Language

A complete archive of all of my posts about language learning.

language

Beginners: Chinese Tones Explained With Their English Equivalent

Posted by on 2:57 am in Beginner, Chinese Learning, Intermediate | 3 comments

Beginners: Chinese Tones Explained With Their English Equivalent

One of the most daunting aspects of the Chinese language are its tones. And, sure, if you explain them like most native speakers or self-impressed successful learners do, they definitely sound it! You may hear people say “in Chinese, if you change the way you say a word slightly, the meaning can change dramatically!”. Unfortunately, its statements like those that deter many people from learning about this great language and China’s long and rich history. But really, it’s just something that takes getting used to. And,...

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20 Things You Should Be Able To Say To Kickstart Your Conversation Skills

Posted by on 7:48 am in Beginner, Chinese Learning, Intermediate | 4 comments

20 Things You Should Be Able To Say To Kickstart Your Conversation Skills

Learning the most commonly used elements of speech in the language you are trying to learn can put you miles ahead, and can make you seem far more competent than you actually are. Sure, looking at word lists for the most frequently used words can be helpful, but knowing how to use fundamental structures such as who, what, why etc is essential to any meaningful conversation. Here is a list of 20 such things words and structures that you should focus on learning ASAP: 1) Who – Shuí   Tā shì shúi? Shúi pèng le wǒ de shǒujī? 他是谁?谁碰了我的手机?...

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Words That Don’t ‘Stick’

Posted by on 6:10 am in Advanced, Beginner, Chinese Learning, Intermediate, Learning Techniques | 0 comments

Words That Don’t ‘Stick’

As any seasoned language learner will tell you, sometimes you come across words that simply don’t ‘stick’ in your brain. Others, too, seem to stick easily and often effortlessly. Why are some words committed to memory effortlessly after the first hearing, while others continue to torment you after several conscious attempts to learn them? This can be because of several reasons. The main two would be: You don’t understand the word properly. Did you hear the word in context, or are you simply trying to rote learn it from...

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Short Post: When Your Speaking Is Better Than Your Listening

Posted by on 3:48 am in Chinese Learning, Intermediate, Learning Techniques | 3 comments

Short Post: When Your Speaking Is Better Than Your Listening

Hey guys, Just a quick update from me. First of all, thanks for all the positive feedback I received from you regarding my guest post over at Sam’s blog Lingholic! Much appreciated. One comment on my post was by a guy saying how he didn’t seem to have much difficulty speaking, but did not have a high level of comprehension. Now, this is quite strange, but not unusual. Strange, because, well, it is weird to be able to say something, but not understand the same thing then being said back to you. In a language like Chinese, where...

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NEWBIES: So you wanna learn a language?

Posted by on 5:39 am in Beginner, Chinese Learning, Learning Techniques | 0 comments

NEWBIES: So you wanna learn a language?

Okay, so, I realise that a lot of the content on this blog, like the content of other language learning blogs, is crazily nerdy and likely incomprehensible to those not already in ‘the language game’ due to references to things like ‘SRS’, ‘Massive Comprehensible Input’, ‘Silent Period’, ‘Reps’, ‘Learning vs Acquisition’, and the like. The reality is that a lot of traffic coming to this blog and others are probably the product of a single Google search by a normal person,...

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On the use of ‘dead time’

Posted by on 8:23 am in Advanced, Beginner, Chinese Learning, Intermediate, Learning Techniques, Motivation | 0 comments

On the use of ‘dead time’

If you are like 99% of the population, and aren’t some sort of mutant-cyboid-productivity-machine-monster, you probably waste a fair amount of your life. I’m not talking about time spent watching TV, or on Facebook. Activities like these, although they may be classified as procrastination, do serve some purpose – relaxation, entertainment, being social, blah blah. I bet you take the bus. Or the train. Or, if you too live in Melbourne, a tram. You ride a bike. Wash your clothes. Hang up your clothes to dry. Go for walks. Eat...

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You Don’t Need Chinese Friends to Learn Chinese (Or Any Other Language)

Posted by on 6:30 am in Chinese Learning, Intermediate | 1 comment

You Don’t Need Chinese Friends to Learn Chinese (Or Any Other Language)

No, no you don’t. Embrace your inner hermit. You antisocial bastard. The truth is, having Chinese friends, unless you are already quite advanced, is more likely to hinder you than help you. Hear me out. Chances are, they speak better English (Engrish?) than you, meaning that they will likely quickly get sick of you massacring their language and switch to English. Although from my experience Chinese people are often quite bad at English (Westerners are definitely even worse at Chinese), education is highly valued, like in most other...

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First Post, First Lesson With My Private Chinese Tutor

Posted by on 1:16 pm in Chinese Learning | 0 comments

First Post, First Lesson With My Private Chinese Tutor

So today marks both my first post on this blog, and my first lesson with a private Chinese tutor I found on the Internet. Now, at this stage, according to my University, I am at an intermediate level of Chinese. We’re nearing the end of Semester 1, and this is my second year of my Chinese studies and of my degree (I’m doing a double degree in Law and Arts with a major in Chinese). Whether or not I’m actually at an ‘intermediate’ level of Chinese sort of comes down to your own definition of what...

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