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Reflection on years of watching Chinese dramas


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As someone who struggles with listening comprehension and finds tv shows frustrating and terribly painful to get through, this is very inspiring. Would you attribute your advances in listening comprehension solely to the daily Chinese dramas, or were you also getting listening practice in other forms (like talking to people in China)?

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I have been getting listening practice from all sorts of different sources - I watch cctv news daily, speak to friends and family in Chinese, and have had to read an inordinate amount of official speeches in Chinese in the last year as part of my interpreting and translating course. I'm sure all these things do contribute, but the tv shows I like watching use language very different to these colloquial or official flavours of Mandarin/dialect. I think the thing that has helped the most in getting comprehension up for tv was reading, reading 武侠小说 helped a lot for shows like 鹿鼎记、射雕英雄传 etc. and I definitely noticed how useful 古文观止 has been for 宫鬥.

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When it comes to me media consuming habits I vastly prefer reading over watching content. Especially TV series are just too slow for me and I tend to skip forward. What has helped me in getting me finally so far to just sit down and watch a series is... well, by not sitting down. I tend to watch my Chinese series while on an exercise bike. 


Then I have a tablet with Pleco on it to search for words without having too large of an impact on my exercise.  The series I'm watching is called 《大江大河》 and I'm halfway through it. When it comes to reading and listening comprehension for me it comes down to catching myself in the act of not knowing things, so when I am watching a series and pause the video to look up the word only to find out Pleco already has it saved as a flashcard it helps me bring down my ego somewhat; give the necessary punt. 

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