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

  1. 15 points
    As promised, here is the second installment of my blog following the second term of teaching in a one year Masters program in interpreting and translation at Bath University in the UK. The structure and content of teaching in the second term has been very different to the first term, so if you are interested in comparing, please take a look at my first blog entry. The second term put A LOT more emphasis on live interpreting practice, pressure has been a lot higher, and the requirements for specialized vocabulary has been noticeably greater than the first term. I will break down the different classes over a few blog entries, in the hope its more palatable for reading. I will assess my own performance vs my Chinese classmates, as well as reflect on Chinese-English interpreting from a native English speakers perspective whenever it might be useful. Firstly I’ll start with Simultaneous Interpreting. Simultaneous Interpreting and using Glossaries So, our SI (Simultaneous Interpreting) class has been every Monday at 11:15. The course works both directions C-E and E-C, and we have alternated direction from week to week. We mostly work inside professional interpreting booths for the first hour, doing live interpreting of videos that vary from 10 mins in length to half an hour using headphones and microphones that record live. The second hour is largely dedicated to feedback and guidance for improvement. We are told the broad topic of the class via email around Thursday the week before, for example, “next weeks SI will be on ‘fracking’” and that’s it. We are then expected to prepare a glossary of specialized terms, usually that can fit on one A4 page, which we can then bring to class and place next to our microphones as we interpret, for reference. The point of this is not to actually collect huge lists of words (although this inevitably happens), but rather, read widely and educate ourselves on different subjects in both English and Chinese, as well as learn how to ‘prep’ for real life interpreting jobs. Many students seemed to have no issue with this set up, as many already have rich active vocabularies and encyclopedic knowledge. (side note: Seriously, I have never met such widely read people in my life. And that really goes for every single one of my classmates; they can talk through macro and microeconomics with ease, go to a doctors ward and discuss the treatment regimen for obscure diseases, explain in depth how neural networking is changing media reporting; all in both Chinese AND English. Quite amazing and very motivating for study). One downside of this set up for me has been that I have spent almost all my free time building glossaries and learning vocabulary, whereas my classmates have had time to practice the actual skill of interpreting in out-of-class hours. That being said, if I had known this before starting the course I probably would have been scared away and never even started. It is an inevitability for many of us coming from a background of only starting learning Chinese at university, there is simply not enough time to consolidate the vast amounts of knowledge required for professional level interpreting. Getting back on topic: everyone seemed to have their own method to putting together specialized glossaries, for SI classes some even came with entire prepared folders with concise glossaries on pretty much every entry to an encyclopedia (I later learnt that in some cases these glossaries had already been used for many years and were very familiar to their users). I have spent the better part of every week this year picking out key terminology for Monday’s SI class (and Thursday’s Consecutive Interpreting class), that is, terms that would require thinking time over and above the constraints of simultaneous interpreting. The reaction time to a speaker usually needs to be kept within 2 seconds; if terminology comes up that is not in your active vocabulary, it will almost certainly stretch you to around 5-10 seconds before you get it out in the target language, by which time the entire thread of the speakers argument has been missed. Evidently, glossaries are incredibly important to successful simultaneous interpreting. In almost all cases I short-term memorised every item on each glossary; heres a look at my anki: Vocabulary requirements In the last 3 months alone I have accumulated 1610 specialised vocabulary terms in my anki. This in fact EXCLUDES my cards from Supermemo (another well-know srs system which I both love and hate at the same time) which has another 2733 cards added since early March (see attached images). I use Supermemo for reading, so many of these cards aren’t vocabulary items, but clozed passages from Wikipedia/academic articles. Nonetheless, the mental strain for getting up to the standard required for SI is frankly unhealthy: it is simply not doable in the time frame that the course allows. Many of my classmates have already taken courses in interpreting prior to this course, and so managed to keep up with the pace, but lets just say there were tears in class from some a number of times. Left: Anki deck specifically for interpreting glossaries. Right: excel files for glossaries Regarding the workload and how I coped. I estimate (stressing estimate, based on a pleco deck I have added to over the last five years to track my vocab progress) my passive vocabulary is now around 15-20,000, but active is to be honest probably only around 10-15,000 (again, hard to really know). Which is certainly not good enough to do professional interpreting with. For anyone considering doing a course like this, you should know that you are aiming for ‘near-native’ level size of active vocabulary, what I have been working with seemed like an impressive vocabulary size when I started the course, but now it seems laughable. Some of my classmates are far better read than me in English, 30k+ I reckon. a deck I have added any word I think 'useful' to over the years. I review these words in anki. an example of what my supermemo decks for reading Chinese/English articles looks like. As you can see, the requirements for vocabulary appear very scary. That being said, to someone that has learnt Chinese or English seriously for 10+ years, this is quite reasonable and achievable. I first went to China in 2008, and didn’t properly start learning until 2013/14, so I still have many years to go! I’m sure some of the longer-standing members of these forums must be nodding with a wry smile right now - been there done that! That’s it for now, next entry I’ll go through my thoughts on the CI class. Sorry if this is a bit of a ramble, very hard to try and structure all that has happened over the last few months.
