Glossy's Log

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Glossy
Yellow Belt
Posts: 84
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:38 pm
Location: New York
Languages: Russian (native), English (almost native), French (reading: fluent, listening: intermediate, speaking: none), Spanish (reading: fluent, listening: upper intermediate, speaking: none), Mandarin (reading characters: intermediate, actively learning, listening: intermediate, actively learning, speaking: none), German (reading: upper intermediate, listening: none, speaking: none)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7920
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Re: Glossy's Log

Postby Glossy » Sun Mar 08, 2020 8:31 pm

On Friday I didn’t spend any time on ChinesePod. Delayed it until I was too sleepy to do it. So yesterday (Saturday) I did two hours instead of one. Did a whole lesson from start to end, in 2 hours, 7 minutes. The topic was cancer.

Entered the following words into Anki:

上座兒 上座儿 (of restaurants, theaters, etc.) draw customers, draw an audience shàng//zuòr. Literally something like “up sitter”. Audience members sit, and you’re driving their numbers up.

毛骨悚然 absolutely terrified máogǔ-sǒngrán. Hair bone fear like this. Hair standing on end, bones shaking.

波折 twists and turns bōzhé. The first character means “wave”. The second one can mean break, fold, discount. I guess waves breaking.

管用 effective guǎn//yòng. Manage use.

逐年 with each passing year; year after year zhúnián. Chase year. I can see the connection now, but I would have never guessed it if I didn’t look it up. Which is why it’s going into my Anki deck.

鬧别扭 闹别扭 fall out with sb. nào//bièniu. Something like “noise other twist”.

祷 simplified form of 禱 dǎo pray. I already had the traditional form of this character in Anki, but the simplified one is different enough to merit its own card.

I’ve never seen an etymological dictionary of Chinese words, only of characters. A lot of times I don’t know how or why a combination of two or three characters acquired a particular meaning. I’ve seen a Stack Exchange discussion that implied that no such dictionaries exist.

My streak of at least 2 hours of ChinesePod in every two-day period has recently reached 27 months. I’m nerdy, so I mentally celebrate lots of milestones like this. The total number of hours spent on Mandarin listening comprehension (1,175 now), the number of audio lessons completed (542), how far along I am in ChinesePod (84.9% of the recommended course), share of recommended Advanced lessons completed (90%, round number!), etc.
2 x
Mandarin listening comprehension, hours: 1522 / 5000 (1,522/5,000)

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Glossy
Yellow Belt
Posts: 84
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:38 pm
Location: New York
Languages: Russian (native), English (almost native), French (reading: fluent, listening: intermediate, speaking: none), Spanish (reading: fluent, listening: upper intermediate, speaking: none), Mandarin (reading characters: intermediate, actively learning, listening: intermediate, actively learning, speaking: none), German (reading: upper intermediate, listening: none, speaking: none)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7920
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Re: Glossy's Log

Postby Glossy » Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:35 pm

In April of this year I switched from ChinesePod lessons to real videos on YouKu, which is a Chinese substitute for YouTube.

I'm watching a series called Luo Ji Si Wei (Luo-gical Thinking). Lou ji (logic) is a rare phonetic borrowing from a Western language to Chinese. The surname of the show's host is Luo. The title of the show is a pun on this. It's not a very good pun because his show isn't really about logic. He talks about books he's read recently, which are mostly about history and economics. The early shows were half an hour long on average. The ones I'm watching now tend to be 45 to 60 minutes. The later shows are usually 2 hours long. I'm now on the 49th episode.

I've been maintaining a streak of at least an hour a day of Mandarin listening comprehension since 12/07/17. If I miss a day I usually make up for it by doing two hours the next day. The main thing is that I've done more than 365*3 hours over the last three years. As long as I'm spending more than an hour a day on this long-term, I consider the streak to be alive.

