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    Since 2003, Chinese-forums.com has been helping people learn Chinese faster and get to China sooner. Our members can recommend beginner textbooks, help you out with obscure classical vocabulary, and tell you where to get the best street food in Xi'an. And we're friendly about it too. 

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  • Latest Topics

    • Shaquelle Mckenzie
      1
      Hi to all,   I have been searching and looking for any positive responses from student who are currently pursuing their studies in China whether it be a Bachelor or Master's Degree. Please share how It has been studying in chinese for your chosen major among other chinese students having done 1 year language studies beforehand.   If you can please answer the following:   What degree and major are you currently or have studied in china? How was your 1 year chinese language study? Was it enough to keep up with the local students in class for your chosen major? How well have you manage to do in your exams? What level of HSK would you recommend one to achieve before studying a degree in chinese?   Any other relevant opinions you can share would greatly appreciated.      
    • abcdefg
      0
      It's cold outside: Time for a big bowl of winter melon soup 冬瓜汤。In all fairness, this is one of those family favorites that can be enjoyed any time of year. It's mild and warming; not difficult to make. Sometimes I cook it without meat, but today I used ground pork meatballs. Let me show you a reliable and straightforward way to go about it.    At the market you will usually see two kinds of winter melon. Admirably, the nomenclature couldn't be easier: namely big 大 and small 小。Wish all ingredient names were always that obvious. (Please click the photos to enlarge them.)   The big ones, pictured on the right, are so large that you would have to use both arms and grunt to heft a whole one off the ground. They are always sold in small sections, such as those just in front of the friendly shopkeeper.    Notice the white "frost" on the surface. This is where these gourds got their name. They actually grow better in the summer months, but way back when, a long time ago, their appearance reminded someone of a snowy winter.    Smaller winter melons are also for sale, left part of the picture. They are more fibrous and work better in stir-fry dishes. This seller also has outstanding butternut squash 南瓜, lush and deep orange, near the back of the picture. These all grow on vines, often trellised to improve yield. Her husband and her brother tend the farm. She comes to town to sell the bounty.      Both kinds are really cheap. For under 5 Yuan you can buy enough for two or three meals. The big ones have a texture somewhere between that of a watermelon and a cucumber. Donggua has a bland flavor, ever so slightly sweet. They aren't eaten raw; and they shine as an ingredient in soup because they don't eclipse other flavors. Often they are paired with pork spare ribs in a hearty soup 冬瓜排骨汤。I'll show you that one another day.    One of the reasons this vegetable is such an integral part of Chinese family-style cooking is that it can keep a long time after being picked: 3 or 4 months if it hasn't been cut. For many of China's lean years it was a "go to" peasant food, along with cabbage 白菜。It could be grown without a lot of pampering; didn't require the sort of modern plastic tents 塑料大棚 that today make summer vegetables available nearly year round.            The seller will peel and seed it if you ask her, but I usually do that at home since I might not use it all at one go, and it keeps better with the peel on. Today I rinsed it and peeled it with my knife, then cut away the soft central pith. Sliced it into pieces a couple centimeters thick as shown.            I bought a few flavorful organic carrots 有机胡萝卜, some spring onions 葱,single-head garlic 独蒜, and a piece of ginger 老姜。Cut these up as pictured, taking pains to mince the garlic and ginger really fine 切米. The Chinese term for this kind of cutting means that they should be minced into pieces no larger than grains of rice.            I bought some pork, ground to order with about 70 percent lean and 30 percent fat (by eye.) Pork prices have gone up recently because some pigs have had to be killed to prevent spread of a nasty virus. This has impacted stockpiles and supply lines.    Put the ground pork on a chopping block 菜板 and minced it even finer with my cleaver 菜刀, turning it this way and that plus folding it over on itself half a dozen times. Then mixed it in a bowl with half a teaspoon of salt, a fourth teaspoon of ground white pepper, a tablespoon of soy sauce, one egg white 蛋清, and of course the minced garlic and ginger.  Stirred it all together really well 搅拌均匀。           Put about 750 ml of water on the stove to come to a simmer and then spooned in the seasoned meat, forming it into approximate spheres. Sometimes I put on a disposable glove and shape it with one hand. Drop these one at a time into the simmering water and let them partially cook.  When they all float, after about 2 minutes, lift them out gently with a strainer and put them in a bowl. We will finish cooking them a little later.            Since the carrots take longer to cook than the winter melon, start them first. Sometimes I use sections of corn on the cob instead of carrots. They can be put in right along with the winter melon.            When the carrots become nearly tender (easily pierced with a fork) add the winter melon. It cooks fast, usually only requires about 3 to 5 minutes. When it's tender (easily pierced with a chopstick) then return the meat balls to the soup. Give it all another 5 or 6 minutes for the meat to finish cooking and allow the flavors to blend. Keep the pot at a low simmer; a rolling boil would make everything fall apart.            I've chopped some fresh cilantro 香菜 as well as the spring onion 葱花。Just before the soup is finished, I taste to see if it needs more salt and sprinkle these aromatic leaves on top as a garnish.                  Dish it up. This mild-flavored soup can be served as a side dish or it can be served with steamed rice 米饭 as a light meal. Adjust the amount of liquid to suit your taste. I prefer it kind of concentrated, and that's the version that is shown here today.            Try it and see what you think. Nothing flashy. Just good, honest, family-style Chinese food. The real deal. 
