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Showing content with the highest reputation since 02/28/2020 in all areas

  1. 13 points
    This resource is probably more intended for intermediate to advanced learners. I've personally been studying for about 9 years and work in translation full-time now, and I've always used Zhihu as a tool for studying Chinese and staying abreast of the current Chinese zeitgeist. On Zhihu Digest, each week I take a look at the top 10 questions and analyze the language involved (from a Chinese learner's perspective) as well as any relevant cultural aspects. Some of the interesting tidbits from this week include what exactly it means for a person to 废掉, different ways of talking about steroids, and what grade levels 中小学 comprises. https://www.zhihudigest.com/ All feedback, whether regarding content or the site itself, is welcome. Cheers.
  2. 11 points
    Hello, I created a podcast series aimed at intermediate to advanced learners who want to listen to more spoken Chinese to improve or become more used to pronunciation and sentence structures. Along with each podcast episode, I also set out the script (in simplified Chinese and pinyin) for that episode on my website (https://chinesecolloquialised.com/). The podcast episodes are under the name "Chinese Colloquialised", which can be found on most major podcast platforms (e.g. Apple Podcast / Google Podcast / Spotify / Overcast/ etc). If there are any intermediate to advanced learners, I would be keen to hear your thoughts on the podcast. Particularly: Is it helpful? Is it too easy or too difficult? Do you find the episodes interesting? Any other thoughts, whether it's positive compliments or constructive criticism. Thank you and best wishes, Kaycee
  3. 8 points
    Being the German federal state worst affected (neighbouring Austria and with close ties to Italy), Bavaria put a curfew into place from last night on, for the next 14 days. It is nothing like the Chinese measures [edit: I should have said, "like the original Wuhan measures". Please see ChTTays reply below] though, you can - see a doctor when needed (cosmetic surgeries etc. are suspended) - buy food and hygiene articles for everyday life - buy food for your pet(s) and take them to a veterinarian - go to work (if you can't do home office) - take walks outside, and walk your dog, but only on your own, or with one person who lives in your household anyway Curiously, while my day job is in tech/media, I had begun helping out in a small regional produce store in my neighbourhood lately, simply for fun and because I was bored at the weekends. And now, suddenly, I find myself one of the few with what appears to be a safe job and income over the next months. I was given this paper that I'm supposed to carry with my passport. Fines for breaching the curfew are high, between 2,000 and 26,000 €. The paper says: "The above employee works in our business and has to attend his duties that are necessary for supplying food to the population".
  4. 8 points
    We have just taken the decision based on the update from the UK government to close our shop for the foreseeable future as I am in the vulnerable group and can't take the risk. As we are in the entertainment business ( electronic audio equipment) the source of much of our work is also closing so won't be losing much business anyway and not worth being open for one or two passersby that don't actually want anything we sell. We are in a positive financial situation so not worried for the immediate future and will access what funds are available from the government for small businesses. Take care people.
  5. 8 points
    This will probably be my last update from Harbin, as things seem to be much more "interesting" in Europe now. I went outside of my apartment complex on Thursday for the first time in over 2 weeks (not due to being scared about catching the virus, it's just such a hassle signing in and out etc). Harbin finally opened up the big shopping malls, and even some smaller shops have opened too. Hopefully they will begin to do away with the constant temperature checks and name signing over the next couple of weeks. There is a fair bit of traffic now, although still much less than usual. Crossing the road is a little dangerous again: I took the opportunity to take a long walk outside. I'm in a modern apartment complex where all they had to do was lock some gates and put extra people on guard duty, but I always wondered what they did about the traditional apartment buildings. As you walk around you begin to realise that you need to stick to the main roads, as the small ones all have makeshift fencing to control the flow of people: There was quite a long queue outside this supermarket, and I was impressed by the distance being kept between each person (maybe not quite 1.5 m, but much better than usual). The supermarket in the mall next to my apartment didn't have any queues at all, and was just normal busy: I finally got to eat a meal not made by my own hands (some jiaozi, which I have never made before). Although the restaurants were open, it was take-out only. All the other stores in the mall seems to be open, but only a handful of customers. I've got another 3-4 weeks before I have to go back to the UK. I hope to be able to get some normal-style living in before jumping into a yet another quarantine-like situation back home.
  6. 6 points
    Sharing some 中国QT Photos... I know someone on their 14 day QT right now. They picked a hotel at the 400rmb per room price and this includes breakfast. They can order food and drink into the hotel. The food is actually from a different hotel where 3 meals were provided due to having no option to order in. Overall they’re very happy with how they’ve been treated and the experience in general. Someone regularly checks in on them (phone calls) and in English. The people on site also speak some English. If they have any issues there’s always someone available to ask. They also got a negative test result back so just doing their 14 and then can go home.
