Learning Chinese

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Rajin

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Re: Learning Chinese
« Reply #30 on: August 02, 2008, 06:22:38 AM »
When you are trying to think of a Chinese word, do you automatically think of the word in your second language first?  I often think of French words.

I have several languages that I've studied for similar lengths of time, spanish, japanese and chinese. Usually it depends on which language I've used the most recently. If I've been speaking Japanese, I'll think of that when I try to speak Spanish or Chinese. If Chinese, then that while trying to speak Japanese or Spanish. My brain can only handle one at a time, I guess.

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Lotus Eater

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Re: Learning Chinese
« Reply #31 on: August 02, 2008, 08:51:26 AM »
I am so happy when I recall a conversation and cannot remember which language it was in!!

This makes me believe that I am getting more comfortable in speaking Chinese.

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Monkey King

Re: Learning Chinese
« Reply #32 on: January 19, 2009, 03:36:34 PM »
I recently got hold of the Michel Thomas method CDs for Mandarin.  It’s very basic - ‘foundation’ level is aimed at complete beginners, and ‘advanced’ is only a step above that, though the course does move fairly fast. 

However it has some interesting approaches to language learning – for example they do a pretty good line in mnemonics. I picked up a few tips about linking the tones to hand signals and colours that I found really useful.  Also, some are brilliantly cheesy:  “how heavy do you think I was when I put on all that weight?  I think juede lot.” (for ‘juede’ (觉得) ‘to think’, and that’s not one of the weirder ones either).  The presenter is also a fan of putting on daft accents, which can border on stereotypes at times.

Another thing is that this was recorded fairly recently, and some of the basic vocab’ is quite different form say, Pimsleur. (e.g. ‘can guan’ instead of ‘fan dian’ for restaurant?)

All in all, I’d say try before you buy, but I think it’s a pretty good resource for beginners, and if you are interested in language learning methods and learning styles you might find it interesting too.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2009, 02:02:07 AM by MK »

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Lotus Eater

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Re: Learning Chinese
« Reply #33 on: January 19, 2009, 11:18:56 PM »
EM - Amazon has it.

I am still at the incompetence stage where I switch in and out of words in both Chinese and English.  There are some things that automatically come out as Chinese - even when I think I'm speaking English, and others that are English when I supposed to be in Chinese.

I work best when I have classes - motivates me to do the homework, and my teacher pushes me to keep explaining in Chinese until I can get it.

Just like English, Chinese has lots of words that mean similar things.  Fandian/canguan, cafe/restaurant etc.  So different books will teach different expressions.  And of course as soon as you learn one, someone uses the other. bibibibibi bibibibibi

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Monkey King

Re: Learning Chinese
« Reply #34 on: February 18, 2009, 04:15:22 AM »
How about a new series of graded readers available for Chinese learners?

Level 1 begins with stories which use only the 300 most common characters (based on corpus studies, I think...).  Level 2 uses only the 500 most common characters, and so on, though only levels 1 and 2 are currently available.

The other graded readers I have seen for Chinese have started at a much higher level (3000 words +). These books also come with an MP3 recorded by native speakers at slow and fast speeds.

There's no better way of learning than the rough and tumble of getting out there and using the language, but sometimes I'd just rather sit at home with a book than inflict my Chinese on the unsuspecting public...Anyway, I have some of these books, and the satisfaction of being able to read an entire story in Chinese (albeit a rather simple one at level 1) is a great motivator.

These books are meant for second language learners, not for kids learning Chinese as a first language, so it is actually possible to read and enjoy the stories as an adult.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2009, 04:21:01 AM by MK »

Re: Learning Chinese
« Reply #35 on: February 18, 2009, 05:02:03 AM »
Cool.  I will see about getting one to try. I will get my Chinese teacher to order them.  bfbfbfbfbf

Be kind to dragons for thou are crunchy when roasted and taste good with brie.

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Nolefan

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Re: Learning Chinese
« Reply #36 on: February 18, 2009, 06:20:19 AM »

those are indeed quite nice. I highly recommend them and even use them in the writing component of Level C during bootcamp. Fair warning though, some of the titles are quite weird/boring.

