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Mandarin: 2days,2weeks,2months,2years

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rdearman
Senior Member
United Kingdom
rdearman.orgRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3542 days ago

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

 
 Message 33 of 118
24 September 2014 at 2:54pm | IP Logged 
smallwhite wrote:
rdearman wrote:
I had really forgotten how much I hate being a beginner language learner! You don't know anything, you can't say anything, you can't remember anything.


If you hate being a beginner, why would you want to stay a beginner for even longer, by dragging out the learning phase? Don't you shorten it instead? By, say, going for quantity over quality, or spending time on passive skills more than active skills.


You raise a very good point. I think my frustration at the moment is I can't actually see a lot of progress even though I know I have made some. I do like the idea of shortening the duration of the learning stage, but how would I do that exactly?
1 person has voted this message useful



rdearman
Senior Member
United Kingdom
rdearman.orgRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3542 days ago

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

 
 Message 34 of 118
24 September 2014 at 3:07pm | IP Logged 
Stelle wrote:
Motivation can be tricky!
rdearman wrote:
I'm going to change the ANKI deck to 1 and only 1 new card per day for the next month or so.

This is huge for me! When I get overwhelmed by language learning, it's usually because my SRS is dragging me down. I've had Tagalog set at five new words per day for months now. I started with 20 per day, and I can guarantee that - at that pace - I would have quite Tagalog altogether by this point. Anki is an important part of my language learning. I do feel that I need it to retain vocabulary. But if it takes me anymore than 15 minutes per day, I burn out.


I agree completely. Anki makes me mental. It had me up to between 40 and 60 minutes a day. Admittedly there was 10-15 minutes of French word review, but I can cruise through those, there are very few of them I don't know.

I've got to find another strategy for learning characters because the flashcards aren't "sticky" all by themselves. So perhaps output is the way to remember them? I may start writing the characters or find a penpal.

Stelle wrote:
Good luck! Don't give up!


Whenever I think about giving up I try to remember Winston Churchill's advice: "If you're going through hell; keep going."

:)
1 person has voted this message useful



Radioclare
Triglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
timeofftakeoff.com
Joined 2889 days ago

689 posts - 1119 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Esperanto
Studies: Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian

 
 Message 35 of 118
24 September 2014 at 3:14pm | IP Logged 
I hate being a beginner too. I tend to find having lots of different resources helps, because once I start getting bored with one book I can switch to another book I haven't used for a while and which suddenly seems much more interesting. A brand new book gives me a motivation boost that lasts for weeks, although obviously I do have to be careful that I don't just end up with a big pile of books that I've only read the first chapter of.

I wondered whether you've seen Sprachprofi's new Mandarin course, LearnYu? It's still fundraising/beta-testing at the moment, but I think there is a demo lesson online. My boyfriend and I were playing with it when we were on holiday because our Esperanto charity is hoping to work with her to convert the code for an Esperanto course, and we thought it was amazing. It makes learning feel like a game and when you get questions wrong, it adapts to give you extra examples to practise the points you're struggling with. Once it's all properly up and running it might be a fun alternative to Anki/Pimsleur etc :)
1 person has voted this message useful



rdearman
Senior Member
United Kingdom
rdearman.orgRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3542 days ago

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

 
 Message 36 of 118
24 September 2014 at 4:18pm | IP Logged 
Radioclare wrote:
I hate being a beginner too. I tend to find having lots of different resources helps, because once I start getting bored with one book I can switch to another book I haven't used for a while and which suddenly seems much more interesting. A brand new book gives me a motivation boost that lasts for weeks, although obviously I do have to be careful that I don't just end up with a big pile of books that I've only read the first chapter of.


I do have some other resources which I've been "saving", so perhaps I need to just plunge in and start using them. I've got a course which started online from the University of Peking, and I need to get stuck into that.

