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Showing content with the highest reputation on 02/19/2011 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    And you'd be wrong. Almost none (or none?) of the regular or semi-regular posters here are full-time students (of Chinese language) currently living in China. Many / most of us are not even in China, and almost all of us have full time jobs.
  2. 3 points
    This guy is sort of entertaining. Any word with which he is unfamiliar he just assumes is "linguistics jargon." It's great. No recourse to a dictionary needed. An autodidact is a self-taught person. Again, not a linguistics term. NPCR is designed for novices. Any text where the first dialogue is "hello, how are you?" "I am fine. How are you?" "I am fine too. Bye!" is aimed at novices. It just also happens to be aimed at serious students who want to improve their Chinese. What are you looking for, here? Do you want the book to stay at that basic level? Then buy a phrasebook and quit whining about the good quality materials that are out there. Or do you want a book that assumes you're an intelligent person who is willing to put in some work and increase your ability in the language? Then buy one of the many that have been suggested in this thread. And learn to use a dictionary.
  3. 2 points
    I'm not exactly sure what sort of textbook the OP is looking for, but I have a few recommendations. I'm assuming that the OP wants a textbook that is colourful and has relatively simple explanations. In short, books that are inviting and not too overwhelming with its seemingly traditional/rigid teaching style. The only thing is that these books are aimed a younger demographic (although I don't know how old you are). But it also sounds like you are looking for "survival" Chinese (correct me if I'm wrong). If so, textbooks aren't what you want because they aim to build a good foundation for any future language learning. I have no experience textbook-wise with survival Chinese, but I know that there are a few ChinesePod and ChineseClass101 lessons which cater to this (and which I've looked at, think are good, and which I think is what you're also looking for). But truthfully, if you're planning to live in China for a while, you probably should build a good foundation. Anyway, here are the textbooks. They all have preview chapters, so go and see if that's the sort of textbook you're looking for. Otherwise, I have other recommendations as well. Huanying - http://www.cheng-tsui.com/store/products/huanying Integrated Chinese - http://www.cheng-tsui.com/store/products/integrated_chinese The Routledge Course in Modern Mandarin Chinese (not exactly in colour, but has good explanations) - http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415472517/ Easy Steps to Chinese - http://www.blcup.com/en/list_1.asp?id=466
  4. 2 points
    The vast majority learn the standard way: in a class, with a teacher, using a textbook, at a university. However, the vast majority of posters here are not learning that way, and are largely learning on our own.
  5. 1 point
    Thanks JenniferW. :-) Study routine totally exploded. Flashcards felt useless, couldn't speak. Dumped everything, flashcards, children's books. Switched to all-audio, all-conversation, completely different set of resources (which fortunately I already possessed). I hope I've worked around a brick wall and I'm pressing forward again. This is the best I can do. From the inert mass of Chinese information in my mind, if I can convert about a thousand words into real language by the end of this year, I'll be quite relieved. That's my new goal. See you later.
  6. 1 point
    I've finished the second season, and it's roughly at the same level as the first one. 美嘉 is missing, but the three new characters are not worse than the three that left overall. 悠悠 and 张伟 are quite funny as the kind-hearted failed actress and the chronically jinxed lawyer-in-training. Wanyu and Zhanbo were the weakest characters in the last season anyway. Overall, the second season is a bit more consistent, and less reliant on culturally-loaded references, at least I found it easier to follow. I also had the feeling that characters were defined a bit better this time, and that the actors felt more comfortable with their roles than in the first episodes of the last season. Overall, easy viewing for upper-intermediate and advanced crowd that's entertaining and doesn't require taking notes like most Wuxia shows. There is also an intermediate season consisting of very short episodes, called 爱情公寓外传. Anyone seen them? They seem to be glorified commercials, between 5 and 10 minutes in length.
  7. 1 point
    That is really helpful!! Thank you very much!! Well, same as you, we are also required to repeat the English passages exactly on classes which I think is useless. I just do it the same as you as my English skill now is better than the most students at my age. Anyway thanks a lot!
