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

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118 messages over 15 pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 7 ... 14 15 Next >>
Snowflake
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4265 days ago

1032 posts - 1233 votes 
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 49 of 118
14 October 2014 at 1:52am | IP Logged 
Ezy Ryder wrote:
Plus, how much need do you actually have for handwriting? On electronic devices, you can usually type in the pinyin and choose which characters you meant, which requires just being able to read.


If you encounter a good amount of hand written materials then handwriting or at least correct stroke order becomes important to reading.
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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 50 of 118
14 October 2014 at 10:45am | IP Logged 
Snowflake wrote:
Ezy Ryder wrote:
Plus, how much need do you actually have for handwriting? On electronic devices, you can usually type in the pinyin and choose which characters you meant, which requires just being able to read.


If you encounter a good amount of hand written materials then handwriting or at least correct stroke order becomes important to reading.


I'm unlikely to see a lot of handwritten characters in England so Ezy Ryder's advice is good, but because writing down the characters is more tactile it seems to give me an extra boost for memorising the characters. So really for me the handwriting is more of a memory aid than a requirement.
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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 51 of 118
18 October 2014 at 5:20pm | IP Logged 
I had my first encounter with a Native today and oh brother, did I screw it up.

Went to the shops today and in one of the precincts the country council and the province of Jiangsu (江苏) are doing a business and cultural exchange. There were a lot of Chinese businesses showing their products and the things they manufacture and a lot of cultural exhibitions. But most important to me there were a lot of Native Mandarin speakers. While my wife was out shopping (we are going to a wedding reception tonight) I wandered about trying to pluck up the courage and find the opportunity to unleash my 2 months of Pimsleur training on some unsuspecting victim. Two young Chinese ladies were struggling to pull a box of stuff through the mall so I grabbed my chance and helped them move the box down to the exhibition room. I would have probably helped anyway, but because they were my potential victims...

We got the box to the room and they thanked me. I stood there looking at them, I had frozen because I couldn't remember the words for "don't mention it" (不要客气) and then they frowned because I was standing there with my mouth open staring into space trying to remember the words. Eventually I noticed I was standing dumbstruck and mumbled "prego". I reached deep into the box of foreign words in my head for something foreign to say, and it came out Italian. Blew it! I did a hasty retreat back into the mall corridor and stood outside the room/shop to compose myself and thought to myself; "OK, I'm going to approach someone and ask if they speak Mandarin. I know that phrase off by heart."

So I walk back over to one of the ladies who I had helped with the box. I managed to get out "Nǐ hǎo" 你好, before my brain went back into stupid mode and I froze up again. She said "Nǐ hǎo" and waited for me to speak again. This time I managed to stand there saying "errr....ah..." while she smiled at me like you would a pet monkey and waited for me to say something intelligent. Eventually I managed to say "I speak Mandarin?" (Wǒ huì shuō pǔtōnghuà ma? 我说普通话吗?) and she looked at me even more confused before I realised my mistake! I had asked her if I spoke Mandarin, DOOH! I must have gotten some kind of crazed look in my eye and almost shouted at her. "No! Nǐ! Nǐ huì shuō, not Wǒ, Nǐ". A couple of other people looked around and she was looking very uncomfortable and took a step backward.

Now I'm coming to realise that I'm acting like a madman so I switched to English saying that I am learning Mandarin and I wanted to try it, but I've become very nervous and I was sorry. I told her she was the first real person I'd ever spoken to in Mandarin. She laughed and said she'd understood what I said, and my accent wasn't bad. She shot some rapid-fire Chinese at me and then translated it for me when I looked confused. I was going to ask more about Jiangsu and where she was from, but while I've studied the vocabulary and in theory I should remember the words I was too embarrassed and gave up. I completely forgot how to say both Thank You and Goodbye in Mandarin, another brain freeze and so shook her hand and wished her a good day.

Retreating from the exhibition centre I decided to try my luck at one of the little stands which were manned by the people from the companies in Jiangsu who were drumming up UK business. I spent a couple of minutes looking up the words for "Where is Jiangsu located" (Although I knew this already because of the Chinese Anki deck I've had to memorise the provinces) and perhaps see if I could do a little better. This time I decided to keep it simple and be prepared to switch to English if there is any hassle, and not put so much pressure on my self. So I did manage this much conversation.

