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Showing content with the highest reputation since 05/07/2010 in all areas

  1. I've been in Taiwan studying Chinese on an independent basis. I'll be slowing down now, so I thought it's a good time to share what I've found while I still have all details fresh. The flexibility you have studying independently has many advantages, but I know that for me, it also created many questions when I was considering if and how to start out on my own. So I tried to write up here many details about pragmatic issues which could be helpful in planning such as process, progress, prices, tips. There are lots of posts about "here's how I got started learning Chinese", both on this forum
    50 points
  2. December 2019: Hi, I'm afraid I'm not buying graded readers anymore and would like to offer this topic to the Chinese-forums community as a whole or some motivated individual in it. If you have any graded readers info, post it in here and ask an admin to edit it in, or another member could take over the first post. --character Important Note: There are many more graded readers mentioned in the posts after this one. Check out all the posts in this topic; don't stop with this first post. --character I started this list for my own use, then realized others might be inte
    39 points
  3. I've been working a lot recently on improving my accent in Chinese. I wanted to share what I've found and get feedback and ideas from everyone. I want to focus specifically in this post on the practical issues I've come across in producing natural-sounding tones. --- --- --- I've been shadowing the speech of native speakers. I use TV shows and documentaries a bit, but my main source until now has been people I record myself. In the last few months, I've been having around 30 hours each week of in-person conversation. Private tutors are a third to half of that; the rest comes from
    34 points
  4. I have been interested in pursuing graduate studies in China since shortly after I first arrived back in 2006. From the time I started researching until I began my first classes in the autumn of 2011, I found there was not a lot of first-hand information available for those curious about pursuing graduate studies on the mainland, especially for non-Chinese-language majors. As such, I’ve written down my experience thus far so that others interested can get some insight. This is a work in progress, and I plan on updating this as I continue with my MA over the next two and a half years. My Backg
    33 points
  5. Basically, in my opinion it involves doing a ton of boring and hard work, with lots of drilling and repetition, things which I know have kind of fallen out of favour in language learning circles, and I used to feel much the same way - until I started doing it and seeing positive results from it. The vexing part is actually just making the decision to bite the bullet and do the grunt work. My thoughts on improving various different skills below: Reading and listening More on listening Speaking Reading speed Vocab acquisition Memorising characters R
    32 points
  6. Roddy asked me to do a write-up on MTC now that I've finished my first term here, so here it is. Hopefully it will be helpful, because there really is a dearth of good information on the internet about studying Chinese in Taiwan, and I believe MTC is the biggest Chinese school in the country. Most of the info out there comes from two sources: Forumosa.com, which mainly consists of people bitching about living in Taiwan and about how terrible it is to learn Chinese here (I can assure you, it is not); and random blogs with pretty scattered information, mostly written by people who come here for
    31 points
  7. In my own experience memorising words and characters at this level is essential if you ever want to see improvements in your Chinese. Otherwise you'll just coast by on existing skills, and get stuck in the rut of always only being able to read 95%. At this stage, learning by osmosis is useful, but also full of pitfalls because many words that you think you can guess the pronunciation/meaning of, you actually find out later that you were wrong (秀才识字识半边 and all). Also, don't worry about words you think are too uncommon that they'll never appear in other novels. At the beginning of the year, I
    31 points
  8. We got back to the UK And it was a crazy journey. First off, massive respect to the UK foreign office and local constituents for representing us, they managed to get a coach arranged only one day before the last flight out of Wuhan, which drove around 700km to pick up 4 British nationals in the far reaches of Hubei province and take us to the airport in time for the flight. I had completely given up hope, but was amazed to receive a phonecall only days ago saying there was a chance they had found a government driver that would be able to come find us. And he did. sort o
