Snowflake's Mandarin Log - Continued

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snowflake
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Re: Snowflake's Mandarin Log - Continued

Postby snowflake » Sat Oct 06, 2018 5:03 pm

Switched from watching the Candle in The Tomb: The Weasel Grave to 高兴遇见你 which is a Chinese remake of The Coffee Prince.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaLOCozrFcs&lis ... sIwu4mGeVc
It goes by the English name of Coffee Prince Lab. The main reason for the switch is that the latter is comprehensible input [i +1] for me.

A friend suggested that I join his group and go to Africa, instead of Taiwan every year. I was added to their chat group and found that their Chinese is sometimes beyond what Pleco can help me with. I can put the entire message text into Pleco, know what every word means, but still not understand what's being said. I've been spending a lot of time considering his suggestion as it would shift what I need to emphasize in my Mandarin "studies".
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Re: Snowflake's Mandarin Log - Continued

Postby snowflake » Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:36 pm

I attended a series of talks a few weekends ago and noticed a comprehension jump. So I got out some audio material that several months ago was rather intimidating…it wasn’t bad. This is interesting because despite good intentions I have done little active studying.

No longer watching 高兴遇见你, too boring and maybe not challenging enough. Thinking of going back to watching the Candle in The Tomb: The Weasel Grave or trying one of the 鬼吹灯 audio books. I’m considering buying the set of 鬼吹灯 books.

Since we have cable TV, was thinking of adding some Mandarin speaking channels.

The number of WeChat messages on my various groups has been overwhelming lately. Sometimes they use traditional characters, sometimes simplified.

A friend suggested I go with when she visits home (Shanghai) next year.

The usual leader (W) at my Friday night group asked about my comprehension. I generally just listen in those meetings and when unknown vocabulary is used, try to figure things out by context. He pointed out that I can ask questions. He felt the break would give everyone time to consider the content. I’m sure it also would help the 1-3 non-Mandarin speakers who are generally accommodated by voice to text translation software. The fellow (J) who handles the software feels it’s 70-80% accurate though as W has a non-standard accent (he’s from Fujian), then J feels the accuracy goes down.
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snowflake
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Re: Snowflake's Mandarin Log - Continued

Postby snowflake » Fri Oct 26, 2018 2:19 am

I haven’t been speaking enough and found an iTalki community tutor. The first session went well…. 30 minutes, a longer session would be mentally hard since I did most of the talking. She let me talk probably 90-95% of the session and was patient when I needed to look up a forgotten term. Her accent’s pretty standard, and the cost per session is less than a premium coffee drink! She’s Taiwanese and of course Taiwanese vernacular is fine by me. My pain points were really my own difficulties in speaking.

Several mainlanders contacted me about doing language exchanges. I chatted with one woman in Shanghai, with a standard accent, who passed the mainland certification test to teach Mandarin. She talked about wanting to assess my level and create lessons for me based on that…..unsure if she would like the lesson planning practice as my level was higher than she expected. Interesting enough, she initially thought I was perhaps Singaporean or Malaysian based on my Chinese name. We text chatted at the outset of the session and I was writing using simplified characters... gave the impression that she wanted to reject chatting based on that (IOW, had to have an American English chat partner).

I got audiobooks of 鬼吹灯 1:精绝古城 and also Pride and Prejudice. It will be a while before I have the physical 鬼吹灯 books in hand.

Neither here nor there, a few things happened recently reminding me that I tend to use a mix of mainland and Taiwanese vernacular. I expect this will always be the case.
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snowflake
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Re: Snowflake's Mandarin Log - Continued

Postby snowflake » Mon Oct 29, 2018 12:24 am

I asked someone in my Mandarin speaking group about the vernacular in the 2 audiobooks, am always interested in how close things are to 日常对话. Upon realizing that I have 鬼吹灯, she brought up 盗墓笔记 which is known in English as Grave Robber Chronicles. The 盗墓笔记audiobooks are on Youtube with the initial one, 盗墓笔记1:七星鲁王宫, at
www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlCF_34nZKM&lis ... RnPKDBHDbL .
The novel text is free at www.daomubiji.org/ or can be purchased as an iBook for about the cost of a regular large coffee. The Kindle version costs more. I looked at 盗墓笔记1:七星鲁王宫 and for now will continue with my 鬼吹灯 and Pride and Prejudice books.

The person also suggested that I look at the different programs on the Youtube Hunan TV channel, www.youtube.com/channel/UC1pHFqCMAIHP8gr4lYGtNLA. The particular program 明星大侦探, aka Who Is The Murder, was mentioned. It sounds like Clue, Mrs Peacock killed Colonel Mustard in the library using a candlestick, etc.... will have to check out that program and the TV channel.
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snowflake
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Re: Snowflake's Mandarin Log - Continued

Postby snowflake » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:51 pm

Ah the joys of regional variation, gotta love it……

This is from the beginning of the first 鬼吹灯 book;
盗墓不是游览观光,不是吟诗作对,不是描画绣花,不能那样文雅,那样闲庭信步,含情默默,那样天地君亲师。盗墓是一门技术,一门进行破坏的技术。

The translation from a fan site (http://gravitytales.com/novel/ghost-blo ... -chapter-0) has;
Grave robbing isn’t sightseeing. It’s not reciting poems, nor is it painting. It can’t be that elegant, leisurely or respectful. Grave robbing is a skill, a skill that requires destruction.