Radioclare wrote:
I wondered whether you've seen Sprachprofi's new Mandarin course, LearnYu? It's still fundraising/beta-testing at the moment, but I think there is a demo lesson online. My boyfriend and I were playing with it when we were on holiday because our Esperanto charity is hoping to work with her to convert the code for an Esperanto course, and we thought it was amazing. It makes learning feel like a game and when you get questions wrong, it adapts to give you extra examples to practise the points you're struggling with. Once it's all properly up and running it might be a fun alternative to Anki/Pimsleur etc :)


I did look at it, might take another look.
1 person has voted this message useful



rdearman
Senior Member
United Kingdom
rdearman.orgRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3542 days ago

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

 
 Message 37 of 118
29 September 2014 at 1:10pm | IP Logged 
I've spent a lot of time this week thinking. I scaled back my time on Mandarin and after only a few days I was starting to forget things. Everyone gave me great advice about the problem but smallwhite's advice was the one that got me thinking the most.
smallwhite wrote:

If you hate being a beginner, why would you want to stay a beginner for even longer, by dragging out the learning phase? Don't you shorten it instead? By, say, going for quantity over quality, or spending time on passive skills more than active skills.

I do want to shorten the beginner phase, but Pimsleur and Anki were getting me down. Personally I prefer to do things with native stuff and since I don't have anyone around to speak to perhaps I should spend a lot of time working on passive skills.

I've downloaded DLI Mandarin in order to switch up the listening from Pimsleur. I have a nice course from Hong Kong with a book, exercises and CD's so that I can switch between these three when I'm bored.

I'm also going to take a leaf from Moses McCormick and his FLR and write up some questions and answers for a fictional conversation and memorise them.

Finally, films, TV, and YouTube each day.
1 person has voted this message useful



rdearman
Senior Member
United Kingdom
rdearman.orgRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3542 days ago

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

 
 Message 38 of 118
03 October 2014 at 1:19pm | IP Logged 
Feeling pretty good about the Mandarin now. Scaling back for a week helped me to unstress about the whole thing and get a bit of perspective. I have also been encouraged by two things. I watched a movie on netflicks Let the bullets fly in Mandarin and discovered that while I couldn't have understood it without sub-titles, I can pick out a lot of words easily. Also I'm really quite good with numbers! I recognised all the numbers they said in the film, mostly because of a number CD that I created which read out the numbers in Mandarin 1-100 over and over.

The second thing was having decided to try and pour on the workload to get past beginner mode, I started using an anki deck which had been dormant on my machine for awhile. It is basically all the sentences from the book 1984 by Orwell, where there are 10 or less characters in the sentence. What encouraged me about this was that although I couldn't read the sentence, there were 1-3 characters I knew in almost all of the 50 sentences I reviewed.

The problem with Anki from a motivational point of view is it is "hiding" all the words you know. Because it is rescheduling them for a month or two months down the road, you don't really get a picture of how many words you really have learnt. It was only through exposure to other stuff that I realised the progress I have made.

So I feel better about the process and I've tried to set myself some non-time related goals. After downloading the DLI course for Mandarin I looked through the basic exercise book and it has lots of characters with stroke order for the learner. I've pulled out all the relevant pages (using PDF Mod to extract the pages I wanted and to print them) and printed character exercise sheets so that I can write the characters. I'm going to try to do all of the characters ~350 and write them all 100 times. I have another book which teaches 2000 characters & stroke order, so I'm going to start that after I've completed the 350 DLI ones. Hopefully this will reinforce what I've learned so far.

However, although I am learning the characters my primary aim is to speak with people, not to read about them. So I'm going to need to find people to talk to fairly soon.
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smallwhite
Pentaglot
Senior Member
Australia
Joined 3614 days ago

537 posts - 1045 votes 
Speaks: Cantonese*, English, Mandarin, French, Spanish

 
 Message 39 of 118
03 October 2014 at 4:02pm | IP Logged 
rdearman wrote:
smallwhite wrote:
rdearman wrote:
I had really forgotten how much I hate being a beginner language learner! You don't know anything, you can't say anything, you can't remember anything.


