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  1. I think this opinion will be unpopular here, but if you have been studying 5 years and feel like you are not getting much out of it anymore, I think you should quit and not put timelines on when you will return. I dislike the common sentiment that "everyone should continue doing things forever". Life is too short for that. Especially if you have other hobbies you would like to try, and commitment to Chinese is holding you back. We all owe ourselves the courtesy of reevaluating our commitments now and then, and the permission to recalibrate our lives when we see fit. I would say take some time to think about whether you want to drop Chinese to try something else. Don't make a quick decision, but just let yourself imagine and do some research on the new thing you want to try and then, maybe while taking a break from everything, and if you still feel this way in a few weeks, go for it.
    8 points
  2. 8月,北京地铁上的人在读什么书?
    7 points
  3. I'm inclined to see this as more idiotic posturing from careerist politicians wanting to prove their "tough on China" credentials, as if Little Britain is somehow on a par with a world superpower and can meaningfully exert influence on it simply by throwing a tantrum. Not necessarily a bad thing in itself, though, given some of the shady things Confucius institutes have been involved in. But not really a positive sign in the broader context of UK-China relations, especially given the importance of international cooperation in facing the existential threat of climate change. Good for Taiwan? Maybe, maybe not. I could honestly see it going either way. Frankly it seems like playing with fire, with the actual interests of Taiwan (namely not getting invaded) being an afterthought.
    6 points
  4. @abcdefg Yes, I'm the native speaker and this is exactly why I wrote the book... so hard to know the true meaning and usage of swear words and colloquialisms
    6 points
  5. I always think it's interesting that people ask these kinds of questions about language learning, even though it's essentially the same kind of skill as learning a musical instrument, and it would be absurd to ask about mnemonic techniques to help you to learn to play the piano. Learning language is more like practising a skill than memorising the capital cities of all the countries in the world. It's all about "muscle memory" and pattern recognition, not about remembering or memorisation (although this can sort of play a supporting role, also I think some of the skills in language learning do appear to be disguised as memorisation, like vocabulary acquisition, when really they are something similar but different). Even if it were possible to use mnemonic techniques to remember the 15000 words and other information you need to begin to be proficient in Chinese, it wouldn't do so much to help you at the speed that you actually need to recall that information, and your time would be better spent elsewhere. I see people saying they do "reps" in Anki, and I think it's a nice way of thinking about vocabulary learning it since it's so much more like working out or practising than "studying" or "memorising" in the traditional sense. Edit: the caveat here being that none of what I said applies to studying for tests and stuff at school, where just memorising stuff can be enough, and mnemonic techniques are super useful.
    5 points
  6. I stumbled upon an article 《国际中文教育中文水平等级标准》专家解读 from April 2022, which I don't recall seeing before. It's a selection of Q&As in Chinese about developing the Standards. I'll highlight some interesting points. Here they mention the "can do" sentences, which seems more similar to CEFR standards. Here it talks about why the HSK4 vocabulary has increased by 2000 words (I think they mistyped 2000 as 1000 here). In particular they highlight the 以字找词 ("use characters to find words") method. So while there is a sharp increase in the number of words, the number of characters doesn't change much (from 1064 to 1200). The new HSK4 vocabulary, while larger, contains many words which share characters. They talk about how they are using a Hanzi-first approach: they first choose the most relevant characters to include at each level, then choose the words with those characters. They say levels 7-9 are designed for Chinese-specialized students. They say they are currently (April 2022) discussing how to implement "translation". They say that levels 1 through 6 haven't changed much overall, but are more "scientific". They say that the Standards have been designed to be brought in line with international standards. They add they have conducted research on this, and there's already been some preliminary results of this research. You should refer to follow-up results. This says the Standards are not equal to a HSK syllabus. I'm not quite sure what this means. This says HSK 7-9 is expected to be officially launched early next year (not this year, as announced elsewhere). [We're already in September, so this would not be surprising now.] The article also talks about one of the primary researchers becoming seriously ill and one passing away, during the implementation of the HSK 3.0.
    5 points
  7. I used 滚开 once to get rid of some vendors pestering me to buy tea in a village and it was clear from their reaction that it was far beyond what the situation required.
    5 points
  8. Matteo, your situation compels me to make my first post here, even though I have been a member of this forum for quite a while now. I have been studying Mandarin for over 10 years now, sometimes intensively and sometimes less so. I have not been able to make my best hobby my profession, at least not yet. But I have derived great enjoyment from studying and getting proficient. I love what it has brought me in terms of leisure (TV shows), general knowledge, becoming a China follower, sharpening my wits on characters and language. Tomsima, Lu and Mayo all make valid observations. I recognise what you are feeling and my message to you is: all the effort you have put in so far will always be time well spent. You can leverage off your knowledge and effort with other jobs, even ones that might not seem obvious. For instance, you mention Europe and Germany in particular. What about working for a Chinese electric car company there? Or liaise with Chinese companies on behalf of your new work? I don't know your background, this is but an example. Studying German will be made easier since you have already learnt another language and i would say easier than Mandarin. I have also found that employers saw my time studying Mandarin as positive, even if it had no direct link with my work. There is more to having this link/bond with China than just being able to go and work or travel there. Indeed, I have also thought of Taiwan as an alternative. Mandarin is also spoken in Singapore, which is now experiencing an influx of people from Hong Kong. And it is an important regional language for countries like Australia and New Zealand. I hope that that you find this helpful.
