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The 2022 Aims and Objectives Progress Topic


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On 1/29/2022 at 4:43 PM, Woodford said:

Well, how I wish that were true! I'm starting slowly, with a single 1-hour session each week, and I think I'll build up to 2 times, then 3, then maybe even 4 (probably with different teachers, just to get some variety). 


Haha! Then don't worry about it! ? It'll take a while. And just like reading I guess, those sessions with tutors may need warming up. I remember being really exhausted after each tutoring session when I began.

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Small victories here too. I just passed 100 cpm today with WoT for the first time.

I read the third chapter of the second book at 104 cpm average speed in 2 hours and 20 minutes.

My character count this year with WoT is about 152 000.

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  • 1 month later...

Abstract Goal - Be able to say "I can speak Chinese" with some level confidence. A.K.A reaching B1 Level



1. 6k words in passive vocab (@~2.5-3k right now)

2. 200 hours of conversation practice  - 5 hours of live listening & speaking practice a week (2x online tutor, 1x online group, 2h irl)

3. pass HSK 4 and work towards 5


42 Weeks left! Lets get it!

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Specific 2022 Goals:

-Become comfortable in using Cangjie input method

-Read more in Bopomofo symbols

-Listen to more mainland china tv shows especially northern accent

-Dabble more in reading entry level classical Chinese material

-Muster up more confidence in speaking mandarin to Taiwanese in-laws once Taiwan borders reopen

-Continue to speak mandarin on a daily basis & pick up new words/expressions from wife, TV shows, FB postings in Chinese

-Pick up more daily Minnan words/expressions (not master speaking it)

-Use Cantonese more often whenever the occasion rises instead of falling back to Mandarin

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

It's not yet halfway through 2022, but here is an interim report.  I had posted that one of my goals was to go through as many graded readers as I could find at my level (HSK 4.5), and I feel that's been a breakthrough for me.  Later when I have a chance I'll post notes on the different series of graded readers and their pros and cons from my point of view, but right now I've started on the Graded Readers for Chinese Language Learners series from Beijing Language and Culture University Press and that's perfect for me.  


First, it has no English whatsoever;  definitions are provided in Chinese.  Second, I know almost all the characters that are not flagged or defined, but I don't know the corresponding words and expressions.  There are quite a few words and expressions I need to look up, but this is a pleasure since afterwards it's easier for me to remember their meaning since I am already familiar with the characters making them up.  Third, the narrative storytelling is well done and just repetitious enough that it's easy to keep reading on without getting annoyed.  Fourth, in comparison with some other graded readers I tried that were translated from Western languages, the language has more of a Chinese flavor - more idiomatic.


So I feel like I'm learning a lot with exactly the right level of challenge.  Yay!

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On 5/30/2022 at 9:46 PM, Moshen said:

Graded Readers for Chinese Language Learners series from Beijing Language and Culture University Press

Do you know the title of these in Chinese? I'd like to order them on Taobao. Are the levels listed by hsk level or their own system? Which would correspond to HSK4?


Also, I'm currently finishing up the HSK4下 until 11 “读书好,读好书,好读书“ and next class he's going to want to discuss what I like reading. I've tried before to explain Graded Readers and websites like DuChinese and Chairman's Bao and never comes out very eloquent. Can anyone help me with a good description of this concept in Chinese? 


I was also reminded that I posted on this thread that a goal for this year was to read all the level Two and Three Chinese breeze books. However, I'm way behind on that. I have so much other stuff going that I often feel too lazy to pick up a paper book. So today I grabbed one "Secrets of a Computer Company" and decided to see if I could finish I in one sitting. Turned out I did it with ease, pretty quickly and it was quite enjoyable. Going to push myself to do that more often.

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Here is the link for the Level 1 books.  You can take the ISBNs and find the titles in Chinese:



They have level 1 (500 characters), level 2 (800 characters) and level 3 (1200 characters).  This doesn't correspond to the HSK system because they are counting characters, not words.  I feel I should be able to handle the level 2 but I started on level 1 and as I said am finding it challenging.  If you've finished HSK 4, then you should do fine with level 1 and find level 2 a bit more challenging.  What's great is that level 2 includes abridged versions of the four classic Chinese novels, each in 4 or 6 volumes.