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I read characters better than I understand spoken Mandarin. Like most real Chinese shows Luo-gical Thinking has Chinese subtitles. When I start a day's session, I stop the video almost immediately because I don't want the current subtitle line to disappear. I usually get some meaning out of the audio that I hear before this but I still get most of the meaning from reading the subtitles. If I see unfamiliar words or expressions, I look them up in Pleco on my phone. I'm watching the video on my iPad. I search by typing in the pinyin. Sometimes I rewind the video to get the pronunciation more clearly. Sometimes I find a simpler character that has an element in common with the one I'm looking for, then look through characters related to it in Pleco.

Often the expression I'm looking for is not in Pleco. It might be a classical quotation, a literary allusion, the name of a Chinese celebrity or politician, or just a rare word. If Pleco fails me, I search in a browser on my phone, followed by 意思 ("meaning"). Usually I get a satisfactory answer. Sometimes, maybe 3 or 4 times per 10-minute block of fast speech, I don't. I enter all new-to-me words and expressions into Anki.

If it takes me 60 minutes to get through a 10-minute segment of the show, I record a multiple of 6. The graph below tracks these multiples over time.

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Why are there 4 curves on the graph? The first one tracks the multiples for ChinesePod's Intermediate level. As I went through more lessons my listening comprehension improved. The multiple decreased. Then in April of 2018 I switched to ChinesePod's Upper Intermediate level. The difficulty jumped, and with it the multiple. That's why the graph gapped up. The graph's third segment shows the multiples for ChinesePod's Advanced level. The fourth segment reflects those Luo-gical Thinking shows.

I would have collected this info even if there was no use in it. I like statistics for stereotypical nerdy reasons. But actually, there is a use. I didn't notice any progress over the last few months. But when I updated this graph from the statistics I had been gathering, I saw the 40-period moving average line going down. Meaning that I was getting better at it. That always provides encouragement.

In addition to watching those shows I'm always doing Anki reps. I've done 2,751,914 reps since 2008. I now have 31,482 cards in two decks. I usually do 1.5 to 2 hours of Anki per day. Most of this time is spent on Chinese.

I've never tried to speak Chinese. Eventually I do want to get to that. But currently I'd like to continue doing what I'm doing with listening comprehension and reading subtitles, for years and years. Famous last words. The only change I foresee in the intermediate future is switching to different shows in Youku.
4 x
Mandarin listening comprehension, hours: 1522 / 5000 (1,522/5,000)

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Glossy
Yellow Belt
Posts: 84
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:38 pm
Location: New York
Languages: Russian (native), English (almost native), French (reading: fluent, listening: intermediate, speaking: none), Spanish (reading: fluent, listening: upper intermediate, speaking: none), Mandarin (reading characters: intermediate, actively learning, listening: intermediate, actively learning, speaking: none), German (reading: upper intermediate, listening: none, speaking: none)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7920
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Re: Glossy's Log

Postby Glossy » Tue Nov 24, 2020 5:51 am

Today it took me 1 hour and 2 minutes to understand 8 minutes and 22 seconds of the 49th episode of “Luo-gical Thinking”. That gives a multiple of 7.44, which is OK by my recent standards. This episode is about ancient Rome. When the topic is Western history or politics, my multiples are usually pretty low. It’s a little harder to understand videos about modern China. When the host moves to Chinese history or literature, my multiples can go over 10, meaning that I get through less than 6 minutes of a video in an hour.

I’m not a big fan of Mr. Luo’s politics or presentation style. I wouldn’t listen to something like this in English or Russian. But the language challenge makes it interesting.

Mr. Luo has described himself as a native of Anhui province. I’ve noticed two non-standard features in his Mandarin: v instead of w and sometimes s instead of sh. I think it would be really cool to learn to recognize lots of regional accents. One reason to explore YouKu further.
2 x
Mandarin listening comprehension, hours: 1522 / 5000 (1,522/5,000)

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Glossy
Yellow Belt
Posts: 84
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:38 pm
Location: New York
Languages: Russian (native), English (almost native), French (reading: fluent, listening: intermediate, speaking: none), Spanish (reading: fluent, listening: upper intermediate, speaking: none), Mandarin (reading characters: intermediate, actively learning, listening: intermediate, actively learning, speaking: none), German (reading: upper intermediate, listening: none, speaking: none)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7920
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Re: Glossy's Log

Postby Glossy » Wed Nov 25, 2020 6:38 pm

Yesterday I went through 9 minutes and 9 seconds of the 49th episode of Luo-gical Thinking in 1 hour and 7 minutes.

