Saim wrote:Inst wrote:I'd actually suggest that people carefully consider why they want to learn Chinese. For a native English speaker, the language is going to take a ridiculous amount of time to pick up (4400 hours, 12 hours per day for a year, 6 hours per day for 2 years, 4 hours per day for 3 years, 3 hours per day for 4 years, 150 minutes per day for 5 years, ~75 minutes per day for 10 years), and what benefit do you get out of it?
Perhaps this isn't what you meant to say, but I feel like there's an assumption here that you need to go at the same tempo and spread the hours out evenly throughout the entire time you're studying the language. Of course, that's completely unnecessary, especially since the more of a non-transparent language you learn, the more time you can realistically spend on it without being torture (in my experience).
If you accept the fact that you're going to suck for ages, and that in the beginning stages you're mainly working on slowly building vocabulary, it's not so bad to study a language like Arabic or Mandarin slowly. I've learned to appreciate the little victories when the languages are really very different to other things I've studied.
Of course, the more you spread out the hours the more revision you'll likely have to do so you don't forget almost everything. In that sense you realistically would have to make a lot of use of an spaced repetition system like Anki, because planning so much revision over such long intervals is pretty hard to do, especially when you're dealing with several languages.
Personally, I enjoy reviewing my Mandarin cards in Anki, which are at this point all sentence cards with audio (mainly training recognition, although I don't autoplay the audio so I also test myself on whether I remember how a given character is pronounced). Most of them are lifted directly from Assimil (Le chinois sans peine), and I make fairly liberal use of the "hard" button. I don't think I would've been able to do something like this when I was 16 and had only just started studying languages on my own, but after many years of studying various languages in my experience you do develop more of a taste for these kinds of activities and are more able to delay gratification. It also helps that I'm not really in any rush to develop high speaking skills in most of the languages I'm studying.
And yes, to actually get anywhere at a certain point you have to read widely, listen to lots of different things, and speak a lot. But there's no shame in slowly priming yourself for more extensive activities by building a more solid foundation first, even if it's at a snail's pace.
 I use "non-transparent" to mean a language with a lexical stock vastly different to other languages you know.Inst wrote:Do you have some kind of Asian fetish? [...] being able to talk dirty to your lover is not necessarily a good reason to learn Chinese or stall out at moderate proficiency.
God, even on this forum?
Beginning with the last comment, I'm familiar with people who ended up going to China just to get married, given stereotypes and their personal peculiarities. I will refrain from discussing this, and I appreciate your highlighting of its inappropriateness, based on its political nature (Asian men being unhappy about Asian fetishes). I will note, however, that I once had a classmate who was taking Chinese specifically for his girlfriend, who dumped him midway through the course. He disappeared soon after.
I also want to point out that I agree about variable tempos. There are people who focus on maintenance or refuse to rush certain phases of the language learning process. On the other hand, there's also times when taking time off your life to start cramming is useful, especially if your learning process begins to stall. My problem is when a 10 year time frame becomes an excuse to stay in a high-effort / low-return phase of the learning process for a long period of time, or use one's patience as an excuse not to learn a language efficiently.