    5 points
  9. 5 points
  10. To be honest, I wonder if this is a good approach to learning Chinese. Imron once told me to read easier texts even if it hurts your pride. Best advice ever. The small daily victories accumulate over time.
    5 points
  11. I saw that some people enjoy reading chinese schoolbooks for practice. It is something i do aswell so i thought it is worth mentioning that you can access all books from first grade to end of highschool online. https://basic.smartedu.cn/elecEdu has pretty much every book. And on youtube there are channels that upload complimentary video material for these classes. If you know what you are doing, you can download all the books as pdfs aswell. Its all for native speakers of course, but it gave me a lot of motivation to read more, since you also learn a lot about chinese mainland culture this way. Just if it looks that way. This is not some kind of ad. I think the website is propably a government website. All books are free to read. Just wanted to clarify.
    4 points
  12. The original meaning of 'swear' is 'to take an oath'. Only through the extended notion of 'invoking sacred names' did it acquire the bad language sense. There are two kinds of taboos involved in European swear words - the taboo of taking God's name in vain, and the taboo of mentioning certain body parts or bodily functions/actions. Taboo is the power source of expletives. Due to the lack of an all-powerful, well-organized, monotheistic religion, Chinese people don't have that kind of religious taboo. There is no Chinese equivalent of 'blimey', 'darn it', or 'holy cow'. The main ingredients of Chinese 脏话 are unspeakable actions, close relatives, and body parts. My point is, disguised though it may be through layers upon layers of euphemism/ellipsis, there really is only one kind of swearing in Chinese. Hence the confusion.
    4 points
  13. ...frustration, while you analyze your listening? No, it does not select from different xiangs. It only selects from different xiǎngxiànglì-s. And there are not that many 😉 I do not analyse anything. I just listen. I said this before, just do it and your brain will eventually make sense of it. It is not about analysing!!!
    4 points
  14. China is closed, but have you considered Taiwan? I don't know what your holiday situation is, but perhaps you could take off three weeks and visit, with your wife. Enjoy the food, the landscape, burn incense in the temples, and make friends with the people, they're really nice and speak a very clear Mandarin. You could even check out their current policy on foreign English teachers. Taiwan may not be as mind-blowing as China, it can certainly deliver on a memorable experience in a completely foreign country.
    4 points
  15. @Insectosaurus did you find an answer to your question? Sorry I missed it. If you haven't, and for others who don't yet know: you can access Ximalaya in your browser, just go to: https://www.ximalaya.com/ It's all there, if not all, at least enough to keep you busy for a long time. You can open an account using your email &/or non-Chinese phone number, this allows you to keep track of your listening history, choices, favs, etc. as well as sync across devices. You can use browser extensions like Zhongwen and translator apps on the web pages. There will be restrictions on some audios due to copyright, depending on your location, and also podcasts that are restricted to VIPs, but there is much good stuff for free. You'll have to check how much of what you want to listen is for VIPs only - and you may want to find a way to subscribe, for which I think may need to register via the international branch (more below). I have an annual subscription and find it good value but I joined a long time ago and subscribe via the Apple store (the app is only available through the Chinese store now). There are also many lecture series for purchase (prices are reasonable) and are yours to keep no matter what. A tip: If an audio book you want is restricted, search for the same book title in the H. site - many books have multiple recordings, some restricted, some free, it's worth a try. The home page on the web site will invite you to download their Windows app. This is a nice tool, it allows you to download audios and save them in your device to listen offline. Note: The files are not mp3s. The app downloaded from the Ximalaya website is new and updated regularly, unlike the ximalaya app in the Windows Store. The Ximalaya Home page also has a link to the Ximalaya international branch: Himalaya. The Android and iOS apps are available in the US store though not in Europe or UK (Copyright regulations again), but there now is web access. I don't know whether it allows subscribing from EU/UK (US subs are $60 per year), though one can explore the site and listen to the free stuff. You can sign up for an account using email, or non-Chinese phone, or WeChat / Google or Facebook. https://www.himalaya.com/cn
