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  1. I’ve collaborated with a few other fellow Chinese language learners to put together a document focusing on reading Chinese fiction, especially webnovels. Webnovels are extremely popular in China (many are adapted into anime, manga, audiobook/drama and TV shows), and many are easily accessible digital online (both for free and paid). We have divided the document into levels by character count and HSK level. We did our best to fill each section with useful resources and tips to help guide you on your Chinese reading journey. The resources in each level are ones we've personally used and found useful. We are aware that the levels may not be perfect, and using character count may not work for everyone, however it's one way that most people will be able to relate to. You can find the resource here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vSjVsapt4NOZx0KuDwgBUfQggTyT15hdgUjHHdqZRnV8LTnzQ5lY-fKjJhV0cb7I06q3x_syq1DyE4H/pub Hope you find it useful!
    6 points
  2. Learning sounds and tones in a new language works in my experience best by only listening and NOT reading. Reading distracts and worst case my lead to pronouncing as if read in ones native language. I notice that once people pronounce a new language in a certain way it is almost impossible to change (think of how most Japanese or French pronounce English even after many years study). I learnt Chinese pronounciation by listening, I still find it difficult to tell the correct tone despite that my pronounciation is not too bad. And through listening I also found many Chinese pronounce differently from standard putonghua.
    6 points
  3. That guide looks pretty good! My comment would be that you should bump up the character count by 500 at each level. I didn't feel comfortable starting reading native materials until 2500, and didn't feel like I was confident until >3500. When I was reading subtitles / comics, I didn't feel comfortable starting until I got to 1500. Before then I was just picking at random fragments. I didn't recognize enough to piece together much meaning. When a book has 1500 unique characters, I estimate you need to know about 2500-3000 characters off the frequency list to catch that book's particular subset of 1500 (I basically learned off the frequency list). I consider that subset of 1500 almost like the book's/author's character fingerprint. That's why when you read sequels or more books by that author, it tends to be much easier, cause the second time around, you already know the author's favored subset. This is very similar to the concept of information "entropy" or "surprisal". Basically you measure how surprised you are to find a character/word of a certain frequency in the book. If words that are supposed to be common turn up in a book, it's not much of a surprise. If they're supposed to be rare but appear often, it's a "surprise." Mathematically, it's measured by using the negative log of the expected frequency. High surprisal generally means a book contains a lot of "information", and is harder to read. Content with low surprisal are easier to process. Easy books are those that have a lot of common words arranged in a very common order that is frequently seen, so you're never surprised when reading it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_content For a book, you can do it at the character level or at the word level. For the word level, I'd take add a list of say 5000 common words, and then have a single bucket for everything not on the list of 5000. You then add up the "surprisal" measure (negative log of the frequency) of each unit (char/word) in the book and divide by the total number of units in the book. I've thought of doing this myself at some point, but have also thought of seeing if someone else has already done it. Someone must have done it already because entropy/surprisal is a very common measure in multiple scientific fields, but I haven't seen it in casual googling. I almost expect to find it in some linguistic / AI library or on github somewhere, but haven't run across it yet. Maybe @AntonOfTheWoods knows somewhere this might be available?
    5 points
  4. It's repeated in many places on the Internet and IMHO it's just not helpful: drilling radicals isn't useful in and of itself. Unless you need to use a paper dictionary as already mentioned. In particular, knowing how to pronounce a radical on its own is of very little use, especially to beginners. I started this way and it made me waste a lot of time when I was trying to get to grips with Hanzi. What you need to do is start to identify common components (which are sometimes, but not always, radicals), and to understand how the meaning components and sound components of common characters are used. (Since at least 80% of characters are picto-phonetic, which include both types of component.) Olle Linge's Hacking Chinese website has loads of good resources relating to this. This is a good starting point: https://www.hackingchinese.com/phonetic-components-part-1-the-key-to-80-of-all-chinese-characters/
    5 points
  5. I think you are misunderstanding the point. Radicals were defined for indexing characters in paper dictionaries so you could identify a radical the character was indexed under, then count the strokes in the character and then use those pieces of information to find it in the dictionary. That's it. If you don't need a paper dictionary, you basically don't need radicals and I personally haven't used radicals to find characters in paper dictionaries anymore in probably 15 years. Specifically the 214 radicals that you are drilling seems to be the indexing list version of the Kangxi dictionary. The semantic and phonetic components referred to above are different. Especially 15-20 years ago while studying Japanese (as far as I remember) all the talk was about radicals and not components, so I personally mix the two terms up a lot, but there is a significant difference. Don't waste you time on the radicals and concentrate on the components and additionally getting the stroke order and the balance of the character right if you're practicing hand writing. Here is a good looking article that explains the basic difference: https://blog.skritter.com/2015/03/understanding-chinese-characters-components-and-radicals/
    5 points
  6. They’re consistently absent (i.e. no tonal information at all, just the pitch of the notes, which is inrelated to tone) in the vast majority of contemporary songs, including both of the ones @Jan Finster and @Woodford posted. The exceptions to this rule are mainly in certain traditional or folk styles of music (京剧、二人转 etc). That’s like saying “the colors are still there, but you just can't see them” about a black-and-white photograph. I mean maybe it's true in some abstract conceptual sense: someone who already knows the tones might “hear” them by reconstructing them in their head, just as someone who already knows what color an object is might “see” that color in the black-and-white photograph. But it’s certainly not true as an observable characteristic of the underlying substrate.
