Tuesday, September 30, 2014

90 Day Language Learning Challenge: Mandarin Chinese - Day 6

I hope this starts getting easier soon!

Seriously, this challenge is going to melt my brain into goo before the year is up.  Pimsleur taught me a few cool things, and I wrote down most of what I learned in this lesson today:

Would you like to eat something
No, but I would like to drink something
Yes, I would like to eat something
I don't understand what you are saying
I don't speak well
Where is Long Peace Street?
Do you know?
No, I don't know.
Not located here
Not located there
Where do you want to go to eat? Ni xiang qu nar chi?
My place (wo nar)
I would like to go to your place to eat.
I also would like that.  (ye)
when? (shenme shihou)
now (xian zai)
When would you like to eat?
later (guo yi hua'er)

There are other things as well, but this was mainly what was taught.  Memrise is a really great tool, but it is probably the most challenging, tedious, and time consuming portion of my study.  My hope is that I will be able to do some more enjoyable things with my learning once I know a little more vocabulary (ie. watch movies, read books, etc.).  Here is my current progress in Memrise thus far:

Check the video below to see me fail miserably at speaking.  Good times.

Monday, September 29, 2014

My Daughter the Language Learner

I have been borrowing Mandarin learning materials from the local library like a mad man lately.  One of the things that I borrowed was a video for kids called Learn & Play with Mei Mei.  Imagine a Mr. Rogers type show but teaching Mandarin to little kids.  It's fun and all four of my kids watch it from seven years old down to two years old.

At the dinner table tonight, we thought our youngest daughter, Morrow, was singing a song while she ate.  We were wrong.  She was actually counting from 1-10 in Mandarin!  She can't even count from 1-10 in English yet, at least I don't think she can.  Maybe she's holding out on us.  Anyway, I wanted to try and get her to do it on video so we could remember her skills.  She's cute either way.

90 Day Language Learning Challenge: Mandarin Chinese - Day 5

I decided to try to get my language learning done in the morning while I was feeling a bit more energetic and that was a good idea.  I don't know if I would have made it through Memrise otherwise.  I did charactes 275-300 today both for the English translation and the pinyin.  This was a beautiful sight to see...

I am realizing that I tend to mess up characters that look very similar.  I am sure that quite a few people have that problem, but it really bothers me.  One stroke added and it's a completely different word!  Anyway, Memrise is always a bit of a slog, but feels good when I finish it each day.

Pimsleur added a bit more today, this time introducing the word 想 (xiang3) which means to think, or to like to.  The sentences that were practiced in the lesson were ones like 你想吃一点儿东西吗? 我不想,可是我想喝一点儿东西。 Basically, that means, Do you want something to eat?  I don't, but I would like something to drink.  Chinese is interesting in that it can be very complicated, but very simple at the same time.  It's tricky like that.  More tomorrow!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

90 Day Language Learning Challenge: Mandarin Chinese - Day 4

This was a rough one today.  Pimsleur changed it up on me and added quite a bit of voacbulary, some of which I knew, but some that I didn't or was of a different dialect than what I had learned.  Not a huge deal, but I always disliked Northern dialects, specifically because of the "-er" at the end of some words.  It just sounds weird to me.

On top of that, Memrise was hard today as well.  Oh well, it should only get easier...right?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Help me RescueTime, you're my only hope...

Tim Challies recently posted some helpful apps and tools he uses from time to time in helping stay organized and on task.  One of the tools he mentioned is called RescueTime.  Basically, it keeps track of what websites you go to and what software you use during the day.  The kicker is that it tracks how long you are doing those things and at the end of the week, sends you an email telling you how bad good that you did.  You can also look at the dashboard on the RescueTime site to see how things are progressing.
It will be good to have accountability in this area since I now work from home.  The free version only tracks what you do on your computer, but the premium version allows you to track other things as well.  I'm sticking with free for now, but here's hoping I see some improvement in not being as easily distracted.

90 Day Language Learning Challenge: Mandarin Chinese - Day 3

I have reached day 3 and things are progressing well.  My current plan is to do one unit of Pimlseur, followed by two units of Memrise each day.  Why two units of Memrise?  In the vocab list that I am using they do twenty-five words at a time, but it is broken up into two sections: Character to English and then Character to Pinyin.  It is a lot of work doing two in one sitting, but I think it's the best way to move forward right now.  I have an app on my iPhone called ChineseSkill which is a Duolingo rip off, but it's free and works great.  I also have an app by Mindsnacks called Learn Chinese which I have used before, but even though the games are fun, I seem to go through it very slowly.  We'll see what happens as the days continue.

I am really looking forward to tracking my progress here.  Hopefully I get better and better.

Friday, September 26, 2014

90 Day Language Learning Challenge: Mandarin Chinese - Day 2

Day 2 is complete.  Mostly refresher stuff.  Nothing new so far, but it's still really helpful.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

90 Day Language Learning Challenge: Mandarin Chinese - Day 1

I really want to become better at speaking, reading, and writing Mandarin Chinese. Time to challenge myself and get my act together!  Video explains the plan.

Return of the Blog

I am going to keep this short and sweet. The old blog is out, behold the new has come!