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Showing content with the highest reputation since 07/15/2019 in Blog Comments

  1. 8 points
    I feel good. My general reading ability has improved. Compared with a couple years ago—when I started with Chinese literature—I read faster and refer to dictionaries less than before. I understand more of what I read and can engage with literary works critically (e.g., get a feel for differences in style and tone, assess their merits and weaknesses, etc.). I am starting to enjoy Chinese literature as literature, rather than as a series of difficult foreign texts. This is very satisfying and rewarding, and was in fact my primary goal. Reading millions of characters in a non-native language is a useful motivational frame, but of secondary importance. I am also more confident that I will read very difficult Chinese literature that not-to-long-ago seemed far beyond my abilities. I want to (eventually) read works like 《倾城之恋》, 《狂人日记》, and 《红楼梦》. I believe that someday I can and will. Many years ago, I read David Foster Wallace’s magnum opus Infinite Jest. Working through and completing this massive work was a formative experience in my twenties; it made me think about and appreciate our world differently, and in (I hope) a fuller and more nuanced and empathetic and emotionally available way. Reading a million characters of mostly beautifully written Chinese feels kinda like that. Life is precious and short and brutal and lovely and much more. At their best, literature and the arts capture and represent these aspects of life in ways that more mundane day-to-day experience often hides or obscures. Our world is vast and complex. Artists in different cultures get a handle on this vastness and complexity differently. This difference is really what I’m after, and it’s why I read in Chinese.
  2. 4 points
    good point. I spent many hours on martial arts. I don’t enter competitions. I have rarely been in situations where I need to use them. what is the point of still training when I don’t want to actually fight? (Well even at my age I am still getting in the ring and semi-sparring. There is a political situation in HK and I nearly accidentally got caught in it last weekend). the skill is listening skills. In order to interact, I need to understand input. If I can speak but not understand the input, then I have no chance to communicate. I have been in that situation many times before. If I can understand but not articulate very well, I can still get by when I need to use mandarin. Much earlier, I used to do a lot of interaction with italki community tutors. Lots of it. The progress was ok but not totally satisfying. For me, perhaps my own learning style is a preference to understand which I didn’t appreciate in previous years. My experiences of going to Shenzhen, Beijing and Qingdao last year reaffirmed that my listening skills are the main limitation. I can ask questions but not deal with many of the answers and therefore the utility of speaking at this point in time, is of lower priority. For me, those sexy promises of getting the student to talk in mandarin as quickly as possible didn’t work out very well. In this blog, I am actually only concerned with listening skills for handling people situations. It is not concerned with speaking skills, grammar skills etc. I.e. just focussed on one aspect. That probably gives an impression of single mindedness over other aspects of learning a language. I just haven’t got to the other stages yet! Southern Mandarin accents are easier for me but I do want to balance it out with understanding northern accents. Listening to standard mandarin is ok for me so long as it’s not too fast. For example, I can listen to the radio in mandarin and follow (with vocabulary limitations). I have my materials for speaking setup for the future. I just want to train my ears better to deal with the vast input and at some point, I will decrease the time on listening with an increase in time on the other skills. I think most people like to move up each skill in tandem. After all things considered, at present, I think I prefer to focus on certain areas at different times and have decided listening is the priority. Then sentences and pronunciation, then examining grammar (having hopefully had the benefit of lots of aural comprehension as a base). My own basis for practicing like this was from @OneEye describing how he wasn’t going to be beaten by not understanding a sappy film, and then after practically learning the dialogue by heart, he noticed other associated benefits. The flashcard technique works well for me allowing to carry around material on my phone and doing a quick listen during different parts of the day and also getting lots of reps in.
  3. 4 points
    Yeah, those kind of inadvertent assumptions are really encouraging. I was settling up at the till in a Chinese restaurant once, asked for our bill, paid it, and was getting the change when the girl looked up for the first time, only to give a little yelp when she realised she'd been talking to a foreigner. Little things, but nice.
  4. 3 points
    This should be 明明. I know you're thinking that second squiggle doesn't look anything like 明 and you're right. That squiggle means 'duplicate of the previous character'.
  5. 3 points
    Actually, it's very Chinese to try and puncture a friend's small balloon of happiness like that.
  6. 3 points
    What an inspiration! I'm encouraged to move off of graded readers and read more legitimate Chinese novels this year.
