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50 Words a day / September challenge

humalin   September 2nd, 2013 12:25p.m.

On august I failed by 713 words my 100 new words a day challenge.
(learned 2316 words and 543 Characters; Spent 50.48 hours)
My goal for this month is to learn 1500-2000 new words (most of them from HSK 6 list) spending from 90min to 120 min a day.

So for this month I want to take a more relaxed one 50 words a day and focus more on spending at least 2 hours a day reading articles.

Sept 01


Sept 02


俞翰森   September 2nd, 2013 6:14p.m.

This is more my level of challenge:-) I am in. It will be a slow start since I am on an business trip and will fail 90 minutes a day but that I can compensate for on the plane rides. I started September with 2095 words, 1459 Characters. Spent 44 hours in August but then I also moved to China so lost much time not studying for several days.

sept 1:
New words 54
new chars: 10

sept 02:
New words 29
new chars 11

itaju   September 2nd, 2013 6:31p.m.

dude, you didn't fail. you didn't meet your impressive expectations but you did very well because you learned more in 1 month than other people learn in a whole year.

anyway you will still need to remember all that you know already.

good luck!

icecream   September 2nd, 2013 10:07p.m.

Interesting post. Have you considered, though, that there might be a trade-off between quality and quantity? You might "learn" 50 new words a day but they won't all be stored in your long-term memory. Memory decay is going to destroy most of those words as time goes by. Or maybe I'm just too old to learn that fast.

Is English your native language? Sometimes it's a bit hard to read your posts. Your syntax isn't always standard.

ricksh   September 2nd, 2013 10:56p.m.

Regarding quality/quantity, I'd see the aim as to learn the 1500-2000 words in the month, then spend until December ensuring fully understand them and bringing them into active vocabulary (and remembering them of course).

BTW, 湖安马林, you said in the other challenge thread that you've been studying for 6 months in Beijing, and before that you learnt 2500 characters with an online flashcard program - what program did you use for that, and did you do any other study of chinese before? Still a bit curious how much you know/vaguely know the 100/50 /day before pumping them into skritter.

PS your english seems native to me, maybe scottish ... but at 100/50 words a day you'll be writing chinglish before you know it

chanelle77   September 4th, 2013 9:59a.m.

Are you learning writing and definitions? Interesting to follow how you will be doing! I am trying to do 50 - 100 a day from HSK 6 (only definitions) and hope to finish before the end of the month. Last month I finished HSK 5 and really noticed progress while reading texts (I was 8 points short for HSK 5 because of my slow reading). Btw I find the HSK 6 words somehow easier to remember, anyone else experience the same? Good luck all!

humalin   September 5th, 2013 3:11a.m.

MandarinBoy2 Welcome to join the challenge!

No, english is not my native language, it is spanish.

ricksh, I've been in Beijing since February studying full time chinese and traveling around China. Started to learn chinese last year with an online flashcard program called http://app.remembr.it/, I completed that program in around 4 months, by that time started at the same time with a series of textbooks called Road to Success (成功之路) which Ive found really good material as well as interesting lectures (right now Im reading for fun 提高篇 of that series).

After last month studying diligently I have found my reading speed exponentially increased, maybe I yet don't know how to use every one of the words that I have learned through skritter but this will come only with time; speaking with chinese people everyday.

chanelle 77, I too find HSK 6 words much easier to remember, one of the main reasons being that I understand the meaning of almost every character compounding the new words.


Sept 03


Sept 04


Sept 05


俞翰森   September 5th, 2013 6:00p.m.

@湖安马林 Impressive! This much in just around a year? Wow. My summary:

New characters: 14 = 2,8 / day
New words: 336 = 67,2 / day

Many words are taken from daily life in Japan. Somehow weird way of adding new characters/words when studying Chinese but surprisingly many words do match. Yesterday we had a very small earthquake, 6.5 or so. We then somehow started to talk about company insurances for this. In Japanese that is: 地震保険 and in simplified Chinese: 地震保险. (Earthquake insurance)

humalin   September 6th, 2013 5:36a.m.

It's great to know many words match! I would like to learn japanese some day.
By the way your going ahead on the challenge!, I will try to speed up ;).

By the way, besides HSK 6, now I will be adding words from the last volume of "Road to Success: Upper intermediate" and I'm starting with the intermediate levels "Lower intermediate 1".
I will also try to cover 1 upper intermediate, advanced or media chinesepod lesson every 2 days (15 a day), today I did "Africa's great rivers"(upper intermediate) and felt fairly comfortable.

俞翰森   September 16th, 2013 9:59a.m.

