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  • Tomsima

    At the dog beauty parlour

    By Tomsima

    Spotted in the dog beauty parlour today (yes, they exist, yes there was a walk in wardrobe of dog clothes, no I was not a customer). Made me smile.   What's going on with 愛犬島 and the UK picture? Am I meant to understand the UK is "isle of dog lovers"?
    • 3 comments
    • 773 views
  • js6426

    What does it REALLY mean to love China?

    By js6426

    I had to pop to the international student center at uni to sort some visa stuff, and couldn't resist getting some snaps of this sign. I haven't even attempted to decipher anything that's on there, but there's plenty on there to keep one busy, especially if you are looking to perfect your 'reading handwriting' skills! I'd love to hear feedback on what people have written (there's not a lot on there I can read, other than the middle hah)!
    • 6 comments
    • 1,299 views
  • roddy

    Wall menu

    By roddy

    A contribution from @Flickserve here, who'll be by shortly to answer all your questions. 
    • 5 comments
    • 700 views
  • abcdefg

    Top 12 dim sum

    By abcdefg

    Here's another dim sum menu, sort of. This one is especially useful because it features only 12 items from a busy upstairs restaurant that offers probably a hundred items. (I ate upstairs.) These take away selections are available for purchase on the street level. My guess is they are some of the house's best sellers. This place was across the street from my Hong Kong (Wan Chai) hotel 華美粵海酒店。         If you figure out and learn these 12 items, you might not be a di
    • 0 comments
    • 625 views
  • DrWatson

    Handwritten Signs at the Market

    By DrWatson

    Longan's for sale at a shop in New York City's Flushing Chinatown.
    • 0 comments
    • 652 views

Our community blogs

  1. Use the translated English lyrics below to find the title and artist of the song. Bonus points for providing a video or audio link. A short audio clip is provided as an additional hint, should you need it.
     



    Wednesday, second class of the day
    A beautiful silhouette enters
    She’s not Teacher Liu
    Teacher Liu is sick

    Her family name is Wang, she tells us
    She’s our substitute teacher for the day
    Her voice is very pleasant
    She’s almost the same age as me

    Miss Wang, I love you
    I answer all of your questions
    I haven’t yet experienced love
    I’m not from around here

    Miss Wang, I love you
    These past days you’ve been in my dreams
    Coming and going
    Close my eyes, see you everywhere

    Next Wednesday, second class of the day
    Will Teacher Liu take a rest?
    I know it’s not possible
    Just want to see you

    You're just like my sister
    I often write to her
    Want to think of you as her
    Not logical at all

    Miss Wang, I love you
    When will you come to my class again
    To answer your 100 questions
    I’ll study hard
    Miss Wang, I love you
    Are you also not from around here?
    People who left home don’t have it easy, have to rely on themselves
     


    clip.mp3

     



    Answer

    Spoiler

     

    Title: 星期三的第二堂课
    Artist: 晓月老板
    Link: https://artist.douban.com/m/bluesxiaoyue/tracks?play=tSd1st&pl=pSpjskxf86&pz=1
    Translation: https://www.notion.so/93a0781b447f419c9d59b802249be3af

    Chinese lyrics

    星期三的第二堂课
    走进一个美丽的身影
    她不是刘老师
    刘老师病了

    她姓王,她对我们说
    今天她给我们代课
    她说话很好听
    年龄和我差不多

    王老师,我爱你
    回答你提的所有问题
    我还没接触过爱情
    我的家在外地

    王老师,我爱你
    这些天你在我的梦里
    走来走去
    闭上双眼,到处是你

    下星期三的第二堂课
    刘老师会不会休息
    我知道不可能
    只是想见你

    你就像我姐姐一样
    我经常写信给她
    想把你看成她
    不合逻辑

    王老师,我爱你
    你何时再来我的班里
    为了你的一百个问题
    我要好好学习
    王老师,我爱你
    你的家是否也在外地
    离家的人 活着不易,全靠自己

     

     

  2. suMMit
    Latest Entry:

    Time to update this blog. I have been ridiculously busy with work coming back onboard. I have not stopped working on Chinese at all though. I was planning to post more "One minute speaking" recordings, but 1) I realized I was running through them 10 times to get a decent one without too many mistakes and I don't think that is best done unless someone checks the grammar first. 2) I thought it best to wait a while and see if there's any progress over a longer period before posting another. Now its been a few months, I may do another round soon.

     

    I've been doing a lot of speaking practice in class and out on the street, learning characters, reading. listening -  I'm pretty happy with my progress the last 6 months. This last few weeks we've been working on an eating out chapter in my main textbook, so I've made a real point of ordering new(to me) dishes, getting them to modify my order, etc in order to practice what I'm learning. I travel a lot for work, so I ask my teacher what I should try here and there. It gives me a nice language practice mission each time.

     

    I am going to 武汉 for work next week and it's doubly exciting because my teacher lives there. I told her I'm coming and we've arranged to meet for a meal. We have been studying together on Skype for just over a year so it will be really interesting, if weird to talk in person! I'm a bit nervous, but I don't want to pass up the opportunity. She's a great teacher too so the least I can do is 请老师吃火锅!

  3. Flickserve
    Latest Entry:

    It's been one of those down phases. I am just really lazy without the environment giving me a kick up the proverbial backside.

     

    Changing things around a bit, I changed to practicing speaking skills. 

     

    Materials - old glossika mp3 Chinese Beijing

    Process - a) copy the sentences from PDFs into excel list (takes time)

    b) create  srt from the mp3 GMS C (very easy and quick)

    c) process the srt and mp3 in subs2srs to create individual sentences from the mp3 and the tsv file (UTF 8 )

    d) to get the English sentences into the tsv file, I select all the data in the tsv file and paste into excel. Add another column on the right with the corresponding English sentence. Select all the data in excel, copy and paste back into the tsv file replacing the original data. 

    e) import into Anki

    f) setup the recall card showing English. Answer card is set to show the Chinese and plays audio ten times.

     

     

     

    This way, I am practicing simple sentence construction. My spoken mandarin is a bit weird because I frequently translate in my head from both English and Cantonese to Mandarin. All of these sentenxe

     

    I also do shadowing. After some multiple reps of sets of ten, I have been reviewing the sentences with a Mandarin speaker after practicing. I get feedback such as tone is a bit off, a word might be articulated too loudly, rhythm is off.

     

     

    If comparing to starting straight away trying to be perfect with a teacher with an unfamiliar sentence, it feels more comfortable practicing with anki and then fine tuning. 

     

  4. mungouk
    Latest Entry:

    By mungouk,

    Again, not really a sign as such but on a simple level I love the way this document's function affects the way it looks.

     

    Plus it also shows hanzi going vertically as well as horizontally, which is a topic that come up from time to time.

     

    Question: What's the other script, and what kind of document is this?  (Click picture to enlarge.)

     

     

    inner-mongolia-petition.thumb.jpeg.76ca7d0d258ca578a31b5ef64d46798a.jpeg

     


     

    Spoiler

     

     

     

    Caption: "A petition against changes to education policy signed by all the residents of Dalanhua Village, Chifeng Municipality, Inner Mongolia.

    The circular style imitates that of duguilang resistance groups in pre-revolutionary times. Photo via Made in China."

     

    From Ethnic Mongols protest Beijing’s push for Mandarin-only classes, SupChina, 1 Sep 2020.

    https://supchina.com/2020/09/01/ethnic-mongols-protest-beijings-push-for-mandarin-only-classes/

     

     

  5. mutu
    Latest Entry:

    Here are 100 commonly used phrases in Chinese and English for the HSK exam. Remembering them can help you pass the HSK exam. Come on!

