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Jan Finster

Struggling with numbers and dates while listening

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Jan Finster

I have been studying Chinese for close to 1.5 years now, but I still somewhat struggle with numbers, %, dates, etc when I listen to Chinese 😐

 

If it is one date, it is fine if I concentrate, but when there are lots of numbers, such as 从1.6亿 到 29.4万 and what have you, then I am totally lost...

I know my Chinese teacher struggles with English numbers a lot and my Scandinavian mother, who has lived in Germany for 40 years still counts in her head in her primary language. Anyway, I do not have this problem in English at all. Did you guys experience the same?

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Demonic_Duck
15 hours ago, Lu said:

Added advantage is that once you have these down pat, you get quicker at saying other numbers around them (11 million, 34 million, 1.5 billion etc).

 

If you make sure to memorize at least one such number for each power of 10 above 104 (1 万), this should make it even easier.

  • The population of Shanghai is 24 million 上海总人口为 2.4 万
  • The prehistory of modern humans began roughly 250,000 years ago 现代人类的史前史大约开始于 25 万年前
  • There are 9 million bicycles in Beijing (according to Katie Melua, anyway...) 北京总共有 900 万辆自行车
  • Population of UK is 66 million 英国总人口为 6600 万(六千六百万)
  • Population of US is 330 million 美国总人口为 3.3 亿
  • Population of China is 1.4 billion 中国总人口为 14 亿
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889

Didn't we discuss a question like this a long time ago? And the solution was something that would shoot numbers and dates at you which you'd transcribe. Maybe an app maybe DIY using a read-aloud function.

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Jan Finster
49 minutes ago, 889 said:

Didn't we discuss a question like this a long time ago? And the solution was something that would shoot numbers and dates at you which you'd transcribe. Maybe an app maybe DIY using a read-aloud function.

 

Yeah, https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/59833-tool-for-practising-reading-numbers/

 

But, I am convinced such an APP is my solution.

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889

No, that just generates random numbers for you to read aloud. I'm talking about something that would read aloud to you, to develop your listening comprehension.

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Jan Finster
11 minutes ago, 889 said:

No, that just generates random numbers for you to read aloud. I'm talking about something that would read aloud to you, to develop your listening comprehension.

 

Oh, TheChairMansBao has lots of articles I use for that purpose. If you want to torture yourself check out the one about minimum wage, etc. Still, numbers do not really seem to stick well.

 

Today, I encountered 30万亿. WTF? 😂

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Demonic_Duck

If there's interest for a tool like the one @Jan Finster linked to but for large numbers (as opposed to sequences of digits), where it gives an answer you can check against, I did start making something similar a while back, might have to dig it out. Probably won't finish it any time soon though, as I have other projects going on. Or someone else (maybe @markhavemann again?) is welcome to take on this “百万美金” app idea. 🤣

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889

I was talking about something like @VoiceAloud available on Google Play. It'll read out numbers from a text in thousands hundreds etc in rapid Chinese with a clear female voice. So just construct a text of all numbers and let the app rip. (Note the numbers need to be written with commas, otherwise the app reads the digits out singly.)

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Demonic_Duck
50 minutes ago, 889 said:

Note the numbers need to be written with commas, otherwise the app reads the digits out singly

 

😱 Commas? In Chinese numbers? I'm afraid I cannot condone this heresy.

 

Actually, it always struck me as odd that large numbers written entirely with numerals don't have commas (or spaces) as delimiters every four digits in Chinese. After all, Indian languages use commas to delimit lakhs and crores.

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889

Just to be clear, I'm talking about numbers written out in Arabic numerals. You of course set the app to treat all documents as written in Chinese by default. Presto!

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markhavemann
5 hours ago, Jan Finster said:

But, I am convinced such an APP is my solution.

Looks like you've found your way to the AHK script. 

 

I'll be happy to expand the AHK script if you have some concrete ideas of what you want. 

 

For example, do you want to see 294000, click a button and get 29.4万? 

 

5 hours ago, 889 said:

I'm talking about something that would read aloud to you, to develop your listening comprehension.

AHK seems to be able to access the Windows speech to text functionality pretty easy. Again, if you have some concrete ideas I'll be happy to play around and try add them in.

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anonymoose
6 hours ago, Demonic_Duck said:

The population of Shanghai is 24 thousand 上海总人口为 2.4 万

 

I guess you still need to work on your numbers.

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Demonic_Duck

Oh wow, that was pretty far off haha. At least the correspondence between English and Chinese is right! 😅

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Flickserve
16 hours ago, Jan Finster said:

Did you guys experience the same?


Once you look for a property to buy, you find your ability to handle these these numbers will increase very quickly. 

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889

Not really because the prices are all just in 萬. Even for a carpark space.

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Jan Finster
7 hours ago, markhavemann said:

I'll be happy to expand the AHK script if you have some concrete ideas of what you want. 

 

Mark, first of all, I wanted to thank you for a long time for sharing all your very cool scripts related to Chinese👍👍👍

 

I guess the ideal APP would create an endless list of randomised numerical combinations with minimal context (degrees, Yuan, dollars, increase, decrease, tons, km, miles, kg, grams, nanograms, etc) and read them out loud, e.g.

 

from 23rd of January 2001 to 02 June 2009; 

from the end of January 1995 to the beginning of November 2000

from 37.1 degrees to 40.2 degrees

2.34x higher than 1995

1/10th of the 300 million people....

increased by 12% to 23400232

2.3 trillion ton increase until 1st September 2020

...

 

I guess this is unprogrammable. 🙈😆

 

So, I will probably pay more attention to my TCB stories:)

 

 

 

 

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markhavemann
17 hours ago, Jan Finster said:

I guess the ideal APP would create an endless list of randomised numerical combinations with minimal context (degrees, Yuan, dollars, increase, decrease, tons, km, miles, kg, grams, nanograms, etc) and read them out loud, e.g.

You just gave me an idea.

 

Everyday CCTV posts all its news stories here. There is a video, and at the bottom there are often transcripts. Maybe the most useful one would be the "[视频]国内联播快讯" that is put up every day and always has transcripts. It's a summary of the national news stories for the day which usually includes lots of figures like the ones that you mentioned above, often including weather, economics, etc.

 

You could also find a link to a story with a name that is more economics or statistics sounding for even more numbers. For example, this story from today kicks off with:

截至北京时间今天(10月17日)16时,美国累计确诊病例已超过800万,达到8050140例,死亡病例达到218599例。平均每41个美国人中,就有1人感染。

 

If this is what I was working on at the moment, here is what I would do:

Spoiler
  1. Download one or two of these daily with youtube-dl, using "youtube-dl --extract-audio http://www.myurl.com" to extract the audio only. 
  2. Using something like Audicity or WavePad (not free, but better for this kind of stuff), extract the audio of each individual sentence or number where possible.
  3. Name the files according to what's being said (taking the text from the transcripts, eg "达到8050140例.mp3")
  4. Maybe put these into Anki as flashcards (audio on the front, text on the back)
  5. Make a version of each file that plays the audio 3-5 times, and put those on my phone to loop for passive listening when I'm doing other stuff. 

 

If you are reading TCB I guess this would be a bit of a jump at first, but would probably be pretty good for your ear training. If I had more time I would do this myself and make a little "numbers training project" thread  with all the audio files that I made, since my eyes usually start glazing over when numbers like this are mentioned. 

 

 

 

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