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Focusing Exclusively on Reading


ablindwatchmaker
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On 10/27/2021 at 8:59 AM, realmayo said:

And if instead this rare word uses a character you've not seen before, it's still likely to be a character worth knowing at some point in your studies. Knowing how to write hand grenade can come in handy at the fruit market.


I love that you used that example, and that I immediately knew you were referring to a pomegranate or durian fruit 😂

 

This is exactly my way of thinking when it comes to characters. I put every single one I find into a deck, and I also have a character frequency deck that I try to go through. In my opinion, it has been useful, but I think it’s a lot less useful in the early stages of learning.

 

Lately, the reading has been exhausting and I’ve failed to stay on top of my reviews, but I’m going to try catching up tomorrow and start anew. Today’s session was absolutely brutal…60 pages of info dumps with only a smattering of dialogue.
 

@alantin 

 

A lot of people dislike that narrator, but I’m pretty used to him at this point lol. He goes completely insane if there is an action sequence, and when he voices female characters he sounds so weird 😂🤦‍♂️ 

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On 10/26/2021 at 6:33 PM, realmayo said:

Of course this guy Nation could be wrong on everything! It feels strange to take some random person's words as gospel.

 

It's the first time I heard of Paul Nation.  I googled him and found a paper of his:

 

https://www.wgtn.ac.nz/lals/resources/paul-nations-resources/paul-nations-publications/publications/documents/foreign-language_1125.pdf

 

I like a lot of what he says, but I think he's vastly under-rated the difficulty of increasing speed.  Everything I've read and experienced suggests that it's hard to raise your speed.  It takes a lot of reading; and most L2 learners start slower than most experts think.

 

But at least he has the right of order of magnitude for reading volume (3m words).  However, he bases his time estimate using 150 words per minute, as a "moderate" reading speed; when I think most L2 readers won't get to that speed until they're done with his 3m word course.  (I'm not at that speed yet, 225 cpm, and I've read >4m chinese characters; I've seen studies that Japanese college students don't read at that speed in English).

 

paulnation.thumb.png.b91a480803108b2d1a91672ffb54df99.png

 

I might try one of his suggestions as an experiment, reading the same thing 3 times (activity 6.3).  I've always avoided doing that, as I'd rather read new stuff and learn some new language patterns, but he seems to think that you can get 50%->100% increases in speed using rather simple exercises like these.  Anyone try this before?

 

I think @Woodford might have done this, not for speed, but for understanding?

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On 10/28/2021 at 10:23 AM, phills said:

Anyone try this before?

This is kind of a standard or fairly traditional way to learn languages I think. Get a text that a teacher thinks is suitable but slightly hard, then listen to it, read it, look up words/grammar, then listen-while-reading, listen-while-reading, again and again, so you're ready to then discuss it in serious detail in class (perhaps relying on memory and leaving the text at home). Finally perhaps write a 文章 on the topic or using the new vocab/grammar. That's the gist of how ICLP in Taiwan teaches Chinese. Sure, to isolate speed-reading improvement, Nation wants you to use an easy text. But any text, once you've intensively studied it successfully, becomes an easy text, and repeated re-reading to memorise its contents and/or internalise its language patterns should I think basically accomplish that speed-reading exercise.

 

On 10/28/2021 at 10:23 AM, phills said:

However, he bases his time estimate using 150 words per minute

It doesn't seem to be mentioned in that part of the text, but is he assuming that students are reading graded readers calibrated to their level? He generally talks about how lucky learners of English as a second language are, because they have so many graded readers to choose from, at all levels.

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On 10/28/2021 at 8:26 PM, realmayo said:

This is kind of a standard or fairly traditional way to learn languages I think. Get a text that a teacher thinks is suitable but slightly hard, then listen to it, read it, look up words/grammar, then listen-while-reading, listen-while-reading, again and again, so you're ready to then discuss it in serious detail in class (perhaps relying on memory and leaving the text at home).

 

Ya, reading multiple times for understanding makes sense.  I do it too.  Doing it multiple times just for speed improvement is not as clear to me. 

 

My initial reaction is, your speed (on that piece) would improve each time, but would that speed increase transfer to a different type of text?  I'm already finding that my speed varies quite a bit between different types of text, based on how "easy" or "familiar" it is to me. 

 

Before I saw his advice, I would have thought that reading more different types would be better for speeding up, because you'd become more familiar with more types of text.  But he makes it sound so easy, I want to try his way to see if there's any easy gains I'm missing out on!

