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The 2023 Aims and Objectives


Jan Finster
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I agree with @imron. I read my first books in simplified (the Harry Potter series and two Yu Hua novels). Every book since then have been ordered from Taiwan and traditional feels way more natural than simplified. The lack of free press press in China has also made PTS my primary website for news reading, though I know there are a number of large European news services that provide news in both simplified and traditional.

 

It's been a while, but I think I just blasted through 100 anki cards a day to learn traditional, and just threw away the deck as soon as I was done. I don't think I jumped straight into traditional novels, but that could probably be done to, especially if you have a quick way of looking up and saving the "weird" ones for study.

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On 1/9/2023 at 10:54 PM, Woodford said:

Like 別 vs 别, and 沒 vs 没. One of the most bizarre ones is 够 vs 夠.

 

These are all not simplified characters. Mainland just standardized a different version of an 异体字. You’ll find quite a few of those. I once wanted to compile a list of different standardizations in China/Taiwan, but never finished that.

 

Edit: check https://www.wikiwand.com/zh-cn/漢字標準列表 for a nice overview on standardizations of 汉字 in China, HK, Taiwan. TLDR: Simplification is just one kind of standardization.

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On 1/10/2023 at 2:28 AM, Insectosaurus said:

The lack of free press press in China has also made PTS my primary website for news reading, though I know there are a number of large European news services that provide news in both simplified and traditional.

 

I was just considering what I should use for a Taiwanese news source! PTS looks like the best one I've seen so far. It's nice and clean in its presentation (some mainland news sources, like xinhuanet, have a very crowded/busy-looking home page, with all the strange Xi stuff at the top). Anyway, I'm struck by how different Taiwanese news media feels. Even just seeing the "follow us on Facebook/Twitter/Youtube!" buttons.

I've used New York Times for traditional characters, but that's usually just an English-to-Chinese translation, and I prefer more natively-sourced stuff. So it might have to be PTS instead.

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On 1/10/2023 at 6:26 AM, imron said:

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 think you're describing the same feeling I've had with the simplified characters feeling strange. Just doing it better. I can completely relate both ways.

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On 1/10/2023 at 3:58 PM, Woodford said:

I was just considering what I should use for a Taiwanese news source! PTS looks like the best one I've seen so far.

 

I'd be interested to know what other news site or general web content coming out of Taiwan you find, I've been struggling to find short-form content that is interesting to me. PTS and all other news sites I found have way too much of that trashy "this star said that" kind of articles.

 

I had better luck with more magazine-type of sites, but unfortunately the articles are a bit long for me to just quickly read one on the side in between things (I mean like 5mins or so). If you're interested, here they are:

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On 1/10/2023 at 9:23 PM, jannesan said:

PTS and all other news sites I found have way too much of that trashy "this star said that" kind of articles.

 

PTS is Taiwanese public service and I don't think that's a fair description of what they do.  There is also CNA.

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Late to the party but here it goes.

 

My goal for 2021 was to "memorize 1500 characters, or enough to read graded material at 98% comprehension, get to a place where I can read extensively". Throughout 2021 I read 57 graded readers and a handful of translated and native children's books. While I'm no longer as "quantitative" with my character/vocabulary knowledge, I at least got myself to a reasonably comfortable position to begin extensive reading.

 

My goal for 2022 was to read my first native novel. Happy to say I did this starting with 活着 by 余华, then on to an additional seven novels, novellas, and short story collections. Cherry on top is that I am really enjoying the content, especially 余华, who is up there with some of my favorite English language authors (forgive me but I like to compare him to Hemingway). More on my reading progress here.

 

I am also pretty happy with how my listening comprehension has progressed. I've gotten to a point where podcasts for learners are fairly comprehensible, at least after listening a few times through and key word look ups. I can also get the gist / mostly follow the story of native TV (as long as there are subtitles). Still a long way to go with listening.

 

My goal for 2023? Start having regular conversations. Plan is to find tutors and have two-three weekly conversations. A stretch goal is to log 100 hours of conversation for the year. That's ambitious especially considering I'm an introvert... any advice or support for beginning to speak would be most appreciated.

 

Cheers everyone hope 2023 is great year for your Chinese! 加油!

