SwanDive Mandarin

As I might have stated earlier, I obsess over finding the fastest way to learn, the easiest way to learn and recently also the funnest way to learn.

RTH has a fast easy trade off, you can finnish in a month at 100 per day and you’ll hate it, or you can finnish in under a year at 10 per day and not even feel it. However the problem with most methods is that they fail to relate to what the users end goal is. RTK teaches meaning and writing of hanzi but it wont feel meaningful to most because most RTK users have the end goal of fluency in japanese. This is like in school when you learn trigonometry with no examples of real life applications. I mean trig may be good as a mental exercise but most students don’t care about that aspect of it either.
I think learning by doing is one of the most useful teaching methods because you are using everything you learn as you learn it so you are always engaged emotionally. This is often enough to give some feeling of autonomy and even fun. Just good emotions because you are getting what you signed up for right away, in the most efficient manner possible. You are doing what you wanted to learn how to do without having to hope through any abstract hoops.

So an idea for learning a language that I want to try is to forget about RTH and go right in with full immersion doing anything I would do in english in Chinese. I hate to have exceptions but for no the OS will stay in english because it is a risk and a hassle to change it right now, therefore making it less fun that I am will to allow this process to be.What I will have in Chinese tho will be the audio and video(my entertainment media basically) nexttv.com.tw and showlo videos and other clips on my ipod when I’m out and whatever other stuff I can find, maybe computergames if I can get them in chinese like SC2 or Diablo 3. The reading and writing, Any usage of the internet which I use a lot and any notes I take on anything. I’ll be doing a lot of dictionary lookups which is only possible with goole translate and the Chinese dictionary firefox app. Any writing I do will have to have an english translation back up somewhere and I might just change main words to chinese while leaving the grammer words in english to keep from starting any bad grammer habits until I learn the grammer through immerision. Also I might start using QQ, Skype and talking to Chinese people in my daily life.
So the reading/writing aspect and the listening/speaking aspect will remain separate meaning I wont search the reading for a writing I just looked up, or vice versa. However I may use an SRS strickly for written words I have memorized through use and in these circumstances I will make cards that have writing on the front and pinyin on the back. This kind of scaffolding process keeps things easy in my opinion although SRS isn’t fun which makes this a big maybe.

I think the risk aspect in games is an extremely important in making them fun. What risk factor do most games have? Well you wont die in real life if you die in world of warcraft, but you may pay a price in time which is a very real price in my opinion because we only have so much time and even if we had unlimited time like we feel we do as kids, we still want to do things sooner rather than later. So with an immersion environment you may spend a lot of time trrying to figure somthing out, you may end up on a webpage you did’nt intend, you may write words wrong or say somthing stupid to some one so everything is more thrilling because there is a risk of messing up. Also with immersion comes unpredictability, another fun aspect of games and good stories. You don’t quite know what things mean so you experiment and find out. You can’t get this from SRS’ing

I am hoping that at some point I can start watching movies and whatever and reading the chinese subtitles and putting together the audio with the written as I learn more audio through reading the subs or vise versa.

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