    • OneEye
      1
      Hi all!   I'm thrilled to announce that we're launching our first ever online course! It begins 7 January 2019, and we've created a special discount just for Chinese-forum members: just enter chineseforums20 into the discount code box when you check out and you'll get 20% off!   Many of you know about our character dictionary for Pleco, which was released in February last year. We've gotten some amazing feedback from our users:   "I bought this. It has helped me recognise and even pronounce characters I have never seen before thanks to my recognition of patterns from the explanations." --Soroush Torkian (Canada) "After a lot (really a lot) of failed tests with different books, apps and methods, the only way that the hanzi sticks in my mind is ODCC's brief, concise and REAL explanation!" --Alessandro Agostinetti (Italy)   We've also gotten endorsement from some of the world's leading experts on Chinese language education:   "Every so often a really good resource comes along. It's The Outlier Dictionary of Chinese Characters." --Prof. Victor Mair, University of Pennsylvania "I feel like I have a virtual 1-on-1 Chinese teacher, giving me a better sense of how the writing system functions." --Dr. David Moser, Yenching Academy at Peking University   But quite a few customers have indicated that while they love the dictionary, they'd like some sort of course on how Chinese characters work and how to learn them more effectively.    Well, Ash (our CTO and Lead Researcher) has been teaching a course on Chinese characters at ICLP in Taipei—one of the world's most prestigious Chinese language schools—for the past several years. So we're thrilled to announce that we're taking the material from that course, refining it some, and turning it into an online course!   Each week for 3 months (13 units total), there will be a video lesson, sometimes 2 or 3, covering an aspect of the Chinese writing system or how to learn the characters more effectively. There will also be PDF materials to go along with each lesson, covering the topic in more depth, or from another angle. These PDFs will also cover around 25 characters chosen to reinforce the week's topic, along with example vocabulary for each character. (note: the course is entirely self-contained and does not require you to have any of our other products)   By the end of the course, you'll have a strong understanding of the logic of the writing system, as well as practical strategies for learning the characters more efficiently. Here's the curriculum: Unit I: Intro and Foundations 0: Intro to the course/what to expect 1: Rules of Memory 2. Three Attributes of Writing/Three Functions 3. Deep Structure, Surface Structure, and Stroke Order   Unit II: Functional component types 4. Form Components 5. Meaning Components 6. Sound Components 7. Sound series (characters containing the same sound component) and sound variation within a series 8. Empty Components 9. All about character meanings   Unit III: Learning new characters and recalling learned characters 10. The "IME Method" 11. Spaced Repetition 12. The Pipelining Strategy 13. The Minimalist Strategy   This course is appropriate for all levels! For a beginner, it's a ton of material, so while we will be putting out new material every week, you can go slower if you'd like—the content will be there when you're ready for it. An advanced learner will of course know the 300 characters already, but the characters themselves aren't the point of the course—they're simply used to illustrate each topic. The real point of the course is to teach you how Chinese characters work on both the individual level and as a system, and to give you the knowledge and practical strategies to become an effective independent learner of characters.   It comes in two "flavors:" Basic ($99) and Office Hours ($199). The Office Hours option includes a weekly 60-minute Q&A session with an Outlier team member.   The first iteration of this course will begin on 7 January 2019. Here's the link to sign up, and be sure to use the discount code chineseforums20 to get 20% off.   I'm happy to answer any questions you may have!   (note to admins: I did run this by roddy before posting)
    • woshilara
      1
      Are there any Turkish people who are studying in China right now or planning to apply for the 2019-2020 CSC scholarship, or people who have studied in China? I have some questions I'd like to ask about the application process and interviews.   By the way, I don't know where exactly I should be posting this thread, I hope it's in the right place. I'm sorry if it isn't!