    4 points
  7. I have now had a month's worth of lessons from my tutor (which is more tutoring than I've had in the past 5 years combined), and the lessons have been illuminating. I guess that having a tutor is really useful in keeping me from developing bad habits, going in the wrong direction, and/or wasting my time in my Chinese study. One thing that's really surprising to me is just how different literary Chinese is from spoken Chinese. I knew it was different, but I failed to appreciate the extent of it. I've been learning the fact that the difference between written and spoken Chinese is far, far larger than the difference between written and spoken English. As long as it's something written in the last 150 years or so, and it isn't extraordinarily flowery in its language, almost everything written in an English novel can be spoken in daily life. Sure, you might sound very educated or even a little pretentious on occasion, but it isn't incorrect. My tutor, on the other hand, tells me, "We don't use that word in spoken Chinese. That's 书面. We can't use that word, either. Or that word. Or that word. Or that word. Or that word." He even opened a copy of a Liu Cixin novel (written only in the past decade or two), and said, "See where the quotation marks are? That's real speech. That's how we talk. See the places outside the quotation marks (the narrative portions)? We never talk like that." Wow, that's so different from the situation in English. He also told me to watch out for what I'm using for listening practice. He suggested watching 电视剧, for instance. It shows real people interacting with each other in real life. Listening to a lot of Youtube videos in the style of 李永乐, news, STEM, education, or political commentary (something I'm in the habit of doing these days) will not teach me conversational Chinese nearly as well. He told me that when he was learning Spanish (he speaks it fluently, as I've seen myself), watching 100 episodes of Peppa Pig was enough to give him vast improvement. That's a paradigm shift for me, and I think I'll adjust my course a bit. I don't regret slogging through dense literary novels or working my way through complex, non-conversational YouTube videos, but I really do think I need to make up for my real lack of exposure to truly conversational Chinese.
    4 points
  8. 214 is way too many. I would guess I know around 40 of them. Almost everything in language follows a Power Law / 80-20 rule. 20% of the examples will cover 80% of the cases. 20% of 214 is around 40. Edit: Looking at the list, I sold myself short. I don't know the really simple ones, but I know most of the rest. So now I estimate I know about 150 of them. https://www.archchinese.com/arch_chinese_radicals.html But I learned most of them while drilling characters. I probably knew around 40 of them to start off with, before I committed to drilling characters. The main left hand sides 亻彳 氵木 犭王 禾 纟衤讠辶 饣忄扌etc, and a few right hand sides.
    4 points
  9. Hmm, found two versions on YouTube. Male voice: https://youtu.be/zERp1IJ0R4U https://youtu.be/y0reERQe6zM Female voice: https://youtu.be/jT61CaChw68 https://youtu.be/-krMvR6HwAk
    3 points
  10. @Woodford There are many registers in a language. It's not a spoken-written dichotomy. Any competent linguist can tell you that. Textbooks usually cover the middle ground, not too slangy, nor too contrived. What your tutor meant was probably just you talk like a book and should loosen yourself up a bit. For two millenia there existed a phenomenon called diglossia, namely people spoke a different language in daily life than the language they were taught in school to read and write. But that ended with 白话文运动 a century ago.
    3 points
  11. Aaaand done. Good one, actually. Some of the usual quirks (tons of loose ends, meandering plot, characters that aren't very important, no "big picture") but to be quite honest I was totally entertained for all 500ish pages. So not bad. Could very well be that I'm more of a 古龍 guy than a 金庸 guy.
    3 points
  12. I don't have the numbers (of titles, copies, readers or revenue) but I still think you're mistaken here. There is a huge landscape of literary novels and short stories in China that has nothing to do with web novels. There are countless literary magazines where both new and established authors publish short stories and new novels appear all the time with one of the many, many publishing houses. No doubt web novel culture is big and popular, but to talk about it as if it is the only game in town is misleading. 三体, according to Wikipedia, started out on paper as well: 'The first volume of The Three-Body Problem was first serialized in Science Fiction World between May and December 2006.' Serialization in newspapers and magazines has a long and venerable history in Chinese literature, and brought forth people like Lu Xun, Jin Yong and Sanmao. Apart from that, thanks for the explanation! Clearly there is a whole world of reading out there to dive into.
