10 ways to succeed

June 25, 2010, 04:13 PM posted in General Discussion
10 ways you are most likely to succeed at Chinese: 1. Keep a small notebook; write down everything you think might be useful. 2. Get a one-on-one teacher to do your homework for you, hang the expense. 3. Find aChinese girlfriend/boyfriend. 4. Occupy a Chinese hospital bed for about six months. 5. Go to China – helps a lot. 6. Use a paper dictionary, but check what it says with a native-speaker. 7. And an electronic dictionary; carry it everywhere. 8. Lose any sense of embarrassment. 9. Listen to ChinesePod. 10. Have some Chinese genes. :-)
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June 26, 2010, 05:09 AM

Okay, there are more than 10 ways. 

I bought a phrase book written for Chinese people learning English (临时急需一句话).  At first I thought this was a novelty - pinyin is used to guide the Chinese in their pronunciation of English.  Very comical.  They are taught this way in school too - some of you will have experienced the results.  

But then I realised that the Chinese is actually natural Chinese.  Phrase books written for native English speakers have a lot of Chinese translations of what English speakers say - sometimes it just doesn't work.  (The Lonely Planet phrase book is very good - native speakers I trust say that it is about 50% useful. Not bad really, but how do you know the 50% that works?)

Anyway, this phrasebook, full of natural Chinese phrases, cost 7 RMB on special, because it is a 2007 edition.  But if I can speak 2007 edition Chinese I will consider that a success.