I'm a very visual language learner and reading, reading and yet more reading has always been my preferred method to expand my vocabulary and reinforce my feeling for the structure of the language in question. When I started studying Chinese I quickly found out that was not the way to do it and if I hadn't found CPod I would probably never have gotten as far as I am today. Right now I'm in my third month of listening to the intermediate lessons and while I'm far from being able to speak at that level or even understanding everything, I've still managed to pick up quite a few characters.
Realising this I decided to have a look at the local library's selection of books in mandarin and began ordering different children's books. Much to my surprise I discovered that I'm able to get the gist of most texts and that I'm sometimes able to read large chunks without even using a dictionary. Being able to read the following dialogue has been a great triumph! :-)
Of course getting to really understand the whole text still takes a lot of work using the dictionary but with these books the number of unknown characters is manageable and the phrases are pretty straight forward to parse. In the end I find it's really worth the effort. Not only am I testing my character recognizing skills, I'm also getting a better understanding of many things I've already met in the podcasts. The use of 的, 得 and 地 has become a lot clearer and I'm beginning to understand the difference between using 着 and 在, just to mention a few examples.
The books I've been using are illustrated collections of fairytales and fables directed at children from the age of 5 and up. They sometimes come with a CD or DVD where the text is being read but i haven't been using them very much because they usually don't work having passed through too many hands. The one I'm currently reading is 影响孩子一生的童话 by 孙艳秋. (ISBN 7-104-01977-4)What about you guys? Are you reading, and if so, what? What has become clearer to you because of reading?
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