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Native Materials Other Than Novels


dakonglong
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Over the past few months I have read a few novels in Chinese, and they have really helped me expand my vocabulary. Reading other Chinese novels has become much easier.

 

However, recently it has started to feel like I've passed the point where I'm encountering a lot of useful vocabulary in these novels. Most of the  new words I encounter seem to be the types of words that appear in other novels exclusively, and not in other contexts.

 

To address this, I started reading the newspaper (BBC Chinese) and was immediately presented with a bunch of new, useful words again. Yet, as before, after a few months of reading the newspaper, their frequency has also decreased.

 

Any ideas on what other types of content I can use to cast a wider net before I go deeper with novels or news?

 

I'm wondering if manhua, magazine articles, fan fiction, social media, Chinese-language forums for other interests like hiking, travel, etc... or something else could be a good option, but I'm not exactly sure which sources would be best or where to find them.

 

I wonder if I'm just feeling the limits of the of what I can access via Google. Should I just start searching for my own personal interests in Chinese on Baidu? Or is there a better approach?

 

On a related note, I did find XiaoHongShu through a recommendation, which I highly, highly recommend for Chinese language learners. The content is engaging, specific to your interests and frequently updated. In short, I would love to find more like that.

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Although I'm not really thinking about it from the perspective of vocabulary acquisition, I too am wondering how to access reading material that's "fun" and doesn't require weeks or months of commitment the same way a novel does. For example, the blog articles that people have shared on here. @Publius recently shared an article about the kinds of books people were caught reading on the subway. A while before that, somebody shared a funny blog article that poked fun at the way Western people try to learn Chinese. I really enjoy those things.

 

I find similar content on the Zhihu app, which I've downloaded on my phone. Probably a lot of people on here are already familiar with it (so it's no big secret), but for those who are uninitiated, it's basically like a Chinese version of Quora or Reddit, where people pose certain topics and questions, and community members try to answer. Then certain answers get "upvoted" to the top. The questions range from fascinating to hilariously absurd (stuff you've always wanted to ask, but were afraid to do so). "What's the most important thing you have to know when you travel to America?" "What was the most frightening experience in your life?" "What's the first thing you notice about a person that makes you think they're really smart?" "As a doctor, what's the craziest experience you've ever had with a patient?" "What is the most dangerous thing a person can do?" There's also a lot of opinion/commentary on news and current events (which is often more interesting, personal, and thought-provoking than a mere article from Sina or Xinhua News). With exception to the slangy language or inside cultural references you occasionally encounter, these sorts of materials (in my opinion, anyway) are way easier to read than most novels.

I'd be interested to see what ideas other people have.

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On 9/7/2022 at 7:10 PM, Woodford said:

I find similar content on the Zhihu app, which I've downloaded on my phone. Probably a lot of people on here are already familiar with it (so it's no big secret), but for those who are uninitiated, it's basically like a Chinese version of Quora or Reddit, where people pose certain topics and questions, and community members try to answer.

 

Thanks Woodford! This is exactly the type of thing I'm looking for.

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No better use of your time than just browsing in a big Xinhua 书城. You'll never know what you'll find.

 

Maybe in the law section you'll come across a collection of cases dealing with interesting family disputes. Or in architecture books describing construction of classical structures. Maybe some biographies will interest you. Etc.

 

Seek and ye shall find.

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If you life in China, consider going to a public library (or using a library vending machine).  There's a lot of unknown novels (and if you don't like it, you haven't wasted any money), and you can read newspapers there too.

 

On 9/9/2022 at 8:16 PM, anonymoose said:

Textbooks on whatever subject you are interested in.

 

That's what I'm doing---I'm going through grade 7 textbooks.  I like this approach as it's well rounded.

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