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  • js6426

    Week 11 - 我怎么学习

    By js6426

    One of the reasons I now enjoy writing this blog so much, is the feedback and help that I get when I do.  I think that at the end of my first year I might try and make a list of the resources I have used, as it will include many things that get suggested over the weeks.  This week gwr71 was incredibly helpful in suggesting a cultural visual dictionary, one for measure words, and a grammar book, all of which I now have an am beginning to tuck into.    Last week I was also asked about my schedule, including how much time I spend on homework, and so I will give that here.  Each week we have 20 hours of class, with each class lasting 2 hours.  That is broken down into 4 comprehensive classes, which, as the name suggests, brings all the elements we learn from the other classes together.  We have 2 listening classes, 1 reading/writing class, and 3 speaking classes.  Listening classes can be a bit repetitious, but I think that's just the nature of it, and there's really no way to avoid it.  I also really need it as listening is what I find hardest.  Regarding homework, some days we get it, some days we don't, it's fairly unpredictable for the most part.  What is predictable is our reading/writing homework each week.  In class we cover 2 chapters in the book, and for homework we take the list of new words from each chapter and write them out a couple of times, then make a word of our own choosing, then make a sentence which includes that word.  I really enjoy doing this because it's where I get to experiment a lot and the corrections help a ton.  We also have to do the exercises for each chapter, and then at the end of each chapter there is a text, and we need to write and answer 3 of our own questions relating to the text.  This homework is supposed to be done over the course of the week, but being as it's on a day when I have 4 hours to kill on campus, I just hammer it out then.  As I do other reading and writing throughout the week, I don't think it negatively impacts my studies in any way.  We rarely get any homework for listening, and for speaking and comprehensive it really varies.  Some days we might need to write a dialogue relating to the topic we are studying, or talk about a specific subject.  Most days we have dictation in class, and so we need to learn the appropriate characters.  We have now moved on to phrases (started with single characters, then words, now phrases, and I assume longer sentences will be next).  My assumption is that the idea behind this is so we don't forget characters we have learned previously, and it seems to be doing the job!  Being as we are still looking at very common characters, there may only be one or two that I really need to memorize, and so this doesn't normally take very long.  This frees me up to do more of my own studying.  Random new words that come up in class, and vocabulary that I just want to learn myself, I study throughout the week.  I will attach a picture of what it looks like but I just do it in the way that I have found works best for me (and before it gets pointed out, I know how messy my handwriting is, both in Chinese and English!) - I write down 5-7 characters/words that I want to learn, and then write each of them down 5 times.  A bit later I come back and write them down again, this time in a different colour.  The following day I come back a third time, and again with a different colour I write them down a final time.  How many words I do just depends on the week.  Once I have a full page of words, I put them into Anki.    For listening I just try and get myself as immersed as possible, and spend time with Chinese people.  I really like tattoos, and so I have made good friends with 2 tattoo artists who have a shop just down the street from where we live.  They don't speak English which is perfect, and they are really fun to hang out with, and have even offered to teach me some stuff!  It's perfect because they speak just like anybody else, which of course is often a far cry from what we learn in the books!  I also find myself reading and writing more with Wechat (although it is of course pinyin input).  I frequently message my current teachers, and my previous ones, with different questions about new vocab and grammar, and I will actually often ask the same question to different teachers, or just make up a question so that I can practice reading when they respond.  Thankfully none of them have let on that they are fed up of me yet hah!   A highlight this week was attending a sort of 'Chinese competition' at the international student center at uni.  Fortunately I wasn't involved, as this is only for the short term classes that I was a part of before I started the degree.  This was a more advanced level than the one I had to compete in, as I was watching my friend who has now moved up to a higher level class.  The reason I was happy not to be involved was that not only did they have to act out a skit of some sort in Chinese, but they had to sing a song, and my voice is unbelievably bad!  It was great to watch, and actually quite funny.  I think it also alerted me to the fact that the previous classes seem to have been much more rigid in the structure they follow.  I feel like in the degree program there is much more freedom and the pace is basically whatever the students make it, rather than very rigidly sticking to the book and having to pack a large amount of content into a short space of time.  I chuckled when I heard the phrases '三天打鱼,两天晒网不行‘ 和 ’在家靠父母,出去靠朋友‘,which I myself learned in the short term class only a few months back!   The final thing for this week (I feel like there is a ton I want to write, but I want to save stuff for future posts also!), was my reading/writing midterm.  I think it went fairly well.  I kicked myself afterwards at having written 容 incorrectly!  I wrote two characters next to each other to try and compare them and remember which was right, one of them had a tiny extra heng just above the kou, and unfortunately I went with that one and erased the other one!  Other than that, unless I have grossly overestimated my ability, I don't think it was too bad.   Ok, one final, final thing!  As I add pictures each week and describe what I am doing to learn, please feel free to critique, make suggestions, tell me why there is a better way of doing things etc.  I want to learn and I want to do it efficiently, and so far the help that people have given has been really, really useful.  Thank you!   Edit - Please excuse the lack of pictures this week.  I tried 4 times to upload a couple of photos but for some reason it failed every time, even after copying the blog post and reloading the page.  I will try again next week. 
    • 7 comments
    • 562 views
  • anonymoose

