Mandarin Learning Project Day Four

It’s Day Four of the Mandarin Learning Project. By now, you’ll know that previous entries can be found via the tags at the bottom of each post, or by the Language Learning Project category page. For those who are interested, I’m building a collection of my own handwritten notes, some of which you can view on the Language Bug instagram.

Goals for the Day’s Mandarin Learning – Day Four

Goals for the Day’s Mandarin Learning; Reading and Writing

I managed to learn around thirty characters yesterday. I wrote out thirty more, but I lost the ability to recall the ones that were new to me after the 30 point. As such, today will be about recapping those characters for a grand total of ninety – three characters. I’ll also learn a conservative seven more, just so I can say I’ve learned an average 100 characters in four days.
So far, the recall has worked fine and I can remember all the characters from Day One. This will get tougher as I amass more characters, and so it’s best to spend time drilling them down.
As far as writing, I’m going back to school today. The way I write the characters for reading comprehension and flash cards is sloppy. As such, I am going to re-enact a handwriting class and write the characters across the lines. I’ll post the photo here as an example.

Goals for the Day’s Mandarin Learning; Speaking and Listening

I am finding that Pimsleur doesn’t cover enough material. In the half hour lesson, you’ll learn the equivalent of five sentences or so. Whilst you can put the material together in different ways. For instance;
“I can speak Chinese.”
“I can’t speak Chinese.”
“I can understand Chinese”
“I can understand Chinese but I can’t speak Chinese.”
All of these sentences are formed with the one sentence, “I can speak Chinese,” with the addition of the words “but” and “understand.” This is great, because you’re learning sentence construction by osmosis. However, most of the lesson is based around spaced repetition, so most of the 30 minute session is recalling things you already know.
So, I’m going to continue listening to the previous day’s session, but I’m going to speed it up using Window Media Player’s option. I’m then going to do the same with the new material, and slow it down for new material. This will also help me Mandarin Learning because in a real life situation, we have to recall words quickly – more quickly and efficiently than when we’re practising with a tape recorder.

Mandarin Learning Day Four Conclusion and Stuff for Day Five

When using a mnemonics system, or even rote learning, the issue isn’t about how many characters you can learn in a short space of time. Most people tragically underestimate their capacity for learning new things. The issue is reconciling and keeping it all in once it’s there. With the Mandarin Learning project thus far, keeping all the characters in mind for immediate recall is the technically trickiest part. As such, today and Day Five are going to be focused on slowing down the new character learning and making sure everything that has gone in, stays in.
Tomorrow’s goals are going to take this to the next level on the language bug method: We’re going to use all the characters learned thus far to start building very simple sentences. This’ll be no more than “I am English”, and “I am upright.” The important thing is that these things get used. The one key to memorisation is that the brain will retain something useful. It will abandon what isn’t relevant.

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