I believe this may be the first time I’ve posted one of these things on time this year. My wife had to work today, so I had some time to catch up with things and write this. Here were June’s goals (and as always, no goal is so written in stone that I can’t scrap it or change it if it doesn’t prove useful):

1) Finish listening and reading TOCC, continue working on sentence patterns

Scrapped. I couldn’t continue on using this book as a main text. I’ve been back and forth on this for a while now, but by now, there are very few new vocabulary words per chapter, and none of the sentence patterns are new. It is still helpful as a way to absorb a more serious, adult way of expressing opinions and talking about things, so I’ll still use it here and there. I got through chapter 7 (I believe) before I switched to using 思想與社會 instead. I’ve finished chapter 3 of that book so far.

2) Shadick through lesson 29. Maybe occasionally use the junior high 文言文 textbooks I have.

I got through lesson…I dunno, 18? Something. Anyway, I discovered that I don’t really need to use a textbook any more. I’ve been reading various texts with some other students at MTC, and we’ve been using the 三民 edition of 古文觀止. So far it’s been 《為徐敬業討武曌檄》 by 駱賓王 and 《蘭亭集序》 by 王羲之. Those texts have been tough, but very good for me. I’ve also been using the high school 文言文 textbook I was given, which I thought I wouldn’t be able to use for another 6 months or more. So big progress here (and in reading in modern Chinese, which is what is allowing me to be able to use these resources).

3) Read a lot from newspapers, magazines, websites, and either 雪山飛狐 or 明朝那些事兒.

Yeah, I’ve been reading a lot this month. Newspapers, magazines (some), and websites, but not 雪山飛狐 or 明朝那些事兒. Instead I’m reading 《文字學概要》 by 裘錫圭, which is directly relevant to what I’ll probably end up doing in graduate school. I’m trying to get ready to audit a course or two this fall, so this is what I’m going to focus on reading for now. I’ve also started reading 從精讀到泛讀 The Independent Reader. It’s a collection of 52 articles written by various Chinese-speaking intellectuals, intended to take the student from the “advanced” level to being able to read serious expository prose quickly and comfortably. It’s a really excellent book, and I recommend it if you’re able to read newspapers but want to be able to step it up to academic articles and such.

4) Listen to podcasts and watch TV shows, at least some every day.

This hasn’t really happened. Not so worried about it right now.

5) Assimil Japanese through Lesson 30.

Um…well at least I didn’t quit. I’ll just leave it at that.


This has been the most productive month I’ve had in a long time. Since I have class at 12:20 every day, I have plenty of time in the morning to do a lot of studying. Ideally, once I’m awake and have taken a shower, I sit down and study Japanese for 30 minutes or so. Then I go to school, listening to Thought and Society on the way. When I get there I eat breakfast while re-listening to today’s Japanese lesson and the few previous. Then I study either Thought and Society or The Independent Reader for an hour. Then 文言文 for an hour. Then it’s time for class. After class, if my brain is fried I call it a day as far as studying, though I will still generally read a book or talk to my friends in Chinese. If it isn’t fried, I try to read some more 文言文. Studying for class generally only involves reading the news and reporting it a few times per week, which takes little time to do.

Between this study schedule and the fact that we do a decent amount of newspaper reading in class, I’ve had a noticeable improvement in my reading ability just in the past month. My speaking skills are also improving some, though I can’t pin that down to anything specific right now.

I mentioned a while back that I was fooling around with MCDs. Well, I’ve finally actually started fooling around with them now. I’ve been entering the articles from Thought and Society, The Independent Reader, and newspaper articles from class (only the interesting ones). I haven’t been super consistent with it, but I’ve noticed I’m able to learn the cards (and thus memorize decent-sized chunks of the article) fairly painlessly. The problem is actually sticking to it every day, because I get sick of SRS reps really easily these days.

So, July’s goals:

1) Finish Thought and Society through Lesson 7
2) Spend an hour on 文言文 per day, reading texts with the group and otherwise.
3) Continue reading newspapers, magazines, websites, 《文字學概要》, etc.
4) Read at least one article per week from The Independent Reader.
5) Assimil Japanese through Lesson 30 (yeah, same as last month).