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OneEye’s TAC 2013 - Chinese, Japanese, 台語

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41 messages over 6 pages: 13 4 5 6  Next >>
Senior Member
Joined 4529 days ago

520 posts - 266 votes 
Speaks: English*, Mandarin
Studies: Japanese, Taiwanese, German, French

 Message 9 of 41
22 February 2013 at 4:25pm | IP Logged 
A good chunk of this week was spent working my study plan and searching for books I'll need both now and later, and next week will be more of the same. I want to finish writing my study plan next week so I can get it proofread by a few people before turning it in in mid-March. After than things will be back to normal, so I'll have more time to study.

OK, so I should finish the second unit/week of Assimil Japanese this weekend. I didn't do any Taiwanese at all, which I think I might put on the back burner for a month or two anyway. I read a little bit, but I'm thinking of switching to a different novel. 《流星·蝴蝶·劍》 just hasn't lived up to expectations, unfortunately. I've gathered some resources to help with the somewhat intensive study of 左傳 I'll be doing, and I should get started on that pretty soon.

Like I said, next week will mostly be spent writing my study plan, so I don't expect to have much time for language study. I'll update with what I can and then get back on track the following week.

Joined 1978 days ago

89 posts - 32 votes
Speaks: Shanghainese, Mandarin*, English
Studies: Cantonese

 Message 10 of 41
23 February 2013 at 3:26am | IP Logged 
Whoa, you are reading books that I as a native speaker of Chinese wouldn't consider tackling in a few years. I might understand those 文言文 stuff only roughly without some form of instruction, and composing in this ancient language is out of the question. Anyway, I sincerely wish you luck in your studies.

Senior Member
Joined 4529 days ago

520 posts - 266 votes 
Speaks: English*, Mandarin
Studies: Japanese, Taiwanese, German, French

 Message 11 of 41
23 February 2013 at 4:25am | IP Logged 
Well, I only know this stuff because I've focused on studying it. Same as anybody, even native speakers. Knowing French doesn't get you Latin for free, and neither does knowing any modern Chinese language get you classical Chinese for free. I'd say I can read it about as well, but maybe a bit more slowly, than the average college graduate in Taiwan. That's not good enough yet, since I won't be in the MA program with them, but with people who have a BA in this stuff already. Fortunately I have no need to write 文言文. :)

Senior Member
Joined 4529 days ago

520 posts - 266 votes 
Speaks: English*, Mandarin
Studies: Japanese, Taiwanese, German, French

 Message 12 of 41
01 March 2013 at 5:38pm | IP Logged 
Update time again. I'm tempted to skip it because I have little to show for this week. But I said weekly updates, so I'm going to do weekly updates. This week was mostly consumed by writing my study plan for my MA applications. I finally finished that, but unfortunately it looks like the next week or two might also be taken up by the rest of the application process.

I did finally finish week 2 of Assimil Japanese, but that's as far as I've gotten with that. I'll be starting week 3 (lesson 15-21) tomorrow, as well as unit 3 from Shadowing, which I've gone over a bit but haven't put in any real time with yet. I'm already starting to look at books to use after Assimil (even though I know I have a long way to go, I just like to know in advance what I'll be doing). From what I can find, Tobira looks like a good next stop. Thoughts on that?

I read a bit from a magazine called 遠見 (English title is "Global Views Monthly"). I've started using this instead of The Independent Reader (從精讀到泛讀), because the articles cover a similar range of content, but it's much more relevant since it's a current magazine issue instead of something from 20 or 30 years ago selected and anthologized by a teacher. It's nice to not have any help from glosses too. Also, there may be something psychological about this, but I really prefer reading from something aimed at native speakers (a magazine) over something for learners, even if the article in the textbook was originally for native consumption. It feels less like studying and more like pleasure, even if I am adding vocabulary to flash cards as I go along.

Rather than reading 左傳, I've joined a study group that will be covering the 尚書. We'll do 左傳 after that. We're doing some pretty heavy-duty scholarly reading of it, using commentary from the 十三經注疏 (commentary from Han through the Song dynasties) and reading specialist books on the topic as we go. This will be tough, but really good for me. We'll be starting next week.

No Taiwanese, sadly. As I mentioned, this will probably be on the back burner for a bit. Once I get all my applications taken care of, I'll get back on this.

That's it for now. Next week should be somewhat better if all goes as expected. At least I should be able to get some stuff accomplished with Japanese, and some sentence mining for Chinese (from TV shows), and of course some 尚書. Hopefully I can get back on board with reading those phonology books I was working through.

Until next week.

Senior Member
Joined 4529 days ago

520 posts - 266 votes 
Speaks: English*, Mandarin
Studies: Japanese, Taiwanese, German, French

 Message 13 of 41
09 March 2013 at 4:02pm | IP Logged 
OK, update time. This week was very productive in some ways, not so much in others.