The books start with a two-page instructional introduction, which I didn't read, but which should explain everything well enough to your teacher.


I want to say also that although the books are G-rated and in that sense suitable for kids, they're not oversimplified children's books.  They're a much better read than the simplified short stories in Sinolingua's Graded Chinese Reader 500 Words or Graded Chinese Reader 1000 Words, which I found flat and completely uninteresting.



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My 2022 studies are progressing apace. I shall probably write something up about them as soon as I cross 20.000 words in my vocabulary. I am sitting at *checks notes* 19.463 right now, so it shouldn't be too much longer. Probably by the time I finish reading 猫城记。

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  • 3 weeks later...

there were many sections — some of them pages long! — where I understood every word but still had no idea what the author was trying to communicate. This was pretty frustrating and demotivating.


Wouldn't it help immensely to go over such passages with a teacher?  That way, you might get a better idea of what it is that is tripping you up in such passages.  For instance, is it the level of language (more colloquial, more formal), is it the author's style, is it not knowing the cultural background or something else?  You might find that your incomprehension has little to do with a language barrier per se.

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On 6/18/2022 at 8:23 PM, Moshen said:

Wouldn't it help immensely to go over such passages with a teacher?  That way, you might get a better idea of what it is that is tripping you up in such passages.  For instance, is it the level of language (more colloquial, more formal), is it the author's style, is it not knowing the cultural background or something else?  You might find that your incomprehension has little to do with a language barrier per se.

Absolutely it would. Unfortunately hiring a teacher just hasn't been in the cards for me --- especially now that I am working a physically demanding full time job plus extra work on the weekends. I'm exhausted basically all the time now.

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  • 2 weeks later...

And just like that, we're halfway through the year!


It looks like my reading goals have been going very well, better than expected. I've read a bunch of books, including the three I had been planning to read--"Funeral of a Muslim," "Life and Death are Wearing Me Out," and "Fortress Besieged." Those three books (my 20th, 21st, and 24th overall) felt like a significant setback. Before that, my experience of reading Chinese was one of continuous, smooth improvement, with each book (usually) feeling easier than the previous one. I think that all along I was setting aside the more difficult books to read later, but ultimately, there's no escaping them. Eventually, I would have to read those books that are in a higher literary register, and it wouldn't be easy. Sure enough, they haven't been easy. On the other hand, how can I improve if I only read the easy stuff and don't read the hard stuff? So I'm quite happy about the whole experience, and I do feel like my reading skills are greatly benefiting from it. The trends are looking good, and I am quickly shedding my dependence on the Pleco dictionary. In my current book, I've only had to use it about once every 10 or 11 pages. That's an all-time record thus far!

I've been plotting my progress (like a real data nerd), and it seems like I'm heading into a season in which my reading practice will yield extremely diminishing returns. The kind of progress I would once see in three months, for instance, might now require three years of practice. Of course, the longer you do something, the more slowly you progress. It looks like that reality will really be felt in about 5-10 more books. It won't mean that I'm some kind of native-level reading expert (I'll never be), but it does mean that I should feel happy and shift my efforts to weaker skills, especially listening. And I think lots of listening will give me a more intuitive grasp of all this vocabulary, which will then mean, later down the road, I'll be a better reader.

In the meantime, I have been keeping up with some modest listening practice. I can understand more and more stuff, especially when my attention is focused. And that's been the real challenge. Even when listening to English audio, my mind can wander--especially when I'm distracted by my own thoughts/activities, or I find the subject boring, or I don't like the delivery style, etc. I feel like that problem is very much compounded when I'm listening to a language that isn't native to me. Nevertheless, I'm really encouraged by how much I can understand when I can pay attention. Which isn't all the time. :) 

My iTalki speaking practice has completely crumbled. That's probably the one failure story of the year thus far. I figure I'll get back into it when my focus shifts away from reading, and I am hyper-focused on reading for the coming months.

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I've been plotting my progress (like a real data nerd), and it seems like I'm heading into a season in which my reading practice will yield extremely diminishing returns.


I don't understand this.  I mean, I don't understand the thinking underlying this.  For you, is improvement the whole point?  I would have thought the enjoyment itself is the point.  But there you write as if without tangible improvement you can plot on your graphs, your project is falling apart.  On the contrary, I would think it is succeeding like crazy.  You are getting better and better returns from your investment of time and energy.  (As you indicated elsewhere.)


