not good enough to learn chinese

145. Consume Chinese

Podcast Duration: 01:25:10

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The Mandarin Blueprint Podcast focuses primarily on The Mandarin Blueprint Method online curriculum. Creators Luke Neale & Phil Crimmins answer questions and comments, discuss topics related to China and Mandarin learning, and have special guests.

145. Consuming Chinese

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17:19 Comments & Emails

Ija by Community

Just thought of sharing something here in case anyone needs a bit of motivation. 

I joined my first Chinese-English Language Exchange meet today and because it was raining heavily and temperature was 7 degrees, there were only 3 of us present during the meet. There were 2 Beijingers and me. I started talking…. and of course, I was not at all surprised by their “你中文说得这么好“ comment in the beginning. 

We kept talking for half an hour and the topic of children came into the picture. I had to leave my kids back home due to border restrictions and expensive childcare and jokingly said that the kids now are my “留守儿童“。 

Cue genuine surprise and amazement (and I was also genuinely surprised that they were surprised). 

The conversation went on using 95% Chinese, and besides random vocabs like “structured” and “practical”, I guess I can finally say that I’m comfortable with using the language with real people, outside of class settings. It still felt surreal because I started learning this language with 0 motivation to talk. 90% of my language learning activity is still input-based, but just like what Gabriel Wyner experienced with his French, I experienced it with my Chinese. 
This exchange also reminded me that that being culturally aware is as important as knowing a language well. And you don’t need to live in China to learn about China and its language.

 So don’t fret, pengyoumen. Keep on consuming your comprehensible input and don’t force yourself to speak if you’re not ready. One day you’ll get to use your Chinese and you’ll be surprised at how much you’ve acquired subconsciously.


Jessica m by Community

Hey, I’m interested in anyone’s input on scene rot. Or more specifically, my rot as the director of the scenes. I’m at 1400. My scenes on average have become stupider and stupider — which is in part driven by the meanings becoming more and more abstract and some keywords repeating. So my scenes are really stupid — I’ve become a rotten director that shoots low budget crap. Now some of these scenes stick like glue. Others are terrible and disappear faster than all of the made for TV movies shot last year you’ll never see. I know I can just reshoot them…. some I do. But the scenes are so stupid because I’m out of ideas for most of them. How do I keep on finding new non-overlapping scenes for new characters? Realistically at 1400, I’m only halfway there. (I also realize that at some point characters will stick even faster than they are now. and I won’t even need scenes for many or even most characters) 


Soren Korsbaek on Vocab Unlocked from 串

你把这些菜串起来。 What does this one mean?


Tina Clark on BONUS: Helper – Completed Actions with 了

Woah – now I understand what the “GW-” tags in the Anki deck are all about. You guys are brilliant. Thank you so much for all the thought and organization you put into this course.


Raiyan Syed on Level 16 Complete

I would say that at this point I’ve crossed the honeymoon phase with sentences to where now the path to the end of the foundation course feels uphill again. I can understand pretty much all the sentences I read, but as someone who loves to nerd out over grammar (which neither Luke nor Phil seem to like to do), I feel a little weird about just picking up sentence structure and grammar from seeing and hearing sentences over and over. I love getting into grammar terminology and diving deep into grammatical structures.

In my ideal world, there are more grammar lessons that I can apply to the sentences I’m working with so I can have a deeper understanding. However, I fully understand the merits of this approach and that many people probably do not do well with more dense grammar lessons. I know the acquisition process works so at this point, I’d say I’m just trusting the process. Thank you both for all that you are doing!


Chris Lewis on 这些 in Context

Why in some of the pronunciations does 这 sound like ‘Jay’ instead of the French word for me (Je) or Pleco’s pronunciation? 那边, in this example from a few lessons ago, same question. In our Anki decks they make it sound like ‘nay’.


Keith Travis on Level 21 Complete

something rather accidentally brilliant happened as I began to struggle under the mental weight of the sheer volume of daily new sentence cards I’d unlocked from Anki began – after a few days – to really pile up full strength. oops. my mind was fatigued. I had thought reading would be easier by far than listening. I was so sluggish and it was so taxing, especially relative to the volume. but I didn’t want to back down. yesterday evening I closed my eyes and just skipped directly to each sentence’s Anki Pronunciation and tried to figure the sentence out that way instead of reading it first. just sort of kept shielding my eyes from each new card as it popped up. it was fantastic. still a challenge, yet in a direction that refreshed my mind. and – better yet – I referred to the Chinese Hanzi and NOT the English in order to validate my comprehension! imagine that: ‘cheating’ by reading Chinese in order to confirm the listening! I think I should perhaps credit one of Luke’s videos emphasizing both ‘bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’ approaches. And perhaps this very tactic was suggested elsewhere and I missed it.

