Monday, November 9, 2009
Learning to Read Chinese (3 months!) [pant pant]
Nearly there. Finished off today at 1278 characters - which is over 85% of book 1 completed!
This is an update on my experiment to learn to read Chinese. You can also read my original post on this topic, or check out all other posts on my experiment. After a bit of research I settled on Heisig's "Remembering the Simplified Hanzi" method - which is progressing really well.
I must admit, though, it's going slower than I would like. On paper it looks quite good - having learned 278 characters in just 9 days - which is over 30 a day for about a week. But it feels like I'm wading through treacle.
The stretch from 1000-1100 was relatively easy - the words felt concrete, lots of nouns, easy to create images. And while 1100-1278 wasn't that bad, now that I'm this far advanced I'm having to spend a solid chunk of time revising, and coming across more & more words which have similar keywords to previous characters I've learned. So it's taking quite a bit more effort, but I'm getting there.
And I'm still enjoying it!
As I've previously observed, although Heisig doesn't teach the pinyin, I already know quite a lot of words from podcasts & flashcards. And so, with little effort, I'm learning the pinyin along the way. By accident.
For example, I've [verbally] known the word "yǒu xiàn" for ages, but couldn't write it, and only sometimes could remember how to read it. When I discovered (Heisig #1151) that 限 means "limit" - all the pieces just fell into place. 有限 --> "has limit" --> finite. And I now also know the pinyin for 限.
This kind of thing has been happening plenty along the way.
So, I'm into my last stretch. Just more than 200 to go ... maybe I'll try get it done by the end of next weekend?
Please do me a favour ... start putting the champagne on ice. (You can do this 'virtually' by leaving me a comment below ... thanks :-)