Archive for January, 2011

In forums for foreign language learners,1 2 certain questions recur. Some are easy to answer (Do I need to learn tones? Yes). Others (Should I study words or characters?) may have more than one answer. Two common questions I am especially interested in are:

  • How many words do I know?
  • How many words do I need to know (to read a newspaper, book, etc.)?

The second question is not immediately answerable except under certain conditions: if you can’t yet read your target material, then the answer is–More! Of course, people ask the second question because they want to know how close they are to their target fluency level, and the answer to the first question can give a rough estimate of that.

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I recently bought an Amazon Kindle, for the primary purpose of reading more Chinese. It has turned out to be a great investment, since I am no longer tied to my computer screen for reading things I find online. I had been collecting bookmarks to online books sites for a long time without making much use of them. Now that I am a bigger consumer of reading material, I’m starting to make use of them. In particular, I need sites that allow for downloading the raw text, so that I can convert it into a formatted book. › Continue reading…

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