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PerpetualChange

How do you know a book is "at your level"?

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Lu
26 minutes ago, mungouk said:

On the other hand, if it's a new character you won't know how to pronounce it.  Do you guys have a strategy for that?  How do you "park" it?

I look it up if it comes back several times and it starts to annoy me that I don't know it. And then if it seems like a suitable word for Anki, I put it in Anki. ('Suitable' as in: looks like it might show up again at some point; has a fairly clear definition; I understand what it actually is, so not extremely specialised jargon.)

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imron
7 hours ago, mungouk said:

Do you guys have a strategy for that?  How do you "park" it?

Look it up, but don't spend time on it, and then come back later and revise it.  Pleco makes this easy. Before Pleco, I would use a pencil to underline the word and then keep moving.  And then come back later and drill myself on all the underlined words.

 

I also agree that you shouldn't be looking up every word you don't know.  When I'm in vocab learning mode, I aim for between 5-10 new words a day.  Beyond that, I'll either skip over it or look it up but not put any effort in to learning it.  The useful words will turn up again on another day, so I don't worry about missing out on them.  If there are too many new words that this approach makes it difficult to read something, then the content is too advanced and I'll stop, put it down and change to something easier.

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jannesan
23 hours ago, mungouk said:

On the other hand, if it's a new character you won't know how to pronounce it.  Do you guys have a strategy for that?

 

Just skip over it. And if it pops up repeatedly look it up.

But yea I feel this is one of the more frustrating parts when reading material above your level,

not only do you not know the meaning, but you can't even pronounce it.

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imron
49 minutes ago, jannesan said:

I feel this is one of the more frustrating parts when reading material above your level,

It's also one of the more frustrating parts when reading material at your level :mrgreen: (because you'll still encounter the occasional unknown character)

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DavyJonesLocker
59 minutes ago, jannesan said:

Just skip over it. And if it pops up repeatedly look it up.

But yea I feel this is one of the more frustrating parts when reading material above your level,

not only do you not know the meaning, but you can't even pronounce it.

 

I take the opposite approach . I check each any every unknown character/word with PLECO. Sure it's not optimal for learning but when I read a good novel I want to enjoy it, understand the authors choice of words, writing style etc. I see like eating a fine dinner or expensive whiskey. I want to take my time over it and savour it. Sounds a bit poncy I know 😅

 

Now when I  read a text book , graded reader , cooking receipe it's pretty much half assed approached. (Like a Burgerking, stuff it in your face and go)

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mungouk

Do Chinese publishers produce any books for learners or younger readers that have pinyin "ruby" text (or the Chinese equivalent of Furigana) over more difficult words?

I've seen this in a wikipedia page recently. With ebooks it could potentially be something you could turn on/off.

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Shelley

Yes there are some books with pinyin printed above or below the characters . There is even a publisher that supplies plastic sheets with cutouts so you can cover the pinyin.

I just can't remember who the publisher is :cry:

 

In an early version of Word you used to be able to import text documents and there was a Ruby text function and you chose pinyin and it would appear (somewhat crudely) over the characters. Later versions seem to have lost this ability.

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Jan Finster
17 hours ago, imron said:

Yes, there might be some words you pay more attention to, but the bulk of them are just look up and move on because to do otherwise would be to interrupt reading fluency.  Which leads to spending little to no time on the very words and characters you should be spending the most time on, and in the worst case scenarios where you are reading material too far beyond your level, it can essentially lead to reading a poor English translation using Chinese word order.

 

I read your comment as a bit apodictic (I am not sure it was meant like that). I believe it is rather a matter of personal preference.  Reading above your level may be overwhelming to some, but motivating to others. At the end of the day, it boils down to finding compelling content to keep yourself interested. Especially beginners and intermediates will have a hard time finding such content. A tool like Lingq makes it easier to cope with difficult (but compelling) content. I very much believe in quantity of content rather than exposure to content tailored at your level.

 

17 hours ago, imron said:

The most important thing though is to revise words you've looked up and cement them in your mind.  This is Pleco's killer feature IMO.  You look it up in a dictionary and it's trivial to then go through and drill yourself on all the words you've looked up, and that's what keeps your level moving forward.

I agree. But this is something Lingq does as well.

 

58 minutes ago, mungouk said:

I've seen this in a wikipedia page recently. With ebooks it could potentially be something you could turn on/off.