    29 points
  9. Hi guys! I haven't been terribly active on Chinese Forums, but I've been lurking since way back. The amount of good stuff posted here is a little overwhelming, frankly. I occasionally see links to Sinosplice here, and I'm always happy to see that, but today I'd like to announce the release of a major project of mine which I've been working on for over a year, and I'm very excited to finally be releasing. It's called the AllSet Learning Chinese Grammar Wiki, and it's pretty much what it sounds like. The project began as an internal resource for AllSet Learning. It became quickly apparent to m
    25 points
  10. Hi. I just want to write a little about studying Chinese independently and that it's possible to really progress rapidly even independently and not in a program. I don't know what's best for everyone, I don't want to seem like I know what's good for you and I really don't want to seem like I'm a bragging and arrogant idiot. I really like to study foreign languages and cultures, but I know I'm young and I'm not language genius. But I was encouraged by Roddy to post something, I actually didn't want to at first but he's right that maybe it could help motivate to other people. I studied Chi
    25 points
  11. I took one year of Chinese during graduate school and studied on my own (using NPCR 3 and part of 4) for about two years. Around last winter, I decided that I was tired of my slow progress and wanted to immerse myself in a Chinese speaking environment as well as study Chinese. I accepted the invitation of a friend and went to Taipei in January for two weeks to check out the city and meet my future Chinese language teacher. The trip went quite well, so I decided to bite the bullet and plan for living in Taiwan for two and a half months. One thing I should mention about myself before I conti
    25 points
  12. If you would like to be able to read a newspaper and listen to the news, here is what you have to do. 1) Read newspapers. 2) Listen to the news. It's both that simple and that difficult. What you should be doing everyday: Find a newspaper (either buy a paper version, or visit one online). Find an article/several articles that look interesting to you. Read through the article, highlighting/underlining any words that you don't know. Stop when you get to about 10 words (note this is words, not necessarily characters, e.g. if you don't know either of the characters in the word 嫌疑
    25 points
  13. Bolded resources are especially useful. If you are a new learner, start there. This is an attempt at updating the previous list while also consolidating it. All but a few of these are resources I have personally used and found crucial to my learning at different points. This list is curated to cut down on the time you need to spend checking finding good resources. For an extensive list of resources, see Hacking Chinese and search through an enormous catalogue of properly tagged resources and guides. If you think any suggestion could be replaced with a better resource o
    24 points
  14. Over the last two years I have been at East China Normal University in Shanghai studying International Chinese Education. A lot of people on these forums recently have started coming with questions regarding whether or not it is worthwhile to get a master’s degree in China and what are the pros/cons. If there are any topics that you wish I'd have included, please let me know and I'll add it. I hope others will also follow suite and share their experiences of getting a master’s degree from Chinese universities. Two years is a lot of time and I’ve experienced a lot
    24 points
  15. Yep, ten years ago today, in a 1600Y a month one-bedroom apartment with lino and fluorescent lights (in the BEDROOM) situated next door to Beijing's meteorology bureau I flicked the switch to turn on an entirely empty new-fangled thing called an Internet forum. And ten years later, after quite a few changes and a lot more consistency, it's still here. But now it's full of people and information. Some of the people have been around more or less as long as the site itself. Like I said last year, the idea of attempting to even start to thank everyone by name is intimidating. And oddly, everyo
    24 points
  16. Hi everyone, Finally, finally, finally!!! The long wait is over. I finally got my CSC admit notice today, at NUAA. Yes, it's really worth the wait. I am shaking with joy. As I have received such good news, I know there's great news for those who are still waiting. This calls for celebration......YAAYYY!!!
