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Showing most liked content since 05/25/2017 in all areas

  1. 13 likes
    @wanzima35 Thanks for noting that and for offering to carry out that task. Kudos to 2017 Admin and all those working behind the scene to ensure smooth sharing of ideas. I apologize again to everybody that needed my attention but I was not there. I responded to a lot of people who contacted personally. I have been very occupied with some other things that took my mind from the forum where I love to be. I wish everyone a great time of waiting. We are just about stepping into the season where anything can happen at anytime. HANG IN THERE, GUYS AND GALS!!!! Good news shall be with you sooner than you imagined. Believe it and behave like you believe it. Begin to prepare and hope for the best! This forum is a place to be. Put in what you can. elijahodii16@fudan.edu.cn
  2. 9 likes
    Latest update: I didn't have to withdraw my MTCSOL application to change my recommending institution from Chinese Cultural Centre to Chinese Embassy, they figured it out themselves. East China Normal Uni finally processed my application and arranged for an interview after a month. Just passed the interview on Wednesday and two days later my status is 预录取 with a remark 表现良好,汉语流利,从事汉语国际教育意愿,拟同意预录取. The interview was easy, much more simple and straightforward than expected. A self-introduction Chinese learning experience, including previously taken classes related to Chinese since I'm changing fields Current job Why pursue a master degree Why chose to teach Chinese Chinese teaching situation in my country (stress on your advantage as local teacher) Nothing about past research achievements, research proposal, interested research fields for thesis. No technical questions on elementary knowledge about Chinese language, Chinese grammar like Chinese students go through in 考研复试面试. No testing of Chinese proficiency, like @艾墨本 had to read a text aloud and reply to open end questions... There were two teachers interviewing me via skype in a classroom, and my face probably projected on the wall. Teachers were very friendly. Audio was fine but with slight time lag. Make sure you have strong wifi, good lighting and no background noise. So now we've got to wait for Hanban to confirm 已授予 status. Cheers, and may the odds be in our favour
  3. 9 likes
    Sorry, this might be the wrong subforum to post in, but I wasn't sure where to post it exactly. Some background about me: I'm a guy from Sweden in my early-to-mid twenties who studies Chinese as a hobby. I took a semester off to come to Nanjing and study Chinese full time. Before coming, I decided against getting a VPN, a decision I am happy I did. So, first of all, what's Bilibili? Bilibili is a websute that has recently become very popular among Chinese teenagers/youth. From what I've gathered, it seemed to have started out focusing on anime, but has over time come to become something more. It'd be hard to make a 100% correct comparison with a Western website, but I would describe it as Youtube's vlogger + gaming community, with some streaming involved. I'm Swedish and I first discovered this site when I was looking for episodes of Skam, a Norwegian tv series that is super popular in Sweden. To my surprise, it is also relatively popular among a certain group of youth in China, due to showcasing Norwegian High School life, with all its drama, partying and explicit scenes. Specifically, the gay romance between two teenagers. Sana, a character of muslim immigrant background, is also popular. (If you are interested in Nordic society, I can recommend it, though I have yet to watch that many episodes.) From there on, I went on to discover a set of channels (频道) that helped to make up for the lack of Youtube. I mostly watch two types of channels: vloggers and street interviews. In the beginning, I found it very hard to follow what they were saying, but as the semester went on, my overall Chinese improved (listening ability + reading speed + knowledge of Chinese slang like) and I've been able to pick up more and more. My Chinese has really picked up and I attribute a significant part of my progress to Bilibili. Anyway, I could go on talking about this awesome website that seems to be very accessible even outside of Chine (and possibly the most underrated Chinese learning tool available right now...), but I'd rather just list some channels/people for everybody to enjoy. I recommend starting with some of the foreigner vloggers. Not only is their Chinese is actually very good, but not too slang-y or too advanced like some of the Chinese vloggers. (Some of them have those weird or annoying quirks that Youtubers have become infamous for, but I try to ignore it.) All of these channels have their own Sina Weibo you can follow as well. I personally like the Bilibili-format more and have yet to really make use of Weibo, which is more like Twitter anyway. Non-Native Channels 拂菻坊 - William from the UK (My personal favorite) http://space.bilibili.com/15834498 小马在纽约 - Ary from New York http://space.bilibili.com/96145884 山下智博 - Yamashita from Japan (My second personal favorite) http://space.bilibili.com/1643718 宫宫宫崎壮玄 - Miyazaki, is famous from Yamashita's videos but has his own as well http://space.bilibili.com/24622055 real信誓蛋蛋 - Two French Guys http://space.bilibili.com/32786875 Emma_Peng - (She's actually Chinese but her Chinese isn't too hard to understand, and she lives in the US) http://space.bilibili.com/22722854 锡兰Ceylan - Ceylan from the Netherlands http://space.bilibili.com/499023 蓝子龙nio - Spanish dude http://space.bilibili.com/15551906 chinesemayonese - Italian + Chinese couple living in Milan http://space.bilibili.com/109686816 哇娜哇娜在环游世界 - Irish-Chinese married couple with two young 混血 children. They like to stream as well. (They made a really weird/racist video where the guy dressed up as an indian man that I found a little weird, but I feel like I should put them up anyway...) http://space.bilibili.com/78037071 阿福Thomas - Thomas from Germany. He lives in Shanghai with his Shanghainese wife, and have learned to speak Shanghainese as well. He's pretty famous in China, in part due to embracing his own big stature and making a lot of jokes about that. http://space.bilibili.com/25807917 歪果仁研究协会 - Street interviews but focused exclusively on foreigners in China, especially university students. It's really good if you're interested in keeping up with what's new in the Chinese big cities. They've talked about stuff like Taobao, 外卖, bicycle rentals, etc; things that China really do better than any country in the world right now. antiSpicy - A young Spanish + Chinese couple living in Barcelona http://space.bilibili.com/2268526 TrevorJames吃货老外 - Canadian foodie who is also big on Youtube for his videos where he travels just to eat the food. This is his Bilibili cha http://space.bilibili.com/18739124 c4show - They put up travelling videos. The host is British and quite funny. http://space.bilibili.com/4468444 美国小伙Kevin - I found out about him on Youtube a long time ago as Monkey Abroad. He basically posts backpacking style videos with Chinese subtitles. http://space.bilibili.com/79577317 Martina黄菲菲 - Young italian girl http://space.bilibili.com/27149129 天天English - Channel by an English Teacher about learning English... I know It's a little strange but they talk about learning Chinese as well and they use a lot of Chinese anways http://space.bilibili.com/19859602 Native Chinese Channels: papi酱 http://space.bilibili.com/1532165/#!/ 毒角Show - Guy wears a horse head and will sometimes make videos that take place in the US with Americans as well http://space.bilibili.com/39847479 拉宏桑 - A seriously talented young girl (高中?) who makes very funny videos http://space.bilibili.com/11870568 nya酱的一生 - One of the many Chinese students studying abroad http://space.bilibili.com/1885078 弱肌店长Jeremy - Taiwanese dude who talks about training and... stuff http://space.bilibili.com/66902629 我是黄文煜小盆友 - Chinese male teenager who makes funny ranting-type videos http://space.bilibili.com/22693524 I also feel like I should put these by themselves: Generic Street interview Channels: I like to watch them because they often pose pretty intimate questions that you wouldn't think Chinese people would normally just ask strangers about, like about people's exes and break-up stories, lgbt matters, if dick size matters, etc... 学弟帮帮我 http://space.bilibili.com/77885214 小君看美女 http://space.bilibili.com/96122817 暴走街拍 http://space.bilibili.com/29268794 歪星人工作室 - Has a foreigner interviewing people http://space.bilibili.com/104611611 大嘴娱乐 http://space.bilibili.com/33792797 Just random: 味库美食视频 - Has hundreds of cooking videos http://space.bilibili.com/31104682 Some Quick Internet Slang That Might Be Good To Know (I will try add more later): 开车, 啪啪啪, 那个, 嘿嘿嘿,..., = To have Sex 老司机 = Lit: Old Driver, aka Player with lots of experience 233333333333 = LMAO 66666666666 = Awesome (people also will do the hand movement for 6) 博主,up主 - Vloggers ----- Anyways, that's it for now. I would like to hear other people's opinions and, if possible, recommendations on new channels I can watch. Ps: To turn off the floating comments, there's a button you press next to the setting for quality (超清, 高清,流...).
  4. 9 likes
    Ok here's a fact. It will take a minimum of 3-5 years of regular, continuous study before newspapers and/or novels become accessible without an external aid. At that point you will still encounter many unknown words and characters but you'll be able to continue without looking them up and without it negatively impacting understanding too much. From there you'll need to read maybe 10 or so novels before reading becomes comfortable.
