I want to get better at speaking and came across Glossika.
I am learning a lot of characters and I do recognize some words people say but I just don’t know how to approach speaking. Still pretty novice.
Not sure whether to start practicing speaking now or wait awhile until I can understand what I hear more.
It seems like Glossika could help with both listening and speaking though, since you’re drilling entire sentences and building up pattern recognition.
Since there are no responses yet, I will chime in. I tried the free version for one week when I just started with Chinese, sort of liked it, but not knowing enough characters at the time felt like a major impediment. (Not having a mobile Android app wasn’t helping.) I found a free alternative, Speechling, that also offers a sentence database at various levels for a number of languages. But then, I never got to use it on a regular basis either. One could also argue that it’s easy to set up an Anki deck with sentences, and go through it, especially if the sentences of your own mining, but I’ve got a little allergic to Anki. Which all is a long way of saying “I cannot provide a well-informed answer to this question …”. The best way to find out it it works for you is to try it out for a while.
On the subject of listening, I very recently discovered “Immersive Chinese” app (https://immersivechinese.com/) that seems to fill the need. Not enough usage yet to comment on its effectiveness though.
Interesting competitor to Glossika w.r.t. Chinese. It has male audio too.
I just checked Glossika and I can’t configure the audio.
One thing with either Glossika or this that may help is shadowing—where you speak at the same time as the audio plays. This helps you get a feel for the flow of the sentence. What helps is to have the audio to be closer to your pitch, which is why I’m asking about the male audio.
Cool find—I may end up using it, thanks!
Are you already on a subscription? I’m curious how the mobile interface is.
Yes, this was my issue too. I actually tried Glossika when I first started Japanese, but I think it’s important to catch up on one’s reading skills before grinding it out.
It seems like Immersive Chinese and Glossika are for when you’re at an intermediate level and you want to level up your intuitive grammar/hone in language patterns.
So with the above, It seems waiting until you’re comfortable recognizing at least the top ~500(?) characters before diving into comprehensible input makes sense. Maybe you could get away with less. Going through some introductory books that come with audio sounds like a better move, as I imagine the intro books make sure to keep the characters simple/you’re introduced to what you have to know before diving in.
I do. Truth be told, it was on sale a few months ago or so, and I was just thinking about studying Chinese. So I paid for a lifetime subscription (which wasn’t much then), got stuck with hanzi, and didn’t use it until now. The app is well-organized. IIRC, the free version used to be pretty good; the only benefit of the paid version was you could use it online.
I agree with Phil that having a good starting base is helpful. Steve Kaufmann, a famous polyglot who founded Lingq and who speaks 20+ languages (we shouldn’t feel intimidated, he is close to 80 yo now :-)), is firmly against practicing speaking until you are confident enough you can participate in a conversation. Other people say you should start from the beginning. The two seemingly contradicting pieces of advice have one thing in common, namely, your confidence. For me, a barrier to start speaking is high, and my first attempts at speaking are rather traumatic . I only recently started trying to speak Chinese. First with a colleague (which wasn’t very helpful btw; they were so amazed by me knowing the word “yi1ge4yue4” that they started talking to me very fast, with me only nodding and saying “shi”, “bu shi” at random), then with an iTalki tutor which was much more productive but also expensive. Having someone nearby willing to endure your early “nihao” will help. Shadowing seems like a good way to get into the process.
I’d be curious to see what other alternatives pop up beyond Immersive Chinese & Glossika, though I wonder how effective these apps are compared to sentence mining—extracting sentences you didn’t understand from TV shoes and setting up cards there.
Another aspect of these mass-sentence SRS apps is that it can feel pretty grindy, while with sentence mining you offset it by enjoying content.
Of course, one then has to integrate Anki into their lives still.
I imagine making cards can have its own grindy aspect to it (I never tried/got into it).
Well, when in doubt, the answer is always learning more characters
Yep. Everyone seems to agree that sentence mining, coming directly from what you consume, is the most effective. What I found difficult was that the sentences were way above my level (lots of unknown hanzi). It’s important to find something at your level or reading, or whatever way you consume your media. I find graded readers very helpful (a big shoutout to Mandarin Companion).
BTW, the same applies to learning characters: you find one in the wild, you add it to your list, and learn it. Who needs HanziHero anyway? … (Incidentally, the same argument often appears as a critique of Wanikani.) Well, yes. Of course, there are people who are fine with grinding through Anki. Personally, I liked Wanikani, and I am liking HanziHero because it skips the need to integrate new characters into Anki, and reviewing is rather fun, at least initially. Eventually though, the effort that goes into reviewing will over-weigh the perceived benefits. That’s where people will start dropping off .
