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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 321 of 408
06 October 2014 at 10:30am | IP Logged 
I am reading 三毛's《撒哈拉的故事》. I can see why the book has been so popular in Taiwan
and in the mainland in the 70s and in the 80s. It must have been a shock to read about an
independent woman loving and living in a faraway country. The style is refreshing and
vivid. At times, I'm shocked by the patronizing superiority of the colonists (and the
author). Therefore, this book, it turns out, is also an interesting documentary about the
end of the colonial era. Currently reading p. 88/259.

With WorkAudioBook, these last few days, I have used a BBC podcast about the sentencing of
Ilham Tohti to life imprisonment and a Deutsche Welle podcast about the events in Hong
Kong.

I have also listened to a nice podcast called 时尚玩家. I have not transcript, but the
guests tend to speak slowly and clearly. Plus, if I use the "slow down" function of my
podcast manager of choice (BeyondPod for Android), it so happens that, for the very first
time, I was able to more or less follow significant parts of a podcast about a young girl
who spends her time travelling around the world. Not a breakthrough, because I'm far from
understanding as much as I'd like. But though.

Thanks to chinese-forums.com I found yet another interesting source of audio (news) with
transcripts, once again offered by 凤凰卫视 (ifeng).

Link

Click on one of the links on the left of the TV window to get the transcripts.

With an appropriate extension installed for your browser, you can download the original mp4
file and then, with a suitable program, you can extract the audio to mp3 (I use winff for
Ubuntu).
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 322 of 408
07 October 2014 at 10:02am | IP Logged 
I went on reading 三毛's《撒哈拉的故事》 but, as my daily diet now includes more active
listening, it's a rather slow process.

With WorkAudioBook, I've worked on yet another fantastic resource for podcasts with
transcript provided by 凤凰网. The show is called 开卷八分钟 and it consists in an 8-minute
discussion about a book.

Here's a list of
shows/transcripts

Yesterday, I worked on part of the show that debunks that famous book about the "tiger mum"
Chinese style education. I say "part of the show" because the guy speaks fast and it can
take me a good 30 minutes to work on 2 minutes of the show...

Link

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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 323 of 408
08 October 2014 at 2:46pm | IP Logged 
I'm often impressed by the very factual tone of the Chinese press, compared with our
Western media. I've just read an interesting article (http://news.xinhuanet.com/2014-
10/08/c_127070092.htm) about the formation of the new government in my country and it's
very informative, and only informative, with just the necessary quantity of background
information to (hopefully) make the situation understandable to a Chinese reader. I'm
convinced Western journalists would have added a solid dose of political or personal
comments, digressions and possibly humour. In a way, I'm happy to read such factual
articles, so I can take stock of the bare situation, without comment. On those rare
occasions where I did read articles in the Chinese press that expressed an opinion, they
looked as if they'd been written under dictation to convey a warning to a certain group of
people.

All this may seem obvious to China old hands but it never ceases to surprise me. Or,
probably, the spectrum of the Chinese media/subjects I usually read is not large enough.

I'm still reading 三毛's《撒哈拉的故事》(page 101/259). The story I'm reading《死果》and 《荒
山之夜》are my favourite up to now. San Mao can write very scary stuff. She would have made
a good horror fiction writer.


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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 324 of 408
13 October 2014 at 12:53pm | IP Logged 
Over lunch, I read most of an arid article about the commercial relationship between the EU
and China and how they're about to settle a dispute in the field of telecommunications (电
信贸易争端的协议). The interesting thing is: I'm pretty sure that, one year ago, I wouldn't
have been able to decipher more than two sentences of such an article in the same time
frame.

The article

I've practiced intensive listening with a podcast of the 时尚玩家 series (《旅行达人小妍》
dated 22 September). Having listened to parts of that podcast once or twice as "background
noise", I noticed that, for once, I could understand some of it and that I may benefit from
some more intensive listening. So I loaded the podcasts into WorkAudioBook to do my best to
increase my level of understanding. Though I did increase my understanding by a small,
difficult to quantity, margin, there was no breakthrough. Many many parts remain opaque
without transcript.

Also, I practiced intensive listening with a Deutche Welle Chinese podcast about the
fascinating subject of 政府磋商机制 (governemental consultation mechanism) and how it is
implemented by the German government.

Audio

Transcript

Still slowly reading 三毛's《撒哈拉的故事》. Now at p. 115/259.
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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 325 of 408
16 October 2014 at 9:47am | IP Logged 
Reading: I read this article about the future of the freedom of movement (or lack thereof)
in Europe.

Link

Listening: I worked on a slow Chinese (slow-chinese.com) podcast about Chinese anime.

I registered on italki and took a trial lesson during which I discussed options to improve
my speaking and (mainly) listening comprehension. I intend to take one or two other trial
lessons before I choose a teacher. The plan is that I would take lessons during lunch time,
in the office cafeteria, where we now have a wifi network. Taking account of the noise, the
time constraints, etc., it's not clear whether that will be feasible. We'll see.

Still slowly reading 三毛's《撒哈拉的故事》.


