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Tomsima

The 2021 Aims and Objectives Progress Topic

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道艺黄帝
2 minutes ago, Tomsima said:

Amazing you passed the Chinese driving license exam before an HSK exam, that's an achievement in itself

I would say 

 

1 - most of the 驾照 language is focused on either 交规, 路标 , or 车辆操作, where as I find hsk 5 & 6 content scattered all over the place

2- there's too much impractical language/'书面' stuff in hsk, which makes it hard for me to focus on

 

To be fair, I have passed hsk 2 & 4

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imron
14 hours ago, 道艺黄帝 said:

加油 to everyone else

Now that you're driving, 加油  (literally) to you too :mrgreen:

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Luxi
2 hours ago, 艾墨本 said:

Write one essay (>1000字) each month

 

Nice goal! I don't know whether this would be any use to you, or too basic, but it may be useful to others also interested in writing. A preliminary before jumping into the deep end of literary and academic essays. There are school help sites with many examples of primary and secondary school 作文. I think they could  be helpful for people studying on their own or with only limited contact with tutors. There many of these sites, this is just an example:

中小学生作文网_中考高考满分作文_初中作文_高中优秀作文大全 (zuowen.com)

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feihong
7 hours ago, 艾墨本 said:

2) Write one essay (>1000字) each month and go through two rounds of feedback and revision. This is a new one for me and will consider it on trial while I figure out how well it works into my life. I welcome feedback if anyone has set writing goals before.

Although my current blog on this site is not a traditional blog, it does involve a lot of writing and review. The scheduled publishing feature of the blog is a motivator for me to keep up the pace of one post per week, which I have managed to maintain for more than a year now. I see no issues with maintaining that pace over the coming year since I’ve gotten used to pre-publishing posts months in advance.

 

I’m not sure if one post per month would work for me, though, as the interval just seems too long. Maybe you could consider publishing your essays in parts, which I see a lot of other blogs do.

 

Another thing I do is load my drafts into Notion. This allows me to work on posts on my phone during spare moments and also shows my edits in real-time during live review sessions. Google Docs might be good enough for your purposes, but I need the extra structure provided by Notion. There are probably specialized writing apps that do a similar thing but with less need for custom workflows, but I haven’t looked into them.

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Tomsima

I'm dropping by after the first week or so of building my 2021 targets into habits to do a bit of revision while I can. I've been working on shorthand translation of articles written in Chinese and discovered there is much more benefit to collecting and studying new and useful common vocab from the process rather than trying to finish a whole article then move onto the next translation. Perhaps I'll come back to my second goal later in the year, but right now I'm going to change my second goal for 2021 to:

 

Fill a notebook with key words and phrases, Chinese > English shorthand.

 

Heres a photo taken of the first page, from today (not meant to be arty, just taken with the rear camera from my laptop)

 

 

WIN_20210111_16_39_14_Pro.jpg

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Woodford

I've been studying Chinese for about 4.5 years overall, with 3.5 years being "serious" (2-4 hours a day of SRS flashcards and reading practice, with additional time spent listening to Chinese podcasts). I have worked through 8 books since Fall of 2019, albeit with a system of review (reading each book 3-4 times over--which has been my practice all along, even since the days of graded readers). I tend to think it helped my speed and confidence, but I'm just getting tired of it. So this year, I want to take a more casual approach where I read everything just once, and commit new vocabulary to my flashcards. I need to dial back the intensity of my routine anyway, as I have a lot of other responsibilities piling up. So my goals this year are:

1. Read more casually and for fun

2. Approach (not necessarily reach) a vocabulary flashcard deck of 20,000 (I'm at 15,000 now, and new words are slowing down to more of a trickle)

3. Upgrade my listening comprehension from "meh" to "acceptable" (I know that's subjective)

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haveheart

Mandarin
Get back into a routine of:
-watching tv everyday
-reading 30 minutes a day 
-making 10 new flashcards a day (currently using Migaku tools and it makes it an absolute breeze)
-going to start taking some italki classes to add more structure too, if anyone has recommended teachers I'd love to hear about them. 

Last year I made 1350 new cards mined from tv shows, which is only 3.7 a day. Better than nothing I suppose!

