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Lorinth’s log - 劳伦的博客

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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 177 of 408
09 November 2013 at 9:43pm | IP Logged 
ZH

No time to read today, but I did some retranslation exercises with sentences
highlighted while reading 猫城记, i.e. I copy by hand an interesting sentence
containing some word or syntactic feature I want to learn; I write a literal
translation; I try to reproduce the original sentence in writing. As there is no time
lapse, so to speak, between all three phases, it's not terribly difficult, but it's an
interesting exercise nevertheless.

I discovered a great blog I'd never heard about, somehow. It's called 慢速中文/Slow
Chinese, and it offers short articles about current events with an accompanying audio
version which is read in, well, slow Chinese. The articles I've listened so far seem
interesting and the level seems about right for me, so I intend to go on using this
resource. The site has not been updated for 2 years, but the author has committed to
start adding content again soon, so...

The site.

Usual drills: words (with Pleco), audio sentences (with Anki) and characters (with
Skritter).
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 178 of 408
10 November 2013 at 9:44pm | IP Logged 
ZH

I've added a fourth dictionary to my active GoldenDict dictionaries. It's just the list
of HSK words (level 1-6), which I converted into the Stardict format (used by
GoldenDict) with a Python programme called pyglossary. Now, when I look up a word in
Moon+ Reader while reading 猫城记, I can see immediately whether it's included in the
HSK lists. If such is the case, I consider it has to be learnt in priority.

While shopping for the week, I listened repeatedly to a Slow Chinese podcast about an
awful railway accident that happened two years ago in China.

While feeding the baby, I tried to go on reading 猫城记,but my wife warned me against
using my cell phone anywhere near the infant, so I just went into contemplation mode
instead.

Usual vocabulary chores with Pleco, Anki and Skritter.
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 179 of 408
15 November 2013 at 9:30am | IP Logged 
ZH

It's been very hard these last few days to stick to my language learning routine. So
I'm jotting this short update just to persuade myself that I keep on moving.
I've read a bit more of 猫城记, I've now read 58.6%. Chapter 18 was difficult. It's a
longish rant about education and the concept of 人格, interspersed with pessimistic
observations such as:

人类的进步是极慢的,可是退步极快,一时没 人格,人便立刻返回野蛮。

(Human progress is very slow, while regression happens very fast, and if people
lose dignity for a moment, they immediately return to barbarism.
)

I tend to agree.


I'm now in Chap. 19, which seems equally difficult. For me, at this point, there is no
such thing as "casual reading" in Chinese. It always requires a constantly sustained
effort, without which I quickly lose the thread.

Started and finished a fairly easy intermediate ChinesePod lesson about 升舱 in a
plane. Started another one about a kid who wants to do a 合影 with animals in the zoo.
I've now studied 41 intermediate level podcasts.

I listened some more to the SlowChinese podcast about the railway accident.

I've discovered an interesting online TV channel full of shows about a variety of
topics, WITH transcripts. Obviously, they are above my current level, but as there are
transcripts, I'd like to try some of them. In fact, I've started reading the transcript
of a show about the infamous 八大胡同 in Beijing.

Link

I've stubbornly studied my vocab in Pleco (words), Skritter (characters) and Anki
(audio sentences) every day.

Edited by lorinth on 15 November 2013 at 8:33pm

2 persons have 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 180 of 408
16 November 2013 at 3:30pm | IP Logged 
ZH

I watched part of the show about 八大胡同 I mentioned in my last post.

Link

On NDTV, I watched a news item about a 黑客比赛 (hacking contest) held in New York.

Link

Finally, I watched the first hour of a docufiction about 玄奘大师, the famous Buddhist
monk who traveled all the way from Tang China to India in order to search for the true
scriptures, and who inspired the even more famous novel 西游记. I searched the net and
found a transcript.

Link to
transcript


Therefore, rather than "watching", I read the transcript while listening to the
documentary, occasionnally glancing towards the tv set and pausing to look up a word
here and there. I could follow what was happening, a rewarding experience.
I have the docufiction on CD, but I just discovered that it's available on Youtube,
among other places.

Link to docufiction

[Edit: It seems the movie does not work in Youtube, however it's available on Youku:

link

/Edit]

I then proceded to read the transcript more in depth. It's full of terms referring to
religion, geography and the ancient Chinese dynasties. Although I find those subjects
particularly interesting, I probably won't have the time to work on that text as
intensively as I should, i.e. read carefully, study the vocab, watch the docufiction
again without the transcript to check my understanding, etc. But IMHO whatever daily
step I take, however small, is a daily victory.

I'm in chap. 20 of 猫城记.

Edited by lorinth on 16 November 2013 at 7:04pm

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 181 of 408
17 November 2013 at 12:34pm | IP Logged 
ZH

Yesterday in the afternoon, I watched several episodes of 喜洋洋 with kid #3 (5 years
old). Although he doesn't understand a word of Chinese, he likes that cartoon very
much. It was fun to watch it with my son and, in addition, it was a good exercise as he
wanted me to explain what was being said when he didn't understand from context. So I
had to rely on my feeble listening comprehension (25%), the subtitles (25%), the
context (25%) and my imagination (25%) to explain what I could.

