Getting started with Chinese 3
Getting started with Chinese 3

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Getting started with Chinese 3

9 Build a language notebook

It’s now time to reflect on your learning this week.

Activity 13

Part 1

What would you write in each box below, if anything? Would you add more categories?

Table 2 Language notebook

Key vocabulary and phrases
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Key sentences
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Key language structures
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Culture notes
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What I found straightforward / I have enjoyed learning
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What I found difficult
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Action plan
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Words: 0
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Discussion

This is something you can develop week by week, in a way which is entirely personal to you. You may find that the way you go about it changes as you progress. The important thing is that you find a way to note down, each week, new vocabulary and expressions, and also tips about learning grammar, culture and communication in general that will support you as you learn more.

Here is an example of what your language notebook might look like. You may have filled the table differently, or you may have a different idea about how to build your language notebook. That is completely fine!

Table 3 Example of a completed language notebook for Week 1
Key vocabulary and phrases

shuài

cōngmíng 聪明

làngmàn 浪漫

piàoliang 漂亮

gāo

ǎi

pàng

shòu

yǒuqián 有钱

méiqián 没钱

zěnme yàng …怎么样? 

cool

handsome

clever

romantic

pretty

tall

short

fat 

thin 

rich 

poor

How is/are …?

Key sentences Nǐ zěnme yàng? 你怎么样? How are you?
  Tā hěn gāo. 他很高。 He is tall.
  Shuō Zhōngwén hěn kù! 说中文很酷! Speaking Chinese is cool.
  Wǒ èrshí le. 我二十了。 I have turned 20.
  Wǒ hǎo yīdiǎnr le. 我好一点儿了。 I am slightly better.
Key language structures
  • ‘topic + comment’ sentence.
  • The ‘topic’ could be a noun, a verb phrase or an adjective. The ‘comment’ is often an adjective.
  • There is no shì (to be) in ‘topic + comment’ sentences.
  • In a ‘topic + comment’ sentence, when the comment is a single adjective, hěn must be present as a link: topic + hěn + adjective. In these cases, hěn could be translated into the adverb ‘very’ or left out in the translation.
Culture notes Chinese concept of beauty.
What I found straightforward / I have enjoyed learning
  • Chinese terms for kinship.
  • How the concept of beauty differs between the East and the West.
What I found difficult
  • There were lot of new adjectives to learn.
  • The Chinese 'topic+comment’ structure is not exactly the same as it is in English, primarily the absence of shì and the presence of hěn.
Action plan
  • Keep building my learning journal on a weekly basis.
  • Write an email to or text a Chinese friend and practice ‘topic+comment’ sentence.
  • Treat myself to a nice Chinese meal for the hard work I have put in this week, but I must order it in Chinese!
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