Practicing Chinese

Reviewing Chinese & Chinese New Year

So I started to finally review and practice Chinese and I am feeling that it has been a little tougher than I thought.  I started with my “Play and Learn Chinese” book that I found at Half Price Books.  It comes with a CD and it’s just perfect.  So the first chapter is on the morning routine, so here’s me saying good morning in Chinese:

Reading Chinese

If you want to hear me practice a few more sentences, go to my instagram account @shortandsweet_spanish. 🙂
So another way that I make myself speak Chinese is to ‘MarcoPolo’ (nifty video app) my brother and say my new phrases so he can give me feedback.  He and his wife and kiddos have lived in China for the past twelve years and they are all pretty much fluent in mandarin.  So in this neat app you get to easily record short videos and have a conversation that way.  If the other person happens to be on MarcoPolo, you see him or her live. I realize most communication apps have video, etc, but the user-friendliness and practicality of this one is very good.


Also, Chinese New Year is being celebrated! One of my best friends and her family celebrate it. Her cool family is half Mexican and half Chinese and they are celebrating this New Year of the Rooster.  I wish I could have been there.

Ok, onward with Chinese…  I’ll keep you updated with my pronunciation. 🙂
Practicing Italian

Update on my Italian Practice

So my Italian practicing/reading is going well.  I have mainly been reading my novel and following my method of circling the words I don’t know to later come back and translate them.  I do notice though that at the beginning of my reading the novel I started circling every single word, and now I am more lax about the words I am circling.  I am, however, increasingly getting more into the story.  This was my goal – to get so immersed in the story that I no longer would care about the language, and just want to read the story.
Ultimately, I would love to always have on my nightstand: a Spanish book (fiction or non), an English book, an Italian book, and a book in whichever language I am acquiring.  It might have to be a children’s book for Chinese though. Lol
Ok, here’s a little excerpt of my Italian reading.  And no, I don’t usually read aloud (unless I am working on pronunciation), this was just for the video. Just click on the link and you’ll see a few seconds of my Italian reading. 😉


Practicing Italian

Polishing my Italian

I feel comfortable communicating in Italian right now but I still feel that I get stuck too many times.  I definitely need to polish it, so this is how I’ll be doing it:
APPS:  As apprehensive as I am about this, I am about to start using my italki app.  italki is this wonderful phone application that lets you connect with natives to simply chat in your target language, or connect with a native teacher to get one-on-one language lessons. Yikes! A native! That’s the part that makes me a bit nervous. And of course, you discuss with your instructors the type of lessons you want to get, and the frequency. So… I am biting the bullet and taking my Italian to the next level.  I do know some Italians here in town whom I could practice with, and I have before, and they gladly comply.  But I know I would probably try to meet with them more often if I felt a little more comfortable with my fluency. Also, nothing beats speaking with someone at a set time, weekly or biweekly, without having to deal with logistics.  Another website/app that I always have on my computer and my phone is I highly recommend Word Reference as your main on-line dictionary for any language. It is very thorough about giving example sentences with the word in question.

BOOK:  I will also be regularly reading an Italian novel that my friend was so kind to also bring me from Italy. The novel I will be reading is L’Amica Geniale by Elena Ferrante. I have already started reading it and of course I do not know some vocabulary words in the novel. The method I will be using is one that Luca Lampariello uses.  As I read, I will be circling with a pencil, the words that I don’t know, and drawing a line from the circle to the closest margin. After ten pages or so, I will go back and look these up on After doing that, I will re-read those ten pages, now knowing the new words. Then I continue reading the book doing the same every ten pages. I am, of course, also planning to re-read the whole book after I am done.  But we shall see how soon that happens -not holding my breath.
PODCASTS: I listen to News in Slow Italian. This may be more appropriate for Intermediate learners, rather than advanced, but I enjoy their chat and listening to native Italians chat about American news. I also sometimes listen to Catteland, this is a DJ from an Italian radio station.  The podcast episodes are clips of this DJ talking -no songs. It is fast and furious, but it really helps to get my ear some listening/comprehension practice.
YOUTUBE: I am about to start watching the Advanced Italian Lessons from the YouTube channel Italy Made Easy. I watched a couple and I really like his breakdown of the interviews/conversations he has with his native friends.
This may seem like a bit much, especially when I am trying to pick up Chinese right now. But the way it works (or should work) is that during the day, I pick up my phone and do the apps and YouTube. I don’t do all of them every day.  The podcasts, I listen to while I’m doing something else.  The real commitment here will be the italki sessions and the reading of the novel. Wish me luck! I’ll keep you updated.