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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
Joined 4031 days ago

3335 posts - 4349 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 
 Message 257 of 408
26 February 2014 at 7:29pm | IP Logged 
Just now that you mention it I realized your native language is French, lorinth. Have you
employed good books in French for learning Mandarin?
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lorinth
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Belgium
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443 posts - 581 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish, Latin
Studies: Mandarin, Finnish

 
 Message 258 of 408
27 February 2014 at 10:08am | IP Logged 
Hi Expugnator,

The first textbook I used was Joël Bellasen's "Méthode d'initiation à la langue et à l'écriture chinoises", aka "Le petit livre jaune" (1990 edition). I liked it a lot and I used it from the first to the very last page - which is infrequent in my case. This book is not without flaws: in the accompanying audio, the voices are good, but the tracks are sometimes cut in the wrong places. The book is rather light on drills. The sectioning is not very clear (minor problem). And the so-called "snowball" exercises (where known characters are used to introduce many new words) are a bit artificial. And yet, for all its flaws, this book is superb. It provides a very good grounding up to a solid A2 level and, in particular, it has a bias I happen to like: it is very much character-based. It could be compared to De Francis' method in the English-speaking world: the structure of each lesson systematically consists in introducing some characters upfront, and only then using them in dialogues, words and sentences, followed by drills (there are many many more drills in De Francis, though. And Bellassen uses simplified characters while De Francis uses traditional characters).

I've had a look at Amazon, and it seems that the "Méthode" has been updated in 2008. Maybe some of the flaws I've pointed out have been corrected. I've heard there's an English version too. There's also a volume 2 , which I've long wanted to find. But it seems it's out of print and it has almost become a legend. The same author also created a "Chinois mode d'emploi, grammaire pratique et exercices ", which is designed to be used with, and very much compensates the lack of drills in the "Méthode".

By the same author (with Arnaud Arslangul), I also own the Bescherelle guide "Le chinois pour tous: Écriture, vocabulaire, grammaire", which is an excellent pocket size grammar book.

Bellassen is a reputed teacher in France, see:
Wikipedia about Bellassen
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Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 4031 days ago

3335 posts - 4349 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 
 Message 259 of 408
27 February 2014 at 9:51pm | IP Logged 
I've used Le chinois pour tous! Though I'd liked Méthode 90 better, and this one has a
sequel, Chinois Etape par Etape du A2 au B2 du HSK which is terrific! (It just didn't
bring me to B2 as claimed though, since I didn't memorize everything in it, obviously).

I don't know how, I just didn't feel like using Bellasen's book. It's not my type of book
in terms of lesson format.
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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 260 of 408
28 February 2014 at 9:34am | IP Logged 
Expugnator wrote:
I don't know how, I just didn't feel like using Bellasen's book. It's not my type of book in terms of lesson format.


It's true that it's a bit peculiar, compared with more coulourful or Assimil-like methods. There's a slightly old-fashioned feel to it. But I do owe it whatever it is I have as a basis in Chinese. I started Chinese with 2 years of formal evening classes where the teacher used her own, French-based method, which was also good, but is not available for sale (I was using Bellassen in parallel at that time). After that, I've only used methods with English as a teaching language: New Practical Chinese Reader III and Chinese Made Easier (can't remember the level), which are both excellent too, in my opinion. After that, I just stopped using textbooks.
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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 261 of 408
28 February 2014 at 4:38pm | IP Logged 
Today is not any other day. I read - in Chinese - an article about the most fascinating of subjects: 太空电梯 (space elevators)! Though it sounds awe-inspiring, I've constantly found that reading about seemingly dry political subjects or light science is in fact much easier than reading, say, a random discussion about everyday life, or a novel. The vocab is narrower, less flowery, less ambiguous. You can read plenty of articles about the same subject to reinforce your understanding and your knowledge of that topic's vocabulary. And you have lots of context, because you've probably heard about space elevators (haven't you?) before you start reading; so meeting new words (e.g. 纳米技术) is mainly a matter of matching these unknown lexical items against stuff you are expecting anyway. Besides, and more importantly, space elevators are cool.

The article on jandan.net.

