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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 3139 days ago

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

 
 Message 161 of 408
02 October 2013 at 10:18am | IP Logged 
ZH

Read an article about 一枚迫击炮弹 that 落入中国驻叙利亚使馆院内 (a mortar shell that fell into the garden of the Chinese embassy in Syria).

I also read another, slightly outlandish article about over 1,000 Belgian race pigeons taken into custody by the Chinese customs authorities. One of those pigeons (called 博尔特) was bought for 310,000 € by a Chinese businessman (由一名中国商人以31万欧元的天价购得到) who declared he had paid 99 €, in order to evade the import duties. The customs authorities were not amused.

I didn't know there were 赛格爱好者 ("colebeu" or "pidjonisse", as we say in Walloon) in China. My grand-dad was one of them. I have fond memories of Sundays spent waiting for my grand-dad's champ to fall back on the dovecote - and of eating it on the following Sunday if it had failed to do so in time.

I read the 5 first pages of 三十而立, a 60-page novella by王小波. The first word I learnt was the title.

I started working on a short film about中秋节 and on a ChinesePod podcast about 室友.

In a very brave attempt at blatant self-contradiction, I created a new Anki deck containing sound files (sentences) on the front and the transcription in 汉字on the back, as part of my strategy to try and improve my listening comprehension.

By the way, I've noticed another problem I will have to solve. Though it's hard to describe I'll try anyway, because it's recurrent. Of course I've been studying and practicing tones at the character level and at the word level. But within full sentences, sometimes, there are sequences of tones that trick my brain into parsing the sentence incorrectly , mixing up word boundaries. I should have written down some examples, but I think it happens e.g. when a two-syllable word contains a fourth tone followed by something else. Because of my mother tongue, I'm so used to assimilating a falling tone to the end of a sentence or of a phrase that I end up cutting the sentence in the wrong pieces and not understanding until I see the transcript. I suppose that lots of careful listening could solve that problem.

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lorinth
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 3139 days ago

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

 
 Message 162 of 408
04 October 2013 at 9:48am | IP Logged 
ZH

Read a bit of 《三十而立》but not much, because I've been busy configuring my Kindle reader (for Android) so I can read ebooks purchased from Amazon.cn. The ebooks there are much more numerous and much cheaper than elsewhere, obviously, but it's surprisingly un-user-friendly to configure an account when you live in Europe. In short, you have to create a new email address and use that to open a new Amazon account on Amazon.cn. Then you have to provide an address that is not located in Europe, e.g. the address of a friend who lives in the USA (you won't be using it anyway, the plan is to buy ebooks and to download them directly to your device; no mail delivery involved). After that, I was able to buy books, but the popup dictionaries of the reader did not work (I had a message saying that my locale was wrong). And then, suddenly, after an update of the android version of the Kindle reader, I was able to download a ZH-ZH dictionary and a ZH-EN dictionary. Now I am able to choose among a vast quantity of affordable ebooks and I can use a very nice environment to read them. How cool is that?

I proceeded to create a Kindle ebook from an online version of 《三十而立》. I'd have bought it but Amazon.cn does not sell it apparently.

In practice, while doing extensive reading with ebooks, I commit to use a ZH-ZH dictionary only. Although, obviously, there are many definitions that I don't understand in full, they are often usable as a "hint" so I can go on reading without leaving an all-Chinese setting.

Started working on a ChinesePod podcast about firing the 阿姨. With repeated listening to the dialogue and afterwards to each sentence separately, I was able to understand everything. But that took maybe a dozen repetitions. In real life, I can't imagine saying 请你再说一遍 a dozen times.

Read three short articles: one about a plane crash in Nigeria and two about the tragedy of the refugees who try to reach the shores of Europe and too often die in the attempt.

Usual vocab drills with Pleco, Skritter - and Anki.
1 person has voted this message useful



lorinth
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 3139 days ago

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

 
 Message 163 of 408
08 October 2013 at 10:34am | IP Logged 
ZH

The list of failed attempts at reading another novel (extensively) is getting long: 2 pages of 圈子圈套2, a dozen pages of 三十而立 before deciding it's too hard, another 10 of 王小波's 红拂夜奔 before noticing I wasn't understanding. And now I've started 老舍's 猫城记. At least reading the first three pages of the latter has been both feasible and pleasurable, so I may finally have found something. Finding suitable Chinese material for extensive reading has always been very hard for me.

I've started working on yet another ChinesePod podcast (Chinese class placement). Out of curiosity, I've listened to an upper intermediate podcast and quickly found out that this move was somewhat premature.

Usual vocab drills with Pleco, Anki, Skritter. I may use the highlight tool in Kindle to mark all or part of the vocab I have to look up and check to which extent I remember it once I've finished reading a book or part of a book.
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lorinth
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 3139 days ago

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

 
 Message 164 of 408
10 October 2013 at 1:47pm | IP Logged 
ZH

Read chapter 1/27 of老舍's 猫城记.

Light reading at lunch time: in a university in Hungary, some students have been protesting against the school's dress code by going to class nude (大学生抗议学校服装新规裸体上课).