  8. 1 point
    Everyone's different. Most textbooks teach you everything at once. Some start with learning pronunciation and tones before any words or conversations. The better ones (in my opinion) stop using pinyin in the dialogue after a few lessons and only use pinyin for the vocabulary word list. I can tell you this. I'm a native English speaker, but I learned French at age 8 when my family moved to France. They taught us French the same way I learned English: reading, grammar and spelling practice, dictation exercises, and occasionally watching movies or singing songs. I now speak it fluently. However, I didn't start learning Chinese until age 24. I discovered quickly that I cannot learn a language like when I was a kid. Back then things seemed to "stick" without me even trying... and they seem to have lasted forever. To learn a new language these days I need an immersive environment and lots of practice. Let me say this again just so you write it in your paper: Everyone really does learn differently. Here's my experience. In mainland China, I found it difficult to learn Chinese if you don't follow the main method used: repeat dialogues and memorize a billion characters per day. There is little opportunity for diverging from the dialogue and little encouragement of experiential learning during classroom time (like watching movies, the news, or going to the market in the middle of class to practice new words, something I did both when I was learning French and German). In China, the only way to get this is to go to a private school, tutor, one-on-one teacher and insist on this method. As a side note: my Chinese teachers at a U.S. university often encouraged experiential learning outside of class, but the classroom was often just as uncreative and boring, largely because the textbooks were also extremely dry and boring and my teachers didn't seem to know how to come up with anything else. There is not one "sequence" to learning Chinese. I hope you realize that. I found I learn Chinese best through constant practice of listening and reading, but that I *must* know the character, pinyin, and usage before I feel confident speaking something. For example, I cannot learn by just listening to the TV. I always read subtitles or look up characters in the dictionary. My worst experiences have been with teachers who insisted I repeat dialogues word by word, memorizing everything. Some people learn this way. But guess what? I often can't repeat exact phrases I just heard in English! I have mostly learned through teachers who encourage me to make up my own examples. They correct me when I use the wrong word or grammar. The teachers who scolded me for not being able to repeat something verbatim (every word exactly as the dialogue says) just made my life a living nightmare.
  9. 1 point
    Here's a wordlist which I drew up. Apologies for the (lack of) formatting but it's the best I could do. The order is approximately the same as the order in which they occur in the story. 严允 yányŭn Yanyun (main guy) 一片空白 yīpian kōngbái (of one's mind) to go blank 仅 jǐn only, merely, alone 未婚 wèihūn unmarried, single 未婚妻 wèihūnqī fiancée 唯 wéi only, alone 睁开眼 zhēngkāiyǎn open eyes 娃娃 wáwa baby, child, doll 眼神 yǎnshén expression in one's eyes 可恶 kěwù detestable 眼熟 yǎnshú look familiar 一下子 yíxiàzi in a short while, all at once, all of a sudden 跟上 gēnshang keep pace with, keep up with 腼腆 miǎntiǎn shy, bashful 嘻 xī giggling, merry laughter 啪嗒 pāda patter, tap-tap (onomatopoeia) 琳琅 línláng beautiful jade, gem 满目 mǎnmù meet the eye on every side 竟然 jìng rán unexpectedly, to one's surprise, in spite of everything 鱼缸 yúgāng fish tank, aquarium 回头 huítóu later; a moment later 毕竟 bìjìng actually, after all 打扰 dǎrǎo to bother, to inconvenience (someone) 始终 shǐzhōng all along, throughout; from beginning to end 弥漫 mímàn fill the air, pervade 彻底 chèdǐ thorough, completely, 窗帘 chuānglián (window) curtain 开关 kāiguān switch 幸运 xìngyùn good luck, lucky 天才 tiāncái talent, genius 实现 shíxiàn to achieve; bring about, realise 许愿 xǔyuàn vow, promise 上天 shàngtiān launch, go up to the sky; die 惩罚 chéngfá punish, punishment 温暖 wēnnuǎn warm 触 chù touch, contact; move (someone's feelings) 得奖 déjiǎng win (or be awarded) a prize 奋斗 fèndòu struggle, fight, strive 赶紧 gǎnjǐn quickly, hurry 小子 xiǎozǐ boy, guy, fellow 槁 gǎo withered 方式 fāng shì manner, style, way (of life) 借宿 jièsù stay overnight at someone's place, put up for the night 比起 bǐ qǐ compared to, compared with 长脸 zhǎngliǎn to add to the glory of 桃花 táohuā peach blossom 源 yuán source, cause, root 无影无踪 wúyǐngwúzōng without a trace 寻找 xúnzhǎo seek, look for 无数 wúshù countless, innumerable; be uncertain 线索 xiànsuǒ clue, thread, lead "失陪 shīpéi "excuse me, but I must be leaving now" (polite) 究竟 jiūjìng outcome, what actually happened; after all 迈 mài step, stride 持续 chíxù go on, continue 无意 wúyì have no intention (of doing something), not be inclined to; inadvertently, accidentally 摆酒 bǎijiǔ to arrange a feast 摆 bǎi arrange, put in place; state; assume 有方 yǒufāng competent 哲 zhé wise, wise man, sage 感兴趣 gǎnxìngqù interested in, intrigued by, follow 采访 cǎifǎng to interview 店主 diànzhǔ owner of a shop, storekeeper 复制 fùzhì duplicate, reproduce, make a copy of
  10. 1 point
    imron's right here -- Chinese is a difficult language to learn. You can't learn to speak it well without an investment of at least two years of your time. If you just want to know a few phrases to speak with street vendors and such, pick up a phrasebook. If you want to learn the language, go buy any of the useful, jargon-free books mentioned here and spend a year or two with it. If you're an enterprising sort, you can even do without a book -- memorizing vocabulary and reading free, online grammar guides works just as well. Can you give an example of a Japanese book you really like?
