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The 2022 Aims and Objectives Progress Topic


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On 1/9/2022 at 4:57 PM, Dr Mack Rettosy said:

I now know that one doesn't simply "memorize" characters. Rather, at least for me, characters become "more familiar" with more usage.

I think this is spot on. It tracks with my experience exactly.

 

I am curious -- what would you estimate your vocabulary to be at? What have you been reading, if not novels?

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On 1/9/2022 at 4:57 PM, Dr Mack Rettosy said:

I think for 2022 I'd be happy to get to my first novel, probably 活着.

I noticed over on your journal you're keeping a reading list, but it's quite short so far. Why don't you have a look at my reading list here and see if there's anything you'd like to add to your own? Native literature is marked in bold. The list includes mainly science fiction, fantasy, and dystopian fiction.

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I am curious -- what would you estimate your vocabulary to be at? What have you been reading, if not novels?

 

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I noticed over on your journal you're keeping a reading list, but it's quite short so far. Why don't you have a look at my reading list here and see if there's anything you'd like to add to your own? Native literature is marked in bold. The list includes mainly science fiction, fantasy, and dystopian fiction.

 

I haven't thought about vocab in a long time. Maybe 5000-10000 words? I really don't know.

 

Everything I've already read is listed here. I'm still in early days and so far it's mostly graded readers with a handful of children and young adult books. I personally wouldn't consider these novels, but that's semantic.

 

I think you may have confused the above list with my to read list? There are about two hundred books here that should keep me busy for a long time. It's big enough that I can be picky and strike a balance between translated and native works.

 

I've been following your posts on reddit, and even though your approach is very different than mine, I really enjoy following your progress. If I remember correctly, you've read a lot of translated works right? Have you started into native works yet? I'm finding them (not surprisingly) a lot harder to read and will be shifting to more of a 50-50 approach, one translated work then one native work, etc.

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@Dr Mack RettosyI did start one native book, actually without studying any vocabulary at all -- 1988:我想和这个世界聊天, but I put it down after getting about a third of the way through the book. I felt it was sloppily written, and deathly boring. Oh my god it was so boring. I tried really, really hard to care about the characters but I just couldn't.

 

I have not started on native literature yet. Mostly because reading stuff I love is what motivates me, and my study routine makes picking up any book a significant commitment. So I'm kind of waiting until my vocabulary is larger and picking up new books becomes less of a time commitment before I start going after stuff I'm not certain I'll like. Right now it generally takes me a month to get through each book. I'd like to bring that down to maybe two weeks before striking out and really striking out into uncharted territory. Most likely the first native lit I read will be 猫城记,三体,流浪地球,or 英雄无泪. I definitely want to get to at least two of those this year.

 

I have found it difficult to find native literature to add to my reading list!豆瓣's book section doesn't let you search by keyword, only by author or title, so I can't really use it to effectively "browse" like I could at a bookstore. I wish there was a version of goodreads.com in the Chinese internet.

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On 1/9/2022 at 10:29 PM, Dr Mack Rettosy said:

Everything I've already read is listed here. I'm still in early days and so far it's mostly graded readers with a handful of children and young adult books. I personally wouldn't consider these novels, but that's semantic.

 

I think you may have confused the above list with my to read list? There are about two hundred books here that should keep me busy for a long time. It's big enough that I can be picky and strike a balance between translated and native works.

 

May I ask, why you (as an adult) mostly read books for childrens and adolscents? And, if I am not mistaken, listen to Peppa Pig? I tried the "Little Fox" (https://chinese.littlefox.com/en/board/view?id=news&seq=1079&page=) for about 5 minutes and then could not stand it any longer.

If it is the lack of easy content for adults, you might want to give TheChairMansBao are try (!?)

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May I ask, why you (as an adult) mostly read books for childrens and adolscents? And, if I am not mistaken, listen to Peppa Pig? I tried the "Little Fox" (https://chinese.littlefox.com/en/board/view?id=news&seq=1079&page=) for about 5 minutes and then could not stand it any longer.

If it is the lack of easy content for adults, you might want to give TheChairMansBao are try (!?)

 

I read children's and young adult books because they fall into my extensive reading comfort zone. If I wasn't spending my entire work day reading highly technical scientific literature, I might try mustering the energy to crack into something more challenging, but with my demanding career I find this sort of content a nice change of pace. And quite frankly, I'm not sure why so many give children and young adult literature grief. In my opinion, there's just as much good and bad as there is in adult literature. Take AA Milne and Roald Dahl, in my opinion, their work is both creative and deals with important childhood themes.

