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Lorinth’s log - 劳伦的博客

 Language Learning Forum : Language Learning Log Post Reply
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Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
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3335 posts - 4349 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 
 Message 209 of 408
09 January 2014 at 6:07pm | IP Logged 
I've watched the boring one =D I don't think I learned much from that because it's hard
to watch the acting, listen to the speech, read the Chinese subtitles and the English
subtitles at the same time, but I liked the grammatical explanations and I did think I
improved a bit. Now i'm watching Travel in Chinese which is a step back but then it fits
my current level better. I'm looking forwarding to watching one series after another,
they seem very useful, even though I may be thirsty for an actual series or a film later.
1 person has voted this message useful



lorinth
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Belgium
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443 posts - 581 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish, Latin
Studies: Mandarin, Finnish

 
 Message 210 of 408
10 January 2014 at 9:26am | IP Logged 
Quote:
it's hard to watch the acting, listen to the speech, read the Chinese subtitles and the English subtitles at the same time


Oh yes it is, I'm still looking for a way to make efficient use of such subtitled series/movies/shows. That's why, in my most recent attempt, I decided to watch a show without the sound first. The idea is to make sure I understand most of the words, so that, when I do listen with sound on, I can focus on improving my listening comprehension. In theory, if I have read and understood the written version before thanks to the subtitles, I can then watch/listen to the show while glancing very quickly at the subtitles if needed. IMO improving one's listening comprehension in Mandarin when you're not living in China or among Chinese people is a formidable and elusive task, maybe even more so than learning the characters...

Quote:
I may be thirsty for an actual series or a film later


From time to time, I like to watch a series and I can enjoy it, sort of, but all the series I've watched up to now have proved to be way above my level. In this log, I've talked a bit, e.g. about 母子情仇 and 魔幻手机. They are available on Youtube and quite good.
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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 211 of 408
10 January 2014 at 6:04pm | IP Logged 
In 鬼吹灯, I've reached chapter 18. In chap.17, the title of the novel is explained. I have translated that short passage and posted it in chinese-forums.

Link

I'm not sure whether it's an acceptable practice to post the same text in two different places, but I suppose not every HTLAL user visits chinese-forums, so I'll do it today. If you/moderators consider that such cross-posting is not appropriate, tell me and I'll try to better distinguish the specific role of each list in the future.

Anyway, as I said over there, it's just a feeble attempt at a translation because, obviously, I'm translating from a language I'm learning to another that isn't my mother tongue... In addition, I've already modified one or two words thanks to the feedback received (in particular, I had mixed up 宝 and 玉!).

Here goes:

... 在墓室地宫里都要点上一只蜡烛,放在东南角 方位。然后开棺摸金,死者最值钱的东西,往 往都在身上带着 ... 这时候动手,不能损坏死者的遗骸,轻手轻脚 的从头顶摸至脚底,最后必给死者留下一两样 宝物,在此之间,如果东南角的蜡烛熄灭了, 就必须把拿到手的财物原样放回,恭恭敬敬的 磕三个头,按原路退回去。

[Grave robbers] must always light a candle in the southeast corner of the underground mausoleum. Then, they open the coffin to loot it, as the dead often wear their most precious valuables upon them. At that moment, when operating, they cannot damage the remains of the dead, they have to act softly, starting from the top of the head down to the sole of the feet. Finally, they have to leave one or two valuables to the dead. All the while, if the candle they have left in the south-east corner goes out, they must put back in place the items they have taken, knock their head three times on the floor to pay due respect and go back to where they came from.

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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 212 of 408
14 January 2014 at 11:12am | IP Logged 
My Tadoku challenge is progressing well. I've read 115 pages up to now, so my objective of 200 pages over the month of January seems perfectly feasible. One negative side-effect is that I don’t have much to say on my log except "today I've studied yesterday's vocab and read 8 pages of 鬼吹灯". In fact, I'm so engrossed in this book that I've stopped reading anything else, but I'll try to resume reading news articles and such and post links to interesting stories.

Thanks to 鬼吹灯, I'm learning tons of things about the language (e.g. relaxed speech or profanities), the culture (see below), the recent and not so recent history, etc. So I have a message for all intermediate learners desperately searching for something to read: Of course, it's OK to read Harry Potter, Hunger Games and such in Chinese (I've read HP 1 myself) if you've read them in English before, but Chinese tomb raider stories are just as entertaining - and much more useful if you want to learn many things about China.

