Should really have posted this a while ago, but here I am at seven and a half months. Generally all is well but I have an awful lot to do. And the blog is losing relevance (maybe).
You can go straight to the previous report.
The good news, the last time I posted a progress report I was hoping to be well into listening to the intermediate level Chinesepod lessons by around six months. That happened and I am still there. I think it is going to take a while to crack the Intermediate level. I can understand much of the Chinese chat about Chinese language but much of the rest of the chat requires a lot of hard work and analysis. My target on this score is to be studying the advanced level podcasts by Christmas.
Natural conversation is hard, but is seems normal that the ability to construct and utter Chinese is going to lag behind my ability to hear and understand. I am working increasingly on conversation with Skype. Unfotunately my Chinese friend, that I meet once a week is returning to Japan to work very soon. I think we will keep in touch over the internet though. My pronounciation is improving through recitation of toungue twisters and jokes, I do have a few sounds though that need serious work (rather than just improvement). The problem at the moment is between sounds like chi and che, which are okay in isolation but definitely not in conversation.
I still watch some Chinese TV over the Internet and watch Chinese films etc. The progress is steady but sure, it is very exciting when I am lucky enough to fully understand a few sentances rather than the odd word or phrase.
The time seems to be right to start learning Chinese characters again. I need to experiment a little more before I am confident about the best way to approach this. The initial goal is to be able to read Chinese subtitles in realtime. I think this will be a good first reading target and certainly easier than reading a newspaper. I want to keep the speed pressure because I don't want to teach myself to 'analyse' Chinese text, I want to be able to 'read' it.
Sounds are still very, very important to me. Despite an increasing interest in Chinese writing and literature I am still very committed to the idea that the spoken language is where most of the initial focus should be directed. On this note I am going to try to make some real effort to get some audio on this blog and demonstrate some of my ideas.
I am feeling a bit indifferent about the blog at the moment, I don't want to give it up but on the otherhand it doesn't seem to provoke much interchange of information (I have never had a single comment ;)). Having said that I have had a fair amount of e-mail and comments on other blogs. Also my Chinese friend found me through this blog and initially approached me about face to face language exchange so that was a big plus.