More on resources: Language Reactor is epic. https://www.languagereactor.com/
From their description: “L. R. is a powerful toolbox for learning languages. It helps you to discover, understand, and learn from native materials. Studying will become more effective, interesting, and enjoyable! (formerly called ‘Language Learning with Netflix’)”.
It works surprisingly well with Netflix (does need a Netflix subscription), and it’s free. There is also a subscription model that includes saving words and sentences for practicing, etc, if one is into it.
I use the old version of Glossika on and off. Unfortunately the web app was really quite bad in my experience, so I haven’t transitioned to using the new one. The web app just takes the 3k from the old buy-once package and adds another 3k on top with some SRS functionality which is buggy.
The ImmersiveChinese thing I’ve never heard of before. I like that it has male audio. I asked Glossika if they planned to add male audio for Mandarin Chinese (Taiwanese accent) back in December of 2021. At the time they said it will be added in the coming months. But now its been a year and a half and still nothing, haha.
I agree that practicing speaking early is not really productive. I had to do it because I moved to Taiwan and wanted to focus on that. If I had to do it all over, here is how I would go about the general process of learning Chinese:
Start HanziHero to slowly learn characters. Slow and steady.
Listen to textbook audios, listening to audio first, THEN listening to audio + transcript to force the brain to really try to parse the actual words being spoken.
Watch insane amounts of Mandarin-dubbed anime, ideally watching each episode twice. First without subs, second time with subs. Or watch it once but without subs, and SOMETIMES going back a bit, enabling subs, seeing what was not understood, then re-disabling. The latter is harder because most subtitles are hardcoded in Taiwan/China. The reason for dubbed anime is that it is WAY clearer than any other source, while still being native/natural.
At this point, start Glossika or similar and do mild shadowing. Don’t bother shadowing anything you don’t 100% understand.
So, in short: if I had all the time in the world and had to start from scratch, I would focus entirely on listening comprehension with character learning being in the background for up to a year, then switch over to speaking (or reading).
All good points! Any suggestions on a good Mandarin-dubbed anime? After I enjoyed Hunter x Hunter so much, nothing brings me joy anymore (Maybe I should rewatch it with Mandarin-dubbing? said he pensively)
In terms of others, I hope to continue populating resources database to have information where to watch all of the various dubbed anime as well as a brief overview of each show. Will resume populating sometime after I finish scaffolding out the simplified course in the next month or so.
Thank you! Having looked into this, I also found out Hunter x Hunter is now available on Netflix, with dubbing in Mandarin! The subtitles do differ somewhat from what is being said, but that’s typical. (This conversation probably deserves its own thread.)
An update on Hunter x Hunter in Chinese on Netflix, both spoken and subtitled. The Simplified Chinese captions don’t follow closely the spoken words. The Traditional captions do! As an example: in Episode 1, during the conversation between Mito-san and the grandma:
“-我们 没有 借口 再 阻拦 他 了” (Simplified)
“-我們 已經 沒有 任何 能力 阻止 他 了” (Traditional)
Then Mito-san comes in Gon’s room as asks:
“- 你 确定 了 吗 小杰 ？” (Simplified captions)
vs “- 小傑 ， 你 是 認真 的 嗎 ？” And so on throughout episodes. The difference is strong enough to make the use of captions quite difficult if you choose the Simplified mode. At least, until you reach a level where you can read the captions on the fly, grasp their meaning, compare with what was actually said, appreciate the nuance, and move on to the next frame.
Yeah, my experience with dub subtitles in Netflix have left me pretty disappointed generally. Anything higher than 90% accuracy is pretty great. One of the reasons I’ve relied on other services that have hardcoded subtitles, even if it means I have to cut off part of the video if I want to disable the subtitles.
Glad to hear the ones for Hunter X Hunter are pretty good. At 140+ episodes it is a pretty invaluable resource. Best dub I’ve heard as well.
There are times where I load up Netflix and see an anime I KNOW is dubbed in Mandarin (e.g., Slam Dunk, One Piece, Detective Conant, etc) and decide to watch some episodes, only to find that it has no dub.
It’s pretty egregious, since I’m in Taiwan so would definitely expect the dub to be included. It would be like watching DBZ on Netflix in USA and not having any sort of English dub. 90% of people grew up with the dubs for some of these shows, so it really should be included…
I think most of it comes down to licensing/royalty concerns. The dub is usually done by a separate company here in Taiwan, which then manages distribution and licensing of the entire series (dub or no dub) within the country.