  7. 6 points
  8. 6 points
    Since the beginning of last year, I’ve been trying to dive into the phenomenon of the inner migration in China. Those people who migrate from their home villages to the big cities, searching for better opportunities. Some are young people who just finished high school (or never started it), and want to earn a bit more money than they would in the village. Other are a little bit older, having children of their own, who migrate with their families, hoping for a fresh start. But among those, there are the ones who can’t take their children with them. Life in the city is expensive, work is unstable, and the migrants don’t enjoy the same benefits as the people who were born in the city. Tens of millions of children, who grow up without their parents. Most live with their grandparents, others with different relatives, and a minority of them has to raise itself. In today’s reality, these families are in a complicated situation. The Corona virus started just before the Chinese New Year, when all of those migrant workers go back to their families in the villages. They usually stay for a few weeks, and then go back to the city to work. As of today, most migrant workers haven’t gone back to the cities yet, though that is likely to start happening soon. One of the families that I’ve documented live in the western part of Hubei province. The same province that is notoriously known today for being the birth place of the Covid-19 pandemic. I visited them a few months ago (before this all began). Seven-year-old Wu Feihang lives with his paternal grandparents in the village, while his parents work in the far-away Guangdong province. They left home when he was one month old, and go back home every year for a several weeks. This year they went back straight into lock-down. How long will this last, and what will they do once it’s over – no yet knows. But among the fear and uncertainty, Wu Feihang and his parents have been staying together for over three months – The longest period of time that they have been together since they day he was born. The short film that I’m sharing here (link below) was filmed during October-November of last year, giving a glimpse into the daily life of the family, before anyone knew about a virus that might appear. I hadn’t planned one sharing this film at this time, but circumstances have changed a bit, so here we are. This is one of several families that I’ve documented during the past year, and will keep documenting as soon as it becomes possible. I hope you find the film interesting, and I wish good health to all. https://vimeo.com/399359998
  9. 6 points
    Since my Kunming apartment has no built in oven, I concentrate on stove-top dishes, stir-fries and such. When back in the US I revel in using the oven. Fresh, home-made bread with a rich honest crumb and a slightly-chewy golden crust makes its way into my Kunming fever dreams on a long Yunnan night. Sometimes I not only see it, but I smell it as well. Baked a lot of bread in the 1970’s and 80’s. Viewed it as “sanity therapy” during a crazy stretch of life starting-out in medical practice. Any time I baked some for myself and my wife I would always double the recipe and call someone from a short list of friends to come around and collect a “give-away” loaf still hot from the oven. This recipe is one of my favorites. It’s from James Beard’s classic “Beard on Bread,” the hardback edition of which was left behind or misplaced during a poorly planned move that followed divorce. This paperback replacement has margin notes with several different pens throughout the 2000’s: Use a little less sugar or salt in this recipe, substitute another kind of flour in that one. I think of this as one of those “hobby loafs” that isn’t well suited to the fast pace of life. Just right, however, for a long stay-at-home weekend. Lots of the time required to make it isn’t actually hands-on. It is just the bread rising gently and steadily on its own while I do other things. Right now, those “other things” involve a resolute de-cluttering and room-by-room deep cleaning of the house. Here’s a copy of the recipe: http://cooking-books.blogspot.com/2010/10/james-beards-white-free-form-loaf.html Pretty sure Blogspot is blocked in China without a ViPeeeeENner. So, I’ll paste a copy into a “spoiler” box for the benefit of you China Hands who are over there weathering the storm and fighting the good fight. The main thing I did different was to bake the bread on a baking stone with a hat or “cloche.” It captures the steam and allows the bread to bake in a moist environment instead of drying out. Keeps it tender. The one I used is by Sassafras. Here’s a look at it on the Amazon website and a look at the dome part in my kitchen. After first use this unglazed clay never looks pristine again. This dome fits over a circular disc with a raised lip. You can see the bottom part in one of the later photos below, one that shows the completed loaf. https://www.amazon.com/Superstone-Sassafras-Cloche-Bread-Specialty/dp/B0106TDDYY Here’s more on using one of these: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/39030/using-cloche My bread today was more or less round; it was a rustic free-form “boule” instead of a loaf. That requires a stiffer batter. A soft starter or "sponge" rose overnight in the fridge and had to be kneaded and rise three more times today. It took an hour in a 425 F oven to get done. (Turned the temperature down to 375 F after the first 40 minutes.) Finished with the top off. I buttered the crust five minutes before it was done. It has to sound deep and sonorous when you "thunk" it with a fingernail. The crust is golden but yields easily; does not require the jaws of a saber-tooth tiger. The interior is tender and evenly baked; not mushy, no huge holes. The aroma when I took it out of the oven filled the whole house. In fact I briefly feared being overrun by marauding neighbors. The hardest part, and one which always requires my setting a timer, is to wait 30 minutes before slicing. Would prefer not to count the number of loaves I have mangled by premature knife attacks. I let it cool upside down, as shown above. Finally! One piece slathered with butter; the other is waiting for jam. It has a full, faintly “sourdough” flavor. Just what this hungry refugee was craving.
  10. 6 points
    One thing that worries me about the "herd immunity strategy" is that we don't really know whether or not a significant percentage of those who recover from the disease will be left with permanent issues, e.g. reduced lung function. I've only scratched the surface of the research, but here's a 2006 paper that looked at kids who had been infected with SARS. Not to say that this has any transferability to this virus (although this is certainly worrying), but the British strategy seems like one hell of a bet to make. Here in Norway, cities are slowly closing down. We are now the country in Europe with the second highest infection rate. Most of those who can (including myself and my wife, thankfully) are working for home. Hair dressers and other non-critical professions who work with people are temporarily banned from working. The economy is tanking hard, a huge amount of layoffs are expected. It's absurd how things have changed so quickly. We came back from China on 3 February and I started in new job on 10 February. After five years as a public servant I've moved on to the private sector, from "qualitative case work" to IT. Bad timing.The company I work for has already taken a heavy blow as a result of the quarantines, and it's only expected to get worse. As in a 50 percent loss in turnover. As the newest hire, I expect I'd be the first to be let go if push comes to shove... And I don't expect it to be easy to find a new job under the current conditions. Luckily, we have a pretty decent safety net where I'd be guaranteed 60 percent of my former income if I'm laid off (and the government is considering increasing the amount to cope with the situation). Fingers crossed it won't come to that though.
  11. 6 points
    I was thinking much the same, but now I'm starting to think the UK government knows what it's doing, even if what it's doing may be very wrong. They assume that lots/most people will get the virus sooner or later. They believe that it would rebound after any kind of lockdown. Lockdown for 4 months now and you risk a peak at the start of NEXT winter. And they want a decent cohort of the population to have got through it and acquired immunity. I don't know - very unclear, they haven't explained their thinking. But if you assume there's nothing you can do to stop most people getting it eventually, then it changes the logic a bit. Personally I'd like to see a lockdown and then use the couple of extra months it might give us to build up to the kind of mobilisation/organisation seen in China/HK/Singapore. Because even if its spread is inevitable in the UK, reducing its speed of infection must be a good thing, ensuring better hospital care for everyone.
