Learn Chinese in China


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  1. pon00050
    Latest Entry:

    I think I can afford to study more new cards per day. So I am increasing the number of new cards from 50 to 100 starting tomorrow.

  2. Shelley
    Latest Entry:

    Welcome to Lesson 5, this week Pipe asks Ben to help him choose a phone and service provider.


    Pipe asks Ben if he is busy 有事later, Ben says no he doesn't have anything to do later. Pipe tells him he is looking for a phone but doesn't know which telecommunications company 电信公司 to choose 选. Ben is surprised Pipe still doesn't have a phone. Ben asks him if he prefers Apple 苹果 or Android 安卓. Pipe says that as long as he can make calls 电话, use Facebook 脸书and play games 玩游戏 then it is good enough. Ben says he uses Taihua Telecom 台华电信, they should go there first and have a look. Pipe agrees and asks if it is really far away. No, says Ben, there is a branch 分店 straight ahead. Come with me.


    In the store they are welcomed 欢迎光临 by a store assistant. Pipe says he wants to buy a cell phone. The shop assistant tells him they just happen to be having a sales promotion 促销 this month that is very favourable 优惠 for the customer. As long as you sign 签 a 2 year contract 合约, you can have unlimited 无限制地calls and internet access 上网. You can also choose from the latest models.新型机型

    Pipe grabs the newest model, The shop assistant tells him that it is usually 通常20,000NT, but right now you need only pay 付 999NT per month and then you can take the phone home for free.免费 Pipe likes the phone and wants to know if he can select the number 号码? Of course replies the shop assistant. Pipe thinks this is very convenient and wants to get started.


    The supplementary vocabulary had more useful words to do with cellphones and getting a contract.


    There 4 Grammar points this lesson:


    1) This ........就够了 literally means "it's enough"


    2)一点都/也不 means "not at all" it suggests strong negation.


    3) 只要。。。。。就   as long as....."the condition is met"    the consequence follows.


    4)才   a given action or certain amount should be met before it is ok to proceed to the next step.


    Once again I did the quiz in time and got 100%. I will being doing the review for lesson 6 soon which is the last lesson for this course.



  3. Bigdumogre
    Latest Entry:

    Well its been a while since I updated this blog and I have tons of excuses why and why I haven't studied for 6 weeks until last week. But that's what they are just excuses, and I should of never of stopped. So I am going to redo all the NPCR chapters I have already finished, redo most of the pimsluers I have completed and re listen to podcasts that I already know. I know this will take a few weeks but I will be back up to where I was and with accurate tones and words. Has this happened to anyone else? Seems like at times stepping back a few steps will help your get to your destintion.

  4. This was copied from the conclusion of a research paper I wrote. I'm not super confident on the quality of the paper so I'm not putting it here. A lot of this should be "no shit" to many of you. Some of it might be surprising.

    A teacher’s ability to naturally gravitate toward good pedagogy depends on target language proficiency, linguistic expertise, and familiarity with current research and technology. Based on the studies referenced in this paper and the discussion in the previous section,

    • Reading complements writing and writing complements reading. They should be developed together, with reading prioritized.
    • Students should not be expected to write whatever they can say or read, but should be expected to write something in order to develop sensitivity to orthographic features of Chinese.
    • Students should be shown and be allowed to use the best learning tools available on their various devices.
    • Allowing novice students to produce written Chinese using phonetic input methods is not a handicap, but a scaffolding tool providing reinforcement of the connection between phonetic notation, meaning, and written representation of words.
    • Learners who are freed from having to handwrite everything in their oral vocabulary should learn handwriting at a more deliberate pace, where more attention is paid to form.
    • In particular, the modular structure of Chinese characters should be taught explicitly.
    • Although unfashionable, rote repetition is still useful in developing motor memory, which automatizes encoding, allowing a focus on meaning.
    • The same stroke order should be followed each time a character is written.

  5. skylee
    Latest Entry:

    Once again I am at the Thyssen-Bornesmisza museum in Madrid. This is one of my favourite museums which I have visited repeatedly. It has just occurred to me that the Museum has chosen to use Simplified Chinese in some (not all) of its signs (as shown), which seems a bit unusual / unconventional. I mean, usually, such museums would only use their native languages and the better ones would have English (like Prado, which is another great museum that I visited again yesterday). If a musuem chooses to use an Asian language, I think it would usually go for Japanese. The museum's brochure is of course in several different languages, including Chinese and Japanese. And as usual there is not a Korean version. At Prado yesterday I actually saw a group of Korean tourists with their own translated guide to the masterpieces, which I assumed that the tour guide / company had done for them.