  11. 1 point
    Ah, this sounds like my kind of guy. It's the same book from before, with the horrible photoshop job on the cover. Sorry, I've been in the habit of judging products by their packaging, because it can be an important tip to the quality of the product inside. Packaging typically gets done last and if it's rushed, the product was usually rushed as well. Oh YES! That's another one...Beijing opera in a language textbook. Larf! As if anyone is interested in that moldy old junk. It's like someone learning English so that they can attend Gilbert & Sullivan performances.
  12. 1 point
  13. 1 point
    Here's an interesting quote from a thread a few years back from the author of Chinese Made Easier. Despite your misgivings, you may find that this book is actually closer to your mythical friendly Chinese book than you expect - that's certainly the impression I've got from Chinese learners both on and off the forums over the years.
  14. 1 point
    Yeah, this is exactly the insulated attitude I'm talking about. "It's obvious to me, therefore it's obvious to everyone!" The style of writing is very non-accessible to outsiders like me. However, I'm sure it gets good marks in the university. Huh? Wait, how'd you get there? The best textbooks are those designed for novices. Something like 95% of the learners of Mandarin Chinese never make it past beginner level, however the textbooks pretend otherwise either out of genuine ignorance or laziness. This isn't surprising if you consider the narrow audience that a linguistics Ph.D is familiar with. Native speakers don't viscerally understand how to teach their own language. Ever see a typical English teacher at work? Aw, jeez louise. This book is the poster child for the ancient style of learning Chinese. The entire first book does not contain the phrase, "where's the bathroom". I'm serious, I went through it page by page. The word "toilet" is mentioned in passing, near the end. Lesson 3 tosses out the bizarro word "sandhi" without ever bothering to explain what this is. Of course, a linguistics major knows, so no explanation is necessary. Duh! Volume 1 openly admits that it is meant to be used as part of a three-year course, and thus teaches you crap that will not pay off until later - much later. It implicitly assumes that the learner's goal is full literacy, after which the learner will obviously want pass the HSK and then graduate to the study of classical Chinese. What the heck do I care that Ding Libo is the son of Gubo and Ding Yun? All I have to say is that every Chinese book I've used reminds me of the horrid old Japanese book that I struggled with, only to find that the problem wasn't me. Looking back, the problem was that the book was written by insulated professionals for people like themselves instead of a general audience (like me). From what it sounds like, my mythical friendly Chinese book designed for mere mortals doesn't exist. Such books certainly exist for other languages. PS what the heck is autodidact? I'm guessing it's linguistics jargon?
  15. 1 point
    Also, very much like Modern Chinese Grammar. It definitely reduced my desire to strangle the life out of my well meaning tutors. As a reference book to use along with some other course, it works wonders to get a quick answer to something that the native speakers struggle to explain. Also recommend the related workbook. I went through those two books intensely for a few months with a tutor and it definitely helped me a great deal. However, in hindsight I don't recommend that for the typical basic level student. Instead, your probably better off with the more well rounded and gradual approach found in the textbooks recommended on this site though I have never really used any of those myself. I have also used Chinesepod with mixed results and may go back to that eventually for the dialogs. Another illuminating Chinese language book is A Guide to Proper Usage of Spoken Chinese by Tian Shou-he. Not as thorough as the previous grammar book. Instead, it examines about 100 common problem areas most westerns struggle with when learning Chinese and succinctly explains and corrects these mistakes. The author isn't a westerner but he really does an excellent job of tackling the problems from the perspective of a native English speaker in a way native speakers typically can not.
