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Learn Chinese in China

Chicago Chinese Meetup

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December 15, 2018 - Chicago Chinese Study Group




Attendees: 3


Not enough members showed up for me to do the original activity, so I did a mishmash of things I've been thinking about for future sessions. I've rescheduled the GIF poem activity to January.


We went over how to use the text-to-speech feature of your smart phone. In most cases, the quality of the voices is pretty good, and you can set the rate at which it reads.


On iOS, you can turn on the Speak option in the text selection context menu by toggling Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech > Speak Selection. On that same screen, there are many interesting options, including Typing Feedback, Voices, and Speaking Rate. For voice, I'm using Ting-Ting, but perhaps Siri Female is better? In general, female voices are easier to understand than male ones.


We also covered the dictation feature of smartphones. If you already set up international keywords on your phone, then tapping the microphone icon on your keyboard should activate it. You may need to tap the globe icon to set the language to Mandarin.


In order to input punctuation, you must actually say the name of punctuation words.


逗号 - comma

句号 - period

叹号 - exclamation mark


Challenge 1: Write or copy a piece of Chinese text into your text editor, then try to get your phone to speak it.


Challenge 2: Try to reproduce the piece of text by using dictation.


Challenge 3: Write a simple self-introduction in Chinese and then read it out loud to Google Translate. See how close the translation comes to your intended meaning.


Challenge 4: Write a daily journal for a week, using only dictation.


I introduced a few simple Chinese webcomics:


Pepper & Carrot

Has the advantage of being a multilingual comic, available in both English and simplified Chinese (and many other languages). One possible approach:

1. Read Chinese version (not bothering to look up new words on first pass)

2. Read English version

3. Re-read Chinese version (to fill in the gaps from your first reading)



Short episodes. Most episodes aren't dialogue-heavy.



Four panel comic, probably for kids. Very easy language, but font is a bit cartoony so less legible


I plan to start a thread about this later, but I made a public spreadsheet for bilingual Chinese and English webcomics: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ymZMPPfccv0dfnkvUfmQ99_OsjLQwPzktcOgQjwAF8c/edit#gid=0


How to ask the for the bill: 结账,买单







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