  5. 9 likes
    I'm a 32-year-old economist who has been self-studying Mandarin in the US for the past four years. I started studying after I became engaged (and then married) to a Chinese woman I met at an American university. Unlike a paid tutor (which I really should get one of these days to drill my speaking skills with) my wife isn't terribly interested in teaching, practicing, drilling, or correcting my Chinese so I have mainly advanced my Chinese through self-study. So far I've never taken a formal Chinese course, hired a tutor, or lived in China (other then a couple short trips with my wife). However my wife once a month or so drags me to social gatherings with her Chinese friends where they mainly speak in Chinese and twice we've gone to China for a couple of weeks to visit her in-laws and college friends. We usually watch American shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime with just English subtitles but sometimes we'll watch together Chinese shows and/or English shows with Chinese subtitles. I'll sometimes speak a bit of Mandarin with the proprietor of a local Sichuanese restaurant (who knows that I want to order their vegetarian double-cooked pork dish without me saying it), my Chinese friends who practice the same (Japanese) martial art, my Chinese colleagues at my department/office (who loved to play 《拖拉机》扑克游戏), my in-laws when they Skype with my wife, and random Chinese parents at the local park where I take my baby son on walks. I also have some Chinese friends on lang-8 (where we correct each others writings). So although I'm not in China I do have plenty of natural opportunities to use my Chinese outside of China and some good social motivation to learn it (although as a 32-year-old economist with a statistical programming background I have absolutely zero financial incentive to learn it and professional considerations will likely prevent me from doing a really long extended trip to China). Hypothetically if you learn at a manageable self-study rate of 10 new words a day (including 3 new characters a day) after five years you should know more than 15,000 words and 5,000 characters. Even throwing in a 20% 'leech' rate on flashcards that still puts you at passive recognition of at least 12,000 words and 4,000 characters. This is definitely way past the point where you should be able to find some modern vernacular Chinese media you can enjoyably consume including less-technical newspaper articles, TV shows (with subtitles), and video games. I didn't study that rigorously (I try to keep my flashcards review across all subjects to under 15 minutes a day) but still after 4 years of self-study the "Hanzi Statistics" plugin in Anki says I can recognize 3434 unique Hanzi in context including 87% of the 3000 most frequent simplified Hanzi (disclaimer: I didn't write but now maintain a fork of that open-source plugin). Although there are a bunch of leeches I still can't recognize (mainly from when I earlier foolishly tried to aggressively learn lower-frequency HSK words out of context) I've attempted to learn all but three hundred of all the New HSK words and can successfully recognize more than 70% of the New HSK words in context. All in all, based on how I tagged my cards Anki says I can recognize seven thousand words (and I know from my Chinese reading that I can definitely understand several thousand additional words in context). Because reading books is one of my main hobbies I've read among other things (like graded readers) a couple dozen volumes of Chinese manhua (mainly 《乱马1/2》 and 《金太郎:上班族》 but also some native Chinese stuff like 《绝对小孩》) and at times I've definitely put down my phone and enjoyed what I was reading getting the gist but not 100% comprehension. It is always a great feeling when you get a Chinese pun without needing to look anything up. I did recently read on the Chinese section of the New York Times an article on whether getting married really makes people happier which I could definitely understand the gist of without needing to resort to a dictionary. 《家有儿女》 and 《爸爸去哪儿?》 are examples of Chinese TV shows (with subtitles) I was able to enjoyable watch a few episodes of and get the gist of without needing to resort to a dictionary. Someone self-studying for five years should definitely be able to find some native Chinese media they can enjoyably consume and get the gist of without need to constantly reference a dictionary or encyclopedia. I think a perfectionist goal of "100% comprehension" of a text without need to look at a dictionary or encyclopedia might be a little harsh for all but the simplest of media. As a 32-year-old native English speaker who has read thousands of (English) books and got a perfect verbal score on the SAT college entrance exam I still don't know every word in most English books I read (and I usually don't bother to look the ones I don't know up) nor do I remember the exact word of every English word I hear or want to speak. For example what is the exact name of the special thingamajigger that lets you remove the rear cassettes of a rear bicycle wheel so you can access the inner ball bearings? It doesn't really matter that I don't know it, if I use a couple sentences to describe such a tool at a bike shop they'll understand which one I'm talking about and will happily sell one to me. If I watch an episode of Family Guy or The Simpsons and enjoyably laugh at 30 jokes it doesn't matter that 20 other cultural joke references fly over my head. Although I can definitely enjoy and get the gist of most of what I do read but if I really wanted a 'complete' understanding of any rich English text then even as a well-educated native speaker I would need to constantly look things up in a dictionary and/or encylopedia and possibly even cross-reference with other materials and even then likely only the creator will understand every single one of the references in the text.
  6. 9 likes
    I reached HSK5 after my second year of university right before going to China for a year. I am not sure what "toy" level means but I was certainly capable of communicating with people and consuming Chinese media at the time. Half a year would really have been enough time in China though because I spent the second half of the year skipping class to lie in bed watching anime in Japanese with Chinese subtitles. I still haven't taken the HSK6 but I now work as an interpreter and translator so I suspect (I mean, I'd rather hope) that I would pass it no problem. Note: I studied Japanese to a similar level to my pre-China Chinese concurrently with Chinese. So maybe if you struggle with motivation what you really need is diversity. Also, from a polyglot perspective your attitude is actually a pretty big obstacle (obviously nobody wants to hear that but really, language learning takes dedication and openness). Big Edit: I add, when I returned from China I began working full time in a retail setting with regular Chinese customers. Part of my success involved being personable lol, in that I made and maintained friendships with Chinese-speaking people from start to finish of my degree (main specialization was not actually in Chinese) on QQ and then WeChat. I used to write daily "blog" posts in Chinese and post them to italki, and had regular language exchange dates via audio chat on QQ. All of this before going to China, but was only sustainable because I wasn't an ass. I actually got along with my chat partners and we met when I finally arrived in China. I was listening to Chinese talk radio daily; my favorite banal station was 浦江之声 because I knew I'd be going to Shanghai, and it was easy listening that I could understand roughly 80% of pre-China. I co-hosted a weekly language meetup in my city. Again, impossible to sustain if you are not socially inclined. I borrowed my best friend's little sister's Chinese Saturday School textbooks and made my own word lists. In essence, I was a ridiculous language nerd.
  7. 8 likes
    Are you kidding? Everyone has advice on language exchanges. We all love talking about that subject. It has been discussed in these forums a whole, whole lot, going back many years. but I don't have time right now to do a search for you. Everyone gives the same advice over and over. Fewer subjects have more unanimity than the do's and don't's of language exchange. Just speaking off the cuff, I've found these language exchanges most beneficial when I have gone into the sessions with a clear notion of what I wanted to discuss, what topics I wanted to learn how to talk about. Otherwise they quickly deteriorate into the usual "lowest common denominator" stuff. I will tell the local person, "I'd like to discuss XYZ with you today. Would that be OK?" Even better than springing it at the last moment like that, is to agree on topics beforehand. I live in Kunming and I make a point of talking a lot to ordinary Chinese people, everywhere I go. I take the initiative and start conversations. Not the silly, idle conversations, like "where are you from," but things that are useful to me in a practical way at that very moment. In the grocery store, I ask someone about which brand of soy sauce would be best for making hong shao rou and why. The "why" is important because it opens up the topic so as to be able to introduce additional information and vocabulary: Is this brand more salty? Is it too sweet? is it make in a different way? Perhaps from different ingredients? How is it best used? And so on. Just talk a lot about things in which you are genuinely interested, not trumped-up BS that you don't care about. And, I say again, you must take the lead. Otherwise you will just walk mute through life, never getting any better. Set aside timidity, set aside embarrassment at maybe not saying things right. Pretend you are not shy, even if you are. And when people reply, make the effort to understand what they say, don't just nod your head. Whip out your dictionary and look stuff up right there on the spot. Whip out your scratch pad and pencil and write stuff down, or ask the person with whom you are talking to write a word or two down for you if they are unclear. All this stuff needs to become an automatic part of your daily life if you expect to ever function at a native level. I no longer struggle with it. It's how I live, every single day. I think in Chinese, I dream in Chinese. When I travel away from Kunming to someplace where Chinese is not spoken, to Korea, Japan, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia or Vietnam, it becomes very difficult and very strange because those people are no longer speaking my language. My language is Chinese. Obviously, I can revert to English if pressed hard enough, but I absolutely hate it. If you walk up and speak English to me on the street here in my hometown (Kunming,) I am immediately out of there, I am gone like a flash.
  8. 8 likes
    My experience...It is enough, especially in less expensive cities. I am in the one of the most expensive cities in China which is Shanghai... If one does not live an unreasonably flamboyant life style, 3500 RMB is more than enough. Even those that live a flamboyant lifestyle with some good planning, they can make do with the 3500. You could have reasonable savings every month which could be used for handling other matters of life. You should use the period to plan for the future, whether your parents are too rich or too poor.
  9. 8 likes
    Interesting! I agree, good interpreter. It was reassuring to see that he has some of the same quirks as I have (saying 這個 and 那個 when hesitating, for example). It's interesting as well to see the difference between Obama being interpreted and Xi Jinping being interpreted. Obama addresses the reporters and the room, then turns to the interpreter and listens to him (even though he doesn't understand him), even nods along occasionally. Xi addresses Obama, then keeps looking at Obama while the interpreter repeats his words - he doesn't turn to the interpreter, even though he does understand him perfectly, because the interpreter is not a participant in this meeting, just a means to facilitate it. Not sure if this was because Obama wasn't very experienced in being interpreted, or if it's a cultural difference (interpreter is person, I should listen with interest when he talks vs interpreter is facilitator, I should look with interest at my host while I speak to him through the interpreter).
