Chinese Resources

Friday, September 28, 2012

iTalki classrom session: first impressions

In the desperate attempt to fix my Chinese writing problem as quickly (and cheaply) as possible I hopped on iTalki last night and sent out a couple messages to some certified teachers who had positive largely positive reviews and 30 minute demo sessions. It's one day later and I just finished a 30 minute trial session with one of the teachers.

So, how did things go?

Apart from the teacher commenting on my "Taiwanese" sounding Mandarin, there was zero correction of my spoken Chinese, instead all of our energy was focused on working over a one page article I was working on for class. Unlike Lang-8 or other similar journal sites, the wonderful thing about a chatting live with a teacher was my ability to direct the conversation just the way I wanted it-- all writing, all the time (AWATT?!?)

Right now, I'm not looking toward sounding "more Chinese," or "more academic,"but rather working on addressing areas that are simply unclear, or grammatically unsound. Since the particular article I'm working contains a lot of translation from English academic writing I knew there would be issues, particularly in the areas of research methodology and research design. It took a few minutes to find a rhythm that work, but after a half-hour we sussed out many of problem areas.

It is too soon to say where my issues lie, especially since this type of writing is more focusing on my ability to translate into Chinese, rather than use my own words to convey meaning, but I did notice that I have a tendency to overuse the standard measure word 個 when there are more clear alternatives, and I could stand to focus on short clear sentences, not those long elegant ones I love reading. I'll be sure to keep an eye on the measure words in the future, especially when I'm reading other peoples work.

As for those super-badass long (almost run-on) style sentences I love, they're just going to have to wait. Overall it was a good session, and I look forward to continuing on for a full hour next week. Stay tuned for more updates as the sessions continue.

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