  2. 14 points
    Here is the first installment of my blog on doing a Masters course in Translation and Interpretation (Chinese) at Bath University in the UK. Seeing as it is reading week, I've found I finally have time to do an update on how things are going, I guess I will probably do the next update when we break up for Christmas in December. There's really no time to do anything else except study and class prep in normal term time. Well I've been on the course for six weeks now, and it has been as intense as expected. Despite being at a UK university, I am the only westerner on the course, with 23 students, mainly mainland, but also a few Taiwanese and HK too. There is actually a Taiwanese American student who has taken English as his mother tongue (with all due right), but having been bilingual and living in Taiwan for the last 20 or so years, I feel like we're not really in the same boat. I am clearly bottom of the class in terms of relative language ability, as expected. Being surrounded by people who have studied English for decades, my 5/6 years of Mandarin stands out as particularly bad. I am so used to speaking Chinese colloquially, I am frequently lost for words when asked to interpret English speeches into Chinese using the right register. Anyway, onto the course content. All parts of the course have a two hour class slot that meets once a week: Simultaneous interpreting: we have a dedicated lab with fully equiped professional booths that all face into a bigger room with a conference table in the middle. The set up accurately mimics a real simultaneous interpreting situation, and the tech available is fantastic. Classes are very active, with every student having a chance to practice every class at least twice (practicing skills taught by the teacher in the lesson). I was placed on an internship at a UN week-long environmental protection meeting two weeks ago in London, to get in some valuable practice time. We used the real booths used by the pros for a week (with our mics switched off of course). We did shadowing and interpreting (almost exclusively from English into Chinese) for around 8 hours a day for a week. After this week something clicked in my brain, and now I can keep up with my peers in this class now. Not only that, but my professional Chinese has improved a lot as a result of the E-C direction. I have also discovered that in many cases working from English into Chinese is more often than not EASIER than Chinese to English. Why? I personally feel like the sparsity of phrases 'like' 成語 in English, plus the terseness of professional Chinese means you've always got enough time to think and interpret. Chinese to English is so much harder than I expected, to put it lightly. For example, 授人以魚不如授人以漁 was said in a speech during class a few weeks ago; not only had I not heard the phrase before, but I had no time to guess the meaning (多音字嘛 I thought the person had said the same thing twice by a mistake...), and by the time it was already too late the interpreting student had already interpreted it into "better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish". I mean, that makes more sense than what I was able to offer (which was just silence). So, simultaneous as a skill, I can do. But the sheer amount of knowledge you need at your fingertips is insane, and I am still far from being at a professional level yet. Consecutive interpreting: This class is largely centred around memory skills and note taking. Most of my peers have already studied interpreting in some form or another before starting this course, and many are already able to acurately remember speeches of five or more minutes long using some quite fantastic symbol-based systems. The teacher does not teach us a system, but rather teaches us how to build our own personal system effectively. I have found that using English keywords and acronyms has helped a lot, but really don't get too much of a kick out of arrows going everywhere and houses with dollar signs on them etc. As a little side hobby, I've taken up learning Pitman shorthand (new era) mainly for fun, but also with the hope that /some/ of it may come in handy with consec. note taking at some point in the future. This class is by far the hardest, and the teacher seems to enjoy choosing incredibly difficult speeches from people with non-standard accents. Very difficult, very embarassing for me, as most students have no issues in this class. What can you do when you didn't understand, or have forgotten what was said, and have no way to ask the speaker to repeat/clarify? This class makes me so nervous. Liaison interpreting: We have a mock conference/meeting every friday and are expected to prepare for it in the preceding week. The class is split into two groups: Chinese side, English side, and interpreters. The two sides discuss a topic for 2-3 hours whilst the interpreters