    3 points
  16. I wanted to give an update! Sadly, I fell off the listening wagon after my last post in March, but I'm back at it again. I took 2 breaks since my last post (each about 2-ish months each). So between March and now (6 months total), I've only been following my listening routine for about 2 months. Since the end of my last break, I've been sticking to my listening routine for a month now. All told, I'm at ~170 hours cumulative listening time, since the beginning of the year, ~40 hours per month when I've been seriously engaged. Recent observations: 1. It's harder to maintain focus on intensive listening than I originally thought. Harder than my intensive reading project from last year (at least for my learning style). I thought it would become easier as I got better. But it's turned out not exactly to be the case. As I got better, my attention started wandering. E.g. started clicking around the internet, reading stuff, looking for other things to do, while listening. Paradoxically, I couldn't do these other things before when I was worse at the skill. I had to focus 100%. After I got better, so that I could focus < 100%, I actually did focus < 100%, making the process just as hard as before. Lol. 2. Also, my improvement was veeeerrrrry slow, plateauing hard after the first 50 hours or so. Without much noticeable improvement, I couldn't maintain interest. Even my attempts to create tests to track my progress didn't help, since the test scores didn't budge much, and went down as much as up. 3. One sure sign I was about to fall off the wagon is when I start listening to lots of different stuff. Listening to a chapter from 5 or 6 books / shows over a few days preceded all of my prolonged lapses. If I'm sampling heavily, it's a sure sign I'm getting bored. 4. Last year, when I was continuously reading, I made a habit of sticking to a single book at a time. In hindsight, that was very important to maintaining my progress, because if nothing else, just finishing a book feels like progress. Also, books get easier as you continue through it, so you can tell yourself you're getting better. Even if it's partly illusory competence, you feel it viscerally. But when you're jumping around 5 or 6 books, you get continuous hints that you haven't improved as much as you think. You're falling down the competence curve every time you switch. Since coming back from my last lapse, I've been sticking to a single book at a time. In fact, I've just listened to books from a single series since then. That makes it much more similar to my experience last year, which boosts my confidence (since that worked well last time). 5. Recently, I had a bit of a breakthrough in terms of performance. It came around 150 hr mark (or about ~2 million chars). That's just about when I expected it... because that's the same point at which I felt a lot more comfortable with reading (2 million chars). That coincidence does makes me wonder if it's just psychological, but I'm going to see if it sticks and if I can confirm it through tests. I'll post again if it confirms. But feeling an actual improvement is hugely encouraging, giving me some hope I'll stick to my routine this time.
    3 points
  17. I wrote a book that can teach you how can speak all variety of foul language in Mandarin. The title is: The Ultimate Chinese Dictionary of Swear Words Here is a link, and it's free on Kindle until Sept 8th: https://amzn.to/3B5GECr
    3 points
  18. You just search on Youtube for TVh shows with subs and then export the transcript: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=电视节目&sp=EgIoAQ%3D%3D Let us use this episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKLb37JG0yE&ab_channel=感谢订阅中剧独播 You click on the 3 dots at the lower right corner. "show transcript". And then remove time stamps. Then you mark the text (click top left corner, keep mouse clicked while you drag it to the top right lower corner.....) then CRTL+c and paste it in a Word document. You can also you downsub.com
    3 points
  19. I was going to recommend the Matteo Ricci book too. He tried to pitch memory palace techniques to young gentry who had to memorize long texts for the 科举. His party trick at banquets would be to memorize a long text of random characters, then recite it forwards and backwards. I'm a bit dubious that any mnemonic system would be fast enough for oral vocabulary. If mnemonics has any utility in learning Chinese, it would definitely be in learning to write the characters. I cooked up my own version of the Heisig system that uses Wubi character roots as mnemonic elements, and have used it for about a year and a half to slowly memorize ~1000 characters I previously wasn't able to write from memory. Unlike previous attempts with rote memorization where I had a big problem with leeches, my Anki cards are lapsing a lot less: fewer than 1% have more than 6 lapses.
