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    Hi there,

    I'm currently 1 term into studying chinese(modern) (t100) at leeds however due to some personal troubles I have really only attended for the first half of the course, over christmas I really want to get my language skills up to scratch and to were I need to be if not beyond. I plan on trying to get a job at my local chinese restraunt where the staff speak mandarin to try and make some friends I can converse with but the problem my mandarin really isnt that good at the moment - does anyone have any tips on how I can improve it quickly - Hard work/putting alot fo time in isn't a problem for me but I hear that more than an hour or two a day can in fact be detrimental to language skills - is this true??
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    More than one or two hours a day won't be detrimental as long as you take breaks and all. The issue with doing a lot of work in languages at once is that afterwards you're likely to be a little saturated and won't be working for a couple days for instance - in this case it's better to do 20-30 mins every day than 2 hours every other day. Though I'm not a linguist scientist so maybe I'm wrong, but I think it's not likely.

    I can't comment on Mandarin as I don't learn it but I can give some general advice. You should ask your classmates what grammar points they have learned and try and get a vocab list. This should allow you to catch up on the ''theory''. Then you should indeed try to find natives, whether online or in real life and converse to catch up on the practical side of the language - obviously using whatever grammar and vocab that you learned.

    Try to read the news online in Mandarin if you can (though since I'm studying Japanese, I know it might not be a possibility during the first term if you don't know many characters yet), listen to the radio (even if you don't understand, to make up for your lack of listening practice).

    Write often too. Characters are complex and you need training, even if it's only to be able to write them faster.
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    I'm also doing Chinese at Leeds this year. I'm guessing you are first year? To be honest no one is particularly good at speaking it yet, the things you need to catch up on are the symbols and the grammar. The only way you can learn the symbols is just by hours and hours of work. So I'd reccommend doing that for the exam in January. Your speaking ability im sure will improve next year on the year abroad.
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    Some white people probably speak better Mando than me! However I can speak Cantonese fluently :smug:
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    find a chinese friend to skype
 
 
 
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