Jul 22, 2008

You Need A Plan

I'm lucky that I live in China, which is of course the best place for learning Chinese. One thing that I find helpful is always carrying around something where I can write down something that I see on a sign or something.

Some people carry around a notebook but I'm a little more high tech. Wherever I go I carry my mobile phone, and my iPod. I'm always prepared so that if I hear or see a new word or something that I feel that I should remember, I can write it down. If I watch the TV I always put on the subtitles, and have my phone nearby so that I can write something down. If I'm online, I have a word document open where I can copy/paste portions of foreign languages so that I can remember them.

These things that I've written down usually get transferred to little flashcards. These are all in my iPod, have a look at them here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6AisYnJ8yU

So whenever I hear a new word, I usually 1) write it down somewhere, 2) make a flashcard 3) keep the flashcard in my iPod so that I can revise it later.

Anyway, the main idea behind this post is to Have A Plan. I have a friend who has been in China for much longer than I have, but whose Chinese is only very basic. He has "picked up" some Chinese from taxi driver etc, but I've never seen him write anything down. I'm sure if he had a plan he would speak much better than he does. I'm not saying that my Plan is the best, but I definitely think that everyone needs one. I hope all my Talk With The World readers have one! :)


Hyeyoung (혜영) said...

haha- Hyunwoo teached me how to make memort cards. i also think it is helpful :D

Ed said...

I also have a plan similar to Max's: I write down expressions that I hear frequently, and immediately ask people what they mean. They may not be able to fully explain these expressions some times, but they give me examples and their reactions to them, which are very useful.

I approach foreign TV in the same way. I guess that's why my best Japanese is in the cooking/cuisine sector - I was a big fan of the original (not the American knockoff) Iron Chef (料理の鉄人).

Anonymous said...

Max, I saw your flashcard video a while back, and it took me a while, but I recently started making flashcards.

I'm not yet in the habit of reviewing them regularly, but one big thing I noticed is that just making the cards helps me learn the words. I would say that I can retain about 20-25% of the words just from the flashcard process. Not too shabby!

Nicholas Cripps said...

I do something similar, if there is some phrase in English that I can't express in Chinese, I write that English phrase down somewhere and ask a Chinese friend to help me translate...

Yiwei said...

Hello, Nicholas,I'm Chinese,could I help you to translate something?