take it in turns to sit one-by-one in between the two groups and act as a liaison interpreter. The pressure is noticeable, as the whole course is there watching you, and everyone is able to discern how good or bad your interpreting ability is (unlike when you're in the sim. interpreting booths, secluded and safe). Again, note taking is a skill that many of the students here employ. I would say to any westerner thinking about taking on a course like this, aside from having a very, very strong and well-rounded ability in Chinese, you should almost certainly also be practicing note-taking on speeches both in English and Chinese BEFORE starting a course (evidently with Chinese students in particular it would seem). I regret being under the impression I was going to learn note taking skills ON this course; I now know this of course is not the case, as pretty much everyone is already able to do this. Translation: We have both 'Chinese to English' and 'English to Chinese' classes. This needs no real explanation, its pretty much exactly what you would expect: teacher teaches theory, sets translation piece for homework, you translate it, get feedback, rinse and repeat. C-E very relaxing, the teacher seems to enjoy literary translation (lately lots of 紅樓夢 talk), E-C also ok but a much slower translation process for me. The translation process is private, however, so there's no real embarrassment to be had on this part of the course (so far...) All in all? I am loving the course, my classmates are fantastic people, very intelligent, hard working, inclusive, not 'immaturely' competitive if you understand what I mean, and importantly, very supportive as a community. Nobody treats me like a foreigner at all, I'm just another student. In that respect, theres not much leeway given, and as a result I feel like I'm ALWAYS being pushed to get up to their standard rather than being forgiven for being a 'foreigner'. Teaching is top notch, facilities are fantastic. And the fact that the course DOES have English-Chinese direction (as well as C-E) is a massive bonus if you ask me. My Chinese has improved rapidly, I can now read news probably 2-3 times faster than when I started the course. Why? Because I now read (mostly outloud, under my breath) for about 4-5 hours a day (as opposed to about 1 hour before the course). As you may be able to tell, I now live, breath and sleep in a world of studying speeches. I would not recommend this course for anyone who 'wants a life'. I feel obliged to say "sorry for the wall of text" - see you all in December.
  3. 11 points
    I will get round to writing part 2 of my write up of the university course: in the meantime heres a brief thought I ended up writing out in full. Would be interested to hear others thoughts: Recently I have noticed I am stuttering a lot more when just regularly chatting to friends in Chinese; my brain appears to constantly be asking itself, 'is this really the most appropriate word?' Perhaps this is a result of moving back to the UK and being away from the total immersion of China, but I feel like its more likely a result of learning how to work between two languages when on the mic in interpreting situations... Take the various concepts of 'collapse' in Chinese as an example. There's 垮, it denotes the idea of collapsing inwards on itself. then there's 崩潰, the idea of something or someone collapsing from the cause of not being able to bear a load. what about 瓦解, collapse due to internal disintegration, figuratively as well as literally, or even 塌縮, the idea of, say, a star collapsing inwards on itself to eventually become a black hole. All these different concepts of collapsing will almost always be translated into English simply as 'collapse'. Whilst this makes for very easy interpreting, it actually makes your Chinese worse, as you are constantly drawing together these distinct meanings into one basket named 'collapse', not allowing your brain to understand the finesse in their differences. What one is constantly striving towards in learning another language is to rewire the brain in order to divide and distinguish concepts that are different from one's mother tongue. Not only does learning the skill of interpreting not tolerate such rewiring, it actually bundles all the wires together in a big tangled mess. The brain is told to forget the small but important differences between words and instead group words into easy to manage target language categories. As a result, I find I question my word choice a lot more often than I once did. I find I can no longer simply rely on feeling, or make choices as easily simply based on a gut feeling. So it would seem, while my Chinese has improved a lot in the last year, learning to interpret has perhaps had a negative effect on my "語感", or my ability to simply 'feel' what the right word should be. Hopefully this is just temporary.
