Interaction with ChinesePod
Today is my first day using this language program and I'm a little unclear on how I'm suppose to use and interact with it. I have no exposure to Chinese beyond a take-out menu. Am I suppose to repeat the things are being said in a lession? Is lesson 1656 "Long Time No See" in Complimentary ChinesePod Course the most Newbie-est lesson there is?
anthony93July 24, 2012, 02:58 AM
Hey! I'm sure one of the more expirienced users/teachers will give you some great advice, but I love ChinesePod and here is what I have found useful:
I found it super beneficial to review the lessons on tones. A quick keyword search should bring you to them. A friend and Chinese teacher of mine once told me that Chinese is a musical language, the way a word is pronounced will change it's meaning. Exposing yourself to the tones (there are 5, including neutral tone) will force your mind to expand and accomodate them. Learning Chinese will only make you smarter!
That being said, I personally like to download all of the lessons. I listen to the newbie lessons and build my vocabulary for sure, but I also download the intermediate and advanced lessons. Even though I understand little, exposure to the tones sharpens my mind and recognition of them. I put them on my iPod and listen to them on my way to work and school.
Chinese uses the lexical approach (i'll include a wikipedia link) which builds upon memorization of set high frequency phrases. The approach is not that old, and the research is hazy, but it's working wonders for me.
"Long time no see" is the first lesson I listened to. Jenny and John are great (well, all the hosts are :P). The weekly culture shows also helps to give a break from the usual and also helps to elicit an interest in Chinese culture.
OK. That's alot, I know. If I don't stop myself I could go on for hours. Maybe I can help answer some more specific questions/concerns of yours? Hopefully John or another host will see your post, they will be able to provide you with more info, this is just my personal expirience, however they are the professionals.
Good luck, keep me updated, and welcome to ChinesePod!
jennyzhuJuly 24, 2012, 06:08 AM
Welcome to the site! I'll add to Anthony's great answer by saying that you might find this Daily Life Newbie Course helpful. It features some of the most essential language for a beginner. Pinyin (the Romanization systme of Chinese) is included in the first few units as well. Enjoy your studies!
rootJuly 24, 2012, 10:49 AM
I've found the best approach is to follow the Pimsleur guys' recommendation. If you are not familiar -- this means listen to the lessons one per day, and then to the review on day 1 (next day) and on day 5. When listening to review mp3, listen to the question ( in English ), say the word out loud in Chinese, listen to the correct answer, then (this is very important) say the word again, out loud. Both the saying it out loud, and repeating after the correct answer are very important points for memory. And, of course, as you say it the second time, do try and match the instructor pronunciation.
Don't fret if you don't remember every single word -- this is NOT a problem. Your target is remembering 80% of the words during the review. If you do make a mistake, or forget -- this means memory quality improvement is 5 times better than if you do remember!! So, hooray for forgetting!
This should be enough to get you through the first two levels, have fun!
I like your approach - though i would review lesson dialogues even more frequently. Id make a playlist pr the dialogues, and listen to the playlist nearly every day for about a month, and then every couple days for another month. The dialogues are so short, and its easy to do this in otherwise unused time (doing chores, walking somewhere, eating, etc). I found it really burned not only the vocab, but also all the grammer patterns, pronounciation, rythm, etc into my brain. It only got unwieldy once I started digesting large volumes of upper int and advanced, with the longer dialogues and adding many a day, the playlist got a couple of hours long...but even there i kept it going, as the dialogue review is so quick compared to initial study.
Although its not really based on study review principles, i still review many, many times my current ipod playlist ( more or less http://www.amazon.cn/有声•上下五千年/dp/B00118OIIA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343144533&sr=8-1 , which is an awesome 700 or so 5 to 10 minute long histoical stories, which i highly recomend to anyone at the cpod advanced level or above), as i like to repeat along with the recording in real time, and i can match the intontion and such better the more ive worked with it (and also ots hard not to fall behind the first couple of times)....in general, i think its often faster and more productive to review learned material, and it really is hard to d too much review.
+1 to what tingyun said. Listen, listen, listen! Listen until you're dreaming about the dialogues. I wasn't quite as structured as tingyun when starting out, but I do remember listing to those newbie lessons time and time again. I never consciously tried to memorize any of the dialogues, but even after 4 years, I could probably still recite many of them from memory. Out of anything I have done, I think this is what has helped me most with my pronunciation, especially intonation and rhythm.
One more agree from an old user here. When I first started using Chinesepod, I'd download as many newbie and elementary lessons as possible and just listen to them whenever I had to wait for train, do the dishes etc.
