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mackie1402

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AdamD

@Balthazar This one seems pretty good so far. It’s just a translation of ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue. The language is basic (at the start, at least) because the narrator is young.

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AdamD

This week I've just been having fun, writing traditional characters on paper and doing an absolute pile of online chatting on HelloTalk. My grammar is horrible, my reading comprehension is still semi-dormant and words keep not coming to mind, but I'm not panicking about anything at this stage.


I also had a 90 minute voice call with someone whose English was as rusty as my Chinese. It was embarrassing, awkward and slow, but it was well worth doing.

 

The only real downer has been the absolute tsunami of Chinese speakers on HelloTalk rushing at me to tell me (not ask, not suggest) to give up traditional Chinese. Some are trying to help but most are just trolls. I don't understand why people are like this.

 

A side point: I've persevered with bopomofo for so long that this week I started thinking in bopomofo instead of pinyin. That's a new thing and it feels weird.

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Flickserve
3 hours ago, AdamD said:

The only real downer has been the absolute tsunami of Chinese speakers on HelloTalk rushing at me to tell me (not ask, not suggest) to give up traditional Chinese. 

 

This is a good filter. You can put in your 自己介紹 you don’t want to talk to anybody who says this. 

 

Some  of the younger ones also might not actually know 繁體字

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AdamD
9 hours ago, Flickserve said:

You can put in your 自己介紹 you don’t want to talk to anybody who says this. 

 

Oh I did, nine times. Some people lecture me because they see it in my 自我介绍, others just don’t bother reading bios. Actually, 95% don’t bother reading bios.

 

Quote

Some  of the younger ones also might not actually know 繁體字

 

They really don’t! I find this endlessly fascinating.
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Flickserve

I would just troll them back to be honest if they go on about it. Aren’t they proud of 5000 years of chinese history? Haha. 

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AdamD

Yeah, I don't want to get involved. Online fights are the very last thing I want from language exchange.

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Flickserve

I think I have a better position to argue because of some Cantonese ability and a heritage learner. 

 

However, I don’t use 繁體字 often。Maybe I will try and test the waters. 

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AdamD

It might help you in Hong Kong, but really it could be enough for you to just know the major differences in the vocabulary you're already familiar with. I've chosen to break out the pencil and write everything, mainly because it's how I retain them.

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mackie1402

So in Jan I started studying a Bachelor Degree in Chinese online. I'm doing 45 credits per semester which is equivalent to 150% of a full time student, so add in running a business and it's pretty exhausting.

 

I've made huge improvements with my writing and grammar, which I'm happy with. Before I'd struggle to write a few sentences, and now I'm doing two to three 600 characters assignments every week.

 

The classes are so different compared to a summer class I took in China before. That summer was basically lectures every day of PPT explaining words. There wasn't much interaction with the class, so very little time to practice the grammar and vocab spoken. In these classes online, the teacher really pushes you to speak. It doesn't matter if its wrong, just try and speak. There are a lot of role plays and groupwork too which encourages communicating in Chinese.

 

I've been using Plecos OCR heavily to learn new words and it's been a life saver. Just screenshot the pdf we are sent and I can instantly add words to my decks.

 

I've also just started reading "All Things Considered" by Princeton. It's not a book I'm sitting down to study seriously, I'm just reading it before I sleep at night. If I don't fully understand it I don't stress about it, just try and enjoy it. I've found myself really consolidating grammar patterns just by reading like this.

 

On the downside, with Brexit looming, I could need to pay tuition fees starting next semester, and they're not cheap! However this semester has really pushed me to a new level, so I'm willing to pay the fees. Fingers crossed there's a grace period for current students. We'll see! 

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Flickserve

I don't really 'study' as such.

 

I am happy to report a few positives.

 

Had a language exchange with a motivated a talkative person from North China this weekend.

 

I take my kid to badminton training and I met two mainland mothers who do not speak Cantonese. We talked about training systems and some admin issues and about the kids. I couldn't understand 100% but just enough to communicate with breaks and some umming and ahhhing with educated guesses.

 

My negative was a potential language partner having a disagreement over  the reading of some mandarin text sentences. She said they were not totally native. I said it is fine - everyone will have a sightly different personal version and opinion. She pressed the point further. In the end I said, it really is fine and I don't want to get into arguments. If she didn't think they were suitable, I would try to find some other sentences. I sort of got on a slight fuse  because I just had a very simple request for her which was now getting complicated. Probably not very nice of me but I haven't replied since because I just need a simple life.

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AdamD

No real updates for the past week, other than that I’m staying the course with text conversation and writing with a pen. I dropped into a couple of group voice calls and dropped out because I couldn’t understand anything.

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AdamD

Reading and writing: I'm getting my character knowledge back in order, and am also building on my knowledge of traditional. It's coming together steadily. Reading is only a problem when I don't know words or when the grammar throws me.

 

Listening and speaking: My speaking seems to be fine apart from terrible grammar, but my listening is as horrible and embarrassing as ever. I just tried calling a Chinese speaking company's helpdesk and it couldn't have gone worse. Watching TV has gone just as badly. Refusing to discuss this has been the best approach because it means I don't have to defend or justify being so crap, but it doesn't leave me any less upset about my failure in this regard.

 

Next week I'm going back to Taiwan but I'm not putting pressure on myself this time. I know very clearly what I can and can't do, and I won't be hoping for any miracles or sudden leaps in ability.

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imron
5 hours ago, AdamD said:

I just tried calling a Chinese speaking company's helpdesk and it couldn't have gone worse

Phone calls are the worst - even with *good* listening skills.

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AdamD

True, but I understood 5% at most.

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imron
16 minutes ago, AdamD said:

but I understood 5% at most.

Based on average word frequencies, this means you understood all the 的s and nothing else :mrgreen:

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Publius
4 hours ago, imron said:

Phone calls are the worst - even with *good* listening skills.

One of my pastime is tuning in to LBC and listening to the host and phone-in listeners pattering on about -- you guessed it -- Brexit.

 

3 hours ago, AdamD said:

True, but I understood 5% at most.

After studying Italian for a year I was able to read newspapers and even Pinocchio in the original with the help of a dictionary. Then I tried a 10-minute newscast. Guess how much I understood? Exactly two words: buonasera (good evening) and Casa Bianca (White House). Not exactly a surprise because I had never leaned the language in its spoken form.

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