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Mi Cuaderno: Español, Mandarín (TAC ’14)

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nj24
Diglot
Groupie
United States
Joined 3060 days ago

56 posts - 106 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Italian, French

 
 Message 1 of 16
02 January 2014 at 5:36am | IP Logged 
This is my first time keeping a log here and also my first time participating in TAC. :) I hope my log will be helpful
to others!

Language Background & Goals for 2014
I've been studying Spanish for over two years and have just begun dabbling with Mandarin over the past two
months. My weakest Spanish skill is speaking so I will be focusing on strengthening my conversational abilities
and immersing myself in native materials. I hope to reach a B2/C1 level by the end of the year. I would like to
reach an A2 level in Mandarin.

2013 really saw the biggest jump in my Spanish level. I started the year struggling through a translated copy of
the Hunger Games. I finished the year with two Gabo novels under my belt: Crónica de una muerte anunciada and
Doce cuentos peregrinos. I started the year feeling utterly lost watching Spanish movies and TV shows without
subtitles. I finished the year having enjoyed and understood (without subtitles) nearly every conversation of the
Spanish TV show Gran Hotel. I started the year wondering how on earth I was ever going to remember every
single verb conjugation. I ended the year with comments from native speakers on my Lang-8 entries
complimenting my Spanish grammar. I can now understand many Spanish songs without having to first look up
the lyrics. The best part yet, though, was finding a Spanish speaking partner in October and discovering that I
could actually talk in Spanish for over an hour without needing to revert to English. But I still have a long way to
go to reach conversational fluency. I don't want to be stopped at a plateau now so I know I need to continue
devoting as much time as possible to my language studies if I want to continue progressing.

Since I have nearly finished all of my textbooks, I will mostly be focusing on immersing myself in native materials
this year and taking part in as many conversations as I can. I love learning languages and have been feeling a bit
eager to start a new one after devoting myself to studying only Spanish for the past two years or so. And that's
why I've decided to add Mandarin to my language studies (also because I thought it would be cool to study a
language that doesn't use the Latin alphabet). In the past, I've studied Latin, Italian, French, and Japanese (no
characters, just speaking). I have no background in Mandarin so I will be starting absolutely from scratch. I've
already begun working through the Mandarin pronunciation modules in FSI but that's it. It's going to be a fun
adventure.

My 2014 goals for Spanish:
1. Read 25 novels (I read 20 in 2013 so I think upping this by five should be doable).
2. Write 50 entries on Lang-8 including "islands" for speaking practice
3. 100 hours of speaking practice (This is going to be the most difficult! My language partner is often busy so I
usually can't talk with her more than once a week. I might consider trying out a website like Verbling, but I think I
will also include talking out loud with myself here. If I talk out loud to myself for 30 minutes or an hour straight I
will count that toward my goal. Anything less won't count.)
4. 100 Films/TV Show Episodes (TV episodes will have to be an hour long to count as one film).
5. Translation Practice (I'm not setting a quantitative number for this, but I think doing a bit of translation from
English to Spanish will help me start thinking in Spanish).

Spanish: Resources Completed & In Progress
1. Pimsleur Spanish 1 & 2 (I think I may have also worked a little way through volume 3. I was listening to
Pimsleur at the same time as I was working through FSI and quickly outgrew the program).
2. FSI Spanish Volumes 1-4 (I have about three lessons left so should finish it within the next week or so. This is
an amazing program both for beginners and intermediate students).
3. Practice Makes Perfect Spanish Verb Tenses (This was a great book for reinforcing what I learned with FSI and
practicing writing. I've been working through it at the same time as I have been doing FSI. I have two lessons left,
and then I am planning to work through Spanish Pronouns and Prepositions for review).
4. Video Courses: Destinos & Extr@ Español (I watched Destinos during the first months that I began learning
Spanish. I didn't try to learn verb conjugations with it. I watched it with subtitles and just tried to pick up
vocabulary and correct pronunciation. I watched Extr@ during my second year as an effort to slowly ease myself
off of subtitles).
5. Conjuguemos.com (an awesome website for practicing making verb conjugations automatic).
6. Podcasts: Notes in Spanish, SpanishPodcast.org (I've been listening to podcasts since I started learning. I liked
Spanish Podcast at first because it came with free transcripts, and the author explains all of the grammar and
vocabulary in Spanish at the end of the dialogues. Now it is a bit too slow for me. I've been listening to Notes in
Spanish Gold and am nearly done with the second season. I like podcasts because I can listen while doing other
activities).