  4. 9 points
    In most of the world's languages, you can turn a word into its respective occupation by adding affixes to it. However, as Chinese doesn't conjugate, we attach an additional character to a word instead to form that corresponding job. One aspect in which Chinese differs from English when forming occupation words is that in English, what suffix is used depends mainly on the origins of words, but in Chinese people choose occupation particles based on the properties and characteristics of that job. Here're some practically and frequently used occupation particles in Chinese. 1.家 家, with its original meaning of a family or a clan, can be extended to refer to a particular philosophy, theory or ideology. Hence, when it's used to form an occupation word, that occupation would be usually related to a professional skill, interest or talent. For example: -文学家: a person who has been educated on literature — a litterateur. -画家: a person who is professional in drawing — a painter. -科学家: a person who has professional knowledge about science — a scientist. -音乐家: a person who is well-educated and professional in music — a musician. -美食家: a person who is passionate and authoritative in appraising foods — a gourmet. It's good to note that when two different occupation words are derived from the same origin, the one with 家 added often has a higher level of profession, authority or recognisation. For instance, 歌手 and 歌唱家 are both people who take singing as their jobs, but 歌唱家 is definitely regarded as an artist while 歌手 is probably just a public performer or a pop song singer. Another interesting fact is that when we come to players for specific musical instruments, the only two that are conventionally named with 家 are 钢琴家, a pianist and 小提琴家, a violinist. 2.师 师 originally means a teacher or an adviser. When a job is named with 师 attached, it refers to people who are well-trained or experienced in a particular area. The difference between it and 家 is that a 师 may not necessarily have the profession or talent. Here're some examples: -教师: a person who is trained to teach others — a teacher. -厨师: a person who is trained to work in a kitchen — a cook. -理发师: a person who is trained to manage people's hair — a barber. -会计师: a person who is trained to account money — an accountant. 3.手 手 means hands, thus referring to people who have high skills or talents, but only in a small area. Unlike 家, a XX手 usually doesn't have an overall profession in a general field, but in a much more specific section. It is very often seen in players of a particular instrument. For example: -鼓手: a person whose task is to play the drums — a drummer. -吉他手: a person who plays the guitar — a guitarist. -小号手: a person who plays the trumpet — a trumpeter. -舵手: a person who is responsible for managing and controlling the helm — a helmsman. 4.工 工 means originally work or labour. Hence it is usually used to name those jobs that need hard labour or manual processes. For example: -技工: a person hired to manage technical issues — a technician. -水管工: a person paid to repair waterpipes — plumber. -电工: a person paid to check and fix electrical devices — an electrician. -油漆工: a person who paints buildings — a painter. 5.匠 匠 basically means a craftsman, so it is used for any job related to crafting and designing. Though it also involves laborious processes often, it's different from 工 as the labour is done in order to craft or make a certain object or artefact. For example: -木匠: a person who uses woods to do handicrafts — a carpenter. -铁匠: a person who crafts metal objects — a blacksmith.
  5. 6 points
    Hello everyone, It has been a while since I last updated my blog. There were a couple of reasons for this - My eyes My vision was deteriorating quite a lot and last November the decision was taken to under go cataract surgery. As this was in the UK and on the NHS the wheels grind (no complaints it just the way it is) and eventually I now have 2 new lenses and can see better than I have been able to for many years. I found it was becoming increasingly frustrating trying to read characters with bad eyes and magnifying glasses are a pain, hard to scan pages with one. I am still in recovery, it is only the third day after my second eye so slowly slowly does it. My intention is to return and update my blog with my new learning schedule and updates as to my successes and failures and hopefully help myself and others to progress with learning Chinese. Just wanted to update anyone who was interested that my hiatus from learning is now turning slowly into a return to learning.
