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.
I have known the words for the English language and Chinese language and Japanese language since before I started the TV method, but these words have not come up often enough in the 2,000 hours that I have watched, so I don't have confidence that I am pronouncing them correctly.
Words need to come up very often in order to acquire them. A few times is not enough.
Friedemann provided some statistics for English words. Need I mention that English and Chinese words do not share the same frequencies? Perhaps it is because they are different languages. Let me provide some statistics for the Chinese word for city or town that I did not know. These statistics come from James Dew's book 6000 Chinese Words: A vocabulary frequency handbook for Chinese language teachers and students.
The book contains two sets of frequencies. One is from the Frequency Dictionary of Modern Chinese published by the Beijing Language Institute (BLI) Press in 1986. From that source, the frequency of 城市 is 968. The other source is from Taipei, known as the Academia Sinica study and abbreviated to CYY. From that source, the frequency rank of the same word is 3046. The CYY source is 8 times as large as the BLI corpus. The BLI corpus includes spoken language material from plays and tape-recorded speech. The CYY corpus is almost completely from newspapers.
But in order to understand the Frequency rank, we need to know what the cumulative frequency is. For the BLI source the word is between 71.5% (900) and 73.0% (1000). For the CYY source, the frequency rank of 3000 is 83.1% and 3500 is 85.3%. So from the BLI rank, this means that the words more frequent than 城市 occur about 72% of the time. The CYY source says that words more frequent than 城市 occur a little more than 83% of the time.
Is it possible to learn less frequent words before more frequent words? It certainly is. With the right situation the meaning of the word is made clear and the observer picks up on it. However, this hasn't happened yet for me for this word. My point is just to show that 城市 is not as frequent as you would "think" it is. Nor does it have the same frequency rate in different studies, even in the same language.
Friedemann would like to test my comprehension of TV dramas. I have decided that it will do me no harm to try. Let me state how I propose to do the test and my request for cooperation from Friedemann. First of all, we will connect via Skype and I will record the test and upload it to YouTube with it also embedded in my next post. It does not matter if I fail miserably, I will still post it just as I did with my first conversation. I do not mind because this is not the end result. This is just an intermediary stage.
What I would like, is for Friedemann to choose an episode from a drama on the website http://tv.tudou.com/ After we get connected on Skype, Friedemann will give me a link to it, and I will load it in my browser. I would also like Friedemann to explain and introduce what we are doing and why the test is occurring. I will switch my video to screen capture so you can see the video. I will play and pause it every few seconds to explain what I understand or what I don't understand. I would like Friedemann just to confirm or deny my comprehension, but not to give me any ideas about what he thinks it means. I do not want to be given any translations or help in understanding. All we need to know from Friedemann is whether he thinks I am correct in what I think I comprehend.
For the benefit of others wanting to learn Chinese naturally, before I upload it to YouTube, I will remove the sound portion where I give my translations of the Chinese. I don't think it is necessary to hear what I say something means and there will be those who don't want the translations either. All we need to hear is Friedemann's opinion. That will be enough for me. Afterwards, Friedemann can revise or confirm his feelings about my comprehension.
If we can produce the above scenario, I will be happy to accept the challenge. How does Friedemann feel about this?