I also did 371 Anki reps, which has been about average for me recently. For years I spent a lot more time on Anki than that. I had a one-hour subway commute each way. There’s no cell service in most of the underground portions of the New York subway. To concentrate on Anki I need to be shielded from distractions. Also, doing Anki reps in the office, while I was supposed to be working, felt naughty and exciting. Everyone is most productive when shirking from some other responsibility.

Like most office workers in NYC I’ve been telecommuting since March. At first my Anki numbers plummeted. Then I started to exercise by walking up and down the stairs in my apartment building while doing Anki reps. There are 6 floors here. I began on April 1st, the day I definitely got over covid-19, by walking from the 1st floor to the 6th 4 times. The disease had been like the common cold, except I lost the sense of smell for a couple of days.

I gradually increased the number of times I went through these 6 floors. By November I could do 36 rounds, 6 floors each, in an hour and a half, all while doing Anki reps. It was equivalent to walking up and down a 216-story building. Not a dry thread on me by the end. I even started to take salt tablets before these sessions to compensate for all the salt I was losing through sweat.

Sometimes, not often, I would pass people on these walks. It’s a narrow stairwell. You can’t wear a mask during strenuous exercise. Or at least that would have seemed ridiculous to me at the time. At first I was confident in my immunity. Then the case numbers dipped here to almost zero. But when they started to pick up again I began to think about switching to a different kind of exercise.

I needed something that could be combined with Anki reps. I hate running and love biking. But biking is dangerous. I’ve seen about a dozen memorials to dead bikers around NYC. White bikes with inscriptions, and sometimes flowers. And you can’t really bike in the dead of winter here. The thing with exercise is that you can’t stop. The conditioning will disappear.

I eventually settled on buying a stationary bike. Everyone here has heard of Peloton. It costs $2,250 plus a monthly fee. I got a $420 knockoff. It’s been great so far.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to do Anki reps throughout my stationary bike sessions. I did an hour on the bike yesterday. Did Anki during the first half. After that I was really putting in an effort on the bike. Which is good. But I couldn’t combine that kind of a physical strain with anything else. Maybe I should decrease the difficulty level. There’s a magnetic damper on the fly wheel for that. The bike is still new. I’ll have to figure out what my priorities with it really are.

Anyway, that’s a long explanation for why my Anki numbers have gone down over time.
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Mandarin listening comprehension, hours: 1522 / 5000 (1,522/5,000)

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coldrainwater
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Location: Houston, Texas
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Re: Glossy's Log

Postby coldrainwater » Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:07 pm

Glossy wrote:I gradually increased the number of times I went through these 6 floors. By November I could do 36 rounds, 6 floors each, in an hour and a half, all while doing Anki reps. It was equivalent to walking up and down a 216-story building. Not a dry thread on me by the end.

Great job on the conditioning with Anki. I have done something very similar for the last three to four years, this last year or two also using Anki while doing stairs. I live in Houston and we had an eight-floor and now a ten-floor office space and this year, learned to read in-motion for my part of the Polyglot Fitness Challenge using Anki. Our non-language training group added a couple of useful innovations that you might enjoy trying sometime. We tried doing burpees at the bottom and also walking with small to moderately weighted packs or vests. The cardiac benefits of normal stairs like you have done are awesome. Not a dry thread is exactly right. We normally didn't go over an hour, but it was still enough. I don't bike for the same reason you mention. Way too many white bikes at various points around Houston.

