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Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 11/16/2019 in all areas

  1. 7 points
    Cauliflower 花菜 is a very popular early winter vegetable. It thrives after the weather cools off but before the first hard frost, which means it's prime right now. Lots of fiber and nutrition at a very attractive price. Chinese particularly prize it because of the way it aids digestion and dispels the common hacking cough that accompanies cold dry weather 润肺。 In Kunming, one finds two kinds. The standard “tight” head 紧头 and a more flavorful “loose“ head variety 散头 or 松头。Both sell for less than 5 or 6 Yuan per kilo. The long-legged, loose kind is sometimes sold as organic 全天然的, but that claim may or may not be true. (Please click the photos to enlarge them.) It’s often stir-fried with tomatoes, and that’s what I did today. 番茄炒有机花菜。An easy thing to make at home; be glad to show you how. One of the essential secrets of any successful Chinese stir fry is to cut ingredients in such a way that they cook fast. Did that as shown, using mainly the florets and saving the larger stem pieces to use another day in soup. Finely chop a thumb of ginger 老姜 and a large clove of mellow single-head garlic 独蒜。Dice the white part of two or three small spring onions 小葱。Works best for me to lay out all ingredients and review them instead of just forging ahead piecemeal. Blanch the cut cauliflower by dropping it into a pot of boiling water. As soon as the water returns to a boil, lift it out 捞出来 and transfer it to a bath of ice water. Stir it quickly and strain it out into a bowl. This helps the cauliflower retain its bright color and crunchy texture. In a flat-bottom non-stick pan 平底不粘锅, sauté the ginger and garlic over medium heat in a spoon or two of neutral oil until you begin to smell their aroma 爆香。 At that point add the tomatoes and a teaspoon or so of cooking salt 食盐 plus a sprinkle of white pepper 白胡椒粉。A tablespoon of light soy sauce 生抽 helps the flavor. A pinch of sugar and another of MSG are optional. Let the tomatoes cook down and blend with the aromatics for a minute or two. Then stir in the cauliflower. Let the flavors marry for a couple minutes, but not longer. You want the cauliflower to retain its al dente crunch. Don't cook it dry; leave finished product a little "soupy." At this time of year, tomatoes don’t have a lot of flavor even when you find ripe ones. I usually add a tablespoon of ketchup or tomato sauce to boost that flavor axis right at the end. Serve it up. Goes well with white rice and a crispy roast chicken. Wholesome, tasty, not complex to make 简单易做。If you are tired of having your vegetables reach the table swimming in mystery oil, this recipe is for you. 不油不腻 。(bu you bu ni = not greasy.) Hope you decide to give it a try.
  2. 7 points
    I feel good. My general reading ability has improved. Compared with a couple years ago—when I started with Chinese literature—I read faster and refer to dictionaries less than before. I understand more of what I read and can engage with literary works critically (e.g., get a feel for differences in style and tone, assess their merits and weaknesses, etc.). I am starting to enjoy Chinese literature as literature, rather than as a series of difficult foreign texts. This is very satisfying and rewarding, and was in fact my primary goal. Reading millions of characters in a non-native language is a useful motivational frame, but of secondary importance. I am also more confident that I will read very difficult Chinese literature that not-to-long-ago seemed far beyond my abilities. I want to (eventually) read works like 《倾城之恋》, 《狂人日记》, and 《红楼梦》. I believe that someday I can and will. Many years ago, I read David Foster Wallace’s magnum opus Infinite Jest. Working through and completing this massive work was a formative experience in my twenties; it made me think about and appreciate our world differently, and in (I hope) a fuller and more nuanced and empathetic and emotionally available way. Reading a million characters of mostly beautifully written Chinese feels kinda like that. Life is precious and short and brutal and lovely and much more. At their best, literature and the arts capture and represent these aspects of life in ways that more mundane day-to-day experience often hides or obscures. Our world is vast and complex. Artists in different cultures get a handle on this vastness and complexity differently. This difference is really what I’m after, and it’s why I read in Chinese.
