Every year around this time I post an introspection on my Chinese study. This is the start of my fifth year with Cpod. I had studied three years before I found Cpod, using various sources, but I have never had any formal classes. I also have only taken short trips to Greater China. The rest of the time, I live in an English speaking environment. None-the-less, my goal is to become fluent in Chinese. Consider it a gias that was placed upon me.
I have kept current with Cpod lessons as they have come out. So, I can still claim that I have studied every lesson that is in the archive, at one time or another.
The nut I am currently trying to crack is to be able to understand the advanced lessons without resorting to reading the transcript. After reading the transcript and listening a few times, I can follow the dialog and lesson banter with little difficulty, but before reading the transcript there are always some gaps that I just can't piece together on my own. Sometimes that is also true of UI lessons.
Last year is the first year that I have systematically augmented the input I get from Cpod, because it is not enough to fill my available study time. For that I have been reading a novel 《奋斗》。 I picked it because I have a DVD with the corresponding TV series and a friend sent me an electronic version of the novel. I have gotten kind of bored with the plot, but the writing is fairly eligant. So, I am getting lots of new vocabulary from it. David's series about 《麻花辫儿》 exhibitted similar literary tendencies, but was too short to get bored with the plot.
I took advantage of a promotion and am using the Guided subscription level. It is very helpful, but ten minutes of speaking practice a week is not enough to get to verbal fluency.
I still find that Intermediate lessons and Qing Wen are helpful. They often include grammar tips that complete my understanding of a usage pattern and usually a word or two of new vocabulary.
When I started with Cpod, the Intermediate lessons were challenging.
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