Mandarin: Year 4.5

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Aozu
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Mandarin: Year 4.5

Postby Aozu » Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:48 pm

Yeah, time to move here, where maybe a more-reliably-working forum will lead to more frequent updates. Fingers crossed!

Previous stuff, for however long that works: http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=34479&PN=0&TPN=1

I've also changed my internets name here. As I am blessed with one of the few English-names-that-actually-mean-something, I had for a while pondered translating instead of transliterating it if I were to ever take on a Chinese name. My first attempt at this was 傲脚, àojiǎo, which was met with some hrmming from my mother-in-law, who finally decreed that using zú would be 'classier'. The final verdict still awaits discussion with my father-in-law who is more literary and fussy about names, but for now I am provisionally 傲足, or Aozu - and if you don't speak pinyin, Ow-zoo is pretty much how you'd pronounce it. Slap the family name on there for a full, hopefully not-lame name of 周傲足, should that ever, for some reason, be necessary.

傲, to me, does seems to have less positive connotations than in English. It has felt a little more arrogant than proud in various contexts... but eh, I've lived all these years so far with a sort of dumb name in English already. Should this Chinese name turn out to be REALLY dumb, my forum name will remain the same as a monument to poor choices.

Currently still mostly on schedule with the grand ambitious Glossika escapade. I am about to do the final chunk for today, which will finish off day 46 of 63, so should finish around Sept 21... so definitely before the end of the month even if I have to rest a day or two.

I've taken to taping the local Chinese news every night and watching it most evenings just before bed. It's an hour long, and has about 10 minutes of local stuff, than a BUNCH of stuff about China and Taiwan (I was a little surprised how much of the time is spent is focusing on 'foreign' news), then some stock market stuff, then sports (which is always hilarious with the constant English names inserted), then a little more local news. Probably about 30-40 minutes of good listening after commercials/skipping the stock market (which is completely indecipherable at the moment), and fortunately most of it has hanzi subtitles. I'm still really paranoid about my listening ability being so awful, but at least the TV is a bit easier than the radio since you get some pictures to follow along with (and, of course, the subtitles).

We are on episode 31 of Divorce Lawyers, it's still pretty good, but getting a little melodramatic. I really have to pay attention and try to not read the (english) subtitles faster than the people are talking. I suppose I could just take my glasses off and make my poor vision useful for something.

My pitiful amounts of reading have recently picked up since I noticed the paper versions of http://mandarincompanion.com/ now exist, and I ordered the Sherlock Holmes one to check them out. I had previously gotten the electronic Monkey's Paw, and though I got it to work on my Kindle DX by converting it to a .pdf, it was sort of a hassle, and sometimes I want a real book to read, you know? Well, it turns out the paper versions have a bunch of extra appendixes with lists of various grammar features by chapter and that seems SUPER useful to me. So, in order to encourage the existence of these books and/or before they go out of business (I hate it when that happens) I got all of 'em, even the Monkey's Paw. And they aren't cheap, but I had some credit card points or it's a birthday present or I haven't gotten any Chinese books in a while or some other excuse.

Anyway, I've been reading a chapter a day of Sherlock Holmes, and it's much more convenient than Island of the Blue Dolphins because I don't have to look anything up so I don't need my phone charged and handy and a notebook to scribble things down in and so forth. A different kind of reading, certainly, but it has its place, I'm sure.

I also don't remember how the Red-Headed League story ends so the Curly-Headed League is an actual mystery so far.

I think that's about it lately!
Last edited by Aozu on Fri Nov 13, 2015 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Aozu
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Re: Mandarin: Year 4.3

Postby Aozu » Tue Sep 08, 2015 7:22 am

今天天气非常态热.

The miserable weather means I can't stand being at the computer for very long today (and, according to the forecast, for this whole upcoming week, ohboy). What it does mean, though, is that I spent a big chunk of the evening sprawled out on the couch in front of the fan reading the Sherlock Holmes book, and am just reaching the final chapter. I was hoping to finish it but my brain sort of stopped working, and I realized I had 'read' a page without understanding anything so it's bedtime.

Couple of things I noticed though. I read about 4-5 chapters tonight, and each chapter only took 10 or 15 minutes. When I read them one by one on previous evenings they seemed to take FOREVER, but this time I had a clock right in front of me this time, and nope, it's not long at all. Time just slooooows down when I'm reading a foreign language apparently. But what I should take from this is I really should just sit and read a lot more. I remember when I was first reading 'real' books as a kid (I was an extremely early reader) I would read and read and read - I distinctly remember one day when I was no more than 4 years old sitting down and reading the Wizard of Oz for the first time in one marathon sitting of what was at least 3 hours. Somehow that didn't seem to take as long as this. I have to remember that it's all an illusion.