My 2014 goals for Mandarin:
I will be working through the FSI course (I have already started working through the pronunciation module) and
the DeFrancis Beginner Textbook in pinyin. I will also have the DeFrancis Mandarin readers though they are
supposed to be used after the textbook is completed. I am sure once I start working through the textbooks I will
have a better idea of how quickly I can expect to complete the lessons. I hope to at least make it halfway through
the courses. I also would like to finish volume 1 of the Pimsleur Mandarin course. In addition, I have started
watching the Growing up with Chinese videos from CNTV.

My goal for Mandarin this year is to be able to visit my local Chinese restaurant and have a short conversation in
Mandarin with the server. I'd also like to have a conversation with my Mandarin speaking neighbor if I see her.

Ultimately, I'd like to reach an A2 level in speaking.

Mandarin: Resources To Be Completed & In Progress
1. Pimsleur Mandarin Chinese
2. FSI Standard Chinese
3. Beginning Chinese by John DeFrancis
4. Beginning Chinese Reader Volumes 1 & 2 (Not sure I will get to these this year)
5. Growing up with Chinese TV Show

I have great expectations for this year and am looking forward to seeing where my language adventures take me.

Edited by nj24 on 02 January 2014 at 6:45am

1 person has voted this message useful



Stelle
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
tobefluent.com
Joined 2541 days ago

949 posts - 1686 votes 
Speaks: French*, English*, Spanish
Studies: Tagalog

 
 Message 2 of 16
02 January 2014 at 2:01pm | IP Logged 
I used italki for my conversation partners - both the free ones (language exchange) and the paid ones (tutors).
Honestly…if I were starting over, I think I'd work mainly with tutors instead of exchange partners. I like knowing that
the conversation will be only in Spanish, and I know that a tutor will be able to answer any questions that I have. I
mostly use my tutors in the same way that I use language exchange partners - just for basic conversation practice.
Yes, I pay people to talk to me. Haha! I teach a few French lessons on italki to pay for my Spanish lessons - that way
it's "free". Anyway, tutors aren't for everyone, but I thought I'd put it out there. it might be worth it to spend 10
dollars once a week for a full hour of one-on-one conversation.

Anyway, I look forward to following your log! Good luck in 2014!
2 persons have voted this message useful



PointsDotsLines
Diglot
Groupie
United States
Joined 2403 days ago

76 posts - 110 votes 
Speaks: Mandarin*, English
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 3 of 16
02 January 2014 at 7:43pm | IP Logged 
I also use some of the same resources that you use (or have used) e.g.Practice Makes Perfect book, Destinos/Extr@, NIS podcasts, Lang-8, etc. So, it's great to read that these materials have helped you achieve the positive results in such a short period of time:)

Now you're "dabbling" with Chinese, can you write/type some simple characters e.g. "你好,再见,谢谢";-)?

加油! (= a general phrase of encouragement, similar to "good job; keep up the good work" )
-Charles

Edited by PointsDotsLines on 02 January 2014 at 7:44pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Warp3
Senior Member
United States
forum_posts.asp?TID=
Joined 3932 days ago

1419 posts - 1765 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Korean, Japanese

 
 Message 4 of 16
03 January 2014 at 1:20am | IP Logged 
PointsDotsLines wrote:
加油! (= a general phrase of encouragement, similar to "good job;
keep up the good work" )


Granted my Chinese character experience is purely rooted in Korean Hanja, but the only
thing my mind generates from those two characters is "add oil" (or at least that is what the
two characters mean separately in Korean).
加 = 가 (ga) / 더할 (to add, increase)
油 = 유 (yu) / 기름 (oil, grease, petroleum)

