Learn Chinese in China
cliveface96

listening question

14 posts in this topic

I was going to post this in the 'Getting out a Listening Rut' thread but not sure if I should or not.

 

I've been trying to work on my listening skills lately by listening to dialogues from Chinesepod and transcribing them using WorkAudioBook. I'll try it once, check it against the transcript then write down the words I don't know in Skritter and learn them, then come back later that day or the day after and try to transcribe that same dialogue again. After that I usually listen to their lesson on it. 

 

I have two questions regarding this:

  • Does this method seem decent for improving listening? I often have to listen to the same section of dialogue several times. Could listening in isolation like this rather than to the dialogue as a whole be hurting my progression?
  • I can listen to most Elementary stuff pretty easily, however I have recently switched to Intermediate dialogues and I find there's 5+ new words in each one. Should I stick to Elementary or just push on with Intermediate?

 

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I don't think listening in isolation is hurting progression. You just need to hear the sentence / vocabulary in a different context to make the connection stick which is another step to take.

 

Re: intermediate level. If you are interested in that topic , keep going. 

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Try the advice in this thread.  Make sure to keep reading for the follow ups.

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@Flickserve Thanks. I guess hearing the sentence in another context will happen with time. 

 

@imron Cheers I read through that thread and it seems my approach is legit 8)

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The most important part is to make sure you do it every day. 30 minutes every day will be more effective than 4 hours on the weekend, even though the latter involves more time. 

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You seem to have some self doubt. How do you feel when you talk to people using Mandarin? How about the flow of conversation? Any improvement?

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@imron Yep, good point. Going to try and get into a habit of it. Really struggling at the moment to fit in the Chinese in between GAMSAT study and uni :cry:.

 

@Flickserve I think my listening is improving slowly. I'll report back in a month or so. I haven't been conversing much at all to be honest, once in the last 2 weeks ... I always record a conversation and then break it up into flashcards on Anki using Workaudiobook / subs2srs but this takes me ages. Only just finished breaking up my last italki lesson yesterday! This actually leads me to another question which I have been meaning to ask. I need to start speaking more again, but I don't have as much time as before. Would I be better off having lessons and not breaking them up into flashcards and then just breaking one lesson up occasionally, or would it make more sense to just pull say 30-40 key phrases/words from a lesson? I was also considering reducing lesson time to 30 minutes and just asking my tutor to do the whole lesson in Chinese. Not too sure about what to try first :/. 

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@cliveface96 You're doing good. I've walked in your shoes before and now I'm listening to CP upper intermediate level for about 2 months. I think it's totally fine to learn a pile of new words from each lesson if you got the time. I got a lot of time on my hands, so I learned about 28-40+ new words per day. I spent at least 4 hours a day on Chinese.

 

If I were you, I would spend a lot of time listening to intermediate podcast and short text at HSK 2 or HSK 3 level. My goal is to expose myself to new words as many as possible, besides getting my ear used with the language and it's structure. The other reason is that by having a lot of vocabulary, you could understand more. The idea is to learn the new words in general instead of deeper.  

 

You can listen to the dialogue in isolate for few times first and write down the new words before going into the long discussion or listen the whole topic and repeat it again. I usually do the first one.

 

Other than CP, you could also have a look on The Chairmans Bao(TCB), New Practical Chinese Reader Vol. 2. To diversify your learning is a way of telling your brain that you're doing interesting things, thus will keep your motivation up. 

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18 hours ago, cliveface96 said:

would it make more sense to just pull say 30-40 key phrases/words from a lesso

 

I am not sure exactly how you do it. For me, I pull sentences from my recordings. Obviously, some sentences are harder than others. I rarely pull individual words as what you seem to imply - individual words are even worse for me.

 

I think it is a judgement call on what sentences you want to include. If most of the vocabulary is unknown, then perhaps that sentence is too difficult for you at present time. It all depends on what you feel is the utility.

 

It would take a lot more time and effort to process an online lesson. You have something like 30 mins of data to process (from an hour's lesson). Compare that to the length of a ChinesePod dialogue, somewhere around 2mins?

 

As Jabri states, available time has a lot to do with things.

 

As for speaking, I used to place a lot of emphasis on it. I did a number of lessons exclusively on pinyin and zh-z-, etc. Good for pronunciation.

 

 I have to say that my biggest improvement in speaking within a conversation comes not from many times of conversation, but actually from listening many more times to looping MP3 and shadowing lots of sentences. That way, I am able to create my sentences more spontaneously, get a feel when my tone is off relative to the other words in a sentence, react much faster to a correction by the teacher. I am by no means perfect - still a lowly intermediate with a stammer but not with the same insecurities as before. I am probably doing around 80:20 on listening: speaking.

 

I feel pretty sure you are on the right path. It just takes time.

 

Just got a little confused with one of your comments...do you mean your lessons are not wholly in Chinese? Mine are almost wholly in Chinese. I don't actually understand a lot but just the gist. Then I process the sentences, get a transcript and work out my own translation. 

 

BTW, I have stopped flashcarding for a while for purely listening. I felt I was reacting more to the card rather than testing the words themselves. There are still other uses of the cards so it is not a wasted effort creating them.

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4 hours ago, Flickserve said:

It would take a lot more time and effort to process an online lesson. You have something like 30 mins of data to process

If you'll excuse the shameless plug, Chinese Text Analyser can extract 'mostly known' sentences from any text (you mentioned you have transcripts), where mostly known is an arbitrary percentage, which would reduce the time to do this to seconds. 

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True, but even if one listens to a sentence, although the words might be known on paper, it the ability to listen and comprehend that counts which CTA doesn't do.

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No, but it will help identify which ones will be easier to understand and which ones will be difficult.

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I do agree with @Flickserve, you don't have to understand the whole thing. The goal is to get your ear used with the sound of the language and it's structure along with the process of learning new words. I also found shadowing practice did help me improve in my speaking ability. It helps me to sound more natural and respond faster in conversation. 

 

It's just a matter of time. Spend few months doing these things and you'll see your comprehension, listening and speaking ability improve.

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Thanks a lot for the replies guys. Gonna keep pushing through with it and will post back in a few months regarding progress :). 

 

@Flickserve, my lessons are ~80% in Chinese. 

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