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Say It Right Series

Prioritizing Vocabulary Study

Posted by geleise January 27, 2014 in the Group General Discussion.

Hi all,

I believe the creators of ChinesePod have placed limits on what grammar structures and vocabulary are introduced in each level. I wonder if anyone knows any more information?

For instance, I discovered that Newbie and Elementary levels each tend to have a "bank" of acceptable grammar structures so the lesson never exceeds the level of the student taking it.

I wonder if this is also true for vocabulary? I did notice that more-complicated verb constructions were omitted until Intermediate level. And perhaps some other simplifications were preferred as well in earlier levels (红色的 being more likely to appear than, say, 粉红色的). However, if there are any other patterns I am having trouble discovering them. Is there any information about this? I tried looking through the forums. Maybe someone has even made word lists by level?

In particular it does seem that specialized vocabulary is often introduced, even in the Newbie lessons, to ensure a wider variety of interesting content. I have about 8,000 vocabulary flashcards in my deck, and don't expect to study Chinese full-time for more than 3 additional months, so I am trying to prioritize the selection of words to study. In the beginning I added all new words to my deck but I am now trying to avoid wasting time by learning words that contribute to the lesson content but which don't really benefit me later. For instance, I may never go to 闵行区 and I almost certainly will never need to use it in a conversation.

Cutting to the chase: does anyone have any suggestions for prioritizing the study of words? I found an excellent 汉字 list, sorted by frequency, which was very helpful in figuring out which characters are high-impact. How can I apply this idea when I study words in general? I want to be functional as soon as possible so sometimes it makes sense to avoid studying words which are not very useful. Do I just use my judgment and ask myself, "How often do I need to use this word?" Or does anyone have any other ideas?

Thanks!

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