  6. 5 points
    Today I finished reading the novel 《第七天》 by 余华. The story centers around protagonist 杨飞 and his experiences before and after his sudden untimely death. Unlike other 余华 novels, 《第七天》 is a work of surrealist fiction. The narrative present is set in the afterlife; all major characters in the novel are dead. Like 余华’s other novels, 《第七天》 is at turns tragic, funny, morbid, and sweet. It is not his best novel, but it might be my favorite. The Chinese in 《第七天》 is not difficult to understand. The novel is easier to read than 《活着》 and 《在细雨中呼喊》, though probably harder than the dialogue-heavy 《许三观卖血记》. Demands on my time prevent me from writing a longer review. In August, I moved to Shanghai and started a new and exciting job, which keeps me very busy. I continue to read Chinese nearly every day and am confident I will meet my 1,000,000 character goal this year. Link to 《第七天》: https://www.aixdzs.com/d/117/117754/ Some statistics: Characters read this year: 602,138 Characters left to read this year: 397,862 Percent of goal completed: 60.2% List of things read: 《三八节有感》by 丁玲 (2,370 characters) 《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲 (10,754 characters) 《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东 (18,276 characters) 《自杀日记》by 丁玲 (4,567 characters) 《我没有自己的名字》by 余华 (8,416 characters) 《手》by 萧红 (7,477 characters) 《牛》by 沈从文 (8,097 characters) 《彭德怀速写》by 丁玲 (693 characters) 《我怎样飞向了自由的天地》by 丁玲 (2,176 characters) 《IBM Cloud文档:Personality Insights》 by IBM (25,098 characters) 《夜》by 丁玲 (4,218 characters) 《虎雏》by 沈从文 (46,945 characters) 《在巴黎大戏院》 by 施蛰存 (6,181 characters) 《分析Sonny Stitt即兴与演奏特点——以专辑《Only the Blues》中曲目 《Blues for Bags》为例》 (5,483 characters) 《一个女剧院的生活》 by 沈从文 (61,154 characters) 《致银河》 by 王小波 (17,715 characters) 《在细雨中呼喊》 by 余华 (132,769 characters) 《熊猫》 by 棉棉 (53,129 characters) 《1988:我想和这个世界谈谈》 by 韩寒 (81,547 characters) 《偶然事件》 by 余华 (20,226 characters) 《第七天》 by 余华 (84,847 characters)
  7. 5 points
    The 2nd in the series of public adverts encouraging intelligent of smartphones on the Chongqing subway, this one takes its inspiration from 红楼梦 (Dreams of the Red Chamber). It asks whether the protagonists would have met if they had had phones to play with. The second sentence is a play on a traditional Chinese saying: "有缘千里来相会, 无缘对面不相逢" (if it is fated to be then it will happen even if separated by one thousand miles, if it's not fated to be then it won't happen even if you are face to face). Instead, the second part in the adverts reads "面对面来玩手机" (side by side but playing on their phones). The first half of the third sentence is also a traditional Chinese saying: 有情人终成眷属 (if there is love between them then they will eventually become husband and wife). The second part is new and says that if they play on their mobile phones then they will remain strangers (玩手机终成陌路). It ends by exhorting the readers to use their phone responsibly (合理正确使用手机) for the sake of their loved ones (为了自己的亲人和爱人).