    又一张西昌的

    By anonymoose

    What does this company appear to trade in?
    • 4 comments
    • 304 views
  • grawrt

    week two

    By grawrt

    All foreign students in the class are technically not even part of the system yet. What does this mean? I'm guessing it means we could literally not attend classes and no one would notice because we're not even technically registered in the course.   It's a bit strange. But I suppose I can understand. There are some classes that we 3 foreign students are not required to take. Such as the 政治 politics course, and the 中国语言文化 class. I also feel like I shouldn't even be in the 口译 class because it’s basically an English class, but I'm still attending these and just act as the teacher’s assistant when needed.   The Chinese democrat I mentioned last week has been telling everyone how stupid I am and picking apart my pronunciation. I don't care at all. It just makes it easier for me to ignore him because I didn't like him very much the first time I met him or any other occasion that follows. It bothered my friend a lot because she's in a group with him and she was like "OH next time I'm going to pick apart his English and make him feel stupid". I'm like It’s okayy I don't like him either. At least now I know the feelings mutual so I don't have to bother talking with him. haha.   I finally attended my other consecutive interpreting class last week (English-Chinese). It's quite different from the Chinese-English one because the professor doesn't want us to take notes at all. She wants us to focus on 1) presentation skills and 2) memorization. Some of the exercises in class consisted of having one student go up to the front and make a speech their own and present to the class. Afterwards, everyone had to record their own recitation of it. For now the professor said we should translate into our most comfortable language so naturally the Chinese used Chinese and I used English. But it's not as easy as you'd imagine. I found it quite hard to relay my translation of the speech while 30 other students were at the same time. I think this is good practice for more 'real life' interpreting. I also really liked the teacher who also seems quite 'western'. One of her requirements for the students is 'speak English', unless you're the 3 foreign students, in which case we all must speak Chinese. I think this is a little bit unfair on part of the other foreign students because their mother tongue isn’t even English.     My other consecutive interpreting class (Chinese-English) has so far taught us short-hand. I find these a bit harder to remember, because I think short hand is a personal thing and some of the symbols don't feel personal to me at all. I included a picture under the description to give a small example of shorthand. I love the teacher though, he's very talkative and very cool kind of guy. Putting it to use is just as hard but the professor goes over it during class when we have translation exercises.   The homework this week was quite normal until my professor sent us a translation hw Friday night, due Tuesday night. Which is kind of stressful because she had a total of 3 days to assign us homework and waited until the weekend to give it to us. I caught a cold for the weekend so you can imagine I did not spend a single second on Saturday studying (mostly sleeping and mulling about miserably), Sunday was beautiful and I'm a bad student so I just went out for the pizza festival. I can see now how Chinese students have no life outside of school. D:   When I went into the office today I found out that we only need to take our foreign language class (I chose Spanish) for one semester. I find it a bit strange. It seems almost useless to bother taking it for one semester but that’s the schools requirements. Learning another language is hard enough as it is but learning it in Chinese is soo weird. My professor was going over this grammar point and I honestly understood nothing of it, I just looked at what she was writing and the pairings and figured out the grammar structure somehow by my own genius, but I can’t for the life explain the reason to you.    