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The 2021 Aims and Objectives Progress Topic


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On 12/16/2021 at 6:31 AM, phills said:

One is interest, of course, but the other is stamina. 

Could tolerance of ambiguity also play a role? My listening isn't perfect but I've seen it improve over the years without specifically trying to improve it. All I've done is watch different things from different speakers. I also have tolerated a lot of ambiguity from the start. I think that has helped me get better at listening but the one thing I have an issue with is my vocab size since I still run into new words while listening. 

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On 12/16/2021 at 4:26 AM, PerpetualChange said:

I have yet to find a mode of listening practice that is at all enjoyable for me


Active listening is quite tiring to me no matter if the audio is in German, English or Chinese. When I try to actively listen to English audiobooks, I invariably zone out after only a few minutes. So, the only way it works for me is passive listening while driving, cooking, working out, etc.


Since my Chinese is still pretty bad at this stage, passive listening means repeated listening to "old" material. I do think it has some merit. At least I feel I am still progressing.

I would not say it is "enjoyable", but since I am doing something else concurrently, at least I am not bored out of my mind. I constantly zone in and out.


Outside TCB, for active listening, I like the "Chinese Zero to Hero" feature that lets you listen to a movie or Youtube clip line by line (e.g. https://www.zerotohero.ca/en/zh/youtube/view/fqc-35_KpDU/?t=10).

Having a movie provides at least some visual stimulation.





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Stamina is definitely a huge thing that I think most people don't even realize until they are suddenly confronted with it. I've noticed that my own Chinese reading stamina has improved considerably over the past year, both for silent reading and reading out loud. It used to be that I'd feel exhausted after reading just one or two sentences of a book out loud, but the other day I read multiple paragraphs out loud before going back to silent reading. I'm curious what that will look like at the end of this year.

EDIT: sorry, I mean a year from now

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2021 progress summary for me:


1. I can now read and write some pretty good Pitman shorthand. After resting for a few months my RSI has mostly gone away, which is great news. Lesson learned - write with a light grip and with light pressure on the page. It stands to reason my Chinese handwriting has also improved from this lesson.


2. I finally got my Cantonese routine going, and look forward to gradual progress in this next year. I've heard a lot more Canto being spoken on the streets here in the UK in recent months, but I would guess thats probably more a result of my brain being tuned in to listening for it than anything else. Either way, it feels like a fun new way to enjoy Chinese while we continue our wait to return to China. 


3. Learned a lot of words this year by writing lists (a result of my original 2021 aim to make lists of Chinese/shorthand). I have around 30 A4 pages of new words and am loving my literary comprehension getting ever stronger. I've been improving my listening through this list too, by recording all words and putting them into an anki deck, which then randomises the words and I can review away from the screen just by listening.

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On 12/22/2021 at 4:27 PM, Tomsima said:

some pretty good Pitman shorthand

The intersections between pinyin/phonetics/characters/'cursive' characters/western shorthand must be so fun! I was supposed to at least try learning shorthand years ago but ran out of steam way too early. Maybe I should reopen the Teeline textbook I optimistically bought a couple of years back (before my editor persuaded me speech-to-text apps were making it redundant).


On 12/22/2021 at 4:27 PM, Tomsima said:

heard a lot more Canto being spoken on the streets here in the UK in recent months

Cantonese friend told me the same

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On 12/23/2021 at 9:16 AM, realmayo said:

Maybe I should reopen the Teeline textbook I optimistically bought a couple of years back (before my editor persuaded me speech-to-text apps were making it redundant).


It really is great fun, its kind of turned into a hobby like learning a musical instrument, I use it more for pleasure rather than as a tool for work (although it obviously does still come in useful very often). With this in mind, if you are interested I would strongly recommend a 'full' system (like Pitman or Gregg) over the later simplified systems (like Teeline), as they are ingeniously designed and certainly helped me think about phonetics in a new and beneficial way. This year has also made me reflect a lot about how and why Chinese 'shorthand' (as in 草书) works so well, how it reflects a totally different way in which recording language through writing was conceived, and how the phonetic/semantic problem has caused so many issues for spelling reformers around the world for millennia...

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On 12/23/2020 at 8:24 AM, PerpetualChange said:

First Quarter Goals:

  • Continue reading at least 30 minutes per day and reviewing new words 10 minutes per day. 
  • Do some kind of active listening for 15-30 minutes a day


2nd Quarter Goals:

  • Same as the above, but I would like to start practicing with a language partner again, maybe just a few times per week.


3rd/4th quarter stretch goals: 

  • Find a tutor to help with my writing. 



First Quarter Results: 

  • More or less maintained reading 30 minutes per day, aside from a couple month-long breaks. Kept up with an RS generally while I was reading. 
  • Didn't get to the listening - probably kept this up early but fell off as time simply got away from me most days. 


2nd Quarter Results

  • Did not accomplish, though I attended a few language exchanges in Philly (about 3-4), and I've been very casually chatting with people on tandem. 


3rd Quarter Results

  • I did start meeting with a tutor weekly, but stopped again a few months ago. Just didn't feel like I was getting much out of it. I'd gone back to my old tutor from before I stopped, and honestly feel that was a mistake. She's a nice person and a good tutor, but sometimes you need to see what someone else has to offer. I may look at this again in 2022. 




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On 12/30/2020 at 3:03 PM, Singe said:


1) Engage with a tutor online. I've had a couple of good suggestions on who to start with and so will initiate this in the next couple of weeks. Just making that initial step is a real block as I know my listening skills are poor compared to my reading and writing. I like the idea put forward by a recent new poster of an online group but, as is often the case living in New Zealand, when everyone else is awake, we tend to be asleep, so the times don't always work out.


2) Keep practising characters. I've recently gone right back to where it all started from for me. I started with the set of books YCSM (You Can Speak Mandarin) by Philip Yungkin Lee. Whilst I don't think they were particularly great, they obviously have sentimental value as it just seems easy to pick up the books and practise the characters every now and then. Plan to have a goal of 'x' amount of characters by the end of 2021 - I just need to set the level of 'x' to make it achievable and therefore more likely to be managed. Got plenty of reading material to help along the way that I've picked up in dribs and drabs over the years.


3) Try at least one Chairmans Bao per day. Life does get busy so I'm not going to beat myself up on this one and perhaps make the rule 5x/week. Only just recently started using the Chairmans Bao and it really works for me. Good way to launch into the listening too. Hovering around the HSK level 3/4 and still making mistakes on 3 so will carry on between these levels for now.


4) Take an interest paper in Chinese Diaspora. On offer through Massey University here in NZ in Semester 2 in 2021 from June onwards. Although this is in English and perhaps isn't as relative to this thread as other stuff, I've had a look at the paper on offer and it looks fascinating.


5) Plan for 2022. At the stage in life were there are no kids at home any more and plan to sell my business to free up time to spend some decent amount of time in China at some stage in 2022. COVID allowing, of course. The more effort I put in during 2021 will mean hitting the ground running when China travel does eventuate.


and of course....


6) Keep logging into this site on a daily basis. So inspirational.


Well, time for reflection. Had a great start to the year and managed numbers 1), 2), 3 and 6), though this has petered out badly as the year progressed due to being insanely busy at work. DIdn't do 4), though I still really fancy trying it - it's offered every year. I just knew I wouldn't have the time to do it justice. As for number 5) - who knows. Number 6) - definitely. Great site.


Right, time to look for the 2022 thread.

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