  10. 8 likes
    Learning Chinese is a grind. Don't expect to be anywhere near reading native content without aid after a year. You need maybe ~10,000 words for general newspaper articles to be accessible, and that assumes you've also been practising reading and not just flashcarding vocab, because flashcarding vocab doesn't train the skills required for reading. To reach 10,000 words in a year you would need to learn 30 words a day, every day for the entire year. Which is basically impossible because you need to learn those words properly and not just 'got it right on my flashcard review', and that takes regular exposure of the words in context over time. At 30 words a day it's unlikely you'll learn those words to the required depth, not to mention going at that pace is not long-term sustainable and will quickly cause burnout. At a more realistic and sustainable pace of say 10 words a day (plus additional reading and other study) it would take you 3 years to get 10,000 (10 * 365 * 3 = 10,950). And that's just for text to become reasonably accessible without much external aid. You then need much more (plus plenty of reading practice) for it to become comfortable. There's no way to avoid this. You just have to set your expectations appropriately (3-5 years of daily learning) and then grind through it. This is why learning Chinese is hard. Not because the language is particularly difficult, but because of the continuous grind without reward over a period of years that is required just to reach basic literacy. Many people give up once they realise just how much of a grind it is, and you are now at the point when this realisation is sinking in. You won't find any success stories from people who haven't done that grind. The success stories you are looking for are all from people who have grinded through it. Remember that guy whose Chinese you were criticizing in that other thread? He only spent 3 months in China, and has been grinding away for 3 years since then and apparently now reads novels, albeit with some dictionary aid. If he keeps it up for another two years I imagine he will be able to read novels and newspapers without much aid. Do you have the same determination?
  11. 8 likes
    sure all of us will get the scholarship dont worry dear friends GOD DEY
  12. 7 likes
    Or perhaps I should say so-called polyglots. There are so many of them these days, popping up here and there, especially on YouTube speaking with prepared remarks. When I listen to them I think "wow, he's pretty good" right until they reach a language that I can speak and then I see that their fluency is actually mediocrity. What most of these polyglots are (and there may be exceptions) are beginner level learners of multiple languages, and very far from fluent (or they adjust the meaning of fluent to mean whatever their minimal ability is). What these people are doing is selling dubious or derivative study methods. Perhaps I have been set off on this rant because I have met a few people like this randomly, people that have come up to me and announced that they speak such and such a language. So I said "oh, here is a native speaker right here, have a chat", and saw their ability completely fail outside of rehearsed lines. And if I see another post along the lines of "learn Chinese to FLUENCY in 3 months" I might just top myself ;)
  13. 7 likes
    OK I took the HSK vocab list from http://chinesetest.cn/godownload.do and sorted it for you. HSK_vocab_sorted_by_hanzi.txt
  14. 7 likes
    My experience and based on friends experiences is that 3500 should most certainly be enough. But, math might make this more clear. Each meal, 20 kuai. You can do much less if you stick to the student canteen and it will likely be more if you eat out, so an average of 20. That's 60 per day or 1800 per month. That leaves another 1700 for other things. I don't smoke, drink, or eat meat. I don't really go out sight seeing during the semester. So the only other expense I have is transportation. I can most certainly "flourish" on 3500/month. I'm currently in a small city in which the cost of living is roughly 2/3s of Shanghai (unscientifically comparing a bowl of noodles, eating out, cost of a coffee, etc) and I'm flourishing on 1300 rmb/month. But 3500 will allow you 115 kuai per day. So every day you'd have another 55 kuai to spend on whatever. You could, theoretically, eat one nice 70 kuai meal per day on this budget. You could drink a few beers every day. You could save it for the weekend (55*5=275) and have money for going out. Want to travel? Go traveling every other weekend (fri-sun), that's 550 kuai. Put 200 into your train tickets, 100 into your lodging (hostels easily can be 50/night), and then you have 250 for two days of food and outing. Assuming a ticket feed for some tourist site at 100, that's 150. 75 per day for food. Maybe you only want to flourish as a student, you could get a couple hours of one-on-one tutoring (though language exchanges are much more economical). Want a new phone? Put aside the money for one semester and you have enough for a low-end phone, two semesters and you can get a pretty nice mid-tier phone. The money for me will be going to a gym membership and holiday traveling. Your low-end 6000/mo estimate assuming an astounding 200 kuai per day! Are you including rent in this number? If rent is included, then that makes sense seeing how the dorms often cost around 100/day, some less and some more. My friend's nice new sublet in downtown Shanghai was less than 4000. With 6000, you could rent that place and have 66 kaui per day for other expenses. But now you have a kitchen and can potentially save a lot of money that way. Though start-up costs will be higher since you need supplies for your new kitchen and apt.
  15. 7 likes
    It hit me like a bolt of lightning yesterday at the neighborhood wet market: Maybe I should try a different kind of eggs. Have recently been looking for a way to make more flavorful tea eggs, and maybe these small quail eggs are the answer. And I'd heard that quail eggs make great bite-sized tea eggs. Decided on the spot to try it out. Most of the egg vendors from whom I buy there not only sell free-range chicken eggs 土蛋 and an assortment of duck eggs, they also offer quail eggs plus smaller batches of exotics (pheasant eggs, guinea fowl eggs, bantam hen eggs and others.) The lady next to the stall where I buy my hand-ground sesame oil, not only had two large crates of them, she also had a deep pot of tea eggs that she was making herself, mixed quail and chicken. She sold me half a kilo of fresh quail eggs for 6.5 Yuan and threw in a couple of the already-cooked ones just so I could have a taste. The brine in which they were soaking was room temperature, but it had boiled a couple hours previously, she said. Her eggs were tasty; I peeled and ate them right there to see. Asked if she had any tips; told her I had been struggling with them at home. She said to use plenty of soy sauce and plenty of salt. She laughingly added that a hit of dark vinegar 老陈醋 was her secret weapon. "Balance it with a little sugar so as not to make them sour." She explained how the vinegar drove the other flavors through the shell and into the body of the egg. I have no idea about the science involved in that, but I never argue with success. When I got them home, I washed the eggs well in clear, cool water, removing any broken ones. I had been gently sideswiped by a guy on a motor scooter in a traffic jam, and my egg bag took a hit. I had 4 broken ones, which I threw away. Counted them just for fun, and found that my half a kilo (500 grams) had 54 eggs, pretty uniform in size. Let them soak while setting out my other ingredients. Top, in the spoon at 12 o'clock, are fennel seeds 茴香,dried chili peppers 干辣椒 at 1 o'clock,star anise 八角 next at 3, followed by caoguo 草果,a type of savory seed pod related to coriander, at 5 o'clock a spoon of Sichuan peppercorns 花椒,sliced ginger 老姜 next, followed by cinnamon bark 桂皮,and orange peel 橙皮 at 9 o'clock. Bay leaves 香叶 at 11 complete the circle. Pu'er tea is in the middle; the Pu'er I used was from a decent, utility-grade ripe 熟茶 Menghai cake 孟海茶饼。 If you aren't familiar with using 草果, it's a good idea to bust it up a bit with the back edge of your knife to make the good parts more accessible. I put all these flavoring ingredients 调料 into my rice cooker, which has a heavy, cast iron pot. Added water about half way up the side and put in half a cup of ordinary soy sauce 生抽,a big tablespoon of vinegar 老陈醋,a big tablespoon of old soy sauce 老抽,plus a tablespoon of salt and a teaspoon of sugar. Plugged it in and let these spices and seasonings boil for about 10 minutes before adding the eggs. This lets them develop their flavor and blend. I tasted this potent solution to see if it needed adjusting with more of anything, but it didn't. I let it cool to nearly room temperature before adding the eggs (also at room temperature) to prevent them cracking from the heat. Boiled them 10 minutes then scooped the eggs out. Let them cool enough to be able to handle them, then cracked each one gently with the back of a spoon. Returned them to the brine and brought them to a boil again, then turned the power down to the barest simmer and maintained that for one hour. The way you do that with a rice cooker is to first select a program that uses high heat, such as the one for zhou (marked 粥 or 稀饭) and then pressing the "keep warm" button (marked 保温)after the contents have been brought to a boil. A rice cooker allows better control of the heat than most stove-tops could supply. Take the eggs out, strain the cooking liquid, removing all the solids. Then keep the eggs in this while you refrigerate them overnight. I previewed a couple last night, but had a more generous serving this morning. Slip off the peel and pop one straight into your mouth. Bursting with flavor and tender to boot. These are now my favorite kind of tea eggs, at least as long as I'm in China. I owe a debt of gratitude to the intrepid Tea Egg Task Force, senior members being @Jellyfish and @Alex_Hart for keeping this project alive and ever striving, moving boldly towards better and better tea eggs, both for the ordinary citizens 老百姓 and the elite troops of the realm. Here's the post that started the tea egg discussion: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/53701-tea-eggs-yunnan-style-茶叶蛋/?page=3#comment-417281
  16. 7 likes
    Hello @Twist, welcome to the forums. There are definitely some tips about how to brew the perfect cup of tea. Methods of producing the best cup depend on what kind of tea is being used. You can find discussions of some of the main kinds here below. The main three variables, beyond the type of tea leaf, are: 1. How much tea to use, 2. Water temperature, and 3. Steeping time. Of course there are other minor variables as well. This is an index to recent tea articles: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/54133-tea-articles-a-users-guide/ This is a general discussion of how to select and brew the main types of Chinese tea: https://'erwww.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/48538-chinese-tea-中国茶/ Here's more about Pu'er: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/48844-warming-up-to-pu’er-a-beginner’s-guide-普洱茶/ Here's more about red tea (aka black tea): https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/48661-dian-hong-滇红茶-yunnans-simplest-tea/ Here's more about green tea: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/48541-how-to-make-green-tea-that-isnt-bitter/ Here's an introduction to Oolong: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/49780-a-taste-of-taiwan-oolong/ Please come back after reading some or all of those posts. If you have further questions or comments then, we will be glad to discuss the fine points with you. Several of us here drink lots of tea and are happy to share what we know.
