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Flickserve

Bit of a study plan with DeFrancis

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Flickserve

A feeling has been growing that I should do more with mandarin Chinese. Work and leisure might bring me more contact with native Mandarin speakers. 

 

I am a bit on and off with studying having taken a more relaxed approach. My level is about HSK 3-4 judging from reading vocabulary lists. Listening I am probably a bit better than many people. Speaking wise, I have a Cantonese accent but can speak mandarin with a rhythm that makes people think I know a lot more than I really do! My reading out loud is atrocious since I copy how people speak rather than reading text out loud with pinyin.
 

I thought of going through the DeFrancis series again. It’s good that the audio is available for free. From my experience of learning Cantonese, having some exposure to an older text can be quite useful. And anyway, DeFrancis is still going to be 95+% relevant. I listened to the recordings by myself but some parts I am not sure what the dialogue means. 

 

I lost my old DeFrancis reader books in a move and would need to reorder. I am very open minded about going backwards to go forwards. If I had a textbook, I could probably try initially  being self taught, and use a wechat group for some questions. 

 

My questions are:

 

1) beginning, intermediate, advanced chinese - these are all in pinyin. Can I expect much utility since I am already familiar with chinese characters? There may be other things that I can benefit from such as grammar patterns, listening comprehension or perhaps even shadowing. 

 

2) how far would going through the books aid me for a HSK 4 exam? This is more a curiosity question. I don’t have the time to do DeFrancis and study a HSK 4 exam at the same time. If I get through IC and ICR (or AC & ACR), how far do you think that can take me? Reason for doing the exam? Just to have some objective indicator and incentive. I am not expecting the DeFrancis series to cover everything that would come up in HSK 4. Other books would be needed to fill in the gaps. 

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mungouk

Hey.

Are you planning to stick with traditional characters, or do you have a plan to move to simplified?

(I'm curious what strategy people would adopt if they want to move from one to the other.)

 

As for HSK 4 vs DeFrancis, I don't know.  I've seen copies of Beginning Chinese Reader Part 1 and Part 2 (they're out there online) and they look ancient. At a quick glance I would say maybe HSK 3-4 but there's no reason why there should be a huge overlap is there?  Apart from maybe word frequency. 

 

If your aim is to take HSK 4 for career purposes, then it probably makes sense to use the Standard Course books. 

 

@Leslie Frank also recently mentioned some medically-oriented podcasts that made me think of you, although I'm not sure if they're relevant. 

 

 

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Shelley

I have the complete set of the Beginning Chinese, second edition. This comprises Beginning Chinese, Character Text  for Beginning Chinese and Beginning Chinese Reader part 1 & 2.

I also have Intermediate Chinese and Intermediate Chinese Reader Part 1.

These are a very comprehensive set of books. 

 

Some people are worried about the use of traditional or the term used by Defrancis regular characters, I don't think this is a big problem and the books even address this by including at the end of the "regular" lessons some using simplified Characters. There are also a regular to simplified charts in the books and stroke order for simplified is included.

So you could use these books to study simplified if you wanted, but I think it is useful to learn both at the same time. I did explore this awhile ago as in this topic https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/52057-going-from-simplified-to-traditional/?tab=comments#comment-400814

 

I am still doing both but it is now so easy to spot the difference most of the time I merely acknowledge the traditional form but concentrate on learning the simplified.

I am still contemplating really learning traditional properly but fear it will detract from my general learning and add a level of unnecessary confusion.

 

I also didn't think about the audio available with the books, that could be a bit of a game changer.

 

A wechat group might also help me sway my decision as I wouldn't be alone and its nice to have people to share and help. It would also be good to help add some form of study discipline.

 

I have 2 copies of Beginning Chinese Reader part 1, I would be happy to send one to anyone who wanted it for the cost of UK postage.

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Flickserve
23 hours ago, mungouk said:

Are you planning to stick with traditional characters, or do you have a plan to move to simplified?

 

I can do both. I usually try to look at both in the dictionary.

 

21 hours ago, Shelley said:

Some people are worried about the use of traditional or the term used by Defrancis regular characters

 

Not for me.

 

Any problems for you if you are only reading pinyin?