ME: "Nǐ hǎo" - Hello
HER: "Nǐ hǎo"
ME: Nǐ huì shuō pǔtōnghuà ma? - You speak Mandarin?
HER: Huì - Yes (She is looking at me like I'm an idiot but I press on)
ME: Wǒ huì shuō shuō yīdiǎn pǔtōnghuà - I can speak a little Mandarin.
ME continuing in English: I'm learning Mandarin and I wanted to see if you understood me ....

We talked for a few more minutes and she introduced me to someone else (a translator) who answered some of my questions about their business and publishing in China, etc. I got a business card from one of the men, who did a very odd Japanese type bow when he gave me the business card which I didn't expect. I spent 2 years in Okinawa so I expect bowing and holding out the card from a Japanese, but didn't know the Chinese did it as well.

Apart from looking like an idiot most of the time, I feel very encouraged because the young lady who said my pronunciation was ok. Even if she was just being kind! I wasn't all that bothered when I got some rapid fire Chinese I've at least learned from my French & Italian to try and pick out keywords to see if I can grab the gist, and if not to either let it pass or ask for a translation. It used to really bother me when I didn't understand every word, but I'm long in the tooth now and I'm happy to get the gist where possible.




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shk00design
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 2750 days ago

747 posts - 1122 votes 
Speaks: Cantonese*, English, Mandarin
Studies: French

 
 Message 52 of 118
18 October 2014 at 10:05pm | IP Logged 
The Chinese tend to make assumptions about Westerners in their country. The first and last is that they
may know a word or 2 in Chinese but not at the level of being able to carry on a conversation.
Occasionally you'll see a foreigner in China speaking fluent Chinese almost at the native level. The last
time I was in Shanghai for a visit, there was a lady who looked American showing us how to get to a local
restaurant in Mandarin. There are second or third generation Chinese in Canada who are not fluent in
Chinese at all. When they travel to China they are rather invisible. The locals normally assume they can
speak Chinese and will start the conversation in Chinese.

It's a bit daring for someone who took French for a few months to try his luck talking to a native in Paris.
You get your pronouns Je, Tu, Il, Elle, Nous, etc. mixed up and get a laugh out of the conversation.
Fortunately, many Chinese are learning English in school and many do understand enough to talk to you.
Compared to before the 1990s, many Chinese have travelled and even lived abroad so their level of
English is a lot better than a generation ago.

Before I would use my newly acquired language abroad in conversations, I'd try to find people to practice
the language at home to avoid the embarrassment later. Even finding someone to talk to on Skype. Other
times I would watch a movie with subtitles / captions but the best way I found is a local Chinese radio
station. Some of the programs involve listener phone in when discussing certain topics. After listening to
the topic, you call the station and give your opinion. You do need at least 100 hours of listening before
you're comfortable expressing yourself / get your point across in Mandarin in front of all the listeners
without making grammatical mistakes and embarrass yourself.

The last time I was travelling in southern China, came across a street vendor selling some green looking
citrus fruit. It's not a grapefruit but a mix between an orange and a pomelo. Never tried it before and
decided to buy 2. There were 2 students at the stand talking to the man selling the fruit. He told them: "买
六送一" (mǎi liù sòng yī) buy 6 get 1 free. I told the students: "买一送一" buy 1 get 1 as a joke. Before I got
back on the tour bus bumped into the same students and they said to me "买一送一?" as if I was going to
give them a half-price deal. We got a good laugh out of that one...
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Duke100782
Bilingual Diglot
Senior Member
Philippines
https://talktagalog.Registered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2794 days ago

172 posts - 240 votes 
Speaks: English*, Tagalog*
Studies: Spanish, Mandarin

 
 Message 53 of 118
19 October 2014 at 4:26am | IP Logged 
rdearman wrote:


ME: "Nǐ hǎo" - Hello
HER: "Nǐ hǎo"
ME: Nǐ huì shuō pǔtōnghuà ma? - You speak Mandarin?
HER: Huì - Yes (She is looking at me like I'm an idiot but I press on)
ME: Wǒ huì shuō shuō yīdiǎn pǔtōnghuà - I can speak a little Mandarin.
ME continuing in English: I'm learning Mandarin and I wanted to see if you understood me ....