  16. 1 point
    If anyone is looking for a download option - I grabbed a torrent for season 2 here. It is only moderately well-seeded and the quality of the download is not great. Hopefully a better download option comes along. I am being spoiled by the high quality download of the first season that is available, which you can still get from emule if you search (the one marked uncut), but it doesn't look like there is much for the second season. I'm still on season one, up through episode 14. I think my favorite thus far is the epsiode where they are caught in traffic (epsidoe 9, I think). The random characters were great and the 关谷 ending was almost Kramer-like. Thanks for all the word lists, renzhe.
  17. 1 point
    "Honestly, the cover design doesn't give me any confidence. " What is it they say about books and covers?
  18. 1 point
    Well, ask away then, what would you like to know?
  19. 1 point
    rezaf: If you try to raise a multilingual child one day, you might find your wife trying to use both Mandarin and Shanghainese counterproductive. Based on my experience with my own experience as a bilingual child, my bilingual child and other children, I think children want to focus on using one language with an individual. I think that, in certain situations, a parent can teach a second language, but it should probably be a formal arrangement. Otherwise, the child will develop a creole that mixes the different languages and end up messing up both. Maybe there's an exception to this caveat--an adult could probably switch back and forth if you are living some place where both languages are common. In your case, that would be Shanghai, where there are enough people in the environment speaking both Mandarin and Shanghainese that a child would be able to develop both pretty well, even with a parent somewhat haphazardly switching between topolects. Misty: Though I don't understand your child's general linguistic environment, your post sounds strange to me. If your objective is to raise a bilingual child, focusing on character recognition with flashcards at 17 months doesn't sound like the best approach. Also, spoken language comes before written. At least wait until your son can speak. You "stole the idea" from a relative? That's a strange way to put it. Are you in a competitive relatonship with that person?
  20. 1 point
    I posted my aims and objectives a month ago, at the beginning of this thread. Within the month I realised one of my aims was already proving impossible. I only study part-time, and looking back, I can see that all the time I create goals that are much more suitable for a full-time student (and one who has no other interests in life, probably). The target I soon saw would be impossible was to learn the characters and grammar (and the skills) for New HSK level 4, which I will take in May (here in the UK). At first, seeing my rate of progress each week, and realising how impossible that target would be, was just plain depressing. I can't lower my target to Level 3 because I took that last year. But it's also had the effect of making me decide to spend part of my time on an upcoming trip to China sitting in language classes. So, setting the target amd then seeing myself already failing looks as if it's pointed me in the direction of a different approach. I'm sure this is how this process of goal-setting and monitoring is meant to work, but it's a pleasant surprise when you do actually see yourself changing how you're tackling something.
  21. 1 point
    2011 Year of the Rabbit Study Goals: 1) Leisure reading: Complete reading a book every 2 months: -Include reading at least one Chinese 'classic' (TBD) 2) News Reading: -Read newspaper a minimum of 30 minutes daily -Read more articles from Mainland newspapers -Also keep up 2010 momentum and still read in Traditional characters when reading from other websites, books, newspapers. ie. don't automatically default into simplified mode just b/c there is 'the option' B) 3) Vocab - Remember the Chengyu I do come across in reading & practice using them. (Refer to goal 7 & write each one 100x's while practicing my handwriting ) - Continue to improve legal and health related vocab to include more specialized terminology (more so than on visa forms and dr. office forms. enough to go through a forensics report, etc.) 4) Listening -Watch news daily & find some new soap operas or other programming to watch more often. 5) Pronunciation & general speech: Recording & Self-correction - Continue to frequently langdu (~1 time/day) - Increase recordings of non-read items (i.e. sight interpreting, answering questions, etc) - Every weekend give self practice PSC & grade it & make sure to follow up on words that I get wrong during remainder of week. (did this during 2010 but I discovered some characters were not truly in my long-term memory & if the same character popped up a few months later I still forgot the correct tone **Drats**! So I seriously need to fix this!) 6) Interpreting: -Continue to study for state Court Interpreting Oral Exam. Since I finished the language program I was in last year, I need to continue studying at home & in study group/with classmates on a regular basis. Actually pass the exam w/in 1 year from now, which allows for 2 more test sittings. (I'll know how likely this is based on when I eventually get my 1st exam results, but not getting discouraged & just working on problem areas is another general goal) -Find interpreting work or volunteering opportunities for the weekends. 