First, Japanese. I'm halfway through the "third week," meaning I've finished through Lesson 17. I'll probably do 18
tonight or tomorrow, and if it's tonight then I may even finish 19 by the end of the weekend. I've found that the
material doesn't really stick if I don't spend a good amount of time with it, so rather than worrying about just
"getting through" the lessons, I'm going to let it take as long as it needs to take. That's painful for me to do,
because I tend to get a timetable in mind and don't like giving it up, but the important thing is to learn Japanese,
not to say I've made it through Assimil. I did a lot of "making it through" with Chinese rather than focusing on
mastery, and I'm paying for it now.

As I mentioned before, Assimil's slow audio is killing me, and I really believe it will have a negative effect on
fluency development. I'll be getting in touch with a native speaker friend of mine soon to talk about re-recording
the whole book. Hopefully it won't cost too much.

Second, my MA applications. I'm essentially done with it, other than getting some photos made to put on the
application and getting my financial documents in order. If all goes well I should have everything ready on
Wednesday, or Thursday at the latest. Friday is the deadline. Nothing like cutting it close.

I read the 尚書序. The first time I only consulted the commentary when necessary, but then I discovered it
contains some really interesting and useful background information, so I'm going back through it again, this time
with all the commentary.

I read some from 音韻學教程, and then I left it in the cab the other day. I had to buy a new copy, so I'm going to
have to go back through and mark it up again. No big deal, as I was considering doing this anyway, and adding
some bits of it to Anki as I go. After that I'll go back to 基礎音韻學 and read it, which should serve well to review
and solidify the information. Then it will be on to something else. I ordered a set of books from China (though
mercifully in 正體字) on reading excavated texts, so if those have arrived by that time then I'll be reading them.

Still no Taiwanese.

I'm trying some new stuff with Chinese. After reading
this paper by Christopher Guichot de
Fortis, a senior staff interpreter at NATO, that I found very useful, I'm shadowing a lesson from 思想與社會 (a
fairly advanced textbook for which I have good MP3 recordings) every morning. I'm also doing Mike
Campbell/Glossika's Mass Sentence Method. I really feel like this combination will increase my speaking ability
tremendously. Both of these people talk about the neurology behind their methods, and I feel like, as de Fortis
says, new "neural pathways" may already in formation. After just having started this new routine (which I'll admit
is taxing), I met with my tutor yesterday and after a few minutes she said "What did you do to your Chinese? It
seems easier than usual for you today." So success there, and serious motivation to keep going. I'll keep this
thread updated with how this goes.

Edited by OneEye on 09 April 2013 at 8:56am

Senior Member
Joined 4529 days ago

520 posts - 266 votes 
Speaks: English*, Mandarin
Studies: Japanese, Taiwanese, German, French

 Message 14 of 41
15 March 2013 at 11:12am | IP Logged 
OK, so putting the finishing touches on my MA applications took a LOT more time than I expected, but everything is finally turned in. I can't even tell you how glad I am to be done with that. Now it's just a waiting game. They make the announcement on May 17. I'll send out the scholarship application on Monday, and all I have left to do for that is to get my teachers to sign the envelopes containing their recommendation letters.

No Japanese this week. No 音韻學. I did a decent amount of reading, but it all had to do with my MA applications. No 尚書. I can get back on track with all of this stuff now though.

I did continue with shadowing and the Mass Sentence Method, even if I didn't do quite as much as I planned. So far it really seems like it will help a lot. I'll wait until I get further into it before I get too excited about it though.

That's all. Like I said, I'll be getting back on track now that I've got this out of the way. I'll be back in Japan (Osaka and Kyoto) the whole first week of April, so I'll be focusing a lot on Japanese between now and then.

Hopefully soon (maybe when I get back from Japan) I can pick Taiwanese back up.

Senior Member
Joined 4529 days ago

520 posts - 266 votes 
Speaks: English*, Mandarin
Studies: Japanese, Taiwanese, German, French

 Message 15 of 41
24 March 2013 at 6:54pm | IP Logged 
Finally got back on track this past week.

I did a lot of work with the 尚書 and the accompanying commentary this week. I'll be switching to a different
edition soon though, because in the process of researching the book I came across recommendations for editions
more relevant to the philologist (the edition I was using contains a lot of orthodox Ruist/Confucian commentary,
but I'm more interested in how the text will help me as a philologist, so I bought a few editions compiled by
respected philologists).

I did a decent amount of reading on 音韻學. When I get back from Japan I'll begin the process of memorizing the
relevant parts of the 廣韻 as well as their reconstructed pronunciations. It sounds tedious, but I'm actually looking
forward to it.

I started reading the first Lord of the Rings book in Chinese. It's a pretty well-done translation so far. We'll see if I
stick with it though, because I kind of really want to read 1Q84 instead.

