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Chinese proficiency report 16

This is a report detailing my progress towards the goals I specified in January 2012. This won’t be a traditional proficiency report, because it’s primarily an evaluation of the goals mentioned above rather than an assessment of my overall proficiency in Chinese. I will start with a chart summarising the data, then move on to commenting the different categories and finally round off with a brief discussion.

This is what I’ve achieved in March and April:

Number of hours spent practising various aspects of the Chinese language in March and April, 2012. The total number of hours is 448 which gives an average of 7 hours and 20 minutes per day, including weekends, holidays, my birthday and so on. Remember that we’re talking about pure study time here; breaks, transportation and similar things don’t count. Studying means anything that I consider to be studying Chinese, but which isn’t covered by the other areas (speaking, thesis writing, etc.). Administration means things necessary to study, but which isn’t studying itself (finding suitable audio material, writing this article).

Last time, I repeated all the goals and provided some information about progress for each of them. I’ve found that to be impractical and time-consuming, so I have decided to update the original post instead. That means that you should check here if you want to see how I’m doing on a more detailed level. The rest of this post will be about the bigger picture. Here are a few insights:

  • What I’m doing now is not enough – The things that aren’t counted in hours (such as writing my thesis or managing Hacking Chinese) takes much more time than I thought. Thus, completing the goals involving huge volumes of time (reading, listening, writing) will not be possible if I continue at this rate.
  • The goals are harder than I thought – I think that I have underestimated the time it takes to complete the goals on this list. I thought that eight hours a day would be enough, but I think that’s not the case. I think the true number is above 12 hours per day, which is inhuman in the long run. I don’t know how to handle this yet. I haven’t given up, though, I just need to plan my damage control.
  • March was a catastrophe – Sure, I applied for universities and a scholarship, but I hardly did anything else. Adding a week of relaxing in April meant that I achieved about as much on the reading, listening, writing front in March and April as I did in February alone. That’s not very good.
  • Satisfying overall output – That being said, I still think the overall output is acceptable. I was fairly close to eight hours a day, which is what I planned. I will keep being satisfied as long as I spend at least eight hours a day studying Chinese or doing things related to studying. It won’t allow me to reach all goals, but I’ll just have to accept that.
  • The previous few weeks were quite good – One summary for two months makes it look like I haven’t done much at all, but I’ve actually done much more reading, listening and writing recently. If I extrapolate the hours from these weeks, the future looks quite bright after all.
  • The summer contains fewer obligations – May will most likely be the last month when I have any serious obligations related to my education. During the summer, I will have lots of time and almost no fixed duties. The potential to study Chinese is enormous, even though Chinese will have to compete with unicycling, volleyball and much more!

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  1. Sara’s avatar

    Wow, almost more than 7 hours studying Chinese per day. That’s a lot! And I’m studying full-time in China, but still couldn’t do that every single day.


    1. Olle Linge’s avatar

      I think it’s possible because I include activities of very different kinds. Writing about Chinese phonology and practising listening are two very different things and therefore a lot easier to combine. Writing articles for Hacking Chinese, memorising ???, correcting old articles written in Chinese and discussing vocabulary use with a friend are also quite different. If it was pure [insert given activity here], eight hours would be impossible to keep up!