    3 points
  13. yes. Doing some at the moment. The male tutor that I am using said he’s done it before for some other people as well. I deliberately found a male tutor (experience with speaking on the radio), asked him to speak slightly slower and exaggerate the tones slightly more compared to native speech for the recordings.
    3 points
  14. I started with Rainbow Bridge graded readers, then Mandarin Companion graded readers, now a mix of translated materials (AA Milne and Roald Dahl) and native materials (孙幼军, 夏正正, and now the works of 曹文轩). Thank you! 💬 I second this caution. Progress will be different for everyone depending on their background and study habits. For myself, the "zero" character point is not when I started learning Chinese. Looking at my log, I already had seven months of study with 600+ hour which included a lot of immersive listening and reading in pinyin. Hey friend, you are giving us (or at least me) way too much credit. If you're engaging with Chinese material every day, that's all that matters. Anyway to answer your specific question, I pretty much do C). Keep in mind, I read using an iPad and the Pleco document reader. Here is my very simple workflow when I start a new book: Choose my new book (always fun). Open the book's ePub on Calibre. Open this character counter. I prefer this one because it doesn't count punctuation. Open my excel spreadsheet. Copy paste each chapter's script into the character counter then into my excel spreadsheet, then sum to get total character count. This takes about 2 minutes to do the entire book. On my iPad notes, write down the date I start the book. Read book on Pleco, On my iPad notes, write down the date I finish the book. Go to Settings > Screen Time > See All Activity. The amount of time I spent on the Pleco app is given for each week or each day. Add it up to get total time (in minutes) spent reading the book. Take the total characters divided by total minutes = characters per minute. This takes all of less than ten minutes per book. And echoing alantin, I find it enjoyable and motivating. Hope that helps!
    3 points
  15. I love seeing all of this data shared. I think it'll really help us piece together the whole trajectory of the learning-to-read experience. Of course individual experiences will vary but it's nice to see the range. When I started reading, I had read a bunch of stuff already, so I wasn't starting fresh I knew ~2000-2500 characters before I started my extensive reading campaign. I didn't do many graded readers (although I did a few), but I read a bunch of movie/tv subtitles + Chinese language comics. Just not native materials in volume. @alantinA couple of books is probably only about 150-300k chars. I estimate old school children books (pre Harry Potter bloat) are about 50-100k chars, while medium length "novels" are 100-300k. If you haven't have started reading in volume, 1M chars is a lot because you tire out quickly. So you're reading slowly + you pause/rest a lot. You repeat, you spend time looking stuff up. At least as I recall my experience, the first million chars subjectively took a long time. E.g. Similarly, I feel like I've done more focused listening now this month than I've ever done, but I think it's still only a few hundred thousand characters. For listening too, there's an equivalent. There's listening time -- and then there's the zoning-out time, as you exhaust your attention span, even if you refuse to pause. Then there's the occasional repeat / look stuff up. And just like for reading, I've already listened to a lot of stuff before this extensive listening campaign. @Dr Mack Rettosy Are you reading shorter material? Are you switching a lot between different types of content? As you get used to a book, an author, a genre, it'll become easier for you and you'll speed up. You can easily get 30%+ improvement over a course of a book, from the beginning to the end. E.g. I still read "news" much slower than I read "books" because I have a long warm-up period. By the time I hit my stride, the news article is over. Same, but less dramatically so with short stories. I often don't feel comfortable in a book until 50k chars in, before I get up to my cruising speed.
    3 points
  16. English letters have names: F -> eff, H -> aitch, etc. Similarly, for Chinese radicals, you need to know the name by which they're referred to, e.g. 反文, 提手, 斜玉, 走之, etc, not the often obscure and archaic "pronunciation". Also Western learners tend to confuse radicals with semantic components. They are different concepts. The Chinese term 部首 means nothing more than "section header" under which a character is listed in a dictionary. By that definition, every character must have a "radical", even indivisible characters such as 也 (not a radical itself by the way).