There is definitely an intensity trade-off when adding Anki to exercise. Exercise and language learning both suffer just a bit compared to full focus. Nevertheless, I have found that the extra blood flow usually makes up for it and that the after-effects of exercise lead to great language-learning (especially the first half-hour or hour after training). Pure listening and training may be the most ideal combo if you want to exercise intensely, but I am stubborn. In any event, keep up the good work. I know what you mean about how changes can throw off a routine.
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Glossy
Yellow Belt
Posts: 84
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:38 pm
Location: New York
Languages: Russian (native), English (almost native), French (reading: fluent, listening: intermediate, speaking: none), Spanish (reading: fluent, listening: upper intermediate, speaking: none), Mandarin (reading characters: intermediate, actively learning, listening: intermediate, actively learning, speaking: none), German (reading: upper intermediate, listening: none, speaking: none)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7920
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Re: Glossy's Log

Postby Glossy » Wed Nov 25, 2020 9:12 pm

coldrainwater wrote: Nevertheless, I have found that the extra blood flow usually makes up for it and that the after-effects of exercise lead to great language-learning (especially the first half-hour or hour after


I’ve thought for years that my recall rate in Anki is better when walking than when sitting or lounging on a bed. I’ve never tested this though. Also, when I walk the stairs or to the subway, to stores or wherever, the temptation to check Twitter, look up something irrelevant in the Wikipedia, etc. attacks me much less often than when I’m just sitting around at home. I’m less likely to be distracted from Anki on walks or when exercising.

Thank you for responding, and Happy Thanksgiving!
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Mandarin listening comprehension, hours: 1522 / 5000 (1,522/5,000)

User avatar
Glossy
Yellow Belt
Posts: 84
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:38 pm
Location: New York
Languages: Russian (native), English (almost native), French (reading: fluent, listening: intermediate, speaking: none), Spanish (reading: fluent, listening: upper intermediate, speaking: none), Mandarin (reading characters: intermediate, actively learning, listening: intermediate, actively learning, speaking: none), German (reading: upper intermediate, listening: none, speaking: none)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7920
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Re: Glossy's Log

Postby Glossy » Fri Nov 27, 2020 4:14 pm

Yesterday it took me 1 hour and 1 minute to get through 8 minutes and 15 seconds of the Luo-gical Thinking show. I finished the 49th episode, which was about ancient Rome and started the 50th, which is about an ancient Chinese emperor.

The host quoted a couple of lines of this emperor's poetry. I was prepared to ignore them, because classical Chinese isn't my focus now, but was surprised to get most of the meaning. I think. From what I've seen, which is very little, when modern Chinese recite classical poetry, they tend to pronounce syllables very separately, with clear and distinct tones. Usually it's still incomprehensible to me because of the differences in grammar and vocabulary from Mandarin.

Now that I'm writing this blog entry I realized that I don't even know what dynasty the emperor in question is from. I should look that up during my next session. It's not the Qing, although that's the dynasty Mr. Luo talks about the most. I was a little disappointed in his focus on the relatively recent past, although this shouldn't have been surprising. Only history nerds like history for its own sake. Late 19th - early 20th century history is really just ammunition for current politics, and everyone is interested in THAT.

I did 643 Anki reps yesterday, which is an OK number for me.
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Mandarin listening comprehension, hours: 1522 / 5000 (1,522/5,000)

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Glossy
Yellow Belt
Posts: 84
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:38 pm
Location: New York
Languages: Russian (native), English (almost native), French (reading: fluent, listening: intermediate, speaking: none), Spanish (reading: fluent, listening: upper intermediate, speaking: none), Mandarin (reading characters: intermediate, actively learning, listening: intermediate, actively learning, speaking: none), German (reading: upper intermediate, listening: none, speaking: none)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7920
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Re: Glossy's Log

Postby Glossy » Sat Nov 28, 2020 10:15 pm

Yesterday it took me 1 hour 6 minutes and 45 seconds to get through 7 minutes and 13 seconds of the 50th episode of the Luo-gical Thinking show. This gives a multiple of 9.25, which is bad by my recent standards but OK for a show about ancient China.

I did look up the protagonist: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Yang_of_Sui

Never heard of him before. The show's host described him as one of the biggest villains of Chinese history, then proceeded to defend him. There's an 18-volume Cambridge History of China. I've read the first two of these, up until the collapse of the Han dynasty. I'm extremely ignorant about the rest of Chinese history, including the period covered here. One of the reasons I chose Mr. Luo's show is that he talks about history a lot.