    100 common phrases for HSK exam

    1.随着经济的快速发展 with the rapid development of economy

    2.人民生活水平的显著提高/ 稳步增长  the remarkable improvement/ steady growth of people’s living standard

    3.先进的科学技术 advanced science and technology

    4.面临新的机遇和挑战 be faced with new opportunities and challenges

    5.人们普遍认为 It is commonly believed/ recognized that…

    6.社会发展的必然结果 the inevitable result of social development

    7.引起了广泛的公众关注 arouse wide public concern/ draw public attention

    8.不可否认 It is undeniable that…/ There is no denying that…

    9.热烈的讨论/ 争论 a heated discussion/ debate

    10. 有争议性的问题 a controversial issue

    11.完全不同的观点 a totally different argument

    12.一些人 …而另外一些人 … Some people… while others…

    13.就我而言/ 就个人而言 As far as I am concerned, / Personally

    14.就…达到绝对的一致 reach an absolute consensus on…

    15.有充分的理由支持 be supported by sound reasons

    16.双方的论点 argument on both sides

    17.发挥着日益重要的作用 play an increasingly important role in…

    18.对…必不可少 be indispensable to …

    19.正如谚语所说 As the proverb goes

    20.…也不例外 …be no exception

    21.对…产生有利/不利的影响 exert positive/ negative effects on…

    22.利远远大于弊 the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

    23.导致,引起 lead to/ give rise to/ contribute to/ result in

    24.复杂的社会现象 a complicated social phenomenon

    25.责任感 / 成就感 sense of responsibility/ sense of achievement

    26. 竞争与合作精神 sense of competition and cooperation

    27. 开阔眼界 widen one’s horizon/ broaden one’s vision

    28.学习知识和技能 acquire knowledge and skills

    29.经济/心理负担 financial burden / psychological burden

    30.考虑到诸多因素 take many factors into account/ consideration

    31. 从另一个角度 from another perspective

    32.做出共同努力 make joint efforts

    33. 对…有益 be beneficial / conducive to…

    34.为社会做贡献 make contributions to the society

    35.打下坚实的基础 lay a solid foundation for…

    36.综合素质 comprehensive quality

    37.无可非议 blameless / beyond reproach

    39.致力于/ 投身于 be committed / devoted to…

    40. 应当承认 Admittedly

    41.不可推卸的义务 unshakable duty

    42. 满足需求 satisfy/ meet the needs of…

    51.对这一问题持有不同态度 hold different attitudes towards this issue

    52.支持前/后种观点的人 people / those in favor of the former/ latter opinion

    53.有/ 提供如下理由/ 证据 have/ provide the following reasons/ evidence

    54.在一定程度上 to some extent/ degree; in some way

    55. 理论和实践相结合 integrate theory with practice

    56. …必然趋势 an irresistible trend of…

    57.日益激烈的社会竞争 the increasingly fierce social competition

    58.眼前利益 immediate interest/ short-term interest

    59.长远利益. long-term interests

    60.…有其自身的优缺点 … has its merits and demerits/ advantages and disadvantages

    61.扬长避短 Exploit to the full one’s favorable conditions and avoid unfavorable ones

    62.取其精髓,取其糟粕 Take the essence and discard the dross.

    63.对…有害 do harm to / be harmful to/ be detrimental to

    64.交流思想/ 情感/ 信息 exchange ideas/ emotions/ information

    65.跟上…的最新发展 keep pace with / catch up with/ keep abreast with the latest development of …

    66.采取有效措施来… take effective measures to do sth.

    67.…的健康发展 the healthy development of …

    68.有利有弊 Every coin has its two sides.

    69.对…观点因人而异 Views on …vary from person to person.

    70.重视 attach great importance to…

    71.社会地位 social status

    72.把时间和精力放在…上 focus time and energy on…

    73.扩大知识面 expand one’s scope of knowledge

    74.身心两方面 both physically and mentally

    75.有直接/间接关系 be directly / indirectly related to…

    76. 提出折中提议 set forth a compromise proposal

    77. 可以取代 “think”的词 believe, claim, maintain, argue, insist, hold the opinion/ belief that

    78.缓解压力/ 减轻负担 relieve stress/ burden

    79.优先考虑/发展… give (top) priority to sth.

    80.与…比较 compared with…/ in comparison with

    81. 相反 in contrast / on the contrary.

    82.代替 replace/ substitute / take the place of

    83.经不起推敲 cannot bear closer analysis / cannot hold water

    84.提供就业机会 offer job opportunities

    85. 社会进步的反映 a mirror of social progress

    86.毫无疑问 Undoubtedly, / There is no doubt that…

    87.增进相互了解 enhance/ promote mutual understanding

    88.充分利用 make full use of / take advantage of

    89.承受更大的工作压力 suffer from heavier work pressure

    90.保障社会的稳定和繁荣 guarantee the stability and prosperity of our society

    91.更多地强调 put more emphasis on…

    92.适应社会发展 adapt oneself to the development of society

    93.实现梦想 realize one’s dream/ make one’s dream come true

    94. 主要理由列举如下 The main reasons are listed as follows:

    95. 首先 First; In the first place; To begin with

    96.其次 Second, In the second place

    97. 再次 Besides,In addition, Additionally, Moreover, Furthermore

    98. 最后 Finally, Last but not the least, Above all, Lastly

    99. 总而言之 All in all, To sum up, In summary, In a word

    100.我们还有很长的路要走 We still have a long way to go.

  6. js6426
    Latest Entry:

    What a strange season this has been.  I'm not really sure what to write, as our whole semester has been online.  I feel like I my improvement was minimal due to the online classes, and the format in which they came.

     

    Speaking was done as an interactive online class, and so that was actually not bad.  But a lot of the other classes were prerecorded lectures, with a few questions to follow, in order to check that we had been listening.  The hardest class we had was 文学,and I got next to nothing out of it, because it was basically a teacher talking at us for a couple of hours, without any interaction.  I feel this class would have been really good if it was in person.  A lot of class time I just spent reading and doing flashcards, so that I was at least getting some self study in.

     

    Overall this semester has been far from ideal, but I do feel there has been some small improvement at least, and was happy to get through 《三体》,which I will do my thesis on next year.  As far as getting back to China goes, I have absolutely no idea (nor do I think anyone else really does) as to when/how this will happen.  If the next semester starts online, I struggle to understand how we would be able to go back before it ends.  The logistics of trying to switch from online classes to actual classes, while international students are all having to book flights to get back, along with going through a two week quarantine, just seems like too much of a headache.  I imagine it would be much wiser to do it during a break. 

     

    Anyway, not much to report this time unfortunately.  We have our final 4 week semester now - today is the last day of class, then 2/3 pieces of homework/papers over the next 3 weeks before we finish for the summer.  Watch this space to see what happens next!

  7. image.png.7da1f7aa3e463f8cfdc27b67c9f39064.pngimage.png.9a1ae91a50eafcce4dce8473080d4d60.png

     

    幕帖训练

    image.thumb.png.f6c32b520c46ae09ff63376d3afca7d0.png

     

    醉汉带着许多节日礼物上了公共汽车。他死命地抓住车上的扶手,以防摔倒。售票员问:“要不要帮忙?”
    醉汉回答:“请吧,你帮我抓住扶杆,我来掏钱买票。”

  8. Adventures in Mandarin

    • 2
      entries
    • 1
      comment
    • 461
      views

    Recent Entries

    księżycowy
    Latest Entry:

    Ok, it's finally time for the next lesson in Volume 1 of PAVC! Lesson 2!

     

    Grammar Notes:

    This lesson goes over stative verbs and introduces the following sentence structures:

    我很忙。

    我不忙。

    我不太忙。

    我很忙,你也很忙。

    你忙不忙?

     

    Which basically can be formulated as:

    Affirmative: N/PN + ADV + SV.

    Negative: N/PN + NEG + SV. -or- N/PN + NEG + ADV + SV.

    Question: N/PN + SV + NEG + SV?

     

    Vocabulary Notes:

    不 is usually unstressed in the SV question sentence type.

