Been studying Mandarin more than I've been blogging about it. Every day I get a few hours audio exposure, while commuting each day, and often in the background while working at computer. Still carry flashcards everywhere in back pocket and can always get a few minutes' character-identification. In the early week I can often get an hour or two to read, but now more often travel/culture/history than language study.
Two new techniques:
- Have moved book-study in New Practical Chinese Reader 4 from a few big sessions 2-3x a week to a shorter session each morning. Usually only 20-30 minutes, but the consistency is giving results. Hope to be through this book by the end of the summer.
- Have also started using Anki flashcards at the end of each evening, on an Android 1.6 Archos 5" Internet Tablet. This system lets you grade a card as "Hard", "Good", "Easy", then uses spaced repetition to burn it in efficiently. Has a strong coding community; also a strong content community. There are many sets for the HSK test and more.
Also still buttressing this with McGraw-Hill's Streetwise Mandarin and CCTV's Travel In Chinese, along with news shows, Chinese movies and soap operas and variety shows, other books at odd moments, etc.
On study days I've often been reading about Yunnan, the botanically-diverse, culturally-diverse area of southwest China bordering Tibet, Myanmar, Vietnam... the Ancient Tea-Horse Road brought tea out to Tibet and India. I hope to visit there this autumn.
Progress has been significant. The winter was tough, but I've found a new intensive study schedule. I'm catching more on the TV shows I watch; can read more in blogposts. Still a lot that I miss, but I'm catching more than before.
Summary: Keep working. ;-)