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Learn Chinese in China


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Showing content with the highest reputation on 02/21/2011 in all areas

  1. 4 points
    As I think others have pointed out, there is a big difference between being fluent in a language, and having a level equivalent to a well-educated native speaker. Speaking English fluently is one thing, but if your friend has the written level of an 8-year old, then it would suggest that her English is far from that of a real well-educated (and presumably this means adult) native speaker. I mean, 8-year old native speakers also speak fluently. As for her Chinese, I suspect it is a similar situation. She may be able to speak fluently, but without the ability to read, there is no way she could have attained the vocabulary and depth that someone who's studied in school for several years could have. I would also like to point out that if you don't speak a language well yourself, then when someone else speaks it better than you, you cannot really judge how good it is. I mean, if someone speaks fast and smoothly, it sounds as though they are fluent, but you are not really in a position to judge if their grammar and use of vocabulary is appropriate or not.
  2. 4 points
    I was routinely confused as a French native speaker within one week of arriving in France. Unfortunately, only by other tourists.
  3. 3 points
    I thought I'd try something a bit different. If people don't like this, just let me know and I won't do it again.... This installment is a very short (20 picture) series about childhood in China. I thought it was very cute. No link to the series, I will attach them as in-line images in the following messages.
  4. 2 points
    As an aside: ...and I have several friends who claim to other people that I am fluent in 7 languages. How do they get to that? They know I speak Norwegian, and therefore they count that I "by extension" speak Danish and Swedish. I know English, I've taken 3 years of German, 2 years of Arabic and have studied Mandarin the last 4 years or so. I sometimes actually have people coming up to me asking "are you the kid who knows a gazillion languages." What is the truth value of my friends' claims? Nil. I have never spoken or written neither Swedish nor Danish. I can communicate "fluently" in Norwegian and English and can get by in Chinese, but I've forgotten the rest to the point where I can only muster up some set phrases if I have to. Of course I tell my friends that whenever it comes up, but some interpret it as modesty and some just disregard it. It makes for a good anecdote when they need one. Friends like to hype each other up that way, so as I've mentioned before in other posts, I always take anecdotal claims of fluency, especially "fluency in n languages" where n>2, with a grain of salt. (Of course, things often boil down to a definition of fluency. My standard is fairly high, including being able to understand the content of any written or spoken material a native speaker would be able to understand, handed to you outside of any context. On the other hand, within the limits of intelligibility, pronunciation and accent doesn't factor into it at all, and I don't understand people's obsession with it.)
  5. 1 point
    Hello - Im a new member here and noticed the OU course has been referred to, but as someone on the course I thought I would review it, and explain it in a little more detail. The course includes; two study books, 4 CDs and two study work books. The study books contain 36 units, with each unit taking one week. These units are divided into fairly straightforward topics - ordering food in a restaurant, asking directions, talking about jobs etc. Within each unit are sections that introduce new vocabulary, translation tasks, match the sentences, dialogues, reading, grammar (which is explained in simple terms). These are backed up with the CD which has vocab lists and dialogues etc. The study work books complement the main study books, and offer tasks allowing the student to practise the new vocabulary and structures learnt each week. They also have a page with a grid for students to practise writing the new characters. Alongside this the OU have a student forum for course students to discuss their learning experience and share ideas etc. In addition, the OU homepage has a very detailed course diary page with additional resources and a comprehensive study calender showing learning outcomes per week etc. Part of this also includes online exercises based on each unit, with recordings to listen to and a recording feature where students can record themselves answering and asking questions to simple tasks. The blended part of the learning process is covered in face to face tutorials, which are offered at about 6-8 weeks apart. These are offered regionally and should cover and summarise