Other than that the homework for most classes is pretty much the same. It’s something like 1) watch the news 2) prepare to present 3) prepare to translate. In about 3 or 4 of my classes it’s like this. I just have one teacher that prefers us to prepare different (not news) material to translate. I watch the news anyway but it's a bit more difficult to anticipate what your classmate will find as "the most important news of the week" is. Last week I prepared to talk about Irma only to find that was not the "most important" of the week.   Our first translation homework (a lengthy article on the housing bubble crisis) was put on the board for everyone to follow and discuss one student’s translation. It was one of the foreign students translation who was put up and I'm glad it was because she had told me before that instead of just having one person correct her translation, a total of 4 people decided to 'fix' it and they absolutely destroyed it and said everything she wrote was basically shit. When the professor went over the translation I was happy to find that the professor actually critiqued alot of the Chinese students 'fixes' and at the end advised everyone to not go into corrections as a mission to completely destroy the original, instead to just focus on one or two mistakes because a lot of the time the corrections were actually not correct at all. My friend has found a different partner to work on corrections so hopefully next time will be better.   Things I find confusing so far is that I have so many wechat groups that keep getting created that no one talks in. I'm not really sure what group I’m in most of the time and the banzhang is always pissed to have to answer. I just found out from one of my classmates that I was supposedly in their group and I felt so bad because a week or so ago he added me into a group but i wasn't sure what that group was for and the banzhang just put me into an entirely different group. I also feel bad because (and not to sound mean) but I really find it difficult to remember who my classmates are. Nobody uses their picture on wechat and they don't even use their names so I don't really know anyone even though many people have added me. I'm making an effort now to put a face to the name.   I made some friends with some girls who roll in about the same time as me to class all the time, we laughed about how we always seems to be late when we're actually early (1-5 minutes before class). And slowly but surely my classmates have been talking with me.   Oh if you thought foreign students were the minority in this class, you could also say guys are. I think there are only 3-4 male students in the interpreting class of mine, and the translation section might have about the same amount.  They're a bit odd but I liked the guy who studied simultaneous translation into japanese and english. He's a bit strange but very sweet.   Last thing: Complaint of the day: My teacher had a last minute thing so she wants us all to do a makeup class and miss another professors class to go to a lecture. I'm going to the lecture but not class. I wish I could say "I hope the professor doesn't notice" but being the only three foreigners in class means the professor is always going to notice when any one of us is missing. I signed up for an event at the embassy two weeks ago and I don't raell ywanna miss it but I'm torn. To follow my western virtues or go Chinese. Any thoughts? haha.    
    • 7 comments
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  • 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 dim sum virtuoso, but you won't go hungry and will be able to gain a toehold in the dim sum world.    
    • 0 comments
    • 366 views
  • js6426

    Week 7 - 听写又来了!