  12. 5 points
    I've been thinking of this as sci-fi, which is where it gets classified, but reading the Amazon page for the translation shows me eco-thriller or eco-techno-thriller, which I think is a better shout. 陈楸帆, 荒潮, or Chen Qiufan, Waste Tide. A little under 160,000 characters in Chinese, and 13 hours or so in the audio book. I'm reading this in Chinese (Amazon.cn, Dangdang). It's also available in English translation by the great Ken Liu (Amazon.co.uk, .com, and I really enjoyed the sample and may yet read the whole thing) and as a Chinese audiobook on Ximalaya, with the first hour or so being free. And if those channels really don't work. I'm a couple of chapters in and am impressed. Near-future. Augmented reality and various cybernetic enhancements to beast and human alike. A peninsula in Southern China known for processing e-waste from the west. The intense pollution and health issues that causes. Locals making the big bucks, migrant labour doing the dirty work, and three clans vying for position. Wily local officials. A US businessman - or is he - looking to clean up environmentally and financially. His local-born, US-educated translator. And a mysterious girl, pursued for some as yet unknown reason by thugs from the Luo clan. And that's as far as I've got - about 15% in so far. The language is definitely advanced, or intermediate with much patience, a dictionary, and a tolerance for feeling lost. But it's an intriguing tale, and I'm looking forward to seeing how things pan out. Have a look, see if you like the premise. I've been taking notes as I read so far with an intention of doing a read-along series of topics, posting a quick chapter summary as I go, along with a few language comments. I'm not doing full vocab lists or anything, but if I have to look something up and it's interesting, I'll highlight it. And I'll make sure key characters and points are highlighted (assuming I noticed them). And I'll be helping out with any questions. I'm attaching a 3,000 character extract. Chen Kaizong, the translator / assistant character is at a festival with his sort-of uncle, a high-ranking clan member, and sees a woman in trouble. He goes to her aid and ends up in need of rescue himself. The 垃圾人 is the local term for the migrant workers, and the very end is an entirely unsubtle reference to the US civil rights movement. I think you should be able to spot it. The extract is from the end of the second chapter, so don't be surprised if you feel in at the deep end. But it's a nice pacy scene, gives a feel for the setting, and seemed a better choice than earlier parts. Think the formatting's ok, but might have suffered in the extracting. So, who's going to read it? There's no reason you couldn't read along with the English version, either. extract.docx
  13. 5 points
    Hey chinese-forums.com, I'm in the middle of building some Cangjie learning software and I was wondering if it would be useful to the community, since I've seen quite a few posts on this forum asking about Cangjie resources. First a link to a simple landing page (just a landing page for now! Read on for why it's just a landing page): https://learningcangjie.com Some background about Cangjie: Cangjie, developed in the 1970s, is a way of typing Chinese that relies on graphical decomposition rather than phonetic decomposition (my link has a simple example). That means that each key on your keyboard corresponds to a fragment of a character instead of a sound. You then use the keys on your keyboard to piece together a character fragment by fragment. Why might you want that? Well once you're proficient with Cangjie, you can type faster than with phonetic methods because every Chinese character has a uniqe sequence of Cangjie keys so you don't need to type a word and then hunt and peck the correct character from a drop-down menu of potentially hundreds of choices. You can also type characters you don't know how to pronounce as long as you have the character in front of you. Finally, if you're a Chinese learner, Cangjie also offers an additional opportunity to practice graphical recall of Chinese characters that can help considerably when it comes to general reading and writing of characters, since every time you type out a character you're effectively practicing how to piece it together. Then some background about my motivations: I started studying Cangjie a little while ago and of course did the usual song and dance of looking for software to help learn it. There's great software for learning how to touch type English (see e.g. Typing Club), but I couldn't find any good ones for Cangjie, especially in English. Even in Chinese, the resources tended to be fragmentary and strewn about, relying on you as a user to piece everything together. Since programming is my livelihood, after trawling the web some more, looking at both English and Chinese sources, I decided I would have to make this software for myself if I wanted to use it. As I began coding, I realized if I'm going to the trouble of making this software, I should see if others are interested. So I've set up a website to canvas interest. Basically the more interest I get, the more time and polish I'll put into this to release to others. If people are willing to pay, then I'm going to treat this as a real production software project and try to make a definitive high quality Cangjie resource. Assuming enough interest, the roadmap is a soup-to-nuts resource that teaches The principles of Cangjie decomposition, i.e. in what order a character should be decomposed The Cangjie primary forms (and muscle memory practice for them) The Cangjie secondary forms (and muscle memory practice for them) Graphical decomposition of many different characters into their primary and secondary forms And has typing exercises (starting from single characters, then phrases, then sentences) in the same way that English touch typing is taught. Unfortunately this represents a very large time investment and so I wanted to make sure this is something people actually want, before I went and sunk my time into it. And I mention this on the website, but the email addresses I'm collecting to gauge interest won't be used anywhere else for any other purpose and will of course be deleted on request.
  14. 5 points
    I'm an ER doctor, retired. Would report for duty tomorrow morning if asked. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/15/us/coronavirus-physicians-emergency-rooms.html?algo=top_conversion&fellback=false&imp_id=739134863&imp_id=572455840&action=click&module=trending&pgtype=Article&region=Footer
  15. 5 points
    I got a nice little language learner's surprise today. Carrefour Shopping Center was giving away free Bluetooth earphones today if your purchase is over a certain amount. Normally Bluetooth earphones have little voice messages in english that tell you when you turn off, turn on, or connect to your phone correctly. This pair of earphones has all the audio messages in CHINESE! I understood "device on", "connection successful", and "device off" in Chinese. I sheepishly admit connecting and disconnecting a few times just to hear these three messages because I enjoyed it so much. It was kind of like an immersion experience..... hearing the same message that Chinese people hear. : ) : ) Now I'll hear it any time I connect to listen to my podcasts. Guess what my new favorite earphones are?