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That's ambitious especially considering I'm an introvert... any advice or support for beginning to speak would be most appreciated.

 

Hi Dr. Mack,

Outside of Chinese Forums, I write and teach about the needs of introverts.  While I don't know you, and your needs may differ, I can offer some advice based on more than a decade of study, observation and interviews with introverts.

 

* Introverts generally do well with one-on-one conversations on topics they care about, with someone who has just as much to offer as themselves.  Introverts tend to hate and look down on social chitchat.  Therefore you should try to find someone who has common interests and to talk about those areas of common interests.  Most likely this would be either a hobby (such as chess, running, art appreciation, etc.) or what you do for work (another doctor?).  You'll need some good searching and trial and error to find the right conversational partner(s), but otherwise this activity won't keep your interest and will come to feel awkward and pointless.

 

* Another, alternative tack is to try to make the conversations as practical as possible.  For instance, if you plan to visit China someday, then sessions where you role-play real-world situations (buying train tickets, trying to sort out a problem at the hotel) would probably keep your interest.  This works because there's a clear point to this practice.  There are some people on the forum (can't remember who) who have done this with their Chinese tutors and loved it.

 

* Finally, think about the kind of conversations you have in English that most interest you and come up with ways to recreate them in Chinese.  Ditto for the kind of people you enjoy speaking with in your day-to-day life.

 

Good luck,

Moshen

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Hello, all.

 

I was wondering, how much time do you guys spend on this endeavor?

 

Anki tells me that I am spending less than 10 minutes daily.

However, I am also spending time on the "preparation" part of reviewing the material and selecting what to put in the Anki. 

I didn't measure exactly how many minutes it takes me to perform this task, but I think, on average, it takes me at least 20~30 minutes and, sometimes, 1 hour at the most. That's the tedious time that I wish I could decrease but I feel like it's a necessary evil to be present for me to make a progress in the learning.

 

Perhaps, when I optimize other aspects of my life more, I will consider increasing the time spent on this endeavor. 

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On 1/23/2023 at 9:01 AM, pon00050 said:

However, I am also spending time on the "preparation" part of reviewing the material and selecting what to put in the Anki.

 

I'm assuming you refer to preparing and maintaining the Anki hanzi deck?

I strongly recommend switching to a simpler system that requires less time to prepare the cards. Use Pleco for instance and you can setup your card with a single tap. 

This is going to considerably lessen the "load" and keep the motivation up in the long term.

 

My experience is that decks have a way of gradually sneaking up on you and before you know it you are spending hours on it. You know it's not the best way to spend your time but you are feeling too guilty to cold turkey stop doing it, and you don't want to destroy all those cards you spent so much time and care creating. 

Then, almost unavoidably comes a time when you eventually break down and destroy your deck in a fit of rage. You feel disappointed and bitter and you want to stop studying Chinese.

 

Finally, after a few months you realize nothing has changed and the anki deck was not so fundamental to your Chinese knowledge after all.

You start over, this time taking it a bit more casually and periodically resetting your deck cause, after all, it gets to a point where you have no idea if you know 3000 or 5000 words and - guess what - it doesn't really matter that much, as long as you know the words you need when you need them.

 

(This has probably been said many times and it's slightly off topic, but sorry I couldn't resist :P )

 

 

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On 1/22/2023 at 8:01 PM, pon00050 said:

how much time do you guys spend on this endeavor?

I wouldn't worry about comparing, there is a vast range of us with widely varying commitments. 30 mins a day on anki is both a positive and realistic commitment. There are people that will touch base with Chinese every few days to those who live and breathe it all day every day. I would say I personally aim for about 2 hours daily commitment to realise the goals I set for myself each year 

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On 1/22/2023 at 3:01 PM, pon00050 said:

Anki tells me that I am spending less than 10 minutes daily.

 

I ditched Anki because I found the same thing - so much lost time to deck maintenance. 

Pleco has a built-in flashcard system that can handle SRS, which was "good enough". 

 

But even then, I ditched that completely too. It doesn't seem like many words come up frequently enough for me to justify drilling them with flashcard decks. Flashcards just become another "checkbox" activity that doesn't get me anyway. Plus my time to study Chinese is pretty limited, 15-30 minutes per day. Would rather use that to deliberately listen to a podcast or chip away at something I've been reading. 

