Was learning Korean, now I'm doing Mandarin. The hard way of course.

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golyplot
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Re: Was learning Korean, now I'm doing Mandarin. The hard way of course.

Postby golyplot » Fri Sep 18, 2020 5:14 pm

Thanks for the log! I'm not studying Chinese or Korean right now, but it's still really interesting to see different peoples experiences and learn what it's like to take a language class over Zoom. It never even occurred to me that you can pretty much sign up for community college classes anywhere in the country now.
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kraemder
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Re: Was learning Korean, now I'm doing Mandarin. The hard way of course.

Postby kraemder » Sun Sep 27, 2020 3:28 am

This week felt like I was all about doing the minimum and not much else. I've changed up Chinese Spoonfed again. It's currently got pinyin and audio on side one then everything else on side 2. I like it this way. Having hanzi on side one, my visual memory since I'm used to Chinese characters is a little too strong I think. But just audio is unfortunately just too hard for me at least with this deck. It introduces new grammar and vocabulary gradually but it's not professionally or even amateurly constructed. I think it's just an algorithm like Morphman maybe. Anki also bugged out and wasn't introducing the cards in sequential order for a bit and I got some pretty hard sentences. I added a hint field where I'm putting some vocabulary definitions to show on side 1 to make sure it's i+1 as I previously stated. I've only just started doing this but it seems like it will do a good job of keeping sentence flash cards from getting too hard.

I did the completely wrong assignment for last week's class. That is, I did the workbook exercises but we were supposed to use the textbook. I can only assume that this was said in class because on the assignment page online she didn't specify any book at all just put chapter/sub sections to do. Since I was doing it last minute I didn't have the luxury of confirming with her what I'm supposed to do. I literally finished at 7:10 PM as class was starting and barely submitted it in time. She was really nice though. In fact she complimented me because unlike the textbook, the exercises I did had hanzi without any pinyin and I had to read them etc which would normally be challenging for beginner students. It was stupid easy for me though as I only had to understand it not read it out loud with tones. So I was happy that she was impressed.

I started a language notebook for Chinese. Or rather I dusted off the old one I started making in August and added a lot more to it. I added a lot of vocabulary with hanzi on the left, pinyin in the middle, and english on the right. I also made some sentences with hanzi/pinyin on one page and the English on the opposite page. This seems like a good way to study and I was thinking it might be a nice break from SRS but I'm changing my mind again. It's kind of nice in that you can do a super quick review just scanning over said vocabulary without quizing yourself or you can choose to quiz yourself. But I'm really curious to see how my pseudo i+1 sentence method works. I'd like to find a good resource for grabbing example sentences for Chinese vocabulary words and just focus on the HSK 1-4 vocab. I'm not sure what vocabulary Spoonfed teaches you and in what order if it's similar to HSK or what. HSK seems like it would be very close to a frequency list so pretty ideal.

And I'm finally reading graded Chinese readers on Pleco. It doesn't have pinyin but it has an interesting feature where it reads the text to you word by word showing the dictionary definitions as it goes. You can just manually tap for it to go to the next word or let it automatically read it. This seems great for a beginner like me. I wonder how awesome my Chinese would be if I were to just read with it for say 2 hours a day. I don't think I have the time and discipline to do that unfortunately right now though but maybe I can work up to it.
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kraemder
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Re: Was learning Korean, now I'm doing Mandarin. The hard way of course.

Postby kraemder » Sun Sep 27, 2020 3:30 am

golyplot wrote:Thanks for the log! I'm not studying Chinese or Korean right now, but it's still really interesting to see different peoples experiences and learn what it's like to take a language class over Zoom. It never even occurred to me that you can pretty much sign up for community college classes anywhere in the country now.


Yeah although you might want to sign up for classes in your state to get in state tuition. I like classes so much more than one on one lessons for learning grammar etc. Obviously conversation is a different thing. You would be way better served with an iTalki lesson there.
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kraemder
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Re: Was learning Korean, now I'm doing Mandarin. The hard way of course.

Postby kraemder » Fri Oct 02, 2020 3:48 am

I finally finished my first book in Korean: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I know it was a long time coming. I'm not even sure if it took one or two years to read it it's been so long I'd have to check old posts/blog entries. I basically read this using LingQ and looking up most of the words I didn't know. Honestly, even knowing the story in advance, it was pretty rough as my grammar is A1/A2. I've been focusing mostly on Chinese lately in part because I'm taking the class and I hadn't even looked at Korean for over a month before I decided to not focus exclusively on Chinese and get this knocked out. I think I was in a good mood the other night when I got through most of the end of the book and more than before it felt like I was connecting with the text. I haven't felt that with Korean yet and this disconnect with text was a huge obstacle for me with Japanese. I'm hoping this feeling of being connected with the text continues but it was only so-so tonight (although I had some things on my mind from work distracting me).

