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Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 12/07/2017 in all areas

  1. 7 points
    It would be strange here in Kunming. People would wonder about your motives. Is he selling something? Is this a scam? What I do is talk to people about something that I'd genuinely like to know. Today at lunch in a small shop specializing in stewed chicken and noodles 卤鸡, I asked the boss what kind of chickens he uses for best results; what kind of chickens I should buy at the market if ever wanted to try and make his signature dish at home, like after leaving Kunming and returning to the US. Chatted back and forth with that as a starting point. Wasn't hard because I go there often and he's friendly; figured he would not mind. He's a very good cook, versatile and smart, but I figure he must get kind of bored, making the same two or three things over and over every day. And his conversation with the customers is usually along the lines of: "大碗,中碗,小碗?" Customer replies, "多少钱?" and then they wrap it up. Not a lot of mental stimulation in that exchange. He offered to show me how he makes it and he even offered to give me some stock that I could take home to use in stewing a chicken that I bought on my own. Pretty generous and helpful. But it probably wasn't great as language practice. His Mandarin has lots of Yunnan dialect mixed in and I was not speaking carefully. He was sitting at the cash register. All the customers in the shop stopped what they were doing and listened in to our conversation. The place became silent, all six tables.
  2. 6 points
    Great perspective, important to remember this. About 6 months ago I went to the tiny airport just outside my city to pick up my best friend who was visiting me here in China from the UK. His luggage got sent to Amsterdam, and it was up to me and the non-english-speaking airport staff to get it sorted out. I remember all communication was done clearly, no repetitions. The bag arrived on the same day that evening. The airport called me to pick it up. Once I had the bag in my hand at the airport, it was like getting my graduation certificate. I called a didi and actually cried out of happiness as I waited at the arrivals entrance. That was a great moment in my life. Congratulations on passing the test today @abcdefg
  3. 5 points
    I actually had a related thing happen. Ten years ago I had an unbelievably difficult family situation(my mum nailing doors shut and my dad disappearing for a year without contact, constant police contact) while at university and was also working through personal issues(being gay and evangelical Christian) too that was very stressful, my student advisor told me I should get a doctor referral for extension on coursework which I did however.. ten years on my doctor lost my medical notes but had some flag of mental health on her system and despite my protesting insisted on including this on my doctor reference. From her point of view I appreciate that she would want it noted in case I got sad being in an alien culture/being isolated, but since I am a generally happy person and have been for years I was quite annoyed about that. I did consider going to a private doctor to request a reference from someone who had no notes rather than incomplete notes but in the interest of time I just wanted to get it sorted. She basically ticked the anxiety/depression box and indicated that I had ‘talk therapy’ under mental health. But it ended up being okay I still got my visa. So I don’t think they will always disqualify people completely for mental health history. It’s also worth noting that the world health organisation estimates 1 in 4 people will be effected by mental health issues at some point in their life so it’s not like it is an even an uncommon thing. You can’t help some prejudice from an individual reading a report who thinks you are going to spiral somehow though.
  4. 5 points
    Those are all great sources. It absolutely does. Right, but a simple novel set during the cultural revolution? a simple novel set during the fall of the Ming dynasty and the rise of the Qing? a simple novel set in modern Beijing? a simple novel about finance? about IT? about government corruption? Sci-fi? And so on. The 'long-tail' of words (let's say the words required for the final 10% of comprehension) for each of those (or any other) settings and genres will be significantly different, maybe even containing thousands of words not commonly found/used in other settings/genres. If your goal is to read a simple novel, and you are acquiring vocab towards that goal, you need to make sure the vocab you learn is relevant to what you are hoping to read, otherwise that final 10% will continually elude you. The best way to acquire that vocab is simply to read things that interest you and that are of a similar setting/genre/field as what you want to read.
  5. 5 points
    Sure, I agree and I didn't mean to seem as if I was equating the two, but OP mentioned basic greetings etc. He just talked about improving his Chinese, not reaching native level fluency. If he is currently far below HSK5 level then it's at least informative for him to know that he can reach that level, at minimum, without going to China. And again, passing HSK5 was never my goal (it was just a waypoint on the road to my goal) and probably shouldn't be OPs either, since he seems to be more focused on real world usage rather than textbookisms.
  6. 5 points
    The website: http://www.unmultimedia.org/radio/chinese/ has an extensive archive of thousands of news articles and magazines in Chinese (as well as all other UN languages). Each article includes a word for word transcript and audio read by different reporters. Many of the magazine articles are 10 minutes and over of dialogue along with accurate transcripts. It's all free and extremely beneficial to students in the intermediate-advanced levels!