Rdearman, don't be to hard on yourself. When I first arrived in China two and a half years ago I would make
the exact same mistake. I would ask people such as shopkeepers if they spoke 普通话 instead of 英文 . I'm
Asian so I look like a local, and when people would answer back usual would be quite angry (I coudn't
understand their replies). On hindsight by mistakenly asking them if they spoke 普通话 they'd think I'm
implying that they can't speak Mandarin well, only the local dialect, hinting they are coarse or lacking in
education. In any case, l found out later on that shopkeepers generally wouldn't be able to speak a whiff of
English anyway.

And yes, before I went to China I did lots of Pimsleur's. =)

On blurting out another previously learned foreign language instead of the one you're trying to speak, the
same thing happens to me, but this time it's when I try speaking Spanish. When I try speak Spanish now-a-
days, a language I've studied in college and still study once in a while, the equivalent words in Mandarin keep
popping out. "你 habla Espanol?"
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 54 of 118
19 October 2014 at 1:05pm | IP Logged 
Duke100782 wrote:

Rdearman, don't be to hard on yourself. When I first arrived in China two and a half years ago I would make the exact same mistake. I would ask people such as shopkeepers if they spoke 普通话 instead of 英文 . I'm Asian so I look like a local, and when people would answer back usual would be quite angry (I coudn't understand their replies). On hindsight by mistakenly asking them if they spoke 普通话 they'd think I'm
implying that they can't speak Mandarin well, only the local dialect, hinting they are coarse or lacking in education. In any case, l found out later on that shopkeepers generally wouldn't be able to speak a whiff of English anyway.

And yes, before I went to China I did lots of Pimsleur's. =)

On blurting out another previously learned foreign language instead of the one you're trying to speak, the same thing happens to me, but this time it's when I try speaking Spanish. When I try speak Spanish now-a-days, a language I've studied in college and still study once in a while, the equivalent words in Mandarin keep popping out. "你 habla Espanol?"


Duke that really gave me a chuckle. I can just imagine some annoyed shopkeeper being asked if he speaks his own language. And "你 habla Espanol?" made me laugh, but also wonder if I'm going to sprout out some French/Italian/English/Mandarin sentence in the future and the reaction that type of 4 headed monster sentence would generate.

Oh thanks for reading my log BTW! I always appreciate the comments.
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 55 of 118
21 October 2014 at 11:15am | IP Logged 
Well it is my birthday today, so 2 days, 2 weeks and 2 months have passed already of my Mandarin Challenge. I guess I've made some progress, but not as much as I'd hoped for. I haven't yet completed even the first set of Pimsleur in Mandarin, nor moved on to reading. I think I've made some progress though. I certainly know more than when I began and even though my attempt at conversation was a bust, I know a couple of hundred words. I've found some good resources, and just lack the time to use them, so I've signed up for the 6WC and I'm going to do so until my 2 years are up, or I don't quality as a beginner/intermediate. :)




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 56 of 118
27 October 2014 at 3:40pm | IP Logged 
Haven't done much this week with Mandarin. I've continued to do my Anki decks and listened to a couple sessions of Pimsleur. I've watched some more Foody programs in Mandarin.

I've tried to find some way to get a Mandarin TV series into Anki, in order to join in on this sbs2srs thing (see this thread). I've got a couple of series of interesting content which actually have sub-titles in the video, however since this isn't a separate "track" there doesn't seem to be any way of yanking them out. Searching on various sub-title websites fails to give me an TV series subtitles. I tried Mandarin, French and Italian TV series but couldn't find anything that had a sub-title file. It seems people only do sub-titles for films, which I find very frustrating because I don't like to watch films in languages, I prefer the continuity of a TV series.

I spent a frustrating 3-4 hours looking for something which would pull "hard sub-titles" out of an avi file, but this requires OCR, which surprise, surprise only seems to pull out the English bits, e.g. the bits I already know.

It would seem that I need to either find a boxed set of TV Series with Mandarin & English subtitles, Another frustrating search of Amazon.co.uk reveals there are 2-5 boxed sets of tv series with Chinese sub-titles, but the audio is in English.

Does anyone know how to get .srt files from Viki? This would be an immense help because they stream dramas with subtitles in many languages which are (near as I can tell) public domain / community generated.





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