    By js6426

    Well I guess I mistook which week we are in, because apparently this is week 7!  I didn't update the blog last week as we had the week off, which was actually really nice and relaxing.    Anyway, things are continuing to go well as we start back up after our week off.  Still a fair amount of students not coming to class.  Week 9/10 is our mid terms, and it is doubtful whether or not some of the students will be able to sit the exams, as they may not have been to enough classes.  If they aren't allowed to sit their mid terms, they automatically get disqualified from taking the final exams too, so I wouldn't want to be in their shoes!   Yesterday our comprehensive teacher told us that we have a big dictation deal on Friday, covering all the hanzi we have learned so far.  Then today he dropped a 22 word dictation test on us out of the blue, said there will be another one tomorrow, but the one on Friday will be much bigger.  It was nice to be able to see where I am at with no prior preparation or knowledge of what words were going to come up.  Along with 2 other students, I got 100%, so needless to say I was pretty happy with that.  We also had homework for that class which was to talk about our room and what it contains, but for me I had to do my whole house as I live off campus.  This was also really good because it meant looking up new words and their measure words, as well as putting into practice the location words we've learned.  Some of my new words were cactus, scales, drawer, punching bag, and a fair few measure words for those and other items.    We also had homework for our speaking class.  We just finished up a chapter on time, and so we had to describe a typical day.  I tried to make it interesting and add more than just 'I get up at x o'clock.  I have breakfast at x o'clock.  Class is from x-x o'clock.'  I'm sure there were mistakes in there, but I want to get things wrong in order to learn more.    I definitely feel like I am improving across the board, but still find listening to be the hardest by far.  I am usually there early so I chat with the teachers, but compared to regular people I meet in daily life, they are so easy to understand!  I also find that I can usually do fairly well in the comprehension type listening exercises, but when it comes to the ones where we are given a sentence in pinyin and there are 3 words or so for which we have to mark the tones, I struggle a bit.  I guess it's just practice, practice, practice!
    • 2 comments
    • 503 views

Our community blogs

  1. mungouk
    Latest Entry:

    By mungouk,

    Thanks to @roddy for inviting me to join in here... most of what I post will probably be quite simple due to my level.

     

    What's going on here?  Taken in a hotel dining room in Nanjing.

     

     

    blog - 1 (2).jpg

  2. feihong
    Latest Entry:

    Attendance: 2

     

    There's not much to say about this meeting. I've decided to switch to a different format: weekly, unhosted meetings. Let the meetup site be a platform to help people who are studying Chinese to find help and support in real life. Maybe the community itself can self-organize and keep the meetup going.

  3. murrayjames
    Latest Entry:

    Yesterday I finished reading a series of articles by IBM, in Chinese translation. The articles pertain to a commercial service called Personality Insights. The service helps companies find the right customers by analyzing text posted on Twitter and other social media platforms.
        
    IBM claims it can predict human behavior by looking at Tweets. The Personality Insights service creates psychological profiles of Twitter users based on the words they use on the platform. According to the research that underlies Personality Insights, the words that people choose reveal aspects of their personality. By studying a person’s words, IBM can predict if that person is altruistic, trusting, orderly, self-disciplined, assertive, excitement-seeking, prone to worry or anger, artistic, intellectual, and more. The words people choose also reveal their needs and values. IBM claims it can predict if a person is likely to use credit cards when making a purchase, is susceptible to impulse buying, is likely to buy environmentally-friendly products or eat organic foods, is likely to start their own business, is likely to invest in a start-up, what kind of books and movies the person likes, etc.

     

    Here is the sales pitch, in IBM’s own words:

     

    Quote

    通过Personality Insights 服务,企业可以将这一构想变成现实。通过利用企业和社交媒体数据的组合,企业可以应用分析来更深入地研究个人客户的特质。企业可以将这些结果用于更高质量的潜在客户开发、更精细的客户细分以及相关性和个性化都更高的专注市场营销。

     

    The IBM Cloud website contains a demo of the Personality Insights service. I tried out the demo using some Tweets and other texts I wrote. I was unnerved but not surprised at how accurately the service predicted my personality. Maybe IBM predicted that, too.

     

    Here’s a link to the demo:

    https://personality-insights-demo.ng.bluemix.net

     

    Since my last blog post I have also read three short works by 丁玲. The first work is《彭德怀速写》. It is a brief 1936 paean to celebrated CCP general Peng Dehuai. The second work is 《我怎样飞向了自由的天地》. It is a 1946 autobiographical essay. In the essay, 丁玲 writes on a number of topics: the May Fourth Movement, two feminist comrades that inspired her, her relationship with her mother, and her literary beginnings. The third work I read is 《夜》. It is a 1941 short story about a husband and a wife and their relationship in trying times.