  16. 5 points
    @dtcamero i use N95 at work. each type has a different fitting characteristic and you need to do a test with it on to check if it works. I can wear two types and another one I failed. Personally, given the difficulty of fitting and the lower risk areas of the public, I don’t think n95 is of great benefit for ordinary people. As to normally wearing a surgical mask, I agree filtration is not great. However, we could think out of the box a little more: - we touch our face perhaps less with a mask on - we shake hands less if we have a mask on - we don’t automatically kiss in greeting - people will stand further away from someone wearing a mask. - reminds us to wash hands more frequently - we stop to chat less often All of these actions could actually reduce transmission .... masks don’t filter too much viral material in itself but they do change our behaviour to reducing potential contact with infectious material. as far as I am aware, there’s no benefit of wearing a mask (or they never looked at the things I described), but also, there is no evidence of harm. not sure if I wrote it here before but the flu season this year in HK has been the shortest in ages.
  17. 5 points
    Here's my new Chinese word of the day: 短驳, which means drayage. And here's my new English word of the day: drayage, which means short distance shipping of freight, for example from the port to a nearby railway station.
  18. 4 points
    The Netherlands is also barely testing. Although a few Northern provinces are now tracking their own course and trying to test more people. I've made my peace with the fact that I'll never know if I've had it. However, the difference is that the UK and the Netherlands are not claiming to have zero new infections while not testing anyone, and I trust my government to never claim that. Once it goes away. they'll likely make a statement along the lines of 'no new cases *found*.' Meanwhile, not to rub it into anyone's face, but I'm so glad we have a serious and capable government. I disagree with our prime minister on so many counts when it comes to social policy and economics and whatnot, and the powers that be made some choices early on in this epidemic that I believe were not the best, but at the moment the government and the prime minister are doing what they can to manage the situation and are informing the public in a serious and fact-based way. That is not a given and I am grateful for it.
  19. 4 points
    Although filmed in Nanjing, the anti-virus measure there look pretty much the same as those in Harbin. The best video I've seen describing the situation in China. Highly recommended (youtube): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfsdJGj3-jM&feature=emb_logo
  20. 4 points
    I've been trying to sort out my return to Kunming. It has been much in my mind as I have read reports and speculations. This post is just me thinking out loud. Not sure if anyone else is in a similar boat. Local grocery store shelves here are getting low on canned goods and paper products (NE Texas) and the Walmart parking lot is full of cars and pickups. In the last few days, more TV and print news has been focused on this epidemic here in the US, although actual cases still seem to be few. Most of my living the last 8 or 10 years has been in Kunming. It's my home and it's where my heart is. Would very much like to go back and I even have a plane ticket for the middle of April. Guess I will need to try and stay on top of the situation and make adjustments as that date comes closer. The days when I was able to say, "Damn the torpedoes, I'll just go where I want, when I want" seem to be over. Not easy. Lots of uncertainty. The situation requires sober reflection.
  21. 4 points
    And uglier when you consider that those beds are already in use. Nobody (well, the UK anyway) has been keeping extra intensive care beds lying idle just in case....
  22. 4 points
    Was out and about today getting a few things done - it's pretty bleak out there. Fair number of people still to be seen, but far quieter than usual and the conversation has shifted from 'are we going to get sick' to 'wait, what's happening to my income?' Popped into a charity shop and even they're suffering - less footfall, and their volunteer staff aren't coming in so they can't sort new stock onto the shelves. If you're not selling groceries, you're in trouble. Bought a bike today - been talking about it for a week, on the basis the gym will inevitably close and the exercise and fresh air will do me a lot of good. Got the bike home (in a taxi, haven't ridden since I started shaving and wasn't going to relearn across Edinburgh city centre, even if the traffic is lighter) to an email confirming that the gym has, indeed, closed for the foreseeable future. So that was good timing. Lucky to have some good running and cycling routes nearby though, and the weather's warming up.Thinking about it, the gym closing was probably related to the schools closing - can't run a gym if your staff is home with the kids. I probably (very probably) spend longer than necessary reading the news, but manage to avoid it making me worry any more than I already would, I think. Ignore any headline with 'could' in, as that's an unlikely worst-case scenario. I suspect I'm better off reading the news and coming away with a sense of knowing what's going on and being able to plan accordingly. And as I think I've said, I'm very lucky in being in a better position to weather something like this than many. I did find myself thinking I should get a new hobby for the extra at-home time. And then I realised I already have a full suite of at-home hobbies that I can just start doing more conscientiously. Might get some online tuition for those, depending on how income pans out. Edit: just started a Constructive quarantining topic. Drop by, if only to tell me I’m not really using the word quarantine correctly.
  23. 4 points
    This is easy to refute. It is likely that in the early days (first few cases), there was a generic test for coronaviruses, since this is a new and unknown virus after all, so there could not have been a specific test for this. The currently used assays are specific for COVID-19: https://www.eurosurveillance.org/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.3.2000045 "Cross-reactivity with other coronavirusesCell culture supernatants containing all endemic human coronaviruses (HCoV)‑229E, ‑NL63, ‑OC43 and ‑HKU1 as well as MERS-CoV were tested in duplicate in all three assays (Table 2). For the non-cultivable HCoV-HKU1, supernatant from human airway culture was used. Viral RNA concentration in all samples was determined by specific real-time RT-PCRs and in vitro-transcribed RNA standards designed for absolute quantification of viral load. Additional undiluted (but not quantified) cell culture supernatants were tested as summarised in Table 2. These were additionally mixed into negative human sputum samples. None of the tested viruses or virus preparations showed reactivity with any assay." (highlight by Jan Finster)
  24. 4 points
    This is my worry too. Until very recently, our own prime minister treated it as mostly a joke. He's now taking it seriously, fortunately. But a friend told me yesterday that when she took a walk through her neighbourhood, she saw all kinds of people having dinner parties at home. Something nice that happened: there was a message going around proposing to all applaud the healthcare workers, from our balcony, last night at 20:00. And people did. It was truly heart-warming to stand on my balcony and applaud and see all the neighbours in the building, also on their balconies, applauding. It feels so cheesy to say this but it really helped, a feeling of 'all in this together'. The rest of the time I fret & worry and I'm not even sure about what. I'm not particularly worried about myself personally or my immediate loved ones, I think we will be fine in the end. The economy might tank badly, but I don't think that's what getting me down so bad either. Perhaps I'm just susceptible to a general feeling of doom, and not seeing the end of the situation.
