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.

If you've been following my blog for the past 2 years, you already know that during this 2000 hour period I have not looked up any words or done any sort of study, including grammar. I did know some words prior to starting the TV method, but I have never studied Chinese grammar.  I'll perhaps write a post to consolidate what I have done in attempts to start learning Chinese.

About a year ago, I had just completed 800 hours. Things went pretty well until August when my focus changed to making sure I was ready to pass two IT exams for one certification. So I'm a little late in arriving at this point, but it doesn't matter.

Now, I'll have more time to write posts or do whatever I want and I'll be spending less time getting my hours in. I think I've completed the necessary groundwork for becoming a native speaker of Chinese, although I'll keep watching TV in Chinese and continue to grow that language.

Look for my next post when I try to answer all the questions that are going to be asked in the comments of this post!


  1. I am really looking forward to finding out how this worked!

    How well do you feel that you understand dialog in TV shows? Do you think there's any point that you could have sped things along by studying, or were the benefits of learning naturally worth taking it slower?

    Did you have any initial problems with boredom while watching Chinese shows, since you couldn't understand them? If so, at what point did the shows become fun to watch?

    Actually, those questions seem like they could fill a whole blog post... :)

  2. Congratulations for reaching this milestone, and I'm also looking forward to reading more about your experience and your level of comprehension!

    Why do you want to record your very first conversation in Chinese? Do you want to demonstrate that the TV method leads to fluent speaking without any transition period? For students of the ALG method, speaking is rarely perfect in the beginning, but because the correct language and pronunciation patterns are firmly established in their brains, they are able to self-correct over time and arrive at native-like proficiency. But it still takes some speaking to get there. At least, that's what ALG claims. You're trying to do something much more radical! :) Anyway, as I said, I'm looking forward to reading and hearing more!

  3. I am curious about your listening skills. How much do you understand? 70%, 90%... If you listen isolated audio, like Mandarin radio, do you understand anything?

  4. I'm really curious to know how much you understand, and how well you can understand different levels of difficulty. I've recently become really interested in ALG methodology and have switched to massive amounts of Japanese input via TV shows and movies etc, although I had studied grammar prior to switching I never really got past a basic understanding. I'm slightly worried about the 'ceiling' they talk about in ALG, but I'm hoping that since I no longer SRS and no longer look words up that those 1-1 connections will fade and new monolingual connections will grow. I've already picked up so much just from watching kids programming and dramas that aren't too difficult as well as Pixar movies in Japanese.

    I'm only at around 100+ hours, but I came in with a few thousand words of vocabulary already. However 2000 hours of Chinese with no look ups is really impressive over 2 years it sounds like? I'm interested to know how well you can understand and how you feel about your fluency listening/reading(if you began studying reading yet)/etc.

  5. I too am very interested to see how this has worked so far. Even if you are just able to do basic things I would call it a success! I envy you. I watch a lot of TV in Arabic, but I started doing that after I had learned the basics and could understand a lot of it. I built on what I knew and TV helped me immensely since I didn't have access to native speakers.

    You, however, have started on Chinese TV with little to no knowledge. 2000 hours is a hell of a lot and I really hope it works. I believe that it will.

  6. Just an idea, but could you make a list of all the shows (or at least some of them) that you watched in your 2000 hours?

  7. Impressive. Congrats, seriously! I don't know if there exist enough things I could possibly stand to watch in Chinese to fill 2000 hours. I fell in love with but one show and everything eles pales in comparison (别了温哥华).

  8. Felicitations from a Native Chinese speaker who has completed his 1500 hours of audio input in French. Hope we can be the motivation for each other.

  9. Herman, I'd like to hear your story. Feel free to email me.

  10. Maybe u should also add to the excel sheet your rating of the drama or your enjoyment of watching it ( I guess irregardless of comprehension,) . Maybe some peOple wouldn't mind. C drama recommendations


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