I'm doing a lot of reflecting on how I study languages and I think I would much rather use the approach I took for German and little or no SRS. Obviously that's not how I studied Japanese and breaking the SRS habit is hard once it's engrained I think. Reading only works if I actually do it a lot. With Anki I'm pretty good about getting a good hour in per day at least. I don't currently have a reading habit developed. Certainly reading Harry Potter took forever. Let's see if I can be consistent about reading every day and if so then maybe just putting Anki on hold completely until I later feel like I've hit a wall reading and need to go back to it which shouldn't happen until I'm pretty darn good I would think. I know as I was reading Harry Potter I was getting frustrated with how I kept looking up the same words over and over and therefore thought that flash cards would help with that. They probably would but it's so time consuming I think if I just keep reading it will solve itself anyway and my Korean/Chinese "brain" will have developed that much further too as a result. So this is my promise to myself to read read read. I might actually renew my LingQ subscription although I'll be looking for alternatives. There are so many apps out there to teach you a language but LingQ and ReadLang are the only major tools for actually reading. There's the option of using a pop up dictionary plugin but I'd much rather read on a tablet or my phone than my computer if at all possible. Although my goal is to not SRS anything it would be nice to have a list of words I lookup to just read over real quick now and then. LingQ might have something for that. Although with the way it tracks words this would probably drive me crazy with Korean but since Chinese has no conjugations LingQ might be ok for this.
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kraemder
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Re: Was learning Korean, now I'm doing Mandarin. The hard way of course.

Postby kraemder » Sun Oct 04, 2020 8:10 pm

My last update was just a few days ago I think and not a lot has changed but I really enjoying LingQ quite a bit. One small setting I changed is to have it automatically read the word to me when I tap a word. I had this turned off because the computer voice isn't the greatest and I thought it was distracting but now I've changed my mind. When I'm reading to myself the words I know or think I know I can hear in my head and the flow continues. When I hit a word I don't know this flow obviously can stop. Depending on how many unknown words I'm encountering. Having the computer just say it out loud to me seems to help keep my brain engaged instead of tuning out I think. And I think the chance of me retaining the word goes up just slightly too. When I did extensive reading previously, it amazed me how few words I seemed to remember afterwards. I would write down lists of words in notebooks. Initially I tried studying them, later I just used them because words do repeat and glancing at my notebook was faster than flipping through a paper dictionary. But the thing is that these words that I wrote down, and there were a lot, typically didn't stick. I guess the words I wasn't looking up must have stuck and very slowly the known words accumulated to 10k+. And yet if I were to go back to those old lists I think I would still not know many of the words. At least out of context (these are word lists without sentences). If I read German and see a word in context I'll understand it much easier.

So bringing that back to Korean and LingQ. As I read through Harry Potter there are a lot of words that just aren't going to stick for me even if they repeat. But that's ok. That's what happened with German and I know my German vocabulary reached a really high level. As an SRS junkie you kind of get a tool to force stuff into your brain and get too reliant on that I think. Certainly if you need to be conversational in the shortest amount of time and will need to use certain words then SRS/flashcards is probably going to save your butt. But otherwise, over the long term, just reading seems like the better choice to me. You just need to get into a good reading flow which is terribly difficult for Asian languages but LingQ, in all it's ugliness, seems to make this possible. When I was in Japan and trying to get my Japanese to the next level I was desperate for interesting material with furigana and really the only thing I could find was manga but that isn't going to get you to the next level. It's good but lacks the deep immersion of a real book. Encountering kanji whose pronunciation didn't come to mind quickly even if I knew them was just a real annoying pain in the butt. On LingQ you can add furigana to all the texts and it's a proper e-reader where it saves your place and I'm finding that the built in crowd sourced dictionary is generally ok the more comfortable you get with a language.

Anyway, I'm really getting into LingQ now thinking of using it for Japanese even. I can read books on my kindle and it's much better than it used to be but if there were furigana for all the kanji then that would increase my reading speed and enjoyment even more. Of course, I'm focusing on Korean and Chinese at the moment and not Japanese. I'm totally spreading myself thin here. I'm doing so much Korean at the moment that I also signed up for another iTalki lesson with my old Korean tutor. She had to cancel a couple of times in a row and so I lost interest but I have a package with her that might be running out soon so it's good timing that I am regaining my interest in Korean I think. I'm reading Harry Potter book 2 Chamber of Secrets and I'm on chapter 3 already (as LingQ splits them up) so it's going pretty quickly compared to the first book.

