Saturday, October 13, 2007

Chinese English lessons

Been a while since I was looking for Chinese lessons on English. The switch makes a nice diversion though. This one is from Mofile:

Give it time it may take a little while to load. Basically I try to keep cycling through bits of everything. This type of material has well spoken Mandarin that is mostly easy for me now (particularly as the context is very strong). There are some words I don't know and some I can guess. I put these new words in a vocab file on Google docs, and study them when I have time and feel like that type of study. Usually when studying words I just freewheel. For example in one of these I picked up 挣扎 (struggle) so when freewheeling I search for it in Google and in the results that pop up try to find interesting snippet that contain the word, snippets that I can read and understand in Chinese. Straight away I spot 内心的挣扎 wow that must mean something like "internal stuggle" in English. Now for sound, I practice saying the sentance out loud a few times, run it through text to speech etc. and then search for the phrase 内心的挣扎 in google. Lots of hits, this is a common usage it seems so I read a couple that I can understand, copy that phrase into a lexis document in Google and move on. Sometimes I may quickly hit the ting database or the Chinesepod dictionary to see if there are any other sound files (not in this case). I would guess that occupied five minutes or so.

Typing this I listen to one that I "studied" last night. I know it pretty well but now, I am half paying attention. Listening to stuff you already know plays an important part I feel, it allows those words (said that way) to drift towards a status of effortless understanding, rather than understanding that requires focused concentration.

I don't use those lists on Google docs a lot, sometimes when I check them it is just housekeeping, weed out all the words and phrases that I look at and think "well of course it is". Also I try to avoid cut-and-paste as I punt these words around in various web places and documents. Typing the characters each time reinforces reading recognition.

I rarely use flashcards, I have fiddled with them once or twice in the past, but reinforcement through real material makes things stick much faster for me. If you find contextual links between material for short periods of time then a lot of dialog gets repeated.

For a while I am going to keep hitting you guys with examples of why I think the whole idea of what it means to study something and to learn something has gone out of the window. In some cases just retaining the concepts of teacher, classroom, textbooks etc. seems to hamper people when studying online.

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