time student at Uni) in Chinese and just got my course materials. I'm pretty excited! The classes include Chinese speech and writing, Chinese translation and practical writing. 

 

The only downside are the classes are European time and I'm based in China, so I'll have to get up at 1am for some of my classes! Nonetheless I'm still buzzing to get started!

I'll keep everything updated here so I will finally have an excuse to study.

 

Wow this is great! I was looking for online courses in my country, but couldnt find anything that require you to physically show up for class. I never thought about looking in other countries.

 

Which one are you doing, Dalarna university? 

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fabiothebest
4 hours ago, mackie1402 said:

The Uni I'm studying at is Swedish

Believe it or not I was looking into it these days, after I read a comment on Quora suggesting it and I wanted to open a thread on the forum, but I didn't have time. I checked Dalarna university in particular. You can sign up for individual courses, but you can even get a degree if you pass all the exams if I'm not mistaken. Courses are free for EU members which is great, but I believe you need a certificate of English proficiency, right? My English is good, but I didn't get any certificate such as IELTS or TOEFL, CAE or CPE. From what I read you need to apply at https://www.universityadmissions.se/intl/start . Since you went ahead and already signed up, you could tell us some more details. Did you have to provide a certificate or are you an English native speaker? How are you tested in order to pass an exam? Are there written assignments and oral tests like on Skype or another platform? Do you have to attend classes live online or are recordings provided?

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fabiothebest
6 hours ago, mackie1402 said:

I'll keep everything updated here

you may also open a dedicated thread.

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sekkar

I signed up today and spent quite some time reading about it so maybe I can give you some answers.

 

15 minutes ago, fabiothebest said:

How are you tested in order to pass an exam? Are there written assignments and oral tests like on Skype or another platform?

Depends on the course, but most seem to have written assignements and oral presentation.

 

16 minutes ago, fabiothebest said:

 Do you have to attend classes live online or are recordings provided?

Classes are live and attendence is mandatory. And you are expected to be active in the class (answer questions etc) as this will count for a part of your final grade.

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fabiothebest
8 minutes ago, sekkar said:

Classes are live and attendence is mandatory. And you are expected to be active in the class (answer questions etc) as this will count for a part of your final grade.

well, it makes sense. After all, a university course is a serious thing and as such should be treated, no matter if online or not. I'm just afraid I can't attend enough live classes because I work (even on shifts - morning, afternoon, night) :( .

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