Maybe I've plucked out an errant sentence that doesn't represent how you really feel.  But from that sentence it sounds similar to someone looking at their investment portfolio and complaining that it's not growing much any more... when the point is having all the money they really need.  Perhaps you should stop making graphs and just enjoy the reading.

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My year is going quite well. My original goal was to finish reading a minimum of 10 books this year, with 13 books being my chosen stretch goal. After quickly reviewing my reading list and running some numbers, I believe I am on track to hit my stretch goal. So far, I have read (or am in the process of finishing):

  1. 星火燎原, Suzanne Collins者
  2. 自由幻梦, Suzanne Collins者
  3. 猫城记,老舍者
  4. 足下的恋人,易修罗者

My reading list for the rest of the year might look something like this (definitely subject to change):


5. 天外病菌,Michael Crichton者

6. 别让我走,Kazuo Ishiguro者

7. 流浪地球,刘慈欣者

8. 英雄无泪,古龙者

9. 秘密花园,Frances Burnett者

10. 哈利波特与魔法石, J.K. Rowling者

11. 哈利波特-消失的密室,J.K. Rowling者

12.  哈利波特-阿茲卡班的逃犯,J.K.Rowling者

13. 哈利波特-火盃的考驗,J.K.Rowling者


This year is proving to be a long-awaited pivotal point in my Chinese studies. I have discovered -- at long last -- that I am able to extensively read news articles and novels without the aid of a dictionary. With news articles I do have to pick and choose a bit based on the topic, but I am not catastrophically limited like I once was. I have adopted a habit of reading one news article per day in Chinese during my daily morning news intake. So far, I have read about Florida's “Don't Say Gay" law going into effect, Russia's retreat from Snake Island, Nicola Sturgeon's Indyref2 announcement, and the effect of Roe v. Wade's overturning on various communities around the world. The only word I needed to look up when reading any of these articles was 堕胎, "abortion". Other than that one exception, my reading comprehension of these articles has been high, with very very few gaps in vocabulary. 


As far as extensively reading novels goes, I discovered that I was able to read Harry Potter unaided a few days ago as well. I decided to use this as an opportunity to improve my listening comprehension and hopefully my reading speed as well, so I am following along with an audiobook and trying to get through at least one chapter per day. Following along with an audiobook has been really beneficial for a few reasons. First, I don't have to worry about correctly subvocalizing every 汉字. I I also don't have to worry about the meaning of every single unknown word (which I would tend to do if I were reading independently). Instead, I can just focus on following the story. Secondly, I believe that following along with the audiobook may help me improve my reading speed. That's just a hunch -- I don't really have evidence to back it up. And thirdly, consuming four books' worth of audiobook content (Harry Potter 1-4) will unquestionably do much to improve my listening comprehension. I would like to eventually transition to only listening, without following along with the text also. But I will probably wait for a while before I do that, maybe until I have the first four books under my belt. 


Achieving at 20.000 words this level of comprehension which is both broad and deep is allowing my consumption of Chinese content to explode. I expect my passive acquisition of vocabulary and grammatical patterns to increase by quite a bit as well, especially with audiobooks. My new routine is: one news article per day, one chapter of audiobook per day, and one chapter of a print novel per day, as well as 30 new words studied in Anki. On average, Anki takes me about an hour to complete, the print chapter takes maybe 30 minutes, the audiobook chapter takes about an hour, and the news article takes maybe 5 minutes, so I'm spending about 2.5 hours per day on studying Chinese, give or take. Not bad! 


I am also looking forward to consuming more and more native content, as well. I will be interested to see how easy or difficult 英雄无泪 is. That will likely be a  determining factor in what kinds of novels I prioritize in my reading list for the rest of this year.

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On 7/2/2022 at 3:17 AM, Moshen said:

But there you write as if without tangible improvement you can plot on your graphs, your project is falling apart.  On the contrary, I would think it is succeeding like crazy. 

Correct! I count it as success, and I’m feeling good about it.

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Goal: Understand Compositions from my Examination Papers. (Without the aid of dictionary, but keep checking the words which i do not know)


What had been done: Had gone through 3 compositions. Re-reading them and get 100% from those Compositions and play with all those vocabulary, before proceeding. 