  3. 6 points
    These are not the only two choices. Popup dictionaries have the problem where they are so convenient that the brain decides it's more convenient to rely on them rather than try to remember the word, and so your brain outsources that effort to the popup dictionary rather than make an effort to remember them. It also encourages a phenomenon where you encounter a word you don't know and rather than stopping and breaking down the character and looking at how its written and wondering what it means given the context and a whole host of other things, instead you skip over it to look at the definition in English (or your native language) and move on. Yes, there might be some words you pay more attention to, but the bulk of them are just look up and move on because to do otherwise would be to interrupt reading fluency. Which leads to spending little to no time on the very words and characters you should be spending the most time on, and in the worst case scenarios where you are reading material too far beyond your level, it can essentially lead to reading a poor English translation using Chinese word order. The other detrimental effect is that it destroys your confidence in knowing a word and so you look it up 'just to check', and you 'get it right' so you move on without realising that confidence in knowing a word is just as important as knowing the meaning and the pronunciation, and you really should have stopped and spent a few seconds affirming your confidence in the word so that the next time you come across you don't need to look it up 'just to check'. Both of these things are lessened when a dictionary lookup has some amount of friction. Something that gets you to stop and think, and pay attention to the word you didn't understand. This can be a paper dictionary, but handwriting lookup on Pleco also works great (the former is what I used for the first several years of learning China and the latter being what I've used for the last 12 years). The most important thing though is to revise words you've looked up and cement them in your mind. This is Pleco's killer feature IMO. You look it up in a dictionary and it's trivial to then go through and drill yourself on all the words you've looked up, and that's what keeps your level moving forward.
  4. 3 points
    Oh, only since birth. And suddenly I feel better about my running spreadsheet...
  5. 3 points
    Absolutely, don't beat yourself up. If something isn't working for you, or you need a break, try doing something different. For example, if you're getting burned out on a textbook you could take a break to dive into a podcast, try deeply watching some TV, or maybe read a short story. If you are getting burned out on grinding through books or TV, maybe do the opposite - pick up a graded reader or textbook and see if that brings some focus back to your study.
  6. 3 points
    If you frequently refer to dictionaries when reading Chinese, try using a Chinese-Chinese dictionary. Stay in L2. You’ll learn to think about Chinese vocabulary in Chinese, and may pick up—or strengthen your command of—other useful Chinese words in the process.
  7. 3 points
    Someone should come up with plausible completions of the two partial characters so he could at least have a tattoo that made some kind of sense. 😀
  8. 3 points
    What an inspiration! I'm encouraged to move off of graded readers and read more legitimate Chinese novels this year.
  9. 2 points
    While I've recommended the website to you, it's also available in APP format; 必胜公考(requires Chinese phone number to register) And, of course, you can buy a book. Though I can't recommend any, as I haven't received mine yet. This is the one I ordered from Amazon which will take a month to arrive or so. Haha. I've probably already spend 20 hours on above mentioned content. I really like it. Though I severely doubt whether anyone else will. 😬
  10. 2 points
    For those learning to write: learning traditional first then adding in the extra simplified characters after writing the simplified was a very successful way I learnt the differences. Lets be honest, its easier to remember that 韋 can be simplified to 韦, but the character 衛 is written 卫, than going the other way. I feel like for reading it really doesn't matter whether you start with simplified or traditional, but for writing you'll be doing yourself a big favour starting with a good foundation of traditional then later adding in the somewhat arbitrary simplifications later.