units studied with OU tutors. Supporting this are online tutorials offered at the same intervals, but staged in-between face to face tutorials and are held on the OU software called 'elluminate'. This is a conference call type PC software with interactive white board etc. They also have their own flashcard sets for students to use online. The course is assessed on 6 assignments which can be submitted electronically. Voice recording software is used to make MP3 files for oral tasks, and there is an end of course assessment which includes 3-4 minutes of speaking. This course is designed for students with no prior knowledge of Chinese, although previous experience doesnt exclude you from the course. The materials etc are quite comprehensive, and with 36 units they cover a wide range of every day topics meaning students should have some communicative ability at the end of the course. Another aim is for students to be able to write 2-300 characters, and read/recognise up to 500. They state this is similar to a UK GCSE qualification in terms of equivalency. There is no certificate for completing this course though, and no recognised qualification attached to it. Its a 30point course which I believe just slots in as a module within a degree. I dont think it counts for any specific qualification, although I could be wrong there. One thing that is different, is you DO NOT have to write characters to complete this course. All assignments can be typed, so this may offer a disadvtange to students who really want to learn to hand write. Whilst provision is made for writing, and it is encouraged, it isnt compulsory. Good points are definitely the material and the course structure. The learning curve is set just about right IMO, and most of the topics learnt should have some use. Grammar is explained in simple terms, and the material and OU forums also discuss elements of Chinese culture which promotes a greater understanding the country and people. The software and online facilities are also quite good, and its nice to be in constant contact with other OU students. The online conferencing software is also available for students to arrange their own online sessions for more practice. Some bad points have already been mentioned - you ddont have to write, you dont get a Chinese qualification certificate. Also, no further courses are planned at time of writing which is also pretty poor for people who wish to continue their studies. Of course the other disadvantage, which I guess is the same on all distance learning langauge courses, is the lack of oral practice. Yes, you can arrange online meetings with other student, but this can be difficult. Not all students use the online tools, and some lack the confidence to practice speaking. Students who study alone, and dont have Chinese spouses, friends or social circles are at a severe disadvantage as they will lack the speaking skills compared to their peers. In my experience so far, OU tutors tend to favour the weaker students in tutorials quite a lot, which further reduces practice. With the tutorials being so few in number, actual speaking time with a tutor is quite low IMO. I have also found (in my limited experience) that OU tutors may be native speakers/well educated/linguistic majors, but they MAY NOT be teachers of foriegn languages. This means if you have been used to language classes with able teachers who can structure activities and model them, such things may be absent with OU tutors. I teach English as a foreign language and so notice such things. An example from one physical tutorial I attended was the use of a 'find someone who' activity, which is a tried and trusted activity in an EFL classroom. My tutor tried to use it, but clearly didnt know how to set up, control and manage the task in the way an EFL instructor would do. Tutors can also take some time to return assignments. My first assignment took 18 days to come back. For a beginner this isnt great, as I think feedback on work submitted needs to come quite quickly, so faults can be addressed before they become fixed or embedded in the learner. So overall, its got some great material, but possibly due to the delivery method, it lacks a few things making it a great way to learn Chinese. At £440 its not cheap and Im not sure I would recommend it 100% to people. I am learning, I am making progress, but I pay £42 a month on an OU DD for this course...Im not sure I couldnt make the same progress quicker by following a good text book and having occasional classes and a language exchange partner/Chinese friend. Now I have written this post in a rush ... if anyone has any questions please feel free to ask them, and if I can think of anything to add Ill come back and do so later!
  6. 1 point
    Great, so now we have 充值 / 添值 / 增值 / 儲值 / 加值 for top up, recharge, refill, reload, put money on, and add money / value to. All for the same action.