  25. 4 points
    At the beginning of Feb, Vatican city sent 600,000-700,000 masks to China, which is amazing for a city-state of just 1000 people. I realize the Vatican is politically separate from Italy, I still see the help as coming from your part of the world. I just read that Italy has significantly more doctors & hospital beds/population than the US: 4.0 doctors/1000 population Italy versus 2.6 US. And 34 beds/million Italy versus 29 beds/million US. Hence, the US will really get hurt if we fail to implement sufficient controls. One thing we need to invest more in is vaccine research & production. While we could put everyone in masks, the virus could come back again after we stop using them (as several of you noted). This is something the world needs to do. We need to purse research even after the immediate crisis: https://www.statnews.com/2018/01/11/vaccines-drug-makers/
  26. 4 points
    "Mini-immersion" -- recommended! I used to set the GPS in my car to give me navigation instructions in Chinese even though I was in the US. It was a built in feature that just needed to be enabled. I got language practice while driving. The vocabulary was repetitious enough that most of it eventually sunk in.
  27. 4 points
    I saw that too (it was on Chinese news). To be fair, this whole thing is kind of China's fault in the first place (unless the conspiracy theories about the US military are to be believed), so there probably should be helping out. Still, Western countries could have sent more help in February. One country which did offer a lot of help (especially in terms of supplies) was actually Japan. If there is one good thing to come out of this, then it's the improved Sino-Japanese relations. I've heard that many Chinese TV stations even took the 抗日 TV dramas off the air. Yeah China has sent a team of 9 doctors and supplies to Italy last week (which in the current climate is quite something, regardless of whether its been paid for or not really). It's been really appreciated in Italy and it's on all the newspapers, hopefully it will change the way the Italians see Chinese immigrants, who are too often discriminated in my opinion. As far as I know Italy didn't provide special support in February but I've been told that there were a number of initiatives by privates and communities (e.g. there is a huge group of people from wenzhou living in Tuscany) who sent supplies.
  28. 4 points
    I did the same in the US on a train. I was the only one on the train with a mask. However, a woman sitting next to me on the trained leaned away the whole time. When I went to get off the train, someone asked if I was infected or they were. This said, wearing a mask isn't an option for most Americans because they are unavailable. Even simple masks sold in paint stores have been bought out. N95s were invented by the West and the right design for a person can fit their Western or Asian face. At US companies, they "fit test you" and also do a medical evaluation before allowing you to use one (respirators impact blood pressure and respiration, so we're tested to see if we're healthy enough to use one) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1858664. With both flu and with this virus, we don't know the relative importance of inhaled versus the risk from touching your mouth, nose, & eyes. When this pandemic began, I told friends about the fact that medical masks are designed to protect others from your infection, whereas an N95 is designed to protect you. However, this credible study from the J. of the Amer Med Assoc suggests these masks provide similar protection in health care situations from the flu: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2749214 (even after reading this, I still would use an N95 if available) It may be that small droplets are relatively rare and that a medical mask protects you by keeping you from touching yourself and by stopping large droplets. Reducing rates of infection will flatten out the rate of new infections and this reduces the likelihood of overwhelming health care. If controls are really good, the r-value will be pushed below 1 and the pandemic will stop. The level of control is based on the cumulative result of everything that is done. China is controlling the risk and is doing so thru extensive use of masks. Friends in China and my company's sites there are giving employees 1 or 2 masks/day. This is much more contagious than the flu, so hand washing is likely not enough. Eventually, I expect most of the rest of the world will move to using masks because just having everyone stay home isn't an economically viable approach.
  29. 4 points
    "I have to say, i think it's possible China will come out of this well." This of course is the Chinese propaganda spin. It's All the Foreigners' Fault Conveniently forgetting how the entire world ended up in this disaster after a Wuhan doctor was charged by police in December with "spreading false rumours" after he tried to alert colleagues of the risk posed by the new virus. And let us not forget that all those restrictions on news dissemination make knowing the true situation in China impossible. The Great Leap Forward was hailed as quite a success in its time, remember.
  30. 4 points
    After reading 余华 books 活着, and 许三观卖血记, I wanted to continue reading stories from that time period, but from a different author. I chose to read 人生 by 路遥. after reading imron's list of books. So far I have read about 6 chapters, and I think it is alright. I do really like the setting. Just like the Yu Hua books, it is set during the cultural revolution, and as such has a lot of farming vocabulary that I remembered from reading 活着 and 许三观卖血记. The story so far doesn't feel as interesting and fast-paced as the Yu Hua books, but I am only about 25% through the book. It is definitely interesting enough for me to look forward to reading. In terms of writing style, I think 路遥 is more verbose with his setting descriptions. This makes reading more difficult due to the use of elaborate chengyus that don't add a whole lot to overall comprehension of the story itself. That said, I feel like it is a decent next book after the typical starter books such as 活着. I am getting through this book without too much difficulty (~5 or so lookups per page), though I did spend about a year without reading a book since finishing 活着 and 许三观卖血记, so the difficulty gap might be larger than I am able to perceive (my vocabulary improved a lot during the past year, although I didn't read any books).