    23 points
  17. Why watch? TV series are one of the best ways to improve your listening skills and vocabulary. While many of them are rather poor, there are some true gems out there, and you can watch and download most of them on the internet. Based on our majestic Grand First Episode Project, this thread will give you the most important information you need to jump right into it. Most of the threads linked here will have summaries and vocabulary lists with translations to help you through the first episode, and often there are English subtitles and discussion. All of these will help you follow and understa
    23 points
  18. Today marks the 9th anniversary of this fine site's foundation. While I am not one for big celebrations, it would be remiss of me not to note the date, and give a thank you to everyone who has contributed over the years. Attempting to thank everyone by name would of course be a futile effort. So I thought I'd thank by name everyone who registered in our first year, and has visited over the last 12 months - that is, has been active to some degree for pretty much the lifetime of the forum. But there were two pages of us, and I wasn't typing out all those names. So I looked at post counts - but
    22 points
  19. Before taking the New HSK level 5 exam I searched all over looking for details about it that would help me prepare, especially after I found out that I would be taking the exam on the computer (网考). Though I did find the most helpful information on this website, it was difficult to find everything I wanted. This post is a summary of what I would have wanted to know before I took the test. First some background information. This was my first time to take an HSK exam. I took the exam in a smaller city in China on April 14, 2012. Before the exam I took 15 practice tests at home and also studied
    22 points
  20. If you want to see an improvement in reading speed and recognition, then you should practice those things. These things might come naturally over time, but I don't see any harm in giving them a little push if that's what you want. To improve my reading speed, what I do is select a passage of text - this can be anything from 100 characters to a few thousand characters. Make sure it is something that is at your Chinese level. Nothing slows reading down like not understanding something. Go over the passage slowly, making sure you understand the meaning of every word and sentence, looking up an
    22 points
  21. I've been meaning to write something like this for some time, as a complement to Wushijiao's earlier advice for beginners. A few weeks ago there was a small rash of 'where do I start' topics, so I actually started writing it, and today the Internet wasn't working for a few hours, so I finished it. Feel free to pull it to pieces and suggest changes, but as it's already up against the 1,000 word limit you can't put anything new in without taking something else out. Assumptions I’m aiming to give solid, generally applicable advice for the new student of Chinese, in one thousand words. I’m ass
    21 points
  22. Hi, I'm a Singaporean Chinese with a really complicated background. My mother's 1st generation Singapore Chinese, my dad's Indonesian Chinese, but did university in the US, and has a lot of American/Western views. I can't comment on the dating thing, because in that aspect, I've not been in your shoes, but the way your mother treats you is actually very common amongst the Chinese community, especially the very typical, traditional Chinese community. Love is never shown the way it is in Western society, and that's the way it is. In a way it is almost taken for granted. The back-biting and t
    21 points
  23. Years ago, I was eating in a Korean restaurant in London with my language exchange partner. Decided to practice a little bit of mandarin. When it came to paying the bill the waitress came and chatted to us. She was from China, and explained she had been eavesdropping on our conversation, but couldn't initially work out what language we were speaking, after a while she realised it was mandarin, but due to the speed of talking, she assumed I had developmental issues, and my language partner was my carer. I took that as a win, a native speaker, assuming I was developmentally challenged native spe
    21 points
  24. This post sums up what I've been doing with movies recently. It's been very helpful for me, so I thought it might be worth posting. I first started using movies to improve my Chinese a few months ago. Before that, it was too frustrating because my comprehension was too low for it not to feel like work. For some reason, I don't mind work if it's a textbook. Those are supposed to be work, after all. But when it's something normally done for pleasure like a movie or novel, I prefer my comprehension to be high enough that I can focus on the content or story rather than the language. Then my tuto
    21 points
  25. A chinese friend of my wifes rang up on the phone. At that time I was lying on the bed reading a book, my wife was lying beside me doing the same. I answered the phone and said. Yes she is here, you can talk to her. "Wo zai ta shangbian". Actually I meant to say "wo zai ta SHEN bian" So the meaning came out as "I am on top of her" instead of "I am beside her".
