October 3, 2010 4 Comments
As many others have said, increasing vocabulary is probably the most important step towards fluency. Maybe that’s not true for everyone, but I don’t think I really felt comfortable having conversations until I had around 4,000 words in my passive vocabulary. I still need to move more of those over to my active vocabulary, but that is part of the reason I started this blog (to improve my speaking practice, which I really ought to do more of sometime soon…).
The journey to increase vocabulary is a long, slow, frustrating journey. So I thought I could share my progress here. I know it’s easy to feel like you are learning very little. But when you look back, you’ll see you’ve come a long way.
I actually started learning Cantonese in August 2007, but I didn’t start keeping track until September 2008 when I started using Anki (http://ichi2.net/anki/). So the first few months in the below table will show the previous year’s worth of words I sped through initially. Most of those words came from:
- the FSI textbooks at http://fsi-language-courses.org/Content.php?page=Cantonese.
Then also in the second half of 2009, I put in more effort than usual to really try and learn 10 words a day. Most of the words in that period came from:
- books I purchased at Greenwood Press: http://www.green-woodpress.com/products_list.php?iscantonese=1
- the example sentences at Cantodict: http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/scripts/examplelist.htm?level=-1&wordtype=2&filter_by_audio=0
More recently, I’ve slowed down my vocabulary acquisition since I’ve been focused on other things as well. Now most of the words are coming from TV shows I am watching:
- Hunter X Hunter (on veoh.com) – http://www.veoh.com/collection/hxhcanto
- 同事三分親 re-runs (a 2008 show on TVB) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_Selling_Secrets