Thursday, December 21, 2006

Chinablast and more Remy

Some interesting thoughts over the last day. Brendan's comment to the last post made me think a bit more about implications of understanding quite a lot of what Princess Remy says (by no means anywhere near all). I did some searching and found a brilliant site in the process (actually re-found but it had only just started the last time I saw it).

The site is Chinablast and it is a place where people can collaborate on the translation and transcription of various Chinese medium. I think this is excellent.

If you search Chinablast you will find that two of the Princess Remy podcasts have been transcribed and translated, that is a excellent resource for any Mandarin learner and makes those two podcasts accessible for a wider range of levels.

Two things are made clear in the comments. First as noted elsewhere on the web, Princess Remy does not speak very clearly. Secondly the speech is conversational therefore when written the sentences are often ungrammatical. I think that Princess Remy sounds fairly clear to me because I have spent many many hours listening to Chinese media (in particular in this case Taiwanese girls chatting about makeup, hair fashion and pet dogs etc.). I have listened to all sorts of stuff right from the start even when I could understand only one word in a hundred.

I feel very confident for next year. I have occasionally taken some stick for my seemingly strange approach but now I am really sure that even if it is not "THE WAY" it is a "VALID WAY" at least for me. More importantly I seem to be making the most progress in my main priority which is engaging with speech before writing. Lots to do but happy to know I haven't taken any completely wrong turns.

So those times in the evening when I didn't feel like doing anything constructive and instead of sitting down to watch some trashy English TV, watched some trashy Taiwanese TV on my computer, have paid dividends.

1 comment:

Brendan Lawlor said...

What a cool resource. It looks very well developed and feature complete. I look forward to trying it out.

I like your approach Chris. Language is first and foremost a spoken and listened-to concept.

That said, for both pragmatic reasons, and reasons of general interest I do like learning to read characters. It also feeds back into the learning process in two ways.
1) I can visualize a word - very useful in a language with so many homonyms (is that the correct term?). I have a poor memory so this reinforces learning.
2) Dealing with and recognizing characters demystifies the language for me and makes me feel more confident that I will eventually grasp it.

But overall, the reading takes a distinctly back-seat role for me.