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Showing content with the highest reputation since 05/16/2018 in Blog Comments

  1. 8 points
    I feel good. My general reading ability has improved. Compared with a couple years ago—when I started with Chinese literature—I read faster and refer to dictionaries less than before. I understand more of what I read and can engage with literary works critically (e.g., get a feel for differences in style and tone, assess their merits and weaknesses, etc.). I am starting to enjoy Chinese literature as literature, rather than as a series of difficult foreign texts. This is very satisfying and rewarding, and was in fact my primary goal. Reading millions of characters in a non-native language is a useful motivational frame, but of secondary importance. I am also more confident that I will read very difficult Chinese literature that not-to-long-ago seemed far beyond my abilities. I want to (eventually) read works like 《倾城之恋》, 《狂人日记》, and 《红楼梦》. I believe that someday I can and will. Many years ago, I read David Foster Wallace’s magnum opus Infinite Jest. Working through and completing this massive work was a formative experience in my twenties; it made me think about and appreciate our world differently, and in (I hope) a fuller and more nuanced and empathetic and emotionally available way. Reading a million characters of mostly beautifully written Chinese feels kinda like that. Life is precious and short and brutal and lovely and much more. At their best, literature and the arts capture and represent these aspects of life in ways that more mundane day-to-day experience often hides or obscures. Our world is vast and complex. Artists in different cultures get a handle on this vastness and complexity differently. This difference is really what I’m after, and it’s why I read in Chinese.
  2. 4 points
    Yeah, those kind of inadvertent assumptions are really encouraging. I was settling up at the till in a Chinese restaurant once, asked for our bill, paid it, and was getting the change when the girl looked up for the first time, only to give a little yelp when she realised she'd been talking to a foreigner. Little things, but nice.
  3. 4 points
  4. 3 points
    This should be 明明. I know you're thinking that second squiggle doesn't look anything like 明 and you're right. That squiggle means 'duplicate of the previous character'.
  5. 3 points
    Actually, it's very Chinese to try and puncture a friend's small balloon of happiness like that.
  6. 3 points
    What an inspiration! I'm encouraged to move off of graded readers and read more legitimate Chinese novels this year.
  7. 3 points
    I have only done one Masters; came in with some background knowledge. Others on the course were very fresh so it’s normal to see a big variation in the baseline levels of the students. Don’t let it get to you. 加油!
  8. 3 points
    Welcome back, @js6426! How much would you say your Chinese has improved over the last year and a half of school? Have you started reading Chinese literature?
  9. 3 points
    I'm not familiar with 蕭紅, but I've read a fair amount of 魯迅, therefore not surprised by the style. It was 1935. 白話文 or written vernacular Chinese was far from mature. There's a lot of experiments going on. Sometimes a writer would even deliberately pursue a 'translationese' style.
  10. 3 points
    It's to discourage "squatters", who may choose to balance precariously with their feet on the toilet rim.
  11. 3 points
  12. 2 points
    A wife doesn’t have the same enthusiasm and patience to help teach as a girlfriend does...?
  13. 2 points
    I agree, there is little value in asking you to make a sentence with a noun, or proper noun, like “North Korea”. Because a lazy student can always just say “I like X.” But that is poor quality teaching. The teacher is thinking, “I’ve got this tool which I can always rely on which is to ask them to make a sentence with the new word.” A better teacher would have a good idea of the kind of sentence they want you to make already and choose word(s) to direct you towards that. So, better sentence generation tasks would be: 1. Use 朝鲜 and 想 to 造句子. Here the teacher wants you to make the simple sentence 我想去朝鲜. 2. Use 朝鲜 and 觉得 to 造句子. This is asking you to use the newly learnt word to express an opinion. This should remove the difficulty with the ‘making a sentence’ activity which is usually: “where do I even begin?” 3. Use 朝鲜 and 往返票 to 造句子. This is now getting more difficult. The student should easily be able to come up with a sentence in English like: “I want to buy a return ticket to North Korea.” But will then have to think carefully and sentence structure and ordering. As Weyland says, simply memorising semantic pairs is only going to get you so far. The job of the teacher is to help you integrate new vocabulary into existing schemes by carefully thinking about the sentences they want you to make. So, in conclusion, I have sympathy for your position, but I don’t think we should give up on the “making a sentence” activity just yet.
