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Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation on 04/21/2019 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    I did this! It was just the local McDonald’s (it was open), and just like previous years I didn’t understand most of what she said, but this time I slowed myself down and asked her about the words I didn’t pick up. I knew nearly all of them, I just didn’t scan them when she said them the first time. Even last year I would hear the questions I couldn’t understand, collapse in an anxious pile of 听不懂s and slink away, but this time I made a point of asking what she said, and got through it with almost full comprehension. Separately from that, I’ve been asking for help from random people on trains and in shops. It’s very unlike me (I’m super introverted, which I’m sure has also been hurting my progress), and it’s been largely successful and buckets of fun. I’m here for another nine full days so I’m excited to see what will happen next — there’s a very real chance I’ll return home with lasting confidence.
  2. 2 points
    Yep. Confirmed, pretty much. What happens to me is that the person with whom I am talking starts out trying hard to use standard Putonghua, like they learned in school. They speak slowly and clearly. Easy to understand. Then after a few minutes they sort of forget I'm not their neighbor or cousin. They speed way up and slip into a heavily accented version of standard Chinese sprinkled with plenty of dialect. I have to wave time out and urge them to go back to the way they were talking five minutes ago. This is one way in which professional teachers are better than ordinary folks. Teachers tend to be able consciously maintain a type of language suitable for conversing with foreigners or students. Ordinary folks cannot always do that. They unconsciously slip back into their most comfortable mode of speech. It's similar to how the foot massage guy will ease up if you say "轻一点师傅,疼了!“ ("Take it easy, that hurts!)" Then three or four minutes later he's back to his usual style of massage and you either have to just wince through it or get up and leave. Corrections don't last.
  3. 1 point
    Despite learning Chinese Mandarin, I don't get the chance to use it very often. I get the feeling of minimal progress. I haven't really been watching many intermediate learning materials since my last post. A bit boring for my liking... I wasted a lot of time on the hellotalk app. Being a native English speaker is a big advantage when learning Chinese. Eventually, I decided to tell people I am only interested in talking verbally and real time conversation. This proved helpful in screening out quite a number of people who just wanted a friendly text chat with a foreigner. I tend to screen out people who have a strong 南方 accent though Taiwanese are fine. In the end HT is just an area for practice and I cut down my time on it. For learning, I have been using Glossika. 25% through the A1 course. It's a bit boring but I stick with it. I don't like that it only gives two reps of a sentence. I prefer 3 or 4 at one time. Does it have an effect? I think it is hard to say for me - maybe a longer duration of practice would help. I recently dug out some old ankicards that I made long ago. These were made from the Growing up in China series. I remember I had tremendous difficulty in following the speech at time of making them. Well, amazingly, I found my listening comprehension is definitely much better. There are words which I forgot but definitely relearn much better and it's much less frustrating. I recently went to Qingdao for business and badminton. Initially a bit apprehensive yet looking forward to trying out the field experience. Last time I was by myself in China was two years ago in Guangzhou and I fell back to using Cantonese much of the time. Pleased to say I didnt really have any major problems using the language for day to day life. Of course there were the trip-ups. What I particularly liked was I had to use the language for some simple problem solving which sharpens the mind considerably. Although there is still a lot to learn in terms of extending conversations, the initial handling of issues went quite smoothly. I had a couple of nice conversations with taxi drivers and made a large number of wechat contacts from playing badminton. I played a lot of amateur competitions in the past and when I played my trickshots on this trip, they were really well received. Of course, there was also the novelty factor of being an overseas Chinese. So a great morale booster that there is some progression and I got a lot of extensive listening experience even though I didn't understand all of it.
  4. 1 point
    My take is it will not affect your chances. What will happen is that at some point, the embassy or Uni will reach out, asking for the degree. That ought to happen before the scholarship results are out. Otherwise, if that was not possible, the embassy would not have invited you for the interviews.
  5. 1 point
    I’ve just come off eight hours straight of language exchange with a friend, so four quality hours of Chinese. I understood most of what he said, when I knew I wasn’t getting it I always asked him to repeat/clarify, and I expressed myself pretty well and had full and proper conversations with him and others. It was only at the eight hour mark that I ran out of brain. At times it properly felt like a superpower. I really can’t believe this is happening. Yep! If I don’t know, I’m asking. Today I was monitoring my own comprehension and the accuracy of my responses as we went, so I could be sure of what was and wasn’t real. Previous successes were certainly flukes but today I wasn’t allowing that.
  6. 1 point
    I'm sure all major university's offer language courses by the semester. There's a few in Hangzhou. Prices range from 7,000-10,000 rmb per semester. Classes are usually 8am-12am Monday to Friday and they have different groups depending on your level. I'd guess it's similar in any major Chinese city you pick.
  7. 1 point
    ..... And crucially, not beating yourself up for not understanding easy stuff. This time, you are not saying to yourself ' I should have known this word', you are just moving things along the conversation regardless which is how it should be. loads of TV and podcasts help but they only a step of the process along the way to real life interaction. I challenge you to go to a different place for breakfast tomorrow 🙂 . Same situation but slightly different input, environment and learning. 加油!
  8. 1 point
  9. 1 point
    突破!Breakthrough! Last week I realised something critical: when I practise verbal Chinese, I’ve always wanted to be awake and alert and ready to go. If I was tired or distracted, I wouldn’t do it at all because I thought it’d be a waste of time. What I realised last week is that I’ve never applied this to reading or writing. I’ll do it before bed, when I have insomnia, when I’m stressed, totally uninterested, any time at all. The main consequence of this has been that I’ve racked up thousands of hours of reading and writing (and I’m relatively good at that), but I’ve turned down opportunities to talk to people so often that I’ve really not done much of it at all, and when I have it’s always felt like I’m sitting an exam. My balance between characters and speech has tipped the scales diagonally. Noticing this discrepancy was a huge step for me. I immediately started to fight it, and now I’m far more likely to have conversations at any time (and my eagerness to talk to people is increasing by the day). This in turn has relaxed me a lot, because there’s no specific investment or goal or fear in conversing — I’m quickly building up to just doing it whenever and wherever now, just like the way I’ve always done reading and writing. I’ve only been in Taiwan three days and I’ve been forcing myself to fight this stupid habit and talk to people. I’ve been to two language exchange meetups and they’ve been spectacularly good: last night was 90 minutes straight of Chinese, and I understood enough to stay involved in the conversation (they were speaking clearly for foreigners) without feeling the need to beat myself up, while completely understanding where I’ve been going wrong. I’m also walking around with wireless earbuds in my bag, ready to take calls from people spontaneously. This is the breakthrough I’ve been hoping for. All your suggestions have been great, but the root cause had to be something unique and specific. This is it — not simply doing things wrong, not simply doing too little practice, but simply understanding this stupid imbalance I’ve been perpetuating for so many years. There’s a long way to go, but I’ve not been this excited or confident in a long time.
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