I translated another snippet of chap. 18. Here's the context: as our three heroes are about to plunder a tomb, all of a sudden, they come across a shack containing decaying bodies. It turns out they are the bodies of Japanese soldiers who took refuge in this remote area of northern China at the end of the war. Then, in a corner of the shack, the tomb raiders make a discovery that leads to a discussion about how Chinese people can decipher written Japanese:

忽然从一个军用随行包里发现了一个笔记本, 写的都是日文,纸张发黄,上面的字迹尚可辨 认,不过三个人中没人懂日语,好在里面有不 少汉字,只好和书汉读,只看日文中的汉字, 不过日文汉字和中文意思相去甚远,有些意思 甚至相反,(举个例子,比如日文汉字中“留 守”这个词,和汉字字面的意思就背道而驰, 是“外出”的意思)即使是这样,把这些词连 起来,还是差不多能看明白一半,再加上一些 我们主观的推测,其大概的意思就是说: [blatant cliffhanger]


"Suddenly, in a military bag, we discovered a notebook. It was all written in Japanese and, although the paper had become yellow, the handwriting was still readable. None of us three people, however, knew that language. Fortunately, as there were a lot of Chinese characters, we just had to read as if it were Chinese, relying only on the Chinese characters inside the Japanese text.

Although the meaning of Chinese characters used in Japanese can be very different from their meaning in Chinese, or even mean the opposite (for instance, in Japanese, the characters 留守 form a word meaning "to be away", which is very different from the literal signification of the same characters in Chinese), by combining these words we could sort of understand half of the text and, adding some conjectures of our own, the gist was probably the following:"

In the part I've read yesterday, the 3 heroes are chased by a red-haired zombie (!) in an underground tomb. I couldn't help but think about an episode of Scooby-Doo...

Edited by lorinth on 14 January 2014 at 12:04pm

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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 213 of 408
16 January 2014 at 10:32am | IP Logged 
READING

I read an article on an invitation sent to Lady Ashton (欧盟“外长”, the quotes are theirs, not mine) to go to Iran.

Link

欧盟“外长”阿什顿计划未来数周内造访伊朗

I also read a short article about those young Belgian citizens who 赴叙参战 - left for Syria to fight - and die.

Link

I went on reading 鬼吹灯. I'm now in chapter 19/47.

LISTENING

I've started a new ChinesePod intermediate level lesson about a labour conflict. I've gone back to the intermediate level because I want to use these podcasts to improve my listening comprehension, not to learn vocabulary - which is not the same. Listening to a podcast which consists mainly of passively known words can help turn your passive/reading knowledge into a listening comprehension knowledge. I want to use these podcasts mainly to bridge the gap between reading and listening comprehension. So I should stick to the routine I had explained in my post of 22/8/2013 (page 16) - without the written part. And maybe adding a dictation in pinyin.

VOCAB

Finally, I cleared my Skritter backlog (characters had been piling up for review during the Xmas holidays).

WATCHING

Yesterday, I watched the first part of a documentary by 王兵. My wife offered the DVDs for Xmas. In "铁西区", Wang Bing filmed the death of gigantic Soviet-era copper, lead and cable factories in Northern China. At the time of shooting, these factories are haunted by ghosts of workers who are disorientated by the demise of all their references and the swift transition from State interventionism to State capitalism. You have to accept the slow pace of the documentary to really appreciate it. The filming adopts an absolutely objective point of view, but the images are hauntingly beautiful and the participants are sometimes brutal and rude, sometimes moving, but always treated with great respect.

Oh, yes, the language. Ahem. Let's just say that, if it were not for the subtitles, I would have understood one word here and there, and that's it.

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Sunja
Diglot
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Germany
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1 sounds
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Studies: French, Mandarin

 
 Message 214 of 408
16 January 2014 at 10:42am | IP Logged 
lorinth wrote:
(...) And maybe adding a dictation in pinyin.(...)


Dictation is an enjoyable tool for me. I don't do it consistently so I don't know how effective it is. If it weren't so time-consuming I'd do it more often. It definitely helps me to be aware of distinctions in how things are pronounced.
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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 215 of 408
16 January 2014 at 3:08pm | IP Logged 
You're right Sunja, the more I think of it and the more I read about it in other logs and blogs, the more I'm convinced that pinyin dictation is a very useful exercise to improve one's listening comprehension. A dictation in characters is a completely distinct exercise focussed on a totally different skill... For instance, I suspect that a pinyin dictation will reveal to what extent I actually hear tones. I've never done that before, but I'll write about it in this log in the future.
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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 216 of 408
20 January 2014 at 9:16am | IP Logged 
I'm still in chapter 19/47 of 鬼吹灯, because it's very long, with plenty of weird things happening. I've now read 160 pages since 1 Jan., my objective being 200. Should be feasible. If anyone's interested I translated another snippet and posted it in a dedicated thread in chinese-forums.

Link

I started watching episode 2 of 王兵's series of documentaries about the decline of the heavy industry in Shenyang (铁西区). There's more talking and explanations in this second part (called Rust in English and in 工厂 Chinese) with people wavering between anger, resignation and humour. I noticed that there are two classes of workers, with seasonal workers working (or being dismissed) under even worse conditions.
The language remains very difficult, so I can only catch snippets here and there.

I haven't worked a lot on podcasts, I should focus more on this part of my routine.


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