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 326 of 408
20 October 2014 at 9:37am | IP Logged 
Yesterday, as I had some free time, I did an exercise I had not done for months: copying a
page of 三毛's《撒哈拉的故事》 I took that very good idea from Iversen's log. It was useful,
as I felt I had a stronger understanding of that particular page. In addition, it was an
opportunity to review quite a lot of characters in their natural ecosystem, in context. And
finally, it reminded me of something I had forgotten since I almost entirely shifted my focus
towards input (listening/reading) rather than output (writing/speaking): writing characters is
a pleasure in itself, it is a strangely soothing exercise.

As for listening, I listened again to a series of "old" podcasts with which I'd already
practiced intensive listening with WorkAudioBook.
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 327 of 408
21 October 2014 at 10:29am | IP Logged 
QUANTIFYING THE TIME BARREL

If you don't know what the time barrel is, browse to Hacking Chinese and check this
article.

As I've already explained in this log, I very seldom have extended periods of time to study
Chinese. "Extended" in my case means "one hour". Between my job, my family of six and the
rest, studying Chinese is more a matter of filling the time barrel, sticking to a handful
of minuscule daily routines and preferring microgoals over grand visions.

But I've often wondered how much time these techniques add up to during one of my typical
working days. So this Monday, I timed the short bursts of Chinese related activities which
I usually try to stuff in one day. And here's the result.

For each activity, I'll mention the settings. These parameters are very closely related in
my case: practically each place where I happen to be during the day is linked to a typical
learning related activity.

1. Morning time slot

- Flashcarding at the toilets with Pleco (well, there can be more than one such periods).
- Background listening to the Chinese radio (RFI Chinese) while having a shower.
- Active listening to a podcast with WorkAudioBook (BBC podcast about the situation in
Iraq) while driving to the underground station after dropping the kids at
school/kindergarten.
- On those days when I take the bus to the underground station, I usually study some more
flashcards while waiting for the bus.
- Reading (三毛's《撒哈拉的故事》) in the underground -in the morning, there's often a seat
available.
- Active listening again while walking from the underground station to the office.

Timer: 58 minutes.

2. Lunch time slot

- Eating time is for the rest of the daily flashcards, if any (with Pleco for words and
Skritter for characters).
- Usually, I have 30 minutes left or so for reading an article or to continue reading the
novel I'm currently reading.

Timer: 47 minutes.

3. Working hours slot

- During working hours, I sometimes have tasks that are not too intensive, so I can tune in
to some Chinese radio station for background listening.
- I may also review one flashcard here, two flashcards there, while waiting for a lift for
instance.

It was not the case today, so timer: 0 minute.

4. Evening time slot

- Commuting back, I used WorkAudioBook again to practice some more listening with the BBC
podcast and its transcript.
- Before going to sleep I read one more page of 三毛's《撒哈拉的故事》.

Timer: 48 minutes

Grand total: about 2h30.


Not one minute of this time is taken from family life or work. However, I have to admit
that this is a time I could have spent socializing. One could say that learning languages
effectively killed part of my social life, which is kind of paradoxical...

Not all of these periods are "quality time". For instance, if I tune in to some Chinese
radio station while working, it's mostly background noise, though there certainly are very
short periods of time when I do pay attention, when I can understand some bits of whatever
it is the radio is talking about.

Another interesting point is that almost all of this learning is happening on the go: I
almost never use a desk or a computer to study Chinese. Which means that I seldom have the
opportunity to do tasks I would like to do more often, such as copying one page of a book,
studying some vocab by comparing three dictionaries, preparing subtitle files from podcasts
(to use with WorkAudioBook), writing word lists by hand, using certain useful software
programmes, etc.

As much of my reading happens in buses or the underground, I have to be able to switch to
another task on the spot if there's no sitting room. If there is sitting room and if I'm
reading from a dead tree book (as I like to do, to wean me from e-readers and their popup
dictionaries), I cannot use a paper dictionary at the same time.

Of course owning a smart phone has solved most of these problems, as I can use it to read
books, articles or comics, to lookup words, to create word lists, to study word lists, to
listen to podcasts or music, to chat (in fact I don't, but I could), to download podcasts
and transcripts, etc.

Another paradox I have often talked about in this log is that I actually have *less* time
to study during weekends or holidays, as I'm not commuting and not having lunch at the
office cafeteria.

By the way, if the 10,000 hour "rule" has any value (which is debatable), and if I wanted
to become really truly authentically fluent in Chinese (which I don't) , and if my math is
correct (which would come as a surprise), it would take me, well, somewhere between 16 and
17 years (which seems perfectly reasonable to me).
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rdearman
Senior Member
United Kingdom
rdearman.orgRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4101 days ago

881 posts - 1812 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, French, Mandarin

 
 Message 328 of 408
21 October 2014 at 11:45am | IP Logged 
lorinth wrote:

By the way, if the 10,000 hour "rule" has any value (which is debatable), and if I wanted to become really truly authentically fluent in Chinese (which I don't) , and if my math is correct (which would come as a surprise), it would take me, well, somewhere between 16 and 17 years (which seems perfectly reasonable to me).


Love reading your log. I've picked up lots of tips and source material to use myself. But I've set myself a deadline of 2 years! But it looks like you are understanding a lot of the material and listening to Podcasts and things. I'd be happy with a basic level of speaking I think.


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