Sunday, January 30, 2011

in response to Friedemann's challenge

In this post, I will respond to Friedemann's comments and his challenge.

Friedemann says little kids cannot understand the new because of their intellect. I say, they cannot understand the news because of their lack of words and experience.

Friedemann asked which dramas some words would be considered rare ones? For most of the words he mentions, I would say most dramas do not focus one those things. There are many other phrases that are just constantly repeated in dramas.

Apparently, I wasn't simply asked, "Where do you live?" which is exactly what Friedemann wrote as one of the questions I didn't understand.  The keyword in the actual question I was asked apparently had the word for city or town. I do not know that word.

"What languages do you speak?" This is a very rare question in a drama. Everybody is speaking Chinese. The dramas are not about people speaking foreign languages. Sure, people will ask Friedemann that all the time in China. But they do not make many dramas about polyglots.

"Could you say again please?" Again, another question Friedemann has to use all the time, but in dramas there is no need for this as it's all scripted out. I have heard often in the dramas, "What did you say?!" But not because they couldn't hear what was said. They say it because they can't believe what they heard.

My response to the above questions is not to make excuses. I never pretended like I was going to do great in the first conversation. If someone had thought of those questions which I would likely have been asked and asked me if I would be able to understand or answer them, I would have answered No.

Monday, January 24, 2011

breaking the silence

Here it is! My first time to speak after an extended silent period.
I'll refrain from criticizing myself and let you all criticize me instead.

Of course, I've kept my promise to record the first conversation. I will record more when I can.  This video is what I call a language time capsule. I'd like to thank Rony Gao again for allowing me to record and upload my very first Chinese conversation. You'll be seeing him again. I should also mention he is a tutor at LingQ.

Yes, LingQ saved the day! I could not find many new contacts on Skype. The search function of Skype has become useless for finding new friends, as you cannot limit it to online people only. I sent out a bunch of hellos, and all of them went "pending..." because the people in the results list were not online even though I set my search function to search for people in SkypeMe mode. In fact, I learned that Skype has recently removed SkypeMe from it's PC version.

The reviews are already pouring in on YouTube (sort of.) I look forward to someone bashing me and telling me they aren't impressed. I haven't put this video up to impress anybody. It just says this is where I am on January 24, 2011 with my Chinese. Let's see what the next few months bring. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

the TV method answers

The following are answers to the questions from my previous post, two thousand hours. I'm glad to see there are still some people interested in the TV method. Thanks to all my readers, especially those who left a comment or question.

The first set of questions came from William.
  • How well do you feel that you understand dialog in TV shows?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

two thousand hours

I have just completed 2000 hours of watching TV in Chinese. Hip hip hooray!

This completes my 2000 hour silent period, and I now give myself permission to speak Chinese freely. Except for one restriction! I will not speak until I'm ready (haha). That is, not until I am ready to record my first Chinese conversation with a native speaker.  Hopefully that will be sooner than later.  I wouldn't want to cheat anybody by having a warm-up period, that is, getting a little practice off camera. No, I just want to record my very first real conversation.  And hopefully when it's done, we'll be able to call it a conversation too.

I'm curious to see how I sound speaking Chinese and if I've learned any useful words or phrases from all these dramas I've watched.