    3 points
  20. Hey all, I realize this is one of the "recurring" subjects and it's probably been discussed at length somewhere by someone in the forum. However, I think it will be useful for me to write about my specific situation, at the very least so I can make it clearer in my head while doing so. I have been studying mandarin for about 5 years now. It's never been a full time commitment because I work and I have friends, other hobbies etc. however I'd say that I devoted a very big chunk of my free time to it as well as most of my energies. Just like everyone else, at the beginning I literally loved studying, and every new character was new and mysterious and exciting. Then with the years as I learned more and more, studying turned more into a - still interesting - routine, just like a sport or another hobby. It was fun and it made me feel like I was spending my time well. What kept me motivated? I think the main factor was the hope that sooner or later I would have the opportunity (working or otherwise) to spend a significant time in China and have a mind-blowing life experience. I live for that kind of stuff and briefly travelled to the country a few times - during which being able to understand "something" was extremely satisfying. Also, I've always been deeply fascinated with Asian cultures and the idea of being able to lift a curtain over the impenetrability of Chinese culture and Chinese characters is extremely fascinating to me. After all this time I can read books in Chinese (I can almost enjoy them if they're not too hard) and communicate at a simple level. Many would consider this a good achievement. I know fully well that in order to get anywhere near what I consider "good" - i.e. having a free, interesting conversation, being able to pick up and read anything without needing to constantly check a dictionary - I'll need at least another 5 years of studies. Even If I were happy of my level and didn't want to improve, just plain maintenance of my current level will take quite a bit of effort. But I knew that from the beginning so what's changed now? I think the main factors that are leading to a massive drop in motivation for me are the following, in order of importance. 1) in these 5 years I grew up, my view of life and my goals changed so dropping everything and moving (to China) is not a realistic option anymore. I'd still consider a well-planned move if I could land a good job first and be sure that my wife has some opportunities as well. Very theoretical, in my experience making such a move is intrinsically very risky. 2) Opportunity costs. I've been neglecting a ton of possible alternative hobbies and activities (including sleeping late on weekends 😜) to study Chinese. Right now for example, it looks like moving back to Europe in the next 5-10 years could be a possibility for me. I know for sure that studying German would give me massive opportunities then, but there's no way I can study German and Chinese at the same time. 3) I can't seem to find interesting content that keeps me effortlessly engaged in the language. 4) The pandemic, China being more and more unfriendly, being a long-term tourist or English teacher not being an option anymore - which kind of removes the option of visiting during a long sabbatical. What options am I considering? (apologies if I'm cutting a bit short at this stage, I'm out of time - might come back later to edit in more details) 1) quit. Take the hit and move on. And hope I don't regret the choice 1 year or 10 down the line. 2) take a break (say 6 months), during which I might trial an alternative (say Japanese, or German) 3) power through the motivation dip and hope it gets better and I don't burn out 😅 Thanks everyone for your attention, your thoughts and points of view will be much appreciated.
    3 points
  21. Dirty Chinese: Everyday Slang from "What's Up?" to "F*%# Off!" I didn't remember the title either, but I will never forget Brendan O'Kane's pseudonym for this book.
    3 points
  22. Yes. I am sort of in the same boat as you, though I've been studying longer (10+ years), and had the opportunity to spend some time in Hong Kong very earlier into my study (years 3 and 4). Similar to you, it's felt like I've checked a lot of the boxes that could be reasonable goals as someone who won't be traveling or making a career change any time soon. I've read multiple Chinese novels, I've watched movies and dramas only aided by Chinese subtitles, I've listened to pods and youtube videos and come away with strong comprehension. My Chinese is far, far, far from perfect (or even "good"), but I've done a lot of what I can do for now, I still commit some time every week to checking out Chinese media in the hopes that things change, but thus far I've failed to really find the spark to keep going anywhere. In my case, I'm luckily also a music lover, and I've poured my free time into my guitar, playing much more on my own and in group settings than I ever did when I was studying Chinese for hours per day. So that's one reason why I have no qualms recommending a "quit". "Quitting" is not forever - you can always go back - but sometimes you need to tell yourself it's OK to stop, maybe even permanently, so you can open the door for new things.
    3 points
  23. WUHHHUUU😍😍😍😍😍😍 And now it is official: Taiwan is back open. From the 12th of September Taiwan is restoring visa free entry (90 days) to US, EU, Canada, Australia and New Zealand again - which is exactly how it worked before Covid. https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4648177 3 days home quarantine and thats it (which they will probably drop soon too, but for the moment still required).
    3 points
  24. No, that was the right decision. Just remember how silly Chinese and other non-native speakers sound when they try to use English curses. They never get it right.
    3 points
  25. Thank you for writing this and for making it available. I'll download it and have a look just for fun. May I ask, 请问一下 @SLiu1996-- am I right in assuming you are a native speaker? Swearing is so tricky for a foreigner. One casual insult can elicit a smile and a nod, a slightly different insult can lead to you getting punched in the mouth. Or maybe some aspect of the circumstances changes, ever so slightly. The cultural nuances are too complex and too subtle. I decided a long time ago to not try to swear in Chinese in China. Not sure if I should have been bolder.
    3 points
  26. I bought some of the books above. The Framework of Reference for Chinese Culture and Society in International Chinese Language Education is not related with the Standard at all. The book is about cultural teaching designed for primary school, secondary school, and college/university/adult students.
    3 points
  27. But they do counter serious disease and death. Sweden was probably the most open society during the entire pandemic and ended up with moderate excess deaths. Japan too, with close to zero. Bulgaria failed to vaccinate its population and have what might be the worst death rate in the world. You misunderstood my point about India. I'm saying the wave in 2021 clearly would have looked different with a high vaccine coverage and I have seen nothing to suggest otherwise. I'm not saying the reason the situation is better today is because of the vaccinations only. Of course there will be deaths. You don't have to equal covid to the normal flu to point out that China didn't lock cities down during flu seasons before covid was a thing. Every flu season brings excess deaths, both in rich countries and poor. China's policy has clearly impacted both the global and the Chinese economy, which also brings inflation, economic downturn and excess deaths. That those deaths are not as easy to track does not make them any less real. I've learned not to debate the Chinese regime on this community, so I will just conclude by pointing out that best record does not equal best measures.