  7. 2 points
    Ahhh hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Wait give me a second to stop laughing out loud. Are you actually serious? Then geez, how come the vast majority of expats in China haven't just magically absorbed the language? Hell, they are SURROUNDED by it! Yet, when they go back home to Cleveland and their friends say "your Chinese must be fluent!" But in reality about all they can say is "Fuwuyuan lai yiping pijiu. Bingde" or "Ni hao Wu Choo naen jan". How is it a waste of time and resources to have classes with a TEACHER and books that are STRUCTURED to help you understand the basics? So, let me see, in your mind I would talk to my wife, and anytime I didn't understand something, I'd say "wife, could you just say that again more slowly? Now what did that mean when your mom said she could "我 ti4" 你买菜? Oh, I see, is that different than 帮? Oh, ok sounded like 1st tone, say it again, oh wait maybe its 4th tone...which is it? You're so great, this is why I married you!" No, I didn't actually learn ti4 from my 老婆, I learned it from my teacher yesterday. You know what, teaching me Chinese is not a 老婆 responsibility, its not interesting and its not fun. She is also not skilled as a teacher. She already has a jo, in a different field. She speaks English far more fluently than I speak Chinese. She studied it in school since she was a kid and she went to a language school as an adult. There's a lot she doesn't know, but you know what she rarely asks me about any English vocab or grammar. Because I am also not her English teacher. I find teaching English incredibly boring. We like to do other things together rather than study language. I love learning from books, online resources, and my PAID Chinese teacher. There is nothing wasteful about it. I learn new words and/or characters every single day. I hear them pronounced in a variety of different accents, both genders, various ages. I am able to do lessons on all sorts of topics that I find interesting or useful to me. It entertains me. It gives me something to do on my own. Does that mean I gain nothing Chinese language-wise from my wife and her famlily? Of course it doesn't. I get to practice speaking with her mother all the time because its the only way we can communicate. A percentage of the time I speak Chinese with my wife, as long as its something I know how to express, I will. When it's her together with her non-english speaking family, I'm fine to struggle though anything I want to say. I also get immense amounts of listening practice from hearing them converse, from overhearing their phone conversations, from sitting with my wife watching her TV programs. However, I rarely learn NEW things from them. Because when I hear something I don't understand, it usually just goes over my head. And every day/week/month I can understand and respond to more and more of what they say, because I've learned the word/grammar/phrase and now it sticks out instead of going over my head. So, its a chance to use or reinforce what I have learned from those so-called "time wasting classes, books and resources." PS: For the most part, with some exceptions, I only take language learning advice from people I've actually heard speak the language in question. Would love to hear a sample of your skills posted on the "pronunciation" thread so I can see how good you've gotten from the old "All you need to do is be present" method.
  8. 2 points
    A wife doesn’t have the same enthusiasm and patience to help teach as a girlfriend does...?
  9. 2 points
    I agree, there is little value in asking you to make a sentence with a noun, or proper noun, like “North Korea”. Because a lazy student can always just say “I like X.” But that is poor quality teaching. The teacher is thinking, “I’ve got this tool which I can always rely on which is to ask them to make a sentence with the new word.” A better teacher would have a good idea of the kind of sentence they want you to make already and choose word(s) to direct you towards that. So, better sentence generation tasks would be: 1. Use 朝鲜 and 想 to 造句子. Here the teacher wants you to make the simple sentence 我想去朝鲜. 2. Use 朝鲜 and 觉得 to 造句子. This is asking you to use the newly learnt word to express an opinion. This should remove the difficulty with the ‘making a sentence’ activity which is usually: “where do I even begin?” 3. Use 朝鲜 and 往返票 to 造句子. This is now getting more difficult. The student should easily be able to come up with a sentence in English like: “I want to buy a return ticket to North Korea.” But will then have to think carefully and sentence structure and ordering. As Weyland says, simply memorising semantic pairs is only going to get you so far. The job of the teacher is to help you integrate new vocabulary into existing schemes by carefully thinking about the sentences they want you to make. So, in conclusion, I have sympathy for your position, but I don’t think we should give up on the “making a sentence” activity just yet.
  10. 2 points
    I will grant you in my experience small group Hanyu classes are rarely inspiring or challenging in creative ways. The difficult factor usually lies in the pacing or quantity, which can be unproductive imo. That being said, your language learning is always up to you. The impotus is on you to make it meaningful. This is even more so knowing that this teacher had no history with you and could not have known your individual needs/wants. When I was given the 'make a sentence out iof every word' homework, I turned those into a story that happened to me, a dream sequence, a creative writing challenge, or even a survey to ask friends, colleagues, strangers, etc. No, it's not always easy to combine the random HSK vocabulary into one cohesive 文本, but in the end it's your learning, and you need to take control of it.
