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Tracking my reading speed


Jan Finster
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Congrats - sounds like you made significant progress! I second that it gets easier the more characters you know - if you see new words in context where you know all the other words helps tremendously.

 

How do you reliably track your reading speed? Is there an app for that? I have no idea how slow I am (just that my reading speed is slow haha), but would like to also get a ballpark figure at some point. I haven't dealt with any stats until now - I usually know quite quickly if a text is above my level... because I'm drowning in new words... But stats might be helpful for selecting a first "proper" novel at some point, so any tips are greatly appreciated.

 

Anyway, congrats on your breakthrough! 12,000 characters in a day is something to look up to : )

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On 1/10/2022 at 4:22 PM, SunnySideUp said:

How do you reliably track your reading speed? Is there an app for that?

Thanks!

 

I just ballparked it (3.5-4 hours 12000 characters).

 

Imron has the post on: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/20007-what-to-study-after-heisig/?do=findComment&comment=167231

 

(I am not aware of an app)

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@SunnySideUp, any stop clock will do. You just need to know the number of characters in the text that you want to read. The Chinese Text Analyzer gives you the number of characters if you open the text file with it. Then you just divide the number of characters by the number of minutes it took you to read it. I personally track my progress in excel.

 

I've noticed significant "easing" of my Chinese too over the last two weeks or so. I've averaged 4 hours of Chinese activities per day over the last ten days during a holiday and I've noticed a lot of things clicking lately. Not any insane leaps in reading speed or speaking ability, but more like relaxing more while doing these activities. Words coming to me easier while speaking with tutors and having more stamina while reading. I've now also watched four episodes of a Taiwanese TV show with only Chinese subtitles and I've had a lot of fun watching it without any trouble following it. I need to stop the video for a few seconds most of the time the subtitles change to be able to read everything and I can then catch what they're saying, but It's still a first time I'm actually enjoying a TV show in Chinese without English!

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On 1/10/2022 at 3:07 PM, Jan Finster said:

I know many people believe in the "don't break the chain" philosophy and small steps will add up. However, for me, whenever I did some really intensive studying (>30 hours per week), I made the most progress.

 

This has always been my experience too. But small steps important too for not-forgetting, and for filling in gaps you left along the way.

 

Quote

I wondered before, if learning vocabulary gets easier, once you are able to recognise 3000 or so characters

 

And also, remembering those characters gets easier the more vocabulary you encounter, because you're more frequently seeing the same characters in different words, given those characters a more rounded or 3D feel as you're knowledge of the different ways they can be used increases.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 1/10/2022 at 4:07 PM, Jan Finster said:

This weekend, for the first time since I started learning Chinese 2.5 years ago, I felt that reading Chinese is actually fun 😃

 

The more I read, the more I come across compound words, whose meaning can easily inferred from the individual characters, e.g. 

数量级 (orders of magnitude), 违反 常识 (contrary to common sense), 天文馆 (planetarium)

 

I guess people, who SRS and use Anki can focus on the non-compound words that make up other words. 

 

So, yes, it does get easier over time :)

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  • 1 month later...
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 我有一件比较蹊跷的事情要报告你们,我最近才意识到的。自从我开始了阅读中文小说的那时,我几乎只是暗自阅读而很少读出来页上的词。可是,我最近意识到我看小说的时候读出来的能力却确实发展了很多。我念出词句的速度越来越高!这很意料之外。我真没想到有这么明显的进步,因为几乎没有下功夫练习。(我暗自阅读的速度也当然上高了点,这是预料的。)

 

大家有同样的经历吗?

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你在3分38秒里阅读了465字
你的阅读速度:每分钟127.98字   每字耗时0.469秒

 

Yeah.. 250 should be a good goal for now. Though like @黄有光, I've noticed marked improvement through extensive reading. According to my notes, exactly one year ago my reading speed was about 80 characters per minute. 60% improvement in a year. Another 60% improvement should take me above the 200 mark.

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你在2分22秒里阅读了498字(含标点等)
你的阅读速度(含标点等):每分钟210.42字  每字耗时0.285秒

 

Having lurked on these forums for some time, I have recently been interested in tracking my reading speed. I decided to track my reading of 活着, because it's a book that I really should have read a long time ago. I finished the book in 7h52m, and it apparently has 120,000 characters (admittedly the ebook version I was using might have had less). I was a bit shocked that I had apparently had a reading speed of 254 cpm.

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  • 1 month later...
On 3/19/2022 at 7:45 PM, 杰娃娃 said:

活着, because it's a book that I really should have read a long time ago. I finished the book in 7h52m, and it apparently has 120,000 characters


Hopefully this doesn’t derail the thread, but I have to comment since I am currently reading 活着 and tracking reading speed. I’m fairly confident 活着 is much shorter in the ball park of 75,000 characters, per the character counter I’m using.  Don’t mean to take shots at your reading speed lol, I just hope I’m not reading an abridged version.

 

Edit: just double checked with CTA and got ~76,000. Are you using a counter that counts punctuation? Also, heads up if you’re  getting counts from sites like Baidu they can be way off the mark on counts.

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@Dr Mack Rettosy you're right. I was using the number from Baidu. I just checked CTA and my copy is ~76,000 too.