     

    Hanzi Learned:

    早,趙,小,姐,張,久,見,啊,很,謝,也,這,太,天,氣,熱,去,上,課,們,忙,再,冷

     

    Exercises:

    Spoiler

    Section 1

     
    2111860761_Lesson2Section1.thumb.jpg.2ba28151af30e19f171087718fe2e8c6.jpg

    1. 李小姐不高。(In my edition, 李小姐 is indeed smaller than 張先生. In the edition pictured above, they look about the same.)
    2. 王太太很熱。
    3. 不熱,李小姐不熱。她很冷。
    4. 冷,李小姐很冷。
    5. 高, 王先生很高。

     


    Section 2

     

     
    722111030_Lesson2Section2.thumb.jpg.81ec3aaec3d982b5d391dbcae54959d9.jpg

    1. 不忙。
    2. 不累。
    3. 不熱,我很冷。
    4. 不餓。
    5. 不渴。

     

     

  9. Ten reasons why I admire Li Ziqi so much

    喜欢李子柒的十个缘由


    If people are talking about a girl who could make a set of bamboo sofa without a single nail, show you how the ancient Chinese writing tool is produced, tell the story of how a grain of rice grows from a seed,they are talking about Li Ziqi, a Chinese girl doing what she likes regardless of what they say. 

    1
    She is true to herself
    Rumor goes that she’s just a cyber-celebrity who aims at a rise to fame, and a benefit from that reputation. She could be anything bad given how the gossips are going to shape, but she still keeps on with these vlog, where she shows us every detail of her life. 
    2
    She knows that silence is the best way to suffocate gossip
    The way she lives and the way she handles things is too amazing for us to believe. That’s probably why she becomes a target of the negative comment from those far away from such a way of living. Instead of getting involved in rebuttal, she prefers updating the videos for years to show how persistent she is to something she had chosen, with or without comments.      
    3
    She is willing to learn everything new to achieve her goals
    She admits that she no nothing about some of the skills shown in her video at first. Her eagerness to learn opens up the possibility to trying something new. 
    4
    She is a genius with business acumen
    Her name becomes a brand now and products related are available on line. Commercial benefit is just the byproduct from her previous effort winning the fans with the videos of high quality. 
    5
    She promotes the spread of Chinese culture with talented videos
    Foreigners and even Chinese get to know how things are made or coming to being by watching her videos. She acts like an almighty craftsman telling you how things awesome may start with something quite usual and simple, in a creative way.
    6
    She realizes financial freedom by doing the things she enjoys
    She keeps doing what she likes, sharing her life in videos, making you the witness of her life interesting and vivid, showing you how she makes the things she wants on her own. She gets lucky by earning both attention and money the way she deserves.
    7
    She lives a life of pastoral style far from the madding crowd
    Living in the remote village, surrounding by plants she grows as food, accompanying by dogs and goats she keeps as pets, she plays the role in a poem-like farm where those people struggling in the urban life don’t even have the time to dream of.
    8
    She knows what’s important to her and sticks to it while leaving out all the rest
    She used to work in the city as a DJ, a waitress, a Taobao seller, and her grandmother’s getting ill making her back to hometown. Being with grandmother means a lot to her, given her childhood without care from parents but grandparents, and her yearning for self-sufficiency further motivates her stay in Mianyang, Suchuan.
    9
    She’s brilliant in an ordinary way
    She can do almost everything, capable of all kinds of skills, making things from the most common materials and ingredients, creating stuff better than you could have imagined. She looks like a fairy, but she’s living a normal life industriously. You may find that what she manages to do is nothing impossible when you break it into steps, but all when all these easy sections combine, you see something complicatedly great. That’s something we fail to cope with without distractions. We lack that kind of concentration to make it.
    10
    She knows how to tell the story and opens up our mind for more possibilities
    Her videos are silent in conversations or monologues. She shows you all the things in the way she works. Thanks to her breaking things into steps to make it simple to know how things work. Her videos act like a trigger of inspiration, especially to those who imitate her and tell the story of their lives.


    She knows how to dye the cloth and awake the beauty and magpies on the dress with thread and needle. This is about the art of embroidery.
    https://www.bilibili.com/video/av62976159

     

    She knows how to make Chinese traditional food out of the normal ingredients. This is about the taste of China.
    https://www.bilibili.com/video/av81545399

     

    She knows how to make the sculpture of characters and get the printing done. That’s the beauty of ancient Chinese inventions.
    https://www.bilibili.com/video/av29859659

     

    She knows how to make the cosmetics applied by ancient Chinese ladies with flowers and honey. That’s the secret of make-up.
    https://www.bilibili.com/video/av14406175

     

    No more meaningless debate on whether she’s doing this alone or with a team backing her up, no more negative comments on her making videos for the sake of fame and fortune. Mind the way she conveys her love of Chinese culture in modesty, and the truth that Chinese culture shines in the eyes of foreign YOUTUBE audience because of her post. She is real and vivid the way she is. 
     

    1.jpg

    2.jpg

  10. 只要有你 

    As long as you are here with me

    Original by 那英

    Translated and performed by Enjune Zhang

     

    谁能告诉我 有没有这样的笔

    Who could tell me if

    There is a pen like this

    能画出一双双不流泪的眼睛

    It could get those eyes painted

    Shining without tears

    留得住世上一纵既逝的光阴

    Make the time stay

    Keep it from being vanished

    能让所有美丽从此也不再凋零

    Keep all the beauty evergreen

    And the colors never faded

    如果是这样 我可以安慰自己

    If it is what things could be

    I could get myself comforted

    在没有你的夜里 能发出一线光明

    It could be the light around me

    When I'm lonely in the darkness

    留得住快乐 全部都送去给你

    I will give it all to you

    All the remaining happiness

    苦涩的味道变得甜蜜

    With you even the bitter becomes sweet

    从此也不用分开 相爱的天和地

    From now on there's no need

    To get the heaven and earth separated

    还能在同一天空月亮太阳再相遇

    Right in the same sky again

    We see the sun and the moon meet

    生命中只要有你 什么都变得可以

    Everything's possible

    With you next to me

    让所有流星随时都相遇

    Shooting stars may find each other

    I wish to be their witness

    从此在人世上面没有无奈和分离

    Wish that there will be

    No more departing helpless

    我不用睁着眼睛看你远走的背影

    I don't have to see you leaving

    And can do nothing

    没有变幻的青春 没有失落的爱情

    Youth and love stay with me

    Growing deep without changing

    所有承诺永恒得像星星

    May the promises be like the stars everlasting

     


    As long as you are here with me.m4a

  11. A reply to a recent comment from @murrayjames spawned into something perhaps more worthy of an additional entry. The comment reads,

    Quote

     

    Inspired as I am by your experiences, professional language interpretation and translation seem crazy to me. The work entails intentionally, repeatedly launching yourself into unfamiliar linguistic territory under strict deadlines. Why do that to yourself?

     

    With language interpretation, when you fail, you fail in front of others and in real-time. That’s scary stuff. It reminds me of music performance, which also contains a risk of public failure. Maybe in language interpretation, as in music, your confidence in your skills and ability to perform grows over time.

     

     

     

    This is correct - there is frequent public failure, unrealistic deadlines and demands, and non-specialists taking on specialist jobs. Here are my thoughts on why the industry is like the way it is at present in the West.
     

    There is an obvious disconnect between client and interpreter, which, already so wide as it is, is only exacerbated by the fact the market is unregulated and rife with interpretation agencies offering specialists for every field, which they couldn't possibly afford at the rates the real specialists work at. Of course, clients don't know this and don't care - they just want someone in the booth who is 'fluent' to interpret their conference on a niche topic.

     

     

    Most interpreters rely on a good reputation to build a specialism in a certain field - eg. 'life sciences', 'renewables', and gain repeat clients in this way. It is this which results in the growth of confidence and ability. But such a trial and error approach to finding and building up good interpreters is clearly the wrong way to go about raising great interpreters in the field. The same is of course true for translation, but generally translators have the time and space to do the necessary research during the project, whereas interpreters can only guesstimate what might come up in their next job based on a description from the arranging party who is hopefully well-enough informed themselves.

