Matthew Dumas 1 month ago
Flashcards v. Real Usage

Does anyone have any suggestions for getting better at actual usage? I'm at about 2400 characters in the flash cards and I'm having trouble remembering different characters, phrases, etc. I also can't seem to think fast enough to form sentences at a normal speech speed. Right now, in L1 CH6 S17, I can usually understand about 60% of what Felix says in the videos, provided I pause to think about what he just said.

Anyone have any suggestions for me to help Chinese become more concrete in my mind? I'm currently doing 1 section (1-1.5) hours for 4 days a week.

Matthew Dumas 1 month ago

I just realized I wrote where I am in the sections by my own notes, not by how the site is organized... Fluency Path/Level 6/Lesson 19 (Ch 5, L 3)

Max N. 1 month ago

I also can't 100% of what Felix is talking about, but I get the gist of it. It helps me watch the videos with subtitles (if they're available). Regarding the characters: I keep reviewing reviewing reviewing. It's a bit tedious (about 400 cards to review each day for me right now) but I can see the improvement over time. Maybe take a short break from learning new words for a couple of days to reaffirm the ones you already know. 加油💪

Lee Saunders (大力) 3 weeks ago

Use the Domino dictionary. Enter the character and look for sentences, phrases and any associated dialogues in the results. The free Pleco app also gives sentences for characters. Context is very useful, and you may learn more new words at the same time.

If you have no-one to practise with, talk to yourself. Try translating your own phrases as much as you can.

Sylvain J'Wardane 3 weeks ago

Hi Matt, I agree with Max N. Here's my old school method: I write every lesson on a note book and I revise previous lessons on my note book before I take a new video lesson. I highlight difficult words, so when I flip through my notebook, I can easily identify those difficult characters... I also bought a white board and did hang it in my kitchen, so every time go there I can visualize some 10 new words (or phrases) and I keep updating them as I retain them. I found out that there's no point learning a new lesson, if I keep forgetting the older ones. Taking a break to revise seems like lost time and yes it slows down my progress wrt # of lessons learnt, but I find this more effective.

Lee Saunders (大力) 3 weeks ago

You can also try typing characters into Baidu Translate or Youdao and see if the translation is correct. Translators are not 100% perfect for everything, but the may help your sentence structure.

John Morgan 3 weeks ago

Definitely keep using the flashcards but you can do other things as well to keep yourself interested and get more immersion in the language.
As you have over 2400 Chinese words then you can use graded readers to practice reading real stories if you haven't already. I'm on Domino Fluency level 7 and I'm finding that graded readers aimed at HSK2 and 3 levels are about right to practice reading. Some offer audio as well so you can listen along to a native Chinese speaker.
I find Pleco is invaluable to pull apart tricky characters and find the best way to remember them.
I also use Bing Chinese dictionary to see real life sentence usage for any word. You can type in English or Chinese words, and you'll get hundreds of example sentences in English, Chinese, and pinyin containing it. You can also click on any word in the sentences to look that word up, which is cool. The address below should work even if not in China.
"https://cn.bing.com/dict/?mkt=zh-cn"

As for understanding spoken Chinese then the only way to improve is to listen to lots of spoken Chinese. You can watch Chinese TV series on youku.com, or watch Chinese youtube videos.
I've started listening to Chinese audio books and podcasts to get used to listening to speech at real speeds. I highly recommend a free podcast app for Android and iOS called "Ximalaya". You can listen to lots of different podcasts all in Chinese. Even if you don't understand everything it gives your brain practice in picking out words and phrases.

Domino Gavin 3 weeks ago

Hi John, thanks for the input!!! You are just awesome!!!

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