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austinkytofu

Austinkytofu YouTube Channel

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austinkytofu

I've just started a YouTube channel to help others learn Chinese, but I'd love to know if any of you use YouTube for learning, and if so what channels, shows, etc. you watch?

Part of this of course is to inform me on how I can make better videos, but I think YouTube is full of great content (and not-so-great content), and it would be great to have an aggregated list.


I can start the list off.

 

If you have the time, I'd also love some feedback on my videos :)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCakiaR7gHEEuM9I6BVbERrw

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陳德聰

I have a really short attention span so I didn’t watch the whole featured video but I did notice some typos in your subtitles like 五 instead of 我, 汉子 instead of 汉字 etc.

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889

(In case you're not aware, YouTube is banned in Mainland China.)

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Flickserve
On 28/12/2017 at 10:49 AM, austinkytofu said:

I also really like laowhy86

 

Not much Chinese content though, if any.

 

You can consider making intermediate learning materials with interactions with native speakers. When writing the script, perhaps use new vocabulary frequently so that it gets reinforced.

 

Good sound quality is essential. 

 

A) This lady is pretty good for intermediate learners. Unfortunately (for me) based in Guangdong. Sometimes, the length is a bit long. 

 

https://youtu.be/0sBZ4rrdyzY

 

B) to be added to at a later date 

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austinkytofu

Some of my thoughts on characters and why they are awesome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dd7kzn39ZkQ

 

A lot of people think Chinese characters are what makes Chinese such a difficult language to learn, and that languages with alphabets are much easier.

But, the information content in a single character is much higher than in a single letter -- in fact, most single characters are words.

Furthermore, characters are formed from other characters and radicals, and words are easier to learn when you know the composing characters.

So arguably, at one point, learning new words in Chinese is easier than learning new words in another language, since you will know its constituent parts.


Curious if others feel the same about this logic, and if this efficiency of learning words when you know its constituent characters is enough to compensate for the initial time it takes to learn many characters. I still am under the belief Chinese takes more time, but I think learning Characters is interesting and insightful, and the writing system altogether much more beautiful. Any thoughts or resources on this?

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陳德聰

I’ve merged your video posts into the same thread. I think we would prefer to not have a new topic each new video, and this way people can follow your channel and its updates all in one place.

 

Cheers!

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austinkytofu

Thank you — sorry for not doing that myself, not trying to spam. I’ll follow up in that thread from now on if I have more.

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陳德聰
On 2018/1/8 at 10:58 PM, austinkytofu said:

Curious if others feel the same about this logic, and if this efficiency of learning words when you know its constituent characters is enough to compensate for the initial time it takes to learn many characters. I still am under the belief Chinese takes more time, but I think learning Characters is interesting and insightful, and the writing system altogether much more beautiful. Any thoughts or resources on this?

I finally had the patience to watch this video.

 

I think that in general, you’re right that character learning aids later vocabulary development in that it is easier to anchor words to their composite characters if you already know their composite characters.

 

I am not convinced that this takes that much longer if you are devoting a fraction of your overall study time to character learning regularly.

 

Also I would question the use of “radicals” as effective for learning and probably lean more towards “components”. Maybe that’s just Outlier’s effect on me.

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Zbigniew
On 1/9/2018 at 6:58 AM, austinkytofu said:

But, the information content in a single character is much higher than in a single letter -- in fact, most single characters are words.

Yes, that's one of the things that makes reading characters harder to master than reading alphabetic languages - that and the much greater number of different arbitrary signs used when compared with English.

On 1/9/2018 at 6:58 AM, austinkytofu said:

So arguably, at one point, learning new words in Chinese is easier than learning new words in another language, since you will know its constituent parts.

I'm not sure I quite follow this. Doesn't a reader of an alphabetic language also use knowledge of the language's constitutent parts (i.e. the alphabet) to learn new words? And since it takes far less time to learn the 26 letters of the English alphabet than the much bigger number of constituent parts of Chinese characters, doesn't this make learning new written words in Chinese harder, not easier?

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陳德聰

I think the proposition is that because so many words are compound words with relatively salient meaning from the composition of the characters, it is relatively easier to learn the vocabulary than in “other languages.” However I believe that the frame of reference here is really just English or perhaps romance languages.

 

For example, learning the word “volcano” and recalling that “volcano” means what it does, even if you have mastered the English alphabet may still be difficult because you need to just simply memorize the word volcano (seemingly random collection of letters you already know). On the contrary, if you know 火 and 山 already, you would be able to more or less guess what 火山 means without necessarily ever having seen the combination before. I may be wrong about how I understand what OP is trying to say.

 

This line of reasoning seems appealing, because I feel I can think of several similar situations, but I can also think of maybe just as many situations where this is not the case, such as when the meaning is not that salient (大家 is an example given in the video which I think is kind of a stretch... If you need to explain the etymology then it’s probably not salient enough to be useful) or a historical relic that makes it misleading (why doesn’t 火車 mean ‘firetruck’? Etc.)

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happy_hyaena
21 hours ago, 陳德聰 said:

 

Also I would question the use of “radicals” as effective for learning and probably lean more towards “components”. Maybe that’s just Outlier’s effect on me.

 

What's the difference between "radicals" and "components"?

 

 

On 12/28/2017 at 3:49 AM, austinkytofu said:

Part of this of course is to inform me on how I can make better videos, but I think YouTube is full of great content (and not-so-great content), and it would be great to have an aggregated list.


I can start the list off.

 

 

Some months ago I made a post here about Bilibili and the channels I liked. I added a number of links. Many of the channels (the vloggers in particular) upload to Youtube as well, like Fulinfang. Feel free to check it out.