Then I had to take a break from learning Chinese and I think it's been 3 or 4 years since I really spend any time on it but recently I decided to take it up again. It's now been 10 days and everything is just snapping right back into where I left off. I'm pretty sure it's because all the basic patterns have been driven very hard into my head by listening to the dialogues and review lessons over and over again.
ye, I agree the dialog mp3's are very useful, and i have never quite figured out how to use them in a structured way. Just listening to them back - to -back is about the only way it makes sense. I usually try to cram as many of the review mp3's into the daily playlist, not to exceed the golden first half-hour per day. This doesn't leave much room for dialogues :( But this way dialogues big playlist you can just do once a month -- you can fit about 40 of them in a half-hour session, so it works out well ! And then the half-hour daily playlist should be sustainable for a long-term study. Now, if only there was an easy way in the ipad app to do all this scheduling, I would be so much further ahead ;)
and if you have more time in the day beyond the first half-hour, it does make a lot of sense to listen to dialogues in the background. The absorption quality is already way down anyway, so it's not too critical what you are listening to, as long as it just keeps refreshing. Good idea for the immersion !
I tend to believe most everyone can find an extra hour or so a day, when walking, brushing teeth, doing laundry, chores, driving, bathroom, shower, etc...that belief is strongly tied into my recomendation of daily dialogue review.
Hmm, you find your first half hour most productive? On the days when im not studying japanese, i tend to put 10-15 hours into some kind of chinese activity, and iI usually find the first few hours are the least productive. That probably has something to do with ot being that much of a morning person....though if i, say, study japanese for the morning and then turn to chinese in the afternoon, i still find i need a good hour rampup before i start heavy study, usually in this period i just jog while listenng to my audio files, or watch some tv or something. But im not really 'studying' anymore, i mean there is no vocab to memorize, so perhaps its a different issue, but i do find i speak, write, and read much smoother after a good hour or more of settling into the language.
Im curious, what is this first half hour you mention? Is there some research showing better vocab retention? The stuff i remember from psch 101 in college was mainly 'you best remember what you did first and last', and that has seemed to hold true with my japanese vocab work lately (the last few lessons at night in particular, i always remember perfectly). I am really curious, always looking for new things to try, and especially now that im spending all ths time learning beginer japanese (not entirely by choice, its a departmental requirement for students of chinese or korean history)
I think the pimsleur people mention it, and I remember hearing it from one other source, but I don't have it right now. Or maybe it just fits with my idea of how much time I can actually concentrate on learning per day, hard to say. And of course, noone ever said time beyond the first half-hour is not useful, just the ROI is a bit lower. And yes, this was for the period of active study of new material, rather than osmosis.
I am just hoping that I can invest this half-hour into different areas of study -- half hour of audio training here at CPod, half-hour of character typing practice, and later maybe half-hour of writing characters.
Hmm, I wonder if this might be the 'take short breaks or switch activities frequently' type of research. I do find that is often helpful. Though if that is what they are getting at, there it is not a daily limit but rather something you can reset over and over in the day.
lunettaJuly 24, 2012, 06:49 PM
Another trick I just remembered from when I started out. Once you've saved some vocabulary, you can go to your vocabulary and click on the little + sign next to a word. Then you'll get a list of other lessons where the word is included and you can see it in different contexts.
I used this to bookmark new lessons and really get to know the basic vocab and slowly get into more advanced structures and vocab.
The idea is to make sure that you understand about 70-80% of what is being said because then you'll not be overwhelmed by things you don't understand and you can actually concentrate on learning something from the 20-30% bit.
I also find that finding a good sampling of example sentences rather than just one example can be really helpful. For some reason (probably my browser) the plus icon doesn't work for me, but I have two other resources I use frequently to get sample sentences: Jukuu.com and nciku.com.
If you use the pro version of Hanping Chinese app on your smartphone, samples from these two sites (plus Yellowbridge, which I don't find as helpful for challenging words but is probably great for someone like richardjcuomo at a beginner's level) are actually integrated into the app.
I know the original question was about using CPod but on the specifics of example sentences I couldn't help from butting in .... ChinesePod is indispensable for providing lots of comprehensible input for me to absorb, but the paid version of the Hanping Chinese app is a heck of a lot of bang for a couple of bucks.
yea, the expansion pages never cover enough of the juicy lexis, and glossary search here is not that great :( I never find myself in the endless cycle of glossary-sentences-breakdown-glossary-sentences-breakdown-... anymore, except when using the now defunct CPod quickreview iphone app. That was the most awesome use of the content here, and I really wish they could bring it back. Been waiting 3 years, must be any day now somebody will wake up and finally figure out how to organize all this content here
anthony93July 25, 2012, 02:10 AM
So many good suggestions, i'm going to look into a few myself...
All of our brains are wired differently, it's just a matter of finding what works best for you. The Pimsleur style one intrigues me greatly...
glad to hear, I do fully recommend the Pimsleur starter kit, if only for the study method introduction, for example here http://goo.gl/jKM6z
just reading the instructions, and listening to the first few lessions on a daily basis has helped me a great deal to make sense of all the things being offered at CPod.