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9 Responses to “CT_062: Greetings II”

  1. I can memorise two and three character vocab, but when they suddenly appear in a ten character sentence, I feel overwhelmed and can’t understand it, or rather, by the time I’m working out the second half I’ve forgotten what was in the first half of the sentence. Knowing each word very well doesn’t make the sentence easy, I can’t explain why.
    Does that happen to other people, or is it just me?

  2. I’m glad you mentioned this. There are a few aspects to this. I expect in the beginning that it will seem overwhelming so:

    a) I break it down in chunks.
    b) I give a couple other examples that have the same construction.
    c) I make sure this is a sentence that will be used quite often (in this case, in the Premium podcast).
    d) If the above isn’t enough, I make sure there are individual sentence breakdowns available in the Premium section to allow you to replay a sentence by itself over and over until it makes sense in full.

    Whether this approach works or not is another story (you will have to tell me if it does). Can you understand sentences such as “Ràng wǒmen xiān tīng yícì jīntiānde duìhuà”? I would imagine it may have seemed like a lot when it was first introduced but I hoped that by hearing it constantly you would slowly remember more of it.

  3. parrot,
    I know exactly what you mean. It takes my brain a certain amount of time to process (i.e. translate) a word when I hear it. If I listen to a long sentence I can easily miss most of it because my brain’s still working on the first few words. I found a couple things have helped me. First, if I start falling behind I remind myself to “not translate”. What I mean by that is I stop trying to decipher each word and just let the whole sentence flow through my head. Second, I listen to the passage over and over, not trying to memorize it but to progressively fill in the gaps. On the first pass I might pick up the general topic of the passage. On the next pass I notice I’ve picked up another word or two, and so on. I continue until I can pick up all the detail without thinking. It can take anywhere from 2-10 passes for me depending on the complexity of the passage. Another thing I’ve noticed that may seem counter-intuitive is I seem to have better luck with faster speech. I think it helps me to not dwell on individual words. One last piece of advice – no matter how frustrated you get just keep going. Eventually you’ll see progress.

  4. Hi:
    To understand more easily sentences such as “Ràng wǒmen xiān tīng yícì jīntiānde duìhuà” I would recommend the BIRKENBIHL-method – see the PDF at
    Like explained in step 1 in the PDF, you should make a character-by-character English translation and read this while listening again and again to the audio.
    Chinese chars: 讓我們先聽一次今天的對話.
    You hear ….. Pinyin: Ràng wǒmen xiān tīng yīcì jīntiān de duìhuà.
    You read …. Char-by-char acc. to BIRKENBIHL: let me [Plural] first listen one time this day ‘s mutual speech.
    Correct English: Let us first listen to today’s dialogue.
    This method was of great help to me.
    Good luck L.B.

  5. Anthony Blum

    Hi, this lessons seems to say the difference between “wǎnshàng hǎo” and “wǎn ān” is a Mainland vs. Taiwan regional difference. However, I was told by a native Chinese speaker that “wǎnshàng hǎo” was something you say earlier in the evening, so “Good evening” and that “wǎn ān” was something you say before going to bed late at night, so “Good night.” So from this I gathered that you would say “wǎnshàng hǎo” when you first meet someone at night time and then “wǎn ān” when you leave later that night. However, this Chinese speaker does not speak English very well, so I may have misunderstood. Thanks.

  6. Hi Anthony,

    Your friend is right in the difference between “wǎnshàng hǎo” and “wǎn ān” – the former would mean “Good evening” while the latter is more “Good night.”

    “Zǎoshàng hǎo,” “Xiàwǔ hǎo” and “Wǎnshàng hǎo” aren’t used much in Taiwan since they are considered rather formal.

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