Ronny Post time 2012-1-9 08:19:46


This post was edited by Ronny at 2012-1-9 10:27

I think listening and comprehension are really the hardest part of learning any language.The below is written for beginners

I spent 10 years working with deaf children, and did not know any sign language when i first arrived, i studied the books, asked questions and after about 6 months had learned to sign quite well........but, when a deaf child signed to me i was often at a loss to keep up, the longer the conversation the less i understood what was being said. The problem was in thinking... of being able to read the signs as they were being used, What i found out was that i needed to see the signs like words in a book i was reading ( sign is a representation of english in this case, but could be any language) . when we read a book, we hear a voice saying those words, and so I realised that when i saw the signs i must hear the words in my head, after that my ability to sign increased a great deal, and i even moonlighted as a translator for deaf people, usually colledge students.
The point i am making here is that there is some simularity for learners of spoken languages. It is not exactly the same, you can't be proficient in a language if you hear an english word in your head when you hear another word in  Chinese for example, but, the thing of it is, you must cross that boundry of comprehension, when someone says "nihao 你好" to you, you must stop yourself saying " hello" to yourself, you must just reply " nihao 你好"  English must not enter your head. The difficulty in this at the beginning is profund, headache stuff for sure, and the ability to accomplish it is in direct proportion to your ability to practice with others, to be in a position to listen, to question, to use the language your learning, failing these things, it is very difficult to progress, but, there are other ways to do it, language immersion is the key, and if you do not have a patient friend or one that is not desparately trying to learn english etc. then your best alternative, is reading books, watching movies, listening to music, watching tv, talking to yourself, chatting on qq etc, you cannot learn a language effectively from a book ( ok some lucky few can) or even formal classes( yes if you spend a few years in class you can be efficient at it), at some point you must immerse yourself in the language. This part of learning the language is in my mind one of the hardest things( yes harder than tones.......maybe lol) , it is the " great wall" that separates us from each other.

Anyway, good luck.

Ronny Post time 2012-1-9 08:24:10

This post was edited by Ronny at 2012-1-9 10:31

Many of my Chinese friends that speak english quite well still have trouble listening unless i speak slower( i even drop my Aussie accent, speaking as nuetrally as possible) I always suggest they should watch English movies without subtitles, and watch the same few movies over and over until they can get every word without effort, then choose some new movies to see how well they are doing. I do suggest other things too, but a movie is your prisoner, you can make it repeat over and over again, pause rewind etc, friends will want to escape this torture, but a movie..... hehe it has no choice.My home is often filled with some chinese music, usually a girl singing because i like their voice, i do it so that hearing chinese is not so foreign to my mind, understanding all the words is not the most important here, it is recognising the words structure, i sometimes try to type them out to see what was said, to see if i heard right..... still a work in progress
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