Monday, December 22, 2014

Quick Review of Mandarin Chinese Lessons with Serge Melnyk

More to come, but I wanted to post this brief review.  It has already been added to the resources review page.

Mandarin Chinese Lessons with Serge Melnyk offers a premium subscription on its website and also free podcasts. This review is just on the free content/podcast.  I am so ambivalent about this podcast.  On one hand, it covers a lot of ground and throws a lot of information at you.  On the other, it is on the boring side and it may be too much information.  My biggest concern is Mr. Melnyk’s accent.  He has a fairly thick accent in English even if he is completely understandable to a native speaker.  I am concerned that he has a similar accent for Chinese.  There are native speakers that participate in the lessons, but Mr. Melnyk seems to play an outsized role giving his likely accent in Chinese.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Keeping it Going During the Holidays

Hello fellow Homo Sapiens,

This is probably the third week out of the last four where I haven't met my goal of posting twice a week.  I am disappointed in myself and need to do better. 

At the same time, I have picked up my Chinese study slightly and I have an idea for how to keep up with my Chinese when I move on to my fitness challenge in February.  Come Feb. 7, 2015 I am going to set Anki at five new words a day and continue to do that aspect of my Chinese learning every day.  I figure that within a week or so, I will be under ten minutes a day.  I will continue to adjust my word count until I am consistently doing between five and ten minutes a day.  I assume I will drop some from my level of Chinese at the end of this project because I am going from studying over an hour a night to less than ten minutes a night.  It will, however, act as a prophylactic against losing all of the language I've learned and re-learned over the course of the project.

For the past week, I have continued to be good with doing my Anki deck every night.  I have also kept up with listening to one of the CCTV lessons.  I have not used Chinese Skill as much as I would have liked because it is getting more buggy as it gets closer to the end.  The longer sentences of the later lessons make it more difficult to accurately translate according to the app and I have died several times based on the English wording I have used. 

Of course, the challenge lies in, as the title suggests, keeping it going during the holidays.  I'll be away from home most of the next week, so I will let you know how the studying goes. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sharing My Little Blog With the World

Last week, I was feeling drained and at a loss for motivation.  I was in a bit of a rut with my Chinese studying and with this blog.  How did I address this?  I shared my language learning mission on the forum of Fluent in 3 Months.  I provided a link to my review of Chinese resources, which I need to update because I have used some additional resources that I have opinions about.

What happened when I shared my mission?  I got some encouragement from readers of that site and and added a few readers to this site.  I still feel a bit overwhelmed with work and family and my project.  I now have a few people following me that I don't want to let down so I've picked up the pace with my Chinese studies and am making sure that I keep up my blogging obligations I set for myself.

So thank you readers for keeping me on track.  It feels good to know there are a few people in the world that will take the time to follow me on my personal quest.  I hope that you find this blog either: a) informative, b) inspirational, c) entertaining, or d) a combination of all of the above. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

A look back. A look ahead.

Hi all,

Now that I have completed a little over a month of my project, I think it is time to reflect on what I have accomplished and where I have to go.

What I’ve done:

  1. Studied every day;
  2. Put myself within striking distance of finishing Chinese Skill (which is a little more finicky  the closer I get to the end);
  3. Put myself within striking distance of finishing Travel in Chinese and Growing up with Chinese; and,
  4. Posted eight times to this blog in the first month.

What I need to do in month two:

  1. Make a recording of me speaking Chinese to give me something to mark my progress against;
  2. Get on Skype and develop a language exchange;
  3. Provide blog posts that are more substantive; and,
  4. Review Elements of Style and focus on improving my writing in my blog posts.

I would also like to go back to previous blog posts and clean them up.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

This week was a drag.

My family traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday.  While it was nice to get away and to see family, it did cause chaos with my project.  I anticipated the issue with updating blog posts and was able to post twice last week.  My post on resources that I’ve used to learn Chinese will need to be updated, but I did check the box. 

I intended to study using Anki and Chinese Skill each day on the trip.  I did manage to use Chinese skill every day, but I could not get Anki working on my ipad.  I watched Growing Up with Chinese on YouTube as well. 

Obviously I haven’t posted since I’ve gotten back home.  I also have not done too much studying.  I have picked back up on the Anki deck.  It was pretty backed up, but I caught up and it is now back to a usual level of review. 

I am going to play with posting today and hopefully make up for my lack of posting later today.  I plan to recap my first month of the project and figure out what I’ve done well and what I need to work on moving forward.