    3 points
  28. This is so true! Earlier this year I saw a post by John Renfroe of Outlier Linguistics arguing that studying classical Chinese would help with modern Mandarin. I signed up for his beginner and intermediate classical Chinese courses and discovered Zhuangzi, about whom I previously knew nothing. I had no idea there was his kind of playful and profound philosophical parables in the ancient Chinese canon. That newly opened door is something I would probably not have discovered otherwise.
    3 points
  29. If you're multilingual, you'll already be aware that the benefit of using another language isn't by any means tied to being a citizen or a working immigrant in a specific country. All the more true if the language in question is a major world language: earth abounds with everything Chinese. You really don't need us reminding you of that. So what seems to trouble you isn't the physical distance with the necessities of life in the PRC; it's the psychological distance with the people and material you're supposed to spend so many more hours of practice with if you are to reach any kind of decent fluency. On the one hand, this is an "arrival fallacy" that you really needn't be labouring under (as pointed out upthread, your efforts so far are their own reward). On the other hand, any pursuit can become a burden if your heart's not in it and it is really tough to find something that keeps you "effortlessly engaged" when you're learning something that still feels very foreign to you. I suggest exploring something brand new: don't look for what you already like, just give some seemingly uninteresting content/genre/activity a chance and let them grow on you. If you only look for content you already know you enjoy, then you may not find it in Chinese - primarily because you don't need to (you've already grown to enjoy it in a different language). The reason learning languages is a mind-opening endeavour is precisely because it opens doors for you that you otherwise wouldn't have opened. If you grow to like and engage with some of that Chinese native content you presently find uninteresting, pretty soon you'll have a Chinese-speaking corner in your heart just for that and Chinese will become a part (however small) of your identity. That's what languages are, after all. Only at that point will you have "arrived" - Chinese will simply be one of your working languages, whatever your fluency, and you'll no longer be looking out for extra motivation or external reasons to practice it. And, boy, does it need practising...
    3 points
  30. I have just capped off 5 years of serious Chinese study, and things are feeling quite good. Over the past months, I've been anticipating an end to the more "goal-oriented" phase of my reading practice, and I think I finally have a concrete roadmap! It was my stated goal, a long time ago, to get myself to the place where I'm only encountering unknown words (whose meaning I can't guess) once every 3 pages or more, at least for the average book. So far in 2022, I've already read 4 books that exceeded that goal. I plan to read through another 3 or 4 books, and if everything goes according to plan, I'll dramatically reduce my reading practice to 15-20 minutes a day (which may further improve my reading speed) and focus on listening practice. From here on out, I hope to finish Lu Yao's "Ordinary World" trilogy and read Jiang Rong's "Wolf Totem." There aren't a lot of other books in my library that I'm super-excited to read. I do have the modern classic "White Deer Plain," but I'm getting rather tired of that "life in the Chinese countryside during the Cultural Revolution" genre. After finishing this reading list, I will have read over 10,000 pages. Hooray! With regard to listening practice, I won't be starting from square one, fortunately! Throughout the past five years, I have worked on it inconsistently--sometimes working hard on it, sometimes stepping away from it for a month or two. I started by listening to the audio CDs that came with my graded readers. Extremely difficult and frustrating, but I did experience slow growth. Then I spent a summer listening to the "Learning Chinese through Stories" Podcast, often while mowing my lawn or walking. The hosts were really lively and friendly, and there were different difficulty levels to choose from. It was done totally in Chinese, and they would repeat themselves a lot and engage in Q&A with one another to highlight the meaning of a word. My first really positive experience. Since that Podcast ran out of content and stopped updating, I turned to "iMandarinPod." It was really great--it was also done entirely in Chinese. They would tell a story (usually around HSK4/5 level), then give a simple Chinese definition of hard words, then have a discussion about the story, and then re-read the story. That lasted a year or two, but I ultimately moved on (I think they stopped adding new episodes, too). After that, I experimented more with YouTube videos and subtitles (native-level), ultimately spending the Summer of 2021 on that strategy (as much as 2 hours a day). Since then, I haven't given it the same focused attention, but I have been constantly listening to Chinese podcasts in the background throughout my day. It's been encouraging, because I can understand a lot of it! It's a sort of cycle. If I understand it, I like to listen to it more. If I listen more, I understand more. If I understand more, I like listening more. And so on and so on. I'd like to polish my listening skill by giving it another year or two of intensive focus. I wouldn't call myself a confident listener yet. I am excited about the way it will expand my experience of the language.