    21 points
  26. There are more and more Chinese language Youtube channels popping up, covering a wide variety of interests and hobbies, and they make for a great learning resource. Here are a few of mine. Feel free to add your own. General life in China Channels: One of my new favourites is 小叔TV . His content consists of walking around various localities in China, with a focus on the more forgotten, left behind type places. While it doesn't sound too exciting, I really like to watch now that I'm not living in China anymore. He offers some interesting insights into Chinese society and e
    20 points
  27. As I've been a member of this amazing forum since 2004 and now ten years later married my Cantonese guy, Roddy asked me to write a post about my wedding. Ten years ago I was already interested in Chinese even though I started having lessons in 2008. After studying Chinese on the side for three semesters at my university, I got a chance to come to China. Long story short, I've been living in Guangzhou for four years and three months, met my husband in December 2013 2012 and married him this Spring. In China the first step is to get legally married which involves a lot of paper work, luc
    20 points
  28. Right, there's now no way this can't go viral. I wonder if buzzfeed.com.cn is still available... I was sitting in a London cafe the other day next to a middle-aged businessguy getting a Chinese lesson from his teacher. Frankly it wasn't very good. I was seriously considering having a word with him and pointing this out, but I left before the teacher did. Here's some of what was wrong. 1) No pronunciation correction at all Oh, you have an affidavit from 汉办 that your pronunciation is perfect? Even your tones, huh? Yeah, well they hand those out with cereal boxes. Unless you're a
    20 points
  29. Hi everyone, After a semester here I decided to quit (despite receiving CSC scholarship), because it's really just too painful of an experience to continue. For the sake of all future translators or people that want to go to SISU for MIT (masters in interpreting/translation), I want to shed light on this program so I can save potential translators from abroad some very precious time. Pros: -All teachers are Chinese -98% of your classamtes are Chinese -Program is crazy hard, so if you can keep up with teachers or perform as well as Chinese students you are automatically amazing and should
    20 points
  30. Recently, I've been thinking about how my perception has changed since I started learning Chinese. I found that many things turned out differently than I expected. I'm also looking at fixing up some weaknesses and thinking about how to structure my studying in the coming year. Perhaps others can share their experiences too (or disagree with my conclusions), here are mine. At the moment, I am reading 水浒传 and it is difficult, but modern books are typically not a problem. I am watching 爱情公寓 without subtitles and typically try to squeeze in some every day, which is not a problem in terms of l
    20 points
  31. Hey everyone I just came across this article written by two members of the FSI. Truly a fascinating read, particuarly points 4 and 10. Here's a copy-paste of some interesting bits Lesson 1. Mature adults can learn a foreign language well enough through intensive language study to do things in the language (almost) as well as native speakers. Diane Larsen-Freeman (1991) has quoted Patsy Lightbown as estimating that young children spend 12,000 to 15,000 hours learning their native languages. At FSI, adult students in a forty-four-week language program spend 1,100 hours in traini
    19 points
  32. Hi everyone ! just received a good news from the embassy in my country this afternoon, my admission documents has reached their office ! I hope you will get a good news too !