    3 points
  17. Kickstart your Chinese character learning with the 100 most common radicals | Hacking Chinese this article has a link to an anki deck with 100 characters. usefully it also shows some alternate versions of the radicals + whether to bother learning the pronunciation. I believe the radicals where you should learn the pronunciation, are often characters themselves The most useful part about radicals is to helpo with character recognition though. It breaks up those confusing pictures into separate chunks
    3 points
  18. Thinking of them as “throat positions” might help with producing the sounds, but ultimately those “throat positions” are realized as pitch contours, and it's really just the vocal cords rather than any other part of the throat. You can see this by viewing a spectrogram of speech, though speech production is messy and inexact, and intonation also plays a large part, so the results won't map perfectly onto a 4-tone chart. In most styles of music, the use of the vocal cords to produce pitch is purely used for creating melody; alter the tightness of the vocal cords and you alter the pitch and thus the perceived melody. As with speech, you can see the changes in pitch using a spectrogram. If you use a typical mandopop song as input, you'll see the pitch changes map pretty closely to melody, but not at all to tone. If your pronunciation is otherwise perfect and very clear (clarity is often a problem in any style of singing in any language, not just Chinese), they'll probably get all or most of it, depending how simple and/or formulaic the lyrics are. What they won't be able to do is accurately distinguish between two words differentiated only by tone that are both equally plausible in context. However, such situations are relatively rare. By losing tone, you do lose some information, but it's usually not enough to make an utterance completely unintelligible, unless other information is also missing or corrupted (background noise, weird grammar or word choice, mouth is obstructed, other aspects of pronunciation are off, etc etc). Note also that absent tone information, as in singing, is much easier to understand than present but incorrect tone information. Wǒ ài nǐ > wo ai ni > wǒ ái ní (我挨泥? I suffer mud?)
    2 points
  19. This is my experience also. I think it's because with fiction, if there's anything fancy or non-chronological going on, you have to both pay attention to the meaning of the sentences as they flow and also to construct the flow of the story in your mind so you can follow the events. With nonfiction, you just have the former challenge. With fiction, the easiest to follow are those with a single story line and a fable-like storytelling style, like Paolo Cuelho's The Alchemist, which is popular in so many languages, I wouldn't be surprised if it is also doing well in Chinese.
    2 points
  20. Sure. It depicts a person with their hands bound behind their backs. This is 卂, the original form (初文) of 訊. These are other early forms of 訊: Form 2 shows a kneeling person with threads/string (幺) behind them, again indicating hands bound behind the back. It also contains 口 (which in the modern form of 訊 is now 言). Form 3 shows a kneeling person with hands bound behind the back (卂), but slightly simplified compared to form 1 above. It also contains 口 like form 2. Note that 卂 in form 3 is visually similar to 女: The difference is that 女 shows arms folded in front of the body, while 卂 shows them behind the body, as they would be when a prisoner is bound.
    2 points
  21. I think there are three things here: 1. conversational language 2. written language 3. literary language. A bestseller novel in English will be (2). Henry James or Virginia Woolf will be (3). My hunch is that the gap between (1) and (2) is quite a bit bigger in Chinese than in English. I also think that 书面 in Chinese tends to refer to both (2) and (3). But we can sometimes wrongly (I think) assume it applies only to (3).
    2 points
  22. Train what interests you. If you are more likely to discuss science stuff with Chinese folks online or in real life, I would not worry about the conversational fluff. If you ever really need it, surely you will pick it up in a week or two.
    2 points
  23. I'm not being argumentative here, truly - just asking for a clarification. Because I went to my bookshelf and pulled down the opening of Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, and I would say much the same thing about its language. Take a look at this selection from its first paragraph (emphasis mine): You would never in a million years encounter those kinds of expression or those words/phrases in conversation. And it's not just because the book was published in 1881. And not just because this is Henry James. Here's Virginia Woolf, the opening of her 1915 novel Night and Day: So, have I misunderstood you? Wouldn't someone tutoring a Chinese speaker in English equally have to say about the language in English/American literary novels that it is not conversational?
    2 points
  24. As problems go, it's probably not a bad one to have! And very easy to rectify. My breakthrough with listening came with repeated listening to 锵锵三人行 (shameless plug here: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/42490-qqsrx-list-of-episodes/#comment-319731) which is highly conversational, but mixes light-hearted and serious topics/vocab. 100s of old espisodes up on youtube, transcripts still available with a tiny bit of digging too.
    2 points
  25. Actually, this forum does have a food and drink section, even though it is less active than it once was. Tofu, in its many forms, has a prominent place in China life. Here are a few links to tofu discussions and tofu recipes: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/57002-neighborhood-tofu-a-short-practical-tour/#comment-441841 https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/54450-getting-the-most-from-shiping-tofu-香煎石屏豆腐/#comment-418186 https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/56990-addictive-smoked-tofu-青椒豆腐干/#comment-441718
    2 points
  26. Recognizing a character out of its usual sequence is hard even for native speakers. I remember when I took a character test, for the longest time I couldn't come up with a pronunciation for 蛤 (to make matters worse, it was 2x2 inches big). Eventually I settled on gě, which is close to one of the dictionary pronunciations gé. When I reported back, imron reminded me it's há in 蛤蟆功 from Jin Yong's most famous book...
