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ZC

Would this be a good way to learn?

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ZC

Hi all, I have a question about a way of learning Written Chinese that I thought might be fun. I have already read the English translation of San Ti by Liu Cixin, and was thinking about trying to read the original Chinese version to help me get a better intuitive feel for written Chinese. The problem for me is that the book is written (of course) for a literate Chinese adult audience, and my vocabulary is ~500 words or less, so I would be relying pretty heavily on a translation dictionary. In y’all’s experience would that be helpful for me or should I wait until I’m more comfortable with the language in your opinions? Thanks!!

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imron

It will not be helpful and it will be a huge struggle.  It will be a more effective use of your time to read other material at your level to build up vocabulary and reading skills, and coming back to 三体 when your skills have improved.  The book won't be going anywhere.

 

With a vocab of ~500 words, I'd start looking at graded readers, such as the ones provided by Mandarin Companion.

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AdamD

If the gap between your vocabulary and the vocabulary of your reading material is too large, you’ll be so caught up in new words that you won’t retain most of them, and the whole exercise will be a burden with little payoff.

 

However, if the book interests you and you’ve already the English translation, there’s probably no harm in trying, apart from losing time you might spend better elsewhere, and the risk of losing confidence in your ability. Perhaps try a few pages and see how it goes.

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studychinese

Start with a beginners graded reader. The China Breeze series is good.

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Mati1

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/44336-graded-readers-by-the-numbers-characterswords-page-count/

and

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/52359-graded-readers-for-chinese-language-learners-series-500-1200-characters-blcup/

 

Reading too difficult material is probably not worth it, unless you have no easier material at hand. If done, it's much less frustrating to read a digital text (mouse over dictionary) instead of paper.

I also want to read the book(s) you have mentioned but it takes me a long time to get better with the characters and reading. The problem with reading Chinese are the characters, not the words. I guess you haven't read a graded novella in Chinese yet. Give it a try! It's (more) fun.

When I'm done with my other graded readers I will use the "Abridged Chinese Classic Series" by Sinolingua as a stepping stone. It has four books covering 2000 base words.

Seeing that the other Sinolingua series goes up to 3000 words I will probably continue with that series afterwards.

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Bigdumogre

Great suggestions with the graded readers. I have a few 500 word ones and it really helps with practice , confidence and you will learn some good grammar and new words. 

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