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  2. They told me applications are now open. They sent me the necessary information and I applied.
  3. Speaking as someone who could have written your exact paragraph as recently as a week ago (including the decade of study), listening only gets you so far unless you’re already doing. In fact I’d go so far as to say it’s a complete waste of time unless it’s a supplement to regular, lengthy and effective conversations with people. This topic has come up here may times before, usually by me, but last week over drinks someone put it to me this way: you don’t learn to play the piano by watching someone else play the piano. If you’re able to replace all of your TV watching with online conversation, would that be a new direction for you? The other thing that jolted me over the intermediate hump was to not explicitly set a specific goal for a time period. Last year I came to Taiwan with the goal of getting my Chinese in order. It failed miserably, probably because I put myself under so much pressure that I bottled it. This year I came back with the goal to just meet people, cycle around and buy a few things. Because I didn’t set expectations, all my anxiety and personal second-guessing vanished, and my Chinese listening and speech have actually surprised me. The humiliation you feel is what was feeding my anxiety, and that anxiety stopped me in a number of other ways too. Yep, me too. Years. At least six. Last week I suddenly punched out some bricks and jumped through the wall, but it took many years, countless failed attempts, a serious change in technique and a tonne of gumption to get there.
  4. I have looked at the academic calendars of SJTU and Fudan.. they start in the first or second week of September. The winter break is around six weeks starting mid January and Chinese New Year usually falls within that time. I think the Chinese semester is too long.. 18 weeks 😅 In the UK, it's a trimester system with 10 weeks per term.
  5. @EmperorTomatoKetchup You can work part-time in China with permission from the university.
  6. Today
  7. I will get round to writing part 2 of my write up of the university course: in the meantime heres a brief thought I ended up writing out in full. Would be interested to hear others thoughts: Recently I have noticed I am stuttering a lot more when just regularly chatting to friends in Chinese; my brain appears to constantly be asking itself, 'is this really the most appropriate word?' Perhaps this is a result of moving back to the UK and being away from the total immersion of China, but I feel like its more likely a result of learning how to work between two languages when on the mic in interpreting situations... Take the various concepts of 'collapse' in Chinese as an example. There's 垮, it denotes the idea of collapsing inwards on itself. then there's 崩潰, the idea of something or someone collapsing from the cause of not being able to bear a load. what about 瓦解, collapse due to internal disintegration, figuratively as well as literally, or even 塌縮, the idea of, say, a star collapsing inwards on itself to eventually become a black hole. All these different concepts of collapsing will almost always be translated into English simply as 'collapse'. Whilst this makes for very easy interpreting, it actually makes your Chinese worse, as you are constantly drawing together these distinct meanings into one basket named 'collapse', not allowing your brain to understand the finesse in their differences. What one is constantly striving towards in learning another language is to rewire the brain in order to divide and distinguish concepts that are different from one's mother tongue. Not only does learning the skill of interpreting not tolerate such rewiring, it actually bundles all the wires together in a big tangled mess. The brain is told to forget the small but important differences between words and instead group words into easy to manage target language categories. As a result, I find I question my word choice a lot more often than I once did. I find I can no longer simply rely on feeling, or make choices as easily simply based on a gut feeling. So it would seem, while my Chinese has improved a lot in the last year, learning to interpret has perhaps had a negative effect on my "語感", or my ability to simply 'feel' what the right word should be. Hopefully this is just temporary.
  8. Whenever I check the definition of a word, then in the same session try to add it to "known words", that message that tells me no is always like a little reminder that a) I'm not using CTA for a hover dictionary, b) Imron knows I'm lying to myself about really knowing that word 😂 I can relate to the feeling of hopelessness for this type of plateau (Related to Listening). I'm working on breaking through it myself with a ton watching TV while steadily growing my vocab with flashcards + half an hour of reading a day. I cant speak to it working (yet) with Chinese, but its what worked for Japanese for me. So I'd try to actually just enjoy some content in the language. Pick a drama and watch it without straining or worrying about what you're missing out on. Coupled with your normal studying I'm sure you'll notice an improvement.
  9. Luscious, hi! What did your embassy told you? Mine told me tha they didn't receive any information from china, so everyone should wait.
  10. If the number of books you have read without any sort of interactive popup dictionary* is less than 10, then in my experience this is likely to be normal. Until then you will need to choose books carefully and there will be an initial bump of vocabulary and there's no way to get around this without reading a dozen more books. These are in fact the 2 main reasons I wrote Chinese Text Analyser - to make it easy to find books at an appropriate level, and to extract from those books highly relevant unknown words to get over the vocab 'bump'. *I make special note to call out interactive popup dictionaries (e.g. where you mouseover/tap on a word and you get an instant definition) because although they allow you to read books beyond your level, they allow you to read books beyond your level, and you really should be reading books at your level rather than skipping ahead. And while it can feel good to read more advanced things, doing so stops you from the developing the skills needed to read more advanced things (and yes there are popup definitions in CTA, but they were added begrudgingly ).