    2 points
  27. Chinese webnovels are self-published and serialised. Serialise means they get publish chapter by chapter over a period of time. There are many huge platforms where anyone can published a webnovel. Some authors will end up getting contracts with the publishing platform where they can only publish their work on said platform. Most authors will release a new chapter once a day, and many are very very long (over 1k chapters). The Chinese webnovel culture is massive now, so you'll find that most modern fiction are webnovels or was once a webnovel. The popular webnovels will get published into physical books by a publisher. I'm not sure if these will also get published as ebooks or not. I'm also not sure if the author then updates their web version to be the same as the edited published version. Quality wise, it massively varies and depends on the author as well. I've dropped some webnovels before because the quality was just terrible, typos, mistakes everywhere. I'm also read some that's amazing, beautifully written webnovels. Some authors will sometimes go back and massively edit their finished webnovel if they're unhappy with the result. Majority of manga, anime, tv adapations are from webnovels. I believe 三体 started out as a webnovel as well. Other famous recent work are 全职高手 (The King's Avatar),修真聊天群 (Cultivation chat group),诡秘之主 (Lord of Mysteries),罗斗大陆 (Soul Land),天道图书馆 (Library of Heaven's Path). Not sure if you've heard of Jin Yong (famous Hong Kong wuxia author), his work all started as self publish serialised novels via newpapers, before the days of the internet. So to answer your questions, both. You can't get away from it as this is the current Chinese fiction culture.
    2 points
  28. Hey guys, sorry it’s been so long since I did an update. I graduated successfully with a 92 average, which was number one, but honestly it basically feels meaningless. My final thesis was on the 3 body problem. Doing the final year and a half online was a disaster, and my Chinese went downhill massively - thanks covid. All the student had to speak, which meant we got about 3 minutes per class to actually use Chinese. Time differences also made it challenging. Glad that I graduated of course. I guess the question is, would I recommend this degree to anyone else? Probably not, but it depends on what you want to get out of it. My classmates were all young and were basically there to party and end up with a degree, I was there to learn Chinese. In person was better by far. Also important to recognize it was a Chinese language and literature degree. Classes on Chinese mythology were a waste of time for what I wanted, and my time would have been better used doing self study on stuff I would actually use. I also really struggled with being treated like a child - things like having attendance taken at every lecture. In England you can attend lectures if you want, but exam results are what matter. If you fail then that’s on you, if you can pass without attending class then it’s all good, but that just wasn’t an option for us in China, to the point where you wouldn’t get a visa if you missed a certain amount of classes. I’m glad I did it as I learnt a lot, but if I could go back in time I probably wouldn’t have bothered.
    2 points
  29. That sounds like a fun project! Have you tried this video yet? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ti0Tw93zG8k I'm glad you didn't try your first experiment; as a rule of thumb, in fermentation, blue mould can be the right (tasty and harmless) type you want, whereas red mould tends to be the bad stuff. This looks pretty red or pink to me so something went wrong there I think. Would be great if you could share results here if you try another method! I'd certainly be interested in how it all turns out.
    2 points
  30. I am not sure how you get to 150-300K individual words (???) (the total word count is not releavant) I could imagine you could go in steps of 2.5K, 5K, 10K, 15K, 20K and 25k+ unique word for the levels. This is of course not an exact science, but number like these put up on this forum again and again (e.g. https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/61248-reading-material-chasm/?do=findComment&comment=480572). I believe Imron also said something along the line that of 5K to start, 10K for easy novels and 20K+ for pretty much the rest (I hope I am remembering this correctly, otherwise I apologise for misquoting) I know, but does this really matter? Such words might constitute less than 5% of all unique words and they should average themselves out across the levels as you learn more words. In other words, you acknowledge them as a source of error, but this error is similar across all levels (maybe a bit higher at the 0-5K word level). Yes, in that particular setting, I believe character count makes sense. For Chinese as a second language learners, it probably does not. I wonder, if sentence length also plays a role in Chinese? (In German it certainly does and we are famous for creating those long-winding and somewhat confusing word strings with nested subclauses, but not only that, even nested subclauses within nested subclauses, so that at the end of a sentence you do not really know how it started, but, if you do, you can consider yourself equal to the author Thomas Mann, who was famous for creating such long sentences and whose books challenge the minds of the TikTok generation... (you get the gist)😉)
    2 points
  31. Yep, so did I :D. It is fixed in development but I have another MEGA change set that will include lots of new features and bugfixes coming soon. While there is only one developer you can do this sort of thing :-). So I am pretty happy with the copy/paste feature. You can paste up to 30k characters and it enriches it and gives you the same stats you get for imports/content. I have also transformed the .txt imports so that they now turn whatever you import into a "book". Basically it turns whatever you put in the .txt into HTML, and splits it into pages of a maximum of 30k characters. I definitely want to have lots more formats available later (and maybe even things like Word plugins, OCR image PDFs, etc.) but as long as you can copy/paste, then you should always be able to read/consume what you need to. I am also doing a lot of re-plumbing (migrating lots of stuff to redux toolkit) so it is taking longer than I thought (but this should make later stuff even faster to implement...).
