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On Reading Easy Stuff

  Tags: Reading
 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
44 messages over 6 pages: 13 4 5 6  Next >>
YnEoS
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2768 days ago

472 posts - 893 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Russian, Cantonese, Japanese, French, Hungarian, Czech, Swedish, Mandarin, Italian, Spanish

 
 Message 9 of 44
23 August 2014 at 5:14am | IP Logged 
Studying Cantonese is teaching me to be really creative with available resources for reading practice, since written Chinese doesn't correlate 100% to Cantonese speech, and very few books exist in real colloquial written Cantonese.


I have a few short stories in real written Cantonese, and a few intermediate readers, but the overall content is much thinner compared to my other languages. Right now I'm using Cantonese subtitles from movies in Anki with Subs2SRS to improve my reading. Once my comprehension is high enough I plan on using written Cantonese message boards to practice extensive reading.
1 person has voted this message useful



shk00design
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 2958 days ago

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

 
 Message 10 of 44
23 August 2014 at 6:39am | IP Logged 
YnEoS wrote:
Studying Cantonese is teaching me to be really creative with available resources for
reading practice, since written Chinese doesn't correlate 100% to Cantonese speech, and very few books
exist in real colloquial written Cantonese.

I have a few short stories in real written Cantonese, and a few intermediate readers, but the overall
content is much thinner compared to my other languages. Right now I'm using Cantonese subtitles
from movies in Anki with Subs2SRS to improve my reading. Once my comprehension is high enough I
plan on using written Cantonese message boards to practice extensive reading.


For a long time, studying Chinese in Hong Kong means learning standard Mandarin words & phrases but
pronounced in the Cantonese way. A number of new characters were introduced after the 1997
handover of Hong Kong to China. These are unique Cantonese characters for writing the language on
top of standard Chinese HK people are already using. To date there are still far more books written in
standard Mandarin than in Cantonese. However, a lot of magazines in HK contains text in Cantonese
with standard Mandarin mixed in.

Many movies in Cantonese you will hear the dialog in the language but with the captions in standard
Mandarin & English but very rarely in Cantonese. For example: you usually see 快點 for ”faster“ in a
movie caption instead of "快D" which is in Cantonese the way HK people would say it. I don't think there
is a Cantonese character for the "dee" sound so they substitute with the English letter D.

Edited by shk00design on 23 August 2014 at 6:58am

1 person has voted this message useful



shk00design
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 2958 days ago

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

 
 Message 11 of 44
23 August 2014 at 6:47am | IP Logged 
Reading is a good way to learn any language. However, reading alone isn't enough. For a number of
years after WWII, Japanese learned to be fluent in English. Many school teachers claimed to be able to
translate between English and Japanese. However, their English conversation even at the basic level
wasn't very impressive. Now the situation is different because many people travelled and studied
abroad.

Besides reading, exposure to the spoken language is also important. I tend to spend a lot of time
listening to Chinese programs on radio. On TV a lot of Chinese programs come with captions in
standard Mandarin for people who know the characters but speak different dialects. Instead of reading a
book which can be boring for some, you read the captions while listening to the sounds of a language at
the same time. A lot of movies on DVD allows you to switch on the captions while listening to the
dialog.
2 persons have voted this message useful



YnEoS
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2768 days ago

472 posts - 893 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Russian, Cantonese, Japanese, French, Hungarian, Czech, Swedish, Mandarin, Italian, Spanish

 
 Message 12 of 44
23 August 2014 at 7:16am | IP Logged 
shk00design wrote:
YnEoS wrote:
Studying Cantonese is teaching me to be really creative with available resources for
reading practice, since written Chinese doesn't correlate 100% to Cantonese speech, and very few books
exist in real colloquial written Cantonese.

I have a few short stories in real written Cantonese, and a few intermediate readers, but the overall
content is much thinner compared to my other languages. Right now I'm using Cantonese subtitles
from movies in Anki with Subs2SRS to improve my reading. Once my comprehension is high enough I
plan on using written Cantonese message boards to practice extensive reading.


For a long time, studying Chinese in Hong Kong means learning standard Mandarin words & phrases but
pronounced in the Cantonese way. A number of new characters were introduced after the 1997
handover of Hong Kong to China. These are unique Cantonese characters for writing the language on
top of standard Chinese HK people are already using. To date there are still far more books written in
standard Mandarin than in Cantonese. However, a lot of magazines in HK contains text in Cantonese
with standard Mandarin mixed in.

Many movies in Cantonese you will hear the dialog in the language but with the captions in standard
Mandarin & English but very rarely in Cantonese. For example: you usually see 快點 for ”faster“ in a
movie caption instead of "快D" which is in Cantonese the way HK people would say it. I don't think there
is a Cantonese character for the "dee" sound so they substitute with the English letter D.


I think 快啲 is the written Cantonese equivalent. Though I've seen it written with D as well.