    I appreciate that all three of the grand museums in Madrid are open for free for everyone (every evening for Prado and Reina Sofia, and Thyssen-B on Monday PM). I think it is very generous of them.

    PS - And the British Museum is always free (but suggests donation of like 5 pounds, haha).

  6. navaburo
    Latest Entry:

    I have had trouble with the trio of traditional characters which simplify to 干. It turns out (as usual) that all three have curious and twisted etymologies. Here are some mnemonics for keeping the traditional characters 幹干and 乾 straight in your head:


    This is the most straight-forward of the trio.

    It means "dry":


    dried fruit



    In its qian2 pronunciation, it is also one of the Eight Trigrams, and a surname, but those are much lower frequency uses.

    Mnemonic: When there is a drought you beg for even a little mist.

    Etymological note:

    Wieger clarifies that "dry" was originally written using 旱 on the left (with 十 above it?). The character 乾 originally was read qian2 and represented the sun shining into the jungle, dislodging vapors which then rise up into the sky.


    This character can mean "to do" or "tree trunk".

    It can be used alone:


    You have committed ("done") a folly.

    Or in the common idiom gan4ma5:

    你幹嘛/ 你幹甚麼?

    What are you doing?

    A canonical example of the "tree trunk" meaning is:



    tree trunk


    A tree (which originally was made of wood but is now a post-modern clothes hanger pole) is topped with an umbrella of leaves. But, through the mist, you can only see the trunk.

    Etymonlogical note:

    Wieger says the 干 component in 幹 is supposed to be 木, the former being an "absurd phonetic redundancy" This would make more sense.


    This is the odd-ball in the group. It has several meanings. Its most prolific meaning is "to offend":



    to offend or to violate



    to meddle

    But this gan can also mean "stem" in:


    the Ten Heavenly Stems

    An archaic meaning is "shield":



    weapons of war, literally "shield and spear"


    In Toronto, up until a couple of years ago, it was illegal to hang clothes outside, i.e. one of the biggest offenses and ways to offend the sensibilities of people was to hang your clothes outdoors. Silly, but unfortunately true. (credit: koohii user vorpal)

    Etymological note:

    Wieger tells us that 干 represents a pestle. By extension it means to grind or destroy. Destruction in the moral sense gives offense. Destruction in the martial sense gives the warlike association in 干戈.

  7. jbradfor
    Latest Entry:

    Just a warning, in case all of the "女" confuses you into thinking that a "女婿" is female. I assumed it was, and boy did I get the wrong impression of that relationship!

    "姪女婿" is male too. Just saying.

  8. feihong
    Latest Entry:

    By feihong,


    Point out the errors in the translation.

    Mark: AWESOME night. Dry spell = broken.


    Karen likes this.


    Mark: MOM WTF


    Karen: Oops. How do I unclick?




    Source: Awkward Moments in Facebook Likes

  9. Have almost finished translating the song 纯真年代 so will post that up when done, but to take a break and try translating some smaller passages I'm going to copy some sample sentences from NCIKU.com's dictionary. Here is the first one I tried with my translation underneath:

    A: 回忆起过去那如火如荼的革命岁月,他激动不已。

    B: 岁月漫长,世事如白云苍狗

    A: Remembering the rapidly growing revolutionary years, he is endlessly excited

    B: The years are endless, world affairs are like white clouds and dark green dogs

    • 回忆起过去

    "memories form and pass by".

    I thought remembering or as he remembered would be an appropriate translation but I am unsure.

    • 那如火如荼的革命岁月

    "That like fire like bitter herb revolution years".

    This really confused me when I broke it down as I didn't know how to combine the 如火如荼 part. The dictionary said it was a saying meaning either "magnificent" or "originally used to describe a soldier's demeanor and discipline; developing quickly; growing rapidly;blazing", so I opted for rapidly growing as seems more appropriate to describe a revolution.

    • 他激动不已

    "He excited endlessly".

    I thought this would sound better as "His excitement is endless" but that would need 的, and the translation that I have for 不已 is endlessly, which is an adverb. I would have used this first translation but when I saw that 漫长 translates as endless in the second phrase I compared the two.

    I don't know what time frame the first line occurs in. Present tense? - As he remembers the revolutionary years he is endlessly excited, or past tense? - As he remembered the revolutionary years he was endlessly excited.

    • 岁月漫长,世事如白云苍狗

    I'm not sure about the last line, Nciku.com says that it's a saying meaning "how things change in this world". My literal translation looks a bit silly but it's based on my current knowledge so I will leave it as it stands.

