Rem Prepares to Travel (German/Mandarin)

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Rem
Orange Belt
Posts: 128
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 6:39 pm
Languages: Native: English
Learning: German (B2), Mandarin (A2), Czech (beginner)
On hold: French
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Rem Prepares to Travel (German/Mandarin)

Postby Rem » Fri May 27, 2016 6:51 pm

I'm creating this log so that I have a place to keep track of my progress over the next couple of months as I prepare for my year abroad.

In August I will (hopefully) be heading to Germany and then, next year, to China. I rarely travel and this will be my first trip out of the UK since I was a kid. It's also the longest that I've ever been away for, so I'm understandably a little bit nervous.

All of this is, of course, assuming that I pass my second year at university. All of my exams/assessments are finished for the year, I'm just waiting for some results...and my tutors don't seem to be too worried about me, so I'm taking that as a good sign. :)


My Goal
My idea goal would be to finally push my German and Mandarin to the level where I can say that I speak them. I'm not quite there yet, but I can almost see a point where I could be. :)


__________________________________________________________________________________________

My Skills and Strategy

Listening

My listening comprehension is my weakest area in both languages, so I'm definitely planning on doing a lot of work on that. I'll probably watch some of my favourite shows with the German dubs on (I've found that this helps a bit as I already know the story lines and I can focus more on what's being said). For practice with unfamiliar conversations I'll try listening to some German news on TV/radio.


Speaking

This is also a weak area for me, though not as weak as my listening. I'm thinking about maybe having some lessons on italki again, although I kind of lost my nerve with that before. Nothing to do with the tutors by the way, the ones I found were very patient, it's just that I put too much pressure on myself and end up falling apart.


Reading

This is a stronger area for me. I have some books, both in German and Mandarin, that I plan to make my way through. The Mandarin books are graded readers that use simplified characters and, according to my Uni tutor, should be at about the right level for me. I wont know all of the words, but I should be able to read it without it being too painful/difficult.


Writing

As with reading this is one of my strengths. Although I need to pay more attention to word order and endings, I'm at the point where I'm at least able to spot a lot of my own mistakes and correct them myself (so long as I take the time to check what I've written properly). There's still a LOT of room for improvement here though.

________________________________________________________________________________________


Resources

German

Star Trek the Original Series (German subs)
Schaum's German Grammar
A book of Short Stories
Online TV/Radio
Grimms' Märchen (audio)


Mandarin

The New Practical Chinese Reader (Books 1 and 2 with audio)
A couple of Graded Readers


I need to find more resources for Mandarin (particularly for listening)

______________________________________________________________________________


Let the journey begin! 8-)
2 x
University Degree (years) : 2 / 4
New Practical Chinese Reader Book 2 (chapters) : 13 / 14
Watch Star Trek: TOS in German (episodes) : 29 / 79

Rem
Orange Belt
Posts: 128
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 6:39 pm
Languages: Native: English
Learning: German (B2), Mandarin (A2), Czech (beginner)
On hold: French
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Re: Rem Prepares to Travel (German/Mandarin)

Postby Rem » Sun May 29, 2016 6:01 pm

I’m still in the process of trying to work out a plan for the next couple of months. I don’t want to fall into the trap of spending too much time thinking about what to do/making plans and not actually doing anything, but I do need at least some basic idea of where I’m going with my studies.


Mandarin

I’m reviewing Book 2 of the New Practical Chinese Reader. This is the book that I used at Uni. The problem with covering material like this in classes is that you don’t tend to spend a lot of time on any one part and you quickly learn to focus on the "important" elements (i.e. what you need to pass the tests) and the rest becomes a bit of a blur. I still need to learn a lot of the characters in this book. I can recognise most of them ok when I see them, but I want to be able to write them as well.


German

I’m at that tricky stage where I’ve outgrown most of the learners’ resources that I have but I ’m not quite able to use native materials well enough to transition to them properly.