  17. 7 likes
    The OPs post is misleading. The article states "There is little doubt about the helpfulness of contexts such as a sentence or a text in the process of learning words. A context not only shows the word and its use, but it can also help in retaining a word and its meaning". The only concern they have is that "First, many (concrete) words can be learned efficiently without context." and "Second, and this is actually the main point, learning a word in a particular context may result in a learner knowing the word only in that context, or worse: not even recognizing the word outside that context." I'm not sure what's being "debunked". If anything, the article appears to be supporting the idea that you learn words in sentences, just make sure that you study a good variety of them. In any case the OP is mistaken if he believes the point of studying sentences is merely to learn words. That's just a small benefit. The point of studying sentences over words is to learn how to use the language, including new words. Learning words and then doing a 'machine' translations of words from your own language into the target language leads to the terrible Chinglish we and Chinese English learners suffer. Languages are incredibly idiomatic and grammar will only get you so far. Good quality sentences are one way to overcome the limitations of a "grammar and words" only approach. This isn't just "the idiots on Chinese Forums talking without uploading their linguistics credentials". As per the OPs demands, here's a journalistic piece that contains an overview and some links to the academic material he requires: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/mar/26/leixical-approach-revolution
  18. 6 likes
    Tofu made in Shiping town 石屏县城 in south Yunnan is something special, famous throughout China's southwest. We get lots of it fresh here in Kunming, but I've also had the privilege of enjoying it at its source, in the green mountains of Honghe Prefecture 红河州,not far from ancient Jianshui 建水 and scenic Yuanyang 元阳。They say the difference is mainly in the water, and verbal battles are still fought about which deep well has the sweetest tofu-making nectar; but since it has been around over 400 years, it's not surprising that supernatural claims also exist, the main one having to do with a fiery dragon and three wise tribal kings or chiefs. Here's what it looks like in the market. The difference in appearance of these two forms gives a clue as to how it is usually cooked and served. The kind in sheets, upper left, can be steamed, boiled, roasted or pan-fried. The small packets, upper right, are usually slowly toasted on a grate over coals. Both provide a serious taste treat for visitors to Yunnan and residents alike. The kind I bought this morning at my neighborhood wet market was the kind that comes in sheets, I bought one piece and it cost 3.5 Yuan about half a dollar (US.) It comes in two styles: a drier one, called 老豆腐,which is what I got today, and a very moist and somewhat fragile one that is mainly used for making a delicious snack called 包奖豆腐, in which the tofu is lightly sauteed on a sheet pan and served with a spicy sauce. This latter has a runny center. I love it dearly and will prepare it for you another day. I cut my single piece crosswise in half, and then in half again, so you could see the edge. The sheet is about 2 and a half centimeters thick. It can be cooked up as a snack 小吃 or as a side dish for a meal. In Jianshui, where I have enjoyed it often, it is frequently sold in street stalls that just grill it to order for you over coals and serve it beside a dish of dipping sauce. These places usually also sell roast duck and beer, sometimes noodle soup. It's not at all uncommon to sit down near dusk on one of the low stools around the fire mainly to give your feet a rest, still a bit too early to properly consider supper, and just munch few pieces of tofu kind of as a warm-up. But after a beer or two you decide those crispy, lean roast ducks hanging overhead on hooks really do look great, so why not. Then someone suggests a bowl of rice noodles in savory broth 米线, and before you know it, the clock is striking midnight and you walk home to your hotel in the company of three or four new friends. I speak from first-hand experience; it's the Jianshui magic. You have been warned. Back now in my Kunming kitchen, lets chop the extra ingredients 配料 before dealing with the tofu. If you like things really hot, use the tiny red peppers, bird's eye chilies 小米辣椒。If you prefer a mild to moderate approach, use the larger ones and remove most of the seeds. Also mince some ginger and a clove of garlic. Set out some Haixian Jiang 海鲜酱 (aka Hoisin) and about a teaspoon of sesame seeds, toasted 黑 or plain 白。 Reserve 备用 the cut up garlic 蒜, pepper 红椒, and ginger 酱。 Cut the tofu into bite sized rectangles or squares, put them into a preheated flat-bottom skillet 平底锅 with a little oil. The one I'm using here is non-stick, and works well for this application since only medium temperatures are required. When the first side starts to brown 金黄,turn the tofu and cook the other side the same way, never letting the skillet get too hot. You do not want it to burn or get dried out and tough. When side two is also golden, take the tofu out. Saute the pepper, ginger, and garlic in a little oil, then add two or three large tablespoons of Haixian Jiang diluted half and half with water. After a minute or so of stirring this sauce mixture, add back the cooked tofu and gently flip it over a few times with your spatula to coat it well with these complimentary flavors. Plate it up and sprinkle on the sesame seeds. You now either have a very nice snack or you have part of a meal. I think it goes real well with a bowl of soup and a cucumber salad 拍黄瓜。Those three things together do the job for me just fine on a summer evening. And I even usually have room for a piece of fruit afterwards. Be sure to seek out Shiping tofu 石屏豆腐 next time you find yourself down this way.
  19. 6 likes
    Yunnan's glorious yangmei season 杨梅季节 has finally arrived. When I went to the market a couple days ago, sellers had baskets of them nearly everywhere I looked. They will fade out and be gone by about the end of the month, so I will enjoy them while I can. They currently go for 10 Yuan per 公斤, which is one whole kilogram. Last year at this time I was returning by train from Honghe Prefecture 红河州 in the southeast part of the province and it seemed that every person getting on during early stops had a small plastic mesh basket of them which they carefully protected, in addition to their other luggage. Some of the best ones are grown in and around Mengzi county 蒙自县。 Even here, just in one single location, there are several sub-varieties. The first set of photos, up top above, shows smaller dark yangmei fruit beside larger, redder ones. The small dark ones cost a little more and were slightly sweeter. I tasted both and thought the big ones would suit me well. This tasty fruit goes by the scientific name of Myrica rubra, and is grown in south China, below the Yangtze, ideally at an altitude of about 1,000 meters. The train mentioned above passed through or near hectares upon hectares of orchards up on the hillsides. The same area is rich in pipa fruit 枇杷果 (a type of loquat) and shiliu 石榴 (pomegranate.) I always buy too much when I go there and wind up giving half of it away to friends after I realize it might spoil. The individual fruits are between 2 and 2.5 centimeters in diameter, and each one has a single seed in the middle. (These 1 Mao 一角 coins are for size.) The flesh is sweet and juicy, while also being tart. I don't know of anything else quite like it in the western world. Ripe ones acquire a deep purple color; if they are bright red they will be a little sour. Best to buy fruit that isn't visibly bruised; you may or may not find it with a leaf attached as shown here. I eat my fill of them just as they are after washing them in several changes of tap water and letting them stand 15 or 20 minutes in lightly salted drinking water to kill any bugs that might be stowing away. Dry them after that by setting them out on a kitchen cloth or small towel that is approximately the same color (because the fruit will stain a white cloth beyond repair.) If you don't like tart things, they can be gently poached a couple minutes in sugar water on the stove, and served chilled in that juice. Yangmei also makes good preserves and jam. But the other thing that most locals here really look forward to most of all at this time of year is making a batch or two of Yangmei fruit liqueur 杨梅酒。 Simply clean the fruit as above and air dry it a few minutes, layer it into a wide-mouth jar with rock sugar 冰糖 and cover it with high-proof grain alcohol 白酒。China's notorious Er Guo Tuo 二锅头 lends itself extremely well to this application. It is made from sorghum (not rice or something else) 粮酒 and the label says it is 56% alcohol, about 112 proof. Furthermore, it's inexpensive, 15 Yuan for a 500 ml bottle at my corner store. Screw on the lid, put it somewhere out of direct sun and let it stand a month or two, gently swirling it 晃一下 every two or three days. That "month or two" is the hard part, and recipes for this fine concoction often jokingly call it "self-control wine" or 自制力酒。It's a test of will power to keep from sampling it every so often, "just to see how it's coming along." This year my strategy has been to put it out of sight on a high shelf, labeled with yesterday's date. Maybe I can just forget about it most of the time; maybe it won't invade my dreams the way it has before. If you have a chance, please try some of this lovely fruit right now; don't wait. Not sure how easily it can be obtained overseas, and I don't think I've ever seen it dried like many of these seasonal delicacies. Be sure to put it on your agenda if you plan to come to China soon or if you live here and have been seeing it for sale but were sure what it was. It's delicious!
  20. 6 likes
    Guys, I don't know if you experiance something similar, but I started feeling terribly dismotivated. Till 15.06 I was busy doing so many thinks. Mostly connected with Chinese, but now I can't even keep up with things I love, like writing characters or listening to podcasts...