  14. 2 points
    I will grant you in my experience small group Hanyu classes are rarely inspiring or challenging in creative ways. The difficult factor usually lies in the pacing or quantity, which can be unproductive imo. That being said, your language learning is always up to you. The impotus is on you to make it meaningful. This is even more so knowing that this teacher had no history with you and could not have known your individual needs/wants. When I was given the 'make a sentence out iof every word' homework, I turned those into a story that happened to me, a dream sequence, a creative writing challenge, or even a survey to ask friends, colleagues, strangers, etc. No, it's not always easy to combine the random HSK vocabulary into one cohesive 文本, but in the end it's your learning, and you need to take control of it.
  15. 2 points
    Train what you want to learn
  16. 2 points
    So true. This is essentially what got me into Chinese in the first place. On my first trip to China in 2000, I couldn't understand any Chinese. But just from walking around Beijing and paying attention to road signs, I learned characters such as 东,南,西,北,中 and 路. I was curious as to how characters could be put together to make a sentence, so I purchased a Chinese grammar book when I returned to the UK, not having any particular intention of learning Chinese, but just to satisfy my intellectual curiosity. One thing leads to another, and...
  17. 2 points
    We use 汉语高级写作教程 -
  18. 2 points
    We don't have a book for 近义词,it's just words as they come up in our 综合书。For history we are using
  19. 2 points
    Interesting write-up, thank you. Would you mind sharing which history and 近义词 books you use in class?
  20. 2 points
  21. 2 points
    漂流, I guess, rafting.
  22. 2 points
    I feel personally attacked.
  23. 2 points
    They serve two types of chicken - full form and simplified!
  24. 2 points
    It’s funny how that kind of thing is just so completely “foreign” (for want of a better word) to many western countries. I remember reading about a Chinese guide who worked in the U.K. temporarily. He had to accompany some elderly folk on a tour and said it was a nightmare because everything he said to try be polite made them unhappy. Things like wear more clothes, sit and have a rest for a bit, etc
  25. 2 points
    yes, it really was because I wanted to take on the challenge. I always wondered whether interpreters really were superhuman, whether the job really was as amazing as it looks. And, well, the skill itself really is. Unfortunately the money in the industry is not what it appears to have once been like. The translation industry was hit hard by post-2008 cost-cutting and then machine-assisted translation has kept that cost (and quality) low. Interpreting is more resilient to this at least, but its certainly not as 'glamourous' as it might perhaps once have been. As a small aside, I also chose this MA because I told my dad I was going to read interpreting at Bath ('his uni' as it were) just before he passed away a few years ago. I knew I probably wasn't going to be the best, but I stuck at it cos you know what your old man would say if you didnt haha
  26. 2 points
    I turned 30 at the end of last year, and im one of the older ones. There are about 4-5 of us late 20s early 30s, one is late 30s, the rest are early-mid 20s (around 15-20 students). I would guess that the age of starting English correlates with the age starting this course. From what Ive seen, the ones that are 21 started English with private tutoring from a young age. The majority are typical in starting English at 初中, then consistently working really hard for about 10 years to reach this level.
