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Getting yourself to use certain words


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suMMit

There are a lot of words(and grammar to some extent) that I know very well but simply don't use when I speak. Off the top of my head : 麻烦你。。。, 发现,里头。These are just a few examples, there are lots. Maybe I always use 里面 or 请。。。even though I know alternatives. How can you get/remind yourself to actively use things you learn that, hear, but rarely say yourself? 

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thelearninglearner

I like that i do this, what i do is before i go into a place i just think - "I am about to order food. how do i sound good doing it" and think think over the phrases I know. In that way you can pick out the ones you want to use. if you do that a few times, you will start to use those.

 

I don't always do it, but I try to if i go to a new place or am bored waiting in line.

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889

There's a tendency to adopt the speech patterns of your Chinese friends and teachers. If they don't use 里头 you won't use it either. Point is, you need a variety of friends of different ages, backgrounds and regions if you want to broaden your everyday vocabulary.

 

(I also vaguely recall being told that 里头 is a slightly feminine usage.)

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Mandarincave

I am not particularly good at actively using things I learn.  Guess this may be advancement to the next level of communication. 

 

You may practise to think beforehand or at your spare time how you would say things alternatively in your everyday life.

 

Taking 麻烦你 as an example, you may say,

 

麻烦你把黑椒传给我 !

May you pass me the black pepper?

 

请把黑椒传给我 。

Please pass me the black pepper.

 

When time passes, guess you will be much natural as when you are speaking in your first language.

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roddy

I'd say the 头、面 thing is going to be consistent for each speaker, I'm not sure you want to be swopping between them. No idea about 里头 being feminine, sounds wrong to me. 

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mackie1402
6 hours ago, thelearninglearner said:

I don't like that i do this, but what i do is before i go into a place i just think - "I am about to order food. how do i sound good doing it" and think think over the phrases I know. In that way you can pick out the ones you want to use. if you do that a few times, you will start to use those.

 

I don't always do it, but I try to if i go to a new place or am bored waiting in line.

 

I do the exact same thing! I even do a lot of 'what if..?'

 

One time I asked the Mrs "How do you say shave the back in Chinese?"
She was like "Oh, you're going to get your haircut?"

"Um, no? But just thinking about how I would say that if I wanted to get my haircut one day." 😄

 

I think it really depends on who you spend more time with when it comes to using certain language. Also, consume more native content. The more you hear it in a real life situation, the more likely you'll try using it yourself. For example, I can complain in Chinese like a professional now, thanks to spending all these years with the wife! 🙃

 

I've also noticed it among Chinese people, too. I've moved to an area with a tonne of people from 北方 these last few months, and I've noticed some of the people around me are starting to use more and more phrases which I've heard 北方人 use more often. 

 

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thelearninglearner
4 hours ago, mackie1402 said:

For example, I can complain in Chinese like a professional now, thanks to spending all these years with the wife! 🙃

Wow, it's like we're the same person

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alantin
On 2/22/2021 at 5:14 PM, thelearninglearner said:
On 2/22/2021 at 12:55 PM, mackie1402 said:

For example, I can complain in Chinese like a professional now, thanks to spending all these years with the wife! 🙃

Wow, it's like we're the same person

 

My Japanese wife says I sound most like a native when I complain in Japanese....

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  • 2 weeks later...
骏马的丕沿🤯

What you're referring to are passive vocabulary and active vocabulary. The large gap between one's passive and active vocabulary counts can be remedied in a variety of ways. Be aware, though, that, no matter who we are referring to, one's passive vocabulary count in any given language, native or not, will always be higher than that of the active vocabulary.

 

Daily book-reading and written composition are the "squats" among written Chinese ability exercises. So I suggest you start with that.

 

A word of caution: don't try "too hard," and by this, I mean: don't try too hard to use new vocabulary. In Chinese, this is called, "牵强." If you try to use a word that recently just learned in a new context, then chances are that you will use that word incorrectly. I used to do that, until I got to the point of, "OK, I have now developed a certain sense of confidence for this word, and, from experience, I know with 100% certainty that the way I am about to employ this word is natural. For that other word over there, though, I am aware that I might use it wrong, so I'm going to stray from using that one." So this requires a certain level of self-awareness. I hope you get my gist. Actually, I myself am still working on this area of self-awareness, and I still have a long way to go... it's honestly a tricky arena to traverse.

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