    3 points
  31. Agree with this, I think it goes back to the whole trope of the gifted child that is so popular these days. For those not in the know, the gifted child is just somebody who is great at something from the very beginning or after only a few years of practice, whether it be Harry Potter with his Wizardry or the girl from the Queen's Gambit television show. I think a lot of people are not even thinking about what they are interested in and in reality are thinking more in terms of what thing they think their "gift" could be. When they realize it's not Chinese (or anything else) they move on.
    3 points
  32. The other day I was reading on a plane. Specifically, I was struggling to get through a paragraph that I found difficult because of some weird phrasing. I remember thinking to myself "how can this still be so difficult after almost eight years of learning this language?" At that exact moment, the guy in the next seat turned to me and said "Wow! You can read Japanese? That's amazing!" After letting him know that it was, in fact, Chinese, I thanked him and then thought about it for a minute. It IS pretty incredible to be able to read Chinese books, even if it feels really difficult sometimes. I would try to focus on how far you've come, and how truly incredible it is that you can actually pick up a Chinese novel and read it, even if it's difficult or you cant understand everything. I don't know for sure, but I would guess that most Chinese learners never make it to that point. Maybe take a break and come back to it when you feel ready. I find that when I try to force hobbies into my life I start to resent them, but then when I take some time away I find that I actually miss them and naturally want to pick them up again.
    3 points
  33. @sanchuan I also got fluent in a short period of time (about a year), but my method was very reliant on extensive 1-1 tutoring and textbook use. I think the most important thing is probably just having an effective method and getting the couple thousand hours of effective study in.
    2 points
  34. Does anyone know what the Confucius Institutes actually do in the UK? If it's just some beginner evening classes, I don't see why this is such a big deal - do they really need replacing? Do they actually contribute to people attaining fluency in Chinese?
    2 points
  35. This video on YouTube appears to dissect August's HSK6 exam, and compares it to previous HSK6 exam difficulty. I can't speak Korean, so I'm wondering if anyone can help me understand what's in the video. The date 22년08월21일 matches the actual exam date. Actually they seem to be doing it each month: - August 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNtfwuOoEfg - July 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xto_ZKkKcYQ - June 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzbcUPREVqw - May 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjyZzSO1yMM - April 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmheYHmkU6Y - March 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0H1JWCFbs4 [this is the one I took] - February 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNQAyId2LK0 In fact, there seems to be multiple YouTube channels doing the same thing; two others for August 2022 are: - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJqk-s7xazs - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B--49PPp86Y They're all uploaded on the day of the exam.
    2 points
  36. Has anyone here successfully used loci method (or memory palace) for learning Chinese words? Recently I'm studying memory techniques and they can be useful for my university study as well. They could be used for learning Chinese as well I guess, but I'm not sure I found an efficient system that is worth the effort. I think that learning new words should be based primarily on understanding, components break down etc., so a purely mnemonic system may not be ideal, memory palace is a very powerful tool though. There aren't many resources available online about memory palace and Chinese learning, anyway for example there is a World memory champion that also studied Chinese among the other things and used a particular technique. I would like to share some resource here so that maybe we can brainstorm how to use memory techniques for learning Chinese. I'd like to hear your ideas. https://mullenmemory.com/memory-palace/chinese-system-part-1 https://mullenmemory.com/memory-palace/chinese-system-part-2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qGjfSrQH4Y https://countryoftheblind.blogspot.com/2012/01/mnemonics-for-pronouncing-chinese.html For those who aren't aware of memory palace, well it's a way of memorising things by encoding information in the form of images and imagining them interacting with each other in your mind while following the path of a place that you already know, so that you can attach a new info to the solid memory of objects location that already belongs to your long term memory and you are able to recall with no effort. It helps transferring new information from short term to long term memory. This also allows to memorise information in a particular order. Hmm this method could be used for writing and reading or just for speaking. Let's focus for a moment on the speaking part, because they require a different approach and being able to speak may be more practical. What you need to memorise is the word in your language and the word in Chinese (that could be divided in multiple chunks rather than being memorised as a single unit). About the Chinese word we should be able to recall meaning and pronunciation. Hmm we could associate an image representing a word in our language (let's say English as an example) to a few images representing words or sounds similar to the Chinese pronunciation. If Chinese was a simpler language it wouldn't be too difficult, but Chinese has tones, so there should be a way of encoding tones as well. Tones could be numbers, so we could encode them by using images representing those numbers eventually. If we use pinyin there are many combinations of sounds that could be learnt and used to make this system. We could encode all the pinyin sounds separately or we could encode all the finite set of initials and finals and associate them with tones. I think this thing is possible, but relies a lot on memory and not on comprehension, so it has some downsides. Besides, while doable, how long would it take to do all this? And what would be recall speed be? I probably won't end up trying this, but what do you think? Do you have some suggestions for improving this system? How would you split and encode the information for representing new words to learn? Has anyone tried it before? I think this method was never discussed on this forum, it may spark some interest even in case we decide it isn't worth the effort.
