Chinese milestone reached!

I just finished the Intermediate Course at Yoyo Chinese. I am incredibly proud of myself! It took a long time but I have learned so much. I highly recommend the website for anyone who wants to learn Chinese.

Since I love numbers, I crunched a few.

Beginner level course
Started – February 4, 2014
Finished – September 6, 2014

Intermediate level course
Started – September 7, 2014
Finished – May 27, 2015

Anki vocabulary deck
Cards: 2,789 (roughly 1,300 words and phrases)
Total: 58,825 reviews
Average for days studied: 108.3 cards/day
Total study time: 76 hours
Due tomorrow: 106 cards

Anki sentences deck
Cards: 1,890 (roughly 900 unique sentences)
Total: 19,481 reviews
Average for days studied: 39.8 cards/day
Total study time: 61 hours
Due tomorrow: 45 cards

Total study time: 316.4 hours

This study time total includes Anki, grammar lessons, writing practice, watching Mandarin television (only logged in 1/2 time since it’s not active), etc. This is EVERYTHING I have done to study Chinese in the past 15 months.

Note – it is said that it takes 10,000 hours to reach full academic fluency in another language. At this point, I am only aiming for conversational fluency, not academic fluency. I have a long, long way to go…

All of the vocab and sentences for the last few lessons have been entered into Anki, but I still have to learn a number of them. I have a feeling it will take awhile before my Daily Due numbers decrease. However, I have many, many more vocabulary words to learn in order to become fluent!

I’m not yet sure what I will tackle next. I know that I need to continue watching Mandarin shows in order to gain listening practice. I also need to start writing regular entries on Lang-8 to practice my writing and reinforce the vocab and grammar I have learned.

I will probably start following a Taiwanese blogger (native Mandarin speaker). I already have several blogs bookmarked and need to pick one. That way I can get a feel for the writer’s voice, learn the vocab words they use regularly, and get practice reading. I also need to find a way to start speaking Mandarin.

At some point, I need to find a grammar book that picks up where Yoyo Chinese left off. I have no idea which grammar book to use.

I am thrilled that I have come this far and can’t wait to see how long it takes to reach conversational fluency. Another year or two? Hopefully my soon-to-be-daughter wants to keep her native language and will talk to me in Mandarin. We shall see!

5 Thoughts on “Chinese milestone reached!

  1. Congratulations on reaching the milestone! My twin brother was lucky to get his Mandarin Chinese lessons at Yale complements of the USAF. But I don't think during that time he had anything else to concentrate on. I wish I had the same degree of skill in Japanese.

  2. That's great you've come so far! I think it's great when people can speak more than one language

  3. Congratulations! That's a lot of diligent work! Have you made any connections with native Mandarin speakers in your area? If there was somebody who was willing to come over and spend an hour a couple of times a week doing something simple like playing a card game or baking cookies while speaking with you in Mandarin, that would probably help a ton. I've been trying to dust off my French lately using Duolingo and feel like it's making a big difference but I too am missing the conversational aspect. I need to visit my dd in Montreal more often!

  4. Thanks, Miranda! Good luck with your French! That's a good idea about finding someone who will hang out while speaking Mandarin. I'll have to see if that's a possibility. I'm shy so it's hard for me to get to know people but I know I need the practice!

  5. Congratulations on reaching your milestone and completing the intermediate course, Cassandra! It's great that you continue to be highly motivated.

    You are right that it takes thousands of hours to learn Mandarin. It is quite different from other languages. By Foreign Service Institute estimates, it takes at least four times as long to reach a given level of mastery of Mandarin as it would in French or Spanish, for example. 10,000 hours in French or Spanish would enough to reach the highest levels of written and spoken fluency, possibly getting to near-native mastery. In Mandarin, it should be enough to attain high proficiency, but not native-like mastery.

    We have put in similar numbers of hours in Mandarin. I am nearing 30% of my experiment–360 hours of pure listening, with no formal study at all. I get the impression my progress is significantly slower than yours, which would be unsurprising to most people, but regardless very interesting to me in terms of language acquisition theory. It will be really fun and interesting to continue to compare notes and we log more hours in the coming months and years.

    Best of luck as you begin a new phase of your studies!

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