I could go back and reread chapters or pages as I'm going to maybe retain vocabulary better. I didn't do this much with German though. I was too interested in reading what happened next and I think that's a good thing. I have reread a couple of pages and it is a much different experience as I can just reread the page mostly without having to lookup any words. And yet if some of that unknown vocabulary repeats itself on the next page I usually have to look it up again. Which is frustrating but just the nature of beast I guess. I don't plan on rereading too much just a page every now and then I think.
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kraemder
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Re: Was learning Korean, now I'm doing Mandarin. The hard way of course.

Postby kraemder » Sat Oct 17, 2020 12:30 am

Well my Korean teacher cancelled on me again. She cancelled on Tuesday and then again today :cry: . I wonder if I'm a bad student. I remember teaching English to Japanese people online using a website and I was eager for lessons so I had turned on teaching lessons for classes where other teachers cancelled.. this one student it seemed everyone cancelled on him last minute. He was an English college professor and had an ego to go with being a professor at a university and the lessons were really weird. I hated it and it was a bit nerve wracking to teach him. I could totally see why people would cancel on him but really I think if they accepted the lesson in the first place they should follow through. Why accept the lesson if you're just going to cancel anyway? Yeah, so I'm wondering if I'm like that guy was. A really difficult student to teach :shock: . Oh noes. I hope not. When I do Japanese lessons I think it's more fun for the teachers because I can talk a lot and they can just sit back and listen but for Korean I'm such a noob they have to do a lot more work.
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kraemder
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Re: Was learning Korean, now I'm doing Mandarin. The hard way of course.

Postby kraemder » Sat Oct 24, 2020 11:38 pm

So having my Korean teacher cancel on me twice in a row was demotivating for my Korean. I am continuing with Chinese instead. In our last class I had the pleasure of being partnered up with the half Japanese girl who attended Japanese weekend school growing up and whose Japanese is probably very close to kids growing up in Japan. Of course I'm naturally really curious about such people who have the unique cultural perspective of both my native culture and my favorite foreign language. I presume she's college age maybe 18 or 20 or so but I was actually nervous. On one hand I was really curious about her background and on the other hand there's not much time to make small talk as we have to get through the material. I couldn't resist speaking some Japanese. She was totally cool about it and was happy to reply in Japanese and we talked a little bit about our experience with Japanese and how it helps with Chinese. Just a little though.

As I think I've mentioned here it helps tons with the writing system and that came up with me in the class when it was time to present my homework. The teacher has told us that it's ok to just write the hanzi on our homework assignments and leave out the pinyin if and only if we can read the hanzi when we present the assignment. Somehow this concept doesn't seem to get through to a lot of students. They don't know what's difficult to understand it seems very straight forward to me but I think a lot of people taking on an Asian language for the first time they just get confused easily even though they're trying their best. So I read my assignment as expected. I was really nervous. More a stage fright thing than anything else. When the assignment was given last week and I looked at the paragraph the teacher had written I was already able to read it and understand it perfectly without checking or studying anything. (She only used the material we have been studying so for someone like me who is looking at all material and even a bit of native material it was pretty easy.) After I got through it and silently berated myself for butchering all the tones she praised me extensively and explained how -this- was what she meant by it's ok to not do the pinyin if you can present in class without it. Ikumi had been doing this already since a couple weeks before but she didn't do that with her just with me. I think because Ikumi is half Japanese and obviously has all this background with Chinese characters she doesn't want to put her out there as an example of how to perform to the others but I'm different. Except I don't think she understands just how much time I've spent on Japanese :D . So I don't think it's really fair for them to compare themselves with me (at least as far as reading Chinese characters goes). Listening and speaking I'm struggling just as much as anyone else.

When I finished Harry Potter book 1 in Korean it was really motivating and I had been thinking I would go all out extensive reading immersion as a result and I did for about a week but burned out. I'm back to the flash cards again. I've been working off the HSK list and using a deck I downloaded along with the Spoonfed deck and then getting some reading in on the side when I got tired of that. Even if I'm not going to go all out extensive reading I think I need to strike a balance. I have a lot of graded readers in Chinese and I don't want them to be wasted. So, even though I think the HSK list is great and the words I would study with it are in line with my level and what I need, I'm not going to use it. I'm going to vocabulary and sentence mine instead. I'll probably do more vocabulary mining than sentence mining because I'm wary of too many sentences causing me to burn out. Using the Chinese language add on for Anki it's really easy to add vocabulary if I'm at my computer while I'm reading. Just type in the vocab word into the vocabulary field and then the add on populates the rest and it looks great.