Notwithstanding, I’d felt I’d begun to encounter a massive hurdle at this stage, still unable to translate even the Chinese version Theme song to Doraemon. Within all of about 48 hours, the hurdle seems to have simply shrugged off as to how to continue proceeding with abundant mental energy. Such a little thing as that is now making all the difference.


Lynn Ford on Level 28 Complete

Seeing that we are ready to switch the languages on our phones and computers to Mandarin is scary to read, BUT in a really good way. I have trusted Luke and Phil thus far on my Chinese journey and so just changed my phone over to Mandarin and will be doing the same on my laptop shortly. I feel like I am taking a very real world leap switching everything over. Three months ago I knew nothing about Mandarin, I didn’t even know what a Pinyin Chart was, today I am reading short stories and changing my electronics to Mandarin. WOW. MB is just amazing. I lack the time and words currently to express how grateful I am for this course, but rest assured I will be doing so in the future. Thank you!!!


Matt Shubert on Make a Movie 应

I almost didn’t notice we’re at 400 characters until I saw the comments! What a cool milestone, it’s wild to think I could sit down and write 400 Chinese characters.


George on YOU DID IT!!!

Pronunciation was the primary problem area that led me to Mandarin Blueprint. I’ve finished the lessons for this but still have a lot of Anki reviewing to do. I feel I’ve probably gone through the lessons too quickly so I’m going to restart and go through it all again while continuing my Anki reviews. The module is certainly helping me and as I go through the Anki reviews I’m finding that though I may initially focus on for example getting my tones right, I suddenly realize my tongue is not correctly curled or positioned behind my lower teeth. It’s interesting how the different aspects of pronunciation awareness build up leading (hopefully) to reasonably accurate pronunciation. This module has been so much better than the usual “Here’s the Pinyin chart, learn it. OK, next …”


Chris Lewis on Level 21 Complete

In Canada, I took french immersion for 7 years and graduated high school with the ability to think and dream in French. For fun, in University, I took a French translation course and wow did that open my eyes. So many idioms, like ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ don’t literally translate to the same thing in French knowing the verbs and nouns. I think I am starting to think in Chinese and as much as I love to see if I’ve translated the sentence correctly, as you say, it may be holding me back, but I’m only finishing level 21. So I look forward to future levels. Keep up the great work guys!


Cate Cannon on Level 5 Complete

If you build a poor foundation everything on top of it is shaky, gaps have to be filled that have been built over, steps repeated, and progress slows rather than picking up speed. Slowslowslow in the beginning, laying each element with attentiveness, accelerating over time, culminating in a well-crafted structure you can inhabit and embellish. I wish more people understood this. I see so much rushing when people are trained or taught, in work and schools, and it all rolls out as quickly as it went in. Take your time at the start. It will pay off.


Alfred Hong on Make a Movie 送

Hi Luke and Phil. The character as displayed in computer font, 送, appears to look different to how it is written, as per the stroke guide. In the font, there appears to be two water drops on the far left component and the horns are pointing down. What is up with that? Thanks.


Anne Giles on MAKE A MOVIE 兑

When I search “use 兑 in a sentence” I get 兑换 duìhuàn. Can you offer a couple of examples of 兑 used in a sentence, perhaps differentiating it from duì 对? If so, thanks!


Julie Hentschel Lund on 天 in Context


In this sentence, why do we need “运动” after 有氧? Should I see it as cardio exercise? In English, it’s normal to just say cardio, and the fact that it’s an exercise is implied, so, would it be possible to omit 运动 if the context implies that it’s gym-related?


Julie Hentschel Lund on 每天 in Context


Would you say that 都 is put into the sentence to emphasise that 我 really does sing every day? Because 我每天唱歌 feels like “I” is just stating that he/she sings every day.


Tina Clark on 起来 in Context

In 我想起来就生气, what makes it “I get angry whenever I think about it” and not “I recall getting angry”? Thank you!


Matt Shubert on 收入 in Context

This is more of a cultural question and not a grammar one, but I’m just curious about this sentence:


In your experience, is this an “acceptable” question to ask in China? I think it would come off as quite rude in a lot of English-speaking countries to ask this outright, even to friends.


Matt Shubert on 苦 in Context

I’m really surprised there’s not any other comments on the last sentence because to me this was a lot to unpack and really difficult to logic out to get to the translation!


I translated this as “for the sake of [their] children” but the translation of the phrase given is “as long as it’s for their children”. Is the idea that there’s a missing 如果 or 要是 there to make it a conditional?


Thanks to Abigail’s comment, I figured this is saying something like “no matter how emotionally difficult, still…” Is that correct?


The 是。。。的 pattern I’m okay with, but is 甜 a normal way to say something like this? The top-down definition given is “sweet”, and I know often these words have a more poetic or abstract meaning in Chinese but that seems like a stretch to me to mean “okay”, would using something like 不错 or 还好 be much different in meaning? Sorry for all the questions and I know some of this is probably partly answered in context of the later story, but this is one of those sentences that I am just having issues making a connection with even when it’s translated for me. Thanks!