  11. 2 points
    No ads if you use your firewall to block everything
  12. 2 points
    nope, nobody got back to me. i regularly go on ebay and run searches on these kind of old books and occasionally get lucky, but no nothing so far from this author yet either. Don't worry, Ill drop in if and when i do manage to get hold of anything
  13. 2 points
    Me too! And Chinese Text Analyser works as a supplement to that. I personally don't use it to read texts, and although some people use it as such, it was not designed to be a tool for reading texts. It's designed 1) to find which of several texts is most suitable to read based on your existing vocabulary, and 2) to find high-frequency, unknown words from any Chinese text, because learning high-frequency words will provide you the biggest gains in understanding. It can of course be used for other purposes, but those were the 2 main design goals. So, if you have 3-4 different texts, and you're not sure which one is the most suitable to read, you can open them up in CTA and it will tell you which one has them most unknown words or which one has the least amount of words you'd need to learn to bring you up to 98% comprehension. You can use CTA to pre-learn high-frequency unknown words from that text, which then helps when you are reading the printed version. The lower the struggle the better. In my opinion, you'll be better off reading easier material rather than struggling through more difficult texts. Once you've read half a dozen easier texts, you'll have built up enough vocabulary that the more difficult texts will be more accessible, plus you'll have gained other valuable skills required in order to read for pleasure (such as stamina to read for longer periods of time, better ability to identify word boundaries and more), and reading will give you continual revision of your known vocabulary. By contrast, choosing a more difficult text will result in continual stop-start-stop-start of unknown words *and* be continually frustrating because even if you are making progress and learning new things it will feel like no progress is being made because page after page is just stop-start-stop-start. I wrote more about my experience with reading novels here. What novel are you currently trying to read?
  14. 2 points
    My updates for this year: stopped watching the news in Chinese everyday after a solid 9 months of watching every day. It just got so so tedious, i mean i knew cctv was repetitive, but every single show just copies and pastes scripts from each other. I felt like I wasnt getting enough variety, so dropped this goal last month, and my quality of life has improved dramatically 😂 As for character practice, im now working on building my 楷書 back up, as I have written so much 草書 this year i realised i was actually forgetting the full forms of some more complex characters, especially muddling up simplified and traditional variants. Overall this goal is still going strong, and I'm really happy with how much progress has been made! anybody else up for sharing their 2019 progress while there still a month to go?
  15. 2 points
    Front large two are 春曦 chūn xī , meaning "spring morning sun", appears in some place names so might be from that, also a couple of schools which seems quite likely and it's obviously an idea connected to youth. The label with the Olympic rings reads 五洲体育用品有限公司,name of a sporting goods company, several different ones of that name show up on a search, adding the phone number didn't narrow it down but then I'm stuck with Bing. 五洲 was the old notion that there were five continents but now is usually a metaphor meaning worldwide etc.The brand label with the cat reads 奇猫牌 which might even be riffing on a curious cat, but not much joy with the search there either. ETA See @abcdefg has just replied with the correct main characters.
  16. 2 points
    There used to be plenty of places in Wudaokou and surrounds that offered shorter term rentals-like 5 months-to cater to all the short term students like you. However, these were usually at a premium. As Roddy suggests, if you look further out from Wudaokou the rent will get cheaper. Especially if you’re going North of Wudaokou (you’ve got the whole of line 13 to choose from). This would be a commute to class though. A subway train ride then a bus or bike to classes. I’m not sure but based on general inflation Shangdi probably isn’t that affordable now either. If you went somewhere that wasn’t on the subway line but commutable by bus or bike you’d like find it much cheaper. As above, the big issue for you is your time frame Combined with your budget. The time frame isn’t that big a deal in WDK where it’s pretty common. However, your budget might not be enough. Then again, you never know. Finding other foreigners who need to fill a room is also a good way to find a place. You can check thebeijinger classified ads for foreigners listing rooms. Are you 100% set on Tsinghua? You could go somewhere smaller like Minzu University. Might be easier to get a dorm room or find cheaper accommodation around the area.