  8. 5 points
    Earlier this week I finished reading the novella 《一个女剧院的生活》 by 沈从文. 《一个女剧院的生活》 is a story about several men of different ages and stations in life all vying for the love of a beautiful and talented young actress. While the men contend for her love, the actress, 萝, rejects their advances. The opening chapters of the novella establish a love triangle, which later turns into a love quadrilateral, which later turns into a love pentagon. Much of the novella consists of drawn out conversations about love in the abstract; of men having trying to convince 萝 to be with them; and of 萝 criticizing the men’s behavior and mannerisms and words. Here is an example of one such conversation. The conversation is between 萝 and her uncle(舅父), who criticizes 萝 for her capricious treatment toward one her suitors. While 沈从文 is a talented storyteller, I didn’t much like this novella. I found the story boring and didn’t care about its characters. I also found the dialogue tiresome. In over half the conversations in this story, characters lecture each other, chastise each other, and engage in overlong detached disputations on love and freedom. That is not what people in love do. 沈从文 made his female lead character unlikeable. 萝 has this tremendous power to make any man around her want to marry her. But rather than be gracious, wise, or even shrewd, 萝 is haughty, hectoring any man who would presume to compete for her affections. In the real world, this kind of behavior would lead to gossip, resentment, and reputational damage. In 《一个女剧院的生活》, no one seems bothered by her badgering. The men in this novella don’t come off much better than 萝. They are desperate, neurotic, feckless, vain. This story would be more believable if it had contained a strong supporting female character. There are a female student actress and an 阿姨 (who works for 舅父), but these characters don’t have much to say. Also, the dialogue is sometimes cheesy. An example: Yech. At 61,154 characters, this novella is the longest work I have completed so far this year. The language wasn’t too hard and should be accessible to any advanced Chinese-language learner. (The quotes above are fairly representative, difficulty-wise.) 《一个女剧院的生活》 is the third work of 沈从文’s I have read. The first was his short story 《牛》, which I loved. The second was the short story collection 《虎雏》, which was pretty good. My reading list contains many other works by 沈从文, including his classic novels. I plan to read some other authors, then come back to him. Link to 沈从文’s 《一个女剧院的生活》: https://m.ixdzs.com/d/116894 Some statistics: Characters read this year: 211,905 Characters left to read this year: 788,095 Percent of goal completed: 21.2% List of things read: 《三八节有感》by 丁玲 (2,370 characters) 《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲 (10,754 characters) 《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东 (18,276 characters) 《自杀日记》by 丁玲 (4,567 characters) 《我没有自己的名字》by 余华 (8,416 characters) 《手》by 萧红 (7,477 characters) 《牛》by 沈从文 (8,097 characters) 《彭德怀速写》by 丁玲 (693 characters) 《我怎样飞向了自由的天地》by 丁玲 (2,176 characters) 《IBM Cloud文档:Personality Insights》 by IBM (25,098 characters) 《夜》by 丁玲 (4,218 characters) 《虎雏》by 沈从文 (46,945 characters) 《在巴黎大戏院》 by 施蛰存 (6,181 characters) 《分析Sonny Stitt即兴与演奏特点——以专辑《Only the Blues》中曲目 《Blues for Bags》为例》 (5,483 characters) 《一个女剧院的生活》 by 沈从文 (61,154 characters)
  9. 4 points
    Despite learning Chinese Mandarin, I don't get the chance to use it very often. I get the feeling of minimal progress. I haven't really been watching many intermediate learning materials since my last post. A bit boring for my liking... I wasted a lot of time on the hellotalk app. Being a native English speaker is a big advantage when learning Chinese. Eventually, I decided to tell people I am only interested in talking verbally and real time conversation. This proved helpful in screening out quite a number of people who just wanted a friendly text chat with a foreigner. I tend to screen out people who have a strong 南方 accent though Taiwanese are fine. In the end HT is just an area for practice and I cut down my time on it. For learning, I have been using Glossika. 25% through the A1 course. It's a bit boring but I stick with it. I don't like that it only gives two reps of a sentence. I prefer 3 or 4 at one time. Does it have an effect? I think it is hard to say for me - maybe a longer duration of practice would help. I recently dug out some old ankicards that I made long ago. These were made from the Growing up in China series. I remember I had tremendous difficulty in following the speech at time of making them. Well, amazingly, I found my listening comprehension is definitely much better. There are words which I forgot but definitely relearn much better and it's much less frustrating. I recently went to Qingdao for business and badminton. Initially a bit apprehensive yet looking forward to trying out the field experience. Last time I was by myself in China was two years ago in Guangzhou and I fell back to using Cantonese much of the time. Pleased to say I didnt really have any major problems using the language for day to day life. Of course there were the trip-ups. What I particularly liked was I had to use the language for some simple problem solving which sharpens the mind considerably. Although there is still a lot to learn in terms of extending conversations, the initial handling of issues went quite smoothly. I had a couple of nice conversations with taxi drivers and made a large number of wechat contacts from playing badminton. I played a lot of amateur competitions in the past and when I played my trickshots on this trip, they were really well received. Of course, there was also the novelty factor of being an overseas Chinese. So a great morale booster that there is some progression and I got a lot of extensive listening experience even though I didn't understand all of it.