    19 points
  33. (Tip: Click on the photos and they will enlarge.) Fish-flavored eggplant is iconic here in China’s southwest, second only to a desk-top plaster bust of Chairman Mao. A store on the corner has an assortment of the latter, in various sizes and colors. You can even buy one that is unfinished, and paint it at home. Shopping for supper this morning at the wet market, I decided just for fun to tell most of the vendors I was planning to make yuxiang qiezi 鱼香茄子 at home this evening. It turned out to be a real conversation starter. The guy selling large scallions 大葱 told me his wife’s mother al
    19 points
  34. I started studying Chinese as a hobby 4 years ago when I turned 30. As someone who lives in the US, is married and has a full time job completely unrelated to languages, I had always mentally toyed around with the idea of taking a "sabbatical" for a year and studying in China for a few months...although never in a serious way. Last December, I randomly decided to see if I could take advantage of the fact that covid was making a lot of Universities and programs rethink about having remote offerings, and found Tsinghua University's IUP program. I attended class from January through
    18 points
  35. When learning Chinese, one of the most useful things you can do to improve your listening ability is drilling sentences. This means you repeat the same sentences, spoken by native speakers, over and over. Your goal is to understand every word that is spoken in the sentence. Typically, one does this by finding an audio file with the text spoken (e.g. an audiobook, or podcast) then find the transcript. Typically, you would load the audio file into an application such as Audacity, select each sentence manually, match it up manually with the transcript and repeat it. While this is OK, it r
    18 points
  36. I recently completed 300 lessons on italki.com with my Chinese teacher, and it's been suggested that I write something up. I'll try to focus on lessons learned, as in: things I would do differently if starting again. Background When I started learning Chinese in Feb 2017 it was more or less from zero. I knew nihao and xiexie, and I could recognise a few Hanzi thanks to the beginner's level Japanese I've done twice in F2F evening classes. That was it. My motivation for learning was partly because I was living in Singapore at the time (and
    18 points
  37. Hey ABC, if you don't know yet, there is a chance of snow in Dallas for the next couple of days. The TV weather report is saying travel is not recommended. (Just what you want to hear...) Yes, you are right, that's not what I was hoping to hear. Got to DFW (Dallas) last night from Los Angeles. Good flight. But this pilgrim is weary. Feels like I've been on the road forever. Lost my large checked suitcase somewhere along the way. Filed a "lost baggage" report. Chances are it's back in Hong Kong. Have ren
    18 points
  38. I took the HSK 5 last weekend in Lanzhou on December 4th, 2016. To my surprise, I found the study process to get ready for the exam both rewarding and educational. Quantitatively, I learned 400 new words (over 50 hours of Anki), completed seven practice exams, and studied roughly three to four hours per day for the month prior to the exam. I say it was a surprise that it was rewarding and educational because prior to the exam I had always written it off as a test that more-so tests my ability to take a test rather than my Chinese ability. I did, however, spend a significant time just lear
    18 points
  39. Imron suggested that I post a write-up listing the Chinese books I've read up to now, how, in which order and with approximate difficulty ratings. Here's a very long post about my experience, for what it's worth. As a disclaimer, please note that I *can't* read Chinese literature fluently. I can't just open a book and start reading. It remains difficult, sometimes impossible. If I start a novel, I'm never sure I'll be able to make it to the end (one thing you won't see in the list below is the list of books I started and could not finish). Though the parts I can read without a dic
    18 points
  40. Or why would you? The number of foreign folk I know from China who are still there is dwindling. People who might once have looked like being confirmed lifers are upping sticks and moving home, or starting again elsewhere. I think there are interesting conversations to have here, so I'm starting this one. I quit back in late 2010. When I left I wasn't saying I was never going to live in China again, but that I was going to go and live somewhere else for a while and see if I missed it. There's no way I can point at one reason for deciding to leave. Visas were a big hassle (n
    18 points
  41. I was reading the thread about people's experience in Beijing and I also got thinking about my times in China. I never really spent much time in Beijing, or any major cities. I generally spend my time in much smaller places. Not many people have commented in this thread. I don't know if it's because most people haven't been to small towns or villages in China or if they aren't interested. Earlier this year I was in China for the Spring Festival for the first time. I'd heard stories about how busy it was but actually it wasn't as bad as I thought. I even managed to get a 床鋪 train ticket! I'