  17. 2 points
    “A couple of times here I have left the Didi with 你应该睡觉!” 师傅,你瞌睡得太厉害!快休息吧。现在开车不安全。
  18. 2 points
    Chili Oil Update -- 红油 Made a batch of this glorious stuff again today and realized it had been about two years since I first wrote it up. It has become one of the staples in my kitchen, something it would be difficult to live without. Although the basic recipe is the same today as it was in 2017, I've gradually evolved a couple small hacks that make the results more consistent without any extra work. I usually just whip this up from memory, without using an actual written recipe. It helps that the measurements are not critical. You will need about two handfuls of dried peppers 干辣椒 and a generous cup of rapeseed oil 菜籽油。Peanut oil will work but is not as flavorful. All the other dry ingredients are optional although the Sichuan peppercorns 花椒 (huajiao) really add a lot. They and they alone can supply that distinctive tongue-tingling kick that separates Sichuan cuisine from anything else in the whole world. They are the "ma" component of the Sichuan "ma-la" flavor marriage 麻辣味。 The quantity of the dry ingredients follows the “law or one or two.” One or two teaspoons of Sichuan peppercorns 花椒, one or two bay leaves 香叶, one or two cloves of garlic 大蒜,一两瓣,one or two small pieces of dry tangerine peel 橙皮, one or two small pieces of Chinese cinnamon 桂皮, one or two teaspoons of fennel seeds 小茴香,one or two cloves 丁香,one or two pieces of star anise 八角,one or two pods of black cardamom 草果, one or two teaspoons of white sesame seeds 白芝麻。As a practical matter, what I would suggest is to use one of each first time out of the starting gate, and then adjust to taste next time you make it. It helps to think of the process as having discrete parts. It helps to sort of “stage it” in an orderly manner. 1. Toast the peppers and the huajiao to let them develop more flavor. First toast the peppers alone in a medium hot skillet and scoop them out. Only takes about a minute. Then toast the huajiao the same way. This gives the flavors a huge boost, but you must be careful not to scorch them. Best to err on the side of too little time, not on the side of too much. 2. Let the peppers cool and then grind them in a blender or crush them with a mortar and pestle. If you want less fire from your chili oil, take out some of the seeds before you grind the peppers. The flavor will still be rich and round. Put the ground chilis and a teaspoon or two of white sesame seeds into a heatproof bowl. 3. Make hot flavored oil. Do this by heating the rapeseed oil and the other dry ingredients together over medium-low heat for a couple minutes, stirring as they cook. Then strain and discard the solids. 4. Reheat the flavored oil until it’s good and hot, almost ready to smoke. If you have an instant read thermometer, this is 190 degrees Celsius. If you don’t have a thermometer, float a couple slices of ginger on the surface of the oil. When they become deep golden and the margins start to curl, the oil is hot enough. 5. Pour the hot oil into the ground chilies to cook them. Do it in two batches. Pour in half the oil and stir as it spits, bubbles and sizzles. Then pour in the second half of the hot oil. This sounds like extra trouble, but it allows the peppers to cook at two different temperatures and gives the resulting sauce a complex robust flavor. (Please click the photos to enlarge them.) This is what mine looked like today. If it stands out overnight, the flavor becomes richer and more unified. I put about half of the chili oil in a small ceramic pot that stays on my dining table. The rest goes into a lidded jam jar which I put in the fridge. It keeps just fine for a month. It might last much longer. I can’t really say: mine always gets used up. The distinctive thing about this essential Chinese condiment is that it does more than simply add heat to a dish. Difficult to describe, but it has subtle qualities that boost other flavors without covering them up. People just thinking about it in the abstract usually don't "get it." It is used as a table condiment as well as having an important place in cooking SW Chinese food. Throughout Yunnan, most informal restaurants and cafes will have a pot of this on the table. A dispenser for dark vinegar 老陈醋 and soy sauce 生抽 will most likely be somewhere else back by the kitchen. The "table condiment" array might be rounded out with a small dish or shaker of salt 食盐 and another of plain MSG crystals 味精。 Health warning: If you try this real-deal, home-made seasoning once, there’s a good chance you will become addicted.
  19. 1 point
    same here mate! I have been studying English for 20 years now, it is the only language I speak daily and I still feel ups and downs...so yeah that's probably not going to change. Just enjoy the good moments and don't take it personally
  20. 1 point
    I am now roughly at HSK5 level, and noticed the following: 1) only from very recently I have been able to start consuming a significant amount of native material (websites, TV series, anime, comic books - nothing that requires specialized knowledge). I found that, while a HSK4 foundation is in my opinion insufficient in allowing you to transition to "real world" stuff, HSK5 is largely sufficient. The challenges for me shifted quite a bit: wth an HSK4 vocabulary I just couldn't understand because I didn't know half of the words in a sentence, doesn't matter how many times I listened. With an HSK5 vocabulary - I still don't understand most times - but it is largely a matter of speed. 2) among the new words that I learn from native material which are too advanced for HSK5, comparatively few belong to HSK6. In my opinion, this is because the HSK6 is very academic in nature. That is to say, some of the words you will learn for HSK6 will not really help you in explaining a concept that you wouldn't be able to explain otherwise, but rather doing it so in a more "refined" way. This is of course desirable but -in my view -not as necessary as having a good base for getting by in any situation. So in conclusion, I think there isn't really an alternative to studying at least to HSK5 if you want to achieve any degree of proficiency. Or in other words, whether you are a hairdresser or a university professor, you will need most of the HSK5 words in your everyday life. From there on however, I think the choice varies from person to person. Of course you can stick to the HSK if you find it convenient, but I think you already have all you need to move on to different (and more interesting) sources. You will probably end up covering most of the HSK 6 vocabulary in the end anyways, but in a more balanced way.
