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Chinese Learning Software

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Re: Chinese Learning Software

Postby Mother Theresa » 02 Mar 2010, 06:20

Norm, thanks for the great comments above.

Joesox wrote:Rosetta Stone is pretty good if you persevere with it. Little and often is the key, as it can feel a bit tedious if you do too much in one go.


Amen. I've plugging along steadily at it, but I keep wondering if I made a mistake and am redoing lessons I already did, because I keep seeing the same cards over and over and over and over and over. But I'm almost certain it is moving along, albeit very slowly. But that's probably good as I'd like to work it enough that it will really stick this time and I think a bit of overkill may be needed for that. I still like the look and feel of the program a lot; just finding one gets to look at and feel the same cards/words/concepts a LOT.

Ok, back to RS. See ya.

EDIT: Of course, part of the reason it feels so repetitive may be because I started at lesson 1. Perhaps it will feel more challenging as I progress to later lessons.

Ok, now it's really time to return to RS. Bye bye.
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Re: Chinese Learning Software

Postby Dragonbones » 02 Mar 2010, 09:44

BTW, over-learning (repetition even after you've already learned something) will lengthen the period over which you can retain it.
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Re: Chinese Learning Software

Postby drifter » 02 Mar 2010, 13:14

I've been doing RS for a few weeks preparing for my vacation in Taiwan. At this point it hasn't taught me much useful conversational phrases but more than anything else I retain the knowledge and I develop an ear for hearing tones and structure. I agree that the lack of exact definitions can be frustrating and that the program ultimately was/is designed for Romanized languages. Sometimes I actually like the lack of definitions, it forces your intuitive brain to make the leap and figure things out yourself, resulting in a feeling that you are actually learning something that will stick with you.

However you look at it, learning a language is like going on a diet to lose 300lbs. No one method is going to work the entire time. You have to make it work, and you have to stick to it, and only you, not a program, textbook, or teacher, can make it happen.
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Re: Chinese Learning Software

Postby Mother Theresa » 02 Mar 2010, 13:16

drifter wrote:However you look at it, learning a language is like going on a diet to lose 300lbs. No one method is going to work the entire time. You have to make it work, and you have to stick to it, and only you, not a program, textbook, or teacher, can make it happen.


and it will be a freakin' miracle if you actually succeed.
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Re: Chinese Learning Software

Postby bob » 02 Mar 2010, 13:20

MT did you ever get a tape recorder?

I feel like a nag asking but I gotta know.
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Re: Chinese Learning Software

Postby Mother Theresa » 02 Mar 2010, 13:23

:oops:


But don't take it personally; there's lots of other things I should've done but didn't.

Actually, I do have an iPhone and I've seen a very handy microphone attachment one can get for it and one of these days I intend to get it.
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Re: Chinese Learning Software

Postby bob » 02 Mar 2010, 14:06

I probably use one more than anyone else so it might be of some interest to hear what I'm doing with mine at this point....

Weekends with the wife are supposed to be in Chinese but there's no way I can actually do that, of course, so everytime I can't say something I ask her to say it into the tape recorder. No "shame interval" where I'm embarrased that I can't say something so simple. If I can't say it, or can't say it with a native lilt I get her to say it, once if it's easy, a few more times if it's more difficult.

That's it.

Easy peasy. When I'm walking somewhere I listen to it.

Because it is precisely what I want to learn I'm motivated.

In the past I got her to say the tones and I wrote the stuff out but can't be bothered to do that much anymore. I also used to try to write stories but don't want to bother "her" too much either. If I had a tutor I would get her to work on stories related to my life and write it all down with tones. Then I'd tape record it with her correcting my pronunciation and again with just her. It is REALLY important IMHO that you like both your teacher and the sound of her voice.

If you can get her to run you through the language circle that would be perfect because (for one reason) it creates a bit of tension on the tape.

Building up sentences is also good, for learning the grammar and for giving enough meaningful repititions.

