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The 2023 Aims and Objectives


Jan Finster
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On 12/26/2022 at 3:35 PM, Jan Finster said:
On 12/20/2022 at 8:51 PM, alantin said:

I guess my main hope is that they talk a lot!

 

I wonder what the arrangements are with those "families". Can they still do their thing (see friends, go to gym, spend all night on their smartphone 😉 or are they "supposed" to "entertain you" and have you join events (going out, seeing friends, etc)? I am really curious what you will report (?)

 

 

Strictly speaking the home-stay includes the housing, breakfast and dinner.

In the materials I got from them, they write:

 

Quote
  • Ultimate Homestay Experience
  • Feel 100% Mandarin immersion
  • Breakfast and Dinner included
  • Become part of a host family
  • Private bedroom with WiFi
  • Bathroom and laundry facilities
  • All bills included

In your Homestay family you will be treated not as someone paying for living there, but as a guest or even a family member. That means you might be asked to participate in all kinds of family activities, might receive gifts and invitations. This is a great opportunity to learn about the culture, practice your Chinese and make friends. However, courtesy is very important, even though it might be quite different to what you are used to. This applies to Homestay families and local friends you will meet.

 

They go on about what kind of courteousness is usually expected in Asia.

 

So I expect to get invitations to all kinds of things, but they do not exist to "entertain me". In other places they recommend letting the host family know if you're going to miss dinner etc. Also things like laundry seem to depend a little bit on the family. They say that I'll have laundry facilities at my disposal, they wrote also that the host family may offer to do laundry for me. I'll see. I'm pretty easygoing so I'll just take those things as they come. Apparently there will also a "Student Advisor" who I can ask if I have any trouble.

 

I don't have anything more specific about the host family or the program yet The idea is to tailor the experience to my language level and apparently that begins with an interview to gauge it first. They told me that they'd get back to me about the arrangements a month before I fly in as my language skills may still improve before the trip. (I doubt it though.. I'm squarely in the intermediate plateau.. 😅 )

 

Here is a video aired at some point on CCTV4 about their home stays and I've seen lots of people give really good reviews about them on Youtube too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBAagAJtfJ4

 

 

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I'm just at the beginning of my studies. I only started learning Mandarin in May. I'd like to get through the HSK 3 content sometime this year and be able to have whatever level of conversation that allows me. Anything beyond that is a plus.

 

Study 1hr+ per day, primarily focused on listening and building my vocabulary. I've been using Du Chinese to read -- I found it too much work to find beginner content on LingQ that wasn't really basic or with way too many unknown words. 

 

I have an hour italki class each week and attend a Mandarin/English exchange. I do more listening during the Mandarin portion of the exchange than talking because I often don't understand enough of the conversation to follow it.

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On 1/2/2023 at 6:14 PM, dansthings said:

I'm just at the beginning of my studies. I only started learning Mandarin in May. I'd like to get through the HSK 3 content sometime this year and be able to have whatever level of conversation that allows me. Anything beyond that is a plus.

 

Hi @dansthings, this is almost word for word the goals I set for myself a couple of years ago. 😂

Your plan is solid! Just keep at it every day and before you know it, you'll find yourself understanding them!

 

 

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On 1/2/2023 at 1:20 AM, alantin said:

they wrote also that the host family may offer to do laundry for me.


These things are a balance. As a guest, they may offer to do your laundry. But just as good is you ask them to teach you how to use the laundry and how to hang the clothes. Real life Chinese.

 

Should be a great experience. 

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On 1/3/2023 at 12:04 AM, Flickserve said:

But just as good is you ask them to teach you how to use the laundry and how to hang the clothes. Real life Chinese.

 

Big fan of "real life Chinese." I had to learn new laundry methods from day one. This included buying a special forked laundry stick so I could reach the line outside my window to hang wet clothes. (I never owned a clothes dryer; they were rare in the places I lived.) 

 

1316754934_.thumb.PNG.142c6d98f0ac44f4c120bee01bb33248.PNG

 

I think it was called an 衣服杆 or an 衣服叉子。

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On 1/3/2023 at 8:04 AM, Flickserve said:

These things are a balance. As a guest, they may offer to do your laundry. But just as good is you ask them to teach you how to use the laundry and how to hang the clothes. Real life Chinese.

