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Lorinth’s log - 劳伦的博客

 Language Learning Forum : Language Learning Log Post Reply
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lorinth
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 3151 days ago

443 posts - 581 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish, Latin
Studies: Mandarin, Finnish

 
 Message 97 of 408
30 June 2013 at 11:00am | IP Logged 
ZH

While shopping, listened to the audio version of a story published in the ChineseBreeze
level 2 series I'd read, what, three years ago: 我的大雁飞走了. At least I can understand
*that*.

Finished the ChinesePod lesson about noisy neighbours renovating their apartment.

On Fluentu, watched a short animation movie about the 成语 "井底之蛙".

Vocabulary drills: HSK, random vocabulary, characters.

For once, I didn't read much of the short story I'd started last Friday.

1 person has voted this message useful



lorinth
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 3151 days ago

443 posts - 581 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish, Latin
Studies: Mandarin, Finnish

 
 Message 98 of 408
01 July 2013 at 8:57am | IP Logged 
ZH

Apart from the usual vocabulary drills (HSK, random vocab, characters), I restarted
working on the ChinesePod lesson about noisy renovation works because I wanted to try a
retranslation exercise.

Up to now, I've been wary of the translation method for several reasons.

First, I've been a translator translating all day long for nearly 30 years, so I like
to do something else when I'm not at work.

Second, after almost 30 years of translation I know with 99% certainty that translating
in and of itself does *not* create active fluency - at least in my case it hasn't:
there are languages that I've been translating relatively frequently (TL > L1) and that
I'm still unable to speak fluently. It's a shame. I know.

Third, I've had language courses focused on translation before (Latin) and it didn't
even teach me to read, let alone write and speak.

That said, I actually like translating, so, why not?

Moreover, it's probable that if you don't rely on translation only, if it is added to a
large quantity of input, and if it is practised from your L1 to your TL, it should
reinforce your analytical knowledge of the language and it might improve the active
production of the TL.

So I started by copying by hand the podcast about noisy renovation works and adding a
hyperliteral translation.

Now, a retranslation exercise in Chinese has two aspects: retranslating orally and in
writing - they are two distinct competencies. I proceeded like this:

- from the hyperliteral translation, reproduce the spoken version of first sentence and
check against the *audio* version of the original text (which is easy thanks to the
ChinesePod interface; every text is split sentence by sentence); and then,

- immediately reproduce the written version of the first sentence and check against the
original written version;

- proceed to next sentence.

There are endless possibilities: I could wait a few days or weeks before trying the
written retranslation, or I could use larger chunks of text than sentences, or I could
write the text as a dictation, rather than copying the written version, etc. These are
all interesting methods and hypotheses I could try if I could stuff six hours' time
into each hour.

Those words and patterns that I was not able to reproduce have been added to my Anki
deck as Cloze production cards.

It was fun, actually, and it looks like it may be useful. But, wait, didn't I just
reinvent the tried and trusted wheel called "Assimil method"?

1 person has voted this message useful



lorinth
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 3151 days ago

443 posts - 581 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish, Latin
Studies: Mandarin, Finnish

 
 Message 99 of 408
01 July 2013 at 8:33pm | IP Logged 
ZH

I actually read the CEFR table and came up with the following evaluation, as far as
my Mandarin is concerned:

                               listening | reading | talking | writing
Self assessment: A2 | B1-B2 | A2-B1 | A2
HSK3 (passed): B1 | B1 | B1   |B1
HSK4 (passed?): B2 | B2 | B2   | B2
HSK4*: A2 | A2 | A2 | A2

(*) = according to the evaluation of the German Association of Chinese Teachers, which
certainly seems much more realistic to me.

My mid-term objectives are:

- to reach B1 for "listening" ("understand the main points of clear standard input on
familiar matters ". B2 "understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and
abstract topics" seems a long way off)

- solidify my B2 (or maybe reach for C1 "understand a wide range of demanding, longer
texts, and recognise implicit meaning") for "reading".

- Most probably, I will persist in not doing any particular effort as far as "talking"
and "writing" are concerned. For want of time and of opportunities for output, I'm a
hopeful believer in the "language is peeing" theory.

Language is peeing

So I'd be happy if my "speaking" and "writing" abilities are automatically kept one
level below my "listening" and "reading", whichever is weakest.

Edited by lorinth on 01 July 2013 at 8:43pm

1 person has voted this message useful



lorinth
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 3151 days ago

443 posts - 581 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish, Latin
Studies: Mandarin, Finnish

 
 Message 100 of 408
02 July 2013 at 8:40am | IP Logged 
ZH

On NDTV, I watched a short news item about demonstrations in Brazil.

On China Radio International, I read an article about how 据斯诺登的文件,美国情报机构监听欧洲
公民、欧盟机构 (according to documents revealed by Snowden, the NSA has been spying on
EU citizens and EU institutions
, among others). I was able to read the article
without a dictionary - because I already knew a lot of information, of course.

The article

Continued reading 北北's 《总之还要住下去》.

In Fluentu, worked a bit more on the video about 在井底的青蛙 (the frog at the bottom of
the well).

Started a new ChinesePod lesson about 毕业以后的生活。

Vocabulary drills: characters, HSK words, random words.