     

    The Personality Insights articles can be found on the IBM Cloud website. The website contains numerous articles; I read those describing and marketing the service, and explaining the personality research that undergirds it. Those articles are titled《关于》,《个性模型》,《大五类人格 - 随和性》,《大五类人格 - 尽责性》,《大五类人格 - 外倾性》,《大五类人格 - 情绪程度》,《大五类人格 - 开放性》,《需求》,《价值观》,《消费偏好》,《用例》,《使用指南》,《服务实战》,《服务背后的科学》, and《研究参考资料》. Here is a link:

    https://cloud.ibm.com/docs/services/personality-insights/index.html?locale=zh-cn#about

     

    Text of 《彭德怀速写》:
    http://www.millionbook.com/mj/d/dingling/000/002.htm

     

    Text of 《我怎样飞向了自由的天地》:
    http://www.millionbook.com/mj/d/dingling/000/004.htm

     

    Text of 《夜》:
    http://www.millionbook.com/mj/d/dingling/dlzp/004.htm

     

    Some statistics:
    Characters read this year: 92,142
    Characters left to read this year: 907,858
    Percent of goal completed: 9.2%

     

    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)

  4. Flickserve
    Latest Entry:

    ....is a favourite song of mine by Nik Kershaw.

     

    Wouldn’t it be good to just get a bit of time to oneself just to study without life getting in the way.  It’s been very busy.

     

    At at least I have glossika to fall back on. It’s now very convenient - connect up my earphones, go into the browser on my phone and start the course. If I don’t finish, then do some reps later at another time.

     

    So far I have managed about five days out of seven for the last three weeks. Nice. 

  5. He says Xi says

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    Recent Entries

    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"

  6. js6426
    Latest Entry:

    The first semester of year two is officially over, although I still have two finals left to sit.  My first 5 finals were quite difficult.  Especially challenging was listening, as there were questions to which we had to give written answers (rather than multiple choice), and I blanked on how to write lots of the characters that I don't use that often. 

     

    I feel that I have progressed a lot this semester.  Before starting I had bought a book for kids and tried to read it, and I found it very challenging.  A lot of the grammar constructions were new to me, and there were many characters that I didn't recognize.  I have just picked up that book again, and found it far easier.  New characters are appearing much less frequently, and the grammar that I can specifically remember not understanding, I now understand.  One of my goals for this year is to try and read at least one book each month.  As books for young adults are still too far above my level, I am starting with kids books.  Right now I am reading from the 淘气包马小跳 series.  I want to be reading something that's actually native, and not completely boring, and this is perfect.  The story is actually quite entertaining, and it feels so good to be able to get through some paragraphs without having to stop to check a word.  I am also reading out loud as I figure this will only help my pronunciation.

     

    I think the above is my biggest goal for the year, and will also benefit my areas of weakness the most.  Of course my listening needs to improve, but I get that almost every day in class, and I really do find general listening to be far easier than listening exam type questions!  I'd like to spend more time speaking with native speakers also, and I have found a language partner specifically for that, which will give me some good, focused time each week.  I'm also really trying to make the effort to speak to my wife in Chinese.  It's a bit easier now that it doesn't take me 10 minutes to string a sentence together, but it's so easy to revert back to the languages we normally use.  I will try harder!

     

    The highlight for me from this semester was 汉字学, it was a fantastic class.  Unfortunately we don't have it next semester, but I have the textbook and I will definitely be going back to it.  It really changed the way I look at characters and brought me a lot of new understanding. 

     

    We have a couple of different classes next semester, but I am not yet sure of all the details.  I will update in a couple of months once the new semester starts.  I am really excited about continuing to grow my Chinese over 2019!