The woman from the mainland, who recommended 盗墓笔记, said that the narrative of my 2 audiobooks is not 日常对话 though close. My overseas Taiwanese chat partner said it’s not 日常对话 and, “Frankly, the paragraph doesn’t make perfect sense.” I’m going to continue to mostly work with mainland voice-over audios for now, though am using “An A to Z Grammar for Chinese Language Learners” from MTC in Taiwan. My current local Mandarin speaking group uses a good amount of traditional character materials, though there’s only one Taiwanese person there. She’s married to someone from Fujian and they’ve been in the US over 25 years. Her Mandarin definitely has some mainland 用法. Most of the people in the group use some 儿话 so I end up mentally backtracking ….what is that word without the 儿? Like the other day someone said 小伙儿.

Anyhow, I’m getting a handful of new vocabulary from the iTalki community instructor each time. That pace suits me very well. The chats with the Shanghainese woman have been pushed back due to schedule. In the past, my language exchanges with people in the mainland haven't lasted too long, will have to see how this goes.
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snowflake
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Re: Snowflake's Mandarin Log - Continued

Postby snowflake » Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:34 am

Thursday evening talked with the iTalki community tutor (regular slot)

Friday night had a local Mandarin group meeting

Saturday night chatted with my overseas Taiwanese chat partner

Sunday had another local Mandarin group meeting which was pretty long

Monday night chatted with the woman in Shanghai

Tuesday, tonight, there’s another local Mandarin group meeting though that’s online. I feel tired and slightly overwhelmed, argh! I plan to skip tonights’ online meeting, need a break!

Wednesday, tomorrow, is the regular timeslot with the Shanghai woman but as mentioned, I am tired! It’s also Thanksgiving week and there’s family commitments so I don't plan to talk with her.

