Breaking the bubble (advice needed)

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Re: Breaking the bubble (advice needed)

Postby DangerDave2010 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:00 am

Forget the classes, just get lost in China.
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Re: Breaking the bubble (advice needed)

Postby Arnaud » Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:46 pm

You can watch a few "level-up" videos of Moses McCormick, and see how his relaxed and open-minded attitude makes wonder to speak with complete strangers, even if his level in the majority of the languages is weak. He's relaxed and the whole process is like a game for him.
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Re: Breaking the bubble (advice needed)

Postby Rutabaga » Sat Mar 11, 2017 6:10 am

Breaking the bubble is difficult. I have been living overseas now for a while and it has been one of my biggest frustrations. Even if I am using the target language, it predictably happens in all the same situations - talking to a taxi driver, buying food in the market, etc., which means that I became really good at sharing information about my fictitious husband and purchasing kilos of fruit, but never seem to progress to having conversations beyond that.

An idea that I got from a friend and that helped me with my speaking fluency was to start an informal language conversation group. We chose a theme each week, prepared a list of vocabulary related to the theme in advance, and then would chat for an hour. (In this case, we were all chatting in Russian, but I've done the same in Romanian). If you are lucky, you many find that a few friendly locals will be willing to join the group and talk to you, although mostly, I haven't been that lucky. The benefit, however, was that it was a safe environment, we were all tolerant of each other's mistakes, and we were being forced to express our thoughts in the target language, so it was a reasonably authentic use of the language. I really felt that it gave me a boost in my speaking abilities, which then in turn made me feel more comfortable when I had to go and talk to native speakers.
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Re: Breaking the bubble (advice needed)

Postby Rem » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:03 pm

rdearman wrote:I wrote a post with suggestions one for someone visiting Russia and they wanted to try and get out and talk. So I gave them a few challenges. You might try those!

Arnaud wrote:You can watch a few "level-up" videos of Moses McCormick, and see how his relaxed and open-minded attitude makes wonder to speak with complete strangers, even if his level in the majority of the languages is weak. He's relaxed and the whole process is like a game for him.

I like the idea of challenges and I have seen some of Moses’ level up videos before. Unfortunately I can’t see myself being comfortable approaching random strangers just yet (maybe I can make that a longer term challenge for me to work towards), but I’m sure I can come up with some ‘missions’ to test myself. Thank you. :D

Tomás wrote:Can you take lessons in something? Like a group tai chi class, or guitar lessons, or a cooking class. This way you get to practice listening, and can interact with Chinese people who share your interest in that class.

I've managed to sign up for a culture class. It's aimed at international students, but it's taught in Chinese. I expect I'll struggle for a while with my listening but hopefully it will get easier and I'll learn some interesting things along the way. :)

Cavesa wrote:Well, it sounds to me like you need to pay someone to talk. It is really sad. I was considering the option briefly in France too, but my situation was still much easier.

It is a very unpleasant thought as you have already paid a lot to just study your normal classes there. And it feels crappy, like "am I really such a boring/horrible/unpleasant person, that people don't want to talk to me even under such ideal conditions?"

At this point I’m genuinely considering this option. I’ve found some private tutors here that I can contact and, apparently, there’s a language school that’s nearby. It does seem really silly to pay out for private lessons when I’m already having classes at University but maybe that’s the only way around this for me. It will allow me to study more at my own pace and give me a chance to study different topics to those taught in my Uni classes.

To be fair I probably am a pretty boring person to talk to, but it stills hurts to feel as though I'm always the outsider. It's not just being unable to interact with Chinese people, I also haven't been able to connect with any of the international students here. Other than the occasional polite nod of 'hello' I'm pretty much on my own here. It's still early days though, so I have time to work on it (unfortunately my people skills are probably worse than my listening).

I just wish people would stop telling me how lucky I am that I don't have homework/don't have to study hard. I don't want to just coast through my time here when I know that I can achieve so much more if I try.
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Re: Breaking the bubble (advice needed)

Postby AndyMeg » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:38 pm

Maybe you could change your focus a little: instead on focusing on trying to practice chinese, try to explore the local culture and customs. Try to understand the native people that live there. How is their usual day? Do they have festivals? What do they celebrate and why? What do they eat?

You could also go to some places, close your eyes and focus on listening to the sounds native people produce, even if you don't understand anything yet. Try to discover the rythm they follow.

I think buying a TV could be a good idea if you have the money. As far as I know, most chinese TV programmes have chinese subtittles on them, so you could try to focus on the sounds while you read the chinese subttitles. Maybe you could record some programmes for later study. For example, you could try to read outloud the chinese subtitles and imitate the flow, pronunciation and speed from the native speakers of the TV programme you are studying with.

If I'm not mistaken, there are many chinese dialects. So you could ask about the dialect spoken where you are.

What kind of dialect are you studying in your classes? Mandarin? Cantonese? Another?
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