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Chinese Proficiency Report 17

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 May:

Number of hours spent practising various aspects of the Chinese language in May, 2012. The total number of hours is 289 which gives an average of 9 hours and 20 minutes per day, including weekends, holidays and so on. “Studying” means anything that I consider to be studying Chinese, but which isn’t covered by the other areas (speaking practise, thesis writing, reading books about Chinese in English etc.). Administration means things necessary for studying, but which isn’t studying in itself (finding suitable audio material, writing this article).

Things that went well in May

As you can see, I spent quite a lot of time studying, mostly because I found proper routines for listening and writing. I wrote a total of 32 articles on Lang-8 in May, not all of them very long (usually a few paragraphs), but this feels incredibly good. I wrote much in April too, because of the course in modern Chinese literature I took earlier this year, but this month’s writing is in a way worth much more, because it was the result of my own determination and not externally applied pressure. I’ve been lazy with 道德經 before, but during this month I finally picked it up again and reviewed the first 20 chapters. I now feel ready to move on.

Things I need to improve in June

In general, I’m quite satisfied with how things are going, but there are some things that need to be improved:

  • Read more. Much more. I hardly opened a book in Chinese last month. For June, I plan to spend at least three hours per day reading. It doesn’t really matter what it is and I plan to split the time between reading grammar (漢語語法), junior high school textbooks (國文), news and novels. I need this both to improve speed and to consolidate vocabulary.
  • Spend less time on Hacking Chinese maintenance. Right now I spend quite a lot of time with Hacking Chinese. I think the minimum maintenance (writing one article per week, maintaining a stream of tweets, writing newsletters and reading relevant new articles) could be managed in about 7 hours/week.
  • Spend more time writing articles and books. I have many things I want to write, some of them related to Hacking Chinese (note that I wrote “maintenance” above). I have spare time to invest now and during the summer, so it would be a pity to waste this opportunity.
  • Resume vocabulary acquisition. Since I haven’t read much and haven’t dedicated much time to learn vocabulary, my Anki deck is still around the 21000 mark (21118 more precisely). I have some 400 individual characters queued up for learning, along with roughly as many new words. I should have reached 22000 before the end of June.

That’s it for the time being. Next month, I will provide a more detailed update on how I’m doing with the individual goals specified in January. See you then!

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  1. Sara K.’s avatar

    I’m right now reading ???? (novel). It is an easy read (well, it’s easy for *me* because it’s easier than some of the other novels I’ve read in Chinese), and fast-moving – the story almost never drags.

    As the title implies, it’s about two main characters – ??? and ??. ?? is the son of a prostitute, so he grows up in a brothel. One day, he learns that his mother is also the leader of a secret, all-female martial arts group, and that they have to hide themselves because of some powerful enemy. One day, ?? comes home to see his mother and her followers have been brutally murdered. Meanwhile, ??? is the third son of the two most respected martial artists of the era, One day, he finds out that the girl he’s in love with is going to marry his his older brother, so ??? runs away from home and wanders around ??. I am not making this sound that fascinating, but trust me, this is a gripping novel, with lots of suspense and twists – and of course, ?? and ??? stories are tied together.