I teach English using almost exactly the methods that I'm describing here. Some people take to it and improve beyond anyone's expectations. Really remarkable. Other's reject it for no logical reason I can determine and, in my experience, don't do so well.

With older students (I tend to teach older people - some in their fifties) my impression is that this is about their only hope.
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Re: Chinese Learning Software

Postby normZurawski » 03 Mar 2010, 08:24

Mother Theresa wrote:Actually, I do have an iPhone...


It may or may not be useful, but Flashcard Touch is free right now. I DL'd it but haven't really done anything with it yet. Figure nothing ventured nothing gained, or something to that effect.

I've always wondered if movies would help, or hurt, the effort. Either Chinese with English subtitles (Crouching Tiger...) or a standard English movie in Chinese, like Blazing Saddles where I almost have the movie memorized from watching it over the years. I'm getting visions of the Japanese guy in Better Off Dead though :)

Also, am I wasting my time trying to find a radio station (or stations) that will help?

Sorry if I missed a resources sticky. I did look and couldn't find anything.
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Re: Chinese Learning Software

Postby itakitez » 03 Mar 2010, 08:39

drifter wrote: I agree that the lack of exact definitions can be frustrating and that the program ultimately was/is designed for Romanized languages. Sometimes I actually like the lack of definitions, it forces your intuitive brain to make the leap and figure things out yourself, resulting in a feeling that you are actually learning something that will stick with you.


My understanding was that this is actually the way RS helps you learn - it doesnt just say red - hong, blue ... since each word may have more than one meaning (redfaced, red with anger, reddies, ...) instead it shows the meaning of a word in context and makes you conceptualize the language as you learn so impriving retention and avoiding errors, ie, "all of the world (todo el mundo/shijie)"
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Re: Chinese Learning Software

Postby ironlady » 03 Mar 2010, 21:32

That would be great, if one picture = one concept. But different people look at different pictures and see different things or different focal points, not necessarily what the publisher thought was the only/obvious focal point. And the pictures are re-used throughout the life of the software, too, which complicates things further. It's uncomplicated when the picture is a red blob meaning "red", but when there's a picture of a man standing next to a red airplane, what is the sentence saying? Its it about the color, the position, the actor, the relationship between the two, an action that is implied?

For example, if I remember correctly, the same picture stands for "one woman" and "she is wearing a bathing suit" on the Mohawk RS (or something like that). I was reasonably certain we were talking about "one woman" for the first time, but the second time, it was tough to tell -- was it the glasses? The position she was in? I never even *thought* about the bathing suit -- mostly because I certainly didn't expect to learn the word "bathing suit" in Lesson 1 of a language program (the fact that Mohawk uses different incorporated forms with verb-noun combinations for wearing different pieces of clothing totally aside -- again, RS's intent was probably "Oh, "wear + Item-of-clothing" is pretty easy", which it is in some languages. But it's sloppy to assume that all languages are best taught in the same order.)

I've probably said before, I've learned more from RS by stripping out the mp3 files, inserting the English (available on RS web site for English programs) into the "lyrics" field on my iPod for each utterance, and playing them on shuffle setting. At least then you get the randomness and you definitely know what's being said. The usefulness of the language can be debated (IRL I rarely comment on the fact that a boy is sitting on an airplane, or that two children are jumping) but it's easier to get the frequent aural repetition with an ability to check the precise meaning that way. But after using the product for awhile, both ways, I'm still unable to have any kind of meaningful exchange, and I'm a pretty experienced language learner.

If you absolutely, positively cannot get anyone to teach you a language, RS is probably no better and no worse than any other self-study program, and at least it's visually interesting and has the "this is cool tech" advantage. But if you're living surrounded by native speakers, I'd really recommend teaching one of them to teach you the way you want to be taught. Even the mere fact that the content will be related to your actual life will help immeasurably. Otherwise you need to buy airplanes and yellow cars really fast. :D
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