     

     

    On specialist interpretation:

    IMO, Interpreters should be in-house specialists in specific fields whenever possible. They should be an integral part of the planning process for any event they will be interpreting at. However organisations these days are always looking to cut costs, and when there are cheaper rates from a general agency rather than employing a specialist freelancer, too often it seems the former is opted for, usually by someone who does not understanding what interpreters do.

     

    The latest high profile example of this which caused quite a lot of embarrassment was the interpreter for Sun Yang at his WADA doping hearing (watch here). The interpreter clearly was not a specialist in the field of swimming, drug testing, etc. and the result was quite shocking.

     

     

    On non-specialist interpretation:

     

    Non-specialists are a necessity, but will never be able to do a good job. I specialise in arts translation, specifically exhibitions and books on Chinese art. This is too narrow a specialism to build a career in, with science, medicine, law etc. being the best paid routes. But even the 'narrow' field of Chinese art is obviously not narrow at all - you could study a lifetime and still not be finished. But there are people that need the job done in narrow, underfunded areas, and 'non-specialist' is better than nothing in their eyes. The result is, all non-high-paying fields get bunched together and given to 'non-specialist' interpreters. People need the job done, and there are those willing to do the job, but the job will almost never be done to a high standard.

     

     

    Conclusions:

     

     

    1) While there is money to employ and support specialists as full time interpreters, cost-cutting leads to non-specialists occasionally taking on (or being pushed into) jobs they are unable to do. Result: quality interpretation cannot be guaranteed due to organisations cost cutting at the expense of interpreters.

     

     

    2) Niche fields need interpreters, but there is no money for specialists in these areas. Non-specialists end up taking on a wide-range of jobs they are not specialist in. The result is bad interpretation, but better than nothing.

     

    Ultimately, the problem lies with the misunderstanding of clients as to what ‘interpreting’ and ‘translating’ actually is, as well as an abundance of people willing to take on jobs when they’re not actually qualified. Contrary to popular belief, being ‘bilingual’ does not qualify you as an interpreter, but so many organisations think and hope it is the same thing, and to top it off (and who can blame them) there are bilingual speakers who reinforce this hope, because there is money to be made.

     

     

    A fairly hopeless situation, and I’m sure the market is very different in China, where many people are by virtue of the education system are to a certain degree bilingual (speaking not just of English, but other forms of Chinese beyond Putonghua) and understand at the very least what this means (ie. ≠ able to interpret).

  12. Enjune Zhang
    Latest Entry:

    不浪漫罪名

    Charged as being unromantic

    Original by 王杰

    Translated and performed by Enjune Zhang

     

    没有花

    Without rose sweet

    这刹那被破坏吗

    Is that very moment incomplete

    无野火都会温暖吗

    Are you still warm within without the fire

    无烟花一起庆祝好吗

    Shall we celebrate without firework bright

    若爱恋

    If love between you and me

    仿似戏剧那样假

    Is nothing but a play fake and dim

    如布景一切都美化

    The setting's far from real but beautified

    连相拥都参照主角吗

    Is the embrace of drama style what you like

    你说我未能定时

    You've said that 

    令你每天欢笑一次

    I failed to make you smile every day in time

    我没说出一句美丽台词

    I haven't got you that perfect line

    是你心中一种缺陷定义

    It's the flaw that you define in mind

    流进了眼角里的刺

    Like a thorn in the corner of your eye

    为何不浪漫亦是罪名

    I'm charged as being unromantic

    Please tell me why

    为何不轰烈是极坏事情

    Why placid like water running deep is something bad 

    从来未察觉我每个动作

    You haven't realized that

    Every little gesture of mine

    没有声都有爱你的挚证

    Is silent but the proof of love identified

    为何苦不浪漫亦是罪名

    I'm charged as being unromantic

    Please tell me why

    为何总等待着特别事情

    Why you are expecting something particular

    从来未察觉我语气动听

    My tender tone is something you haven't realized

    在我呼吸声早已说明

    I have made it clear with the breath of mine

    什么都会用一生保证

    I will promise you everything with my whole life

     


    Charged as being unromantic-enjune.mp3

  13. murrayjames
    Latest Entry:

    A few days ago, I finished reading the short story collection 《樱海集》 by 老舍. This brought my reading total above one million characters, completing my goal for the year.

     

    《樱海集》 was first published in 1935. The collection contains a funny and self-effacing preface plus ten short stories of varying lengths (from six to forty-two pages). The stories deal with classical human failings—hypocrisy, pride, envy, bitterness, cowardice, lust, revenge, greed, anger—and the consequences that arise from such failings. Though the stories are thematically related, they differ considerably in their characters, plots, point of views, and settings.

     

    Below is a brief synopsis of each story, along with some amplifying details and concluding thoughts.

     

     

    1. The first story in the collection, 《上任》, is about a recently promoted government official named 尤老二 and the opium-smoking thugs he employs. Much of the story is concerned with 尤老二’s inability to pay for his thugs, who show up at odd times asking for money for travel and other expenses. This story was difficult for me to get into. I found the details of the plot hard to follow and the language more challenging than any other story in the collection.
       
    2. 《牺牲》 is a character sketch of 毛博士, a bizarre 崇洋媚外 teacher educated in the United States.
       
    3. 《柳屯的》 is about a small village, a powerful Christian family, and an unrestrained woman who tries to take over them both.
       
    4. 《末一块钱》 is about a young dissatisfied college student who yearns for the kind of life enjoyed by his more affluent classmates.
       
    5. 《老年的浪漫》 is about an old man who, cursed with greedy former colleagues and a foolish son, decides to settle old scores.
       
    6. 《毛毛虫》 is a very short story that asks the question: What does a community think about that unenviable husband and wife who live down the street, and that husband’s former wife, and their new children?
       
    7. 《善人》 is about a well-to-do woman who sees herself as generous but is oblivious to the suffering of those around her.
       
    8. This story was my favorite story of the collection. 《邻居们》 is about the tensions that flare up between two neighboring families after one receives the other’s mail by mistake.

      The 明 family and the 杨 family are neighbors. 明家 is selfish and uncivilized. 杨家 is altruistic and lettered. The husband and father in the 杨 family, 杨先生, is described as a “最新式的中国人.”

      One day, 杨先生 receives a letter addressed to 明先生. 杨太太 attempts to deliver the letter, but 明太太 misunderstands her neighbor’s intentions and rebuffs her. 杨先生 then writes his own letter explaining the situation. 明太太 refuses this letter, too. Tensions between the two families escalate. 杨先生 believes that he and 明先生 can resolve their differences like rational gentlemen, and continues to write his neighbor letters. 明先生 sees 杨先生 as a weak man and despises him for his bookishness and inaction. Eventually…
       
      Spoiler

      the 明家 children go into the 杨家 garden and stomp their flowers to smithereens. When 杨先生 comes home from work and sees his ruined garden, he flies into a rage and smashes every window of the 明家 house. 明先生 is not mad at his neighbor, but impressed with him. It turns out that 杨先生 is a red-blooded man of passion, after all.

    9. 《月牙儿》 is a longer story about a girl and her hard life after her father dies and her mother is forced out of exigence into prostitution.
       
    10. 《阳光》 is about the life of a beautiful, proud, and dissolute woman from a rich family. Her eventual arranged marriage to a prominent morality-promoting Daoist is comfortable, but stifling.

     

     

    《樱海集》 is the second work I’ve read by 老舍; the first was his delightful science fiction satire 《猫城记》. There is something irreverent about 老舍’s style in these two works. 老舍’s stories foreground the character defects of early 20th-century Chinese people, whatever their station in life. Opioid-addicted menial laborers, wives of rich businessmen, the orphaned, the educated, the religious and the ideologically possessed—none are spared.