 

You can do this online with virtually any text with this add-on: "Add Pinyin - Chinese Zero to Hero Reader"

It gives you Pinyin for everything, not just for difficult words though.

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mungouk
42 minutes ago, Shelley said:

There is even a publisher that supplies plastic sheets with cutouts so you can cover the pinyin.

 

Yes, it's Sinolingua — I have one of their graded readers right here.

After my initial semi-enthusiasm for this idea I've decided it's pointless. IMHO it would work in an interactive format, but for a printed book it's just too clumsy. 


Far more convenient to use Pleco's OCR function for words/characters you don't know.

 

 

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mungouk
31 minutes ago, Jan Finster said:

It gives you Pinyin for everything, not just for difficult words though.

 

Yes, well that's the problem I think.

 

The texts for learners I've seen in Japanese only tend to put this above the Kanji that might not be known by the reader (or, possibly above all the Kanji, since much of the text could be Hiragana or Katakana). 

 

Personally I find having pinyin there all the time too much of a distraction — I end up just reading that rather than making the effort to read the Hanzi.

 

If the text were graded at a level, then it would be really useful to have only the "unknown" words with the ruby text.

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Jan Finster
1 minute ago, mungouk said:

Personally I find having pinyin there all the time too much of a distraction — I end up just reading that rather than making the effort to read the Hanzi.

I agree. It took me quite some time to wean myself off pinyin. It is too tempting. 

You can theoretically look up the pinyin and then switch the add-on off again and then reload the webpage (F5) without it. But then you might just as well use the Zhongwen popup dictionary....

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imron
7 hours ago, Jan Finster said:

I read your comment as a bit apodictic (I am not sure it was meant like that)

Yes, it was meant like that :mrgreen:

 

7 hours ago, Jan Finster said:

I believe it is rather a matter of personal preference

It's personal preference to choose to which methods to use, but there are tradeoffs.  Popup dictionaries as they are commonly used provide instant understanding at the expense of longer term learning goals - presuming of course the goal is to eventually be able to read without external aids.

 

Out of curiosity, how often would you say you use Linq's popup dictionary to look up words you already know, just to check if you we right, or look up words to find you already knew them?

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Jan Finster
19 minutes ago, imron said:

Out of curiosity, how often would you say you use Linq's popup dictionary to look up words you already know, just to check if you we right, or look up words to find you already knew them?

 

All the time. I do not see a problem with that (!?) As a disclaimer I should say I am studying hardly any word lists SRS style. I did in the beginning, but it got too boring. I read somewhere you need to encounter a word around 50x to store it in the long-term memory, if you use a high-input approach (Lingq). Since looking up words is super easy with Lingq, it is no big deal to look up words 20-50x.

I started learning Chinese in March 2019 and I have  been using Lingq since June 2019. Currently, I know about 2000 words. Those are words I will not look up again. Since then I have been exposed to around 20000-25000 unique words that are somewhere in the limbo of  "did I really see this word before?" and "I kind of knew this word". If enough repeated exposure, those words in the limbo will eventually become known words. I am not in a hurry since I am not studying for an HSK exam or the like.

 

I guess my progress has not been great, but I have a full time job and I spend only about 1-2 hours per day studying Chinese. There are guys on Lingq that have learnt way more words in the last 6 months, but they study Chinese full time.

 

Again, I do believe it is a matter of personal preference. Tediously looking up words in a paper dictionary when I am dead tired after work, is just not realistic for me.

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imron
39 minutes ago, Jan Finster said:

I do not see a problem with that (!?)

If you are looking up a word and find you already know it, in reality you didn't already know it because otherwise you wouldn't have needed to look it up.

 

You might disagree with that definition of what it means to 'know' a word, however it's a valid one because that's the standard required for reading without external aids, and any lesser standard is not preparing you for that end goal.

 

In order to read without external aid, confidence in knowing a word is just as important as knowing the meaning and the pronunciation.  This is not something that is immediately obvious and is one of the soft skills of reading that often gets looked over.

 

48 minutes ago, Jan Finster said:

I read somewhere you need to encounter a word around 50x to store it in the long-term memory

Depending on how they are used, I'm not convinced this is true for popup dictionaries because the brain likes taking shortcuts and will outsource effort to external sources where possible, and if you look up a word, tell yourself you know it, and then move on, the brain has very little incentive to try and remember those words to the standard required to remember it 100% confidently without aid.  You can do it 20, 50 or even a 100 times and if the brain knows it's only a quick click to check, then it will rarely remember it well enough not to need that click.

