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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 313 of 408
10 June 2014 at 9:52am | IP Logged 
Long drive this weekend, which means: an opportunity to listen to lots of Chinese podcasts. I listened several times to lessons 222-230 of ChineseLearnOnline, which was fairly easy and entertaining. I also tried some real stuff (several talk shows mostly) and that was way above my level. I did not even understand what they were talking *about*. This after 6 years of daily study.

So, I had a flash of enlightenment and the Genuine Veritable Authentic Truth suddenly appeared to me in all its Shining Glory: those 老外 who *seem* to understand and speak Chinese (the like of Da Shan or Charlotte MacInnis) don't exist for real. They are avatars created as part of a gigantic global plot masterminded by the CPC to neutralise poor Westerners by mesmerizing them into spending years submerged in the impossible quest of learning Mandarin.

That or I'm a stupid ignoramus. With a blob of porridge instead of brains.

Or there's something horribly wrong with my method.

Or I'm paying the fact that I've placed a heavy focus on reading comprehension at the expense of listening comprehension. Well, I do listen to some Chinese almost every day but my working method is less systematic and stubborn than with reading comprehension.

Or all of the above.

But I like my first theory better. It's much more likely.

Edited by lorinth on 10 June 2014 at 9:54am

1 person has voted this message useful



SomeGuy
Groupie
Germany
Joined 3965 days ago

56 posts - 75 votes 
Speaks: German*
Studies: Arabic (Written), Turkish, Mandarin

 
 Message 314 of 408
10 June 2014 at 11:49am | IP Logged 
+1 for the first theory, sounds plausible.
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 315 of 408
12 June 2014 at 9:52am | IP Logged 
So, apart from my favourite, obviously true conspiracy theory (see message 313 above), the second best explanation for my lack of any noticeable progress in listening comprehension is that my method is plain wrong.

As luck would have it, over at chinese-forums, someone presented a program that may be the perfect tool to work on listening comprehension: WorkAudioBook.

WorkAudioBook

That program seems almost too good to be true and I find it amazing that, apparently, nobody has talked about it yet on this forum. There's nothing revolutionary in the software, nothing that you couldn't reproduce using Audacity and some text editor, or even paper. But the program is designed from the ground up to help you work on your listening comprehension: open an mp3 audio file, automatically cut it into sentences, listen sentence by sentence, repeat, loop, chorus, echo, shadow; add subtitles; tag sentences (difficult, easy, etc.); export words to Anki or whatever SRS you happen to like. The interface is slick, intuitive. It runs on Windows and - most importantly - on Android, so you can work on the go.

It seems so good that I'm tempted to make a public commitment towards the developer: let's say that I use WorkAudioBook regularly for, say, 6 months. If there's a noticeable improvement in my listening comprehension - i.e. if I can understand better, on the fly, stuff that I don't understand at all today, such a some talk shows - I hereby commit to buy five more licenses of the program, in addition to the license I already bought.

In other news, I go on reading "流星 蝴蝶 剑" and I've now reached chapter 25/29, page 465/564. Only 100 pages left!


Edited by lorinth on 12 June 2014 at 5:36pm

4 persons have 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 316 of 408
16 June 2014 at 4:59pm | IP Logged 
I worked every day (but one) with AudioWorkBook: two Slow Chinese podcasts, an extract of a talk show about G. Garcia Marquez (on 开卷八分钟) and an extract of an NTDTV news item about Ukraine. Both Ifeng TV and NTDTV provide transcripts for many shows.

Slow Chinese

开卷八分钟

新唐人電視台


Note to self: 加油!

"流星 蝴蝶 剑" chap. 26/29, page 504/564.


Edited by lorinth on 16 June 2014 at 5:01pm

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 317 of 408
23 June 2014 at 11:19am | IP Logged 
Yes! I've finally finished my first wuxia novel, the 564-page long "流星 蝴蝶 剑"! It took me less than 2,5 months, while I had assessed that it would take me between 3 and 4 months. Though I can't make no comparison, as I haven't read other wuxia novels, I highly recommend this book to intermediate learners who would like to dip a toe in that genre. It's a good story, with action, romance, kung fu, oriental-sounding aphorisms, cruel villains and dark heroes, a convoluted plot with twists on every other page, etc. Some characters, especially the woman 高老大, are unforgettable.

The vocab is not too difficult - taking account of course of some kung fu-related stuff. The author is quite easy because, among other things, his style his plain and he likes to repeat things. Some scenes are more difficult, especially fight scenes. I struggled to understand, or barely understood, some of them. But there are not many of them and it certainly does not spoil the overall fun.

