👋 Welcome to this week’s issue of the Giant Mandarin newsletter. This week I cover words on the topics of sports and fitness. I also include my thoughts on the role of metrics when learning Chinese.
- 运动 yùndòng - sports; exercise; to exercise; movement; to move
- 运动员 yùndòngyuán - athlete
- 体育 tǐyù - physical education; sports
锻炼 duànliàn - to do physical exercise; to engage in physical training
锻炼身体 duànliàn shēntǐ - to do physical exercise; to engage in physical training (for the purposes of health)
- 球 qiú - ball; sphere; globe
- 篮球 lánqiú - basketball 🏀
- 网球 wǎngqiú - tennis; tennis ball 🎾
- 足球 zúqiú - soccer; soccer ball; football ⚽️
- 橄榄球 gǎnlǎnqiú - American football; rugby; Australian rules football (football variants where the ball is oval-shaped) 🏈 🏉
打 dǎ - to strike; to hit; to play (a game or sport)
打球 dǎqiú - to play a game or sport involving a ball
打篮球 dǎ lánqiú - to play basketball
打网球 dǎ wǎngqiú - to play tennis
踢 tī - to kick; to play (a game or sport involving kicking a ball)
踢球 tīqiú - to play a game or sport involving kicking a ball
踢足球 tī zúqiú - to play soccer; to play football
- 跑步 pǎobù - to run 🏃♀️
- 举重 jǔzhòng - weightlifting 🏋️♂️
- 游泳 yóuyǒng - swimming 🏊
- 健身房 jiànshēnfáng - gym
- 操场 cāochǎng - sports ground; playground
Three common metrics and why we use them
When learning Chinese, lots of us explicitly and implicitly make use of metrics. Metrics help us know how we’re progressing over time and how we compare to others.
🎯 There are three common metrics:
- How many words and characters have I learnt?
- What is the highest level of Chinese class I’ve completed?
- What is the highest level of proficiency exam I’ve passed?
We often turn to these metrics because they’re straightforward to measure, easy to communicate and universally agreed upon as meaningful.
The risks of overly focussing on metrics
🔎 Yet, while these common metrics are all worth using, overly focussing on them can also have disadvantages:
- It’s arguably more useful to master 2000 words and characters than to know 4000 words and characters at a more shallow level
- Individual tuition with an excellent teacher using an intermediate textbook might be more rewarding than group classes using an advanced textbook
- Cramming for a proficiency exam may not encourage long-term retention
To this end, it’s worth complementing these metrics with other metrics and criteria.
Choosing the right metrics
The key is that these metrics and criteria should align with why you are learning Chinese and the kinds of goals and milestones that are meaningful for you.
💭 Here are some additional metrics and criteria for you to consider:
- How many grammar structures have I learnt?
- How many chengyu (成语 chéngyǔ) have I learnt?
- How many Chinese books have I read?
- What kinds of conversations am I able to have in Chinese?
- What is my level of understanding when watching Chinese movies or TV shows without subtitles in my native language or English?
What did you think of this week’s newsletter? Please get in touch to let us know what you think. I’ll read every message.
Thanks for reading and see you next Thursday!