  21. 6 likes
    I bet you guys a 100 kuai that new season of Game of Thrones will be here before the CSC results xdd
  22. 6 likes
    I think it has some merit on a practical level, I don't think it is something I "believe in" because that would imply something supernatural, and for me it is purely a practical thing. I think it has developed over the years into the form it is now to enable the people who study the methods to make a living from it. To cloud it in mysticism and myth gives credence to paying a knowledgeable person for it. Also the little rituals and methods used are an aid to remembering how it works. If you think about some of the advice given it does make sense, a house with the back door and the front door inline with each other will not be fortuitous because the good qi will blow straight through the house, so in practice this would probably be a draughty house. Not sitting with your back to the door of the room is probably good advice if you have cause to be concerned you may be assassinated, you want to know who is coming in, these days it has been shown that it is not a restful situation if you are sat with your back to the door because you are always looking over you shoulder to see who might be at the door. They use to sell a little mirror to put on your PC monitor so you could keep an eye on things behind you. I actually have a separate monitor with the CCTV cameras so I can see the doors and shop. We also have 3 doors in the room I spend most of my day in, so its hard not sit with my back to at least one, but also facing at least one door. I think if you approach the whole subject with common sense and don't get carried away with it, it can make a useful contribution to your life. If you study it you will notice that if something that is consider bad for qi such as a wall in the wrong place or the toilet in the wrong place in the house there is always a "cheap" alternative to pulling down the walls, by the judicious placement of plants or rearranging of furniture solves the problem. I haven't made an extensive study of it, but what I do know gives me enough information to decide it is pretty harmless and may even be beneficial, just as long as things aren't taken too far.
  23. 6 likes
    Hey again, I hope you're feeling better today after a good chat with family and friends. Sometimes it's amazing what people who aren't in your situation can come up with, and often it just takes an outsider's perspective to make things look a lot less grim than they did initially. I was going to send you this as a private message but then realised that this situation will probably hit more than one of us and as a consequence, my thoughts on "Plan B/D/E/F" might be useful for others down the line too, so I'll just post it here. It's great that you have friends who can help you find a job, and I'm in a very similar situation to yours - if I don't get this, then I'll have to consider several considerably less desirable alternatives, one of which is, you guessed it, friends helping me get a job in China. It's all about trying to play smart with whatever hand you're dealt though, and since my application hasn't been the most smooth riding, and at one point looked like it might get rejected, I've had plenty of time to consider the benefits of this. So let me share what I came up with - and if you don't want to think about China for a few days, or if you need to come up with our own plan, that's cool too You didn't mention what the job your friends could help you get might be, though I'm going to take a wild guess and say it's probably teaching. I've also been offered (informally) a teaching position at a university. You said you want to be immersed in academic Chinese, since your spoken Mandarin is already quite good. If you were to teach at university, you'd have access to pretty much all the resources you need! From my experience, most lecturers are very open to students (and hopefully also colleagues) auditing or sitting in on lessons without officially taking the course or participating in activities. This might be very different in China, and might not even be a suitable thing to do for a language course, but basically, that's my game plan: if I'm going to China to teach, I'd try to approach other teachers or lecturers to ask if I could sit in on any classes that don't clash with my own timetable, if necessary for a small fee or what have you. As I said, university is the perfect environment for that. Same applies for a language school though: if they teach more than just English, you could ask to take Chinese classes at your own institute either for free or at a discount. Maybe I'm completely off in thinking you'd go into teaching, and maybe none of these prospects and options are as comforting to you as they are to me, but I just thought I'd share my thoughts on working in China and improving your Chinese at the same time. As I said, if this is too soon/not helpful, feel free to ignore this post and just take a wee break from it all Edited to add: Maybe not my place to say this, but to everyone asking 艾墨本 questions about his application: It's not particularly helpful to his current situation and won't help you with your own application this year. Everything's been done, dusted and submitted and now all we can do is wait. Knowing how your own application differed from his won't change your result at this point. Maybe when it's all over and all of us have results we can do a round up of what did/didn't work in our favour but for now, maybe just leave people who had bad news from Hanban work on their Plan B (or F, as the case may be) in peace yeah?
  24. 6 likes
    That sounds like an excellent thing to do. Challenging and bold. I can understand your concern. Maybe that's enough. Keep doing what you're doing, would be my suggestion. Perhaps read some books about topics that you find of interest. Perhaps schedule some time to meet your Chinese friends once or twice a week. I don't think that would be a good use of time. Words that are "clustered" around a subject or a task are much more easily learned and much more easily retained, as I'm sure you have found. My level is not as advanced as yours, especially in reading. You mentioned early on in your post that you preferred a structured approach. But perhaps at this point, given your time constraints, an unstructured approach is the best solution. Do something or other frequently, and in small bits of time. You won't have huge blocks of time available. Congratulations on getting to where you are! Don't fret too much about maintaining your skills. If you loose a little bit while focusing on other pressing projects, I'll bet those skills will come back quickly when you need them again. And welcome to this forum! We are top-heavy with beginners, many of whom drop out after about a year. So it's good to see advanced learners showing up in these pages. We can learn a lot from you. Appreciate your contributions.
  25. 6 likes
    You could start by parsing the English: We are here to [1 and 2]. 1. [laugh at the odds] 2. [lives our lives so well that 3] 3. [death will tremble to take us] Try translating in phrases or "chunks" rather than word by word, and translate the corresponding meaning and semantic relations not just plotting in the Chinese equivalents to each English word. You completely skipped the meaning of "for the purpose of" or "in order to" expressed by the first "to" in the sentence. You also skipped over the relationship marked by "so ... that ..." that shows the extent of the adjective and the result of it being so. Like "I'm so full that I regret eating that fourth cheeseburger" can answer "how full are you?" and the part after "that" is part of how full you are. Also maybe it's a misunderstanding of the original sentence but "tremble to take us" should be understood as "tremble (in fear of/out of fear of) taking us", but you end up with something that's more like "shakily bring us along".
  26. 6 likes
    Inspired by some other recent threads, I made time during my most recent visa stamp run (must exit China every 60 days) to buy a new cooking knife at the famous Hong Kong Chan Chi Kee knife store 陳枝記刀莊。 Was staying in Wanchai 湾仔 after returning from a visit to Macau to see the Dragon Boat Races 赛龙舟。Took the Star Ferry across to Tsim Sha Tsui 尖沙嘴 in Kowloon 九龙。The ferry is efficient and inexpensive. Taxi from the ferry terminal 码头 to the knife store, on Shanghai Street, took about 10 minutes and cost 45 HKD. Address: 香港九龍上海街 316-318. Bought their Number 2 knife, a thin-edged slicer with wooden handle, for 320 HKD. It's suitable for cutting up vegetables and meat, but not for chopping through bones. Got back to my hotel room and unwrapped it for photo purposes, only to find that I had somehow dinged the leading corner of the blade. It's not clear from the photo, but the damage was on the sharp edge. Have no idea how it happened. I wasn't juggling lots of parcels or slinging it around carelessly. Had not dropped it or bumped it perceptibly. After lunch, I turned around and went right back. Rode the ferry across again; this time being easier because I knew the way. The man at the store swapped it for a new one, no questions asked. They were busy with other customers, and there was no chance to discuss it further or try to guess what had happened. He had earlier given me a short curb-side tutorial on how to sharpen it. Only 5 to 10 degrees of angle on a medium to fine whet-stone; making lots circles instead of changing sides too much. Sharpening the second side, he said, would only require a few strokes. The process didn't need to be symmetrical. I hope this blade does not prove too fragile. I definitely won't abuse it back in my Kunming kitchen, but I'm also unwilling to baby it. I like the fact that it is very, very sharp; should not take much effort to slice cleanly through tender things without tearing them up. The store was on a street with many other kitchen supply stores. I bought an instant-read thermometer which I will install ceremonially in a sleeve pocket on my white chef's smock along with a long tasting spoon (Only kidding; My kitchen has zero Michelin stars.) I've wrapped the knife very well, padding the entire edge with some styrofoam-type plastic that I found beside a trash bin on the street outside. It will travel back to Kunming in my checked suitcase, not in my carry-on, thank you very much. Will let you know how it works out. Relevant threads: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/53912-chinese-cleaver-cai-dao-桑刀-or-菜刀-–-carbon-or-stainless-steel/ https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/53947-hong-kong-residents-help-to-clarify-if-the-store-chan-chi-kee-陳枝記-still-exist/ https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/54134-show-your-cai-dao-wok-and-other-kitchen-equipment/
  27. 6 likes
    If you simultaneous ask for proof while also insulting people that have studied for a long time, why do you think you'll get helpful responses?
  28. 6 likes
    Get used to it... it's a web forum, not an academic journal. Besides, there's far from an academic consensus on the best way to learn a language. How would you even design a blind experiment to compare language learning strategies? It doesn't make any sense. Maybe it makes you feel better to think that your way of studying has a strong scientific basis. Ok, sure, knock yourself out. The reality is that no matter how you study, it will still take thousands of hours to learn everything. So it's more important to focus on keeping up your own motivation, and maybe making the journey a bit more enjoyable along the way. As to the topic at hand, I think the majority of people do use word list drilling, often exclusively, and the advice to drill sentences instead is a reaction to that, because exlclusively drilling single words leaves huge gaps in your language knowledge which drilling sentences can partly make up for. There's a place for both of them and which of the two is more worth your time is highly dependent on your level and what language competencies you're trying to focus on.
  29. 6 likes
    Explanation with regards to your CSC application. Just want to share it here. Hope it helps.
  30. 5 likes
    @igacave Totally same feeling here!!! I have been working so hard for a long time now (not to mention I graduated during this time...) just to collect money for this whole scholarship thing and now as there is no news at all...completely demotivated. I wish something happened already!