I worked on a ChinesePod podcast about 搭车 (hitch-hiking), which sent me down memory lane, a lane many thousands miles long, in my case, as I've done more than my share of hitch-hiking through Europe. Those were the days.

I've read more of 鬼吹灯, and I'm reaching the (undoubtedly) climatic end. Only 69 e-pages left, i.e. about 25 paper pages.

Thanks to dhaubles' log, I indulged into watching "世纪十最之十大未解之谜 " (Top 10 unsolved mysteries) on Youtube. I wouldn't dare do that in my mother tongue. But I thought it would make a nice, serious counterpoint to the pipe dreams of space elevators.

I logged 6h30 of listening this week. Bad. A far cry from the 10 hours I've committed to.
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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 262 of 408
03 March 2014 at 9:26am | IP Logged 
Last June (see p. 11 of this log), I did three HSK5 mock tests (listening comprehension part only), just days after I had passed the HSK4, so I could have a point of reference to assess my progress in the future. I got 31/45, 24/45 and 16/45, i.e. 23.66/45 on average.

8 months later, I wanted to do such a test again, to see whether there was any improvement, taking account of the fact that I have done quite a lot of exercises of all sorts focused on reinforcing my listening comprehension.

So I started and, after 20 questions, there were only three or four to which I could answer with any degree of certainty. So I stopped.

How depressing and disappointing. Surely, there's something wrong with my methods.

So I headed towards Olle Linge's site "Hacking Chinese" for a diagnosis. There are quite a lot of insightful articles about improving listening comprehension. One of them is called "Problem analysis". After reading that article, I listened to the HSK5 mock test again and I discovered that, in general, with repeated listening, sometimes looping through a sentence, I could write down the pinyin fairly accurately (I could check against the transcript afterwards) and understand enough of the text to, finally, find the answer to the test. Of course, in real life (or during an exam) there's no such thing as making your interlocutor loop through a sentence.

Olle describes the symptom like this:

Quote:
If you can understand a passage after hearing it many times or at slower speed, it means that you have the necessary phonological awareness and a broad enough vocabulary, but you still lack the listening speed.


Yes, that's me. So my disease is called:

Quote:
Lack of speed: Listening speed is the pace at which you can understand spoken language, provided that you know the words. Being able to do this is usually the result of huge volumes of practice (i.e. immersion). There is no substitute.


So the medication Olle recommends is:

Quote:
Immersion is what you need in your case; quantity is king.


Hm, all right Doctor Linge. Today I'll read your prescription called " Listening strategies: Improving listening speed".

For the sake of completeness, in my pinyin transcript, there were also worrying mistakes like a confusion between initial q/j, or mistakes in the tones. So I may also have to find some resources to work on such basic stuff as tone pairs or phonological pairs. Sigh.

Olle Linge's

Problem analysis
Improving listening speed
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Crush
Tetraglot
Senior Member
ChinaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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Speaks: English*, Spanish, Mandarin, Esperanto
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 Message 263 of 408
04 March 2014 at 3:29am | IP Logged 
So Olle essentially prescribed more 图图? :P

When spoken quickly, it's very easy to confuse q and j. I figure a Chinese person can process what someone says much more quickly and has a much better background to set the context so when there are doubts can quickly figure it out by context.

I feel like my vocabulary isn't wide enough for me to really consider it a priority. My main problem isn't really understanding/processing what is said but getting tripped up on words i don't know. I think exams are generally much harder than actual conversations, though.
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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 264 of 408
04 March 2014 at 9:27am | IP Logged 
图图 is the kind of medication I can swallow! That said, you're probably right when you say that

Crush wrote:
... exams are generally much harder than actual conversations, though.


Yet, the audio part of the HSK is said in slowish, crisp, standard Mandarin, i.e. ideal conditions that you seldom meet in real life.

When you listen to normal speech, or to the radio, it's much faster and less standard, hence much much harder to understand.

On the other hand, if you refer to an actual *conversation*, i.e. an interaction between two persons, yes, each person tends to adapt her speech to the other, occasionnally the interlocutor will slow down, take account of a puzzled look and reformulate with other words, etc. So real conversations are easier than an exam, while real one-way listening may not be.

Edited by lorinth on 04 March 2014 at 9:27am



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