and we loop around again…..

~~~~~~~~~~

Reading the “Has anyone gone from massive input to massive output?” thread and www.mezzoguild.com/italki-experiment-results/ wondering about figuring out a way to have enough energy to have contact with a native speaker each day.

The language exchange with the Shanghai woman looks promising. She’s lived in countries other than China and so is conscious of cultural differences which makes a huge difference. I think that is a major factor in why I’m still talking with my overseas Taiwanese language exchange partner (aka S, chatting since early 2010). Prior to us starting to chat, he was regularly traveling to Japan, South Korea and the mainland for business. Anyhow the Shanghai woman and I are shifting to the same format that I use with S where I speak in Mandarin and the other person uses English….we don’t lack listening comprehension opportunities.

It seems like my WeChat groups have gone crazy. There’s so much volume and there continues to be times where even using Pleco for unknown words doesn’t help enough. It can take multiple attempts to understand what a person is trying to say and sometimes I can’t figure it out. If I know the person reasonably well then can ask privately in English, but that’s not always possible.

Grammar corrections are sticking better lately, unsure why.
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Re: Snowflake's Mandarin Log - Continued

Postby snowflake » Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:18 am

Being reminded of the differences between Taiwanese and mainland usage again...The Shanghai woman has been telling me that some of my Taiwanese usage is wrong and the Taiwanese iTalki tutor has been steering me toward terms that are more commonly spoken in Taiwan. Once in a while I think about changing out the Taiwanese iTalki community tutor with a mainland one though it’s looking likely that I will continue to visit Taiwan. I’ll probably never be in a situation long-term where one usage or the other is exclusively spoken. In any case, my local Mandarin speaking group’s usage is different enough from the prior group and it’s even further away from Taiwanese usage. So from time to time I mentally thrash around a little. It would be ideal to be able to switch usage as needed but my Mandarin skills aren’t at the level to do so and may never be.

I was telling the Shanghainese woman (R) about something which I felt is pretty typical Chinese. I was at a friends’ house and the 5 year old daughter wanted to play with something that belonged to her 11 year old sister. 11-yo didn’t want 5-yo playing with it, warned 5-yo, told 5-yo no, and then 5-yo grabbed it. 11-yo took away the toy and 5-yo ran out crying. The mother returned with 5-yo and asked what happened. After 11-yo recounted things, the mother wanted 11-yo to give the toy to 5-yo. 11-yo didn’t want to. The mother told 11-yo that she should share with her younger sister. 11-yo resisted, the mother insisted, 5-yo got the toy. R agreed that this sort of exchange was common enough. She said that the older sister should share her things and the younger girl needed to learn to negotiate to get things that she wants. R literally used the English word “negotiate”. I told her that to my American way of thinking, if the older sister has to share things then those things aren’t really hers. And the younger girl learned that she could get what she wants by acting up. R was astounded by what I said. When she finally spoke again, she asked again for the term that I had used to describe this, “cultural difference”.

I’m taking a freebie MOOC which is easy for me but am continuing due to
• different vocabulary like they give 菜谱 for recipe though I commonly use 食谱
• having my grammar weaknesses made plain
• short writing assignments which I’m setting up as islands. I’m making these more personal than prior ones. The instructors haven’t provided corrections so I’m asking friends as well as the iTalki community tutor for those.

Am banging my head at the moment...Many of my Mandarin speaking groups use WeChat to disseminate information and my reading skills aren’t good enough to keep up. I was asked to follow up on something but wasn’t exactly sure what was being asked. So had to ask in English and got a reply which seemed to imply they thought it was a stupid question. Then I had to ask for more info as am to pass info to someone but I haven’t a clue as to who that person is.

Bang Head here ==> X
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Re: Snowflake's Mandarin Log - Continued

Postby snowflake » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:51 am

Ready to shoot the keyboard, would write then be asked to login which meant my text was lost.

Have a headache, this week has been a bit tough…was going to blow off finishing the MOOC class but submitted my final assignment at the last moment. The final assignment was a short recorded self introduction for an interview. I was going to skip the rest of the class (15 weeks divided into 3 sections which have their own registration) but registered for the 2nd part anyhow. I sent the recording onto my overseas Taiwanese chat partner for his feedback.

Besides things going on at work, have been banging my head more frequently about cultural differences. Many of the native speakers at my local group have school-age children. Sometimes I end-up explaining why their America born and raised child reacted in the way (s)he did in a given situation. The parents find their kid’s responses to be frustrating, confusing, and sometimes illogical. Part of what’s going on is that they expect their children to be filial and not ask questions. The questions are perceived as a challenge. The parents sometimes emotionally react to my explanations.

I asked about the lyrics of an American song translated into Mandarin and got this reaction from someone I don't know too well; 不错的歌词,看不出有啥问题。歌词是用来唱的,不是用来“一般说话”的。虽然现在许多人太自由地把口语加谱就叫做歌,那不是真正意义上的诗歌。好的歌词应当是诗或词,有一定讲究用词和配合音乐规则的,有时候词汇的选择编排并不按口语语法,所以能不能用来作为“一般说话”并不重要。
翻译讲究信雅达,翻译歌词就更难,所以口语更不是考虑因素,因为不是用来说,而是用来唱的。敢翻译以后出版CD卖,说明是花过一些功夫的,不然就要赔钱了。
不过我个人不喜欢中英混合的翻法,有人喜欢就好。
I usually say 日常对话 but said 一般说话 due to how long some of the people have been in the US.
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Re: Snowflake's Mandarin Log - Continued

Postby snowflake » Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:15 am

Slipped Thursday night on ice and hit my head, had a slight headache Thursday night and Friday.

Put off starting the intermediate Chinese MOOC class lessons and now have caught up.

Joined a chat group where the organizer acknowledged that my Chinese might be better than hers. These type of groups make me feel better about my Chinese though generally don’t help me with learning.

I need to get back to shadowing/chorusing, plan to burn the Glossika material onto CDs for use while driving but haven’t gotten around to doing that.

The people in my current group (mainlanders) don’t understand various aspects of American life. For instance they didn’t know what decaf means. That came up because I habitually make milk tea for potluck. One of the women couldn’t sleep after drinking the tea and another is pregnant and shouldn’t be having caffeinate so I ordered the decaf version of the tea. I wrote “Decaf” on the bottle (use plastic milk bottles to transport) but they didn’t know what that meant and changed to writing 无咖啡因. Then I also had to explain there’s still a little bit of caffeine left.

One of the mothers was extremely frustrated. The mother’s parents live with them, downstairs. When meals are ready, the grandparents go upstairs to eat and call the granddaughter to go eat. The grandfather habitually walks into the granddaughters’ room without first knocking. The daughter was extremely upset and complained why does she have to accommodate them, the grandparents live here so they should adjust to American life, etc. I explained that her daughter is reacting because there’s been slew of incidents like this and she feels disrespected. Another mother said that it’s not disrespect. I said it’s a cultural difference. A different woman advised the mother to acknowledge her daughter’s hurt feelings and then have the daughter apologize to the grandparents. Given the reaction of the group to what I had been saying, decided to talk to the mother afterwards. I let her know that if it’s handled that way and that sort of thing continues to happen, and the daughter perceives no change in the overall circumstances, then she may start to see how it’s handled as putting on an act. She may even see it as hypocritical. Evidently I hit on something because the daughter has been telling them that they’re hypocritical but the parents had no idea why.
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Re: Snowflake's Mandarin Log - Continued

Postby snowflake » Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:09 pm

These 2 songs keep playing in my mind.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIF8xvSA0Gw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4SimnaiktU
update; version of the 2nd with English and pinyin www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rv1_fKATWM

Sort of mowing thru the MOOC class, have weeks 4 and 5 left.
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