     

    By pointing out character defects in such a wide-ranging way, 老舍 advances a kind of criticism of the Chinese society of his day. But 《樱海集》 is not a “critical” work, at least not in the sense that modern people use the term. It isn’t a systematic, theory-driven critique of Chinese society; nor is it especially tragic or concerned with issues of justice. Rather, 《樱海集》 is a moral work. The stories in 《樱海集》 are cautionary tales filled with negative moral examples. They are the modern literary equivalents of fables.

     

    The stories paint a pessimistic and probably unbalanced picture of Chinese life. Readers interested in positive moral examples—the righteous government official or revolutionary, the loving and longsuffering mother, the diligent young student who succeeds in life despite enormous opposition—will not find them here. Some of 老舍’s negative moral examples are also offensive to contemporary Western sensibilities. His portraits of women are pretty unflattering. 老舍’s women are ostentatious, stubborn, and quick to anger. (To be fair, the men don’t come off much better. Most of 老舍’s male protagonists are feckless hypocrites.) Others will find 老舍’s portrayal of poor people unsympathetic. The peasants in 《樱海集》 are lazy and spend what little money they find on drugs:

     

    Quote

    他拾起钱来,吹了吹,放在耳旁听听:“是真的!别再猫咬尿泡瞎喜欢!”放在袋中,一手扫地,一手按着那块钱。他打算着:还是买双鞋呢,还是……他决定多买四毛钱的“白面儿”,犒劳犒劳自己。

     

    It is interesting to consider 老舍’s portrayals of Chinese people in 《樱海集》 in light of then-upcoming theories about politics and art in China. In his lectures at Yan'an in 1942, Mao advocated a new pro-proletariat literature and denounced “petit bourgeois writers” that write “pessimistic literature” and “harm the people.” Were 老舍’s mid-1930’s stories compatible with the new Chinese literature Mao would soon advocate? Was 老舍’s literature “pessimistic”? [For the curious, I blogged about Mao’s Yan'an literature lectures in an earlier post on this blog.]

     

    The Chinese language in 《樱海集》 is not especially difficult. The vocabulary is more challenging than contemporary Chinese fiction writers like 余华 and 韩寒, but far easier than writers like 张爱玲 and 莫言. 老舍’s word choices are frequently different from those found in contemporary fiction. This may confuse language learners unfamiliar with early 20th-century Chinese literature. For the uninitiated, try reading other authors from the same period. (I read short stories by 丁玲, 沈从文, and 施蛰存 before. That helped.)

     

    My new year’s resolution was to read one million characters in books and articles in 2019. I have now reached that goal with a little over a month to spare. This year I read mostly fiction. I also read Mao’s literature lectures, an article by IBM, a undergraduate thesis on the music of American saxophonist Sonny Stitt, and a third of the Bible. It’s been a great and rewarding experience.

     

    From time to time, people ask about the value of studying Chinese language given recent political and economic changes in China. It’s a fair question; there are many reasons to study Chinese and people differ in their motivations and goals. For me, the desire to engage in the cultural and literary traditions of a large and important foreign world was and is a main driver of my Chinese study. This desire was sustained and strengthened this year. I intend to keep reading in Chinese, both fiction and non-fiction. For literature, my near-term goals for the next couple years are to continue with works at or slightly above my current reading level; to move on to major works by 张爱玲, 莫言, and 阎连科; and to tackle tougher early 20th-century works by authors like 鲁迅. I’d like to wade into 文言 someday too, though that day is still a long way off.

     

    I had a lot of fun writing these posts and interacting with all of you. In the future, I may continue writing posts here. For now, however, because of many pressing demands on my time, I will put this blog on hiatus and return to posting intermittently in the excellent and underutilized “What are you reading?” thread.

     

    Thank you to everyone who read or commented on this blog this year.

     

     

    Link to《樱海集》:
    https://www.aixdzs.com/d/117/117466/

     

    Some statistics: 
    Characters read this year: 1,000,931
    Characters left to read this year: 0
    Percent of goal completed: 100%
      
    List of things read: 
    《三八节有感》by 丁玲   (2,370 characters) 
    《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲   (10,754 characters) 
    《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东   (18,276 characters) 
    《自杀日记》by 丁玲   (4,567 characters) 
    《我没有自己的名字》by 余华   (8,416 characters) 
    《手》by 萧红   (7,477 characters) 
    《牛》by 沈从文   (8,097 characters) 
    《彭德怀速写》by 丁玲   (693 characters) 
    《我怎样飞向了自由的天地》by 丁玲   (2,176 characters) 
    《IBM Cloud文档:Personality Insights》 by IBM   (25,098 characters) 
    《夜》by 丁玲   (4,218 characters) 
    《虎雏》by 沈从文   (46,945 characters) 
    《在巴黎大戏院》 by 施蛰存   (6,181 characters) 
    《分析Sonny Stitt即兴与演奏特点——以专辑《Only the Blues》中曲目 《Blues for Bags》为例》   (5,483 characters) 
    《一个女剧院的生活》 by 沈从文   (61,154 characters) 
    《致银河》 by 王小波   (17,715 characters) 
    《在细雨中呼喊》 by 余华   (132,769 characters) 
    《熊猫》 by 棉棉   (53,129 characters) 
    《1988:我想和这个世界谈谈》 by 韩寒   (81,547 characters) 
    《偶然事件》 by 余华   (20,226 characters)
    《第七天》 by 余华  (84,847 characters)
    《圣经》 (新译本)  (1,055,606 characters; 315,144 read in 2019)
    《樱海集》 by 老舍  (83,649 characters)

  14. Enjune Zhang
    Latest Entry:

    Titanium

    天性防弹

     

    Original by Sia

    Translated and performed by Enjune Zhang

     

    You shout it out

    你高声呼喊

    But I can't hear a word you say

    具体说什么都与我无关

    I'm talking loud not saying much

    我只发话却不摊牌

    I'm criticized but all your bullets ricochet

    我饱受指责 每一颗子弹击中我都会反弹

    Shoot me down but I get up

    你枪声刚落 我又站起来

    I'm bulletproof nothing to lose

    我天性防弹 无所忌惮

    Fire away fire away

    我不惧射击 请你随意

    Ricochet you take your aim

    子弹落地 你再度瞄准吧

    Fire away fire away

    不惧射击 请你随意

    You shoot me down but I won't fall

    你一发即中 我安然无恙

    I am titanium

    我天性防弹

    You shoot me down but I won't fall

    你一发即中 我安然无恙

    I am titanium

    我天性防弹

    Cut me down

    你让我陷落

    But it's you who'll have further to fall

    但你也绝不会因此而好过

    Ghost town and haunted love

    往昔不再 爱已没落

    Raise your voice sticks and stones may break my bones

    你放狠话 石头木棍使我开口但我不说

    I'm talking loud not saying much

    我只回话拒不坦白

    I'm bulletproof nothing to lose

    我天性防弹 无所忌惮

    Fire away fire away

    我不惧射击 请你随意

    Ricochet you take your aim

    子弹落地 你再度瞄准吧

    Fire away fire away

    不惧射击 请你随意

    You shoot me down but I won't fall

    你一发即中 我安然无恙

    I am titanium

    我天性防弹

    You shoot me down but I won't fall

    你一发即中 我安然无恙

    I am titanium

    我天性防弹

    I am titanium

    我天性防弹

    I am titanium

    我天性防弹

    Stone-hard machine gun

    心硬若磐 枪已上膛

    Firing at the ones who run

    向你开炮你就别想逃

    Stone-hard as bulletproof glass

    心硬若磐 如玻璃防弹

    You shoot me down but I won't fall

    你一发即中 我安然无恙

    I am titanium

    我天性防弹

    You shoot me down but I won't fall

    你一发即中 我安然无恙

    I am titanium

    我天性防弹

    You shoot me down but I won't fall

    你一发即中 我安然无恙

    I am titanium

    我天性防弹


    titanium 天性防弹-enjune.mp3

  15. feihong
    Latest Entry:

    Terrace House is a pretty big hit on Netflix, but did you know that there are already three Chinese clones of Terrace House? The latest one, 遇见你真好, set in Shenzhen, is definitely the best one yet.