The other thing I noticed, which was encouraging, is there was only one (1) word I didn't really 100% know in the first 9 chapters: 逃 - táo. I knew it meant 'to run away' but I was all ehhh is it 2nd or 4th tone, and tao or tiao? I settled on tiao2 rather than looking it up, and oops, I guess I was wrong. But I'll remember now.

But as before, it was nice to read something without having to stop all the time. Well, I still have to stop at the end of most sentences to decipher the grammar, but I not having to stop at each character is nice. :D
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Re: Mandarin: Year 4.3

Postby Aozu » Tue Sep 08, 2015 5:11 pm

Welp, I finally did it. Despite cranking Anki's leech setting to the max, I leeched out one of my 'unusual traditional characters' cards.

The lucky winner:

褻 (simplified 亵), xiè, licentious

As is often the case for me, I do vaguely know it, but there are a few similar characters that I keep getting mixed up with each other. The other culprits:

懸 (悬), xuán, to hang
縣 (县), xiàn, county
憲 (宪), xiàn, constitution

It's totally a "sound" thing, since two of em don't even look similar. I see one of these four and go, uhhh x-something, tone 2 or 4... I'll guess which one! And then I guess wrong. Clearly it is time to write each one 100 times while muttering crazily, old-school-style.
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Re: Mandarin: Year 4.3

Postby Aozu » Wed Sep 09, 2015 12:54 am

A peek inside the Sherlock Holmes book, with bonus of me mangling the first paragraph (the lack of a pinyin crutch is a cruel mistress). :lol:

https://youtu.be/TPtRKegmUSY
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Re: Mandarin: Year 4.3

Postby Aozu » Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:21 pm

A quick (well, 12 minutes, not as quick as I thought, alas) look at what I do with Glossika every day, and how bad I am at doing it. :D

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Aozu
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Re: Mandarin: Year 4.3

Postby Aozu » Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:22 pm

Oh, I forgot, by 'sometimes the sentences are wrong' I mean the transcript is sometimes not right. I'm sure the audio is fine, but sometimes in the book a word here or there gets skipped. But it helps my listening to find the mistakes. :mrgreen:
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Re: Mandarin: Year 4.3

Postby Aozu » Fri Sep 11, 2015 6:47 pm

Finished the Sherlock Holmes book, 卷发公司的案子. Checking up on the Red-Headed League on Wikipedia this morning, it followed that story pretty closely (I didn't remember the details, I must have read it ten or more years ago). More importantly, I was able to follow 95% of the plot and didn't miss anything too important.

The heat wave has been absolutely miserable (20 degrees above normal, they claim), I didn't read the Holmes book for a day or two and yesterday I didn't even get to Glossika because when it came time to do that I was more inclined to lie around like a panting dog.

I did, though, listen to one of stories from one of my earlier readers, Graded Chinese Reader 3, the first story in the book about a cute bus ticket collector. I put that sucker on autorepeat and listened to it (it's about half an hour long) five or six times while in a semi-awake sweaty stupor.

The speech speed on the recording is at a pretty good clip - it seems to be basically conversational speed, which, of course, means that if I could take a 15-second break after each sentence I could puzzle it out but in reality I don't catch much. But I can tell that my comprehension is a lot better than it used to be. It's another one of those times where I feel like I am alllllmost there with this stupid language. :mrgreen: Hopefully more listening will finally tip me over that cliff into understanding.

Best news, it was actually cool last night and my life can get back to its normal tightly-scheduled self where things get done!
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Re: Mandarin: Year 4.3

Postby Expugnator » Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:02 am

Did you read it in Chinese only, no translation, no looking up words? If so, then your level is definitely higher than B 0.5 :)
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Re: Mandarin: Year 4.3

Postby Aozu » Sat Sep 12, 2015 2:00 pm

Haha, well, you haven't heard me try to hold a conversation with an actual person. :D

Really I'm hoping this big Glossika push will help with that (well, talking to actual people would help too but that's a little more difficult to coordinate). I will get a good sense of if I can really honestly put myself in the high Bs after November when I see my in-laws.
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Re: Mandarin: Year 4.3

Postby Expugnator » Sat Sep 12, 2015 2:27 pm

Sounds like a plan! Looking forward to hearing about it. I am the opposite : I feel I would already be able to function as a tourist but I don't understand enough from a text I read.
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