posted by jaq.james on October 4, 2016 | 4 comments
I'm not sure how big the PopUp Chinese community is, but I thought I'd just start this thread in case some users wish to contribute.I will preface this comment with the fact that I'm not complaining... I'm just curious to know how many other elementary users have had trouble keeping up with the pace of the recordings? I found it quite difficult, often. But I think it's because these podcasts need to be tackled in layers. For example, I just finished listening to all the elementary podcasts, focusing on grammar and will, next, focus on memorising all the new vocabulary (with the help of Skritter because I also want to simultaneously learn the characters). After that , I plan to go back for many more listens to the podcasts to get a better feel for the "music" of the language, along with trying to quicken my comprehension speed (that is, trying to break the habit of always translating into English). It's going to be a long road to achieve the fluency I'm after, but the great thing is that PopUp Chinese doesn't wrap us up in wool, but send us out there into the real Chinese world. When I do feel like being comforted by a bit of wool, I will go back to listening to my old recordings of ChinesePod (which are usually slower and not so "natural" sounding). I thinking switching between the two services are useful. Ultimately, I'm prepared to sacrifice speed in my early improvement stages if slowing down in order to be thorough means I have solid foundation stones that will quicken the learning process later on. Does anyone else have any learning strategies for listening skills? I feel this is the most important macro-skill of all.
My strategy is based on the assumption that what matters for listening comprehension is quantity of exposure to material that is just above one's level (when it's too advanced for you it's just noise). Not sure if you're a subscriber, if so you already know that when you download the entire set of MP3 files, it comes with shortened versions with just the Chinese dialogue. A few weeks ago, I put these on shuffle and listen to a couple dozen Elementary level dialogues per day during my commute. I have noticed improvement in my listening skill. Also, over lunch I carefully study the material for one or two podcasts, as prep for later listening.
Speaking is a good way of improving your listening skills, sounds counterintuitive, but it really works. Apart from that, you just need to listen to it again and again, until you're sick of it and can do it in your sleep. And then listen a few more times. It's the only way - you need to get it ground into your brain.
I would listen to shorter segments as kwgodin suggested, but still at a natural speed. I think by listening to slower versions, you are training your brain to get used to the slower pace. You don't want that.
I watch Chinese soap operas (called 'dramas', but they're soaps :) ) Not sure if this is the right time for this for you or not. I started when I was at an intermediate level. But I like that the story holds my interest and the rhythm of speaking seems to seep into my brain more easily. Most dramas also have the characters CC which helps me with understanding. You can just google Chinese dramas or whatever type movie you like on YouTube.--grum