What to do next: As Chinese subject marks are not counted for junior college admissions  focus on other subjects more. Read Chinese 15-30 minutes daily at the eod, only after reading other subjects


What not do:

1. Stop discussing on methodology, which is neither conclusive nor ending  and  just follow the methodology which worked for me in learning 2 languages


2. Do not cross 30 minutes a day for reading and other activities related to Chinese. And do not do any learning related to Chinese before 7:30 PM 



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  • 2 weeks later...

As we move into the second half of this year, my intensive studies of Chinese are slowly drawing to a close. I told myself that I would begin learning Dutch in January, and there is no way I can juggle memorizing vocabulary across both languages. I've done that before, and it just isn't effective for me. I end up going less than half the speed for each language if I try. But the end of intensive Chinese study doesn't mean the end of Chinese study, period! My priorities will simply have to shift.


When I started my intensive study project at the beginning of last year, my goal was to get to a point where I could read adult literature without the aid of a dictionary as rapidly as possible. For certain literature, I'm already there! I can breathe a sigh of relief -- earlier this year I was wondering if 25.000 words would truly be enough for me to comfortably drop vocabulary studies, and here I am at 20.000 words, sittin' pretty. I now have the minimum vocabulary I need to read literature and enjoy it, as long as it's not too advanced.


I've been giving a lot of thought to how I am going to balance Dutch and Chinese next year, and I think I've developed a pretty satisfying arrangement in my head. My weakest skill in Chinese by far is listening comprehension. My listening comprehension is simply dreadful. Luckily for me, improving listening comprehension doesn't really involve intensive study, which means working on that can dovetail quite nicely with my Dutch studies. So here's the plan:


First Six Months of 2023

  1. Build a foundational Dutch vocabulary (3000-5000 words). 
    1. Prioritize irregular/strong verbs.
    2. Master pronunciation via intensive exercise
    3. Learning grammar should take low priority during this time. If it is difficult to understand, I will push it off to a later date.
    4. Goal should be a minimum of 10 words per day, escalating to 30 words per day as quickly as possible.
  2. Consume as much audio content in Chinese as possible
    1. Read along with the text while listening to audiobooks. 
      1. Begin by reading along while the audiobook plays.
      2. Next step is audio only, listening to stories I am already familiar with.
      3. Final step is transition to audiobooks depicting stories I am unfamiliar with, with no accompanying text.
    2. Watch news videos, blogs, documentaries, movies, and TV series as much as possible
    3. Goal should be to consume >1.5 hours of audio/video content per day.
  3. Continue to consume written media in Chinese, but at a reduced rate
    1. Goal is to read something in Chinese every day.
      1. Content must be more advanced than dialogue, internet conversation, manga, etc. Web articles, blog posts, news articles, book chapters, short stories are acceptable examples.
    2. Reading is deprioritized, at least temporarily, so no concrete goal is set for total consumption.

Second Six Months of 2023

  1. Transition to serious study of productive skills in Dutch.
    1. Grammar should be highly prioritized at this stage, especially any trickier details that were ignored earlier in the year
    2. Vocabulary should be rapidly increased to 30 words per day if this has not already been accomplished.
    3. Speaking and writing should be highly prioritized as well. 
      1. A tutor should be hired for early conversation practice, ideally 3 times per week.
      2. Effort should be made to use Dutch as much as possible in everyday life. This goes hand in hand with ongoing efforts to integrate successfully into Dutch society.
    4. Reading should begin as soon as possible. 
  2. Progress with Chinese listening comprehension should be assessed. 
  3. Assuming sufficient progress with listening comprehension, Chinese practice will be further deprioritized.
    1. From this point on, Chinese study will largely cease, and content will be consumed for personal enrichment and fun.
    2. Effort will be made to consume Chinese content on a daily or bi-daily basis.

I am largely pleased with this roadmap. I think it gives me a really good shot at properly balancing Dutch and Chinese, and making the most of things. My biggest concern, of course, is to avoid any significant deterioration of skill. I have achieved this level of Chinese very quickly. Experience tells me that the faster you learn something, the faster you are likely to forget it, so I shall have to be vigilant about maintaining a decent intake of content in Chinese to preserve my ability. I am hoping that I will be able to return to intensive Chinese study after ~3 years of Dutch studies. We will see.

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