    2 points
  32. As a lover of blue cheese myself, OP is almost certainly wanting to make 臭豆腐 (stinky tofu). The first time I tried 臭豆腐 my first thought was “this tastes like blue cheese’!
    2 points
  33. Do you mean fermented tofu, such as 腐乳 or 卤腐?The process is different from making "stinky" cheese. And the finished product does not taste like blue cheese although it is very pleasant, very pungent, very prized in some Chinese cuisine. Recipes for 腐乳 are not hard to find in Chinese. Note that quite a few regional variations exist. Start here for an overview: https://baike.baidu.com/item/腐乳/813421?fr=aladdin And here for more of the technical aspects: https://baike.baidu.com/item/自制豆腐乳/2335633 What I actually think might be best is to just buy some either in the Chinatown of a nearby city or on Amazon and taste it to be sure you like it before investing a lot of time and trouble in learning how to reproduce the taste at home. Here's an English-language method that I just now found. (Have not tried it; cannot vouch for it.) https://www.yumofchina.com/how-to-make-fermented-tofu/
    2 points
  34. If you find a tutor who is willing to do that, iTalki won't care. I did that too, especially in the beginning and sometimes later too. Not for a complete one hour but I have recordings of different people reading a few pages at a time of WoT for me. I then listened to those over and over and did shadowing with them. Theoretically 14 400 - 15 600 characters assuming you are reading for 60 minutes at the general news reading or speaking spead, which is about 240 - 260 characters per minute. 😂 Though probably less than that. If you're not a professional, I guess you're going to get tired of reading aloud at some point. I mostly reserved a 90 minute lesson, finished it at 60 minutes and asked the tutor to use the rest of the time to make the recordings for me. One thing I found was that some people are really great at reading aloud, while for others it really isn't their forte. And you really don't know before you actually hear them read something. Completely unrelated to the accent or pronunciation. I guess I personally get somehow distracted and lose my focus while reading aloud, so I end up having unnatural pauses even when reading in my native language.
    2 points
  35. Hi Yaokong, Sorry, I thought Gmail was putting replies into my inbox and didn't check my updates tab so missed this... Actually, you came across a case I didn't think through properly. Looking at the logs and db though, it looks like something went wrong with updating your interface - it should have shown an error after about 5 minutes. I'll dig into this too! If you had have put a .csv extension, it would have imported correctly in a few seconds! Please give that a try while I fix the txt import and docs. The docs are not clear (or just plain wrong maybe...) on the txt imports. Sorry about that! The boring details... I tried to import your file and sometimes it works, sometimes it fails. The "plain text" imports are going to be turned into something more useful, hopefully starting tomorrow (after adding a copy/paste text input screen). Previously .txt files were just treated as blobs of text that you can import and then get stats and lists from BUT it expects sentences. It failed because the analysis engine doesn't like really long sentences, and because you just had words it considered the whole file was just one sentence, and timed out. In any case, what you wanted was a CSV style import, which needs to have a .csv file extension. The docs definitely need improving here too!
    2 points
  36. Has anyone had any experience with this since I last posted it? Would it be legal on Italki to have someone record things for 40-60 minutes instead of having class with them? This would be most convenient in terms of payment. How likely/unlikely is it to have a native Chinese on Italki to actually read a medical text correctly to me? I do not mean medical textbooks, but something like wikipedia (e.g. https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/癌症) or Baidu (https://baike.baidu.com/item/癌/151056)? Are they actually able to read it to me or are such words/characters too specialised?
    2 points
  37. Very sensible approach. Also exactly what Japanese Core 2000/6000 Anki deck does - always learn a word in a sentence with audio. I used it to build initial vocabulary necessary for reading native literature. And I loved it.
    2 points
  38. I think a good way to mitigate this is by not just picturing the pinyin in your head, but actually saying it out loud, and even having a recording of the pronunciation on the back of the card (if you're computer-savvy enough to make such a thing). What I did in the beginning, was having a complete sentence in Chinese characters on the front and I would see if I could read it. Then on the back of the card I had the pinyin below the hanzi and a recording of the sentence. I would create these sentences with a tutor and have them record them for me one to three times a week. In the meantime I would drill the sentences with Anki and also take a sentence every day one at a time and do shadowing on it like a maniac until I could follow the recording exactly. I also didn't trust my reading of the pinyin in the beginning. But later it is going to be essential to be able to learn new characters and words. Listening can only take you so far if your native language is not a tonal language. There is an immense temptation to just ignore the tones and actually it can be extremely difficult to even hear them if your ear isn't trained for them. I for one couldn't tell the difference between má, mǎ, and mà in the beginning. The only one I recognized was different from the others was mā.