    2 points
  37. You might enjoy Jonathon Spence's book on Ricci and this technique: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/a/jonathan-spence-4/the-memory-palace-of-matteo-ricci/ His Chinese got pretty good by all accounts.
    2 points
  38. TLDR: scroll down for pictures of how my anki cards look. Split up meaning and pronunciation, add a sentence. You should really try not to test for pronunciation and meaning on a single card. It goes against the whole idea of testing for the least possible information on each card. Seems to be what most people do though. This is the basic note format that I use for new words in Anki, it needs 5 fields, with an optional 6th: Chinese - Chinese characters English - English meaning Pinyin - Pinyin of the word Audio - Audio, use the anki-forvo-dl addon for this, or get your own word audio Sentence - an associated sentence, ideally the sentence where you first encountered the word (https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/858591644) (EnZhCard) - putting anything in this will create a card This will create 3 cards (with an option English->Chinese card) Recall meaning only Front: Chinese chars - Back: English and audio/pinyin Recall pronunciation only Front: Chinese chars - Back: audio only (pinyin as a hint filed) or pinyin if there is no audio available Recall Chinese from English (optional) Front: English definition - Back: English Sentence card front: Sentence with target word highlighted - Back: pronunciation, audio I don't include the English meaning of the sentence since I always remember it and if I can't then I change to an easier sentence. Here's how my cards look: Sentence (recall word meaning in context): front: back: Pronunciation (recall ONLY pronunciation, ideally with audio rather than pinyin): front: back: Recall meaning only: front: back:
    2 points
  39. I disagree! Chinese people don't really curse with God, but they curse with each other's parents and ancestors, which in the Chinese context is certainly blasphemous. @abcdefg, the word 'Chinaman' has strong racist connotations, best avoid using it unless you want to insult someone.
    2 points
  40. I feel like I have a lot of things in common with your experience. --I, too, have been studying for 5 years (albeit, pretty intensely--perhaps about 5,000 hours) --I, too, have given up "sleeping in" as a hobby. I really need to start that hobby again (especially while I'm still young-ish), or it will adversely impact my health. --I, too, have a hard time envisaging a future in China. The geopolitical situation between my country and China is growing quite tense, and my wife (who has been there a time or two) had a really negative experience and all but vowed to never go back. And that's yet another factor--I do have a wife, as well as small kids. That's not really conducive to traveling to China for any significant amount of time, even if I could. --I, too, have dabbled in German, and still maintain my German skills with about 15 minutes of review a day. I will be studying it more devotedly once Chinese study subsides (and fortunately, German has been way easier to learn). --In my case, as well as yours, German is the more "useful" language right now, not Chinese. My wife speaks it (we've been able to enjoy a "secret" language to discuss things in ways the kids can't understand), and I will very likely be travelling to Austria next Summer to help with a friend's wedding. We know several Chinese-speaking families (which is a motivating factor for me), but they are all fairly fluent in English. So speaking Chinese with them is just a cute party trick. "Oh, your Chinese is so good! Ha ha!" etc., etc. Then we switch straight back to English. I think I came into the hobby of Chinese as a language nerd who had already studied classical languages (Latin, Greek, Hebrew), which have almost zero practical applicability to day-to-day modern life. People who study those languages generally don't care as much about the question of "how will I use this language?" They just study it for its own sake. I'm reminded of J.R.R. Tolkien, who liked languages so much that he made his own fictional ones. Well, in and of itself, Chinese provides all those enjoyments, with the added bonus that around a billion people still speak it today. Latin would have been more fun if there were fresh new books and movies written in Latin, I could read the news in Latin, I could watch funny YouTube videos in Latin, or if I could hear Latin-speaking immigrants in the local coffeeshops/university campuses/grocery stores. I agree with the concept expressed in this thread--nothing can last forever, at least at a high intensity. I am likewise plotting, in the near term, to take back a large chunk of my time from Chinese study. I can relate to people who just want to be finished. It's been fun, though.
    2 points
  41. Apparently Arthur Waley's Travels of an Alchemist covers the journey and meeting, and Bretschneider translated a record of his travels: https://depts.washington.edu/silkroad/texts/changchun.html (cited on Wiki too) Not sure if the meeting record is in the collection that text is extracted from. Found an entry in Wilkinson's Chinese History: A Manual
    2 points
  42. They reduce it but some vaccinated people are still hospitalised and still die of Covid in e.g. the UK, USA etc. Also the Chinese vaccines are quite possibly a bit shit. I just find it hard to believe that the Chinese leadership are (is?) being stupid on this topic. History shows that the survival of the Party is always the most important thing. The question should be: is the survival of the Party better served by zero-Covid right now rather than by letting it rip right now? The answer: if you think there there is a decent chance of: mass infections, overloaded hospitals, most people knowing someone who 'died of covid', mass panic, a sense that Beijing's Covid policy has failed, a sense that the Party has failed, a sense that the West is doing things better ... then zero-Covid is perfectly logical.