  7. Tomsima Interpreting blog

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    Tomsima
    Latest Entry:

    Here is the first installment of my blog on doing a Masters course in Translation and Interpretation (Chinese) at Bath University in the UK. Seeing as it is reading week, I've found I finally have time to do an update on how things are going, I guess I will probably do the next update when we break up for Christmas in December. There's really no time to do anything else except study and class prep in normal term time.

     

    Well I've been on the course for six weeks now, and it has been as intense as expected. Despite being at a UK university, I am the only westerner on the course, with 23 students, mainly mainland, but also a few Taiwanese and HK too. There is actually a Taiwanese American student who has taken English as his mother tongue (with all due right), but having been bilingual and living in Taiwan for the last 20 or so years, I feel like we're not really in the same boat. I am clearly bottom of the class in terms of relative language ability, as expected. Being surrounded by people who have studied English for decades, my 5/6 years of Mandarin stands out as particularly bad. I am so used to speaking Chinese colloquially, I am frequently lost for words when asked to interpret English speeches into Chinese using the right register. Anyway, onto the course content. All parts of the course have a two hour class slot that meets once a week:

     

    Simultaneous interpreting: we have a dedicated lab with fully equiped professional booths that all face into a bigger room with a conference table in the middle. The set up accurately mimics a real simultaneous interpreting situation, and the tech available is fantastic. Classes are very active, with every student having a chance to practice every class at least twice (practicing skills taught by the teacher in the lesson). I was placed on an internship at a UN week-long environmental protection meeting two weeks ago in London, to get in some valuable practice time. We used the real booths used by the pros for a week (with our mics switched off of course). We did shadowing and interpreting (almost exclusively from English into Chinese) for around 8 hours a day for a week. After this week something clicked in my brain, and now I can keep up with my peers in this class now. Not only that, but my professional Chinese has improved a lot as a result of the E-C direction. I have also discovered that in many cases working from English into Chinese is more often than not EASIER than Chinese to English. Why? I personally feel like the sparsity of phrases 'like' 成語 in English, plus the terseness of professional Chinese means you've always got enough time to think and interpret. Chinese to English is so much harder than I expected, to put it lightly. For example, 授人以魚不如授人以漁 was said in a speech during class a few weeks ago; not only had I not heard the phrase before, but I had no time to guess the meaning (多音字嘛 I thought the person had said the same thing twice by a mistake...), and by the time it was already too late the interpreting student had already interpreted it into "better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish". I mean, that makes more sense than what I was able to offer (which was just silence). So, simultaneous as a skill, I can do. But the sheer amount of knowledge you need at your fingertips is insane, and I am still far from being at a professional level yet.

     

    Consecutive interpreting: This class is largely centred around memory skills and note taking. Most of my peers have already studied interpreting in some form or another before starting this course, and many are already able to acurately remember speeches of five or more minutes long using some quite fantastic symbol-based systems. The teacher does not teach us a system, but rather teaches us how to build our own personal system effectively. I have found that using English keywords and acronyms has helped a lot, but really don't get too much of a kick out of arrows going everywhere and houses with dollar signs on them etc. As a little side hobby, I've taken up learning Pitman shorthand (new era) mainly for fun, but also with the hope that /some/ of it may come in handy with consec. note taking at some point in the future. This class is by far the hardest, and the teacher seems to enjoy choosing incredibly difficult speeches from people with non-standard accents. Very difficult, very embarassing for me, as most students have no issues in this class. What can you do when you didn't understand, or have forgotten what was said, and have no way to ask the speaker to repeat/clarify? This class makes me so nervous.

