I finished another complete viewing of 西太后の紫禁城 (the Japanese name). I can't believe this is only the fourth time I've watched this drama. And every time it ends the same way!
There's no doubt about it. I'm making progress in my understanding of Chinese. And that's without the help of dictionaries, subtitles, explanations, notes, grammar rules, and studying. I'm putting together more 2+2's every time. I can't seem to help but figuring out some things. Especially as I get to know the story better and better. When I know a certain scene is coming up and that the dialog in that scene will probably provide the answer to why the following actions occur, I perk up and try to hear the answer. Many times with no luck, though, because I don't understand enough or any of what is being said.
But you see, when you do understand three quarters of the sentence, you can start guessing what the other part means. Once you've figured out what the missing part means, the next time you hear it you can pick up the word for the meaning. As Dr. Brown wrote, the words don't carry the meaning, the meaning carries the words.
And that is what I discovered this time around. I figure out the meaning first and then I can hear the words. The funny thing is, in one instance, I already knew the words but I couldn't hear them until after I knew the meaning. It may sound strange, but in a language like Chinese with a lot of one syllable words, some of them are not distinct enough to register in my mind unless I know what the meaning is.