 

Also, I think it's pretty ballsy to start a channel teaching Chinese as a non-Native speaker of Chinese, but good luck (y).

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陳德聰
1 hour ago, happy_hyaena said:

What's the difference between "radicals" and "components"?

Radicals to me implies 部首, whereas components for me is functional components as they are presented by Outlier Linguistic Solutions.

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happy_hyaena
3 minutes ago, 陳德聰 said:

Radicals to me implies 部首, whereas components for me is functional components as they are presented by Outlier Linguistic Solutions.

 

I'm still not entirely sure I understand. To take an example, if I learn/memorize 冰 by seeing that it's made up of two radicals, i.e. 水 and then the two dots to the left (= the ice radical, also found in 冻), have I used its radicals or its "functional components"?

 

I didn't learn to Chinese by looking at the radicals, but if I had to restart I would definitely try to memorize them. A lot of people recommend that you do that - not for reading purposes, but for writing. I think Imron wrote a post about this a long time ago. Or is he talking about functional components?

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austinkytofu
19 hours ago, 陳德聰 said:

On the contrary, if you know 火 and 山 already, you would be able to more or less guess what 火山 means without necessarily ever having seen the combination before.

 

Thanks, this is a really good example of what I was trying to say in my video, and probably a much better example than 大家 :) I also like the 'volcano' example.

I concede that my argument is quite general and broad. It is based on comparisons to the English language, and also generalized in a way to try and help make a case for why Chinese characters are useful as opposed to simply archaic, for the sake of a new learner. I think more rigorous assessments would likely find many counterexamples and point that a system based on characters is, in general, less efficient and effective than a system based on letters in terms of literacy of the population and learnability for foreigners. That being said, I don't think anyone here would argue that characters are fascinating and a great part of the language, and that the more you know, the more confidence you get in approaching new characters and words, both because of the internal component characters (including radicals), and because of other more subtle patterns involving character combinations.

 

Maybe I stressed radicals too hard, I would definitely consider component characters equally as important, they just don't have as strong of a definition and consistent pattern as radicals, so it is harder to introduce them to beginners in a meaningful way, other than to say they exist.

 

Thanks for all this feedback, I think this is a super interesting part of Chinese. I'm curious if anyone has ever read any academic papers on Chinese characters, or data analyses? I'm sure there are some data sets out there that have character part annotations. If you know of such a dataset let me know, I'd love to play around with it.

 

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Lu

Consider reading the relevant chapters in Jerry Norman's Chinese. (Or perhaps someone else can recommend something newer.) That's a good introduction on what characters are and do and how they came to be so. Or search around for things forum user @OneEye wrote about characters, he studied them extensively.

5 hours ago, austinkytofu said:

I don't think anyone here would argue that characters are fascinating and a great part of the language, and that the more you know, the more confidence you get in approaching new characters and words

Indeed, I don't think anyone here is going to argue that :-)

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somethingfunny

I don't know much about character structure, but would it be useful to think in these terms for differentiating between 'radical' and component'?

 

To take Lu's example, 语, this would fall into the structure category of 'left-right components' (And actually the further sub-category of 'small left-large right').  So, while 五 and 口 are radicals in their own right, in the character 语, they form the right-hand side component 吾.

 

In turn, 吾 is of the 'top-bottom component' structural category which can be broken down into the top component 五 and the bottom component 口.  In this case, it just so happens that the components themselves are formed of single radicals.  For a counter-example, I guess the character 最 would contain a bottom component () which is compromised of two radicals (耳 and 又).

 

Am I thinking about this correctly?

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OneEye

Here it is, in a nutshell.

 

Radicals = 部首 = section heading. "Radical" is really a poor translation of 部首. Paper dictionaries are arranged by placing characters with the same graphical components into the same section, or 部. The component which shows up in all the characters in a given 部 is listed at the beginning (or head) of the section. Hence the term 部首, or section heading.

 

Often, the 部首 is a semantic component, but not always. And sometimes they follow a pattern, but not always. For instance:

 

Character Radical

wn "curve"

gng "bow for shooting arrows"

liàn "love"

xn "heart"

mán "barbaric"

hu"type of poisonous insect; early form of hu"

biàn "change"

yán "speech" (huh?)

 

In all cases above, is the sound component, and the bottom component is the semantic component. In the last example, 變, 言 has no function whatsoever in the character. It has nothing to do with the meaning, and nothing to do with the sound except that it's a part of the sound component.

 

So, that brings us to functional components. Functional components usually either express sound or meaning (more about this here). They also occasionally serve to differentiate one character from another (the 一 in 百 is an example; it simply serves to distinguish 百 from 白).

 

語 is a good choice to illustrate the difference between functional components and nonfunctional components. 語 is composed of 訁 (meaning) and 吾 (sound), of course. Those are its functional components. But then 吾 is composed of 五 and 口. However, 五 and 口 serve no function in 語; they're simply part of the sound component 吾. They do serve a function in 吾, of course; 五 is the sound component and 口 is a distinguishing mark used to distinguish it from 五.

 

There are also corrupted components, but these are a special category; they used to express sound or meaning, but the evolution of the writing system caused the component in question to change such that its original function is no longer apparent.

 

We lump corruption and distinguishing marks into the same category: empty components. This simply means that the component in question doesn't express sound or meaning. For learners, it's not especially important to know whether something is a corruption or a distinguishing mark; it's enough to know that the component has nothing to do with the sound or meaning of the character.

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happy_hyaena

Thanks for the explanation OneEye! (And Lu as well!) But this makes me wonder, how much of this has happened "naturally" and how much of it was intentionally done by the ancient Chinese? Like the addition of the line to distinguish 百 and 白.

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