  31. 4 points
    That's my site Some of the articles are expansions of posts I've made here on the forums, and others are new (I've also got about 20-30 unfinished drafts for it). As the Chinese say, 师父领进门,修行在个人。
  32. 4 points
    YYYYMMDD order (padding day and month with zeroes, if necessary) is usually best in information processing contexts, since it ensures that a “dumb” string sort algorithm will nevertheless sort your dates correctly.
  33. 4 points
    If you have a solid foundation in Mandarin, then learning Japanese at the same time is possible, but it is going to be difficult both to learn the language and keep them both straight in your head. I started learning Japanese after I had reached a fairly advanced level of Mandarin (if you want to hear me speaking Japanese just listen to the recording I just posted in the interpreting audio thread). There was a period of time at the beginning where I assumed that because I was now "fluent in Mandarin" that I didn't need to really work on it and it would just stay like that, and I started putting all my time into Japanese. I was wrong and I regretted it afterwards. My sentences stopped coming out correctly for a while in Mandarin and I kept wanting to add Japanese words to the end of sentences. After a bit of time warming my Chinese back up it was fine, but it really has taken a long time at least for me to keep them separate in my head. About whether or not Chinese helps to learn Japanese, I think it definitely helps. When I first started learning I was always surprised when I saw Chinese characters used for the same meaning in the same way or even in a similar way. I thought wow there are a decent number of Chinese words actually used in Japanese. Over time I kept discovering more and more and now I think its almost fair to just assume almost all words do exist in Japanese, even many literary ones like 澎湃、彷彿、徘徊、咆哮、彷徨、躊躇, 抑揚(= 抑扬顿挫)、and countless others. Most of them are actually used in everyday life sometimes even very common. Many 成语 are also exactly the same. I'm no longer surprised when I find even obscure Chinese words in Japanese, but its still cool to see. The more you study the more Chinese you will come across, and depending on your level you may already know all of it and you will quickly catch on to the pattern for pronunciation which makes it very easy. For those words. However like you said, there are words that also read differently and it takes much longer to build a sense for which ones do and when. There are also patterns like 文字通り with the toori part not reading with a t but with a d (mojidoori), 割り箸 with the hashi part reading bashi not hashi, 青空 with the sora reading zora etc. With the many forms of polite and casual speech, along with the confusing way that many Japanese speakers phrase things when thinking and talking at the same time, the many different forms of verbs, names and locations reading completely different than anything else, and fairly complicated and diverse grammar patterns Japanese was very tough for me to learn even having reached an advanced level of Chinese first. After I had spent years working on Japanese and reached an advanced level with it too, I felt that it had been way harder than I ever expected and I probably would have given up had it not been for my background in Chinese. Personally I never found it to be quite as fun, interesting or beautiful of a language as Chinese and on top of that I felt it was more difficult, or at least just as hard as Chinese even with the Chinese background. So yes it is extremely overwhelming and it will likely get more overwhelming before it gets better. I felt like there was no end to the new grammar, words, and other things for a very long time. But it is possible. I know quite a few people who have done it with varying amounts of success, but they all seem pretty comfortable with Chinese to begin with.
  34. 4 points
    Ok, so, something I do when looking for a translation of a term is to do a site:gov.hk search - the Hong Kong government produces a huge amount of material in both English and Chinese, and it's usually quite easy to find the 'other' version if you can find your original term. Thinking about it, looking at Singapore might also be useful. I can't think of anywhere else that has English and Chinese as official languages. And I couldn't find it there. Sad face. So I searched for the term in general and found it's often used alongside cultural mediation. Ah-ha. Let's see if we can find that. Yes, "cultural mediation" appears in this pdf. A bit of searching found the Chinese version (or at least a similar document) where we find 文化中介. I wouldn't have thought of 中介 in this context. So work backwards and search for 语言中介 and we find this abstract using the term in a language learning context (actually making reference to the CEFR, which brings us right back to the language exams mentioned in the OP. So 语言中介. But, caveats. It's not a common term, and - like in English - you can't expect anyone to know what it means. And there's possibly a better alternative - I haven't referred to an authoritative source, I've made some guesses and then found one result (cited by precisely no other papers, if I'm reading CNKI right) that confirms my guess. Someone with a dictionary of linguistics on their desk may be more reliable. Edit: Also here, found by searching the term and CEFR - again, a bit of a self-fulfilling translation. And here. Also found the English term 'language brokering', which would be another rabbit hole to jump down.
  35. 4 points
    Denial is a powerful psychological defense mechanism. To me the reaction here in Germany is a mixed bag: I see people buying shopping carts full of noodles, rice, water and chocolate as if they were preparing for the apocalypse. The local thermal bath on the other hand was packed full of people yesterday as if nothing had happened or as if sauna was the best prevention of coronavirus. Then there is the notion among younger people that influenza is so much worse and this is all out of proportion. Plus, people believe it only really kills the old and/or diseased (so why should I bother). Then medical experts on TV say that masks really are not effective. Some think there is really little you can do to avoid being infected other than locking yourself in your apartment for several months. Obviously, you would lose your job, so this is really unrealistic. So, you are pretty much left with "let us keep our fingers crossed".
  36. 4 points
    Here's my several cents: I wouldn't add 'feeling' to 斩钉截铁的事物不过是例外, seems to be a plain statement that fixed and definite things are the exception. Not vastly different from your version, but to me 日常的一切 is "everything everyday" - all the normal, quotidian aspects of life, and it's these people feel to be somehow wrong. In 这时代却在影子似地沉没下去, the grammar has the epoch falling away from us like a shadow (rather than into the shadows) though don't find the meaning of that image very clear. This seems missing from your version: 不能不求助于古老的记忆 "can only turn for help to ancient memories...", then what follows is more "memories from all the epochs that mankind has lived through." Your highlighted line seems to be saying feelings of uncanniness lead mankind to suspect this is an absurdist version of the world of antiquity [to precis a bit freely], both dark and light [suggesting containing extremes, I think]. Lastly, maybe an 'awkward disharmony' would be better; seems to end saying that "gives rise to an unease at once solemn and frivolous, to struggles that are in deadly earnest yet have no name." Overall I think you did very well. The Chinese is thought provoking and profound but written in fairly plain and clear language, I always find it a challenge not to make it sound pompous or pretentious in English when it isn't in the original.