  27. 2 points
    This was actually why this area has been such a massive stumbling block for me. I really felt like it was reinventing the wheel. In my post from January this year I mentioned one of my year goals was to get proficient in Pitman shorthand. I actually dedicated a LOT of time to this system in the first term of the course, as I really believed if I could take down an entire speech, then I was safe. I actually got not bad at it after about three months of practice, but something very obvious was happening: I was looking at my notes and doing sight interpreting, which was far, far worse structurally than those who were using symbol systems. If youve ever tried sight interpreting (somebody gives you the full speech or essay, and you translate it orally as you read), you'll know its a different skill entirely, and perhaps the most difficult of all. It requires you to transform every detail from written style to oral style, flipping all the grammar and dealing with issues like terminology/characters youve never come across and cant let go of psychologically. Very difficult. A shorthand system where you transcribe sound but not meaning (ie all english shorthands) is a massive trap, as its even further away from the whole idea of 'skopos theory'. There are vaguely established symbol systems that many interpreters share, like the symbol for 國 as shown above. But ultimately, its about finding the quickest routes through your own brain, and factoring in the different specialisms that different interpreters work in, having your own system really is the only way unfortunately.
  28. 2 points
    I couldn't, but Wu Song could. I don't doubt it for a second. He'd livestream it, too. Don't forget that he was already falling-down drunk when he fought the tiger. He would absolutely still do fine while immersed in a mobile phone.
  29. 2 points
    Actually, I'll have you know that I took it with my 35mm camera, scanned it onto my computer and then...ok, you got me 😀. I'm pretty good when it comes to not wasting time on my phone (the kind of "wasting time" you regret afterwards, not the John Lennon "wasting time doing something you love isn't time wasted" type).It's almost always on silent and normally sits unnoticed on the table by the door when I'm at home, which can admittedly cause problems with Chinese acquaintances (how tend to assume you're dead and go into panic mode if you don't reply within a couple of hours). News and Youtube (using my laptop) has traditionally been my poison (the former has been largely dealt with, but the later is still an issue...)
  30. 2 points
    I think the E-C accent issue is a really interesting one, because I often find as a native English speaker I get really hung up on accents I cant fully understand, whereas a non-native speaker is used to that feeling of not getting everything 100% and so I think psychologically is less affected. The same is perhaps not true of C-E accents, as these are almost solely limited to regional Chinese accents, and no international conference speakers are using Chinese as the lingua franca (yet...?) The errors you noticed in C-E almost certainly were there too in E-C, as the whole process of simultaneous interpreting is like google translate - the interpreter can only work sentence by sentence because of time constraints, and so sometimes miss the bigger picture and underlying threads of an argument. I myself can't even process a whole sentence, Im still working clause by clause, otherwise I just cant keep up! My exams are over now, and its dissertation writing time. Being back in the UK and having access to a lot of Cantonese speakers (as well as Mandarin), I'm toying with the idea of finally taking a punt at getting some cantonese under my belt...
  31. 2 points
    I'm not sure all the reasons why, but low-paid, menial jobs like "all purpose restaurant worker" usually prefer female applicants in China. One sees similar "help wanted" signs for entry-level hotel staff and retail shop assistants 售货员。I'm told that factory assembly line workers are also most often female here in China. It probably has to do with gender equality, or lack thereof.
  32. 2 points
    I'm imagining a "new new" HSK where they lock you in a room and you have to decipher one of these instruction manuals under a time limit...
  33. 2 points
    I know how much everyone has been dying to know how the manhole reconstruction near my apartment has been progressing, so here's an update. They removed the old sofa once the cement had set, but it started cracking almost immediately. It has been re-done again, and now a another sofa has been put in place (as well as a couple of chairs for the manhole a bit further back). I really can't imagine where all this old furniture keeps coming from...
  34. 2 points
    When in the Mainland, look for opportunities to use transactional Chinese: -- Head around to several banks and try to open an account. Then go back for help when you can't get online banking or WeChat to work. -- Stop in at various mobile shops and learn about their current SIM card offers; you'll get different offers from different branches even in the same city. -- Line up at a train station ticket window and try to work out your trip to Urumqi and back, with various stops along the way. Have brief conversations with impatient travellers waiting behind you. -- Visit collectibles malls and talk to stamp dealers and the like about what they have to offer. Often these are retired folk with plenty of time to talk about their field. -- Lose your Metro ticket and negotiate how to get out of the system.