 

I spent months reading The Chairmans Bao. It's certainly a good resource, but the content is repetitive (50 yr old 奶奶X from village Y makes Z and sells online) and has a very clear political agenda. And for Peppa Pig, you'll get no rebuttal from me here. I could only watch a max of 20 minutes a day, but it was comprehensible and the fact that I was understanding something was motivating enough.

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On 1/10/2022 at 3:35 PM, Dr Mack Rettosy said:

The Chairmans Bao. It's certainly a good resource, but the content is repetitive (50 yr old 奶奶X from village Y makes Z and sells online) and has a very clear political agenda

 

I do not think TCB is intentionally politically pro-China, but rather they merely simplify real Chinese news and that news happens to have a political agenda. Sure, China always sets a new Guiness book record and has 世界上最大的 XYZ.... 😆  I quite like that they do not try to westernise it. Also, it lets them pass the Great Firewall.

 

Yes, it is repetitive esp. at the lower levels. However, overall I am quite amazed it covers such a vast range of topics. Today alone, I read about self-driving tractors, defusing a WW2 bomb, a Tang dynasty tomb, a finger stolen from a terra cotta army warrior, cleaning ice from a cliff tourist trail, Beijing Olympics, Shakespeare performed in China, a male midwife, tree planting, an old backpacker, a stone-age instrument, etc

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I do not think TCB is intentionally politically pro-China, but rather they merely simplify real Chinese news and that news happens to have a political agenda.

 

I agree with Jan Finster that The Chairmans Bao doesn't really have a political agenda.  They almost never post anything from or about Xi Jinping or Communist Party activities, for example.  Yet you wouldn't conclude from reading them that they agree with China's most controversial policies.  Their agenda is rather to stay away from anything that's sensitive politically.  Still, their articles have a flavor of Chinese ways of thinking more than Western ideas and I feel they're good training for people who want to acquire a very contemporary vocabulary and work up to reading real Chinese news in Chinese.

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I agree that TCB probably isn't political while the source material is, but I thought @Dr Mack Rettosy's remark was meant as joke. Quite a funny one at that since it brought my own experiences with TCB vividly to mind.

@Jan Finster& @Moshen, I also tried TCB at some point and found it uninteresting too, but maybe it was just that my reading level at the time wasn't that good. The articles are also quite short and I think at a lower level reading something longer, that provides more repetition of characters and words in the specific context of the text being read, is better for reading practice. Like Graded readers or children's books if you are into those. For easing into news, TCB is probably perfect.

Someone here at some point posted about reading all TCB articles in order from lower levels up. Nowadays I train writing characters by listening to an Anki deck of graded sentences and write what I hear on paper by hand before checking. If I remember correctly, TCB articles also have audio so they seem perfect for this kind of training.

 

 

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I agree with both points and don't fault TCB in anyway, they are limited to the material that's available to them. And I too appreciate the non-Western perspective, it's one of the rich rewards of learning Chinese. Jan you managed to capture the essence of what I liked about TCB and that is the incredible variety of real world content. TCB was an important stepping stone for me and I'll always warmly recommend it, but I got bored and it's hard to go back to material made for learners.

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Funny how "made for learners" is hard to go back to, but "made for children" is OK! I mean it's a perfectly natural and normal attitude, all of us must have felt the same way at different times, even if it doesn't make much sense. Maybe 2022 is the year I finally zip through the pdfs of the PEP 文学 school textbooks which I downloaded years ago....

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On 1/11/2022 at 3:23 AM, realmayo said:

Funny how "made for learners" is hard to go back to, but "made for children" is OK! I mean it's a perfectly natural and normal attitude, all of us must have felt the same way at different times, even if it doesn't make much sense. Maybe 2022 is the year I finally zip through the pdfs of the PEP 文学 school textbooks which I downloaded years ago....

 

With "made for learning" material I often experience an uncanny valley. It misses something essential and falls just short of a point where I can engage with the material. Whereas children's content is unabashedly for children, and one can relax and let their subconscious figure out the language. Anyway, it's not a hill I want to die on. I'm just throwing mud at the wall to see what sticks. When (and it is only a matter of time) I get bored of children's material I'll simply move on to something else.

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Goal: Completely understand comprehensions and score at least 60% in composition.

 

I want to spend minimum 30 minutes in reading chinese per day, that time includes reviewing flashcards for 15 minutes. Reading the text and collecting the new words in 15 min. 

 

 

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