The first week of ChinesePod Practice is complete. Five elementary lessons in five days. Five phone calls from China. Five days of anxiety, excitement, and amazement. Anxious because I never felt prepared enough. Excited because I finally had a chance to practice Chinese. Amazement because I remembered more after each ten minute phone call than I had after listening and studying some elementary lessons for hours!
Overall I would say it's been a great week.
I have a few observations from the first week.
The most beneficial part of the phone call (for me) is translating from English to Chinese. Vera will give me a sentence in English which I must translate. Typically half the words are from the lessons, the other half they assume you know. Some I do and some I don't. If I don't I just tell her I don't know it and she tells me. I then proceed to translate. It's like working out for the first time. You use muscles you didn't know you had. You strain to do the minimum repetitions. When you're done you're exhausted . The next time you work out that muscle it's still difficult but not quite as difficult.
My translation muscles are nearly non-existent. I have to work very hard to squeeze out the simplest of sentences. Sure, I can translate "hello" but "I study Chinese everyday" and I'm almost in tears. I know the words individually but putting them together into a coherent sentence is hard work.
There were a few times Vera had to correct my tones which is a relief. People tell me my pronunciation is good but it's not perfect. If she never corrected me I would be concerned.
I want to come up with some sort of review for the end of the week. I'm somewhat surprised CPod doesn't have anything like this already. I plan on reviewing all the lessons tomorrow and working on some more English to Chinese translations.