  31. 5 likes
    Hangzhou is a very nice place. I would love to help you get a job or find some other way to learn Chinese in China. HOWEVER Please don't do it. If the degree is not important to you, what is the point? Chinese universities are selective, Chinese students have to study hard to get here. You have no idea how competetive it is for them. Please don't ruin their attempts to make Chinese education more international. I have met too many international students who feel the same way you feel and I have to say it makes my experience at school worse than what it might have been if other international students did care about their studies. It is the people that make the place. Of course, it is not that bad, one student graduating this year with a master's (not China Studies but still Zhejiang) got accepted by Stanford (PhD). You should see if employment or improving your Chinese is more important to you. My suggestion is to find an entry-level position in China. Is this possible? What kind of experience do you have? Internships? Maybe try both Chinese and foreign companies in China. How about starting your own small business in China. Is China open for this?
  32. 5 likes
    @uchiha I emailed the Graduate School yesterday and got the following response. Apparently, the scholarship results should be out by next week! And the admissions materials not long after. Too optimistic? Dear Student,Thank you for your email.information concerning the registration, accommodation reservation etc., will be available in the Student Handbook on Study@SJTU website, as well as your admission packages. Please wait patiently, and check our website (http://isc.sjtu.edu.cn/EN/content.aspx?info_lb=280&flag=5 ) often.The scholarship result will be announced no later than the end of June.Also,the paper admission notice and other documents will be sent out in one to two weeks after the result announced.Please patiently wait and check your mailbox then.Sincerely,International Affairs OfficeGraduate School, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  33. 5 likes
    For those that have reached "advanced" (sorry, kind of arbitrary) levels of Chinese, what kind of maintenance do you do, what fall-off have you noticed if you don't study for months/years and what do you now focus on to study? My studying was always very very structured as I progressed in Chinese. In the beginning, I studied from NPCR textbooks and memorized tons of sentences/sentence patterns in addition to living with a Chinese native and having quite a few Chinese friends. I ended up having a huge difference between speaking/listening and reading/writing so much of my intermediate time was spent filling holes. I went through lists like a machine, 5000 most common Hanzi, HSK 1-6, and specific vocab lists (medical terminology, business Chinese, 100 common idioms, sports vocab, etc) in addition to having a lot of speaking/listening practice from my own efforts (podcasts, reading/writing practice, hanging out with Chinese people) and from necessity (living/working with natives). I took debate/public speaking classes in University in Chinese and that really helped cement and activate a lot of what I had memorized and it really pushed me toward a higher advanced level. I still read a ton in Chinese (most of my news I get from the Chinese New York Times) and keep up with my Chinese friends on social media in addition to sporadic weekly practice when I meet Chinese people. Now that I have reached a level where I feel comfortable in Chinese, I'm not sure where to go next or how much maintenance is needed. I'm terrified of losing what I have gained through the thousands of hours of hard work and the amazing experiences I have had through it all. I will be going to graduate school in America and won't have a ton of time to focus on Chinese (I always make time to clear my Anki queue/read my religious books in Chinese). I'm also not sure what else to study. Sure I could study the next 1000 characters, or go through a dictionary and start picking out unknown words but do you think that it is worth the time? What do you advanced learners do now? What kind goals do you have now? What can I do to continue to improve? Lots of questions in there, feel free to comment on any of them.
  34. 5 likes
    When you read about Pu'er tea in the news or in general-purpose reference articles, you usually find discussion of its compressed forms, such as cakes, blocks and so on, with little or no mention of these teas in their loose-leaf form. So I thought it might be fun to remedy that oversight and introduce you to loose-leaf Pu'er; it has lots to recommend it. The two main kinds of Pu'er tea from a flavor standpoint are the fully-fermented ripe 熟茶 ones and the un-fermented raw ones 生茶。Both types can be found compressed into cakes 饼茶,bricks 砖茶,bowls/bird's nests 沱茶 as well as a few other forms, such as balls 丸子 and even gourds or melons 瓜子。Here's a cake 饼 of ripe Pu'er 熟茶 from my tea cupboard. It's easy to see how dense it is. Similarly, this brick 砖 of raw Pu'er 生茶 shows the same tightly-compressed structure. Tea which is compact, like these, is easier to transport, especially if one were moving it hundreds of miles over rugged mountains along a narrow "tea-horse" trail, 茶马古道 from South Yunnan all the way to high Tibet. It's also easier to store for prolonged, controlled ageing. I didn't have much loose-leaf Pu'er on hand, so before being able to present this topic adequately, I needed to make a trip to the wholesale tea market for supplies. That is definitely no hardship, and I always welcome any excuse to go there. Just ride city bus #25 for 25 or 30 minutes, arriving where 二环北路 enters 金买小区。 Kunming is one of China's three main "tea capitals" or tea trading hubs, alongside Shanghai and Guangzhou. We have two main wholesale tea markets, one in the north and another in the south. I visit both, but prefer the north one mainly for ease of access. This market has between 500 and 1,000 tea stores clustered together in two blocks of medium-rise buildings on both sides of the street. Most stores there have a three-tier business model: most income derives from selling large lots of tea in bulk by freight or by mail. This tea goes to other smaller wholesaler distributors as well as to some large chain retailers. Some of their sales are direct, to regional retailers who visit every so often and carry their goods back to their shops in bulk and sell them there at a mark up, often packaging the tea nicely. And last of all, there are the small-scale walk-in buyers, such as me. We are only one step above beggars in the overall scheme of things, but Chinese hospitality prevails, and the merchants welcome us, sit us down and brew us cups and cups of their best tea. And what's more, they typically regale us with tales. That's the best part. Before long, they are flipping through photos on their phone that show them posing in front of huge ancient tea trees way back in semi-secret mountains. "When the rain cleared, we found ourselves just beside this one, which was 1,200 years old, and has been in the family since ..." The white elephants flanking the market gate above are a reference to the (diminishing) wild herds in the hills of Xishuangbanna, where lots of great Yunnan tea originates. One enters any one of several such gates, and winds around inside, where steep warrens of tea stores are stacked three-stories tall. Photo above right, shows "melon/gourd-pagoda tea," stacked as an entry-way decoration to one of the many shops. The large cartons of tea behind it are stacked everywhere. These shops seldom have a polished feel, and serve mainly as storage space for bulk tea. Some stores mainly sell Pu'er and some mainly sell red tea 滇红茶,while others specialize in Yunnan's green teas and others feature Yunnan's little-known white teas. Most, however, have some overlap. It's delightful to wander from one to another, tasting this and that. You can usually depend on these sellers to know the best way to brew these teas, absent any hokey showmanship or flourish. They are not "performing a tea ceremony" for unwary tourists in Beijing's scam alleys, but they are still using kung-fu methods and utensils. These shopkeepers are not playing games with tourists, they just want to let you share their appreciation of their wares and hopefully buy some at the end. But there is never any pressure. After visiting one store where I could not understand the heavy dialect of the boss man, I wandered around several other venues and eventually found a top-notch, mellow loose leaf ripe Pu'er 熟普洱散茶, bought 150 grams of it; and likewise settled on a bright and balanced raw loose leaf Pu'er 生普洱散茶,bought the same amount of it. These two large bags of tea are enough to last me several years unless I wind up giving some away (which often happens.) Cost was 230 Yuan together, and the seller threw in a handful of balls of red tea 滇红茶 to lure me back another time. And I probably will return; could not have been more pleased with these purchases and the overall experience. Thus equipped, I rode the bus back to my apartment. Looking forward to showing you how the shopping expedition worked out, but am afraid of loosing what's here already, so I'm going to post as is and then add to it. (Sometimes the forum software fails and the browser swallows it all without a trace. This can cause a grown man to cry, which is not a pretty sight.)
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    Some words I might have expected to see if you were translating for meaning rather than word-for-word: 是為了, 對, 並, 過, 到, 得, 走 or the like. I'm not going to give you a translation because I would rather you learn where the gaps in your knowledge are and fill them, not work backwards from a translation based on my interpretation of poetry. My intention was to give you an easier English sentence to translate. The problem is that you have several words that will be difficult to translate alone because they are vague and seem metaphorical. "The odds" of what, exactly? Presumably death "taking" us means us dying. Where is "here"? If you're interested in translation, you need context. You need to actually understand what you're trying to translate first. "For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can't readily accept the God formula, the big answers don't remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us." "We are here to" therefore seems to mean "our purpose for being alive". "Laugh at the odds" seems to mean "happily disregard risks". "Take us" then could be any permutation of "take us away", "kill us", "end our life" etc. If you would agree that it is a close enough interpretation of the original text, perhaps try translating: Our purpose for being alive is to laughingly disregard risks and live so well that death is afraid to take us away. P.S. "laugh at the odds" can not be literally translated without turning into absolute nonsense: 對機率笑 is meaningless. "Live our lives" 生活 does not take itself as an object, so you need to use 過我們的日子 or 過我們的生活. If you want to use 帶, you need a complement of direction: 帶我們(走) "take us (away)".
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    @ELIJAH Hi,.. i want to ask you, based on your experience, is the status on the website of CSC it is important? Thank you.