 

Should be a great experience. 

 

Exactly what I'm looking for. :)

 

 

On 1/3/2023 at 5:19 PM, abcdefg said:

Big fan of "real life Chinese." I had to learn new laundry methods from day one. This included buying a special forked laundry stick so I could reach the line outside my window to hang wet clothes. (I never owned a clothes dryer; they were rare in the places I lived.) 

 

I own a clothes dryer but very rarely use it. Felt it was waste of electricity even before the electricity prices quadrupled last year...

In the video I linked before, they talked something about washing their underwear by hand while showering. I'm wondering if I'll have to do that. 😅

Doesn't sound so bad.. I always feel pretty self conscious when my mother in law washes my underwear, when we visit Japan... 😂

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Is it appropriate to share the progress on here?

 

I started the goals in early December.

I already reached a small milestone and I  want to share and celebrate.

 

My first goal was to learn characters "deeply", which, at least to me, means taking the time to understand how the meanings have been derived and

what roles each component of a character plays. The Outlier dictionary plugin made for Pleco has been immensely helpful in this regard.

Then, on Skritter, I'd learn a handful number of characters per day. As of today, I studied 200 characters and I have been keeping the streak for 38 days.

 

能源危机,到底是怎么回事儿?

I spent the whole month watching the linked video above, identifying every word or expression that I find worth learning, and reviewing using Anki.

By the time I was finished with the whole process for this video alone, I had made 174 new cards.

 

I am also attaching an Excel file that contains the subtitles that should be perfectly accurate since I spent time again and again comparing the audio against the video/spoken audio. 

 

能源危机,到底是怎么回事儿?(AutoRecovered) with words identified.xlsx

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On 1/7/2023 at 1:54 AM, pon00050 said:

I spent the whole month watching the linked video above

You spent one month on an 18 minute video? This is remarkable dedication. At what level are you? I mean, the first time you watched it, how much could you understand?

 

On 1/7/2023 at 1:54 AM, pon00050 said:

to learn characters "deeply"

How did this translate into improving your reading ablity and reading speed so far?

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On 1/7/2023 at 2:42 AM, Jan Finster said:

You spent one month on an 18 minute video?

Yes, I looked at every sentence.

 

On 1/7/2023 at 2:42 AM, Jan Finster said:

At what level are you? I mean, the first time you watched it, how much could you understand?

I consider myself an intermediate level speaker. 80%.

 

On 1/7/2023 at 2:42 AM, Jan Finster said:

How did this translate into improving your reading ablity and reading speed so far?

Only 200 characters in. Didn't dramatically improve reading ability or the reading speed yet,

 

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On 1/7/2023 at 12:11 PM, pon00050 said:
On 1/7/2023 at 8:42 AM, Jan Finster said:

You spent one month on an 18 minute video?

Yes, I looked at every sentence.

 

On 1/7/2023 at 8:42 AM, Jan Finster said:

At what level are you? I mean, the first time you watched it, how much could you understand?

I consider myself an intermediate level speaker. 80%.

 

On 1/7/2023 at 8:42 AM, Jan Finster said:

How did this translate into improving your reading ablity and reading speed so far?

Only 200 characters in. Didn't dramatically improve reading ability or the reading speed yet,

 

I do not get it. So, the first time you listened you understood already 80%? So, you must know tons of characters already. So, basically you did a transcription project to get the subtitles or did you just adjust the auto-generated ones?

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On 1/7/2023 at 6:34 AM, Jan Finster said:

So, the first time you listened you understood already 80%? So, you must know tons of characters already

80% isn't 100%.

I do know some characters already but I need a lot more to be an advanced level speaker.

 

On 1/7/2023 at 6:34 AM, Jan Finster said:

So, basically you did a transcription project to get the subtitles or did you just adjust the auto-generated ones?

 

I guess you can say that I perfected the auto-generated ones, picking up all new words in the process.

 

Thankfully, after all that time and effort, I have a near perfect understanding of everything spoken in that video.

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On 1/7/2023 at 2:38 PM, pon00050 said:

 

Thankfully, after all that time and effort, I have a near perfect understanding of everything spoken in that video.

