Learn Mandarin Day Two Field Notes
This is the post for Day Two of the Language Bug Learn Mandarin challenge. At the moment, you can view the first couple of entries here and here. I’ve also added tags to the posts and created a category page, so you can find them via numerous ways.
Later on in the project, I’ll add a link to the main menu.
Learn Mandarin Day Two: Issues to think about.
Thinking about tones is something that should be done pretty soon into the Mandarin learning process. That said, it’s best to concentrate on the IPA letter sounds first. Hence I didn’t mention tones yesterday. I’ll mention them briefly today, and concentrate on them further later.
Characters: I’m going to incorporate tones into the stories that I write for remembering the characters. It’s a round-about way of going about learning tones, but I’m only on day two. Besides, mnemonics aren’t supposed to be permanent.
Also, I’m going to use a Spaced Repetition / Flashcard system. I will write create these myself. Store bought/pre-made or downloaded flash cards simply aren’t as effective, because it’s so passive.
Learn Mandarin Day Two: Passive v. Active Learning
There is no problem with having sounds on in the background. Nor is there a problem with not fully being immersed at all times. I’m writing in English now. There is a tendency to assume that if you aren’t completely immersed, your memory won’t work. This isn’t accurate. This is something that Pimsleur and other audio programs are good for – you can listen once to get the new material, and then have it playing throughout the rest of your practice.
My ‘Learn Mandarin’ Progress Today (Day Two)
Learn Mandarin Day Two: Reading and Writing Mandarin
An extra 20 characters.
Revise the first ten characters from yesterday.
I now have a grand total of 30 mandarin characters in my head. I can recall at least 27 of them with no trouble. When revising, I have issues with ‘also’ ‘woman’ and ‘ladle,’ so I will create new mnemonic stories for them tomorrow. Below is a picture of my notepad; I write out the characters, go away for a few minutes, then come back and fill in columns two and three. At some point, I’ll concentrate on writing the characters a lot more accurately than here.
Learn Mandarin Day Two: Speaking and Listening
Flashcards with the IPA: Recapping all the sounds from yesterday.
Pimsleur: Recap Day One, Do Day Two. I write up all of the Pimsleur material, in PinYin currently. Even though the program says NOT to do this, I find it more efficient for recalling things throughout the day. I can then also read through my notes the next morning, and thus avoid the first couple of Pimsleur minutes where it feels as though I’m treading water as opposed to actually getting to learn Mandarin.
Learn Mandarin Day Two: In Conclusion and Points for Day Three.
All is going well so far. My grand total time spent on my Learn Mandarin project for the day was one hour and fifty minutes. That was two sessions of Pimsleur, mnemonically recalling the IPA, and finally fifty minutes of recapping and learning new characters.
At some point, I will have to spend more time on the characters. I can recognise them efficiently, but writing them from memory is something I’m not strong on. However, it’s only day two. Hopefully once I become familiar with reading, recalling them to write will be easier. The only other aspect is stroke order, which I’m going to notate on the flashcards.