As I often do, I was thinking about why I keep using Anki when I didn't use rote to learn German and Spanish. And I think that's just because I didn't have SRS as an option back then. I probably would have abused SRS just as much as i do now had I had that as an option. I think sentence mining and limiting the amount of words each night to 20 tops and maybe just 10 so that when I run out of new words I have to go mine will help motivate me to keep immersing. Sentence/vocab mining is pretty fun. I'm very eager to learn new words. Reading a graded reader or native material isn't really all that much fun (yet) and motivating myself to just read for the sake of reading isn't quite working out but I think adding in the sentence/vocab mining element will help a lot.
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kraemder
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Re: Was learning Korean, now I'm doing Mandarin. The hard way of course.

Postby kraemder » Sun Oct 25, 2020 12:08 am

I forgot to mention my latest bad idea. If you have studied kanji/hanzi (from my experience kanji) at one point you probably decided you would just brute force the sounds for each kanji into your head and got a deck for Anki or some other SRS type app to that. Maybe even one that seemed halfway credible like kanji damage. And then you studied it and while some of the kanji common readings stuck, and this was good, more than half were leeches. You ended up a couple weeks later or so with a really exhausted brain and a sense that maybe this wasn't such a good idea.

Well my latest bad idea is to do just this exactly. I'm telling myself that the ratio of hanzi that stick to ones that don't stick will be much better thanks to my years of studying Japanese kanji. I am using an app called StickyStudy which has its own variety of SRS and built in hanzi cards with audio. The layout is very nice and the SRS system is pretty appealing I think - you take one of the decks and then pick a date to 'finish' it and it tells you how many cards you need to get right every day to achieve your goal. It adjusts the number of needed cards based on how much progress you're making but in theory if you follow the suggested study amounts every day it will be the same every day. I chose to do HSK Hanzi 1-4 which is about 1000 hanzi. I don't know how many I already know I'm guessing about 200. I chose one month as a target. The app told me this was probably too aggressive but it lets me decide and it has me set to do I think 120ish right answers a day. It's Saturday and I started early this morning technically at 2 AM or so and I'm several hundred right answers ahead already. Of course that will be impossible to maintain during the week I just hope to get the minimum then. And I hope that it sticks. It may not. It would be smarter to do try to learn fewer in this amount of time. I'm doing this because as I was making my way through the HSK deck I was having some difficulty with multiple Hanzi words that had two really unfamiliar hanzi. It seemed like one would stick but the other wouldn't. So maybe doing them one at a time would work better? I'll find out.
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alaart
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Re: Was learning Korean, now I'm doing Mandarin. The hard way of course.

Postby alaart » Sun Oct 25, 2020 1:32 am

Well my latest bad idea is to do just this exactly. I'm telling myself that the ratio of hanzi that stick to ones that don't stick will be much better thanks to my years of studying Japanese kanji.


With your Japanese background it should work out I think. And focusing on characters should be a very good basis, provided you don't do it like me and avoid reading afterwards and forget everything again.

I currently study Hanzi too, what I do is search for all the words I have already learned which use the (new, or forgotten) character in Japanese and Chinese, and review those words together with the character. I also split all the characters in 2 decks: "same as Japanese" and "non Japanese and simplified".

And in general I just make a lot of cross references: For example yesterday I learned 邀请 (yāoqǐng - to invite). So this new character 邀 is new, and it does not exist, or at least is not really common in Japanese. But, conveniently I have learned a very similar Kanji before in Japanese, the 激 from 激しい. So like this I try to remember them. Also if you sometimes have a strange character and look at the traditional version, sometimes you can derive the relation to a known Japanese character from there, little by little it all puzzles together. Good luck!

[Edit]
Ah, and for pronunciation. In Chinese it is less difficult to know the pronunciation from the character as there is often a clue in the character, and there is usually only one pronunciation (sometimes 2). Another story is the tone however, and since there is no logic in the character which would give away the tone, it may be better to combine this with vocabularies rather than characters. Also reading texts out loud can help, and checking your tones afterwards. At least that's how I study tones - I keep forgetting them though, but I'm sure they will come back.
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kraemder
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Re: Was learning Korean, now I'm doing Mandarin. The hard way of course.

Postby kraemder » Sun Oct 25, 2020 6:56 am

[quote="alaart"]

With your Japanese background it should work out I think. And focusing on characters should be a very good basis, provided you don't do it like me and avoid reading afterwards and forget everything again.
[quote]

Thanks for the reply. I think it has a chance of working and I’ll never know unless I try right. When I tried with Japanese and it didn’t work well at least I did remember some new kanji characters. Yeah I immediately think of はげしい too when I look at 邀请. But I’m not doing any mnemonics or anything really... just lazy SRS and depending completely on my used and abused brain that’s been forced to look at flashcards on a daily basis for over ten years now for almost ten years now. It’s gotten pretty good at rote memorization.
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