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    I first brewed the ripe Pu'er, since that's my favorite kind. I was particularly interested in seeing how it would stack up against the small amount of Royal Pu'er that I had on hand. Royal Pu'er is the way 宫廷 usually gets translated, although "imperial palace" or "imperial court" would work just as well. This is the highest grade of loose-leaf Pu'er, made exclusively from the tender tips (buds) 嫩芽 of the tea plant. No leaves at all, only young shoots. It's time consuming and difficult to pick, as you can well imagine. Most top-grade tea, Pu'er as well as other styles, uses the tip (bud) plus a couple of young leaves. The bud is the small center element. Pu'er can be ranked or graded according to how much leaf is included in the finished product. The coarser tea is less expensive. These are typically graded from 1 to 10. But above these 10 grades, are two "super grades" -- the first "super grade" being called 特级 and the very pinnacle is 宫廷 "Palace Grade." That's what I was putting up beside this new loose leaf Pu'er. Quite a challenge. Here's a look at it. And here it is beside some 宫廷。 Leaf size, or leaf vs. bud, does not tell the whole story. Smallest is not always best. However small does usually produce the smoothest, most mellow taste; but some experts say that it lacks depth, lacks the corners and rough edges that make Pu'er what it is, that give it character and charm. The loose leaf ripe Pu'er I bought yesterday was all 古树, ancient tree, and that's important too. These ancient trees have extraordinarily deep roots, and this batch came from a good factory in Menghai 孟海。I pressed the seller, wanting to know what mountain if possible, but she did not know. Said, however, that it was from 2015 and would continue to improve over the next few years. Brewed it up, kungfu style 功夫茶 in my trusty Jianshui teapot 建水紫掏茶壶。Color of the soup 汤 was bold and deep, like a great red wine. It had a full aroma, earthy without being musty. And the taste suggested forest trees and mushrooms, with a particularly smooth after taste 后感 in the back of the mouth and throat. It was easy to enjoy, and I could see myself sipping lots of it, especially of an evening after supper. It is said to have less caffeine than raw Pu'er,though of course it still has some. So, in short it was a winner. It had a little bit more "personality" than the Royal Pu'er, though both were excellent. Furthermore, this cost quite a bit less than its regal cousin. Here's what the brewed leaves looked like. It's alway important to examine these to get a fuller appreciation of how carefully the tea is made. You should not find stems and sticks and bits of woody trash. You should not find too many cut or broken leaves. My plan was to brew this ripe Pu'er yesterday, and them make some raw Pu'er and enjoy them side by side. That did not work out because once I tasted the fine ripe brew, I wanted to sip nothing else besides it, wanted to enjoy it to the max without any competition. I had a few quail tea eggs still in the fridge, recently discussed. https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/54342-quail-tea-eggs-鹌鹑茶叶蛋/ I broke those out along with some salted peanuts. Put on a bit of favorite music, got out a good book and sat back for a large dose of temporary heaven. This morning I got back on track and tried the raw Pu'er. Here's a look at this gloriously wild stuff. Raw Pu'er is usually something you either hate or love; difficult to be neutral and feel so-so about it. Compared here with the ripe loose leaf Pu'er. Used gongfu brewing 功夫泡发, as before, but went with a gaiwan 盖碗 instead of a teapot. My clay teapot is reserved for ripe Pu'er and I only have the one. Water temperature for raw Pu'er can be just a little less hot than for ripe Pu'er. These leaves also have more stamina than ripe Pu'er 耐泡. You can get 10 or 12 steeps from them, whereas the ripe Pu'er loose leaves give 5 or 6 before beginning to decline. Dry leaves nearly fill the gaiwan. Note the pale golden color of the liquor, what Chinese tea people call "the soup" 汤。And here's a look at the finished leaves, after being brewed. Both teas were absolutely delicious. This particular loose-leaf Pu'er was a 2016 from Lincang 临沧, also ancient tree 古树。Loose leaf tea is a little easier to brew; it's not as difficult to estimate the right amount of leaf to use, for one thing. For another, it begins to release its flavor faster when hit by the hot water. Sometimes a tightly-compressed Pu'er tea can be reluctant to open up; needs special coaxing; requires higher skill and technique 泡发。 In addition to shopping for tea, when I go to the wholesale tea market there is no way on earth to avoid spending some time browsing in the vast stores that sell teapots, tea cups and tea tools 茶具。I don't fight it, I plunge right in and usually wind up buying one or two "must have" items that I didn't even know I needed. I bought a couple of tea leaf storage jars, and lovingly fondled a white Yixing teapot which cost 4,800 Yuan. Some stores featured modern tea appliances, such as ways to heat the water for your brew. Others featured antiques, some had lots of tea brewing trays 茶盘 made from exotic woods. Most of these 茶具 stores also had a tea table where the boss's sister or somebody's 表妹 was making tea for guests. And, oddly enough, in most of these places, I did feel like a guest, not merely a customer. At one store I sat down to rest my feet and a lady poured me some of what everyone else was having. "Oh, That's delicious. What tea is it? I cannot place it.?" "Haha, it's our special brew. Helps when the weather is hot and dry 干燥。Here, let me show you." She took the top off the teapot and I looked in. Green plus colors. Then she handed me one big bag of loose leaf raw Pu'er and two smaller bags of dried flowers. One was rosebuds and the other was jasmine. I could not have picked out either of those scents because they were so subtle. The finished product did not taste particularly "flowery or herbal." Yet it had a friendly note that the camelia sinensis leaves alone did not possess. The nice lady also ran through some TCM benefits that I didn't fully understand. So today, at home I decided to see if I could reproduce it. Voila! Success! Nothing to it; I'll show you how. Sprinkle the flowers into the raw Pu'er tea, among the leaves, add hot water and steep a couple minutes. Refreshing and slightly less intense than the tea leaves all by themselves. Dried "brewing flowers" are available here in every tea store, plus in fruit/vegetable markets. I've seen them sometimes in supermarkets as well. So that's the story. You now know some about loose leaf Pu'er and you now know some about the Kunming wholesale tea market and you see how you can make unplanned discoveries while going about other business. China is pretty darned amazing!
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    It's great that your girlfriend is willing to do this! Having done this with my girlfriend, it is important to realize that she isn't a trained tutor (I assume). You'll need a lot of patience in both directions. If either of you get impatient, take a break and continue another day. Your relationship is more important than a few new Chinese words. Some methods that work well with tutors that aren't trained tutors: For review, you can write down words, phrases, and grammar patterns you want to practice on notecards. You can have that normal roaming conversation but regularly pull from the deck and insert it into the conversation you are having. If it doesn't fit, perhaps the direction fo your conversation can change to accommodate the word/grammar/phrase. I've found this keeps learning in the center and is also humorous if you put some strange words in your deck. Tell your girlfriend not to correct all of your mistakes. She should focus on 1) mistakes related to the things you are learning and 2) mistakes that greatly impede understanding. Similar to the above, you can have topics written down on note cards with several leading questions to direct the conversation. You can write the cards in English, but she should explain the topic and ask the questions in Chinese without you seeing the card. Move on to the next question when the conversation goes stale. Base your speaking session around something you recently watched. The first section is then to summarize what you have watched. You can prepare for this ahead of time by writing down keywords and studying them. Next, your girlfriend can ask you clarifying questions which will naturally point out where your Chinese was unclear. Take conscious note of this as it is happening. Native speakers will often do this for you without you realizing. Practicing be cognizant of this can go a long way towards your learning. Sometimes just focus on listening and pronunciation. You read a dialogue and have her correct your pronunciation. Or, have her read the dialogue bit by bit and you repeat what she says relying only on your listening ability. A tactic I have used with myself and my students. Tell a story or summarize a story in three minutes. Have your girlfriend correct some tidbit and grammar. Practice those bits. Repeat the same story with all the same content plus corrections in two minutes. Then do it again in one minute. It's a great way to focus on and improve fluency. When you're not with your girlfriend it is important that you listen to a lot of content. Listening comprehension is the first step to improving your speaking ability. If your textbook had audio recording for the dialogues, listen to them over and over. Listen to podcasts (see this thread https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/51989-a-short-list-of-resources-for-studying-chinese/) or watch kids shows like 喜羊羊. You could also practice the listening section of the HSK 3.
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    I was told by Tianjin University that the deadline of application for the first semester is on 15 June 2017, and 15 December 2017 for the second one. I was also told by Capital Normal University that the schools don't control their quota, Hanban does it. While another school told me that they won't pre-admit me because they already have pre-admitted many students so I may be rejected by Hanban at the end anyway. I think they have a general idea of how many students they can pre-admit but they don't know the exact number. In my opinion, if a school told us that they filled their quota it is a mere excuse to reject us. Make your own conclusions. From my experience they don't know it. Every teacher has a different point of view of the requirements. That's why it is very ambiguos and some people are pre-admitted while others in the same conditions are rejected by others schools. I also have to say that at the beggining they were more flexible to pre-admit candidates because their lack of information/experience but now many teachers are changing their minds and have a stricter criteria (not everyone though). And answering your other question, I know people who aren't Chinese Major or Chinese Teacher and they were pre-admitted for a one year scholarship. If you haven't received an updated of your application yet I suggest you to contact them, otherwise it will take forever. As I said before it is very random, and apparently it depends on what teacher reviews your application. Even two teachers in a same school can disagree. About, my application it was retrieved by Hanban automatically (I didn't ask for it). Since it moved from the forth to the first stage, does that mean that Hanban is giving me another chance to change the category? their comment was 请查看学校未录取的处理意见。 I summarize a few comments from my experience talking to schools: - There are some which want more Europeans at their school and they will pre-admit any European candidates who fulfill the HSK requiriments, no matter their major. - TCSOL B (one semester) is applicable as long as you are a registered CI (not HSK center) student AND intend to apply for BTCSOL. You don't need to be a Chinese Major Student or a in-service teacher for this. - Some schools pre-admitted non-chinese major students for TCSOL C (1 academic year) at first but they all were rejected by Hanban at the end. So they won't admit someone else with that profile anymore because it is "bad reputation" for them. - The second choice uni makes no use. If you were rejected by the first choice uni the second one will most likely do the same. Do you guys know anyone who was pre-admitted by the second uni? In conclusion: - Apparently, TCSOL B is a prep-bachelor degree while TCSOL C is a prep-master degree. - You should contact the school you want to apply for before submitting your application. - Being at the 4th stage isn't safe at all. Some teachers might be easy going letting you go forward but Hanban makes the final decision. - Chinese major or related is very important this year. Translation and Interpreting major is considered too for Literature, History and Philosophy. I might have forgotten to say something, but I think that's all for now!