  11. 2 points
    Train what you want to learn
  12. 2 points
    So true. This is essentially what got me into Chinese in the first place. On my first trip to China in 2000, I couldn't understand any Chinese. But just from walking around Beijing and paying attention to road signs, I learned characters such as 东,南,西,北,中 and 路. I was curious as to how characters could be put together to make a sentence, so I purchased a Chinese grammar book when I returned to the UK, not having any particular intention of learning Chinese, but just to satisfy my intellectual curiosity. One thing leads to another, and...
  13. 2 points
    We use 汉语高级写作教程 -
  14. 2 points
    We don't have a book for 近义词,it's just words as they come up in our 综合书。For history we are using
  15. 2 points
    Interesting write-up, thank you. Would you mind sharing which history and 近义词 books you use in class?
  16. 2 points
  17. 2 points
    漂流, I guess, rafting.
  18. 2 points
    I feel personally attacked.
  19. 2 points
    They serve two types of chicken - full form and simplified!
  20. 1 point
    Just put 'playback speed' on x5 and you'll be very very on point!
  21. 1 point
  22. 1 point
    Hey I appreciate your attitude towards my questioning. Cool I see you using it as a point if discussion - something I don't get enough on this subject from the laoway->Chinese viewpoint. I've definitely noticed when focusing in on completely grasping one thing, like a movie (or video game dialogue in my case 😂) you notice some of it leak over into other domains of Chinese speaking. Those moments are very rewarding and really help solidify language points
  23. 1 point
    Very true with the ubiquitous 请你再说一遍。 I edited my reply to you for greater clarity. I have a tendency to push the reply button early. Good discussion point and thanks for asking.
  24. 1 point
    never mentioned perfection, just curious why someone who spends hours practicing a 3 pt shot would only want to play a game 1ce a year. OP answered well, may have to do with avoiding the socially awkward situation of constantly having to ask X 是什么意思
  25. 1 point
    not only I agree wit you, but I dare say, why spending any effort doing anything at all, when we are all doomed to succumb to the cold bony hands of death long before our efforts achieve any semblance of perfection, or any usefulness for that matter. I'm chucking my running shoes first thing as soon as I stand up from this chair.
  26. 1 point
    I'm not sure what's wrong... here is the table again:
  27. 1 point
    I puzzled over a few: 能、法、去、些、然、观、数、正。 Note that in the key, 2C should be 国 not 果. (EDIT: Now fixed.)
  28. 1 point
    Occasionally you'll see it used, after more complex characters especially. Thus 谢〻 or 谢々. It's largely a handwriting convention. 明々白々我的心。
  29. 1 point
    Seeing your updates are like seeing a new episodes of Vikings come out, haha. Always enjoy reading them! So just 3 more semesters to go, right? I'm sure that'll fly!
  30. 1 point
    Really enjoyed these posts, hope all goes well in the future!
  31. 1 point
    Tomsima, Thank you for sharing your experiences at Bath through this blog. It’s inspiring to read about people working with Chinese and English at such a high level! I wish you luck in your upcoming studies and future career.
  32. 1 point
    Well done @Tomsima and thanks for posting your experiences along the way. I appreciate your approach.. I'm always telling my own students that it's just as important to try something and learn that it's NOT what you want to do, as it is for the opposite. Looking forward to hearing where you go next!
  33. 1 point
    I just updated, sorry about the delay! No next year of uni, as the course is only one year. Have you made any decisions to do a course yet? Perhaps even already started one?
  34. 1 point
    I think Chinese Pod is worth it just for the library of existing lessons alone. It's how I started learning Chinese, and I have very fond memories of the experience.
  35. 1 point
    @Weyland i think you missed my point. She didnt say any compliment. the point is she instantly responded to hearing fuwuyuan without knowing who spoke it. when i started, i could be shouting it next to them and they wouldnt recognize it. i meant this post rather tongue in cheek.