If you hate being a beginner, why would you want to stay a beginner for even longer, by dragging out the learning phase? Don't you shorten it instead? By, say, going for quantity over quality, or spending time on passive skills more than active skills.


You raise a very good point. I think my frustration at the moment is I can't actually see a lot of progress even though I know I have made some. I do like the idea of shortening the duration of the learning stage, but how would I do that exactly?


By shortening the beginner phase, I mean several different things:

* shortening the beginner phase from, say, 12 months to 6 months by studying twice as much time per day. Same number of total hours, but it FEELS different.

* if I can read a difficult book and understand the radio, yet cannot speak too well, I won't consider myself a beginner. So, concentrate on passive skills first, reach a comfortable point, then worry about speaking and writing afterwards.

* instead of aiming at "reaching B2 in Chinese", aim at "reaching B2 in Chinese news", learning only news vocabulary, and trying to understand nothing but the news. (or if that's too extreme, "major in Chinese news").

* continue with your current routine, but move on even when you're not satisfied with your progress. Eg. spend 10 minutes memorising 1 word -> still can't remember -> move on to the next word anyway. (to move on based on time spent and not on result achieved)

All that in order to be able to read or listen to interesting authentic material ASAP.
3 persons have voted this message useful



rdearman
Senior Member
United Kingdom
rdearman.orgRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3542 days ago

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

 
 Message 40 of 118
03 October 2014 at 4:33pm | IP Logged 
smallwhite wrote:

By shortening the beginner phase, I mean several different things:

* shortening the beginner phase from, say, 12 months to 6 months by studying twice as much time per day. Same number of total hours, but it FEELS different.

I'm trying to shorten it to 3 months! :) But finding the time, and doing the Super Challenge in two other languages means that isn't going to happen. So I just need to try and get it as short as possible.

smallwhite wrote:

* if I can read a difficult book and understand the radio, yet cannot speak too well, I won't consider myself a beginner. So, concentrate on passive skills first, reach a comfortable point, then worry about speaking and writing afterwards.

Yes that was the conclusion I came to while thinking hard last week. That is why I decided that it was probably more important to have some fun with the language, aka watch more films, than it was to drive myself mad because I didn't do all the Anki cards scheduled that day.

I also want to spend a little more time writing the characters rather than just using flashcards, because I like the look of them, the tactility of writing Chinese characters with a fountain pen.

Also reading isn't my primary concern, it is speaking and oral comprehension, so I want to build my passive comprehension by listening to a lot more stuff, and speaking as you say can wait for a little while.

smallwhite wrote:

* instead of aiming at "reaching B2 in Chinese", aim at "reaching B2 in Chinese news", learning only news vocabulary, and trying to understand nothing but the news. (or if that's too extreme, "major in Chinese news").

* continue with your current routine, but move on even when you're not satisfied with your progress. Eg. spend 10 minutes memorising 1 word -> still can't remember -> move on to the next word anyway. (to move on based on time spent and not on result achieved)

All that in order to be able to read or listen to interesting authentic material ASAP.


I have had a lot of success with French & Italian just by finding some TV shows which I liked and watching them. My daughter understands a good bit of Korean just because she likes watching Korean soap-operas. With that in mind I've been looking for some decent TV that I can watch and listen to. I've discovered Channel 8 in Singapore broadcasts with subtitles in Mandarin & English, and I've found a couple of shows which interest me on YouTube.

I don't like the news so much (mostly because anything newsworthy is depressing) but I do like cooking. So I've found some quite good food shows from Singapore like:

李囯煌 -- 香港
Food Source 3 - Episode 01 (食在好源头 3 - 第01集)

So I will take your advice but concentrate on B2 in food & cuisine. It helps that I like to eat.

:)


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