7) Translate: continue doing some freelance translation work. 8 ) Penmenship -Finish the 席殊3SFM实用硬笔字60小时训练 book within first 1/2 of year(I finished 1/3 of it long ago and it was already really helpful, but now I need to actually complete the rest of the book..heh) -Practice writing out random things so hand doesn't forget how to hold a pen... 9) Here's a new one: Improve Knowledge of Chinese History: -So I feel very rusty on Chinese history & related references when they pop up. In fact I never really studied very much Chinese history beyond one required Chinese civiliation course when I was in school so it's a bit of a weak point. Therefore, although, I do try to look these things up as soon as I come across them especially references to historical figures or events I know this area could use some improvement. And, therefore other than relying on soap operas to fill in this void I need to do some actual work in this area. I will take recommendations and am fairly open to suggestions. Although, I think it will be pretty easy to find 'study materials'. The goal is more a matter of me following through! :rolleyes: Other 1) Prepare for state Professional Engineering license exam in October. 2) Work out a minimum of 2 times/week. 3) Actually write to friends more & keep in touch w/ people... 4) Figure out a 'master plan' to return to China before or by the year of the Dragon arrives!
  22. 1 point
    I am more than one month late setting goals here, although I drafted them during the holiday period. It's winter and I've been busy. Now that I have a very basic grasp of Chinese, where do you think my bosses sent me? Well, not China. And now I've this temptation to take up yet another language. (brought back one magazine and three novels in Finnish). So... language goals. I will not be strictly sticking to Chinese this year because I found out my Spanish has vanished. I'm only producing mangled Chinese sentences with a few Spanish words here and there :blink: Also my spoken English has not improved any... 0- keep a healthy lifestyle and log non-language-related habits on that other forum. Ongoing. 1- English: * review pronunciation (mainly tonic accent and vowels) * conversation once a month Have not touched the pronunciation yet but I did practice although not with native speakers. 2- Spanish: * conversation once a month. * read one new novel. Not started yet. 3- Modern Standard Arabic: * review previously studied textbooks * review pocket grammar book * dig up that short stories book I started to read so long ago and learn new words from it. * find and install software tools such as pop-up dictionary etc. This may be a little ambitious. Not started yet. 4- Colloquial Arabic: * define one small goal and fulfil it Not started yet. 5- Kabyle: * define one small goal and fulfil it Not started yet. 6- Chinese * Keep the Chinese menus on my computer. If I really need to switch back to French to do something, immediately switch back to Chinese afterwards. Working fine so far, unlike previous attempt last year. * Optional: Take HSK4. No hurry. No cramming. Probably won't be able to take it in Paris since the session will be in March - I haven't enough time to prepare. * Vocabulary: finish the HSK4 list and make a dent into the old HSK list B. Not started yet. * Finish one textbook. Not started yet. * Free writing at least once a week. only 1 week successful so far. * Grammar exercises on Lang-8 at least once a week. only 1 week successful so far. * Daily reading: keep it varied!! Goal: 15' at least 5x/week. not reached so far but I did start reading again. * Learn 1 chengyu per week. not started yet. * Conversation once a week not started yet. * Daily listening. Usually watching 家有儿女 in the morning and listening to cslpod intermediate in the evening, although not during the week I spent up North. * Simplified characters: learn to read at least 500 new characters (total 1500) I need to come up with a routine for this, just learning to wubi-type the characters will not cut it. * Traditional characters: practice reading at least once a week. Not started yet. * Typing: use mainly wubi. Have hardly typed anything so far and it was in pinyin :angry: and (I just can't resist) 7- Finnish * Learn pronunciation and 1st unit of the FSI textbook and workbook. Barely started. Näkemiin...
  23. 1 point
    Keeping track of exactly how many characters you know is an extreme motivation boost.
  24. 1 point
    I agree with roddy here. Fifth tone is notoriously deceptive. After a rising tone, it has a middle-pitch (3 on the scale of 1-5), so you perceive it as a fall after the end of the previous syllable. It is still unstressed, though. 白 can never be pronounced with a fourth tone. Either second or neutral. Check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandarin_phonology#Neutral_tone.
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