  21. 1 point
    I'm currently working on a compilation based on the HIT-MW database, which was collected from people copying texts out longhand. I think the examples here are more reflective of the sort of handwriting you'd actually encounter in day-to-day life.
  22. 1 point
    The jump to native materials is always going to be difficult no matter when you make it because there are skills and stamina required for reading native content that you can only build up by reading native content.
  23. 1 point
    My father-in-law wants a tattoo that says, "serenity, acceptance, courage, wisdom". I've passed the HSK5, but I still struggle to find the best words to use. Can someone double-check these translations? The main one I'm not sure about is acceptance. Can 接受 convey the sense of acceptance as a state of mind, or is it more just to accept something? Serenity: 宁静 Acceptance: 接受 Courage: 勇气 Wisdom: 智慧 Thanks!!!
  24. 1 point
    Many people who come here for tattoo advice don't know much more about Chinese characters than that they look cool. Many have never considered that they can be written wrong or in an ugly font, or that the tattoo artist can get things wrong. Occasionally someone comes here with a tattoo idea and in the end decides against getting the tattoo after learing more from people like Shelley, or decide to do more research into the tattooist before getting one. Sure, people come for the simple 'what characters to get' part of the advice, but the rest of it is valuable too and I don't think we should stop doing it just because the asker is a fellow adult.
  25. 1 point
    Until you start diving into authentic Chinese materials you don't really know how much these kind of words show up. How would you feel about being HSK5-6 if you picked up a children's novel and had to look it up?
  26. 1 point
    OK, I don't have time just now to address this fully, but how was it "better"? As a teacher (not of Chinese, of course) for more than 25 years, I am usually very suspicious of the claims of assessments and tests. But as a Chinese learner, I'm also curious about the graphs on that blog which appear to show (if I understand them correctly) that HSK levels 5-6 include a lot of very uncommon vocabulary. As if learning those words makes you a better communicator. How useful really are those "advanced" words? To put it another way: for those who've studied HSK 5-6, is it really useful in terms of living your daily life in a Chinese-speaking country? When I look at the old HSK list I see words like 沙土 (sandy soil) which I can't ever imagine using in my life. So I do wonder if we can argue against "modernisation" of the word list.
  27. 1 point
    I'll save a copy here - it might be useful if the other link goes down. GooglePinyinInstaller.exe
  28. 1 point
    @mungouk and @Tomsima I agree with you both on the aesthetic appeal of characters and I too appreciate and enjoy them and yes other writing scripts too are appealing. I have no objection to chinese character tattoos per say, but they do not always lend themselves to the ideas people want to express. Yes, a lot gets lost in translation. Apart from the actual translation you have the problem of the skill of the tattooist and their ability to write characters correctly and beautifully, this is the reason we appreciate them and when done badly it becomes ugly. I just want to advise people to think again before making such a permanent decision.
  29. 1 point
    Thanks so much, Weyland and Edelweis! You guessed right about it being an AA related serenity prayer thing. I had a feeling 接受 wasn't really a synonym for "acceptance," but couldn't think of any word that worked. I'll run getting the whole poem as a tattoo by him. He might not want to give up the geometry of having eight big characters tattooed on him, but I think the whole tattoo would be better. I hadn't thought of that as an option. If it were my body, I wouldn't get any tattoo, and if I did get a tattoo, it definitely wouldn't be Hanzi. If I had to get a tattoo, it'd probably be a wrist watch with the face blank so I can write things like "party," "smashing" or "to go" on it with a sharpie and then point at it and say, "it's party time," "it's smashing time." or "it's time to go." This is why I don't have a tattoo. But I've been well trained and generally don't question my in-laws' decisions.