  7. 5 points
    Me too, but unfortunately I'd have neither the patience nor discipline to handle that kind of training. I think the post touches on something that only now I'm becoming very cognisant of. That's the fact that intense drilling is perhaps not only beneficial but almost necessarily to make substantive progress learning a language. Somewhat related to the conversation above, last week I happened to read the introduction to the 1967 FSI Vietnamese course. The main point it made was that students need to learn to produce parts of speech spontaneously and that this requires extensive drilling. Such a method reminds me of the famous Tamu post on independent learning. While I don't know much about the latest trends or research in pedagogy, in my experience this kind of painful approach to language learning does appear to have a very successful track record for those who can commit to it. And it appeals to my intuitive belief that lots of language learning approaches now appeal to our laziness. Accordingly, over the last few weeks I've substantially changed the way I study Chinese when on my own. Before I had become lazy, merely moving on from a recorded sentence if I could understand it or, at most, repeat it in my head. This was a form of laziness that wasn't very helpful for developing an automaticity when using the language. Now when I do something like sentence flashcards I not only listen, but record every single sentence multiple times until I am satisfied I can produce it aloud with sufficient speed, accurate tones, and reasonable intonation. The one unexpected benefit I have found from this exercise is that the words and structures become deeply ingrained, even though I am focusing on the sounds rather than content of what I'm saying.
  8. 4 points
    Thanks for this feedback. In general, our graded reader function is still in the early going, particularly on Android where we didn't even support rich-text e-books at all before we launched our graded readers, so there's certainly a lot of room for improvement here. (we've got a big expansion to our book catalog coming and will hopefully have a better design ready by the time that hits) 1) There should be a back arrow in the top toolbar after you make an accidental swipe like that (should also be one when you tap on a link); does that not appear? If not, that's a bug, which should hopefully be relatively easy to fix. Hide-able toolbars a la Kindle et al are problematic for us because we use that same tap-anywhere interaction to look up text - we've been playing with some ideas for how we might make them work anyway but haven't settled on one we like yet - but our intent was that the back button would at least minimize the damage until we did come up with a good way to hide toolbars. 2) That one's not supported yet - to be honest, aside from this returning-to-the-page-you-accidentally-left scenario which ought to be addressed by a back button I'm not quite sure how useful it would be. 3) That one's definitely a bug - are you using the latest version of Pleco? Does it happen only if you kill Pleco immediately after you exit or if you, say, switch back to the dictionary and play around there for a few minutes before exiting, does it work better then? Regarding paginate: that's not supported for rich-text e-books on Android yet, basically because we don't have a way to present a rich-text book in a long continuously-scrolling box without it getting really slow.
  9. 4 points
  10. 4 points
    There is a fair amount of stuff online for teaching large classes. Including stuff directed at Chinese schools. Essentially, in a class of 30-60 you’re going to need to try and use mixed teams and pair work. For the mixed teams, make someone the team leader and give them some kind of responsibility. For example, giving out worksheets, organising the team, making sure everyone is working etc. You can rotate team leaders. There is 100% opportunity for role play in large classes. If you’ve got mixed teams, they don’t need to stand up to do it. Just do it sat down. I’m not sure of the level but try put everything in a question and answer or at least a sentence. If you’re teaching one word vocabulary then they’ll likely say one word. Once you’ve got a nice Q/A for them to practice just think / find team or pair games that involves using that. A no-prep example would be “rock paper scissors”. Introduce the question so students understand (e.g. a video, a demo, role play, modelling) then do some drilling. For a big class you can drill as a class, by team, by row, by boy/girl etc. Mix it up. You then demo how to “play”. For this you’d ideally use a teaching assistant. If not, a student. Show them how to play RPS and that the “winner” gets to ask the question. Repeat a few times. Play again and ask “who asks?” To check understanding. Once that’s done break off into pairs and groups. Walk round and listen. If your class students aren’t confident, you can avoid individual correction at first during this phase. Just walk round and make notes. Stop the class and review together the different issues you spotted. You can do this written or verbal depending on the level. For older students, write them up and get them to come to the front to write the correction. If you have some time, see if any pairs want to stand up and demonstrate for the class. You can also pick a few that have tried hard during pairwork. Replace RPS with another pair or group activity and repeat the process. You can buy small dice very cheaply and they can be useful for a lot of activities. I used to like having a question up like: What do you like to do? I like to _____ 1) play ball 2) dance 3) fly a kite etc I then gave each pair a dice and a cup. The dice MUST remain in the cup. The student without the cup asks the question. The student with the cup shakes it (with hand over the cup) and looks at the dice. If the dice is (1) then they use answer 1 from the board. Hope it helps!
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