I did a few new lessons from Assimil Japanese. I'm done with "week 3" now. I mentioned a while back that I was
going to hire someone to re-record the lessons at a natural conversational speed. Well, I did, and it's SO much
better then what comes with the books. It's fast, he elides some syllables, etc. So it's more difficult, of
course, but my motto is to "always aim at the target." I'm sure it will be much better this way. I'll do a few more
lessons this week, but my focus will be on activating what I know so that hopefully I can use it when I need to
next week.

The Mass Sentence Method is coming along very well. I really think it's helping me, so I'm going to stick with it.

So there are a few other things to talk about. I have a proficiency exam coming up in May. If I don't pass, I don't
get accepted to one of the MA programs I applied to, and the other one will only take me on a provisional basis if
they accept me. I missed a passing mark by one point in November, and my Chinese has improved a lot since
then, but the funny thing is I don't think I know any more of the words on the official vocabulary list for the test
than I did last time around. In order to avoid repeating my previous performance, I'll be going through the
textbooks recommended by the testing committee. Most of them are written at a fairly basic level, so they'll be
easy to go through quickly in order to learn the words expected of me. Funny how these standardized language
tests work, you really have to study specifically what they want you to have learned, or you won't pass no matter
how good you are. Interestingly, "what they want you to have learned" is pretty much exactly what's taught in the
standard series of textbooks used at the MTC, which is of course affiliated with the testing committee. As I've
heard it said, "the price of the certificate is simply 18 months of enrollment at the MTC." Hardly a legitimate
proficiency test, but it's a hoop I have to jump through anyway.

I've got a series of yellow textbooks called the Supplementary Chinese Reader series, which has been used in
Taiwan since forever (mid-seventies I think). The language as actually spoken by native speakers has changed
significantly since then, but of course the language that the Ministry of Education expects foreigners to know has
not. Can you tell I'm irritated about having to take this detour? Anyway, I'll be going through at least four of those
books over the next few weeks. The idea is to cram around 2000 words in 6 weeks, and then after that, the ones
I actually encounter in real life will stick and the rest I won't worry too much about. I'll also be continuing to
review Thought and Society (思想與社會).

Next item of business. There exists a real possibility that I either won't be accepted into the MA programs I
applied for, or that I won't get the scholarship. And due to a screw-up on Fed-ex's part which resulted in the loss
of my application along with the recommendation letters that I won't be able to have re-written in time for the
application deadline, it looks the latter might be pretty likely. Anyway, if either of those things happens, I'm
seriously considering moving to Japan after another year in Taiwan. My wife has another year left on her job
contract, during which time I would continue to work as an English tutor and Chinese-English translator, audit
courses in my field, work on both my Chinese and my Japanese, and look for places to live and study in Japan, as
well as potential places for my wife to work (so if you know of an international school in Japan that will need a
music or art teacher starting in the fall of 2014, let me know). This is all just a backup plan at the moment
(although a really nice-sounding one!), but we'll see what happens.

OK, that's all for this week. I won't update next week, because I'll be on vacation, so my next one will be around
April 6 or so.

Senior Member
Joined 4529 days ago

520 posts - 266 votes 
Speaks: English*, Mandarin
Studies: Japanese, Taiwanese, German, French

 Message 16 of 41
09 April 2013 at 6:55am | IP Logged 
So I'm back from Japan. I had a really great time there, and got to use what little Japanese I do know quite a few
times. I even had a few short exchanges entirely in Japanese. Asking for maps, paying at restaurants, simple
things like that. The cherry blossoms in Kansai were in full bloom, and now I understand why Japanese people
freak out so much about them. It was absolutely beautiful.

My wife found a position at an international school in Japan (I won't say where just yet), and we're waiting to hear
back about an interview. We're not counting on her getting hired, but if she does then it looks like we'll be
moving to Japan this fall. She's also putting in her application to a few schools in Hong Kong. Again, not counting
on it, but if she gets one then we're going. Japan would be our first choice, but Hong Kong is great too, because I
could learn Cantonese and do my MA there.

So either way, it looks like I may not be doing my MA in Taiwan. Even if she doesn't get those jobs, she really
doesn't like the one she's at now, and with there being so few international schools in Taiwan, she's not likely to
find a new one here. She loves Taiwan, just not her job, and I of course don't want her to be miserable here for
another 2-3 years just so I can do a master's degree, when Japan and Hong Kong are both pretty good options
for me anyway. So it looks like if she doesn't get hired for this fall, she'll finish out her contract here, and then
next year we'll be able to start looking for a job for her much earlier in the hiring season (which is pretty much
over at this point).

I don't have much to report other than that. I'm a little sick right now, so I don't know how much studying I'll be
able to do, but once I'm better I'll be getting back on it.

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