Edited by Warp3 on 03 January 2014 at 1:21am

1 person has voted this message useful



PointsDotsLines
Diglot
Groupie
United States
Joined 2403 days ago

76 posts - 110 votes 
Speaks: Mandarin*, English
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 5 of 16
03 January 2014 at 2:11am | IP Logged 
Warp3 wrote:
PointsDotsLines wrote:
加油! (= a general phrase of encouragement, similar to "good job;
keep up the good work" )


Granted my Chinese character experience is purely rooted in Korean Hanja, but the only
thing my mind generates from those two characters is "add oil" (or at least that is what the
two characters mean separately in Korean).
加 = 가 (ga) / 더할 (to add, increase)
油 = 유 (yu) / 기름 (oil, grease, petroleum)


Yes! You're absolutely right! 加(jiā)油(yóu)=add oil:)
Have you ever been to running races like 5Ks, 10Ks... or marathons? .....where spectators cheer on runners with words of encouragement like "Good job! Keep running!" In Chinese, these phrases would be "加油! 加油! Add oil! Add oil!";-)
Because it's also used to express "to make an extra effort to succeed", it has been used widely online by Chinese netizens (esp. by young people).

Edited by PointsDotsLines on 03 January 2014 at 2:12am

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Warp3
Senior Member
United States
forum_posts.asp?TID=
Joined 3932 days ago

1419 posts - 1765 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Korean, Japanese

 
 Message 6 of 16
03 January 2014 at 4:20am | IP Logged 
I figured it might be colloquial, but I was making sure I wasn't just misreading it altogether
somehow. Thanks for the confirmation. In fact, it really does make sense the more I think
about it; sort of like the phrase "adding fuel to the fire".

Now that you posted the pronunciation, though, I'm pretty sure I've heard that used on
some Korean variety shows during the episodes where they visited China. They noted that
the phrase they were using at the time was the equivalent of the Korean 화이팅 (which is a
loan word of the English word "fighting"). That word (in Korean, anyways, not so much in
English) is used much in the same way you described above as a "you can do it" or "go for
it" type encouragement phrase.
1 person has voted this message useful



nj24
Diglot
Groupie
United States
Joined 3060 days ago

56 posts - 106 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Italian, French

 
 Message 7 of 16
03 January 2014 at 5:30am | IP Logged 
Stephanie, thanks for your advice and recommendation of italki! I hadn't thought of teaching on there to pay for
tutoring sessions but that sounds like a cool idea. I might try it out this summer when I have more free time.
Also, I just took a quick look at your blog. I really like your tracking sheet and might end up stealing a copy for
myself. :)

Charles, I recognized 谢谢 and 你好. Do you use a program for converting your keyboard to type in Chinese? One
that you would recommend? I'm studying Mandarin along with my brother and once or twice we've "pretended" to
have a conversation in Mandarin over chat by typing what we want to say in Google translate and then copying
and pasting the Mandarin characters into the chat box. Surprisingly, it has helped me to remember those two
characters. Now that I have learned pinyin spelling for various words, it would be nice to have a more efficient
system.

And thanks for sharing 加油 and explaining the etymology. That's cool that Shane/Warp3 could understand it
from his knowledge of Korean. Is there a similar phrase in Korean, Shane? I'm wondering how it might be
translated into Spanish. Perhaps, "sigue así" for this context and "vamos" in the context of a marathon.

Edited by nj24 on 03 January 2014 at 5:32am

1 person has voted this message useful



Warp3
Senior Member
United States
forum_posts.asp?TID=
Joined 3932 days ago

1419 posts - 1765 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Korean, Japanese

 
 Message 8 of 16
03 January 2014 at 6:35am | IP Logged 
The most similar phrase I can think of in Korean is the one I noted above ("hwaiting", a loan
word form of "fighting"). There are some other phrases of encouragement (that aren't
English loan words), but that's really the closest fit to what PointsDotsLines was describing
(and is constantly used on Korean TV for this purpose).

That is a good question about Spanish, though. I'm not really sure what the best equivalent
would be there since I haven't really watched all that much Spanish TV (yet, since I plan to
change that this year).


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