  30. 1 point
    Pretty sure any serious long term student of Chinese ends up with a knowledge of both simplified and traditional. Its a fairly straightforward process of learning an extra few hundred characters, the rest are then covered by set rules for simplification. Search 'simplified or traditional' on the forums and you'll find the answer to pretty much any question you have on this topic already discussed in various threads.
  31. 1 point
    Just wanted to share a small step forward (big step for me) from today, as its been such a massive barrier I've been pushing against for a few months now. When I read Chinese, arabic numerals ALWAYS revert to English first, and I always have to then translate the English into Chinese. Its as if they are symbols specifically wired to English sounds in my brain, so different from characters, which only have a Chinese pronounciation. If the numbers are written out using characters I have no issue at all. Anyway, I was just reading a wikipedia article in English: "...The Eight-Nation Alliance, after being initially turned back, brought 20,000 armed troops to China, defeated the Imperial Army..." and then suddenly I realised, something felt different. I had unintentionally read the above sentence as: "...The Eight-Nation Alliance, after being initially turned back, brought 兩萬 armed troops to China, defeated the Imperial Army..." I mean, obviously my brain is making a mistake here. But wow, not only did I see the number and hear the Chinese first and not the English, but I automatically translated twenty-thousand to two-ten-thousand (ie. 兩萬"). I hate interpreting bigger numbers, its so counterintuitive. So to automatically and intuitively react in this way is a big encouragement. Change is coming! (chineseforums同學們加油!)
  32. 1 point
    the point is, classical Chinese is a compulsory part of middle school and high school Chinese语文 in China, and a subject for those who major in Chinese language and literature in the university. I think there is no specific tutoring for classic Chinese in China. I'm sure you're don't want a tutor for chinese high school or middle school entrance examinations right? not counting that those tutor only know how to teach a native Chinese speakers. I think some kind of mooc will help but I cannot say which one to recommend since I'm a native chinese who's now preparing for the university entrance examination or Gaokao, in chinese.
  33. 1 point
    One if the negative effects of globalisation is that cultural differences are starting to erode and the world is becoming more and more bland. I remember doing a 4 month solo backpacking tour in Europe in 1992 . No Euro, no phones, no internet, and English was no where near as widespread as it is now (especially south Europe). Every country and their people had a very different vibe to it . Even beijing seems much less culturally isolated that in when I first came in 2007. To some people that's positive I suppose.
  34. 1 point
    See the Textbook grammar index on the Chinese Grammar Wiki, for these and many other textbooks. You can also go from the grammar points to the books... most grammar points have relevant book chapters/pages listed at the bottom of their page. HSK 1 grammar points HSK 2 grammar points HSK 3 grammar points HSK 4 grammar points (incomplete, not shown on menu) HSK 5 grammar points (ditto)
  35. 1 point
    Yes, it's Sinolingua — I have one of their graded readers right here. After my initial semi-enthusiasm for this idea I've decided it's pointless. IMHO it would work in an interactive format, but for a printed book it's just too clumsy. Far more convenient to use Pleco's OCR function for words/characters you don't know.
  36. 1 point
    I take the opposite approach . I check each any every unknown character/word with PLECO. Sure it's not optimal for learning but when I read a good novel I want to enjoy it, understand the authors choice of words, writing style etc. I see like eating a fine dinner or expensive whiskey. I want to take my time over it and savour it. Sounds a bit poncy I know 😅 Now when I read a text book , graded reader , cooking receipe it's pretty much half assed approached. (Like a Burgerking, stuff it in your face and go)
  37. 1 point
    As a way of answering this more generally, it might be more useful to think about identifying some classic or popular texts and giving them a reader rating of some kind? For example, in the US, schoolkids can be tested to determine their "lexile" level, then you can go to https://lexile.com/parents-students/find-books-at-the-right-level/find-books-that-match-your-measure/ to get suggestions for books to read. Surely there must be enough classic and popular books available as text files to compile a list of which might be appropriate, or maybe the Chinese MOE have even developed a similar list for Chinese readers?