Mandarin is definitely standard for DVD subs, but there's a decent amount of Cantonese subbed stuff as well. I have tons of Cantonese DVDs to sort through, and other Cantonese learners have helped me discover releases with real Cantonese subs. Cantonese subs are much more common on VCD releases with subtitles burned into the print, but those are more difficult to read and can't be ripped as easily as removable subtitles.
1 person has voted this message useful



Stelle
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
tobefluent.com
Joined 2658 days ago

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

 
 Message 13 of 44
23 August 2014 at 4:13pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:

My rule of thumb is actually pretty straightforward: Read whatever looks like the most fun. If you're enjoying the
book greatly, it's less important to match the level of the text to the reader. Some people will devour military history
with great relish even while guessing and skimming, but they would be bored by reading children's books at 95%
comprehension. Of course, I felt this way as a child, too—I somehow rushed through The Lion, The Witch and The
Wardrobe
in second grade, desperate to know how the story ended. The reader's own subjective senses of
frustration and fun are actually very reliable barometers.


Love this! The level of the text will often correspond with the level of "fun-ness" anyhow. And you're right - high
interest is by far the most important thing.
1 person has voted this message useful



Stelle
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
tobefluent.com
Joined 2658 days ago

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

 
 Message 14 of 44
23 August 2014 at 4:15pm | IP Logged 
I put up a blog post explaining some of the ideas that I wrote in my original post. There's nothing in the blog post
that isn't here, but if anyone would like to see pictures of the contents of my Tagalog book bin, scroll about halfway
down:

Reading Easy Stuff (with pictures)
1 person has voted this message useful



Darklight1216
Diglot
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3614 days ago

411 posts - 639 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: German

 
 Message 15 of 44
24 August 2014 at 5:22am | IP Logged 
I can hardly be bothered to read anything that isn't easy enough. I don't need to learn
foreign languages so there's no reason to torture myself like I'm still in high school.

1 person has voted this message useful



montmorency
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3342 days ago

2371 posts - 3675 votes 
Speaks: English*, German
Studies: Danish, Welsh

 
 Message 16 of 44
24 August 2014 at 4:16pm | IP Logged 
I do of course agree with your original post Stelle, so please take this as essentially
some supporting comment.

I have cited on several occasions, what are probably well-known video lectures by
Professor Arguelles, where he talks about various comprehension levels, regarding
extensive reading. 95% would be an absolute minimum, but 98% is a more ideal minimum.
He is talking about extensive unassisted reading, however.   

As emk points out, the difficulty can be, the lack of suitable texts for the level of
the individual learner, to achieve the required level. Translations, parallel texts,
and pop-up dictionaries can of course change the situation. They can render what would
be "opaque" (to use emk's terminology) decipherable, and ultimately, transparent.

On the subject of Harry Potter, I agree. It is not a particularly easy book. It is not
a beginner's book. Its only real claim to fame is that because it became wildly
popular for some reason - it caught people's imagination - it's by no means a bad
series of books, but I don't quite see it as a great series of books either - it is
available in a wide range of translations, and that's why language learners seem to
have gone for it in large numbers. It has become a common currency of language
learning. More of a silver dollar than a gold sovereign; but that's ok.

But, as you say, it's not all that easy a book. It's certainly not a beginner's book. I
realised that in my study of Welsh, which I did with a purely aural and oral method
which eschewed all reading and writing. Which is great to get you speaking and
understanding the spoken word, at least within a limited vocabulary range.

So it's only fairly recently that I've got into reading with Welsh, and finding that
HP1 (and only HP1, so far) was available in Welsh, I got hold of it, and an English
"translation" (ha! - of course, it's actually the original). And was bemused because it
was nowhere near as useful to me as I'd hoped.

I've got a lot further with books which are explicitly for adult-learners, which have a
relatively small number of pages, probably a limited vocabulary, and also give
vocabulary help as footnotes on each page. With these, I can achieve at least 95%
comprehension (percentage of words known), and often more, and I am able to gradually
increase my vocabulary, at least passive vocabulary. It's just a shame that there are
not that many of this sort of book in Welsh, at least that I have found so far.

But by working through these, I am probably ready for Harry Potter 1 now. Which means I
will be able to use the TL version and the L1 version (English, for me) side by side,
and use them both in order to gather words for my increasing vocabulary collection. And
because I have "comprehensible input", I should be able to work out exactly what the
Welsh is trying to express, even though it does it slightly differently from English.

Just looking at the first paragraph (of the Welsh version) now, I see a short-form
(inflected verb) preterite and a conditional, and use of subordinate clauses, none of
which learners would normally have to deal with until at least at an intermediate
stage. And even though the vocabulary is not too outlandish, some ideas and phrases are
expressed differently from the English, so that even with an English "translation" by
one's side, one would still need to do some dictionary work (or very clever guessing)
in order to work out what some of the Welsh words mean exactly.






Edited by montmorency on 24 August 2014 at 5:19pm



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