 

On 10/28/2021 at 8:26 PM, realmayo said:

It doesn't seem to be mentioned in that part of the text, but is he assuming that students are reading graded readers calibrated to their level?

 

Perhaps he is talking about graded readers.  I've never really spent much time on them, as I focused on flashcarding / drilling to get to native adult materials.  I read some just to make sure my flashcarding was working, but I never spent many hours reading before I got a bunch of characterized memorized.  I preferred reading movie / tv show subtitles (& just ignoring stuff that's too hard). 

 

Maybe reading using graded readers while leveling up your character knowledge would have been an easier / better way. 

 

Part of the fun of seeing these types of guides is to pick up new tips.  For example, he has an interesting observation that I didn't follow but in hindsight I wish I did:

 

Quote

Avoid learning near synonyms, opposites or members of a lexical set together. Lexical sets are groups like the months of the year, the names of fruit, colours, parts of the body and articles of clothing. If you learn the words in such pairs or groups at the same time, the words in them get mixed up with each other making them harder to learn.

 

When I first bootstraped characters / vocab, I flashcarded some common lexical sets, and I do get the words mixed up more often than I'd like.  Now I wonder if I would mix them up less if I didn't start that way.

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On 10/28/2021 at 4:23 AM, phills said:

I think @Woodford might have done this, not for speed, but for understanding?

 

Yeah, I did make a similar table! I predicted that to be a reader who could stand on my own two feet with a solid level of comprehension (to understand things right down to the smallest details and not skim over the surface and/or guess things), I would need to read a total of 20-25 books. Then to be a "mature" reader (i.e., to get to such a level that I really don't have much more room for short-term improvement), I would need to read 40-50 books (20-25 additional books). Somebody else in these forums, working toward a good reading speed goal, reckoned that about 50 books would be required. So that's interesting!

 

I haven't participated in this particular discussion thread up until now, but it does seem to resonate with me, because I have essentially been focusing on reading for the past 4+ years, with a very moderate amount of listening on the side. In the Fall of 2017, I started reading every kind of graded reader (Mandarin Companion, Sinolingua, Chinese Breeze, Chinese Bridge, etc.), pounding through around 35-40 readers that ranged from the 300 to 2500 word level. I would read them, re-read them, re-read them, and....re-read them again. :) After one year (Fall 2018), I started reading native content online, but was frustrated by the fact that I kept having to look up so many words, and they were often the same words, over and over. I was failing to retain my vocabulary. So I went back and finished learning the 5000 HSK words, from February 2019 to January 2020, using the newly-discovered SRS method I hadn't known about before. By Fall 2019, when the 5000 HSK words were starting to solidify in my memory, I started reading native content again (this time in the form of books), and things were getting smoother. I'm finishing up my 15th book now, and I can definitely feel my confidence building.

 

I definitely agree with the sentiment of "practice what you want to learn." So if I want to learn listening comprehension, the best thing to do is to listen. However, I would say that my reading has definitely helped my listening. I often hear something that I've only encountered in books beforehand, and I think, "Oh, yes! I know what that person just said, because I learned it from my reading practice!" I can really feel the synergy between my reading practice and my listening practice. All along, I've enjoyed things like the "Learning Chinese through Stories" podcast, the "iMandarinPod" podcast, native-level podcasts like Steve说 and SBS Mandarin News, and tons of different Youtube Channels. I just hit the treasure trove by searching ”2020年最受欢迎的播客“ via Google, so I have a fun lineup of podcasts for my workdays. I'm still really rough in my skills, but when I can understand a phrase here, a sentence here, or a paragraph there, I call it a win. It's getting better.

 

My plan has been to go from reading to listening, then from listening to speaking. I figured that when I start speaking with a tutor, I'll at least understand what the tutor is saying to me!

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On 10/28/2021 at 1:40 PM, phills said:

When I first bootstraped characters / vocab, I flashcarded some common lexical sets, and I do get the words mixed up more often than I'd like. 

 

Me too! I also regretted it...

 

On 10/28/2021 at 1:40 PM, phills said:

My initial reaction is, your speed (on that piece) would improve each time, but would that speed increase transfer to a different type of text?  I'm already finding that my speed varies quite a bit between different types of text, based on how "easy" or "familiar" it is to me. 