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Shelley

I am trying very hard to steer away from pinyin and only refer to the pinyin text if I am struggling. I use the Character text and the reader.  I haven't been using pinyin for years now, just when I encounter a new word or character and when I do my flashcards.

 

@Flickserve I have just realised maybe you are not aware of the character text that goes with the set. There are 4 books in the beginner series - Beginning Chinese - this is pinyin only, then there the Character text - this is the traditional Character text with some supplementary lesson in simplified with simplified conversion tables and stroke order for both.

Then there is the Beginning Chinese reader part 1 & 2 which is a complimentary reader that builds on the lessons. This is in traditional characters.

 

This link just for referance  https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-DeFrancis/e/B0034NPNHA?ref_=dbs_p_pbk_r00_abau_000000

 

I am trying to find the audio as an mp3, I have found but its all separate files and clumsy to download, not keen on iTunes.

 

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Shelley

Yes I found those, a bit of pain to download them one at a time. they are not very long, a book at a time wouldn't be too large a download.

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Flickserve
12 hours ago, Shelley said:

I have just realised maybe you are not aware of the character text that goes with the set. There are 4 books in the beginner series - Beginning Chinese - this is pinyin only, then there the Character text - this is the traditional Character text with some supplementary lesson in simplified with simplified conversion tables and stroke order for both.

 

You are right. I wasn't really aware of that. Do you know if there are major differences between them apart from the dialogue?

 

For example, does the pinyin version contain more explanations and the character one only contain the dialogue in characters?

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Flickserve
8 hours ago, Shelley said:

Yes I found those, a bit of pain to download them one at a time. they are not very long, a book at a time wouldn't be too large a download.

 

I clicked on each individual link. You do not have to wait for each one to download before clicking the next download. As one is downloading, click on the next link to download. You can have five or six downloading at the same time.

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Shelley
9 hours ago, Flickserve said:

For example, does the pinyin version contain more explanations and the character one only contain the dialogue in characters?

 

The character text has all the dialogues, substitution exercises, pattern drills and sentence build up. It has the new word lists with pinyin and explanations in English.

 

Each dialogue and the all the exercises have the corresponding page number from the Beginning Chinese pinyin only, so it really easy to follow both. there is also a study guide explaining what from which book corresponds and in what order it should be followed. You could almost use the character text only but you would be lacking all the notes.

 

I use the Character text most of the time referring to the notes when I need to and skimming the pinyin versions just in case I have missed anything. 

The Beginning Chinese reader is stand alone and has longer texts  with new word lists and exercises and translation exercises from english to chinese and the converse and more.

 

This is one reason I have always been drawn to this series it is very comprehensive and with the audio should provide a complete course for the student. The only thing it lacks is an answer key. Is there one out there?

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Flickserve
2 hours ago, Shelley said:

You could almost use the character text only but you would be lacking all the notes.


sorry, what notes? notes about what?

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Shelley
3 minutes ago, Flickserve said:

sorry, what notes? notes about what?

 

The notes explaining the lessons and grammar.

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Flickserve
8 hours ago, Shelley said:

The notes explaining the lessons and grammar.


OK.

 

so both are needed. Thanks 

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Shelley

Yes, both are needed.

If you start a wechat group and are up for, I would like to join.

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Flickserve
1 hour ago, Shelley said:

Yes, both are needed

 

Right. That's very helpful.

 

I need to get the books first.

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Shelley

I have a spare copy of Beginning Chinese Reader Part 1 which you would be welcome to for the cost of postage.

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GregO

Regarding the audio, if you have an Iphone, there are podcasts with audio for all the 3 readers and I believe the textbooks. I suspect it would be available on another system as well. Just search "Defrancis"

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mungouk
52 minutes ago, GregO said:

if you have an Iphone, there are podcasts with audio for all the 3 readers and I believe the textbooks.

 

Presumably this is what's being referred to here?

 

On 12/4/2019 at 1:42 AM, Wurstmann said:

 

 

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Shelley
13 minutes ago, mungouk said:

Presumably this is what's being referred to here?

 

Yes and you don't need an iPhone. I can download them on to my PC, which I will do when I have time, I am only going to dl the Beginner lessons, then the others as I need them.

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