06/26/13

Rate my Chinese! 2013 Edition

Here is a video I made for the Chinese Bridge competition. It’s a simple self introduction, but can also be seen as a proof of my current spoken Chinese level. Even though I passed HSK6, my spoken Chinese is still very simple.

New! For readers in China, now you can also watch the video in Youku!

I shared this on my Facebook Page a while ago, so if you want to get the latest news then be sure to follow me there!

You an also compare my Chinese in this video to my earlier video shot in April 2012. Can you hear any improvement between the two videos?

Please leave a comment with your grade for my Chinese!

06/19/13

Langde Miao Village

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The last destination on our Guizhou trip was Langde Miao Village. Check out the posts about Xijiang and Leigong Mountain too!

You can take a bus to Langde from Kaili (25km) or Leishan (15km). The village was built in the Yuan and Ming dynasties, having a history of more than 600 years. Currently there are 306 families and 1377 people living in Langde.

It’s an excellent destination for a day trip. Far less tourists than Xijiang, but easier to access than villages on Leigong Mountain. Langde consists of lower village and upper village, between them are a small hill and rice fields. You can find food to eat in the village, but I didn’t see any signs for accommodation.

I recommend Langde Miao Village to anyone traveling in the area, hope from the photos you can see why.

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See Miao women wearing their traditional outfits

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Wander around the village through small alleys

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Experience the daily life of locals

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Walk through the fields

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Admire local architecture

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06/17/13

How long does it take to learn Chinese?

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Correlation of old and new HSK with my progress

So how long does it actually take to learn Chinese? I’m not going to define what is fluent, I believe I’m still far from that, but how long does it take to pass HK6 for example? The highest Chinese Proficiency Test for foreigners at the moment.

 

How long did it take me to get to HSK6?

My first Chinese course was a month-long travel Chinese course when I was 16. I was already very interested to learn the language on my own then, even though I never had the courage to use my Chinese with my boyfriend at the time (he was ethnic Chinese).

I only started to get more serious with Chinese when I enrolled to the Chinese course in my university back in 2008. For two semesters I had four hours of Chinese every week. During Summer and Autumn 2009 I had only two hours Chinese lessons a week.

When I came to China this is what I could do: introduce my self, ask for directions, buy things, order in a restaurant. But I often found it hard to understand what the locals were saying. I could write maybe 200 characters by hand when I came.

I enrolled in Guangzhou university and spend two and a half semesters there. Spring 2010 I failed the old Elementary-Intermediate HSK exam, but in December I got to the level 4 of old HSK. And then to old HSK5 during spring 2011.

I changed to Sun Yat-Sen University in September 2011 and passed HSK5 in December.

In April 2013 I passed HSK6, 238 points out of 300.

It took me 1,5 years in Finland and 3 years in China to pass and get a nice score from HSK6. If I could get to this level in 4,5 years, you can do even better if you live in China the whole time or/and work harder than I do!

 

How fast can you learn Chinese?

Based on my experiences learning Chinese, I would guess that you can get to HSK6 in about 4 years in China.

Of course you can’t learn Chinese simply just by being in China.

  • You have to enroll in a university, language courses or be a very diligent self studying type.
  • You should almost always do your homework and study extra on your own.
  • You should take the HSK every year in order to see your progress.
  • You should make Chinese friends or have a Chinese boyfriend/girlfriend, someone to talk to everyday in Chinese.
  • You should do your best in watching Chinese TV series and movies.
  • You should also do your best in reading Chinese books.

 

Final words

There are many students who have studied Chinese as long as I am and are much better than me. There are also many who have studied Chinese longer than me, but I’m better than them. Everyone studies a language on their own way and speed.

This post is to give you some kind of idea how many years it might take you to learn Chinese. If you agree or disagree, please share your thoughts on the comments section!

06/8/13

Chinese Bridge Competition – Preliminaries in Guangzhou

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Last Monday, 3rd of June, I attended the 6th Chinese Bridge  Competition Preliminaries for Foreign Students Studying in China. Chinese Bridge is a competition for Chinese language learners and there are separate competitions for those studying abroad and those here in China.

From the preliminaries around China, 100 students were chosen to continue the competition in Beijing. In Guangzhou total of 31 students took part in the race and in the end only 3 were chosen to go to Beijing.

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First part of the competition was  self introduction of one minutes. After that two minutes talent show. I did taiji, but other students performed dancing, singing, Chinese story telling, xiangsheng, pingshu, playing Chinese instruments and so on.

Students from beginners to fluent attended the competition. Some of then had studied 15 years of Chinese, some only few months. Some didn’t understand the questions asked by three teachers, some had a perfect Chinese accent. Some had better Chinese skills than the Chinese themselves!

After the talent performance three teachers/judges asked different kind of questions from each student. Then they would each press a button for green light if they liked your performance. Three lights and you could continue to the second round that same afternoon.

I was lucky to be chosen to the second round too!

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On round too there was 30 seconds to impress the judges. Because I don’t really have any skills I recited a Chinese poem. Unfortunately I hold the microphone too far and no one was really able to hear it!

In the end they chose three students to fly to Beijing. One 19-year-old Malaysian who had studied Chinese for 15 years and performed dancing (number 7). Guy number 4 who had a perfect Chinese accent (better than the Chinese!) who performed Chinese Crosstalk. And then a girl (behind the host) who played Chinese guzheng beautifully.

I didn’t make it to Beijing but it was an interesting experience nevertheless!