  11. 雲*堂珍藏 is all I can make out. EDIT: OK got it. 雲錦堂珍藏
  12. Thanks, but I was more asking how/if other people still utilize resources in simplified if they are wanting to learn traditional.
  13. I also saw that pop up sign... It means what it means, more people applying for 1 year scholarship, i think if you select 6 months scholarship nothing pops up. They will approve what they think its better based on each application, scores, etc... On the other hand, not sure what to think about it on how they decide, if it depends on what university you are applying, for example 300 applications for Fudan daxue, but they only can approve 200 so it depends on each local university quotas. OR if they see the whole, 10000 applications (Im just throwing random numbers) and they decide our year quota for whole china is 8000. (Both taking in consideration grades, your formal education, etc...) Saying this, if its the first option then you should have more chances applying to not so much famous universities, where i guess more people try to apply. Anyways, good luck to everyone!!
  14. Step 2 to step 3 it depends on your local Confucius Institute, if they take more than 1 week you should call/mail them and ask if they have received your application, if they can look into it, etc... I applied mine 10 days ago, and past Wednesday i send a mail to my Confucius institute director, he told me he would look into it, next 2 days was easter holidays, and yesterday Monday he saw it and approved it. I think each university has different schedule, i always have been told it starts mid September and ends in July (For Jilin daxue where im applying), but the exact date plus when the semester breaks might also depend with the Chinese new year festivals, since they change every year, and if they have the same amount of day classes, the start of the semester should also change. You should send a mail the university you are applying and ask them. Also, if they buy the plane ticket for you, then you should also talk with them about the dates (For this not now, since no one has been confirmed)
  15. I first learned of The Grass House from this forum. @艾墨本 wrote an excellent review of it. I read the novel and liked it. About the author, I'll quote from the Hans Christian Andersen Award (often referred to as the "Nobel Prize for children's literature") shortlist 2016: Cao's language is simple yet beautiful. He is a children's writer, but you won't find talking animals in his books. Despite the idyllic setting, suffering is a constant motif. His writing is reflective of his difficult childhood. Poverty, illness, disaster, death — things we don't normally associate with the label "children's book". But there's also endurance, redemption, hope, and most importantly, kindness. It's rare to find a children's book that can make adults laugh, cry, and sigh. His books are that kind of books. His hit novel 《草房子》 is effectively required reading for 4th or 5th graders now. The book has an interesting structure. It consists of nine chapters, each chapter a self-contained story of its own — in fact, they have been published as nine picture books for younger kids, with titles like 《秃鹤不是一只鹤》《浸月寺的风铃》《月光下,红菱船》etc. The stories are stringed together by a boy named 桑桑. (Incidentally, Cao Wenxuan's father was a self-taught teacher turned headmaster, just like Sang Sang's father.) Because each chapter is too long, I have chosen for this post the first section of the first chapter. You can find the full chapter here. Cao has an easy-to-read style. He tends to use complete sentences. At times it can feel a bit repetitive and wordy. There are localisms like "埋下屁股" that are not part of the standard idiom. But overall the narrative is clear and easy to follow. The text has gone through significant revisions since its first publication. (An older version of the first chapter can be found here.) I think the revisions are an improvement. It has made the language more standard and more accessible for young (as well as foreign) readers. A few examples to illustrate my point: 这流火的七月天空→这夏日的天空, 引亢高歌→引吭高歌, 桑桑跟杜小康的关系很稀松→桑桑跟杜小康的关系不远不近. The book I bought is published by 江苏凤凰少年儿童出版社, the original publisher. But I also found a copy of the book published by 人民文学出版社·天天出版社. I find the latter slightly better, containing fewer 错别字 in general, e.g., 一道道目光/*一对对目光, 搭理/*答理, 冰雪融化/*冰雪溶化, 一场不落/*一场不拉. If you're considering buying the book, 人文版 is a good choice. They are dependable as usual. Oh and Cao is a prolific writer. If you like his style, there's a lot to read. (I believe sticking to one author is the best way to build up vocabulary and develop the necessary reading skills at the beginning. Because they repeat themselves. When I saw in the first-10-books-you-read thread this sentence "it would be great to have a list to draw from that is somewhat progressive in difficultly but each book is still easy", I was like, "easy but progressive, that's a big ask." I don't know how much one can progress in his first 10 books. I read 30 Agatha Christie's before I was pissed off by the nursery rhymes and dropped her for good. But that's just me.) 《草房子》,曹文轩,江苏凤凰少年儿童出版社,2016年4月第4版,2018年3月第19次印刷,ISBN 978-7-5346-1872-7 Difficulty: easy; Total characters: 129,900; Unique characters: 2,627; Unique words: 7,455 First section (2,248 characters): Characters: 桑桑 Sāng Sāng — Protagonist, son of the headmaster of the local elementary school 陆鹤 Lù Hè — Sang Sang's classmate, nicknamed 秃鹤 Tū Hè 'bald crane' 丁四 Dīng Sì — Butcher 纸月 Zhǐyuè — Sang Sang's classmate, titular character of Chapter 2 香椿 Xiāngchūn — Sang Sang's classmate Other names: 油麻地 Yóumádì — the village where Sang Sang lives 梧桐 wútóng — Chinese parasol tree (Firmiana simplex) 枫树 fēngshù — maple tree 生姜 shēngjiāng (=姜) — ginger Vocabulary (I'm not a learner nor a teacher. Sorry if the selection is too random. Characters not in the official HSK vocab list are marked red.):
  16. Juraj 唐优来

    Introducing Chinese Text Analyser

    Hey!After installing the new security update, its working again. Thanks for your prompt reply and sorry for any inconvenience!
