This Friday will mark the fourth week since I decided to tackle learning the Chinese language. I intend to keep a monthly record of my progress. I plan to take the HSK-Level 1 Exam at some point during the summer, and in the meantime, I have a few small and mid-term goals:
- Read a Chinese menu in Chinese.
- Understand the dialogue in the first twenty episodes of Growing Up with Chinese (GUwC).
- Reach high single-tone proficiency in language exchange.
- Complete one semester of the New Practical Chinese Reader (NPCR) course.
- Learn 1,500 Skritter tones, character writings, readings and definitions, following Chinese Character Challenge rules.
Fluency in another language requires mastery of four different skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. I am not focused on writing, and my speaking practice is limited to proper pronunciation, so my updates for the next few months will reflect that.
The format for monthly updates will be: progress towards goals (quoting the previous months plans for ## month, as well as towards my short/mid-term goals), as well as skritter stats, and listening/reading/speaking progress as shown below.
Character Writing: 173 — (LM+165)
Character Definitions: 135 — (LM+129)
Character Reading: 120 — (LM+117)
Words Writings: 112 — (LM+112)
Word Definitions: 84 — (LM+84)
Word Readings: 86 — (LM+85)
Listening (Comprehension + Tones)
The flow of speech in the first episodes of GUwC is still just a little too fast for me, and I still have difficulty following even Newbie level videos. With tones, I still have less than 80% accuracy identifying single-character tones. Anki will be my best friend here.
I haven’t begun reading yet. I don’t believe I have a grasp of enough characters to really make that step just yet. I can recognise about 120 characters, but only about 80 words. Once I hit about 500, I think I’ll have more success with actual reading. With menus, I’ve made some progress; I recognise 炒面 (chow mein) from ‘Chicken Chow Mein’, but not my own order (General Tso’s Chicken).
I haven’t gotten a language-exchange partner yet. That will be my first task in March. I have to prepare some activities/exercises before then, to make sure that the language exchange will be productive.
Plans for Month 02
I’m hoping to at least double my Skritter stats, especially bringing up the number of words I’m able to read. I want to improve my accuracy in identifying tones, and mark out the ones I have the most trouble with. I want to comprehend at least the first 10 Growing Up with Chinese dialogues. I want to be able to read a menu in Chinese. And I want to have a plan going into my first language exchange. This report has shown me that I really haven’t made as much progress as I wanted, so hopefully next month’s report will be much better.