    2 points
  43. Huge mistake here. Trying to remember pronunciation and tone separately makes speaking much harder. Tone is part of pronunciation. Imagine if for English you were to try to remember "pronunciation" and syllable emphasis separately. (For example, whether it's imagiNAtion or iMAGination.) In English which syllables should be emphasized is part of pronunciation.
    2 points
  44. In my experience so far, it's interesting how much listening improves just by knowing more words. I started watching Chinese dramas at around a 2,500 word vocabulary, and I remember being so frustrated with my inability to understand anything. It should have been a clue that when I turned on the Chinese subtitles, I still didn't recognize half the words. Now that I have expanded my vocabulary (I have been watching the dramas the whole time) I found that my comprehension just kind of improved on its own. The problem wasn't really with my listening, it was that even if I heard the sound of the word correctly, I didn't know what it meant. With your advanced vocabulary, I imagine you will improve extremely rapidly, but I'm curious to hear your experience. One other interesting observation, I think there may be a "sweet spot" to transition over from reading to listening because I'm finding that the words I'm learning from books now are mostly proper nouns and obscure synonyms that are not often used in conversation (ex: I used 倏地 in a conversation with my teacher last week and she told me that was only the second time in her whole life she had heard that word used). I think I noticed the usefulness of learning new words from novels starting to drop off around 7,000 total vocabulary. Interestingly, once I picked up the newspaper instead, I again started finding useful new words again. I guess that's the benefit of breadth over depth in reading material.
    2 points
  45. If you are serious about this, then find a good school in Taipei offering an immersion-style intensive course and do it for a year. You won't be "fluent" but you'll be able to get around and, most importantly, Chinese people should be able to understand you.
    2 points
  46. I absolutely agree with this in theory. After all, this is how most of us learned our primary language. However, I found that it did not work for me when learning Chinese. The frequency of exposure was not high enough. What I mean by this is that I would encounter a new word, learn it from context and then forget it again before encountering it a second time. At that point, I either had to re-learn that word from the new context or look it up in the dictionary. This was constantly happening with all but the most frequently used words, and I wasted a ton of bandwidth just re-learning the same words over and over. On the other hand, flash-carding the word for a couple of weeks and then deleting it from my deck gave the word enough "staying power" so that I could retain it long enough to have three to four more organic encounters which is what made it stick permanently. Interestingly, it was the same for me with English words. I have encountered many of the GRE (a standardized test for masters programs in the US) words in books, but I never learned them until I used flashcards because I just didn't encounter them often enough.
    2 points
  47. Are you going to try to do this yourself or with a tutor? Hopeless to expect any progress in the spoken language without a tutor and anything like "fluency" will require immersion in a Chinese environment. Starting off by yourself is an extremely bad idea. You will develop really bad habits that will be very hard to break later on.
    2 points
  48. Cool that reading children books works for you. No need to be rude to others that don’t get motivated by reading them. I read a bunch of graded readers and then went on to read native literature, starting with authors that use simple language like 余华 and I think many others did the same.
    2 points
  49. Three thoughts. A bit wordy, I know. Sorry 'bout that. First, don't focus too much on numbers thrown around by natives or people on the internet in general. The average English reading speed has been said to be 300 words per minute for several decades. More recent studies I've seen have concluded that this figure is vastly overestimated. This might be true for Chinese as well. Note that I also don't mean that people on the internet are lying, they might simply overestimate either their speed or their comprehension. Average reading speed also goes down the longer text you read. Second, while reading quickly is a useful skill that is needed, so is reading slowly. Having never had any problems in school I've always been a fast reader and never thought more about it. It was not until I started reading novels of higher quality and academic texts that were not just plain information that I realized that while I certainly could read these as fast as other texts, I shouldn't. Reading Simmel or Gadamer at 300 words per minute is simply not feasible. I spent last year actively slowing down my reading speed, rather than the other way round. The following is taken from the first chapter of The Island of Dr Moreau: I could read this as quickly as I read a post-it note or the news. But if I slow down, the scene will appear more vividly in my mind. It will also increase my enjoyment of the novel. I'm certain this is true for most people. Third. Not being a fan of drills, I have thought some about why I have no problems reading fast, even if I never practiced it (and also didn't read books). It might be that I spent a lot of the time at the computer as a child, reading stuff here and there, but I don't think that's likely. I think instead that it might be due to subtitles. They only appear for the time they do, and you basically have to grab as much information as you can during that time. Perhaps subtitles have forced us to be fast readers if we really need to be? I'm going to try this as an experiment in Chinese.
    2 points
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