     

    I'm a huge fan of 中国好歌曲, the music competition where artists sing their own songs, and now there is finally a spiritual successor in 这!就是原创. Two episodes in, here are some of my favorite performances:

     

     

     

     

     

     

  16. He says Xi says

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    Tomsima
    Latest Entry:
    Quote

     

    意思是:对照明镜是为了看清自己的面容,研究古事是为了知道今天的时势。说明研究并借鉴古代的经验教训,才能更好地作出决策,求得好的形势。

     

    语出《韩诗外传》卷五 原文是:夫明镜所以照形,往古所以知今。夫知恶往古之所以危亡,而不袭蹈其所以安存者,则无异乎却行而求逮于前人也。成语 却行求前 即出于此。

     

     

     

    I heard it in:

     

     

    同舟共济创造美好未来——在亚太经合组织工商领导人峰会上的主旨演讲 (2018年11月17日)

    Jointly Charting a Course Toward a Brighter Future – Keynote Speech at the APEC CEO Summit

     

     

    然而,不是所有故事都这么美好,人类也有过惨痛教训。上世纪发生的第二次世界大战,让人类陷入了滔天浩劫。就在离我们不远的地方,曾经爆发第二次世界大战期间惨烈的珊瑚海战役、瓜达尔卡纳尔战役。今天,这片海面已经波澜不惊,但我们不能忘却历史上的风风雨雨。“明鏡所以照形,古事所以知今。”我们回顾历史,是要以史为鉴,不让历史悲剧重演。面对历史大潮,如何才能为世界经济发展把握正确方向?如何才能为国际社会找到有效治理思路?这里,我愿提出以下主张。

     

    my English version: "Like looking in a mirror, the past can be looked upon to understand the present"

  17. grawrt
    Latest Entry:

    Haven't really had a chance to update since the new term began, I had my thesis proposal in early September which felt like more of a defense than a proposal. Out of my panel only one of the professors could really ask me questions because the other two didn't have a background in cognitive linguistics and didn't really understand my topic. So I spent 20 minutes of defending my topic with this one professor (Actually my old Consecutive interpreting professor)  who began with "honestly this just feels like an idea on paper" ... ummm.... yes.. thats what a proposal is lmfao. but I continued to humor her and stand by my topic. It was rough, actually the entire classroom went through this slurry of vicious attacks toward our topics that if you were unable to defend yourself you would just be stuck standing there listening to them shit on you for 20 minutes. The hardest part was that everyone had to stay in the room so it was roughly 4 hours of listening to each student present and defend themselves. But I survived and my proposal passed somehow even though one of the panel told me that she felt that my topic was really interesting but just not for me. 

     

    This term I only have 4 classes. Written translation on Mondays, And 2 simultaneous interpreting courses on Friday. Our Tuesday classes (4 hours) began sometime after the holidays and every week since then has been a mental torture. The original teacher for the class "cross-cultural communications" was supposed to be an interesting guy from Australia. Unfortunately this guy is under Confucius scholarship studying his Phd and cant continue his teaching so we got stuck with the same guy who taught us last semester in 4 hour brackets. 

     

    Yes... that professor. I don't like to judge but this class should just be renamed "My musings" because every class has just been about him rambling off  things from his mind for four hours. Nothing he says has anything to do with the class or to anything even remotely useful. It actually feels like he's just trolling the class, because I don't understand how someone can talk about an ant and tiger analogy for four hours straight. I think the worst part of this class is that his musings always lead to something totally inappropriate. So something extremely racist or sexist, or homophobic crosses his mind and he just goes on and on and it really hurts me to hear that so many of my classmates find this "PHD" so interesting, when he would literally be crucified in my country for the things hes said. I don't know how someone like him has studied in America. I've been bringing my study materials and books to read in class so that I don't have to listen to that garbage that he says, but you know its really hard to block out something so completely inappropriate. 

     

    But other than his inappropriateness his classes are just a waste of time. I'm not even kidding when I say that I had to listen to him talk about colors yesterday. He started from Red and ended on Gray and then looked at the time and we had about 20 minutes left of class and he mused "what other colors have i missed? Oh yeah Brown!".

     

    The Monday translation professor is a close second to a professor I have no respect for this term. This lady prepares nothing for class. Her classes are prepared by a different classmate each week. And I'm not talking about just a short presentation. No. I'm talking about a full class, including creating group work exercises etc. She does nothing. What she does is sit there and when shes given the remainder of the class to add anything (roughly 20 minutes) her response is "well what am I supposed to do?" ...... um. Teach. That's what you get paid for . That's your job. In the very beginning of the term the professor wasn't clear she wanted us to basically teach the class every week so in week 2 when we came to class this lady had some nerve to criticize us all for being irresponsible and unprepared for class. She does this from time to time when people are late. I'm legit rolling my eyes in that class every week. 

     

    The only class worth mentioning is our simultaneous interpreting classes held on Fridays. The classes have been really difficult but really good for exercise. The only qualm I have is that I have my recordings played every class for both sections, so every week I have to hear my lousy interpretations twice in the same day (from E-C and C-E) its rough but I've gotten so used to it that Its kind of like meh whatever to me. Though its kind of irritating that its always the same people played every week. I haven't heard half of my classmates in that class even once. 

     

    So other than classes what have I been up to? Its a semester that leaves a lot open. I've been trying to work on honing my interpreting skills, especially in simultaneous interpreting which I find to be quite challenging. My professor suggested shadowing for about 10-15 minutes a day to get used to keeping up with the pace. A problem that many of us have with simultaneous is waiting too long to begin, and only speaking in 3 word clusters instead of having a fluid sentence. I've been shadowing with this program 《绝密档案》 from the app 蜻蜓。 The app itself has a lot of different podcasts to choose from to listen. I just find this program particularly interesting so after 15 mins of shadowing I just continue listening to the rest of the story. I've also made use of going over some of my old resources that we had from past classes so Ive been going over speeches that have Chinese and English to work on a more formal register and also to get a feel for collocations. 

     

    I wanted to work this semester but I think that with the thesis and everything I'd rather just focus on my studies this term. Its sad to be without the extra cash but I have my whole life to make money but just this year to really work on my studies. I've still been keeping my eyes on jobs because I'd like to find a job after my studies and stay here for another year. As much as China kills me at times, I'm not ready to leave. 

     

    That's it. Our first draft of our thesis is expected to be ready by December for our pre-defense. The date hasn't been confirmed yet but we've been told already we should have a minimum of 19,000 written. I still need to set my study up and get a move on it.  I'll try and keep this blog up to date! 

  18. Paradox Diary

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    Paradox
    Latest Entry:

    我很失望。

    七月十四号我开始新的日记只用汉语。

    到七月十五,我停了!

    我停为了集中提高我的听力。[See Note 1]

    从今天我会集中写句子因为。

    我很难写对法语的句子。[See Note 2]

    这使得说汉语很难。[See Note 3]

    我先提高我汉语写的能力然后我提高我的口语能力。

     

    Note 1: Can I use 了 here? I've been told I need to use 下 but not sure why.

    Note 2:  Trying to say "I find it very hard to write grammatically correct sentences."

    Note 3: Trying to say "This makes speaking Hanyu very difficult."

     

    我正在看《如若巴黎不快乐》。

    我觉得不很好中国戏剧。

    为什么在中国戏剧主要男的演员常常逼女人做不想做的东西?
    女人说“不,不,不” 可是男人还逼她。
    在英国,观众会抱怨。

     

    Sorry for my poor writing!!!!