 

If however, you are looking up a word in the popup dictionary and instead of thinking you already know it you are asking yourself "how come I didn't know this word" and then spending a few seconds to cement it in memory so you'll remember it next time, then looking it up 50x is probably enough to put it in long-term memory.  It's a subtle change in mindset and habit that can lead to a significant reduction in the number of lookups you need to do.

 

Anyway, if you are still not convinced it's a problem that's ok, but just keep it in your mind as something that might become a problem.  At regular intervals (say every 6 months) re-assess where you are, where you want to be, and how your study habits are helping (or hurting) progress and adjust as necessary (that's something helpful to do anyway, regardless of whether you agree with me on popup dictionaries or not).

 

39 minutes ago, Jan Finster said:

Tediously looking up words in a paper dictionary

No-one is advocating that.  I'm not sure why you keep bringing it up.

 

 

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Jan Finster
14 minutes ago, imron said:

If however, you are looking up a word in the popup dictionary and instead of thinking you already know it you are asking yourself "how come I didn't know this word" and then spending a few seconds to cement it in memory so you'll remember it next time, then looking it up 50x is probably enough to put it in long-term memory.  It's a subtle change in mindset and habit that can lead to a significant reduction in the number of lookups you need to do.

Thanks for taking your time to respond. It helps me understand why this forum is so (comparatively) silent about Lingq. Maybe we have a different approach to language learning. I follow a more passive approach. My brain learns from repeated exposure not by "cementing" anything actively into it. My answer to "how come I didn't know this word?" is that I see this as natural. I give my brain a break and acknowledge it takes time and repeated exposure to learn anything. This may not be the most efficient approach, but since I learn Chinese for fun and since I am not 18 anymore, this is what "works" for me ATM. With "works for me" I mean I stay motivated and I am having great fun learning Chinese.

 

19 minutes ago, imron said:

Anyway, if you are still not convinced it's a problem that's ok, but just keep it in your mind as something that might become a problem.  At regular intervals (say every 6 months) re-assess where you are, where you want to be, and how your study habits are helping (or hurting) progress and adjust as necessary (that's something helpful to do anyway, regardless of whether you agree with me on popup dictionaries or not).

 

This is definitely good advice and I will surely do so.

 

20 minutes ago, imron said:
1 hour ago, Jan Finster said:

Tediously looking up words in a paper dictionary

No-one is advocating that.  I'm not sure why you keep bringing it up.

 

Sorry, if I kept bringing this up. I remembered from older posts of yours that you were somewhat fond of your worn out paper dictionary😉(?) I know you have not advocated this in the recent posts, but you do advocate "friction" (= not making it too easy to look up words) if I have not misunderstood you. 

 

 

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murrayjames

If you frequently refer to dictionaries when reading Chinese, try using a Chinese-Chinese dictionary. Stay in L2. You’ll learn to think about Chinese vocabulary in Chinese, and may pick up—or strengthen your command of—other useful Chinese words in the process.

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imron
7 hours ago, Jan Finster said:

I remembered from older posts of yours that you were somewhat fond of your worn out paper dictionary

I am fond of it.  I also probably haven't used it in over a decade.

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imron
21 hours ago, Jan Finster said:

It helps me understand why this forum is so (comparatively) silent about Lingq

I don't see how this follows from my comments.

 

21 hours ago, Jan Finster said:

My answer to "how come I didn't know this word?" is that I see this as natural. I give my brain a break and acknowledge it takes time and repeated exposure to learn anything

It might be natural, but it is not the desired state (because for a learner, the desired state is to be able to know the word without looking it up).  So you should be thinking about how to get from the natural state to the desired state.  Waiting for it to happen after 50x passive lookup might work or it might not.  Put it down as something to consider at the 6-month assessment of study habits.

 

 

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Jan Finster
7 hours ago, imron said:
On 11/30/2019 at 6:50 AM, Jan Finster said:

It helps me understand why this forum is so (comparatively) silent about Lingq

I don't see how this follows from my comments.

 

Well, what I described is, in a nutshell, the language learning philosophy of Steve Kaufman and the rationale behind Lingq. You can find many interviews of Steve on Youtube. So, if you, as one of the admins and one of the most active members of this site, are strongly against his philosophy and the concept of Lingq, then this obviously has impact on the readers of this forum.

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