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    Not as much as the people making the shoddy windows!
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    Success as defined in that post, within 5 years, is truly exceptional. To achieve that kind of outcome you would need to live and breathe Chinese all day every day for many years. The amount of people who can maintain that kind of discipline are incredibly rare. I consider myself the most common type of Chinese learner: someone who does it in their spare time. What I mean by this is that I've been studying it for around 4 years. I spend maybe 15-30 minutes practising Chinese 4-5 days a week (just a rough estimate. My practice is not at all consistent). I have never lived in a Chinese speaking country. I can read Chinese novels without a dictionary. I can also read newspapers, albeit much more slowly, without a dictionary. I can communicate most things in written Chinese, albeit with large amounts of grammar mistakes and with a non-idiomatic expression. My listening and speaking abilities are poor. I can carry on basic conversations with a sympathetic and patient speaker (most of my longest conversations have been with Chinese people on trains while holidaying in China). But often while speaking I am at a loss for words or cannot formulate what I want to say quick enough to have a free flowing conversation. I can understand a lot of Chinese here on the streets (in Australia) when say waiting at the traffic lights or in the supermarket. I can watch TV dramas or movies with subtitles (in Chinese). Without subtitles I get lost very quickly. I can't follow Chinese people having group conversations. I still have lots of trouble with non-educated/non-standard Chinese people's accents when they talk about even the most basic topics. Chinese TV news is largely incomprehensible to me. To get to this level I have probably spent around 500-1000 hours over 4 years. Accordingly to the foreign service institute thing, you need spend 2200 hours, with time in country, to get a fluent level of Chinese. That's around 1-2 hours every single day without exception for 5 years. As above, most people cannot do that. edit: Japanese apparently takes even longer than Chinese. So if you cannot handle Chinese stay away from it (and Korean and Arabic)
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    Since there aren't many podcasts with a full transcript, and even less that are suitable for lower proficiency levels, this series from Ximalaya.com seems to tick several boxes, "5' Psychology"《5分钟心理学》 It's a series of short talks on popular psychology-related topics. The list of programs is 3 pages long, with many different topics, plenty to choose from. The full transcript is posted on the page, ready to copy and save, or paste on CTA (Chinese Text Analyser), or Pleco or Chinese Text Reader from the mobile App. There is a piano playing in the background and it takes some getting used to, but there are no gongs or whistles, and the readings are clear though fast (normal speed, but easy to follow with the transcript) The language is rather simple and direct, it uses everyday words and expressions, not just easy but very useful to learn, The kind of audio material that would make good class material. A couple of checks for statistics with CTA gave close to 30% at HSK1 level, at a guess HSK3 and up would be able to follow most of these talks. In the mobile App the talks can be downloaded for offline listening.
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    I'm looking forward to reading your "Just got my HSK 6 results" post in one year. I'll be the first to sincerely congratulate you with a present, like your favorite beer or cake. Until then, enjoy burning through whatever goodwill you are being afforded. "That's part of the process, kiddo." Doing one thing, learning a bunch, doing another thing, screwing up, realising that you could have spent your time better and sharing that 后悔 post and so on and so forth... That is part of the process. I would pay good money for a 1000 page book filled with people's language learning mistakes and regrets... Fortunately, I have Chinese-Forums.
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    First, I don't understand why anyone suggested the OP was wrong for trying to understand how the sentence works grammatically. To what extent those grammatical workings need to be captured in any final translation is of course another matter. Second, I think the OP is right to ask how the translation "shall I teach you what knowledge is" is arrived at. This will be a combination of vocabulary, grammar and context. Or a translator taking liberties/getting it wrong. Third, the OP cannot see how the (i) original Chinese 誨女知之乎 , (ii) the translated version shall I teach you what knowledge is, and (iii) Classical Chinese as he currently understands it to operate can all tally. I'm not sure anyone has solved that for him yet. Why not try following translations from other people who generally parse the sentence differently, as basically "know + this" = 知之 ...where 之 refers to: 誨女 and the 乎 is either a 'question mark' or an 'exclamation mark'. So: If you translate 知 as know/remember/keep in mind/understand And 之 as referring to 誨女 And 誨女 as what I'm teaching you i.e. what I'm about to teach you With 乎 as 'exclamation mark' Then it's natural to translate the sentence as; Understand what I'm about to teach you! Remark well what I'm about to teach you! Pay close attention to what I'm teaching you! Keep in mind what I'm going to teach you! Or if you take 乎 as 'question mark' then: Do you know what I have been teaching you? Do you understand what I've taught you? The commentaries direct to Xunzi 29: Part of the relevant passage begins: 孔子曰:「由志之!吾語汝 = Confucius said, “Zilu, pay attention to this. I tell you: ... followed soon by: 故君子知之曰知之,不知曰不知,言之要也 = when a gentleman knows something, he says he knows it, and when he does not know something, he says he does not know it—this is the key point in speaking I don't know enough yet about the Confucius material in the Xunzi but of course it came after the Analects, and the writer would have been aware of the text of the Analects, therefore it's reasonable to consider taking the text of the Xunzi to be based on what its writer understood by the text of Analects 2.17. That is, he's writing about the same 'event' as the Analects. And he starts with: "Zilu, pay attention to this" 由志之.
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    Very bizarre comparisons. I think it's more like a pilot who completes all necessary tasks in a safe manner but happens to have body odour. Or a surgeon who saves people's lives but is an asshole. We already know from the great case study that is life, that foreign-accented English is not the same thing as non-proficient English. I have very little trouble adjusting to understand Scott's accent, so let's give credit where credit is due instead of being ridiculous. What he achieved in a non-classroom environment in 3 years is already better than half the people who graduated a four-year degree program in Chinese language and culture at our local "world-class university", so he certainly did SOMETHING right. Edit: Full disclosure I graduated from that program and I have impeccably "Standard" Chinese but I was one of very very very very very few.
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    got sick of waiting and emailed my supervisor Thanks a lot for your enquiry. I am told that CSC notice has not come out yet. Jiaoda admission office will announce the scholarship at the same time with the CSC. And the admission office has noticed those who failed in advance. Just be patient! Good luck! With Best Regards, Basically anyone with the status "under review" will probably get a scholarship since they rejected those who failed already.
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    I've been living in Hangzhou for the past year for 2500 yuan a month on Confucius Institute Scholarship. I don't eat in the school cafeteria because the food is too greasy, I usually eat outside the campus. Public transportation, which I use a lot, is more expensive here than in Shanghai. I pay for water and electricity in my dorm (no more than 100 per month). I still manage to travel somewhere once a month, I even went outside the country using the money I saved from that 2500 yuan, I got plane ticket home, hell, I even got a tattoo. In my humble opinion, 3500 yuan is more than enough.
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    There's nothing to say really xd I went to Shanghai for the weekend to check out the campus. For those who haven't been to Shanghai yet: Minhang campus is located 30km away from the city center, it is easily reached by subway (I love Shanghai subway, you can ride the whole town for just 5 yuan!). Campus itself is huge and spacious it has a lake, parks, tennis courts, stadium, usual stuff. There's plenty of shops around and a shopping center (there's a Saizeriya there, thankfully lol). Still, it's so far from the actual city, the nightlife must be... dead xd
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    @Alex_Hart, @abcdefg, the tea gods of these forums. Story has it that if you place an empty mug at an altar below their portraits, it will be filled with tea leaves in the morning. Altars are best placed in the shade of a tea tree along with offerings of fresh spring water. I love reading all the both of you have to say about tea.
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    I honestly don't think anybody actually understands how grammar in their native tongue works, besides the basics, unless they take linguistics classes. Although I learned basic grammar stuff in primary school, and never had issues identifying verbs and nouns and adjectives and so on, I didn't really learn grammar until I took German. I think you also have to factor in that I was learning German as a teenager, versus learning English & Chinese as a child. So I never properly learned English or Chinese grammar the way a non-native speaker would (even though Chinese is not my native language). This means that while my English language is fluent, the oddities in my Chinese language acquisition meant that I had internalized certain language rules for Chinese, while sounding oddly like an English speaker trying to write Chinese for other rules. It was really, really weird for me in terms of Chinese. When I learned German, I was an older learner, and after the first couple years of bare basic sentence structures (No, no, it is ich bin gegangen, not ich habe gegangen etc), my German teacher (who had a linguistics background) taught us verb phrases and noun phrases, and how to parse sentences, and that was a huge revelation for me in terms of learning grammar. I actually used it in my later study of Chinese. It did make for exceedingly time consuming reading and writing though. Most people I know with strong grammar (and this is just anecdotal) speak more than one language. I hypothesize that this is because learning the grammar of your native tongue is not something people do to learn it, but rather, they learn it after the fact, so it's more like finding rules that apply to what you already know, whereas older people learning a foreign language tend to need the grammar rules a little bit like a crutch to break down the language structure so they can piece the structure back together again in a comprehensible manner.