  19. Shelley
    Latest Entry:

    Hello everyone,

    It has been a while since I last updated my blog. There were a couple of reasons for this - My eyes:shock:

     

    My vision was deteriorating quite a lot and last November the decision was taken to under go cataract surgery. As this was in the UK and on the NHS the wheels grind (no complaints it just the way it is) and eventually I now have 2 new lenses and can see better than I have been able to for many years. I found it was becoming increasingly frustrating trying to read characters with bad eyes and magnifying glasses are a pain, hard to scan pages with one.

     

    I am still in recovery, it is only the third day after my second eye so slowly slowly does it. 

     

    My intention is to return and update my blog with my new learning schedule and updates as to my successes and failures and hopefully help myself and others to progress with learning Chinese.

     

    Just wanted to update anyone who was interested that my hiatus from learning is now turning slowly into a return to learning.

  20. Daniel ZHPY
    Latest Entry:

    In most of the world's languages, you can turn a word into its respective occupation by adding affixes to it. However, as Chinese doesn't conjugate, we attach an additional character to a word instead to form that corresponding job. One aspect in which Chinese differs from English when forming occupation words is that in English, what suffix is used depends mainly on the origins of words, but in Chinese people choose occupation particles based on the properties and characteristics of that job. Here're some practically and frequently used occupation particles in Chinese.

     

    1.家

    家, with its original meaning of a family or a clan, can be extended to refer to a particular philosophy, theory or ideology. Hence, when it's used to form an occupation word, that occupation would be usually related to a professional skill, interest or talent. For example:

    -文学家: a person who has been educated on literature — a litterateur.

    -画家: a person who is professional in drawing — a painter.

    -科学家: a person who has professional knowledge about science — a scientist.

    -音乐家: a person who is well-educated and professional in music — a musician.

    -美食家: a person who is passionate and authoritative in appraising foods — a gourmet.

    It's good to note that when two different occupation words are derived from the same origin, the one with 家 added often has a higher level of profession, authority or recognisation. For instance, 歌手 and 歌唱家 are both people who take singing as their jobs, but 歌唱家 is definitely regarded as an artist while 歌手 is probably just a public performer or a pop song singer.

    Another interesting fact is that when we come to players for specific musical instruments, the only two that are conventionally named with 家 are 钢琴家, a pianist and 小提琴家, a violinist.

     

    2.师

    师 originally means a teacher or an adviser. When a job is named with 师 attached, it refers to people who are well-trained or experienced in a particular area. The difference between it and 家 is that a 师 may not necessarily have the profession or talent. Here're some examples:

    -教师: a person who is trained to teach others — a teacher.

    -厨师: a person who is trained to work in a kitchen — a cook.

    -理发师: a person who is trained to manage people's hair — a barber.

    -会计师: a person who is trained to account money — an accountant.

     

    3.手

    手 means hands, thus referring to people who have high skills or talents, but only in a small area. Unlike 家, a XX手 usually doesn't have an overall profession in a general field, but in a much more specific section. It is very often seen in players of a particular instrument. For example:

    -鼓手: a person whose task is to play the drums — a drummer.
    -吉他手: a person who plays the guitar — a guitarist.

    -小号手: a person who plays the trumpet — a trumpeter.

    -舵手: a person who is responsible for managing and controlling the helm — a helmsman.

     

    4.工

    工 means originally work or labour. Hence it is usually used to name those jobs that need hard labour or manual processes. For example:

    -技工: a person hired to manage technical issues — a technician.

    -水管工: a person paid to repair waterpipes — plumber.

    -电工: a person paid to check and fix electrical devices — an electrician.

    -油漆工: a person who paints buildings — a painter.

     

    5.匠

    匠 basically means a craftsman, so it is used for any job related to crafting and designing. Though it also involves laborious processes often, it's different from 工 as the labour is done in order to craft or make a certain object or artefact. For example:

    -木匠: a person who uses woods to do handicrafts — a carpenter.

    -铁匠: a person who crafts metal objects — a blacksmith.

     

  21. DrWatson
    Latest Entry:

    Two-unit characters are characters that can be divided into two units based on the shape of a character. This can be a division based on left-to-right, top-to-bottom, or outer-to-inner. If you are familiar with radicals then the concept is not so alien. For left-to-right often a spacing, or lack of connecting from the left side of the character to the right side of the character, is where the the character is divided up into two units. For top-to-bottom it can be more tricky, but again if you think back to character radicals it is not a leap. For outer to inner, there is an outer shell unit that encompasses the inner unit.

     

    Once the character is divided up into two units, the following rules apply for determining the Cangjie input code:

    1) The first unit may only have up to two Cangjie symbols input. If there are more than two symbols in the unit, then only the first and last Cangjie symbols are input on the keyboard.

    2) The second unit may have up to three Cangjie symbols input. Again, if there are more than three, some skipping is involved. In this case, the first, second and last Cangjie symbols are input on the keyboard. 

     

    This may seem a bit abstruse, so let's look at some examples. Unfortunately I am on my android device right now and I don't yet have a very good Cangjie input method tool, so I'm still looking for a better way to bring up just the Cangjie symbol to show how things are built up. As such, to make sense of the following I suppose you need some familiarity with Cangjie symbols. I will try to update this post later if I can figure it out.

     

    1) 風 / 风    

     

    A quick visual examination yields a clear outer-to-inner relationship in both the traditional form and simplified form of the character. The outer unit is 几, which can be made up using Cangjie codes that look like 厂乙 (note these are radicals on don't reflect the exact Cangjie symbols, but I wanted to provide something to help see how the unit is broken down to Cangejie symbols. To build the unit, the input code is HN for the outer unit. The inner unit looks like 虫 with a "hat" on top. This unit requires four symbols, so we have to skip the third, with the Cangjie code being HLI. The resulting Cangjie code for the entire character is HNHLI.

     

    For the simplified character it is similar. The first unit is HN still, but the innter unit is simplified. It turns out that this unit actually represents a Cangjie symbol, so the Cangjie code for this unit is just K. Putting it all together, the resulting code for the entire character is HNK.

     

    2) 鍾 / 锺

     

    Upon visual inspect, this character is a left-to-right two-unit character. The first unit is 金 or钅, and the second unit is 重. Well, 金 is actually a Cangjie symbol, so for both the traditional and simplified forms, the input code for the first unit is C, and that completes the unit. The second unit, however, has four Cangjie symbols in it, so we have to skip the third since we are only allowed up to three symbols. The unit is made of a "hat" stroke on the top, 十 just below it, then skipping 田 because it is the third symbol, and finally 土. This turns out to HJG, and thus the entire code for this character is CHJG.

     

    3) 規 / 规

     

    Again, this is a left-to-right two-unit character. Based on the Cangjie symbols, the left side is built with the codes QO. For the right side, the code comes out to BUU for the tradtional. For the simplified, it is BHU. Again, I wish I could input just these Cangjie symbols for reference, but this one is proving challenging for my Android input method. The final code is QOBUU for the tradtional version,a nd QOBHU for the simplified version.

     

    Well, that is it for today, looking back at this post I am not even sure if it is useful. But oh well, this is kind of my journal too. When I am back on a real computer I will see what I can do.

  22. mlescano
    Latest Entry:

    This morning I finished day 90. I used two types of content: 

     

    1) Clearly spoken stuff:

    Slow Chinese, HSK5 recordings, and a magazine podcast for natives. Sometimes I prepared subtitles beforehand using WorkAudioBook, and during the transcribing session I thus was able to do corrections immediately after each line. This lead to time "wasted" doing the corrections, but also stopped me from repeating the same mistake again. Other times, I did not prepare subtitles, and just used WorkAudioBook for automatic segmentation, and did the corrections after finishing each session. This, of course, can cause an accumulation of errors in repeated words, but also means I could write more in a session, as I was not distracted with corrections. So... The left column in the data is not very consistent in how it was done, and even less with the material used. In day 52 I forgot to start the pomodoro clock, so I got an outlier score. I'm leaving it out of the monthly averages.