  38. 1 point
    I think dollar for dollar, they don't have the best return on actual language ability. They are excellent resources for passing HSK, sure, maybe the best. However, the HSK Online app in the google play store is mostly the same content for much less. For books, NPCR or Integrated Chinese are better textbooks for your money. They aren't bad books by any means; from my experience, they are a good tool for getting through HSK but not great for becoming proficient at Mandarin in a high level. All that said, and getting back to the topic of the thread, combining them with Zero to Hero elevates them to more than the sum of the parts. I'm all self-studied, so I really appreciated the structure having them together gave me. If you're in a similar situation, not in Chinese classes in school or something, I do recommend the HSK books + Zero to Hero. It's kinda expensive, but maybe the best bet for consistently adding language.
  39. 1 point
    Congrats! I think that's actually huge, and portends a change for greater things to come. I have in the past, relied on counting by fingers (starting with the basis of 五月 being May) to figure out that 八月 and 九月 are August and September (not sure why the months before and after 八月 and 九月, I get, no problem, without having to resort to finger counting to arrive at the English equivalent). I've also finally grasped that 一萬 is 10,000, but Chinese numerical expressions beyond that still elicit some mental calculating to figure out just how many zeros come into play. The thing is, for me, something like talking about a person being worth 千亿, or how many 吉字节 of storage you need, even in English, are abstract ideas that don't really do anything concrete for my brain. A line from Connor to Greg in "Succession" about 5 million dollars being inconsequential--a poor rich, so to speak, speaks to how Chinese numbers in the upper stratospheres spouted out willy nilly, especially in news reports, are just number words that my mind lazily refuses to try to calculate, just as saying Bill Gates is worth $110 billion doesn't make me think one way or another. It just is. Thanks for the post, cuz now that I've written out my shortcomings, I think I no longer need to count out that 八月 and 九月 are August and September...
  40. 1 point
    The 夫 could also be changed to 来, which would allow for options that don't require a painful wrist tattoo.
  41. 1 point
    Juni application for csc has started for some schools but majorly all schools should begin in January 1st
  42. 1 point
    Good to see an update! I've got through loads of Spanish TV this year, helped partially by the fact the machines at the local gym have a handy ledge to balance my tablet on. Multitasking!
  43. 1 point
    That's a very sensible question and I must confess my ignorance on the topic. I have found lots and lots of dried fruits here in China, and lots of pickled vegetables, but very few sweet fruit jams or preserves. Not sure why. I'll try and investigate the subject as time permits. This is completely off the top of my head, and I cannot even pretend that it is science, but I wonder if sweet fruit jams and preserves would have become so popular in the west without the parallel tradition of bread and toast. I've seen odd pickled fruits that are sour, salty and sweet all at once. Not sure if they are found all over China or only here in Yunnan. An example is 泡梨 pao li (pickled pears.) https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/57682-pear-porridge-for-winter-cough-雪梨粥/?tab=comments#comment-447528 (near the bottom of the page.) Sun-dried aquatic products 水产 are a big industry in coastal areas and China has a lot of cured and smoked meats, ranging from ham to tea-smoked duck.
  44. 1 point
    your description is kind of vague, perhaps 阿Q? or are you thinking of a real person?
  45. 1 point
    I've only seen six of the films. It says "great" and not "greatest", so I must resist the temptation to rage at some of the omissions 😃. ... but not completely. Really surprised to see Mountains May Depart on that list, which is really one of Jia Zhangke's weakest films (Platform or Unkown Pleasures would have been better picks from him IMO. Still Life is also really good, and made it to the list). Quite surprised to see The Grandmaster on there too... The most glaring omission, IMO, is Yi Yi, which is probably my favorite Chinese language film of all times only behind A Brighter Summer Day by the same director. I'd have liked to see Devils on the Doorstep on there too, which is pretty fantastic. A black comedy about Japan's invasion of China, temporarily banned in China, allegedly due to not displaying a strong enough hatred towards the Japanese invaders (hard to forget how good a director Jiang Wen was back then, his In the Heat of the Sun is another outstanding film).
