My Mandarin Music Video – Week 55

Despite the poor quality of my editing, I hope you enjoyed that silly video! I made it to celebrate the fact that I have finally learned an entire song in Mandarin! Thanks Guy Gray for shooting the clips.

The song is the introduction to Boonie Bears, Season 1. I spent around seven hours learning it, mostly while driving back and forth from Brasilia to my farm. After listening to the song once or twice the whole way through, I would take one line at a time and repeat it over and over, unaccompanied, until I had it memorized. Then I would turn the music back on and try to sing two lines straight through, then three, and so forth. It was arduous!

It’s funny that I don’t really know what I’m singing! I am able to understand a few words here and there, and I once read a basic (awkward) translation online, so I have a sense of the overall meaning. But the purpose of the exercise, like my video watching in general, is to get the sounds of the language in my head, on conscious and subconscious levels, knowing that my brain will gradually sort it all out.

Alongside the movies and the occasional Qiao Hu, in coming weeks I plan to watch all the Boonie Bears episodes from the first season straight through. I think there are about 100 episodes in all. I will sing along to the intro song every time, with great enthusiasm, thus enriching my viewing experience.

6 thoughts on “My Mandarin Music Video – Week 55

  1. Very cool! I agree that being able to sing in another language does give you an in depth experience of th the sounds of the language and really helps memorization. I think that not knowing what your saying adds to the arduousness of the task.

    • Agreed! I’ve been participating in online debates about language acquisition, and most people seem to believe that using what they call “incomprehensible input” is a waste of time. However, there are some theorists that advocate doing what I’m doing: listening a lot and even memorizing (like the songs) without necessarily understanding much.

  2. Donaldo Hart says:

    Hoodie and I really enjoyed the video. Vico, your pronunciation is improving, and Camila’s is quite good. I’d give you some tips, but this could interfere with your learning methodology. Congratulations–or, as we say in Shangai, 祝賀 !

  3. ppalme says:

    Wow, impressive. Looking at your video this is really a fun way to learn the language while also engaging with your children. Are they learning mandarin along with you as well ?

    • Yes, I really have fun with it! “Learning” Chinese is the most relaxing part of my day. My seven-year-old daughter is partially following my experiment along with me. She totally gets the spirit and has a lot of fun with it, too. She has logged about 100 hours of viewing to my 270 hours, and most of that was during the first few months. Since July she has participated only sporadically. So, evidently, she has absorbed far less than I have. But it’s definitely a bonding experience and if she does take up Mandarin more seriously at some point in the future, she will begin with a sound general concept of the language and a neural bank of sounds.

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