  37. 3 points
    Things have been shut down here at the university. The labs have been closed, all classes have been migrated online, and the undergrad students have been sent home. I'm lucky: all my research involves sitting at home fiddling on the computer anyways so my PhD work hasn't been affected. Graduate students who do research in the campus laboratories are in limbo, however. Unless they have results they can write about there is almost nothing for them to do all day. The ESL class I was teaching at the local senior center has been cancelled, so I posted a message to the campus WeChat group looking for an language exchange partner. A dozen bored Chinese graduate students replied before the day was out! @Shelley, you mentioned a while ago that you live in a university town with a lot of Chinese international students but you've never approached any of them because you thought they might be weirded out. I didn't reply then, but I sometimes think about how far off the mark you were! If anything it would make some bored homesick student's day to help someone their parents' age or older learn Chinese. You could probably spend all day practicing with them if you wanted to.
  38. 3 points
    Definitely not business as usual up here in Edinburgh - the roads are dead, pubs and cafes are closed, or virtually empty, everyone I know who can work from home is already doing so. Gym's closed. Rail and bus services are being stripped back. Etc.
  39. 3 points
    Correct, and only 5% of cases need intensive care. Now plug in some figures for your local population (country, state or city), as well as a figure for percentage of people who get infected (I’ve seen estimates ranging from 20% to 80% might as well try both to see and upper and lower limit), and compare that to the number of intensive care beds available (or even just regular hospital beds) for the same region. The numbers are not pretty. Now factor in exponential growth rates, meaning everything happens slowly at first and then very suddenly, and you’ll see why people are concerned enough to start shutting everything down. Here is post by an Australian doctor who lays it out for his small city.
  40. 3 points
    Quick thoughts from pandemic central (Northern Italy, got stuck while visiting my elderly parents and am now both worried for them and unable to leave). The approach of different governments makes for some interesting game theory. Here businesses are under massive stress. Foreign importers are cancelling orders, or asking for "proof" that widgets are free of coronavirus, whatever that means. German and UK competitors are likely to benefit. Domestic consumers cannot consume, and employers are under massive stress to ensure employee safety – especially smaller companies that do not have the resources or the staying power to close all stores for two weeks and redo the factory floors. Italy is particularly vulnerable given the very large proportion of SMEs. So the gamble of our neighbours looks at least partly motivated by thoughts of the economic endgame. China is big and centralised enough that someone can isolate Hubei for the greater good and order Shanghai doctors to go over and help. Europe alas is 一盘散沙 and I'm looking forward to seeing German doctors helping out in Milan (the sight of that would do more for the future of the continent than 70 years of European treaties). As risk management is a large part of what I do professionally, I'm terrified any time someone shows me a model, makes a forecast, and forgets to discuss what will happen if the model is wrong. Exponential growth is counterintuitive: Italy may have 90% of all cases, but if infections grow 30% per day, the rest of the world gets there less than 10 days later. I think I can objectively say that Milan's health care system is among the best in Europe: it's very unlikely anyone else can cope much better, although at the beginning, luck helps. So I think the odds are good that Europe's "beggar thy neighbour" phase won't last very long. If building herd immunity was so easy, China would have been in a good position to try.
  41. 3 points
    Yes absolutely they are. Life is turning back to normal slowly (not there yet, but moving that way) and new cases seem to be under control, even in Wuhan by now. Having even a little tiny student activity in Shanghai this week was a very happy moment for me. However, as an immersion Chinese language school what we do is to help people to experience Chinese and live immersed in that cultural environment. And international travel is an integral part of this. So the current outbreaks in Europe and the US are hitting us (and I am sure not just us, but all Chinese language schools) even worse than the one in China did. Plus, the way it is looking this is going to be an ongoing thing, potentially for quite a long time with international travel restrictions. The news coming out from the German, UK etc. governments currently sound more like most people will get infected and this will take a year or two maybe to finish. We are very lucky that we have been around for a long time and are very stable as a company so we will get through this, even if it takes a year or two. I know just five years ago we might not have. A lot of other companies in China that will not. It is really not very happy to see. But then I have no idea what the future there will bring. Who knows, it might just all be much better. I certainly hope so. For the moment we are working full speed on our online classes - our teachers need the work even more than we as a school do and we will try everything possible to achieve that. Ok, enough moaning....things change, sometimes I feel quite optimistic, sometimes not at all. Today is more of the second type, but then that might already be very different tomorrow.
  42. 3 points
    Depends on the type of mask. Surgical masks are one use. The 3M N95 type are multiple use unless they’re visibly soiled. There’s still a limit. Masks do expire apparently. I saw some news article about a Canadian stockpile of expired masks. Not sure how that actually affects them though.
  43. 3 points
    Thank you all for your kind wishes. I am sort of keen to just get it over but wouldn't mind at all if they canceled it for another month. I feel in a months time we will know just how bad it is/will be. At the moment we are all sort of trying to ignore it and get on with normal life and I think that maybe a dangerous thing. My opinion is we should be bolting the stable door now. Bite the bullet, close the country, take all precautions and ride out the worst in relative isolation to stop the virus in its tracks. 4 to 6 weeks of shut down as opposed to 3 months or more of a dragged out war of attrition.
