[Captions in English, Traditional Chinese (native written) & Simplified Chinese (automatic conversion). If you live in China and Youtube is blocked, then check out this video on Youku]
As I’ve explained in great detail before, uploading a video of yourself speaking just after you’ve started to learn a language can be very beneficial.
So with that in mind, a couple of days ago I asked my Chinese teacher (I’ve getting private lessons for now) to translate a script with everything I would say if I was giving a tour of my home in a language I speak fluently. I wanted to explain complex things, like that I replaced my laptop with a desktop, that I don’t really use my fridge etc., and she wrote it up for me in Chinese (which I used for the captions) and in pinyin, which I was studying to learn all the new vocabulary, and memorising the lines themselves since then. This video is the result of that!
Before all the annoying trolls jump down my neck with their usual crybaby comments, I’ll clarify that no I don’t force locals to listen to me speak like this for 10 minutes. I actually speak better/faster than this when ordering food and the like, since I only have to remember one phrase, not an entire script, and I don’t have a camera (and ultimately thousands of eyes) on me
I’ve got a LOT of improvement to make (after recording it, I noticed several obvious mistakes myself), but since people have requested that I upload more video updates of different stages of my progress it’s only fair that I share this! Also, it’s a huge 10 minutes long, as far as apartment tours go… even though it’s the smallest place I’ve lived in for 14 years! So I will certainly forgive you if you don’t make it all the way through
Obviously this video is scripted – I managed to memorise the whole thing apart from 2 or 3 words you saw me glance at my notes to see. It’s been an excellent mini-project to burn this particular vocab into my memory, as well as forcing me to start speaking complex sentences beyond ordering food etc. quicker than I would than by letting it “happen naturally”. As well as learning the vocab, I’ve gotten a sense of typical sentence structure and a better understanding of tones (even if I can’t reproduce them so well yet), since I wanted to understand absolutely everything of every aspect of what I was going to say.
Since I am only two weeks into learning the language, I’d be very happy to hear that natives can simply understand me most of the time without needing to read the captions. I’ll work on improving my pronunciation, and getting more comfortable with speaking – as you can see I’m thinking too much, especially about the tones, but this is just a stepping stone. Fast progress or bust!
Any thoughts? Let me know in the comments!
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This article was written by Benny Lewis
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