FI

Purged the vocab queue in LWT.

Worked a bit with today's Selkouutiset news.
First pass: I read the transcript.
Second pass: I listened to the audio version while reading the transcript.
Third pass: I just listened to the audio version.
1 person has voted this message useful



lorinth
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 3151 days ago

443 posts - 581 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish, Latin
Studies: Mandarin, Finnish

 
 Message 101 of 408
02 July 2013 at 10:34pm | IP Logged 
ZH

On NDTV, I watched a news item about 埃及的反政府抗议 (demonstrations against the
government in Egypt). The anchor speaks so fast she sounds like a Road Runner chased by
Wile E. Coyote.

In Fluentu, worked a bit more on the video about 在井底的青蛙 (the frog at the bottom of
the well). Then I watched a commercial about some sort of bank.

Continued reading 北北's 《总之还要住下去》.

I continued working in the ChinesePod lesson about 毕业后的生活。

Vocabulary drills: characters, HSK words, random words.

--

During the next few days, I'll be living in a tent in the woods with one of the kids,
no internet and no ebook. I intend to take just two books: a bilingual anthology of
Latin poetry and a simplified version of 巴金's 《家》.

1 person has voted this message useful



lorinth
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 3151 days ago

443 posts - 581 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish, Latin
Studies: Mandarin, Finnish

 
 Message 102 of 408
09 July 2013 at 11:07am | IP Logged 
ZH

Finished reading 北北's 《总之还要住下去》. The sad and disturbing story of a young
migrant girl coming to Fuzhou to earn a few yuans in a shady hairdressing salon. The
dark side of the Chinese dream.

Started reading, and almost finished, 巴金's 《家》. It's a simplified, shorter version,
amounting to a novella. There's a leitmotiv, a sentence that crops up several times:
"我恨这个家". As 巴金 lived in France in 1927-28, he might have heard Gide saying much the
same thing: "Familles, je vous hais".

I could work a bit on the ChinesePod lesson about 毕业后的生活 and I started another one
about a poor expat trying to turn on the air conditioning, which causes a clash with
his in-law.

I could barely keep up with part of my vocabulary drills. In theory, every day, I try
to clear my SRS queues in Anki (HSK words, characters), Pleco (random vocab) and
Skritter (characters).

In Pleco, I've been applying the following system for the past few months.

Each day:
- I add 20-30 words to a list named after today's date (01, 02, 03…, 31)
- I study (simple flashcards, no SRS) the lists of days X-1, X-3, X-6
- I move the cards of list X-7 to an SRS queue
- I study the SRS queue

As holidays are a bad time for studying languages, I'd rather concentrate on extensive
reading, and put less focus on formal vocabulary studying. So I'll probably have to
cancel the SRS part (in Pleco).

The results of the HSK have not been published yet.

Apart from that, these last few days, I had the opportunity to speak some Dutch with
fellow hikers and some Chinese at a restaurant. Interestingly, I could understand the
waiter's little daughter better than the waiter herself. Maybe the kid has been
learning some 普通话, while the parents speak a more heavily accented form of Mandarin.
1 person has voted this message useful



lorinth
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 3151 days ago

443 posts - 581 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish, Latin
Studies: Mandarin, Finnish

 
 Message 103 of 408
09 July 2013 at 12:42pm | IP Logged 
Finally, the results of the HSK held in Paris last month are in. I took the HSK4 and got
the following scores:

听力 (listening) 90.0
阅读 (reading) 88.0
写作 (writing) 64.0
总分 (total) 242.0

which is logical, as the only part I had actively prepared with mock tests was the 听力.
I didn't do any HSK specific preparation for the 阅读 and the 写作. As I continue to focus
on input, I seldom use Chinese in writing, so I expected my 写作 results to be much lower
than the rest.
1 person has voted this message useful



lorinth
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 3151 days ago

443 posts - 581 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish, Latin
Studies: Mandarin, Finnish

 
 Message 104 of 408
10 July 2013 at 9:33am | IP Logged 
ZH

I've almost finished reading 巴金's 《家》 (simplified version) and I can't but feel
slightly disappointed. At times, the behaviour of the characters seem incomprehensible
to me; the specifically political subplot presented in the first part all but
disappears in the rest of the text; there's a lot of crying and dying, so much so that
the ending is rather predictable. It almost seems mechanical, just as in 余华's 《活着》,
but without Yu Hua's verve and empathy. But then, the depiction of the stifling, deadly
atmosphere of a crumbling family in a crumbling country is startling. And, one can
suspect that the simplification process of the novel killed a lot of the interest of
the full novel. So I may have to read the full version of the book in the future.

Vocabulary: After having deleted my HSK4 deck in Skritter, my SRS queue in Pleco and my
character deck in Anki, I'm feeling much lighter, I can now start my summer diet of
Chinese vocabulary, which is composed of:
- an all purpose vocabulary deck in Anki; it mainly contains HSK4 and HSK5 words for
now but should host more and more Cloze-deleted sentences with ChinesePod vocabulary;
- daily vocabulary lists in Pleco, containing words collected while reading;
- a character queue in Skritter.

LA

Read one more chapter of Regulus, the part when the Little Prince arrives on planet
earth and has an ambiguous and chilling conversation with a snake.



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