    18 points
  42. I'm a semi-pro "Hoklologist", if You will. I started learning Hokkien as a very young adult. Today, many plateaus later, I speak it at a near-native level. I was on the engines looking for a "Grammar of Hokkien" type of PDF in English — since new things pop up sometimes — and happened across this thread and felt I had to jump in and comment, either for the benefit of the OP or whoever else might happen across this thread. Now, a list of things to keep in mind: 1. B1 in Taiwanese Hokkien in just a few months is very ambitious. (I wonder if the OP made it?) The language is tough on adult
    18 points
  43. Pu’er tea 普洱茶 is distinctive and delicious, but if you are new to Chinese tea, this is probably not the best place to start. It’s less easily approachable than reds and greens. It’s not the easiest tea to make well or the easiest tea to like. In particular, I would urge you to consider Dian Hong 点红茶 as a “first tea.” Get to know Dian Hong, and then return to Pu’er. I realize not everyone will agree with that subjective bit of advice. Brewing Pu’er tea 普洱茶 requires a little bit of equipment and technique in order to bring out its unique flavor and let it shine. I’ll take you through a basic
    18 points
  44. Well my Chinese learning journey started in 1984. I am very keen on embroidery and other crafts. I wanted to embroider a Chinese dragon with some Chinese characters on my denim jacket. Much like a tattoo this would take time and effort and be "permanent" and visible to the rest of the world. Like getting a tattoo I did not want to have wrong characters forever emblazoned on my jacket. In 1984 there was no internet and no Chinese forums to come in and ask is this right? So I enrolled in my local University evening classes and using the Book and tapes Getting by in Chinese by the BBC I
    18 points
  45. Living in China is like one of those adventure/RPG games. "I'm stuck. I've finished most of the quests in Beijing, found the map to the visa office by talking to the old guy in the park, installed the VPN by using a computer at the office to download the software, and then contacted the friend in Shanghai on a banned social network. But since I submitted my documents for the visa, and now I need to go to Shanghai, I'm stuck -- I can't travel. I used the shouji to take a photo of my passport but it's not accepted. Is it something to do with getting a driver's license? Has anybody eve
    18 points
  46. Not sure if this is entirely relevant, and please feel free to downvote / moderate this post out of existence if not, but given the reliance of both this site and the Chinese learning community in general on user-generated content (online lessons, flashcard lists, CC-CEDICT, etc), and the fact that a lot of people here have firsthand experience with what happens when you give governments the power to arbitrarily block websites, it seems reasonably topical anyway. The US Congress is dangerously close to passing a law called the Stop Online Piracy Act (similar Senate version is called the PROTE
    18 points
  47. I work with a woman who's name is Guo Jia - the same as 'country' or 'nation', apart from the tones which I'm lousy at anyway. One day someone came into the office while she was out, pointed at the empty desk and asked who it belonged to. In best revolutionary fashion I replied 'The desk belongs to the nation' Roddy
    18 points
  48. It has been requested that I write a topic based on the language learning pursuits of mandarin speaking mormon missionaries. In this particular post, I hope to explore the daily life, efforts, and methods missionaries employ to improve their language ability, with some background into how they get started in the first place. 1) An Introduction into "LDS" Missionary Work At the age of 18 for males or 19 for females, members in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Commonly known as the LDS or Mormon Church) may choose to serve a 2 year or 18 month service mission. The LDS Ch
    17 points
  49. Hey guys, I've been living in China for about three years. I've never been much for formal study, but I think my Chinese is very good anyways. Plenty of Chinese people tell me I sound real good. Check it out. Would appreciate the feedback. Here it is.ExpertChinese.mp3 Regards, West Texas
    17 points
  50. How do I choose a show suitable for my level? Difficulty ranking for all the shows covered so far: 1 - 士兵突击: Upper intermediate (non-standard accent) - VST 2 - 空镜子: Lower intermediate (Beijing accent) - VS 3 - 武林外传: Very advanced (cultural references, classical language, fast) - T 4 - 微笑Pasta: Lower Intermediate (traditional subtitles, Taiwanese accent) - SE 5 - 神探狄仁杰: Upper intermediate (classical language, chengyu) - V 6 - 我爱我家: Advanced (Beijing accent, fast, cadre language) - VT 7 - 落地请开手机: Lower intermediate (some gangster-speak) - VS 8 - 魔幻手机: Intermediate (but with references t
    17 points
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