    2 points
  39. Yes! Exactly this. Almost always when people (even teachers who should know better) use the term radical they actually mean components. It's unfortunate.
    2 points
  40. It looks like you are trying to put too much emphasis on radicals. I can see why learning components first in a vacuum might seem attractive, but here's a different perspective. I think what is more fundamental is how to go about memorising entire characters. If you find yourself repeatedly forgetting or confusing character components then I would recommend you give mnemonics a try. Have you tried Heisig for example? It's not for everybody but you can read in various places online about the method used by James W. Heisig in his books "Remembering Simplified Hanzi How not to forget the meaning and writing of Chinese characters" volumes 1 and 2. I think the first few entire chapters of book 1 can be found online. Don't bother with book 2. There are also loads of Anki Heisig decks, but one needs to fully understand the method of making up a story for each character to effectively use them. I didn't learn the radicals up front but I know thousands of characters and am confident of never forgetting them or mixing them up. I found I naturally picked up the component versions of characters as I learnt more characters. This is why the order you start to learn characters is important. I wouldn't follow Heisig's book blindly though. I think for most people that would also be a waste of time. With Chinese hanzi, as opposed to Japanese kanji which is what Heisig originally wrote about, I argue that it makes sense to learn the character readings when you learn the characters. So I combine the pronunciation into my mnemonic stories.
    2 points
  41. 中国人拜祖先、供神明的庄严厅堂,却被他们用来夜夜宣淫,真是不懂持家的娼妇所为。 他们 = Adam Smith & his girlfriend 厅堂 is the object of the verb 用 Correct parsing of the sentence: That the dignified main hall, where Chinese people honor their ancestors and give offerings to their gods, has been used by them every night in openly liscivious ways, is really a prostitute's doing who doesn't understand the housekeeping ways. Hope that helps.
    2 points
  42. We are specifically discussing "Extensive Reading and Reading Speed" in this thread. I don't think anyone has suggested reading speed and language ability to be synonymous and I haven't seen anyone write about exclusively concentrating on improving reading speed and expecting that to improve overall language ability... Though I personally believe reading to to be the single best activity for building the foundation for improvement in the other areas of the language and for that greater reading speed provides you with greater amount of input in a given space of time, so higher reading speed provides benefits over lower reading speed. As a variable it is also a convenient proxy to gauge the improvement of your reading skills due to it being very easy to record, though it is only one small part of the skill. In my case reading takes about 27% of all my Chinese language activities (listening: 43%, speaking: 11%, handwriting: 12%, typing: 7%), so I'm hardly doing any kind of exclusive reading training. Also of-course all of the skills mutually affect each other in some way and I personally find handwriting to be especially helpful with character recognition, but I'm uncertain about how to record the quality of those activities so I could see their effect on reading speed specifically... I am currently recording the amount of time I spend on each, so maybe I could add that to my reading progress data and see if there are correlations... I'm skeptical I would find any though. So far the only variables I've seen correlating with reading speed in any significant manner are the "cumulative characters read" and the "difficulty of the material". I think this might work. I did a test reading an easy graded reader some time ago as quickly as I could. My speed was a lot faster than my normal speed and the speed gain DID carry over to my normal reading, but the effect seems to have worn off after that so a one off isn't going to make wonders to your overall reading speed. Doing it every day should. But my only problem is that I don't find those graded readers very interesting any more...
    2 points
  43. I think there are two principles at work here. 1. If you want to get fluent at an isolated skill, use easy materials. 2. If you want to improve your all-round language ability, use slightly challenging materials. 1. To improve the isolated skill of reading-quickly, spend a bit of time every day trying to read easy stuff quickly. You should soon find that you will start reading normal materials more quickly too. 2. To improve your understanding of the Chinese language (vocabulary, syntax, nuance, culture etc) read slightly challenging materials. I don't think you can do 1 and 2 by using the same kind of texts. I think the data tells you how much time you need to dedicate to reading if all you want to do is improve your reading speed but not improve your language ability. What the data hides from you is that you'll make much more rapid improvement in reading if, in addition to just reading, you spend time studying the Chinese language too! I think that's logical, right? Otherwise teachers would just assign reading texts and leave their students alone. My own experience is that reading ability (including of course reading speed) improves the fastest after prolonged and intensive language study (reading/listening/speaking/writing). That's why I'm cautious about drawing conclusions from this data. Also from a statistical point of view, there are way too many confounding factors. For instance, when it comes to selecting difficulty of reading materials, someone who is rapidly improving their language abilities will naturally select increasingly difficult texts; someone making almost zero improvement will not select increasingly more difficult texts. But the graphs could well show reading speed increasing at the same speed for both students.
