Archive for 'Study'

Some Thoughts on Listening Skill

Since starting Chinese, my studies have been mainly on developing reading ability. Not being in China or having regular language partners, my main window into China has been through text, so it made sense to take that approach. But more and more, I feel I’m missing out on enjoying all the audio and video content out there, which is easily accessible these days over the internet. I do occasionally listen to spoken Chinese for study purposes, but I have made very little progress in that area. At the beginning of this year, I changed my study ritual to focus much more on developing listening skills. In this post, I’ll share my experience thus far and various other thoughts. Please remember that this is just sharing my own experience and, as with any advice on language learning, your mileage will definitely vary!

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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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What makes a good vocabulary list?

People study foreign languages in many different ways. Because my main goal is reading, my particular method for studying Chinese places a large emphasis in acquiring receptive vocabulary, knowing the pinyin and the definition of words from the written characters. This is done through either flashcard software (I use Stackz) or spaced repetition software (like Anki). If I have an electronic text available, I use home-grown scripts to segment the text into words, and then create a word list of all the unique words. If I only have a printed book or magazine, I pick out the unknown words by hand, although this can be overwhelming with a difficult text. › Continue reading…

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Harry Potter in Chinese

When the forum question comes up, “What should I read when I’ve passed the beginner stage?” a number of people suggest: “哈利波特!” At one point maybe two years ago, I had peeked at a chapter posted online, just to give it a try. It seemed still to be above my level, even though I had known roughly 5,000 words or so at that time. But recently in a buying mood, I made 《哈利·波特与魔法石》 my first purchase of a Chinese book. Never having been to China, receiving it in the mail and opening the package was a real excitement, as it was my first book entirely in Chinese that wasn’t a textbook. On occasion I have checked out Chinese reading material from the local university library (which has a huge selection), but I read so slowly that I could never make it past the first 2 chapters before it was due a month later. This, on the other hand, was a book I could keep forever, giving me a hope that I could actually finish it, even if it took years. › Continue reading…

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