[quote=“ironlady”][quote=“Buttercup”]About your last question, you improve language skills by doing that skill. Speaking to the TV is not recommended. It is good for listening and reading, though. You have to be up to the level where you understand a certain percentage for it to be meaningful, otherwise it doesn’t really work. I watch DVDs of TV shows as real time TV is really really irritating: favourites:
Actually, improving your listening comprehension is the best way to improve your speaking ability. The more firmly you have your vocabulary and syntax in your brain, the easier it is to form sentences and to get your ideas across. And acquisition of vocab and syntax happen when you get input that you can understand, over and over and over. Talking to anybody (including the TV) doesn’t improve your speaking (unless, maybe – maybe – they are correcting you); repeating after someone (including the TV) might help some as at least you’re repeating correct speech.
Actually the greatest “leap forward” I remember in my speaking and listening comprehension was one year when I was totally disgusted with the whole interpreting thing and just said screw it, and only did written translations. Lots of comprehensible input over and over and over. I found at the end of the year that I had progressed a lot without even trying. (Unfortunately it seems you only get one coupon for that ride. )[/quote]
Yes, true. I was trying to make the point that living in an isolated bubble to learn Chinese is not always the best way; you end up talking to the TV! A lot of new students have problems with remembering their characters and so stay in and don’t engage with the outside world enough. This is an enormous wasted opportunity, particularly if they are only here for one year. A job can help, as long you aren’t doing too many hours.
TV has been really useful for me but I can speak better than I can converse, if that makes any sense. My listening is much farther ahead of my speaking (as it is with 99% of learners) and tv has been part of that, as has my being nosy and wanting to know everyone’s business in the office (now I can understand, I don’t want to know anymore…).
Pah, Chinese! I’ll never be good at it!