  7. 1 point
    To me, she is quite an interesting case. She is from Nepal and speaks Nepali, English, Hindi, Mandarin and something else I can't remember. When she first came to Taiwan she worked in bars and restaurants and dated mostly English speakers learning both English and Mandarin essentially at the same time. To me, a native English speaker from the U.S., her English is functionally fluent in that she sounds like a normal, college educated American to me - I can't hear any accent, which is a bit strange since she dated mostly foreigners from England with distinct British accents. Regarding her Mandarin, she is definitely way beyond my fellow intermediate level speakers. Our native Mandarin speaking friends swear they can't hear any accent compared to Taiwanese. She watches news, TV and movies in both English and Mandarin without any difficulty. Regarding reading and writing, she is practically illiterate. She can't really write Mandarin at all nor read much more than food items. Her written English, her preferred language to use for text messages and such, is probably around that of an 8 year olds. By the way, the only other person I have run into that has really reached a high level in Mandarin in a short time without formal study can also speak Nepali. However, I definitely hear a distinct and heavy accent to both his English and Mandarin and his English grammar is a bit rough in spots. Plus, I believe it took him longer to get to his current level. Both friends know I am passionately studying Mandarin and both honestly can't understand why I ever wasted time studying textbooks, attending classes with private tutors and using flashcard programs. They both swear there is nothing unique about their accomplishments and their advice two years ago when I started down this journey to learn Mandarin was quite simple - do what they did and just start speaking immediately while listening to everyone around me, the radio, watching TV etc. :rolleyes: Ah, if only life was that simple. I couldn't pick up tones and proper pronunciation without working on it diligently with a skilled tutor. I couldn't get a handle on basic grammar patterns without the advice from my tutors combined with studying grammar books written from the perspective of a native English speaker (e.g, Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar by Claudia Ross). My functional ability to really use my theoretical knowledge still lagged well behind and is only just now starting to catch up after countless hours practicing with native speakers. I suspect my friend is blessed with a very highly developed listening ability and can intuitively distinguish and memorize different sounds much easier than most of us. Unlike most non-native speakers I run into, when I speak to her in Mandarin she is much more sensitive to my Chinese tonal mistakes than the average Taiwanese. She is so self depreciating about her language skills and seems to honestly believe its quite natural to pick up languages simply by being exposed to them that at times I want to strangle her senseless. :angry:
  8. 1 point
    Yes, like Henry Kissinger and Ariana Huffington.
  9. 1 point
  10. 1 point
    Regarding the study plan, 2500 words is almost guaranteed to be too much. Let's put it this way, many law schools and master's degree programs in the US set as a maximum of two, three pages. For example, Georgetown University: http://grad.georgetown.edu/pages/application_requirements.cfm Many of the people who will read your application will not be native English speakers/readers, and they are not going to trudge through 2500 words unless it is simply enthralling. Let's be real, more is not better, better is better. Be concise, be compelling, and be done. Furthermore, for those applying for the CSC Scholarship through the EU Window, they are maxed out at 800-words, if I remember correctly.
  11. 1 point
    To celebrate the Chinese New Year* I've persuaded a few Chinese learning providers to put together special offers of one sort or another for you all. I have at the moment three set up I think, and with a bit of luck there might be one or two more coming in. The first comes from online tutoring provider ChineseTeachers.com, and is worth up to either USD25 of extra credit, or 30 days of extra lessons, to both new and existing customers. Any questions, fire away. And if anyone out there wants to put together a special offer for forums members, drop me a line. There should be another one later in the week, not sure when as I'm away from my computer for a few days. *slightly late, as I thought I'd make sure everyone was back at their computers ******************************** ChineseTeachers.com Special offer from ChineseTeachers.com, valid from today until March 31st 2011 Double bonus. One time per person. When buying pay-as-you-go credits, ChineseTeachers.com will double the bonus credits: so you will get an extra $10 for a $100 purchase (so $20 total), and an extra $25 for $200 purchase (so $50 total). Extra Pass days. One time per person. 7 extra days when buying the 90-day pass. 30 days extra for the 365-day pass. How to get this extras? Simply register using this special offer link. Once you made your purchase, they will double the bonus, or add the extra days, within a day or two. Already on ChineseTeachers.com? Simply contact them after you made your purchase (from the 'Contact Us' function after you logged-in), and let them know that you heard about this offer from Chinese-forums.com. They will then double the bonus, or add the extra days, within a day or two. Note: you should make your request before April 10th to qualify). *******************
  12. 1 point
    None of these things imply in any way that he is fluent, nor require you to be fluent.
  13. 1 point
    When some claims are clearly inflated, it makes one doubt the validity of other claims, even if plausible.
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