  10. keitha's Blog

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    Recent Entries

    Latest Entry:

    I've been here in Beijing at Beihang University for a week now. The lectures starts on tuesday so I have had some time to explore the surrounding area and check out some markets. So far it has been a great experience and from a swedes point of view the chinese are very friendly and open for contact. I wish I had some language skills to be able to chat with people but that will change (hopefully!).

    Some photos : http://www.flickr.com//photos/keithakid/sets/72157627476683131/show/

  11. Chinoiseries Etc.

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    Latest Entry:

    ughhhh the forum is overrun with youngsters about to start a term of study in China... :tong ah well. Good luck and don't party too hard kids. 努力学习,天天向上等等.

    For those of use who are staying in other countries this year, a few Google/soku keywords... watch, use as listening practice, or try some activities as you want...

    Warning: people who are of the opinion that Chinese Opera needs not be mentioned in NPCR may find most or all of these utterly boring (even though there are no actual references to 京剧 that I know of below).

    Other ideas? please comment.

    Activities (please tell me if you have other ideas of typically Chinese activities that you like to watch or practice)

    剪纸 (paper cutting) also see explanation videos on 三农服务网 which also has other crafts demonstrations.

    书法 (calligraphy)

    篆刻 (seal carving) explanation

    中国结 (Chinese knotting) explanation

    刺绣 (embroidery)

    风筝 kites - how to make them: 风筝制作, and a competition (not in China, not a Chinese team, but pretty impressive!!)

    踢毽子 (shuttlecock) example

    体操 (gymnastics) example

    民族传统体育 (minorities traditional sports)

    合唱 (choral singing) at 天坛 and another one (my favourite place in Beijing)

    象棋 (Chinese Chess)

    围棋 (Go)

    麻将 (mahjong)

    曲艺 folk spectacle arts (disclaimer: I understand almost nothing of it, but I do find it fascinating)

    相声 example:

    funny and easy (suggested by BertR below)

    弹词 example and another one (slight a/v syn issue)

    常德丝弦 example

    花鼓 example

    对口词 example


    山歌 (hmm this is probably not 曲艺 but I like it anyway...)

    顺口溜 example

    快板、对口快板、快板书、快书 example


    xx大鼓 example: 西河大鼓

    琴书 example


    单出头 example

    好来宝 example (not in Mandarin)

    上海美术电影制片厂 Shanghai animation movies

    猴子捞月 my favourite!! (no speaking, occasional screeching)

    三个和尚 2nd favourite (no speaking, some sulking)

    鹬蚌相争 a beautiful example of Chinese Painting animation suggested by LaoJian below.

  12. abcdefg
    Latest Entry:

    I've been traveling again. Here's a sign above a urinal in Kunming Airport.

    blogentry-20301-061432100 1312591563_thumb.jpg

  13. bijian's Blog

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    昨天和今天,我花好几个小时看一篇文章在这个URI: http://business.sohu.com/20100730/n273866891.shtml


    北京人大常委会建言:对流动人口采取新户籍模式 - 2010年07月30日07:17 - 来源:新华网

      北京市人大常委会就“十二五”规划建言 对流动人口采取新户籍管理模式











      市人大常委会建议,要充分发挥农民在农村城镇化中的主体作用,切实保护农民的合法权益,努力实现农村城镇化进程中“一变四有三进”,即:随着农民集体土地性质功能的变化,使农民有住房、有新型产业、有稳定就业、有新型经济组织的股权,进入与城市衔接的社会保障体系、进入均等化的基本公共服务覆盖范围、进入股份合作制的新型经济组织。记者 王皓 实习生 王颜欣 (来源:北京日报)


    文章来源:http://business.sohu.com/20100730/n273866891.shtml (责任编辑:李瑞)





  14. buanryoh
    Latest Entry:

    n./adj. 直观

    This word means intuitive, audio-visual, visual, i.e. something that is directly perceived through the senses.


    aids to object teaching; audio-visual aids


    object teaching

    On the upside, I found working with the Facelets API to be very natural and intuitive.

    在有利方面来说,我发现使用Facelets API非常自然和直观

    The touch-key designed accords with the trend of the products, and operate the products more easily.


    For an interesting take on intuitive English vocabulary learning, check out: http://pic.daqi.com/slide/2934663.html

    What do you think?

  15. Beijing Bicycle

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    Recent Entries

    I pity the fool who can't shake the evil bean. (Not really, I just wanted to use Mr. T's famous "I pity the fool" line.)