    • Mark Knight
      0
      Hi there,   The name of the Chinese Businessman, 张弼士, is often transliterated today as Cheong Fatt Tze, following Cantonese pronunciation. The house he built in George Town Penang, is thus known today as the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion.   However, there are many variations in the way this name is pronounced and so transliterated! These include: Tjong Tjen Hsoen (as in the park in Jakarta), Chang Chao-Hsieh, Chang Pi-Shih, Chang Chen-Hsun. It is often said that in Penang, he was known by the presumably Hokkien name of Thio Thiaw Siat. There is, accordingly, another building in George Town built by this figure, which is called the Thio Thiaw Siat Building, and which is emblazoned with the monogram TTS.   My question is, is Thio Thiaw Siat the transliterated pronunciation of 张弼士? Is that how you would pronounce these characters? Or, is this another name entirely?   I am aware that 弼 is a relatively rare character, which is why friends are struggling to guide me with this. So far, people don't think it's likely that 弼 would be pronounced as "Thiaw" – more likely "Biat". Added to this, "Thio" and "Thiaw" are rather similar, leaving room for confusion. Are these in fact just two ways of saying the same word? I note other transliterations like "Chang" and "Chao" and "Chang" and "Chen" are also quite similar, so perhaps these really are two different words.   Finally, the context of this question. We are a family with Malaysian roots, and our children have Hokkien names. The Cheong Fatt Tze mansion is one of our favourite places in the world, and we would love to use this name, but would prefer to use the Hokkien name, and would naturally want to know what it meant before using it! So, if someone can help solve the mystery of how 张弼士 ends up as Thio Thiaw Siat, and what the meaning of Thiaw Siat might be, that person would be doing us a great service in aiding us in the naming of our soon-to-be born son.   Thanks in advance,   Mark    
    • Andra C
      2
      Hello, all!   My name is Andra and I am going to pursue an exchange program at the Beijing Foreign Studies University next year. As far as I have heard, you have to share the dorm with other 3 people or at least one person and you have no private bathroom. I am not willing to share a bathroom or an apartment. Do you have any recommendations in terms of companies I can contact? I found ZIROOM and their apartments look very convenient, but I have no idea how far from the University are they. Any advice would be welcomed.   Thank you in advance!
    • Luxi
      2
      (sorry, another mooc post) I bring this up here because there are very few moocs on Classical Chinese and I think this is an exceptionally good one...maybe I'm biased.  It is a 17 lessons mooc from Wuhan University: 古汉语 (Ancient Chinese) Teacher: 王统尚 (Wang Tongshang) https://www.icourse163.org/course/WHU-1002922024   It's not entirely on classical Chinese, but he syllabus is very interesting, includes a fair amount of readings, and the topics presentation is clear and very unusual (I'm at the end of Lesson 5 and still haven't heard 5,000 年的历史 even once!). The teacher is excellent, he explains 文言文 very well and has a fantastic sense of humour (his selection of readings is proof). The videos are subtitled (in simplified Chinese) and the subtitles are responsive to mouseover dictionaries like Zhongwen so one gets instant word lookup.    There's a slight snag (depending on how one sees it), the teacher speaks some sort of Wu dialect (吴语). I had no close experience of it when the course started, but the subtitles allowed me to understand the lectures. Now, at the end of Week 5, it seems that the teacher's accent has become a lot weaker and I'm not so glued to the subtitles. Another snag is, some of the 文言文, like this week's texts (from the Mencius) is quite difficult. It's not an easy course but sticking with it can be very rewarding.  A third snag: it's a very popular course, which means there are bandwidth / buffering problems at certain times (Sundays during term time are almost impossible) - but all is running smoothly now and I can even set the video player to HD.   Registration is about to close for this semester. The lessons remain available for registered students to study at their own pace. If you can't sign up now, the mooc will run again next semester and interested students can sign up when registration re-opens. To sign up, one has to be registered with 中国大学MOOC. Registration is easy but needs a legitimate mobile phone number, you can register directly or using Weibo / Wechat / QQ. There's an iOS app for iPad/iPhone (where you can legally download video lessons to watch offline).  More information on 中国大学MOOC here: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/53786-chinese-universities-moocs-中国大学-moocs/  
    • mungouk
      18
      My work colleagues just gave me a seal as a leaving present, but I'm struggling to read the seal script.     I think it says 奎士收... is that right?  (not sure if seals are read L-R or R-L).   If so does this mean they've translated my name to something like crotch - scholar - receive? (!)   Somebody please tell me it has a more poetic meaning. 😉   
    • Luxi
      0
      Another mooc. Sorry, they keep on coming! I remember there was a discussion about standard pronunciation and standard putonghua a few months ago, this mooc seems very relevant. It starts on 18 December.   普通话实训与测试 Mandarin Training and Testing Sichuan University (good place to learn 普通话). Instructor: 朱姝 Zhu Shu https://www.icourse163.org/course/SCU-1003501002     It is for Chinese students with high school level as a minimum and it looks like it doesn't have subtitles. People who don't understand the trailer may struggle to keep up with the lectures. I'd advice doing at least the phonetics parts of 魅力汉语 (Charming Chinese) first: https://www.icourse163.org/course/HZAU-1001741023   On an aside note, how can they possibly say 普通话 is 中国人的“母语??? At best it would be their stepmother. The more they try, the more I like 方言
    • ablindwatchmaker
      1
      After a lot of frustration, I have finally stumbled upon the entire Harry Potter series in Chinese! The audio quality is decent, though there is a slight echo. Here's the link: https://music.163.com/#/djradio?id=526222636&order=2&_hash=programlist   You have to register, but it's free to download stuff to your PC. 
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