 

As I understand what he says, as we read, our eyes fixate on almost every word before moving onto the next one, and one way to increase reading speed is to speed up that process. So you're isolating the skill of fixate->move->fixate to train it. An olympic sprinter wants to win sprints, not weight lifting competitions, but she'll still lift weights as part of her training regime, I imagine.

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@phills

@realmayo

 

Crap, I’ve been combining similar characters and opposites into the same cards… Well, since I’ve taken a break from flashcards, I guess I don’t need to worry about it 😂

 

As for reading speed, I’m not going to mess with what I’m doing until vocabulary is no longer a problem, and I’ll be extremely pleased if I get results anywhere near phills. I just don’t see any need to practice speed in isolation at this point in time, as I already reread sentences every time I encounter new words, and sometime just because I feel like it. As it stands, I am already getting faster and broke 100cpm this morning with three different books: 许三观卖血记,死神永生, and Potter 2. I have fallen slightly below my goal of 35k per day, but not by much, and I’ve managed to get a decent amount of listening done (圆桌派),so I’m pretty pleased. 

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On 10/28/2021 at 12:20 PM, Woodford said:

My plan has been to go from reading to listening, then from listening to speaking. I figured that when I start speaking with a tutor, I'll at least understand what the tutor is saying to me!


This is pretty much how I am approaching it. I’m not avoiding listening by any means, and I was making very good progress in that department just recently, but the constant vocabulary is a real hurdle when you are trying to train your ears. For me, the last straw was realizing that characters in slice-of-life shows constantly use idioms and vocab I don’t know, and pausing to look up new words when I’m trying to listen is just terribly inefficient. Not to mention, these are just basic television shows, nothing that remarkable. I want to acquire a massive vocabulary before I go back to TV. To this end, I’ve now acquired about 100 novels and non-fiction books from as many genres as I could include. I’ve got books on biology, psychology, physics, politics, history, romance novels, fantasy, science fiction, literature, wuxia, etc. My goal is to get through about half that amount before I start back with listening, and by that point I’m hoping my reading speed will be good enough that I can continue getting plenty of input through reading without it taking a large percentage, or all, of my study time. 
 

One day, maybe we will both be able to listen AND speak to other people 😂 

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On 10/30/2021 at 6:06 PM, ablindwatchmaker said:

I want to acquire a massive vocabulary before I go back to TV.

 

Yeah, I don't blame you for that. I've found listening practice to be torture. I'm at a place where the intermediate stuff is too easy, but the native-level stuff is a bit beyond my reach (unless I have subtitles). And unfortunately, that threshold between "too easy" and "too hard" is razor thin when you're practicing listening comprehension--it's far less of a big deal when I'm reading. 

I'm still confident that I'll have decent listening skills one day, even if my growth is as slow as a tree. It's just going to be month after month, year after year. And like you, I think reading novels will serve as a good foundation for that, burning certain words/phrases/speech patterns into my head.

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If you've outgrown listening comprehension textbooks then your listening ability should be decent enough for native material, particularly if you recognise that -- as we've found with novels -- the more you get used to both the speakers and the format the easier it gets (so, I previously binge-watched on the 锵锵三人行 chatshows).

But if, like me, you don't get 100% on the tests in listening comprehension textbooks, then that suggests to me that they remain a great option for steady, incremental practice. Good ones are designed to force you to listen attentively and they drill nuance and tone of voice as well as colloquial expressions, and assuming you can buy the Teacher's book as well as the Student book, you should get the invaluable transcript along with the answer key. However I also feel they're quite humbling.

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On 10/29/2021 at 7:29 PM, ablindwatchmaker said:

As it stands, I am already getting faster and broke 100cpm this morning with three different books:

 

On 10/19/2021 at 10:15 AM, ablindwatchmaker said:

As it stands, I am already getting faster and broke 100cpm this morning with three different books:


Whoa! You've picked up speed really quickly! 😮

 

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On 10/30/2021 at 9:42 PM, Woodford said:

And unfortunately, that threshold between "too easy" and "too hard" is razor thin when you're practicing listening comprehension--it's far less of a big deal when I'm reading. 


I’d suggest audiobooks, with the actual book.
 