 

Just a thought: why do you not pick material where you understand 95% of it and finish it in a couple of days and then move on? Your approach sounds like a lot of effort and it would bore me to death. I am not at all saying your method is inferior, but your approach would require an amount of self-discipline I did not possess in my better days 😉

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On 1/7/2023 at 9:32 AM, Jan Finster said:

Just a thought: why do you not pick material where you understand 95% of it and finish it in a couple of days and then move on?

 

How easy is that to do?

In my experience, it's not that easy to find something that's perfectly at my level.

Fortunately, I find the videos from that channel to be inherently interesting to me.

So, I am sticking with this content for now.

 

 

 

On 1/7/2023 at 9:32 AM, Jan Finster said:

Just a thought: why do you not pick material where you understand 95% of it and finish it in a couple of days and then move on? Your approach sounds like a lot of effort and it would bore me to death. I am not at all saying your method is inferior, but your approach would require an amount of self-discipline I did not possess in my better days 😉

I allocate only a very limited amount of time to the process.

And each review session using Anki only takes several minutes.

So it's a painful process spread out over a long period of time.

 

I am happy with my routine for now and I don't have any plans to change it.

 

Thank you for your suggestion.

 

 

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I have started the process of learning traditional characters, which simply involves...well....reading stuff written in traditional characters! I take a news article, load it into Pleco's clipboard reader, and tap on the words with confusing characters in them. It's a strange paradox. On the one hand, it feels very easy. There is a learning curve involved here, but it probably won't be a very big time investment. It feels like 50% of the characters are identical to their simplified counterparts, 30% of them look pretty similar, and the remaining ones are very different. But even among the "very different" ones, only a certain amount of them are commonly used. So if you already know the simplified characters, you can learn how to read traditional characters very quickly. On the other hand, it feels really awkward in the beginning. Some crazy differences I've observed are 儘 (尽), 歲 (岁), and 發 (发), among a handful of others. There was probably some kind of methodology behind how those characters were simplified, but wow, I'm not sure what it was.

I think simplified characters will always be my "home." In the meantime, dabbling in the traditional ones allows me to understand Taiwanese media, gain insight into the roots of the Chinese writing system, understand overseas Chinese stuff (in the USA, a lot of immigrant populations continued to use traditional script), and study a bit of classical Chinese, which I want to do later this year. As a serious hobbyist who really wants to embrace the Chinese language, I felt like I couldn't totally ignore the traditional characters.

With listening skills, it feels like I'm entering a new stage where I can understand, IF I'm actively paying attention. Which is often hard for me, especially when multitasking (even when listening to English stuff). It's a constant battle with my attention span.


As a side note, Duolingo German came to an abrupt end. I found out that the last major portion of the curriculum merely consists of review! No new words, no new concepts. It feels like a bunch of "filler" content that's meant to promote traffic on their platform (review is important, but there was plenty of review already). Therefore, I could test out of it all, reach the last level, finish it, and acquire the silly cartoon trophy. I knew that Duolingo only teaches you the basics, and then it's up to you to go on to more advanced studies, but I failed to anticipate just how basic it actually is. I guess, however, that I'm at the German equivalent of HSK4, and I'm ready to bridge my way into real German books and articles. Admittedly, that's been a bit gratifying, and it's been much less effort than Chinese.

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On 1/9/2023 at 8:58 PM, Woodford said:

I have started the process of learning traditional characters, which simply involves...well....reading stuff written in traditional characters! I take a news article, load it into Pleco's clipboard reader, and tap on the words with confusing characters in them. It's a strange paradox. On the one hand, it feels very easy. There is a learning curve involved here, but it probably won't be a very big time investment. It feels like 50% of the characters are identical to their simplified counterparts, 30% of them look pretty similar, and the remaining ones are very different. But even among the "very different" ones, only a certain amount of them are commonly used. So if you already know the simplified characters, you can learn how to read traditional characters very quickly. On the other hand, it feels really awkward in the beginning. Some crazy differences I've observed are 儘 (尽), 歲 (岁), and 發 (发), among a handful of others. There was probably some kind of methodology behind how those characters were simplified, but wow, I'm not sure what it was.

 

I've been concentrating on reading traditional too for about three weeks now. I first picked a next chapter in a book and put it through google translate to change the characters to traditional and then used Pleco the same way as you described. However I found it a bit laborious to start with content like that and moved over to reading Pleco graded readers in traditional, which was a lot more enjoyable for the beginning. Less "weird" characters to handle right away. Then I noticed that LTL offers me the "Taiwanese Course in Contemporary Chinese" and just began reading the texts from the second book onward. I'm now halfway through the second book.