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On 1/24/2023 at 7:43 AM, PerpetualChange said:

I ditched that completely too

If you think about it, this is the end goal of all learners - after all, it’s not like people flashcard vocabulary in their native language (people studying for SAT or equivalent exams excepted). 
 

Congrats on leveling up 👍

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On 1/14/2023 at 2:14 PM, Moshen said:

For instance, if you plan to visit China someday, then sessions where you role-play real-world situations (buying train tickets, trying to sort out a problem at the hotel) would probably keep your interest.  This works because there's a clear point to this practice.  There are some people on the forum (can't remember who) who have done this with their Chinese tutors and loved it.

 

I did that early on and enjoyed it quite a bit. It not only expanded my "practical" vocabulary, but it helped me learn to talk in a less "bookish" manner. Often that meant paring extra verbiage out of my sentences and learning when it was OK to speak more "telegraphically." 

 

One of my pet peeves with several of the textbooks I used was that they devoted lots of space to what might have been practical vocabulary for a 19-year old college student living in a dorm. I got hugely tired of example dialogues about campus life. Didn't fit my situation or my needs. 

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Throughout the past 5.5 years, I have maybe averaged around 2-3 hours a day of Chinese study, and I have recently cut back to something closer to 1-2 hours (with a lot of passive listening practice during the day).

 

My flashcard habit is...probably on the extreme end. I have a deck of around 22,500 vocabulary words that I encountered in HSK lists, books and internet articles. At this point, I don't find new words nearly as often as I used to, so that 22,500 number is staying pretty still and will likely never hit the 25,000 mark (unless I dive into extremely archaic or technical literature, beyond what I would even approach in my own native English language). Pleco's SRS program is giving me about 100-125 words to review each day (about 20-30 minutes of drilling), and the great majority of them belong to the group of about 1,000 silly "leech" words that I keep forgetting endlessly. The other words tend to stick in my mind more permanently (I'm often surprised which ones do and which ones don't). Of course, an SRS program is really good at taking the most frustrating words and bringing them up for review, so the longer I've done this routine, the more difficult the review process has gotten.

I can relate to what @matteo said about feeling guilty about stopping cold turkey. It feels like I put so much effort into this database that carefully catalogues my knowledge of a vast body of Mandarin words and brings up every single one for review in a timely manner so that I can stay sharp. But indeed, it just gets pointless and cumbersome after a certain stage. So my plan is:

1. Refuse to add any more words to my deck. Not a single one!
2. Review the deck for a few more months
3. Choose a good date to delete the whole deck
4. Devote that time to other things

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On 1/25/2023 at 8:59 AM, Woodford said:

and brings up every single one for review in a timely manner so that I can stay sharp.

Regular reading will have the same effect.  Reading a book a month will cover ~3 million characters over a year.

 

If you choose a broad enough range you’ll encounter most vocabulary in your deck more frequently than you would doing revisions, and reading gives you more accurate feedback about how well you really know a given word. 

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On 1/25/2023 at 9:38 AM, Tomsima said:

continue to use it as a searchable database in future

Absolutely! I just came across 各言其志 in a sentence and it seemed slightly familiar, checked an old Anki deck and not only found that I'd once studied a slightly similar expression, 人各有志, but also the screenshot of the TV drama where I encountered it (and with a rather imperfect translation in the subtitles - although one that's quite applicable to antipodean deck-deleters:mrgreen:).

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On 12/21/2022 at 4:25 AM, Woodford said:

When I see a page of English text (as someone else on this forum once commented), my brain automatically processes it. It's such a passive and natural process that I can't help but to understand it automatically!

So, this is your goal 🤪838906688_srchttp___inews.gtimg.com_newsapp_bt_0_15103092786_1000referhttp___inews.gtimg.thumb.webp.173e416b5891019d64534daa17e5fe21.webp

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Keeping old decks as searchable databases makes most sense if they contain original work that's valuable to you (personalised translations, morphological analyses, complex tagging or cross-referencing, etc). Otherwise, your future self is probably best served just using a good dictionary/corpus instead.

 

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