Thank you and Eric both for your hard work!
I’ve not sunk myself into many languages (I’m a new language-learner and lover) but I have to say that I absolutely love the FSI course for Cantonese which I had found here: https://www.fsi-language-courses.net/ . I found it partly because there aren’t that many materials for Cantonese available.
Although they don’t necessarily slow down speech for me on this tape, they break the sentence up into segments and repeat it many times, (6 times for every part) adding more each time, which I found to be very effective.
One thing that I did notice about this course was that it was focused mostly on the romanization and included very little characters (mainly only as a note). This makes sense, as foreign nationals most likely needed to be able to pick up the language to converse in a relatively short amount of time. I assume that learning a new script may have slowed this process down.
I don’t have these same time constraints so I have been learning the script as I go along, and found that it is much easier for me to remember words and phrases when I’ve typed them out or seen them written with the character alongside the pronunciation. (Perhaps this is due to the fact that I can associate the word with something visual?)
But perhaps I should clarify a bit; I did spend the first few months solely on the basic sounds. I was trying both to accurately reproduce these and associate the sound alongside the romanization, repeating the FSI’s first 2-3 lessons with the teach-yourself’s first few lessons. At this point I sprinkled in a few characters here and there so that if I were to show a native speaker they would know what sound I would be trying to reproduce and they could correct me.
After those few months I began to add more and more characters into my studies.
That being said, I am a year into my studies. I know my pronunciation and listening ability is still FAR from perfect, but native speakers do say that they are impressed with my “accent” and the way I can distinguish tones, which I feel I can attribute to the FSI course. I feel like these courses are extremely overlooked (a true hidden gem!) and more people are gravitating towards newer apps and things.
Anyways, sorry for being a bit longwinded. I have watched one of your talks (which was incredibly excellent by the way) on learning at different ages with a second part on learning scripts. As a 30-year old monolingual (well, 31 as of today) I do sometimes wonder if I’ve “lost an edge I could’ve had when I was younger” or do feel like it’s much easier to forget things or keep more than 4-5 characters/words in my working memory. I also know I shouldn’t really dwell on this and just enjoy the process.
Anyways, I’m having a few issues. One is that spoken Cantonese is usually subtitled as Standard Chinese, so it is very difficult for me to try and find new intermediate material to move on to. When I cannot pick up what they are saying in a clip, I cannot pause the video and review the subtitles because this is often different to what’s spoken. Furthermore, when I slow down this audio using players, I feel it is much more difficult to grasp the tones. Instead, I’ve been getting the help of a couple native speakers to go through with me and a chunk of content (youtube video) and repeat the chunk slowly or with more pauses between short phrases or sets of words. But, I then feel limited to needing their assistance when trying to bridge that gap into more native-like content.
Maybe I am trying to move too quickly into being unassisted in listening to native like-content, (maybe I need more vocabulary first?) but is there anything else that I can do to help close this gap and be able to listen and understand more freely?
Sorry again for being a bit longwinded. As a new language-learning, I didn’t know how much information to provide in order to frame my question accurately.
I also want to say thank you (and Eric) so much for all your contributions to the language learning and community And for taking the time to read my message.