After a few episode, kid #4 (3 week old) requested some immediate attention, so I
started to take care of her while my son went on watching 喜洋洋. That lasted for a
while so, in the end, my kid who has no intention (as yet) of learning Chinese ended up
with much more exposure to that language than me. During the evening meal, he
actually started singing the song of the cartoon. Life is that strange.


喜洋
洋 on Youtube



I've read 65.6% of of 猫城记.

Edited by lorinth on 17 November 2013 at 12:37pm

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 182 of 408
20 November 2013 at 1:25pm | IP Logged 
ZH

Small things these last few days, mostly. And nothing really outstanding or new outside the routine. I watched some news items on NTDTV, worked some more on a ChinesePod podcast (intermediate) about 合影 in a zoo, started another podcast (upper intermediate) comparing 工会s in China and the US, read some more of the novel 猫城记 (chap. 22, 74% read), finished watching the docufiction about 玄奘 (without actively reading the transcript or studying the vocab) and somehow managed to study my vocab in Pleco, Anki and Skritter between two nappies and three bottle feeds.
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 183 of 408
25 November 2013 at 3:06pm | IP Logged 
ZH

Today, I've read several news items (or bits thereof really) about the events in Ukraine. It's not been entirely straightforward to find Chinese sites talking about that. Most sources are Chinese editions of Western media. The same article titled ("乌克兰暂停加入欧盟准备工作引发多起抗议 动") appears in a few Chinese news outlets though. Ah, maybe I'm just imagining stuff and I haven't done my homework.

[EDIT: 我错了。 My wrong. I've just seen a news item about that on CCTV4 (I sometimes let CCTV play in the background while doing something else on my computer)].

I've read 86% of 猫城记.

With all the sleepless nights and all the visiting family members and friends, it's been incredibly hard to maintain a language learning routine. The low point was yesterday, when I had exactly 10 minutes of free time, so I reviewed my Pleco flashcards. At night, I tried very hard to read a bit of 老舍's novel but my eyes and my brain flatly refused to go on working, so I fell asleep instead. Briefly.

Edited by lorinth on 25 November 2013 at 4:24pm

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 184 of 408
26 November 2013 at 5:22pm | IP Logged 
ZH

Would a superchallenge be feasible for me at this stage?

Superchallenge definition

Of course, talking about a superchallenge *now*, at a time when family life and professional pressure are severely limiting the time I can devote to language learning seems foolish.

But I feel I need some sort of challenge, so let's at least toy with that idea.

I. 100 movies in 20 months looks feasible; after all, that's about 1 movie/week. The main challenge for me would be to find 90 minute periods of loneliness during which I can sit back and relax. I could negotiate that with my family.

II. 100 books in 20 months is another matter entirely. For example, I have almost finished Lao She's 猫城记, which is a rather short novel by Chinese standards (about 90000 characters, if my stats are to be trusted), and it took me about two months to read it. How could I read one such book *per week*?

1. Don't tell me to use an e-reader to make it faster and easier to look up the vocab and manage word lists. I already do that.

2. Of course, I tend to read much more Chinese on the side: press articles and bits and pieces of other books here and there mainly. I could cut on that, but my life would probably be less interesting. Rather, I should compute such "side-readings" into my superchallenge stats. So I should count in characters rather than in books.

3. I could choose easier books. But in my experience, finding books that are easily available, and roughly at my level, and interesting is very hard. I could waste hours doing just that.

4. I could read again novels I've already read and enjoyed.

5. I could cut on other Chinese-related activities. Mainly I have just 2 such other activities: listening (that would be covered, in part, by the "movie" part of the challenge anyway) and active study of vocabulary. The latter is too important to be abandoned at this stage.

6. I could be optimistic and expect that my reading ability will sky-rocket: if I can read a novel in 8 weeks now, I could hopefully read 2 or 3 in one week within a few months. Nah, just joking.

7. I could skip the passages that are obviously above my level. But that's cheating.

8. I could settle for less. Say 40 books in 20 months, two per month instead of one per two month now. That seems almost equally challenging, though definitely more feasible.

9. My other languages have been on hold for weeks, if not months. That, of course, wouldn't change. Mandarin first.

Tentatively, I believe part II (reading) of my superchallenge, if it ever happens, should be counted in number of characters, rather than in number of books. But it should be a specific amount, so I can be accountable. With a conservative figure of one novel = 150,000 characters, the "true" superchallenge would require me to read over 300,000 characters/week! Let's make that 300,000 characters/month, or 10,000/day. That would amount to a very respectable 3,600,000 chars per year and a nice round 6,000,000 chars in 20 months.

Counting in pages: a quick scan of a few books suggests that one page of a novel comprises about 450 (on paper) or 225 (ebook) characters.

So 10,000 chars daily = 22 paper pages or 44 e-pages.

Now it's starting to look tempting.

[EDIT November 27, 2013]

10. [About (5) and the idea of reducing formal vocab study, specifically SRS] However, reading such quantities IS a (better) form of SRS, so I could as well concentrate on Pleco lists with the system I use currently: i.e. on day X, I revise the vocab of days X-1, X-3 and X-6. However I would drop the next phase I use currently, i.e. I move the vocab of day X-7 into a specific cumulative SRS list that I revise daily.

11. 20 months might be too long an horizon for me. What about one year. What about an objective for 2014?

[/EDIT]

Edited by lorinth on 28 November 2013 at 9:17am



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