    2 points
  44. My first reaction was, why of course you should know the radicals: they're a foundation of written Chinese. You can't consider yourself a serious student of Chinese unless you know the radicals! Then I realized that with abandonment of the paper dictionary, what's the point?
    2 points
  45. I think most people posting data on this thread are doing C. Yours truly at least is. I did those one minute spot reading speed tests at some point. They don't mean anything. I'd try to read faster than I actually can to get a better score, and that's not useful data.. All my results are averages of reading one full chapter and in reading time can mean anything between half an hour and two or three hours. There are some darn long chapters in WoT!
    2 points
  46. I did some proper digging on this. I read parts of the first Harry Potter, 流浪地球, and 三体1 on Lingq in the first half on 2020. Before that I had read and reread a few graded readers that were probably around 10k characters. Then I switched over from lingq to reading in a word document while playing with the fonts while reading to add pinyin above unknown characters. I read the 6th WoT book that way beginning in December 2020. I read the first half twice (following the actual paper back copy) and a small part of the beginning of the second half. I did that for about half a year or so and stopped. Then I picked up again in October 2021 using CTA this time and that's were my current data collection begins. Lingq shows me that I've read 162 888 words there so maybe I arrive at characters by multiplying that by 1.5 so 244 000 characters. I don't have an exact character count for the 6th WoT book but they range between 500k and 600k characters. So it seems 2M is way too high, but adding together those above and considering some random stuff I've read online too, now I'm quite certain I was at about 1M characters when I began collecting my data in last October. I also have one reading speed figure in my notes from 6 January 2021 so almost exactly a year ago. I did 63 characters per minute reading the chapter three of the 6th WoT book. But those days I included punctuation in the character count and I understand CTA leaves them out, so to make it comparable, it's probably about 10%-15% lower so around 55cpm I agree. This is pretty much my experience too. It is interesting how other people's progress seems to be following Pinion's. To me this tell that reading speed is not that much a function of vocabulary size but of ability to parse the characters quickly, which is an unrelated skill. I bet native Chinese school kids aren't much faster than we are either after reading their first million characters even if comprehension level was higher. In any case, a few people sharing their own data is hardly statistically trustworthy sample, but it does offer insight and in the very least tells you that you do need to dedicate a LOT of time to reading to get good at it. It also does give you motivation when you're not feeling progress. My gradient may not be exactly the same as someone else's, but the graphs look very similar.
    2 points
  47. I think this is probably a good estimate but depends on factors such as listening proficiency, reading style (intensive vs extensive), and chosen reading materials. Seems optimistic to me if you are aiming to have 100cpm speed with native materials. I'm averaging 80-90 cpm with WoT and can get about 110 cpm with a graded reader. I also think my reading style and tolerance for ambiguity is probably very similar to @Dr Mack Rettosy's. My own chart seems to complement yours quite nicely! I have only gathered data for about three or four months during which time I've read about 500k characters. When I began, my speed was between 60-70 cpm and I had read a couple of books already so I had done something between 1M and 2M characters already. So my chart probably shows my speed between 2M and 2.5M characters. My forecasts are promising 100cpm with the material I'm currently reading in about another 500k characters so at around 3M characters.
    2 points
  48. Yeah, 哈哈笑's cadence is too dramatic. Many people dislike his overacting. 用力过猛 is a phrase you see a lot. Incidentally, Luke Daniels, the English narrator for Three Body book 1, has the same problem. I don't have much experience with audiobooks, but I think Stephen Fry is waaaaay better. Listening to audiobooks is usually the surest way for me to go zzzZZZ. So I'm very grateful to you guys for pointing me to YouTube, where I found Harry Potter in Japanese with synchronized text, and every kanji reading is marked to boot. Cheers!
    2 points
  49. One year later, I am very pleased I can now much better recongnise characters written in those calligraphy-ish fonts. Today I installed Ma Shan Zheng font (see below) (https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Ma+Shan+Zheng). Granted it is an easy text from the HSK 2 level of TCB, but I feel quite comfortable with it. And, since it is a a little less clear than Kaiti, I will practice with it. There are plenty of fonts on here: https://chinesefonts.org/ Unfortunately, Chrome does not seem to accept or display all of them. To me practicing with different fonts ingrains the characters better in my mind
    2 points
  50. Happy new year! After the holiday break, I'm getting back to my reading routine. I'm now reading 棋王 by 阿城, as suggested by @Publius. I'll also give my belated review of 圆月弯刀. I really liked the set-up, but I didn't like how it was resolved. I thought the book climaxed about a third of the way in, but then the author didn't have a good way to resolve the plot, and it meandered after that. Lots of interesting possibilities were set up, but the 2nd half didn't do a great finishing them off. But the beginning part was great and really drew me in.
    2 points
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