  17. The teacher can smack your fingers with a ruler every time you get the tones wrong 😹 Maybe you can roleplay some situations (job interview, bank transaction...) adding movement and gestures. Maybe correction of handwritten assignments (and character stroke order) would be easier face to face. And maybe you could have a field lesson in the Chinese quarter or a Chinese restaurant or any other place that contain vocabulary you are interested in learning.
  18. Just out of curiosity, why do you think having a teacher face2face would be that much more educational vs online tutoring?
  19. Hi, I think these seals will be difficult to read, but if you could help to find out the name of the potter ( these are on a Yixing teapot) that would be really great! Thank you very much in advance!
  20. I still think you need some structured learning even if its not in an actual classroom. Try looking at a course from Coursera or edx. I know this will sound frustrating but start at the beginning, with level one, lesson one. If you know it all, you will fly through it, but I think its really good for catching problems you may have, there may be some Eureka moments as you understand something that has been missed in the "patchy" approach that I think (from your description above) you have been taking up til now. Or at the very least start using a textbook like New Practical Chinese Reader. There is audio, video, writing practice, and speaking practice, all working together at the correct level together. Again start at the beginning. From the way you listed what you had done you seem to separate reading, writing, speaking and listening as separate activities, IMHO these should not be separated like this. This is why I keep suggesting a structure learning method to tie all these things together. One other suggestion is HelloChinese http://www.hellochinese.cc/. This is a good app for practicing everything together, it is free, but has some paid content but try the free content first, if you like it, its worth paying for the extra content. Don't confuse it with HelloTalk. I feel the biggest change for you would be to tie all your learning together in one place for awhile, its great having lots of things to flit about from but I think to get over this hump in the road you need to knuckle down with the textbooks and put in some concerted effort to consolidate all you already know and see if this helps find out where your strengths and weakness are and how best to improve your overall level. I think also if you have a set course of action you won't waste time deciding what to do today, it will be a steady progress from lesson 1 to 2 and so on, no planning just learning. Sometimes one can spend too much time preparing to learn So in a nutshell - hit the books
  21. Only a partial, artificial environment to be more precise. Whilst it helps towards learning, fluency is a different level altogether (depending on your definition).
  22. But thanks to the internet we can create that environment wherever we are. Then you should be able to watch something like 都挺好 and slowly improve your listening.
  23. You have a point. Going to a real class is not an option for family and professional reasons, but I can and should use italki more. I've had some good and encouraging experiences with italki last year. A few years ago I nursed the hope of using Chinese in my profession (I am a translator), but it did not happen. Other than that my motivation is based on cultural interest. As Albert Camus said: "The struggle itself is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy". I should meditate that sentence more. I'm trying to read books written by Chinese authors (no translation) for a Chinese audience. I can read and I have read a number of novels in Chinese. The trick is that I still have to choose them carefully, accept that there will be an initial bump (as far as vocab and style are concerned) and that I may have to put the book aside after one or two weeks of struggle to start the process again with another, easier book. As I said in my answer to @Shelley I've had a good experience with iTalki in the past and I probably should be using it more. Thanks to all for answering and for your encouragement. Whining a bit online is an embarassing, but potentially useful way to muster some courage to go on 🙂
  24. Most of my learning Mandarin experience has been informal, online chats with italki community tutors. I did some systematic exercises on pronunciation with pinyin with a tutor and went through volume 1 and part of volume 2 of NCPR with an online pro teacher with just via voice over Skype. I estimate I am around hsk4 level but probably stronger than a lot of people with respect to listening and pronunciation. I have been thinking about getting a personal tutor for face to face learning. The expense is much greater. Having someone in front of me would be a different experience and possibly take me higher and faster. I don't get much direct usage with Mandarin in daily life. I am wondering what should I be looking for in a across the table setting that an online lesson cannot provide. My weak point would be my grammar and vocabulary. I have been given a tutor contact from the teaching unit of a reputable university. The person comes highly recommended and works in the teaching and research unit of Chinese language. Lives in my area so that is convenient for both of us. I'm pretty tempted to do sessions and put myself forward as a guinea pig for novel techniques (if any). Is there anything that I can do to get more from each session?
  25. The famous goose goose goose 鹅鹅鹅 rerecorded, focus on poem and poet itself. https://youtu.be/Ku2prOzLe0k 咏鹅 骆宾王 鹅,鹅,鹅, 曲项向天歌。 白毛浮绿水, 红掌拨清波。
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