  44. 3 points
    Thankfully both my wife and I can work remotely, so we've basically stayed at home and only been out a few times since we got back from isolation. We went into central London two days ago and took the tube in. we both wore facemasks and brought soap with us. We took the subway for a few stops, which we regretted immediately as it was absolutely rammed and no facemasks anywhere. Im not saying facemasks are a must at all, but youd expect people to at least make some airs to show care is being taken. but its still business as usual here. Meanwhile italy is exploding with new cases right now, with some people saying its a more agressive form of the virus there. Its like noones doing anything preventative (besides buying toilet paper in bulk…) because it would be 'emabarassing' or just a hassle. so now we're just sitting here waiting for quarantine round two, uk edition…
  45. 3 points
    This will be a problem in many countries, i.e., overloaded medical services. Even during a non-pandemic, I had wait over 5 1/2 hours to be admitted to a US emergency room. They were so full, they ended up putting me in the hallway. This was in a suburban reasonably well-off area in the US. In the morning, I've been listening to coronavirus updates from RTE Radio in Ireland. The head of the Irish nursing association noted that the entire country has only 250 isolation units and these are currently filled with people who have drug resistant bacteria. They wouldn't kick them out of the room to handle flu cases. It poses a real problem. A recent podcast mentioned one good idea: when going to see a Doctor, patients wait in their cars until called. That way they don't sit in the waiting room, infecting others or being infected by them. I wish the US would follow the lead of South Korea and let people be tested for the virus while sitting in their car. It's such a smart, efficient thing to do.
  46. 3 points
    What you say is mainly correct, and the situation in Italy is not easy at the moment. The interview is with a anesthetist working in one of the hospitals in Northern Italy closest to a cluster of infections and therefore one of those that have been hit the worst. As far as I understand, roughly 10% of those who fall sick need intensive care, and obviously there is a shortage (note, healthcare in Italy is public and free). The doctor says that they cannot treat everybody and that "we are not in a position to try and work miracles". As an example he mentions that, if someone older than 80 with a serious respiratory condition goes to the hospital chances are that they will not try to save him, because the probability for him to recover are extremely low and they don't have enough resources to try the impossible. Doctors are working multiple shifts round the clock and they have to make these choices, and it is taking a toll on them. As a consequence the health system as a whole is under strain and there are delays everywhere. He then goes on saying that the best prevention against being infected is just to stay home, and he urges people not to go out. He says that he still sees too many people walking on the streets. He mentions in passing that he agrees with the measures taken by the government, although possibly it would've been better if they did so a week or so earlier. I'm getting news from my family and friends who all live in Lombardia (the epicenter of the infection): the whole region is being completely locked down for at least 14 days with only the most critical services remaining operative. The feeling I get at the moment is nervousness and fear, but not panic. People are really worried that shutting down shops and commercial activities will be economically unsustainable, many small companies will probably go belly up. The country has been taken by surprise for sure, but the government seems to be reacting better than expected. Let's hope for the best.
  47. 3 points
    Very interesting collection! In addition to Teachat for teaware, look on the Antiquers board, especially for all that glassware. But for translations in particular, I think you'll find the broadest backgrounds here. Looking forward to seeing more of your items.
  48. 3 points
    Taiwan appears to be handling it pretty well (see for example here and here). SARS left a pretty big scar on the Taiwanese psyche, and they moved pretty quickly to make sure the coronavirus wouldn't have a similar impact.
  49. 3 points
    Like most degree courses, this really depends on the individual, and your point of reference. I didn't study Chinese at university, so I can't relay my own experience. However, I have met many people who were studying, or did study Chinese at university and their levels were vastly different. Here are a few examples: 1. Experience: Four year degree at a tiny US liberal arts college majoring in Chinese, including a semester in Beijing. This guy basically maxed out his school's Chinese courses and, on his own account, was known on campus for his Chinese on his return from Beijing. Two years of full-time living in China later, and he readily admitted his graduation-level Chinese had been "pretty crappy". 2. Experience: Two years of Chinese study at SOAS in London, with a couple of brief visits to China, not including any study visits. This guy's Chinese was very impressive. He clearly worked very hard, was very intelligent, and absolutely loved learning Chinese. However, he was top of his class, and would frequently bemoan his classmate's Chinese level. 3. Experience: Two years of Chinese study at Oxford. I wasn't too impressed with this person's level of Chinese. It was certainly passable, but being at Oxford I would have expected much better. They didn't seem to have the 'flair' for the language that the other two did, and it had a big affect on their fluency. I've also met people who have minored in Chinese, and their Chinese has, in general, been fairly poor. I've even met people who minored in Chinese, including a semester of study in China, and they could barely string a sentence together. On the other hand, I can imagine there are people with a minor in Chinese who speak it very well. So, in conclusion, it could be any level. If you're top of the Chinese language class at Harvard, then it's likely to be awesome. If you're bottom of the Chinese language class at Harvard then you'd probably struggle on the street in Beijing. And whoever you are, as soon as people veer away from 最标准的普通话 you're screwed. And going back to my initial point - I studied science at university and there were people in my class who pretty much never got anything wrong, and there were other people who really struggled to stay on the course. Same for Chinese.
  50. 3 points
    I'm due to head back to Europe at the beginning of April. I could be leaving China just at the time when things are returning to normal here, only to arrive in Europe just as things are really going into full scale outbreak mode there. I hope I don't end up getting quarantined in my home in the UK for another month! The difference in Chinese and foreign media responses to the virus is pretty stark. In China you just have a single, official narrative. In western countries, you have as many narratives as their are political/personal agendas: - the anti-open borders crowd using it as an example of the need for greater border control - the anti-Trump crowd hoping to somehow pin the blame on him, hoping it crashes the economy in time for the election and/or even hoping he dies from the virus - the doomsday people taking the worst-case scenarios as fact and salivating at the prospect of a massive outbreak - the clickbaiters looking to make a quick buck - conspiracy theorists talking about how it is a secret weapon run amok Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to watch some CCTV for some uplifting stories about how the government has everything under control and about how united everyone is in their battle against this virus.
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