  35. 2 points
  36. 2 points
    No doubt at some stubborn relic of feudal superstition 😡 ETA beside a cemetery I presume?
  37. 2 points
    Haha, very droll.
  38. 2 points
    Wow, must date back to before the invention of shredders.
  39. 2 points
    All my Chinese friends are aware of "Chinglish" and use the word like that, not in a Chinese translation. I think it kind of transcends the border between the Chinese-speaking world and the English-speaking world.
  40. 2 points
    You have a keen eye! These airport machines now all have a safety feature like this one that has to be followed before one can dispense very hot (scalding) water. Must press an "unlock" button and quickly follow that by pressing and holding the hot water button. Lots of these machines not only dispense very hot water (for making instant cup noodles 泡面 or for brewing tea) but they also have a 温水 button for warm water. This is the one people use for refilling their personal 茶杯 (chabei.) Odd how people seldom leave home without it, especially here in Kunming. The one I clipped at random here is a popular model featuring 双层 or double walls -- it holds the heat longer. As you know, people here seldom drink cold water. Don't think I've ever seen a chilled water dispenser like the ones public places often have in the south of the US.
  41. 2 points
    Thank you! I would say my Chinese has improved drastically. That's not to say my Chinese is any good yet, but it has certainly gotten better. When I get discouraged at how difficult it is, or at my lack of understanding, struggles with grammar etc., what always encourages me is looking back at where I was compared to where I am now. I haven't started reading Chinese literature yet. I believe we start with native material at some point in 3rd year. The most advanced I have gone by myself is reading a book for young people. It was doable, but still quite challenging. I was actually sometimes able to get through a page or two without coming across a character I didn't recognize (although of course some pages would then have a ton that I didn't know), but what slowed me down was not knowing what words meant, even though I could read the character.
  42. 2 points
    Because traditionally Chinese writers write on 稿紙 and are paid by the number of pages/lines. There's an anecdote from early 20th century in which a publisher insisted on paying by the exact character count. To teach them a lesson, a writer (I forget who) submitted his manuscript without punctuation or whitespace. The publisher caved.
  43. 2 points
    Last year I read 丁玲’s novella《沙菲女士的日记》. It made quite an impression, so I was up to read more from her. Recently, I read an English-language article about 丁玲. The article mentioned two pieces 丁玲 wrote at Yan’an that led to her getting denounced by Mao and the party leadership. Those two pieces are《三八节有感》and《我在霞村的时候》.
  44. 2 points
    Here's a link to that article, if anyone wants to read it. Best of luck with this effort and I look forward to your inexorable progress!
  45. 2 points
  46. 2 points
    Today was the last post op exam and I have been given the all clear. So its full steam ahead. It was really nice to read without straining but the biggest difference was my writing, it was neat, small and what I had been striving for. When I say small I mean it fits between the lines and characters made of two halves or more parts look like they are one character instead of two or 3 bits floating around near each other. It has all become a joy again.
  47. 2 points
    杯葛 A Cantonese-speaking friend once used this word in a chat, and since it's not a commonly used word on the mainland, she immediately asked me if I understood. I said "Of course, boycott mah." (In fact, in this specific case, it means 'to ostracize'.) And she was like, "Wow, I didn't know it's a loanword!" On the face of it 杯葛 looks like there might be some ancient Chinese 典故 involved. And it's hard to connect it with 'boycott' if you don't know the Cantonese pronunciation 'bui1 got3'.
  48. 2 points
    Not so neat if you check the etymology of the English word 'typhoon'.
  49. 2 points
    Through hills and lakes always be kind wherever you travel keep civilisation in mind
  50. 2 points
    I think it will be Yi (彝族), given Xichang is in their Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yi_script
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