    Living on the Big Island of Hawaii for 7 years turned me into a coffee snob. I grew to like the strong, bitter taste of Kona coffee and the coffee my friend grew on the Hamakua coast. During my 3 years in Japan I frequented two small cafes in Gifu City that served strong coffee and sweet cake, and played good, old-school jazz. I never got hooked on Japanese green or barley tea. Japanese green tea is good, but I prefer green tea ice cream and green tea chocolate to drinking it.

    So when I moved to China last year I was hoping to maintain the coffee buzz. Not sure what happened. A few lukewarm cans of Nescafe and a few mediocre mocha's at some cafes and I just wasn't feeling the buzz anymore. So I gradually switched over to tea.

    Flashback: The best cup of tea I've ever had in China (or anywhere else for that matter) was in a small town called Xiahe(夏河) in Gansu province. It was in a small ramen shop. The young waiter reached into a bag, pulled out a handful of tea leaves that were so dark green they almost looked black, threw them into a drinking glass (not a tea mug) and then poured hot water over them. The tea had a strong, smoky taste but it was also very smooth. I've been trying to "find" that taste ever since (about two years ago). I got a hint of it in a small ramen shop in Miyun (密云) two months ago. It wasn't as strong, but a hint of the smoky taste was definitely there. I asked the waiter what kind of tea it was and he said it was Oolong. A few weeks later I went to a couple of tea shops and tried to explain the flavor of tea I was looking for, but I still haven't found it. Maybe a trip back to 夏河 is in order. Next time I'm going to take some of the tea leaves with me.

    So I bought a tea set the other day. And so far, my male ego is taking it in strides. I'm thinking I need some dolls and stuffed animals for a tea party. While she said it looks nice, my wife doesn't share my enthusiasm for tea. She likes fruit juice and milk. I'd like to bring this point up the next time a language teacher throws me a "Chinese people like tea, Americans like coffee" generalization.

    I'd like to study the art of making tea. For me, it's about more than just drinking a beverage. It's like a mini ritual. It's about taking time out, sitting quietly, drinking something that tastes good and relaxes me.

    I'm digging Jasmine tea. I'm hoping to switch to some green tea as the Summer heats up.

    What kind of tea do you like?

  16. simonlaing
    Latest Entry:

    I take the Shanghai metro a lot. While on the subway they have different TV programs, at the moment usually just the recap of the Shanghai expo of the previous day. On the weekend though I have found they have a program I like to call "Shanghai's most devious Criminals" blogentry-9471-127686048303_thumb.jpg

    The show features a police man and actual CCTV footage of criminals stealing or doing some sort of con. The con in the picture is an old man crossing the street and making an expensive car slowly bump into his partner in crime a bicycle that just happens to be riding next to the car in the blind spot when the old guy walks towards the car. The bicyclist falls down and asks for compensation. The policeman is eventually called and after reviewing the tapes and seeing how these two scam artists worked arrested them for the scam. There was another one 2 weeks ago which had the cop chasing the criminal who ran across a wide 3 lane road and climbed over the median. He was about to get away when a pedestrian saw the cop chasing him, ran after the criminal and tackled him to the crowd, putting the criminal in a headlock until the police could catch up and put the cuffs on him. For a public documentary show it had a bunch of action and a little uneditted violence.

    Anyway this use of the Metro TV is quite interesting I thought, it was half instructional on how to spot scams and half (look how we're catching criminals, don't think about trying anything as we have cameras everywhere.)

    Much better than the red light -green light of how to get on the subway movies and how not to go after your cell phone after you drop it on the tracks.

    Have fun,


  17. Forums Affairs

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    Latest Entry:

    It's way too early to tell what if any impact the change in software will have on site usage. But lets look at some numbers anyway.

    First off, early indications are that everyone has figured out how to post - new posts figures for the last couple of days are broadly in line with the same days last week. Subtract all the posts made in the topic about the move (which don't really count as normal posting) and you've got figures down a bit, but not to a worrying extent.

    There are page redirects in place to bring anyone attempting to visit old forum content pages to the right place on the new system, so search engine traffic is still finding us. It has dropped by about 10% on the same day last week, presumably as Google and the rest update the index with the new urls. That kind of drop is well within the realms of random Internet fluctuations anyway.

    Talking of Google, the changes have certainly been noticed - there's a clear spike in indexing as the new pages are visited to check what if anything has changed. blogentry-3-12735792029_thumb.png

    And it's maybe a bit early, but it looks like Googlebot is finding the new pages easier to eat - this shows how long on average it takes to download a page. There's not a lot of value in that information, but it indicates that the new scripts are at least not running any slower than the old ones.


    And if anyone wants to do their bit to boost the stats - get posting. Posts generate more posts, and more visitors.