错错错 (cuo cuo cuo) is quite ok for beginners, so is 我可以请你跳舞 (wo keyi qing ni tiaowu)

alors régressons fatalement, eternellement. Des débutants, avec la peur comme exutoire à l'ignorance et Alzheimer en prof d'histoire de nos enfances!
- Random food, music and geek tales from the Catania, Sicily: http://ctvibe.com

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Lotus Eater

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Re: Learning Chinese
« Reply #37 on: February 18, 2009, 08:07:52 AM »
My experience with learning Chinese is that you progress to a certain level, then plateau, figuring your are pretty good, then you realise you are crap again, work ahrder, learn more, setle down ....

Sort of like swimming in the ocean - first of all the waves are rough (near the shore), then they smooth out a bit and you figure, this is good, then you move out further and, bloody hell, then waves coming at you are HUGE, you get through that lot, it smooths out again until the next rough patch.  And so on!

Jia you!

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Borkya

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Re: Learning Chinese
« Reply #38 on: February 18, 2009, 11:46:28 AM »
hey, nobody mention livemocha.com. It's a great website (free) that mixes Rosetta Stone type lessons with facebook type social system. You "friend" people that are native to the language you are learning and vice-versa. Then when you do a written and oral assignment your "friends" comment on it and tell you what you did wrong. It's really good, and they also have a chat function which can be pretty fun.

Re: Learning Chinese
« Reply #39 on: March 01, 2009, 07:13:56 AM »
I can recommend three things that helped me:

1. Pleco: I used it on a cheap Palm Pilot. It is a good Chinese-English, English-Chinese dictionary that you can take anywhere. You can also draw characters on the screen and if you use the right amount of strokes it will likely tell you the meaning.

2. Wenlin: this is another dictionary that you download on your computer. It is really simple. You can cut and paste chinese or english into it. Then when you drag your mouse over the word/character it will tell you the translation.

3. Imandarinpod.com on iTunes. It is free. There are a lot of lessons. You can load it on you iPod and listen whenever you have a few free minutes. It is a bit advanced in that they use no english whatsoever.

Good Luck

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mlaeux

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Re: Learning Chinese
« Reply #40 on: March 01, 2009, 04:51:10 PM »
What's up with this Chinese language boot camp thing? Sounds interesting. Could you please elaborate?

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Lotus Eater

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Re: Learning Chinese
« Reply #41 on: March 01, 2009, 05:09:52 PM »
One of our esteemed leaders runs a holiday camp to teach Chinese.  A great way to learn together, have fun and ....  agagagagag

Another way to learn Chinese is to find yourself a teacher - and there will be plenty of willing teachers out there.  DON'T fall into the language exchange trap though. You'll end up speaking way more English than Chinese.  Find a teacher, get a set of books and have proper lessons, do the homework.  It will be pretty minimal cost.  After the first couple of books are worked through, try to find a teacher who DOESN'T speak English - that way you will HAVE to listen more carefully, work harder to understand etc.  Same as we make our students do.  ahahahahah

And walk around outside and start talking to people - point at things and ask what they are.

BE warned here - you will be learning local dialect and pronunciation doing this.  The majority of people outside business/education circles speak local dialect or use local pronunciation - NOT standard putonghua.   (As my students say: There is Putonghua, Shaanxi Putonghua and Shaanxi-hua - just for around here. Multiply this by almost every county and province!!) But - speaking local dialect will also give you better deals when bargaining for stuff.  ahahahahah ahahahahah ahahahahah

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mlaeux

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Re: Learning Chinese
« Reply #42 on: March 02, 2009, 01:10:33 AM »
Great advice. Thanks.

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Borkya

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Re: Learning Chinese
« Reply #43 on: March 02, 2009, 02:10:19 AM »

How much Chinese did you guys learn when you first got there? Or, I guess, have you found your tutors really helpful? I am hoping to learn enough to get back in an average conversation in 6 months. Do-able?

(If this is off topic somebody slap me and make me start another post.)  bjbjbjbjbj

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Schnerby

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Re: Learning Chinese
« Reply #44 on: March 02, 2009, 03:25:28 AM »

How much Chinese did you guys learn when you first got there? Or, I guess, have you found your tutors really helpful? I am hoping to learn enough to get back in an average conversation in 6 months. Do-able?

(If this is off topic somebody slap me and make me start another post.)  bjbjbjbjbj

 cbcbcbcbcb


(but I do think that was on topic)