 

I have the pretty much the same feelings. It is a bit slower and I sometimes need time to recall the simplified version of a character to recognize it. Fortunately there are patterns that I have noticed in the simplifications and there actually aren't that many significantly different characters. Some hundreds. At the same time I'm continuing practicing handwriting simplified and for me being able to read traditional is quite enough. I don't need to write them and I really find the simplified characters easier to write and remember how to write them.

 

I also find some simplifications quite crazy, but I guess often the other way around than you. I knew 歲 already from Japanese and 岁 has always felt strange to me. The same way as -> 进 and 長 -> 长 and 書 -> 书.  Especially in 长 and 书 the simplified version didn't even quite feel like a Chinese character for me in the beginning, but I got used to them and now reading the traditional versions in some ways feels like "coming back home". They feel familiar. 😅 But for example 發 and 发 were both unfamiliar to me. It is simplified differently in Japanese but the overall shape is similar. However I guess the craziest ones I've come across are actually 愛 -> 爱 and 歩 -> 步. Losing the heart in the middle of "love" feels like heresy and I don't see how losing one stroke in 歩 makes it easier to learn or write.

 

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On 1/9/2023 at 7:43 PM, alantin said:

Losing the heart in the middle of "love" feels like heresy

 

Technically the heart is still there, as the simplification comes from the caoshu shorthand for 心, which is essentially just a 横

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On 1/9/2023 at 10:42 PM, Tomsima said:

Technically the heart is still there, as the simplification comes from the caoshu shorthand for 心, which is essentially just a 横


Wow! I didn’t know that!

 

Though my understanding is that many of the simplifications come from 草书 which explains why 书 and 长 feel so strange.

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On 1/9/2023 at 1:43 PM, alantin said:

I also find some simplifications quite crazy, but I guess often the other way around than you. I knew 歲 already from Japanese and 岁 has always felt strange to me. The same way as -> 进 and 長 -> 长 and 書 -> 书.  Especially in 长 and 书 the simplified version didn't even quite feel like a Chinese character for me in the beginning, but I got used to them and now reading the traditional versions in some ways feels like "coming back home". They feel familiar. 😅 But for example 發 and 发 were both unfamiliar to me. It is simplified differently in Japanese but the overall shape is similar. However I guess the craziest ones I've come across are actually 愛 -> 爱 and 歩 -> 步. Losing the heart in the middle of "love" feels like heresy and I don't see how losing one stroke in 歩 makes it easier to learn or write.

 

 
Now that you mention it, there are some other more subtle, strange ones. Like 別 vs 别, and 沒 vs 没. One of the most bizarre ones is 够 vs 夠. What on earth happened there? It looks like the same two components, just reversed! 

I, too, have only learned how to write simplified characters, and I don't intend to write the traditional ones. In 2019, I used the Pleco SRS system + handwriting recognition to write the 5,000 HSK words. I keep it up to this day, and I'm down to maybe about 10 reviews daily.

Japanese is another really interesting language that looks very tempting to me. But I just have to grit my teeth and limit myself to the languages I already have.

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On 1/9/2023 at 6:58 PM, Woodford said:

But even among the "very different" ones, only a certain amount of them are commonly used

There's about 200-300 very different ones that are commonly used.  If you are already familiar with one set, learning the other can be done very quickly (reading one or two books is enough).

 

On 1/9/2023 at 6:58 PM, Woodford said:

I think simplified characters will always be my "home."

I used to think this too, however now I mostly consume traditional.

 

When going from simplified to traditional (e.g. you read a book in simplified and then your next book is traditional), everything feels archaic - e.g. it's like seeing something like "ye olde shoppe" as an English speaker.  The more you read, the more that feeling goes away and it just feels normal.  On the other hand, if you then go and read something in simplified (after doing a lot of reading in traditional) it feels like everything is written in txt speak e.g. 'k. brb, c u l8r m8'.

 

Once you see it, it's difficult to unsee and it finally made me appreciate the aversion HK and Taiwan have to simplified.

 

I still don't mind reading Simplified, but it's no longer my home.

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