  46. 1 point
    This year I did my first online class teaching two middle-aged Chinese office workers English (from zero) using Chinese. It was really fun for me. I'd like to pick up another consistent gig that requires me to speak Chinese to perform the task. My current job is an integrated middle school. Some staff have working professional English, and some....don't. This means all meetings, emails, and school announcements are 100% in Chinese (to my 外教 collegaues' dismay). I want to more regularly attend meetings and read every email sent to us. This might be a pipedream, though, as the other day they sent a 10-page long document about fire hazards and safety procedures, and I just didn't have a single desire to keep translating those extremely subject-specific characters after page 4. My last goal is public speaking! I was asked to host our schools' 教师节 ceremony along with three other 中教. Again, 98% of staff are Chinese, and only a small handful have good enough English. This meant that the show was all in Chinese, including my script. The first time going on stage, holding my little card with 汉字 on it (with a few tone markings scattered throughout) in my left and, and the microphone in my right, endlessly shaking from the nerves of seeing hundreds of staff awaiting this 老外 to open his mouth and speak 国语. After getting through a few rough lines, it felt really exhilerating to pull it off. I'm dying to get on stage and do it again! If I could do one more before the end of the year, I'd be happy.
  47. 1 point
    It might be helpful if you have a read of my post on the Why Chinese topic here https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/43982-why-chinese/page/2/ The short version is - it is my passion. I appreciate chinese characters from an artistic point of view and linguistic. The fact that with practice you can read 8000 year old texts. I like the continuity this must have brought the chinese people. I was born in Montreal, Canada and had to learn French, my mother was bilingual in German and English ( she did simultaneous translations at the UN in the 50's) as I wanted to learn another language I felt another european romance language or germanic one would be a bit boring so I decided to have a look further afield. My grandfather on my mother's side was a language professor who could read,write and speak 7 languages and read and write another 7, he was at the university of Bonn between the wars (this is why my mother spoke two languages) and as he was Arabic/Greek I thought about Arabic, but I was drawn to Chinese characters and have ever since been absorbed in learning chinese. I don't believe you need a purpose to learn a language - just a passion will do. P.S. I have actually been studying on and off for 35 years. I have attended University classes, private lessons for years achieved a diploma at 2a level at the university but mostly studied on my own. Exams are not the end off everything, I don't mind just plodding along enjoying my learning.
  48. 1 point
    Hello everyone, It has been a while since I last updated my blog. There were a couple of reasons for this - My eyes 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.
  49. 1 point
    I echo what @Shelley has said about Rosetta stone. I tried it and found it did not help me progress at all. I wasn't aware the forums had reached a consensus on the matter, but it's worth noting that consensus on these forums is rarely achieved. That said, HSK standard course books are great guides to direct your studying but should be paired with a tutor and other methods. It should be complimented with 1) proper grammar resources (like a grammar book or the grammar wiki), 2) a good method to learn stroke order and practice differentiating tones (which can be done with Pleco's flashcard system, have it only "display" the audio first. The flashcards also come with pre-organized set of HSK 1-6 cards though I'd recommend adding in words one by one in the order of the book you use) 3) someone to point out your errors, like a tutor. Knowing that you did something wrong is hardly helpful. Knowing why what you did is wrong is very helpful (was it a grammar mistake, word-pairing mistake or a cultural mistake?) Overall, though, I like how the HSK vocabulary and grammar points are organized and find them to be mostly useful (until HSK 6, then blah).
  50. 1 point
    I bought Oh China! from a university library book sale for $2 (and pretty much every other Chinese reader I've ever heard of for the same price!). Very lucky! There's a whole series that comes from Princeton Uni Press. - Oh China (for beginners) A New China (intermediate), All Things Considered, Anything Goes. They're all pretty expensive new. I haven't actually looked inside them myself so I can't say if they're any good or not. But anyway, I just wanted to say I'm fairly confident you'll not find any of those big expensive US books in China. Your best bet will be to find a second hand copy in the West.
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