I’m going to try and read Der kleine Hobbit again. I’ve had this book for a while but my previous attempts to read it didn’t work out to well. I knew when I tried it before that it would probably be beyond me, but I went ahead anyway. The result? I got frustrated and ended up shoving it towards the back of my language shelf. Now I think I’m ready to give it another go. I don’t expect it to be easy but, hopefully, it will be manageable now if I take my time.
0 x
University Degree (years) : 2 / 4
New Practical Chinese Reader Book 2 (chapters) : 13 / 14
Watch Star Trek: TOS in German (episodes) : 29 / 79

Rem
Orange Belt
Posts: 128
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 6:39 pm
Languages: Native: English
Learning: German (B2), Mandarin (A2), Czech (beginner)
On hold: French
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Re: Rem Prepares to Travel (German/Mandarin)

Postby Rem » Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:40 pm

All of my University results are in and have been confirmed by the assessment board, so I can now confidently say that I’ve passed the second year of my course. :mrgreen:

It was a comfortable pass as well...honestly; I don’t know why I panic so much. :roll:

My tutor has officially evaluated my German level at B1/B2 (with my speaking/listening leaning towards the lower end of the scale) so it looks like I’ll probably end up in a B2 class. I still have to take an assessment when I arrive but, as long as I don’t slack off over the next couple of months, that shouldn’t be too bad.

I need to start getting into the habit of keeping a diary, so I'm going to try and update this log at least once a week until I leave. I'm not sure what I'll put in here but I'm sure I can find something to write about.

With that said; my first flights are booked and I'm ready to put in some serious study time. Let the 50 day countdown commence! :D
1 x
University Degree (years) : 2 / 4
New Practical Chinese Reader Book 2 (chapters) : 13 / 14
Watch Star Trek: TOS in German (episodes) : 29 / 79

Montmorency
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Languages: English (Native)
Maintaining: German (active skills lapsed somewhat).
Studying: Welsh (advanced beginner/intermediate);
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Back-burner: Spanish (intermediate) Danish (beginner).

Have studied: Latin, French, Italian, Dutch; OT Hebrew (briefly) NT Greek (briefly); Norwegian (superficially).
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Re: Rem Prepares to Travel (German/Mandarin)

Postby Montmorency » Sat Jun 18, 2016 10:48 pm

Well done Rem, for getting thus far.

You might try getting hold of an audiobook version of "The Hobbit". I'm 99% sure there is one. Ditto "The Lord of the Rings" actually.
(Might as well go the whole hog).

I have really found that an audiobook can push one's reading along, and even if one isn't understanding 100% at least you know you are hearing good quality native pronunciation, which will stand you in good stead if you can try to "internalise" it.
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Elenia
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Re: Rem Prepares to Travel (German/Mandarin)

Postby Elenia » Sat Jun 18, 2016 11:01 pm

Montmorency wrote:Well done Rem, for getting thus far.

You might try getting hold of an audiobook version of "The Hobbit". I'm 99% sure there is one. Ditto "The Lord of the Rings" actually.
(Might as well go the whole hog).

I have really found that an audiobook can push one's reading along, and even if one isn't understanding 100% at least you know you are hearing good quality native pronunciation, which will stand you in good stead if you can try to "internalise" it.


Seconded! I still haven't managed to pull myself through Der kleine Hobbit but I happen to know for a fact that a hörbuch is very easily available. I'll say that a little googling goes a very long way - there and back again, in fact! - and I'll leave it at that. Good luck :)
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Rem
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Posts: 128
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 6:39 pm
Languages: Native: English
Learning: German (B2), Mandarin (A2), Czech (beginner)
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Re: Rem Prepares to Travel (German/Mandarin)

Postby Rem » Sat Jun 25, 2016 9:16 pm

Thank you for both for the recommendation. I’ve found an audiobook of The Hobbit in German and I’ve been listening to it in short sessions. I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised by how much of it I can understand. I’m having to look up quite a few words as I go, but nowhere near as many as I thought I would. Maybe there’s hope for me yet. :)

Just a quick update for my languages today. I don’t have much to say really, but I promised myself that I’d post something in this log at least once a week, so here it is...