The article

More reading: I read the transcript of a show on the subject《中国有多特殊》, in order to prepare for listening to it.

The site

Worked some more on the current ChinesePod podcast.

Edited by lorinth on 10 October 2013 at 1:48pm

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lorinth
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 3139 days ago

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

 
 Message 165 of 408
11 October 2013 at 1:05pm | IP Logged 
ZH

I'm I chapter 5/27 of老舍's 猫城记.

I started a new ChinesePod lesson about "Fun with shapes". It's fairly easy: I understood about every detail after having listened 2 or 3 times.

--

Test time again. After 6 months, I took the zhtoolkit.com test again ("How many Chinese words do you know?"), with the following results:

- 27/2/2012: 7158 words (+/- 1206 for the margin of error)
- 22/6/2012: 5362 (+/- 1157). Yes. Quite a lot *less*
- 8/11/2012: 6835 (+/- 1262)
- 8/4/2013: 12237 (+/- 1806)
- 11/10/2013: 11345 (+/-1595)

Of course, it's slightly disappointing. I can only quote what I said in my last post about that test:

Quote:

I don't know what such numbers really mean.
First, this test is all about recognizing (not producing) written words (no audio) out
of context (no example sentence). That's only part of what "knowing a word" means.

Also, I suspect that the results are overestimated because frequent words (i.e. the top
1-125, 125-250, 251-500, 501-1000, 1001-2000th by frequency) are tested with samples of
15-13 questions while infrequent words - which are much more numerous - are tested with
samples of 5-3 questions.


I didn't take the "How many characters do you know?" test, because I believe that the result would be even more problematic/have even less significance due to the artificial nature of the testing environment: characters, even more than words, are never used without some context.


Edited by lorinth on 11 October 2013 at 1:06pm

1 person has voted this message useful



lorinth
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 3139 days ago

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

 
 Message 166 of 408
14 October 2013 at 10:00am | IP Logged 
ZH

A ridiculous moment. I was listening to a new ChinesePod podcast and - at last, the epiphany, the breakthrough, the Tada! moment: I could understand everything without rewinding. I was the master! The King! Then I noticed that, by mistake, I had downloaded an elementary-level podcast.

Of course, it could have been worse. For example, if I hadn't understood that dialogue - which, unfortunately, is entirely plausible.

I'm somewhere in chapter 6/27 of老舍's 猫城记.

I read an article about 李克强总理's idea of a 中国-东盟命运共同体 (China - ASEAN community of destiny?). I read it fast, because I had to be done with it by the end of lunch time. I managed to do it, while adding 28 words to my vocabulary queue.

The article

Started a new ChinesePod lesson about a又酷又贵的山地车.
1 person has voted this message useful



lorinth
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 3139 days ago

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

 
 Message 167 of 408
18 October 2013 at 11:14am | IP Logged 
ZH

About keywords:

Yesterday I read a very short article on a report concerning slavery in our wonderful modern world. In the evening, while walking home from work, I listened to the news on RFI in Chinese. In normal circumstances, I don't understand much but, this time, they happened to talk about the same report about slavery. As I had looked up a handful of words such as 奴役 (enslave) in the morning, I was able to understand a little bit more than usual.

So I noticed again that the difference between understand nothing or next to nothing, and understanding a significant part of a text often depends on very few key words. For instance, if you open a news site or a paper and glance at the titles of a few articles, one sentence here and there, you may conclude that you don't understand anything, close your browser or your paper and decide to learn knitting instead of languages.

However, in my experience, if I take the time to look up three of four words - which are often included in the title - , the picture can change dramatically. I start recognizing words which I know but had not identified somehow; due to the additional context, I also start guessing meanings; and the overall comprehension suddenly jumps from "nearly nothing" to "much" or even, sometimes "nearly everything".

Hopefully, the same reasoning will apply in the listening comprehension realm.

The article about slavery

These last few days, I've been ploughing through 猫城, I'm somewhere in chapter 7/27.

I've continued the usual vocab drills with Pleco (words), Skritter (characters) and Anki (spoken sentences).

1 person has voted this message useful



lorinth
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 3139 days ago

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

 
 Message 168 of 408
22 October 2013 at 9:36am | IP Logged 
ZH

Read an article saying that 欧盟提议对航空公司征收碳税 (the EU proposes to impose a carbon tax on airlines), and another about a series of attacks in 伊拉克 (Iraq). I learnt the words 汽车炸弹爆炸,自杀炸弹爆炸,自杀炸弹手, 炸药,爆炸物,袭击炸,杀戮等。 Unfortunately, I also learnt the word 游乐场 in the very same article.

In ChinesePod, I'm working on a fairly difficult lesson about some 叔叔阿姨们 visiting a 森林公园. I've now "studied" (to some extent) 35 intermediate level lessons. I keep on focussing exclusively on listening comprehension.

In 老舍's 猫城, I'm somewhere in chapter 9/27, i.e. e-page 80/397, i.e. I've been reading about 5 e-pages per day (equivalent to about 2 paper pages/day), which is inglourious but sufficient.

Usual vocab drills with Pleco (words), Skritter (characters) and Anki (spoken sentences).


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