Chris Lewis on 长相 in Context

In this sentence: 他这种长相, is 种 a measure word for looks because it’s a type of thing?


Julie Hentschel Lund on 关心 in Context


Is 也 simply used as an emphasis before the negative expression “不关心”? It would be otherwise weird to have an “also” in-between.


Julie Hentschel Lund on 送 in Context

公司送我一个手机。 Would it be less formal, or incorrect, to use 给 instead of 送?


Julie Hentschel Lund on 开门 in Context


Isn’t it extremely clear that 你 opens the door? Why have 打开门 instead of just 打开 or 开门: why all three? And I just have to point out how clever the rest of the sentence is! 我有话要说 = I have words I want to speak. It just makes bloody sense!


Chris Lewis on 那些 in Context

那些花看起来很漂亮 Would this sentence work without 起来?What purpose does it serve? The only thing I can see on Pleco that might be relevant is this:used after a verb to indicate an impression

1:13:24 Vocab Living Links

This section covers “Living Link” mnemonic techniques to remember Chinese words of two or more characters. Here’s a video explaining the theory behind it.

Raiyan Syed on Vocab Unlocked from 内: 内心 – 以内

One’s nei xin (nation) is a part of one’s innermost being.


Chris Lewis on 一定 in Context

Living link: 一定, sounds like eating; eating is certainly/definitely something I need to do every day


Chris Lewis on 这些 in Context

living link, 这些, sounds like ‘just share’ these,


Matt Shubert on Vocab Unlocked from 应: 反应

A good mnemonic here for me is Newton’s third law of physics: a “reaction” is the equal but opposite (or, “flipside” (反)) response (应) to an action


Chris Lewis on Vocab Unlocked from 外: 另外 – 外国 – 外国人 – 以外 – 外面 – 外边 – 国外

另外, sounds like “lean why?”, I just drank another protein shake

以外, sounds like He Why? Part of the character looks like Spock… he’s taken us OUTSIDE the neutral zone, BEYOND, Beyond is also a 2016 Star Trek movie.

外面, sounds like ‘Why me (and) Anne are outside? We wanted to talk in private…

外边, sounds like ‘Why are the bee and ant outside? That’s where they live’

国外, sounds like, ‘Go why?’, because I want to go OVERSEAS


Chris Lewis on 多么 in Context

living link: 多么, sounds like doh (as in the Sound of Music, 么 is almost like me, doh-ray-me-fah-SO

1:18:32 Movies! 

This blog post explains the theory behind Movie Scenes and learning characters.

Nick Sims (戴燚)on Make a Movie 乃

Nas (n-) is in the bedroom at Grandma Groves’s (-ai) when he encounters something to behold, another skilled poet. It’s a tiny ant ? trained by Master Yoda (㇇ ) THUS having great knowledge and skill it wields a samurai sword (丿) battling a praying mantis while reciting poetry. THEN he chops off a pincer (?) ONLY THEN does he complete the poem, INDEED winning the battle. THEREFORE he must be the greatest ant poet in the land, AFTER ALL that I’ve seen it is SO.


Will Raley on Make a Movie 排

排 pái To Arrange & Line Up
1.Paul at -ai’s Kitchen
2.A big floating Finger (扌) rushes through Paul’s Kitchen’s Saloon doors (非) and messes them up
3.Paul tells the big floating Finger off for harming the Saloon doors
4.Paul quickly goes over to the Saloon doors (非) and Arranges & Lines Up (排) them again very carefully.


Nick Sims (戴燚)on Make a Movie 呢

Nas (n-) is on the roof of Barton Elementary (-e) having a scary monster picnic ?. He tosses a chatter teeth mouth toy (口) into the soup that his zombie ?‍♂️ (尸) friend is stirring with a ladle (匕). Zombie offers a bit for Nas to taste…how does it taste my friend…WHAT’S THE ANSWER? ?1


Nick Sims (戴燚)on Make a Movie 所

Superman (su-) is in the auditorium at Wyoming Church (-o) truly feeling the message from the pastor and feeling the Holy Spirit flow through him. He pulls out his distorted piggy bank which is the size of a small house ? (戶), weighs it on a scale (斤) and gives all of his money to the church. I love this PLACE.


Will Raley on Make a Movie 职

职 zhí Job
1.Jerry at -Ø’s Kitchen
2.Jerry’s Ear swells into a Huge Ear (耳) that grows so huge that it’s a JOB now to have it cut off
3.There can be only one for this JOB – Connor MacLeod (只 /Highlander / There can be ONLY one)
4.Connor MacLeod comes along and cuts the Huge Ear off with his sword
5.Connor MacLeod really was the only one for this JOB (职)

29 June, 2021