I have the same issue. On any given day, there is no telling what I’ll be able to understand, even with the same show. For instance, there are episodes of 锵锵三人行 that I’ve watched all the way through and managed to follow along with most of it, but then another episode will come on and I’m totally lost. There are youtubers I can understand quite well, and some that are nearly incomprehensible. I’ve tried getting into tv shows, like dramas, but they are way too hard, aside from the easiest shows. I’ve tried 以家人之名 , and I miss so much it’s barely worth watching. I used to think my parsing ability wasn’t up to speed, but when I looked closely at words, I often found that they were completely new to me or that they were being used in different ways, not to mention all of the rare idioms. I have a deck of the 8,000 most common idioms, and on MANY occasions I find idioms on these shows that aren’t even in that deck. For all of these reasons, I am just going to put it on the back burner until my vocabulary is no longer in question. 
 

@realmayo

 

I made massive progress with Defrancis back when I was a beginner and lower intermediate. To this day, I have not seen anything remotely as good as that series. 
 

@alantin

 

It fell back down to the 60’s yesterday 😂 I had only managed to get 5 hours of sleep, so my immersion was pretty brutal. Struggled through 三体3 and  Potter 2, but 许三观卖血记 was still easy. I think it might be the easiest Chinese I’ve ever read lol.

Oh, I’m about to start The main 6 books of Dune when I finish 三体 😁 I discovered the whole series on ximalaya, for free, so I want to plow through the series and get some passive listening in, at least, before it gets monetized. 

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On 10/31/2021 at 12:23 PM, ablindwatchmaker said:

To this day, I have not seen anything remotely as good as that series. 

I've never used Defrancis but to be honest it's not so much a question of following any particular series, but that you've got more or less challenging audio plus transcript at your fingertips. With textbook audio I figure every sentence is worth understanding, and so will loop back where necessary. But with TV it's harder to be sure how worthwhile it is spending extra willpower in search of 100% comprehension.

 

So when it comes to audio that's either too easy or too difficult (and those are often the only choices), I always used to choose too difficult. But now I use both. Easy audio allows you to reinforce existing knowledge, increasing speed/fluency/ease etc, while the difficult audio pushes you into new territory. As I understand it, Guru (!) Nation strongly advises using easy materials to train fluency (so for reading it would be 98% comprehension for extensive reading, but 100% comprehension for improving fluency/reading speed).

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On 10/31/2021 at 9:07 AM, realmayo said:

I've never used Defrancis but to be honest it's not so much a question of following any particular series, but that you've got more or less challenging audio plus transcript at your fingertips


For sure, as long as the basic principle holds, you are in good shape, I just find Defrancis to be so much better than anything else I’ve seen that I always feel the need to mention it to those who need a bridge from textbooks to native material. In this case, I think @Woodford should just keep at it with native material considering his level, but I plug Defrancis whenever I can lol.


 

 

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On 11/9/2021 at 4:16 AM, imron said:

After reading your posts in this thread, I think your biggest problem is trying to read/listen/consume material that is too far above your current level.   It's fine to do this if you want, but it will slow you down in terms of achieving your goals.


First off, thank you for all of the tips! 
 

I’m definitely going to avoid hard material for a while, as you suggest. It’s been nice reading 余华 and not running into sentences that challenge my working memory constantly. Looking through these threads, I’ve been thinking about books by 巴金 or 平凡的世界. 
 

On 11/9/2021 at 4:16 AM, imron said:

Which to me indicates you are regularly looking up words to check, and relying on Pleco for pronunciation and meaning of words that you already "know", and that misleads you in to thinking you have such high comprehension.  I put "know" in quotes because confidence in knowing a word is just as important as knowing the meaning and the pronunciation (see here for an expansion on this idea), and if you are clicking on a word you don't know it


It’s not too often, I’d say 3-6 words per page if I had to guess, though it is a lot more than I’d like. I’ll probably test myself soon and get some averages to see where I am. 
I will definitely check out that post! 
 


 

On 11/9/2021 at 4:16 AM, imron said:

This gets to what Insectosaurus was talking about with physical books being so useful, and I agree on that.  It forces you to confront how well you actually know the words in the text and it can't be masked by popup dictionaries because looking up a word requires more conscious effort.  I also agree with Insectosaurus that Pleco is still super useful even with physical books and I use it all the time too (here is my setup if you're interested


I’ll definitely check out this link as well. I’m trying to avoid being online too much as it interferes it my reading, but I’ll look at these links tonight. 
My first two books were physical, but I am glad I switched to Pleco. It’s simply too efficient to ignore, though eventually I’ll also read physical books again. I do not miss the days of having to look up characters with the OCR and words where I know the meaning but am missing a tone. Maybe having pleco open to assist would be a good compromise? Maybe that is what your setup is….lol

 

On 11/9/2021 at 4:16 AM, imron said:

And you're not spending time on them because there are too many new words and it's mentally draining to review them all.