 

So, a more accurate reading speed would be 161 cpm. This seems much more likely, because I can read quickly, but I can't maintain that speed for the length of a whole novel.

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I had a two month break from reading but now I've been concentrating on it again for a couple of weeks.

700k characters into WoT and I got my average speed above 100cpm.

 

It seems that I actually got a little bit of a boost after taking a break.

 

1269325476_Screenshot2022-05-04at19_03_38.thumb.png.51c11ee8f1efaa862c98547703ed0992.png

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On 5/4/2022 at 9:23 PM, 大块头 said:

What do the wiggly lines on the left represent?

 

They show the lower and upper bounds for a 95% confidence interval in the forecast based on the data up until that point. Based on the data, there is a 2,5% chance that the result at each point is going to be below the bottom wiggly line, a 2,5% chance that it is above the top wiggly line, and a 95% chance that it is somewhere between the wiggly lines. In that graph they fade out but they do reach as far to the future as the forecast goes.

It currently shows me that when I finish the current book at 930 000 characters, my speed should be between 91cpm and 136cpm with a mean of 113cpm and when I finish the book series at 7,5 million characters, my speed should be between 175cpm and 556cpm with a mean of 366cpm. My goal is to hit about 190cpm by the end of the year and at the moment it looks quite possible. If I just keep reading an hour a day, I should be around 3 million mark by that time.

 

I'm interested to see how good my forecast is.

 

The below picture shows the forecast to the end of the book series including the 95% confidence interval and one standard deviation away on both sides of the mean.

 

888025814_Screenshot2022-05-04at22_09_18.thumb.png.837641274ce59eb6fcf20b564e7f8e8f.png

 

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On 5/4/2022 at 3:13 PM, alantin said:

They show the lower and upper bounds for a 95% confidence interval in the forecast based on the data up until that point.

 

So it's a prediction interval that updates with every new point? If you used all the data instead of updating for each point would you get the squashed band shape like the figure on the right? I'm not critiquing anything, I'm just curious.

 

scatterplots

source

 

On 5/4/2022 at 12:08 PM, alantin said:

700k characters into WoT

 

WoT = 时光之轮?

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On 5/4/2022 at 10:48 PM, 大块头 said:

So it's a prediction interval that updates with every new point? If you used all the data instead of updating for each point would you get the squashed band shape like the figure on the right? I'm not critiquing anything, I'm just curious.


I think I would.. But I think my case is different from predicting infections. I'm interested in forecasting where my reading speed should be a year from now. The wiggly parts in the past aren't meant to tell me anything and they are actually a byproduct of me adding more data but not removing the contents of LB and UB cells for the past points in my Excel sheet that I use to create the projections. I'm using Excel FORECAST.ETS functions to create those projections.

 

 

On 5/4/2022 at 10:48 PM, 大块头 said:

WoT = 时光之轮?

Yes. 时光之轮.
I learned my English reading that when I was a kid and figured that the same approach should work for Chinese too. 😂
I've made my mission to read the whole series in Chinese and it is quite accessible for me since I already know the story. The first book, meant for natives, I read in Chinese was actually the first half of the translation of the Lord of Chaos. After finishing that I decided to begin the whole series from the beginning.

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This is an interesting aspect of Chinese learning in which I haven't invested much effort so far! My word comprehension is 99.8%+ at this point, but I am fairly slow with the speed. When I really want to kick it into high gear, I probably max out at around 100-125 WPM, but I can't maintain it consistently. I think I have a lot of obstacles:

 

--I've developed a really strong habit (only in Chinese) of reading out loud or muttering under my breath. I try to stop doing that, but then I find myself doing it again, without thinking.

--I  have a very laid-back, non-competitive, slow-going psychology that doesn't like racing against the clock

--I have a decreased tolerance for skimming. As I gauge myself, I want to make sure I'm legitimately reading and grasping all the words and not "cheating." However, I probably slow myself down a bit too much.

--Some genres are just tougher than others. An Yu Hua book will read faster than a Mo Yan book (maybe even twice as fast).

 

I just read a New York Times article, first in Chinese and then in English. Using my own methods, I counted the words in each, and the results were almost identical (about 1700 words). I read the Chinese version first (so I wouldn't be boosted by a prior familiarity via the English version), and it took me about 19.5 minutes to read it (about 86 WPM). In English, it took me around 7.5 minutes (217 WPM). Therefore, my English reading speed is about 2.5 times faster than my Chinese reading speed. Interesting benchmark to think about at this point. I would love to go from 2.5 to 2, then perhaps press on to 1.5? I think that will just require constant exposure to the language for many years.

 

In the same way that @Jan Finster had a sensation of "flying over" the words even though the speed was about 50 WPM, I'd have to say I have a similar feeling. My reading in Chinese is much slower than in English, but it doesn't feel prohibitively slow in a way that totally wrecks the experience. Right now, my average reading speed works well enough for my purposes. 20 minutes to read a newspaper article in Chinese? Cool. Someday, it might only take me 10 minutes, and I'll have 10 more minutes left over to read a second article or do something else. Also cool.

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On 5/7/2022 at 12:34 AM, realmayo said:

 

I think you're the first person here to calculate Chinese reading speed with words per minute versus characters per minute.

 


Ha, I didn’t notice that! I guess that puts me at about 150 CPM, then. 

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