  36. 1 point
    Exactly! I Find I gain as much from listening to the native Chinese speaker making asides and comments than from the actual lesson. And yes, the native English speakers answer helps make the Chinese very clear and easy to follow. The new crew is a bit of a mixed bag imo. First of all there seem to be a bigger variety of host teams and they seem to be putting out quite a lot of content at all levels and topics. This is definitely good. Another positive is that they seem to have several laowai hosts who have good solid pronunciation. BUT, One thing I find annoying is that in the (admittedly few) lessons I've listened to, they seem to include more English. I just don't see why the native speaker has to speak any English at all once you're at the intermediate level. The absolute sweet spot was the John Pasden ones, I wish they could just follow that model. I wonder if they speak so much English because either A. the Chinese host wants to show off his/her English and enjoys speaking it - but frankly, I could care less to hear it, I'm not there for English pod. B. Maybe it's marketing thing and most customers aren't like me, they want entertainment primarily and things to be kept easy. There was a new lesson on alcohol, with 2 ABC(?) hosts and I jumped around the lesson looking for Chinese language would begin, but it seemed almost entirely in English! Here's the link to that example: https://www.chinesepod.com/lesson/chinese-drinking-culture (don't know if it'll open if you're your not a subscriber or not) Anyway, I DO think Chinese Pod is an amazing resource and a good value, this is just a relatively small complaint. I do think the new team is doing pretty good overall. Basically, I just cant wait for the day I can move up to a level where there is no English at all.
  37. 1 point
    Have a read of 《平凡的世界》. It captures things like this
  38. 1 point
    1,000,000 characters later, how do you feel about the progress you have made? How has your reading ability improved since you started?
  39. 1 point
    Thank you Imron for your comments and support throughout the year! I’d like to double my Chinese reading goals in 2020, but that seems unlikely. Who knew that gainful employment and fatherhood could be so time-consuming?
  40. 1 point
    I like how you review the Bible here as if it were just any ambitious novel that we might have heard of and would consider reading 🙂
  41. 1 point
    @abcdefg I like your sense of straightforwardness. Admittedly, it takes a long time for us to do a good job in shadowing or even echoing. The progress is slow and it could be depressing sometimes. It is all about repeating and analyzing the pronunciation, digesting it good enough to build the connection between pronunciation and meaning. We just learn our mother tongue by echoing what the adults are saying. And our parents won't tell us that we should give up speaking just because we have made tons of mistakes and still have problem repeating something correctly after trying hard. So it is important to have this kind of patience and stamina in us
  42. 1 point
    Nice review. 第七天 is my favourite 余华 novel too. I think it's his most original work of fiction, although I may be wrong as I have not read all of 余华's novels. Congratulations and all the best in your new job in 上海 !
  43. 1 point
    Can't believe you're already in your third year! Keep up the hard work! It all pays off.
  44. 1 point
    Congratulations for your scholarship! Very well deserved and I'm sure you'll get a bigger one next year (remember social credit). What 写作书 do you use? Sounds like you'll enjoy this year and will do very well. Great!
  45. 1 point
    That blue board reads 'In coming visiters please be noted, today the kayaking section is closed' 漂 here takes its meaning of 'movement' combine with the local 'situation' means : kayaking So it is dirfting alone the river, it is a correct term in Chinese for kayaking. Both 漂移 (Drifting with an automobile) and 漂流(drifting with a kayake or a small boat) can take the short term of just '漂', but it has to be in such situation, cos most of the time it will mean 'floating' (which i'm sure you will get why it means kayaking here right? XD floating on river and drifting by it) P.S. but of course there is the other two common use for 漂 as it often means bleaching (as 漂白=bleaching into white--[as for cloth and paper making and food making industry], 漂黑=bleaching into black--[as middle age people sometimes like to dye their gray hair back to youth colour], etc.) When combine with '亮(shining)' as 漂亮 then it means 'beautiful' or 'great job (someone did something beautifully well)'.
  46. 1 point
    桂林山水甲天下 What a unique and beautiful landscape that is...
  47. 1 point
    Let me guess... South Nicholson St / George IV Bridge area? Or is it a Fringe pop-up?
  48. 1 point
  49. 1 point
    Isn't that the truth! Even worse when they lounge around on a busy machine while updating their Facebook page or WeChat message center wall or whatever. Then they smile and snap a couple of narcissistic selfies, do two or three fast reps with light weights and move on to the next station.
  50. 1 point
    I often think of this ad when at the gym. For many people, although they are physically at the gym for an hour, only 15 minutes of that is actually spent working out, with the other 45 minutes spent looking at their phones. Of course, it's easy for anyone to forget their 初心 and phones aren't the only thing which distract us and knock us off course.
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