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kanumo

Imron on “You can learn chinese” Podcast

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kanumo

Hey,

 

i just wanted to let you know, that I just listened to the newest show of above named podcast and I really liked the insights!

 

@imron: fun and inspiring appearance!

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Rufus

@imron thanks for being on our show! It was great to put a voice to the wise-sage guidance you have offered here for years!

 

For anyone interested, here is a link to the podcast episode featuring Imron. His interview is in the second half of the podcast. 

#21 How Important is Chinese Culture When Learning Chinese?

 

 

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suMMit

will listen tonight! Ive listened to a couple other podcasts and I enjoyed them.

 

i hope to find out if your screen name is pronounced i~ m ~Ron or imron

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vellocet

Really surprised to see the two hosts engaging in that "I'm more Chinese than you" competition.  I'd have thought that kind of thing would have fallen away long ago.  

 

I can't relate at all to the desire to rush to the advanced class.  Those always sounded frightening.  I was always glad to stick to material I could understand, mostly.  The advanced class...jeez.  The other students would know I was a phony as soon as I couldn't follow the text they were reading.  Plenty of material to lawnmow at the lower levels.  

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imron
9 hours ago, Rufus said:

@imron thanks for being on our show!

Thanks for having me on.  Pity we ran out of time so quickly!

 

1 hour ago, suMMit said:

i hope to find out if your screen name is pronounced i~ m ~Ron or imron

imron ('im' rhymes with 'him')

 

1 hour ago, vellocet said:

I can't relate at all to the desire to rush to the advanced class.

I see it all the time with learners, and from experience, recognise it for the folly it is (wish someone had told me at the time, but I probably wouldn't have listened).

 

1 hour ago, vellocet said:

The other students would know I was a phony as soon as I couldn't follow the text they were reading.

My spoken Chinese was always good enough to get away with it, and coupled with preparing before and revision after it was more than enough to do well in the class, but it led to 'advanced with gaps'.  Those gaps have long since filled in, but looking back and knowing what I know now, it would have been better to slow down and consolidate lower level skills rather than trying to rush to advanced.  Like you said, there's plenty of material to lawnmow at the lower level.

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DavyJonesLocker

great interview @imron

 

I like your comments about the rushing to advanced level and how you were missing out of lower level stuff. I am reading a novel , going through HSK 6 material. Yet right now listening to this podcast I am in a motorcycle service center in Beijing struggling to tell the guy the specifics problems with my motorbike. These reality checks are necessary at times! 

I have been recently concentrating too much on literary words and grammar, sentence structure etc  Although I'm making steady progress, yet it seems to have polluted my basic level which I could easily do a year ago

 

2 hours ago, vellocet said:

I can't relate at all to the desire to rush to the advanced class.  

 

I'd say this a norm in chinese classes in china. Many students come to China for a few weeks to one year to learn chinese. The schools and textbooks want to throw as many words at you at possible, I don't agree at all with this approach and think the focus should be on sentence structure, grammer, tones etc and not amassing a huge amount of words. However its a strong selling for chinese courses to claim "you will  X amount of words in 3 months etc"

 

 

 

 

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vellocet

I have to say, this is a real head-scratcher.  I can understand the desire to get better, but to rush there?  Chinese is huge, it takes forever, there are no short cuts.  Maybe this "do everything way too fast" attitude explains some of the baffling textbooks that are out there.  

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DavyJonesLocker

I have some sympathy for students that need to pass HSK for college purposes etc and perhaps get on to the more interesting stuff. 

 

22 minutes ago, vellocet said:

Maybe this "do everything way too fast" attitude explains some of the baffling textbooks that are out there.  

 

That's an interesting comment. Ive long lost that initial impression of Chinese text books but I remember making a comment many years back that some text books we used im the Chinese class were the worst of any textbooks in all the subjects I've studied since leaving school near 30 years ago (that's continual study every year) I couldn't really figure out why and was putting it down to changing from  many years of  technical study to non technical based studies, and perhaps an element of "a bad worker blaming his tools" 

 

Imron self reflects in the interview on his study path. I'd say my biggest mistake was my approach to studying the language , I was fumbling my way around in the dark for a long time, trying to find an approach that suit me personally. 

 

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imron
1 hour ago, vellocet said:

Chinese is huge, it takes forever, there are no short cuts. 

Yes.  This is something I know now, that I didn't think too much about the first few years I was learning Chinese.

 

It's a common enough phenomenon though, and upon reflection one of the things I would have done differently now that I have nearly 20 years of hindsight.

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vellocet
2 hours ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

some text books we used im the Chinese class were the worst of any textbooks in all the subjects I've studied since leaving school near 30 years ago

Completely agree.  The books do not accomplish their chosen task well.  I used to read technical manuals in my spare time for fun, but these books baffled me.  Things like, two third tones together, the first one changes.  OK, but what about three together?  Nobody thought to address this obvious situation.  I could go on, but doubtless everyone has suffered through all the examples already.  I know that's the reason I started posting here in the first place, to find these answers.

 

I think it's the Dunning-Kruger effect.  This is widely understood to mean incompetent people are so incompetent that they can't recognize their incompetence, but the lesser-known corollary states that people who are competent assume everyone else is just as competent as they are. They're at step 4 of the four steps of competence. Thus they don't need to explain things and can use shorthand, jargon, jump to conclusions as the road is already known, etc.  Thus they dash off a beginner level textbook, "Pssh, this stuff is easy, barely need to explain it at all.  Just hit the major points quickly and then I can get on to writing the interesting material."  And then they wonder why only 5% of learners make it into intermediate. 

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murrayjames

Nice, helpful interview. I wish it were longer.