     

    2) A TV drama called Great Marriage.

    I downloaded both mp4 video and srt subtitles from YouTube and used them with the fantastic Lingual Media Player, which can automatically stop after each subtitle line and makes it easy to toggle subtitles. In 90 days I only reached episode 8 of a 40+ episode drama, and that's watching long parts without transcribing! So, with this abundance of ready-made material, the right column is consistent both in source and in execution.

     

    During the first 75 days, I did 2 pomodiri (50 minutes) per day for each column. But two weeks ago I signed up for December's HSK5, so, to make time for vocab study and practice tests, during the last 15 days I only did 1 pomodoro (25 min) per day for each column. So, in order to "normalize" the scores with the previous days, I added a *2 in the formula.

     

    You can also notice that around day 32 I also started to seriously attack my Pleco SRS backlog. The number here is how many pending cards I have each morning. 

     

    My observations:

     

    Clearly spoken stuff

    You'll notice that during the last month my average score actually dropped for "clear stuff". Maybe in part because I switched exclusively to a magazine podcast for natives in day 60. I must add that, although this podcast is for natives, the magazine is a Chinese translation of the English original, and the podcast is actually just read from the magazine, so it's not at all like 原来是这样 or any similar 100% native, conversational podcasts.

     

    TV drama

    In the graph, you'll also notice that, after a fantastic increase in comprehension from the fist month to the second month, the're no such big increase for the third month. Maybe I'm hitting "diminishing returns" with this particular drama. Still, I've learned a lot!

     

    HSK5

    As mentioned, I'm attacking HSK5 on December, just as a personal challenge, not for scholarships or anything. My cousins, who are Chinese teachers at the local Confucius institute, passed this exam two years ago and then went on to get their Master's degrees in China, but my current level is nowhere near what theirs was two years ago! My current level fits perfectly the B1 description given by the Europeans. Still, after measuring myself with a couple of old HSK5 papers, I discovered I can pass, even if they completely discard my two essays. So in part I'm taking the test to prove a friend of mine that HSK is actually just B1... So I signed up for a test preparation class at the local Confucius. Nobody else signed up for level 5, so I accepted being put with level 4 test takers. My teacher can't speak Spanish, which helps.

     

    Conclusion

    So yes, this helps. The data shows it. I believe this has mostly given me confidence with my handwriting, as, before this, I only wrote individual words. This will certainly come in handy during the HSK5 writing part, because the only option available in my country is the paper test. During my attempts with past papers, I found this part to be the most relaxing. I can finish it in half the time. Of course, with awful grammar! (My teacher will help me with my writing). I haven't really done any traditional study of grammar after an introductory course back in 2012. It's been mostly input, input, and more input, particularly after I finally took Chinese seriously in 2015 and started with Heisig's Remembering Simplified Hanzi. Of course, I've checked difficult to understand points with Pleco and the Chinese Grammar Wiki along the way.

     

    So, what will my listening practice be now? I'll be attacking every single HSK5 past paper I can find, so that will be it, for the most part. I'll also keep watching the drama with LaMP, but without transcribing it. I might transcribe dubbed videos of talks, however, just to keep writing.

     

    Thank you for reading! Suggestions are welcome. I'm attaching the raw data, the monthly averages and a sample of my "day 90" handwriting. Now my focus will switch to reading speed, as it's currently my weakest point. I'll soon write another post about it.

    part1.PNG

    part2.PNG

    graph.PNG

    IMG_4272.jpg

  23. Chinese listening challenge

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    neverending
    Latest Entry:

    A little embarrassed to notice I haven't updated on my progress since the first post - perhaps should have been predictable given how far down my list of priorities it this blog sits, but all the same...

     

    On the other hand, the challenge is still going strong - 74/112 days completed now, none missed so far! My method for keeping track of this, and motivating myself, is the old but classic crosses-on-a-calendar method. I've tried some phone-based "don't break the chain" apps in the past, but none of them have quite the same impact as keeping physical track of my progress. It's gotten to the point that, when planning excursions or family days, my first thought is often "how can I plan my hours around that to guarantee I don't miss a day?" 

     

    20170417_180905.thumb.jpg.99f8d82b99626cd3499f9ac72d0b1c70.jpg

     

    That's not to say it's become easy. I've almost never felt like the 2 hours were effortless. It's just without this motivation I'd probably do less and less every day until I stop altogether. Anyway, if you're struggling with motivation to keep a daily habit (as I often have), I can definitely recommend buying a cheap calendar and just marking it off every day. Super effective.

     

    So what have I learned over the 46 hours of Chinese since I last updated this blog?

     

    Firstly, just as intermediate learners often observe, the rate of progress feels slower every week. I'm still on the boundary between intermediate/upper intermediate on ChinesePod, and when I listen to hard dialogues I downloaded three weeks ago, I don't feel like they've become any easier to decipher in the intervening time. New stories and dialogues introduce just as many new words now as they did two months ago, and I'm getting a visceral sense of just how vast a task learning a language is. The number of near homonyms makes this no easier, and I'm constantly confusing the meanings of words that to a Chinese speaker sound nothing alike.

     

    On that topic, tones in particular continue to frustrate me. I'm not exactly tone-deaf - a few weeks ago I tried Olle Linge's tone training - 100% on the initial level placement - and John Pasden's tone pair drills - no problem there either. But I still often make comprehension mistakes in full sentences due to tones, and still can't reliably predict the tones of an unfamiliar word when spoken as part of a larger utterance. Even when hearing a tone isn't necessary to understand a sentence (at my level context is still mostly enough) it feels like full comprehension is slower than it should be, I'm using grammar/context as a crutch, and the other shoe is going to drop when I try to advance to native materials. It seems like there's a big gap in the market for intermediate tone training - forcing students to listen for tones until this habit is fully internalised. Does such a product already exist? I'm also quite curious what others think about this problem, and whether it's really an issue - particularly from those who have learned Chinese to a very high level of proficiency.

     

    On the other hand, I do feel like I'm currently developing in three related areas. 

     

    • "Chinese subconscious" - occasionally in the past two weeks I have found myself following some non-trivial material without actively concentrating on the language at all, just thinking about the subject material. This is one of the things I had been hoping to achieve through mass listening, and it's good to feel it might eventually pan out. I have very limited stamina to fully concentrate on spoken language (I can't maintain 100% concentration for more than a few minutes!) so this is very necessary in the long run. This point might seem trivial to many here, but it's a big breakthrough for me!
    • Speed of listening. The 4th level of the Chinese Breeze books has helped with this, as the narrators have stepped up the speed a bit for this level, forcing me to internalise more of the very high frequency words and grammatical structures. (I'll give a more complete review of the Chinese Breeze books later if I can find the time)
    • Ability to learn. The more words I learn, the easier it seems to be to remember new words, and the better I can distinguish between similar words. And because I can listen faster, I can hear more words and grammar structures in 2 hours. It feels like entering a virtuous cycle. Of course because I've properly hit intermediate level now, it still feels like my rate of progress has slowed in spite of all of this.

     

    Finally, I've entirely dropped SRSing of new words in isolation. I've just found it a drain on my mental energy with seemingly little-to-no gain. The SpoonFed Chinese Anki deck is doing a great job of introducing me to new words in context, and providing regular reminders. I re-listen to ChinesePod episodes at regular intervals when they have lots of new vocabulary (is there SRS software that can schedule this for me more conveniently than Anki?) The graded readers use the same words so often that there's no need to SRS them. And best of all, all of these activities are simply more fun than grinding Anki decks of words (well SpoonFed isn't much fun, but is definitely more effective). The only thing I'm losing here is the ability to recognise characters of words I'm learning, but given that all of my learning material currently comes with pinyin, this is something I can tolerate (and will probably fix through extensive reading after the challenge is over)
     

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