Now, as usual, the question is: what shall I read next? I started 第十二夜-天方夜谭 yesterday. As the first novel I read in this series (第十二夜-万灵节之死) was relatively easy, I thought I would breeze through it, but it's harder than I had imagined. In fact, it's harder than Gu Long's wuxia novel. On the other hand, the first few pages of any book tend to be hard, so I'll try to persevere and see what happens.

In other news, I've been using WorkAudioBook for two weeks now, and it's proving to be a *great* tool that fits the bill very nicely for intensive listening comprehension/shadowing drills on the go, thanks to the Android version. I've been using it for two weeks almost every day (ok: 11 days out of 14, not bad compared with what I'd been doing before).

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 318 of 408
26 June 2014 at 9:42am | IP Logged 
I've started reading another novel in 璇儿's detective series 第十二夜: 天方夜谭. After about 20 pages, this one definitely feels harder than the one I'd read before (万灵节之), in particular because there are quite a lot of words related to the history/culture/geography of the Middle East. Quick! How do you say in Chinese: Zoroastrianism? Parthia? Achaemenid? Cyrus? Persepolis? Shiraz?

Ha!

The 第十二夜 series can be found here.
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 319 of 408
03 July 2014 at 9:47am | IP Logged 
I've read almost a third of 璇儿's 天方夜谭. It's a mildly interesting book that consists in a slightly annoying series of unlikely events strung together. The Chinese detective is sent to Iran to find a cousin who disappeared. There, in a not so renowned museum where his cousin used to work, he comes across a former colleague and close friend (unlikely). The director of the museum invites them both to sleep for the night in the museum (unlikely). That night, precisely that night (unlikely), the director is savagely slain by an unknown murderer and the pair of Chinese detectives decide not to discuss the matter with the local police (unlikely). They escape and go to Cyrus' tomb to find the hero's cousin. Not bothered by the Iranian police (unlikely), they reach Cyrus' tomb at night. They go in. Just like that (unlikely). They immediately find blood stains (unlikely) and, in a place that is described as full of hordes of tourists during the day, they immediately fall, literally, into a trap leading to a secret chamber (unlikely) where they find another slain body. Wow. The plot of the first book I read in this series was much more believable.

For the record, here's the total number of pages I've read this year:
- January: 248
- February: 202
- March: 268
- April: 234
- May: 216
- June: 218

I've continued using WorkAudioBook with BBC's interesting Chinese podcasts. Some of them are really hard for me and some are more accessible. The transcripts are not given with the podcast, so first you have to understand a sentence or a bit of sentence and Google it on BBC's website: the podcasts are often (always?) a news article read aloud. You just have to find the article on BBC's website.

BBC podcasts
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 320 of 408
02 October 2014 at 10:13am | IP Logged 
So what have I been up to these last 90 days? In addition to recovering from a stupid
accident, I did continue to climb the 10,000 steps of the Mandarin language mountain.

As far as reading is concerned, I haven't been able to maintain the rhythm of the first
semester. I reckon I read about 100 pages, maybe less, in July, August and September, which
amounts to a respectable 300 pages, but it's a far cry from my stated objectives. Maybe I
suffered from reading fatigue: after dropping 天方夜谭 (message 317), I tried several
novels and found them all way too hard to be enjoyable, which was frustrating. In
particular, I read about 25 pages of 圈子圈套, vol. II, and then stopped because I was
looking up words more than reading. The worrying thing is that I did manage to read the
entire vol. I two years ago... It took me 3 months, and it was my first novel in Chinese,
if I remember correctly. Part of the problem (hopefully) might be that I'm now stricter, ie
two years ago, I would be happy if I could follow the story without understanding the
details, while I demand more of myself now. Pehaps. Anyway, I've also started and dropped
an abridged version of 西游记, restarted and dropped 黄金时代, read a short story called "养
蜂人" by sci-fi author 王晋康, etc.

As far as active listening is concerned, I've put WorkAudioBook to good use. According to
the MyChain Android app, I've practiced listening 24 days/31 in July, 27 days/31 in August
and 27 days/30 in September. Not bad. I'm not sure I'm noticing any obvious improvement,
though. As stated in message 315, I'll try to assess that (but how?) after 6 months, i.e.
at the start of 2015.

As it's not always obvious to find the transcripts for the podcasts and news in Chinese of
the BBC, the Deutsche Welle and Radio France International, I've started tweeting links to
such transcripts (twitter account "laurenth").



2 persons have voted this message useful



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