 

Cantonese
In the last week of 2020 I started learning Cantonese. I'm taking it slow as to not burnout but I'm finding it really fun so far. Knowing a bunch of mandarin has definitely helped.
So far I'm just reviewing words I learned during weekly Italki lessons and turning them into anki cards. 
 

On 1/1/2021 at 12:57 PM, lechuan said:

I've had 4 lessons with Gary so far and he's great! What a coincidence to see him pop up here. 
 

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Dr Mack Rettosy

Hi all, I'm new to Chinese and even newer to the forums. I realize I'm shooting from the hip here, but I want to participate in this thread so that next year I can reflect on my progress.

 

Quick background:

I started studying Mandarin in Oct 2020, and thus far completed the HelloChinese app main course and am about half-way through their immersion lessons (550 mini-podcasts w/ situational conversations, much like ChinesePod, although unfortunately less comprehensible input and more grammar descriptions). I also read The Chairman's Bao, currently pinyin HSK2 is smooth and HSK3 a bit rougher at about 90% comprehension. I have a Pleco deck of 1700 words with decent command of maybe 800 words. Finally, I get about 30 minutes of native content listening per day. Sometimes it is comprehensible (subtitled with English), but often it is just passive listening to expose myself to sounds and rhythms.

 

My singular goal for Mandarin in 2021 is...

...to memorize 1500 characters. Ideally, I want more than just flashcard recognition. I'd like to read proficiently so that I'm at an extensive reading level, that is reading selected graded materials (e.g. TCB's HSK4 articles) at 98% comprehension.

 

My work flow will look something like this:

  • Using Heisig's RTH Vol I, create mnemonic device for each character. Planning to start sometime in March at a 7-10 character per day pace.
  • Memorize pronunciation concurrently? Does anyone have any suggestions on how to do this? In a YCLC podcast, one guest mentioned a resource called "The Maryland Method" by a guy named Sergei (sp?) written in his blog called Country of the Blind. Google has unfortunately yielded no results.
  • Create and review pleco flashcard deck. I know there are a lot of Heisig decks out there but I'm unsure what the best format is?
  • Start reading graded readers after first few hundred characters are memorized, some time around May.
  • Somehow integrate Imron's memorization approach (https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/20067-visualizing-pinyin-tones/page/2/?tab=comments#comment-166892). I like this method, but seems like it would be best for an intermediate-advanced learner. Any thoughts as to whether a beginner could effectively use this approach?

Questions for my future self

How did you do?

Did your plans change?

How'd the execution go?

Are you satisfied with the level you are currently reading?

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imron
1 hour ago, Dr Mack Rettosy said:

Any thoughts as to whether a beginner could effectively use this approach?

The earlier you start, the more benefit you’ll gain. 

 

I started doing this relatively early in my studies as an alternative to writing characters by hand, because I found writing by hand to be ineffective. 
 

It’s worth keeping in mind that regardless of what level you are when you start this, it will always feel difficult at first.

 

Don’t think it will be easier once you have a better Chinese level, because the main skills you are developing are active recall and visualization.

 

Chinese characters are the means by which you are doing that, and also the thing you will use those skills for, but knowing more or less characters when you start doesn’t have much effect on how well you’ll be able to visualize and recall them. 

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imron
6 hours ago, Dr Mack Rettosy said:

Memorize pronunciation concurrently? Does anyone have any suggestions on how to do this?

Don’t memorize the pinyin, instead, memorise the whole sound, such that you can ‘hear’ it in your mind. 

 

Once you have the sound memorized you can recreate the pinyin from it as needed.

 

See here for a longer write up. 

 

 

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Dr Mack Rettosy
Quote

 

The earlier you start, the more benefit you’ll gain. 

 

 

Thanks for the feedback. Sounds like your "concentration" method requires more effort upfront but will benefit in the long run. I would also guess that this method is more compatible with comprehensible input/extensive reading techniques. For example, after encountering a new character apply 20-30s of direct concentration on the character itself using the material's context. As opposed to the Heisig method where you need to create a new story that could be completely antithetical to the context it is found. Re-reading your original 2009 post I see you've already made this point! ^^

 

I may try both the mnemonic method and "concentration" method separately, maybe alternating days or weeks with each method?

