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RogerGe

What now? (+ my learning Chinese journey)

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RogerGe

When studying Chinese I've always been very systematic and force myself to do a set amount of things in a day. I bought HSK books, did 2 chapters a day, added the words to Anki, and eventually passed HSK 6. Then I studied the Old HSK lists (with a vocabulary textbook), adding a set number of words a day, and then the TOCFL lists after that. Next I did a Newspaper reading course textbook, as well as adding a set number of words a day from an Extra Old HSK list which had a bunch of rarer characters in words (from page 451 in http://idl.hbdlib.cn/book/00000000000000/pdfbook2/bj/01/cc/dy0001cc94.pdf).

 

At this point I was at a crossroads,  and was about to do the 500 or so rare 成语 list at the end as well I decided against, because my listening ability was getting further and further away from my reading ability, so I decided to do all the Advanced and Media lessons for ChinesePod, doing a set number a day (during this time I also bought a speed-reading course, doing a set number of lessons a day). I decided against doing TV shows for vocab because I could listen to ChinesePod lessons all day while I was doing other stuff. I also decided against just learning words by a frequency list because it's boring and I wouldn't get to reinforce the new words through audio (I have a lot of words where I know them when reading, but not when listening). I also decided against getting vocab from books because it wasn't systematic, and because it wasn't as good audio practice as ChinesePod (with the audiobook version).

 

It's been quite some time since I've done a proper textbook now, and my writing ability (not writing by hand, which I was quite good at) has diminished quite a bit, not that it was that good before tbh, but I'm not that proficient with actually writing stuff as I'm with day-to-day conversation and oral discussing of things. For example, I would kind of struggle with writing this post in Chinese, or writing essays/arguments or stories, because I just don't have the practice. I have a bunch of vocab stored up from ChinesePod lessons, because I am actually only listening to and adding vocab to Anki for two lessons a day (that I've listened to and recording all vocab in advance).

 

So basically my learning Chinese journey has been: HSK -> Old HSK -> TOCFL -> Newspaper Reading Course+Extra Old HSK -> ChinesePod 

and I've just finished the ChinesePod lessons (as listening to them in advance and recording vocab). Now I know that this is all is just "mining" vocab and doesn't have real practice for reading (besides the bit of practice from ChinesePod Media, where they choose a random news article and discuss it). In this time I've kind of been on and off the Chinese interwebs and books when I'm having "free time studying Chinese" instead of mining vocabulary, in a week I normally read a few random articles on Baidu and watch some Chinese shows/movies/news, but haven't really been reading books, because I just thought that it would be more efficient if I first learned more vocab... and after some time I just go back to English stuff. 

 

Anyways, I'm at another crossroads again, what should I do? As a main source of "vocabulary mining", I just did one episode of 锵锵三人行, recording down vocab, and I think that I might just go down this path, are there any other shows like this, that haven't 停播?. But what about books, TV shows and whatnot, and how would I study for them other than just reading/watching? What about textbooks or methods of improving my writing skills? What about my ever increasing Anki deck (18k notes, 36k cards) I'm the kind of person who needs to have a schedule, if I don't have a set amount of things to do in a day and just relax, I'll end up wasting it all watching English Youtube videos...

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yueni

What are your goals in terms of learning Chinese? What do you want to do with it? What are your current weaknesses and strengths (and does it matter to you)?

 

For example, it sounds like writing is your weakest point right now, but if you're only interested in reading Chinese novels and watching Chinese TV, then improving your writing skills probably won't matter to you. If you want to improve writing skills (because reasons), then perhaps that is something you might want to work on.

 

It sounds like you need to stop learning and start using the language more often. What are you doing with all the vocabulary you have learned? Do you use it all? Do you know how to use it all? Does it matter? 

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roddy

That was my first thought here. What's the end goal? If it's just 'to be good at Chinese' can you  be more specific about what that means to you - being able to read a novel, or give a presentation, or...

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happy_hyaena

Congrats on your progress! I'm also similar to you in that I can be very productive when I've set up clear and quantifiable goals, or incredibly unproductive... My goal is to basically be where you are by/in 2020. Here are some ideas I've considered myself for what I want to do one day, some perhaps a lot easier and realistic than others. Maybe they will give you some ideas of your own.

 

- Master being able to read traditional script.