@湖安马林, How is it going? I think I will pass the 1500 words mark tomorrow if my meetings not drag out to long. So many new fun words. I am going for a movie frequency list + a bunch of words i stumble across in daily life + some beginners books (Will start my first Chinese class next Monday). Currently in Hong-Kong for a presentation and picking up words from everywhere. I can agree that some of the words are less than very frequent, lots of names of companies, food brands, dishes, IT infrastructure components etc. Things I never have heard about before in Chinese. My word due list do increase everyday though so now I will try to decrease the pace a little to really learn the words usage properly. I bought two bags with books this weekend and just stared to read the first couple of them. Really easy stuff but very good training. So many new good books, really helpful and so inexpensive. They have just come out with a equivalent to the Chinese breeze series but with 喜洋洋. The books are graded and have word counts, new words introduced and used in sentences. Fun reading. Simple reading but still fun and educative. I am not on your upper intermediate level yet but did manage to get most of what i read in a Chinese newspaper on the plane here. I am so thankful to have Pleco when reading. Look up and save words and then in to skritter to learn.

humalin   September 16th, 2013 1:22p.m.

@Mandarinboy2 It's not upper intermediate, it's lower intermediate, my fault!

Great to know everything is doing fine, I saw your name on the skritter newsletter, congratulations!. i

It's been great in Beijing!, on the weeked was Mexico celebration of independence day which means lots of tequila and celebration.

I do exactly the same when reading the news, when I bump into a new word, which I cannot guess it's meaning or a new character i write it down and then study it on skritter.
I haven't been able to keep up with the pace, this HSK 6 intensive course I enrolled it's great but really time consuming, 2 hours every day plus an hour homework.
I've found the course really interesting, not being used to working under pressure every day, it mainly consists on:
-explaining important words and the differences they have with words that share one character in common, as well as their usage. For ex. for my last homework I had to build sentences for this four words 爱护, 保护, 维护, 拥护
-Fast reading articles and the answering questions
-Grammar breakup and spotting mistakes in grammar.

Tomorrow I will also start my regular chinese course in University (4 hours in the morning), so I will need to organize my time in order to keep giving skritter it's appropiate ammount time.

俞翰森   September 29th, 2013 8:03p.m.

It is end of month so here is the summary:

Started with
2095 words
1459 Characters

Now at:
words 4222 = 2127 new words = 71 per day.
characters 1816 = 357 new characters =12 per day.

This is higher than my own goals of 5 characters per day but i have actually had a rather nice retention on those. I think that it is due to much reading for reinforcement. Note also that I have nuked my account a few month back. Maybe 30% of the words/characters where things i already had some understanding of and the rest new to me.

I have also just started a conversation one on one class. I need to get my spoken Chinese to be more fluent. I have a 阿姨 that lives with us here in Shanghai so I do get my daily practice of daily stuff conversation. I am somehow proud that I now manage to take the children to the movies, handle practical stuff such as shop, pay the bills, talk to my children s all Chinese teachers etc. Baby step forward on a very long road.

hanscheung   October 2nd, 2013 11:22p.m.

Hi guys, I was wondering, how do you manage to learn that many words per day? I'm studying Chinese now fulltime in Beijing, but I'm more at 15 words per day :(

ricksh   October 3rd, 2013 12:25a.m.

A consistent 15 words / day could be plenty, particularly at the beginning. It's more than 5000 words / year if is every day.

Better to think about items learnt i.e. 15 words a day could be 30 characters, 30 pronunciations (i.e. pinyin + tone) of those characters, 30 definitions for those combinations of characters, which would total 90 items / day. Or it could be 15 words where know characters and pronunciations already i.e. 15 items.

ricksh   October 3rd, 2013 12:30a.m.

my maths is off - would be 75 items - 15 definitions for those combinations of characters ;) - unless learnt definitions for the 30 individual characters too, which could make 45 for definitions side ... anyway, hope point is clear ;)

俞翰森   October 3rd, 2013 2:24a.m.

@hanscheung, After a while new words will mostly be combinations of characters you already know. They are rather easy to learn compared to learning new characters in a word. To learn them in the first place is not the hard part, it is to remember them in the long run that is. I need to spend more time reading than I do Skritter. I currently skritter for around 90 minutes a day and read for around 2-3 hours (books, news, we-chat,TV etc.) Not that I get it all but what I do not know I can add and study. Since i live in China I get plenty of exposure to Chinese to read in daily life. The only thing that do work for me is to learn new words in context so example sentences have been a lifesaver. Reading is then reinforcing this.

humalin   October 6th, 2013 1:10a.m.

September summary:

943 New words 31.4/day
171 New characters 5.7/day

Studied 38.53 hours

Daaaaaaaamn 俞翰森 you are going fast!!

I still have 1358 words on my HSK6 list I have to cover before the end of this month.


**** Anyone interested in tennis, today is an amazing match in Beijing, DJOKOVIC-NADAL!

VAMOSSSS NADAL!! #1 of the world

Kryby   October 6th, 2013 6:32a.m.

If you finish the HSK6 list, you may find the old HSK lists useful. There are lots of common words in the old HSK 3 and old HSK 4 lists which didn't make it into the new HSK.

马洲屹   October 6th, 2013 6:59p.m.

@Kryby...I am in awe of your stats! 你是机器人!:-)

humalin   October 7th, 2013 4:13a.m.

@Kryby I will, thanks!. I've heard that old HSK voc. was more useful than the new ones.
by the way, great stats!

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