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Building My Pinyin List April 10, 2007

Posted by Edwin in French, Mandarin, Progress.

A few words about my language learner progress in the last month.

I have added 450 words to my French vocabulary list, 150 words more than my original target. In order not to overload myself, I will keep the same target of 300 words for the month of April.

I have been concentrating on my French listening and reading in the past few months, though I have started doing a bit of ‘parroting’ on some simple scripted conversations last month. My experience? Very much like the ‘hamburger’ scene.

I do have a worry about my stagnated Mandarin progress, as mentioned in my previous post. So I am going to work on my Mandarin a little bit harder this month. In fact, I think I need to set some concrete goals. In the past, I have never formally built a vocabulary list for my Mandarin study. I think I am going to give it a try this month.

Here is my goal then. I am going to build a list of 100 Chinese words along with their pinyins. I have about 20 days left, so I need to on average 5 words per day for the rest of the month.



1. 米蘭 - April 11, 2007

Shouldn’t that be easy for you to add 100 words in Mandarin Pinyin? You can already read all the characters?

Can’t you simply apply simple rules in pronunciation to convert Cantonese in to Mandarin? Just think like you would be writing and change the pronunciation for the characters by applying rules.

Isn’t that the reason why most Cantonese people can understand 100% Mandarin and vise versa even after only a few months study?

I would have thought it would be a piece of cake for you to learn Mandarin?

2. edwinlaw - April 11, 2007

Milan, thanks for the question.

I only started it yesterday. So this morning was the first time I revised the deck. Actually, it was not as easy as I thought. I mixes up the first and forth tones, and also the ‘s’ and ‘sh’ sounds.

Of course, I am adding 100 words that I didn’t know the pinyins before. So these are not commonly used words.

There is no simple rules to convert Cantonese pronunciations to the Mandarin ones. You simply have to memorize them all.

3. D3bugGER - May 14, 2007

Really guy,

what is the whole reason of your blog? I couldn’t find a clue and with reading this post it looks like you wanna show off(no offense).

I coaccedantly also learn french. And although it is easy for me to learn about 50 words(with the flashcards system) a week beside my full time study and work and I believe you saying to have learned double of it, why would be anyone interested in knowing how many words you’ve learned?

And what are the words worth after all if you can’t pronounce them or formulate sentences out of them or when they even don’t pop into you mind fast enough to understand what someone is saying? It’s just a waste of time in my opinion.

4. edwinlaw - May 14, 2007

D3bugGer, thanks for your comments.

I have already stated my purpose in my blog. I have also stated why I need to post a monthly update of my progress in my blog.

For those who don’t bother to read my past posts and hastily put down seemingly offensive comments, I am goint to explain it again.

I have set up monthly goals for my language learning, and I would like to be accountable in my progress. So I have committed to post my monthly progress, and at the same time define my target for the upcoming month.

I don’t just learn new words out of the blue. I read articles and books, then jot down all the words unknown to me, input them into my vocabulary system, and try to learn them.

I would appreciate you future comments, only that you have read my previous posts. I would also like comments posted in a less offensive way. Remember, everyone is eventually responsible for anything they put on the Internet.

5. Richard - June 11, 2007

How’s it going. I like the blog comments you have as it reminds all of the difficulties and challenges facing the language learner. While it gives us motivation, it may also give us envy (eg. debugger’s comments). The envy is our pursuit of the same goal and witnessing someone else display a higher level of progress, etc. The motivation is the idea that we are seeing someone else “in the same boat” as ourselves

I also keep a running vocabulary list of Cantonese (the language i am studying). In this way it provides me with a “scorecard”. However, i am careful not to be over zealous and add words to it where ever i hear or read them once only. As you can imagine my vocab is not too large but its tight and functional. Even so, i find it difficult to recall these words! The words i add to my vocab as you suggested mainly come from the textbooks that we study. And the rate at which we add these words to our vocabulary is simply the amount of time we are prepared to study to undertake new words and less concentrate on things like grammar, pronounciation, etc.


6. edwinlaw - June 11, 2007

It depends on which approach you use. If you use the speak-first method (like Pimsleur), you probably don’t need a lot of vocab. But as for me and many others, we tend to use the listen/read-first approach. In this case, vocab is really important, and we try to learn as many as possible.

I guess one reason why we keep forgetting things is that we are not exposed to them enough. So try to read or listen to more.

7. jay tapel - September 7, 2007

i’m sorry i know i was too fast

8. jay tapel - September 7, 2007

im sorry

9. pinyin - August 15, 2008

Great post. Thanks

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