 

On a related note: While I knew before listening to the interview that he was Australian, Imron sounds even more Australian than I imagined.

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imron
2 minutes ago, murrayjames said:

Imron sounds even more Australian than I imagined.

Listening to myself speak, my accent was more Australian than even I imagined.

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Shelley

I am glad that the subject of it taking a long time to learn chinese as been mentioned and by some well respected people.

 

I have experienced some not so polite comments about the amount of time I have been studying chinese and why considering its been over 35 years,  I am not completely fluent and living in China.

Trying to explain that I am learning for pleasure and to keep my brain working appears to be difficult, it seems that one is supposed to rush through everything and pass exams, get qualified and DO something with your chinese.

 

I often find myself going back a few lessons and reviewing. I have on occasion gone right back to early lessons and just skim reviewed them right up to my present level.

I find that sometimes things are mentioned that the textbook says it will go into detail later ie you don't need to know why yet, just that it is. Sometimes all these things will come together and better overall understanding emerges.

 

Never give up on reviewing and don't assume things, don't skip things thinking its not important, don't skim over something because you can't get it right, that shows you may need to go back a step.

 

On another subject, imron sounded just as Australian as I expected:) I was hoping to hear some chinese, its always interesting how people's original accent creeps in and very, very subtly affects their chinese.

 

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DavyJonesLocker

@imron

Following on @Shelley post above, if I recall correctly you have been studying (exposed might be a better word) Chinese for 20 years?

 

Care to comment on milestones, or perhaps how your level changed after the 5 , 10, 15, 20 year mark etc. E.g did you just taper off after 5 years  etc?

 

Question open to any long term learner!

 

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Dawei3
On 10/22/2019 at 11:27 AM, Shelley said:

I often find myself going back a few lessons and reviewing. I have on occasion gone right back to early lessons and just skim reviewed them right up to my present level.

I do this regularly.  Part of the problem is I don't live in China and despite very regular conversations with Chinese friends, there are so many expressions that I never use with them, but I need to remember.  

 

I really liked Imron's comment on not just learning words (and the whole interview was interesting).  Learning a word without learning how it is used in sentences is not very useful because just dropping the word into a grammatically correct Chinese sentence may  still be nonsensical (i.e., it assumes the word's usage necessary correlates to its usage in English). 

 

Recently, I met a Chinese Elementary school teacher who teaches English in Beijing.  I mentioned the old way of having students memorize words.  She said now they teach kids "chunks" - i.e., they learn words by how they are used in sentences & phrases (i.e., like the way Pimsleur teaches).  It was great to hear the change.  (I met her in a Toastmasters speaking club meeting in Beijing, Bookworm Toastmasters Club.  I've mentioned that Toastmasters is a great way to meet people.  I even met a Chinese police officer - the first time I've met one personally in China.  In previous posts, I've mentioned Toastmasters as a great way to meet people & find language partners).  

 

I like this forum because helps me find learn ways of learning so thanks to Kanumo for making me aware of this podcast.  

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imron
1 hour ago, Dawei3 said:

I really liked Imron's comment on not just learning words (and the whole interview was interesting).  Learning a word without learning how it is used in sentences is not very useful

The other reason not to just learn words in flashcards lists is that you have no yardstick for measuring how well you know that word for real world usage.

 

One of the examples I keep going back to is that for smooth reading you need more or less instant recognition and understanding of words.  This is a much stricter standard than many people use for flaschards, but it's the standard you need to meet if you want a pleasant reading experience.  If you have to pause and think (even for a half a second) before remembering a word on a flaschard, then you haven't met that standard and need to spend more time on that word.

 

If you aren't doing enough reading though, you might pass this type of card because you got it correct and half a second doesn't seem that long in isolation, and so your deck will fill with cards you think you know, but that you don't know well enough to be useful.

 

This is why it's important to tie your learning back to actual application of the language rather than being driven by flashcards.  Flashcards are still good as a supplementary tool, but if they are the main study activity then it's easy to have the illusion of progress (numbers keep going up), without much actual progress being made.

 

P.S.

On 10/23/2019 at 1:37 PM, DavyJonesLocker said:

Care to comment on milestones,

I haven't forgotten this question and will come and write a longer response eventually :mrgreen:

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DavyJonesLocker
3 hours ago, imron said:

I haven't forgotten this question and will come and write a longer response eventually :mrgreen:

 

No probs dude , whenever you get some spare time.

.... the forum now knows you have been cycling around your living room on your unicycle practicing juggling 6 balls 😅

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imron
15 minutes ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

practicing juggling 6 balls

Nah, 7 is the number to go to after 5 because it uses a simpler pattern (cascade).  Juggling an even number of balls uses a different pattern (fountain) - in essence, juggling 6 is just juggling 3 in one hand, and then doing the same with the other hand at the same time (I say just, but at 3 balls per hand it's quite difficult).

 

I have halfheartedly tried 7, and have even made a couple of successful flashes (throwing and catching each ball once), but I don't have the ceiling height for serious practice, and I only ride the unicycle outside :mrgreen:

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wibr

@imron I think doing flashcards and reading can't be compared directly like that. The SRS algorithm tries to show you cards that you are just about to forget, so I think it's natural that sometimes it might take a bit longer to recall the meaning and pronunciation. A book on the other hand shows you words according to a distribution completely unrelated to how well you know the words, so the chances that you see those that you are just about to forget is much lower.

Additionally, flashcards are just words without any context, you don't have to just think of one meaning but maybe multiple meanings and also the pronunciation (at least that's how I do it). When reading, context can support word recognition quite a bit. It can also confuse you, but I would say usually it helps. And unless you read out loud, knowing the pronunciation is not necessary.

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