     

    Liaison interpreting: We have a mock conference/meeting every friday and are expected to prepare for it in the preceding week. The class is split into two groups: Chinese side, English side, and interpreters. The two sides discuss a topic for 2-3 hours whilst the interpreters take it in turns to sit one-by-one in between the two groups and act as a liaison interpreter. The pressure is noticeable, as the whole course is there watching you, and everyone is able to discern how good or bad your interpreting ability is (unlike when you're in the sim. interpreting booths, secluded and safe). Again, note taking is a skill that many of the students here employ. I would say to any westerner thinking about taking on a course like this, aside from having a very, very strong and well-rounded ability in Chinese, you should almost certainly also be practicing note-taking on speeches both in English and Chinese BEFORE starting a course (evidently with Chinese students in particular it would seem). I regret being under the impression I was going to learn note taking skills ON this course; I now know this of course is not the case, as pretty much everyone is already able to do this.

     

    Translation: We have both 'Chinese to English' and 'English to Chinese' classes. This needs no real explanation, its pretty much exactly what you would expect: teacher teaches theory, sets translation piece for homework, you translate it, get feedback, rinse and repeat. C-E very relaxing, the teacher seems to enjoy literary translation (lately lots of 紅樓夢 talk), E-C also ok but a much slower translation process for me. The translation process is private, however, so there's no real embarrassment to be had on this part of the course (so far...)

     

    All in all? I am loving the course, my classmates are fantastic people, very intelligent, hard working, inclusive, not 'immaturely' competitive if you understand what I mean, and importantly, very supportive as a community. Nobody treats me like a foreigner at all, I'm just another student. In that respect, theres not much leeway given, and as a result I feel like I'm ALWAYS being pushed to get up to their standard rather than being forgiven for being a 'foreigner'. Teaching is top notch, facilities are fantastic. And the fact that the course DOES have English-Chinese direction (as well as C-E) is a massive bonus if you ask me. My Chinese has improved rapidly, I can now read news probably 2-3 times faster than when I started the course. Why? Because I now read (mostly outloud, under my breath) for about 4-5 hours a day (as opposed to about 1 hour before the course). As you may be able to tell, I now live, breath and sleep in a world of studying speeches. I would not recommend this course for anyone who 'wants a life'. 

     

    I feel obliged to say "sorry for the wall of text" - see you all in December.

  8. 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! 

  9. 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!!!!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

     

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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)
     

  15. pon00050
    Latest Entry:

    Here is the line that made me write this blog post.

    奇点:那结果怎么样?找着了吗?

    I am familiar with the 着 for a continuous state.

    However, 着 in this line doesn't seem to indicate continuous state.

    What is 着 doing in this line?

    It does look like people say 找着了吗 based on the quick search online. LINK

     

     

     

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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:

    乾gan1

    This is the most straight-forward of the trio.

    It means "dry":

    乾果

    dried fruit

    乾淨

    clean

    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.

    幹gan4

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

    It can be used alone:

    你幹了一件蠢事。

    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:

    樹幹

    shu1gan4

    tree trunk

    Mnemonic:

    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.

    干gan1

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

    干犯

    gan1fan4

    to offend or to violate

    干涉

    gan1she4

    to meddle

    But this gan can also mean "stem" in:

    天干

    the Ten Heavenly Stems

    An archaic meaning is "shield":

    干戈

    gan1ge1

    weapons of war, literally "shield and spear"

    Mnemonic:

    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.

  19. 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.

  20. feihong
    Latest Entry:

    By feihong,

    blogentry-38695-0-91172300-1316373677_thumb.png

    Point out the errors in the translation.

    Mark: AWESOME night. Dry spell = broken.

    Mark:这天棒透了。干旱期结束了。

    Karen likes this.

    Karen觉得这挺赞的。

    Mark: MOM WTF

    Mark:娘你发疯了吗

    Karen: Oops. How do I unclick?

    Karen:是故意的。玩得很开心吗?

    Melissa: HAHAHAHAHAHA

    Melissa:呼呼呼呼呼呼

    Source: Awkward Moments in Facebook Likes

  21. 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.

  22. keitha's Blog

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    keitha
    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/

  23. Chinoiseries Etc.

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  24. abcdefg
    Latest Entry:

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

    blogentry-20301-061432100 1312591563_thumb.jpg

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