As I've written before, I watch these shows in an app called YouKu. I know it many times less well than YouTube, but most of the comparisons that I can make are in YouTube's favor. When I return to a YouKu video after I paused it, it opens 5 to 10 seconds before the pause. For some reason it doesn't remember the pause's timestamp exactly. The rewind function, which I use a lot, is jumpy. If I try to rewind just a few seconds, it won't rewind at all. I have to overshoot, then listen to 10 to 20 seconds of stuff I already understood before I get to what I really wanted to hear a second time.

I did 417 Anki reps yesterday, most of them while on my stationary bike. Compared to my last bike session I went too far in the other direction. Pedaled slowly, getting much less of a workout. Did Anki reps throughout, but I want to try the middle approach next time.
5 x
Mandarin listening comprehension, hours: 1522 / 5000 (1,522/5,000)

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Glossy
Yellow Belt
Posts: 84
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:38 pm
Location: New York
Languages: Russian (native), English (almost native), French (reading: fluent, listening: intermediate, speaking: none), Spanish (reading: fluent, listening: upper intermediate, speaking: none), Mandarin (reading characters: intermediate, actively learning, listening: intermediate, actively learning, speaking: none), German (reading: upper intermediate, listening: none, speaking: none)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7920
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Re: Glossy's Log

Postby Glossy » Mon Nov 30, 2020 6:07 pm

Missed listening practice on Saturday. So I had to compensate yesterday by putting in at least two hours. Went through 13 minutes and 46 seconds of the 50th episode of the Luo-gical Thinking show in 2 hours 19 minutes and 32 seconds. The multiple is horrible: 10.14. But the show was about the 7th century AD. Archaic official titles, names of ancient taxes and administrative arrangements, ancient authors and their books. "Listen to what's interesting to you" is common-sense advice, and I'm interested in history.

When I was a kid, starting to learn English, I was shocked by how different its grammar was compared to Russian grammar. I can still remember my incredulity at seeing the same goals achieved in such bizarrely different ways. Chinese has no relationship with any of the languages I knew anything about before I approached it. I expected something like that to happen again.

Actually, I was surprised by how little I was surprised. If you have some feeling for the range of differences in European grammars, Chinese grammar doesn't stand out. It's not an alien world. The thing that trips me up most often now is failure to recognize that a sentence contains a rhetorical question. Chinese uses rhetorical questions a lot more than any major Western language. I wonder if other Asian languages do that.

But of course there are rhetorical questions in European languages. And measure words, just fewer. I'm used to analytical grammar from English and to roundabout ways of marking the plural from French. Something I would have never thought I'd say before I started with Chinese: German grammar feels more unusual to me now. Because of the word order.
5 x
Mandarin listening comprehension, hours: 1522 / 5000 (1,522/5,000)

User avatar
Glossy
Yellow Belt
Posts: 84
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:38 pm
Location: New York
Languages: Russian (native), English (almost native), French (reading: fluent, listening: intermediate, speaking: none), Spanish (reading: fluent, listening: upper intermediate, speaking: none), Mandarin (reading characters: intermediate, actively learning, listening: intermediate, actively learning, speaking: none), German (reading: upper intermediate, listening: none, speaking: none)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7920
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Re: Glossy's Log

Postby Glossy » Thu Dec 03, 2020 5:28 pm

First December post. In November I spent 34 hours 24 minutes and 30 seconds on Mandarin listening comprehension. A lot more time than that on Anki, but I haven't counted that exactly. I do my own Anki stats once every few months.

Yesterday I did 373 Anki reps, most of them while on my exercise bike. Finished the 50th episode of the Luo-gical Thinking show. Went through 9 minutes and 6 seconds of it in 1 hour, 1 minute and 49 seconds. This gives a multiple of 6.79, which is much better than my previous multiples for that episode. In the end the host moralized a lot, drawing very general lessons for China's current situation. This was more boring, but easier to understand than 7th century politics.

For some reason I can't see the 51st episode in YouKu. The next one available to me is 52nd. This happened with a few previous episodes.
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Mandarin listening comprehension, hours: 1522 / 5000 (1,522/5,000)


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