 

And you have too many new words because the reading material you are choosing is too far above your current level.


At this point, I am reading so much in one day that even if I doubled my vocabulary I would still be running into a ton of words. For reference, I read 113 pages yesterday. Even if I only had new words every other page, it would be too much to put in a flashcard deck. I’ve decided to only add new characters as flashcards, which has made it much more manageable, though I still struggle to make myself do it. 

 

On 11/9/2021 at 4:16 AM, imron said:

Active listening will always cause a lot of mental fatigue until you have spent enough time training it that your brain is no longer fatigued by it.  Improving your vocab will help somewhat, but at 12,000 words, probably not as much as you hope.  Once again a better strategy is to choose more suitable material.


And it’s even worse when you are finding new words at a fairly high frequency, spoken at native speed, mumbled, without an easy way to look them up, and using unfamiliar sentence patterns. It’s not unusual at all for me to put on a tv show, know every word, and have no idea what is being said, even when reading it.This tells me that my core comprehension skills are lacking and that I need a better grasp of grammar, which I can get from books. When I was using television shows to practice listening, characters were regularly using rare idioms, unknown characters, and patterns of speech I’d never seen before (I compared them to some frequency lists and they weren’t even on there!). Getting better at parsing is not going to help me beyond a certain point. I need more words, and I need a LOT of them. The 98% figure Nation keeps talking about only applies to reading, and even then it is a bare minimum, not ideal. When engaging with audio I find that I need to know nearly every word, inside and out, to have a chance of understanding it. 

 

On 11/9/2021 at 4:16 AM, imron said:

The downside is sentence structure and vocabulary that is not found so much in regular Chinese.  I like reading translated works, but I'd also recommend native material over translated material for your first dozen or so books.  The translated books will still be there waiting once your Chinese level has improved


I have changed my queue accordingly 😁

 

Thanks for all of the tips, and I’ll definitely take a look at some of those links you mentioned. 

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On 11/10/2021 at 6:21 PM, ablindwatchmaker said:

I do not miss the days of having to look up characters with the OCR and words where I know the meaning but am missing a tone. Maybe having pleco open to assist would be a good compromise? Maybe that is what your setup is….lol

I've never used Pleco OCR.  I just use the handwriting recognition or pinyin lookup.  If the number of new words is so much that manually looking them up in Pleco is annoying, then that's usually an indicator that the text is too difficult and I need to find something more suitable.

 

On 11/10/2021 at 6:21 PM, ablindwatchmaker said:

I’ve decided to only add new characters as flashcards, which has made it much more manageable, though I still struggle to make myself do it. 

I would strongly recommend against adding single characters.  You'll get too many homophone conflicts if you test production, that is, if you have pinyin on the front of the card and you want to remember the character, you'll run in to many cards that have the same pronunciation e.g. you see shì on the front, and won't know if it was the card 事、世、视 or 示.  Where possible you'll be better off choosing a representative multi-character word that captures the meaning e.g. 事情,世界,视觉,表示 etc.

 

The other important thing is what I mentioned in that link - curate your flashcards!  You don't need to add every new word as a flashcard.

 

Have a quota with a minimum and maximum amount of new words to add per day.  Once you've reached the maximum, simply stop adding the words as flashcards.  You can still look them up, just don't add them to the flashcard queue.

 

Don't worry about missing out on anything useful or important because by definition if the word is useful or important it will appear again on another day and you can add it then.  If it doesn't appear then it isn't useful to you yet, and there are plenty of other words that are useful to you that you can be focusing on instead.

 

On 11/10/2021 at 6:21 PM, ablindwatchmaker said:

And it’s even worse when you are finding new words at a fairly high frequency, spoken at native speed, mumbled, without an easy way to look them up, and using unfamiliar sentence patterns.

This all comes down to choosing appropriate material.  There is plenty of material online, and even things like Peppa Pig can still be fun to watch in Mandarin while being much easier to digest than content aimed at adults.  If you have netflix, there are plenty of children's cartoons on there that have Mandarin dubs and that can be good to watch also.

