I use this site as a method of study. I have many methods I use to study as do other poddies.
Learning a second language, not easy hey. Well, give me Italian and I would probably say different. Although I dont know Italian I reckon it'd be a sinch compared to Chinese written language and Mandarin spoken dialect. Why? well it's obvious really. I grew up in a household where half the people I knew spoke Italian, the intonation nuances are still with me today, although, 操 me if I can remember learning it through a pronunciation book. Go figure.
My 口语is pretty good, I get by with most topics but get stuck here and there with specific nouns and verb usage sometimes. Verb tense is also the most difficult to learn for Chinese learners of English.
I don't get into analysing words to death or analysing too much of what I hear or read. Death by analysis, you know the sort of thing.Instead I just prefer to mimick. Yep, like children do. Don't ask, just do.
Children have an amazing faculty for learning language. I bet you can't remember a thing about learning to talk!
Herein lies a secret to learning faster. Rather than buring your head in books and analysis, try to focus more on your natural instinct to learn, without a book. Difficult for those studying at home in westernville, a good text or formal study program is essential. However, your efforts are not in vein. Once submerged in an optimal environment those words you learn will begin to flow in about a year or so, after your listening skills develop of course.
Think for a minute, a child of 5 begins first grade but is already fluent in his or her first language . Grammar is learned by listening, syntax is learned by listening, words are learned by listening. It sinks in, then is able to be regurgitated. When we go to school we learn how to express our thoughts and what we want to say on paper, not before.
That's why I pay to be here, to listen and learn. The same reason I watch boring ole China TV programs. Thank 操 Chinese movies are far from the lofty heights of tv.
One would reason that because we are older and have books and dictionaries to resort to we should learn faster. However, although books and dictionaries are necessary for adult learners, doesn't mean we can be lazy and ignore our basic instincts for learning, through our sense of listening and watching others reaction to what is said.
And for those not acquainted with China, for the far majority of Chinese, Mandarin is their second language. They learn it at school, are tested in every subject bar English with it. However, the one thing going for the locals learning Mandarin is a complete environment. Still, it takes the average Chinese 12 years to pass the 联考 for 语文。 耐人寻味。
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