German
Other than listening to Der kleine Hobbit, I've been continuing to watch the German dub of Star Trek: TOS. I've finished Season 1 and I’m moving on to Season 2.


Mandarin
I’m still mostly focusing on learning to write the rest of the characters from Book 2 of the New Practical Reader. Going back over some of the earlier lessons is a great feeling because I'm able to read the texts so much easier now.


French
French has sort of fallen away at the moment. I haven’t dropped it by any means, I just haven’t wanted to do anything with it lately. I feel a little bit sad about it to be honest, but I don’t think it’s worth the stress of forcing myself to study when I don’t want to. I’m sure it’ll come back in on it’s own when I’m ready.


Czech
Czech pronunciation is still proving to be a problem for me (particularly the ř sound). As always; practice, practice and more practice. Hopefully I’ll get the hang of it eventually.
1 x
University Degree (years) : 2 / 4
New Practical Chinese Reader Book 2 (chapters) : 13 / 14
Watch Star Trek: TOS in German (episodes) : 29 / 79

Rem
Orange Belt
Posts: 128
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 6:39 pm
Languages: Native: English
Learning: German (B2), Mandarin (A2), Czech (beginner)
On hold: French
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Re: Rem Prepares to Travel (German/Mandarin)

Postby Rem » Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:42 pm

There's just over 5 weeks to go and the reality is starting to set in. In a very short amount of time I'm going to be living in a foreign country on my own and, at the moment, I feel in no way prepared to do so. I'm genuinely worried that my language abilities in particular will not be good enough by the time I arrive. I'm sure there will be some people there who will speak English, but I was really hoping not to have to rely on that. :(

I still have some time to work on it...a lot of time really. I don't have a job at the moment so the next month is pretty much free for me to fit in whatever I want (as long as it's cheap/free). I think I may actually have too many options. I have a lot of German books and resources so it's hard to know where to start or what to focus on.
0 x
University Degree (years) : 2 / 4
New Practical Chinese Reader Book 2 (chapters) : 13 / 14
Watch Star Trek: TOS in German (episodes) : 29 / 79

Egwene
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Re: Rem Prepares to Travel (German/Mandarin)

Postby Egwene » Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:18 pm

I think you will never feel totally ready for your adventure abroad. There will always be words that you don't know or forgot. But that is part of the journey! You do the best you can to learn the language and I am sure that everybody wil appreciate your efforts.
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Corrections are always very welcome.

Rem
Orange Belt
Posts: 128
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 6:39 pm
Languages: Native: English
Learning: German (B2), Mandarin (A2), Czech (beginner)
On hold: French
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Re: Rem Prepares to Travel (German/Mandarin)

Postby Rem » Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:12 am

Egwene wrote:I think you will never feel totally ready for your adventure abroad.
Probably true. I'm definitely going to be out of my comfort zone here no matter how much I prepare, and my tendency to overthink things certainly doesn't help (part of me is still surprised that I've actually made it this far). :shock:

However, in spite of me constantly talking about how nervous I am, I am actually really looking forward to going. 8-)
1 x
University Degree (years) : 2 / 4
New Practical Chinese Reader Book 2 (chapters) : 13 / 14
Watch Star Trek: TOS in German (episodes) : 29 / 79

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Olekander
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Re: Rem Prepares to Travel (German/Mandarin)

Postby Olekander » Fri Jul 01, 2016 4:43 pm

Oh God, Chinese! I hope you're ready for years of mental anguish and toil :P!
I live there, and something just makes me not want to learn the language :lol: :lol:
Good luck!!!!!!!
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Да нет. :roll:

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