(Note to future self, look into quantifying results with Pleco's flashcard statistics)

 

Quote

Don’t memorize the pinyin, instead, memorise the whole sound

 

Funny how great ideas are both simple and intuitive, yet never obvious. This may be the single most important meta-concept I have encountered. Thank you!

 

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艾墨本
On 1/5/2021 at 8:34 PM, 艾墨本 said:

So, my modest language goals for this year are:

1) Learn 3 new words per day and spend 20 mins studying/reviewing vocabulary. I assume I'll have some days that go beyond three and hope to hit 1000 by the year's end. In the interest of developing literary Chinese I'm getting these words from the collection of essays used for the 普通话水平测试 which has the added benefit of moving me toward a long term goal of passing that test with a high score. I want to reach the same score required of native speakers to be 语文 teachers.

2) Write one essay (>1000字) each month and go through two rounds of feedback and revision. This is a new one for me and will consider it on trial while I figure out how well it works into my life. I welcome feedback if anyone has set writing goals before.

3) Read the books I have on my shelf: 《红高粱家族》、《蒋勋说宋词》、《一只独立行的猪》、《白夜行》、《雅舍小品》. The last one is a challenge but I'm hoping that after building up my literary vocabulary in the 1st goal I'll be closer to comprehensible input when I return to it. I also have 《吾国与吾民》but have been told the original English version is much better than the translated version. However, it's also a classic so I might try to read both. I won't be using vocabulary from these from my 3 words per day and will instead just take what I get from passive learning.

 

Update 1: 20 Days

 

So far I have met my daily goals 17/20 days. Only one of which was because I did a bad job and not because of other external factors.

 

I've learned 76 new words so far, all of which come from the 普通话水平测试. To collect this many words, I've worked through 10 of the essays so far. Altogether I have 60 essays to work through and love the idea that I'll finish the vocabulary in these before the end of the year.

 

I'm currently on page 55 of 《蒋勋说宋词》. I had read about 10-15 pages over 2 days from 《一只独立行的猪》before I lost interest. I just don't think I'm in the place for his essays. However, I am loving learning about 宋词. It is very historical in content, focusing on the context from which each poem arose which is a pleasant surprise. I had been wanting to work on reading history in Chinese and this is working out to be a good baby step into the genre. One line from 李后主 has stuck in my mind in particular: "别时容易见时难." That idea of it being easy to live in memories or imagined worlds and much more difficult to take the world as it is. Written as an emperor taken prisoner after his kingdom was sacked.

 

My pace is very slow. It takes about 5-10 minutes per pages just because the content is heavy and I often look up words. I read it out loud as well because that helps me check myself on whether or not I really know a word. Because I'm pushing to look up all unknown words for deeper comprehension I am moving even slower. However, at this point I'm finding the content compelling enough to do this. I guess I can always switch to quiet reading and skimming over pronunciation of the endless stream of names but so long as I have the motivation to do so I will.

 

As for essay writing. I've finished the first draft and have gotten feedback on it. Not sure this goal will be feasible for the whole year as it takes big blocks of time rather than being part of a daily routine. I really need like 60 mins of writing to get into the train of thought and then working through the essay.

 

Side note, I'm also 3 weeks out of 3 for making it to the gym three times per week.

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Tomsima

蒋勋 writes some really accessible stuff on calligraphy too, would recommend if you're interested in putting abstract ideas of Chinese art into historical context. A little bit like his books on poetry, you can easily get drawn into the literary world of Chinese and appreciate what otherwise seems incredibly terse subject matter.

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imron
On 1/19/2021 at 5:19 PM, Dr Mack Rettosy said:

I may try both the mnemonic method and "concentration" method separately, maybe alternating days or weeks with each method?

I wouldn't do it weeks apart.

 

My visualisation method is a skill that you build up slowly over time.  You'd be better off doing a little bit every day rather than going weeks without doing it.

 

On 1/19/2021 at 5:19 PM, Dr Mack Rettosy said:

Sounds like your "concentration" method requires more effort upfront but will benefit in the long run

I think so, but with a sample size of 1, it's difficult to draw conclusions.

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