 

On 11/10/2021 at 6:21 PM, ablindwatchmaker said:

It’s not unusual at all for me to put on a tv show, know every word, and have no idea what is being said, even when reading it.This tells me that my core comprehension skills are lacking and that I need a better grasp of grammar, which I can get from books.

Right, and this gets to the heart of what I'm saying - if you know every word then vocabulary isn't the problem, it's how to understand it when it's all put together.  You can improve this with books, but you should be choosing books that aren't adding too much to your existing vocabulary so you can focus on how the sentences are put together.  As I mentioned above, doing something like what Jan Finster did with TCB is also a good way to go through and consolidate your existing vocab, and if you have a month to go all out, would be a really good option.

 

On 11/10/2021 at 6:21 PM, ablindwatchmaker said:

I compared them to some frequency lists and they weren’t even on there!

Frequency lists are biased towards their source material.  Most are taken from texts - some frequency lists will focus on newspaper texts, some will focus on imaginary texts and some will combine both, and the list will reflect the frequency that these words appear in the source material.  Rarely do you get frequency lists based on spoken language (SUBTLEX-CH being the one exception that comes to mind).  Presence or absence on a frequency lists is therefore not as relevant as the frequency with which it appears in the material you are consuming.

 

On 11/10/2021 at 6:21 PM, ablindwatchmaker said:

I need more words, and I need a LOT of them.

Having a large vocabulary is good, but if your existing vocab is already over 12,000 words then it doesn't matter how many new words you learn, bulking up your vocabulary will only result in a minuscule improvement in understanding.  If you have a solid month to focus on Chinese, vocabulary acquisition won't give you as much value as consolidating the vocab you already know.

 

On 11/10/2021 at 6:21 PM, ablindwatchmaker said:

When engaging with audio I find that I need to know nearly every word, inside and out, to have a chance of understanding it.

Yep, and it will be like that for a long time, which again underscores the importance of choosing suitable material.

 

 

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On 11/10/2021 at 11:46 PM, imron said:

if you know every word then vocabulary isn't the problem, it's how to understand it when it's all put together

 

There was one line from Paul Nation in particular which made me sit up and think: that you can't become fluent in a language skill if you use difficult material to train it. You've got to use easy material to develop fluency.

 

So it seems that reading difficult or moderately difficult novels will help people to increase their vocabulary size, but won't really make them a more skilled reader.

 

Years ago I read someone on the forumosa forums saying that once you've got a to a certain point in your Chinese, the only thing left is to sit down and read and read and read. I did that about five years ago, read about a dozen novels one after the other, and felt very disappointed and demotivated. Clearly I hadn't yet got to that 'certain point in my Chinese' when that kind of reading was beneficial - and in fact I then gave up studying for several years.

 

The biggest jump in my reading ability had come when I got back home after two months at ICLP in Taiwan: intensive reading of and listening to a small number of texts (from textbooks), then discussing the texts in class from memory. Brutal and tiring and repetitive, and at the time I was a little sceptical. But then I picked up a novel and reading had magically become a whole level easier, was a slighly eerie feeling. (Same thing happened with listening to the radio, not surprisingly.)

 

@imron I struggle with your 'train what you want to learn' only because I think a lot of people interpret it as 'do what you want to be good at', i.e. if you want to be good at reading novels, then read novels. No one's goal is to be great at looping and looping audio until comprehension, or near-memorising a set text from a textbook, or making up five sentences that use a recently learned grammar pattern. But those can be hugely helpful overall. Part of a runner's training involves lifting weights....

 

Back to this idea of focussing so heavily on reading novels. The poster on that Taiwan forum I mentioned clearly already had very good Chinese. The poster on these forums who read loads, @pinion, already spoke Chinese as a heritage speaker, I believe. @phills is quite upfront that he/she is often skipping over trickier bits in order to read faster (thereby turning difficult texts into easier ones). @Woodford previously re-read novels three or four (?) times, which again, turns difficult texts into easier ones. So I agree with the advice to @ablindwatchmaker to focus on easier novels for now, for me anyway it's been more efficient and less discouraging that way!

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I’m in the cell phone so sorry for not quoting but @realmayo, I spent some time browsing studies a few weekends ago and on your point of intensive listening: it seems that it works, but is time poorly at spent. Students who listened extensively had more improved comprehension. This was extensive focused listening, not just having something turned on in the background. I think the study was for Korean. The authors pointed out that very little research has still been done on intensive listening, while extensive and intensive reading was better explored.

 

I don’t know what’s correct, just throwing it out there. 

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