- Read books somewhat related to my profession in Chinese in order to learn the specific vocab related to it. The idea is to surpass the level of the average native when it comes to your specific field. In my case I would try to learn a new programming language using only Chinese textbooks.

- Find a "Chinese hobby" and try to do it in only Chinese. In my case I want to get into 盆景, calligraphy and cooking.

- Use Subs2Srs on costume-drama type tv-series, the most difficult type of dramas.

- Learn 文言文 so that I can understand older texts and poems.

- Learn a new language through (standard) Chinese. Maybe learn a dialect like Cantonese or a completely separate language like Korean or Japanese.

- Teach Chinese to my future children to give them a leg up in life.

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imron
4 hours ago, RogerGe said:

HSK -> Old HSK -> TOCFL -> Newspaper Reading Course+Extra Old HSK

If you have learnt all the words on the word lists from these exams, that should give you a vocabulary of at least 10,000 words (accounting for overlap between the word lists).

 

With this level of vocab it will be more efficient to learn from reading than it will be to learn vocabulary from other sources, plus reading requires other skills beyond just vocab and grammar (confidence in knowing the word, being able to split word boundaries, reading stamina so you don't get exhausted after 15-20 mins, doing all of that at speed, and more) and you'll never learn those skills if you are not doing reading.   If being able to read is one of your goals, then now is a good time to start doing more reading.

 

You might think your vocabulary isn't large enough yet, but if you know those 10,000 words well then it almost certainly is.  You could spend time learning another 5 or 10 thousand words, but that would only give you a minimal increase in total reading comprehension.

 

If you want a systematic thing to do every day, my suggestion is to develop a reading habit.  Pick a book, and commit to reading for a fixed amount of time every day.  This fixed amount of time should not include activities such as looking up and learning new words, so make sure to set aside extra time for that as well.

 

4 hours ago, RogerGe said:

I also decided against getting vocab from books because it wasn't systematic,

From another point of view, it's very systematic because you'll be learning exactly the words you need to know at exactly the point in time when you need to know them.

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RogerGe

I learn chinese because it is fun and I want to move to China and 寻根 (im a new-zealand born chiense). are there any other good talk shows like 锵锵三人行 that haven't 停播? As for my strengths and weaknesses... I'd rank my strongest to weakest as: Listening, Reading, Speaking, Writing.

 

imron, by systematic I mean a specific number of things a day, if I were to do reading for vocab I could do like 2 chapters a day, with the audiobook for listening practice for new words, but with every new book if would be different, and there would be a massive difference in number of new words depending on the writing style and author... How do I study with books btw? There are so many words of varying use, like I remember when I was listening to 活着, 米行 and 佃户 were mentioned, which aren't really used that much today, do I just ignored these? What about if there are just so many new words, how do you pick the right ones to add to Anki and which ones to just let go and learn through osmosis?

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imron
1 minute ago, RogerGe said:

are there any other good talk shows like 锵锵三人行 that haven't 停播?

I don't know of anything quite the same.  There are some suggestions in this thread, but it looks like you've seen them already.

 

3 minutes ago, RogerGe said:

but with every new book if would be different, and there would be a massive difference in number of new words depending on the writing style and author.

Not as massive as you think, but also that's somewhat the point.  Reading different authors and styles results in exposure to different words, which builds your vocabulary, which is what you are trying to do.

 

4 minutes ago, RogerGe said:

How do I study with books btw?

Start reading them, and then look up the things you don't understand.  It sounds like you are at the point now where the only real way forward in learning is to start consuming native content.

10 minutes ago, RogerGe said:

which aren't really used that much today, do I just ignored these?

If you like.  If you read enough you'll often come across words turning up in the least expected places.  I remember some farming specific words I learnt in 活着 turning up in various 金庸 books.

 

14 minutes ago, RogerGe said:

What about if there are just so many new words

Then you are reading material that is too advanced for your level and you should put it down and find something easier.  Come back to it later after you've read 10-15 novels and you'll find that there are no longer so many new words.

 

12 minutes ago, RogerGe said:

how do you pick the right ones to add to Anki and which ones to just let go and learn through osmosis?

See the end of this post, where I talk about how I prioritise which words to learn when reading.

 

If you are really set on exams, you could look at something like the 普通话水平测试.

 

 

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Flickserve
1 hour ago, RogerGe said:

and there would be a massive difference in number of new words depending on the writing style and author... How do I study with books btw?

 

why don't you read what the secondary students study? Then you get up to 高中。

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