This topic will be updated as I learn more.
Numbers 0-10 ∞
The challenge ∞
Why all the numbers up front, and not the first 'x' characters from HSK level 1?
- Numbers are already strongly in your mind.
- You can involve your hands with counting.
- No fabricated situations for using words needs to be done.
- A larger list is more effort and more reward. You really need to know to push yourself to get into a language.
Numbers represents a mix of illusory consistency and no consistency. Some patterns can be drawn, but others must be learned by rote.
The list ∞
This video is the best introduction I've seen yet:
- Zero ( 〇 ) isn't in the standard testing, but I consider it important to learn.
Eight is tricky. I've seen it three ways.
- The first is with two lines which curve together near the top but don't meet.
- The second is with the left line shorter and the right line curving over the left but not touching.
- The third is with the right stroke becoming a horizontal line overtop of the left. Sometimes that horizontal line touches the left stroke.
Make Chinese flash cards if you haven't already. Consider two or three sets, so you can lay out all the information in front of you. I used a whiteboard quite a lot.
Pinyin and speaking ∞
Practice reading the pinyin and saying them aloud. You're already speaking (bad) Chinese!
- Practice speaking 1, 2, 3 -- yī, èr, sān until you get them down. yī and sān are both flat. èr is odd for a native English speaker.
- Practice speaking 4, 5, 6 -- sì, wǔ, liù until you get them down more or less. This will come more slowly. sì and liù are both going down, like èr did. wǔ is your introduction to the down-up sound.
- Practice speaking 7, 8, 9, 10 -- qī, bā, jiǔ, shí until you get them down more or less. qī and bā are both flat, just like yī and sān were. Remember your down-up for jiǔ. Remember Fiona's "number rap"? shí will be pretty easy when you do.
líng will take a little time. It will help if you remember that shí went up, and the one after it does too.
Simplified Chinese characters ∞
Write each character multiple times. Get used to the idea of characters, the illusory bounderies between them and the subtleties of the lines. You'll do this wrong, and that's ok.
You already know how to write 1, 2, 3 -- yī, èr, sān, don't you? Notice how the lines are different lengths.
Four (四, sì) is the first character you really need to remember.
Five (五, wǔ) might be easier to remember if you look at the structure. It almost looks like a five.
Seven (七, qī) actually looks like a seven if you turn it upside-down.
Ten (十, shí) is easy if you remember how Fiona crossed her fingers like they do in Taiwan.
Once you get those ones, there's only three characters to learn.
Use the flash cards until you can get them down in order. Then shuffle and try to get them out of order. It's ok to count on your hands, and even better to say them aloud (in Chinese). Remembering them in order is fine.
In your down time, try to draw the characters in a mental whiteboard. Let your imagination help you.
Having the characters on an actual whiteboard may help a lot, so you can turn and look at it and speak them, or examine the character. Children's erasable markers, dry-erase markers, wet-erase markers, a chalkboard, chalkboard paint, a whiteboard, whiteboard paint, paper and tape, post-it-notes, or even taking a new white kitchen bag, cutting it open and having the static cling it to the wall so you can draw on it. Anything works.
Drill constantly, talk to yourself, work with the flash cards. Get these numbers down.
The more practice you have, the more associations you will draw, and the easier it will get.
Other numbers - TODO ∞