  10. 4 points
    This machine at Shanghai Pudong was having a bad day. But at least management offered a clear explanation. (Please click the photo to enlarge it.) 设备故障 -- 暂停使用
  11. 4 points
    I recently finished reading the 1928 short story《自杀日记》by 丁玲. This story has much in common with the novella《莎菲女士的日记》, a better-known work that 丁玲 published the same year. Both stories are about troubled young women in large Chinese cities who record their thoughts in diary form. 丁玲 gives both young women transliterated western names: 莎菲 and 伊萨. In some ways the women have similar temperaments. They are angsty, reclusive, and uninterested in the young men who fall in love with them. While both women are deeply unhappy—to the point of wanting to end their lives—their unhappiness manifests differently. 莎菲 is brooding, impetuous, judgmental, misanthropic. 伊萨 is apathetic. Finding no meaning in life, she resigns herself to a nihilistic suicide: 她只觉得这生活很无意思,很不必有,她固执的屡次向自己说:“顶好是死去算了!” Like other works by 丁玲 from this period, the language is not difficult for a Chinese language learner to understand. The story is short, just over 4,500 characters long. Here is a link: https://www.kanunu8.com/book3/8372/186036.html Below are some statistics and a list of the works I have finished reading this year. Despite showing only 3.6% my goal complete, I am ahead of my reading schedule, because these numbers do not include works currently in progress. Next up to finish is the 余华 short story《我没有自己的名字》. Some statistics: Characters read this year: 35,967 Characters left to read this year: 964,033 Percent of goal completed: 3.6% List of things read: 《三八节有感》by 丁玲 (2,370 characters) 《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲 (10,754 characters) 《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东 (18,276 characters) 《自杀日记》by 丁玲 (4,567 characters)
  12. 4 points
    ....is a favourite song of mine by Nik Kershaw. Wouldn’t it be good to just get a bit of time to oneself just to study without life getting in the way. It’s been very busy. At at least I have glossika to fall back on. It’s now very convenient - connect up my earphones, go into the browser on my phone and start the course. If I don’t finish, then do some reps later at another time. So far I have managed about five days out of seven for the last three weeks. Nice.
  13. 4 points
    I was quite shocked when I saw this poster last week. It can't be, can it? Do I have a particularly dirty mind, I asked myself. Well, dirty maybe, particularly definitely not, I concluded. This is a well-known wordplay. So well-known that whoever made this poster had to use quotation marks to eliminate ambiguity. But the quotation marks only serve to remind the reader that there is another reading. So the shock was calculated. Which leaves me wondering how low can you go in advertising these days. (For anyone who doesn't get it, 下面 = the nether regions.)
  14. 4 points
    Earlier this year, I decided to step down as organizer of the Chicago Mandarin Conversation meetup. As for why, I've been hosting Mandarin conversation meetups in some form or another since fall 2013, and I've simply lost interest (but I will continue to host the Chinese study group for a while). Fortunately, Kenneth has decided to take my place, starting in January of next year. We had a nice WeChat call just now about how to run the meetup, and these are my notes from that meeting. Should we merge the two groups? (Chicago Mandarin Conversation and Chicago Chinese Study) I'm slightly against this idea. One is for all levels and the other is for advanced speakers. It does make some things easier, but the problem is that with a mixed membership the advanced group will almost certainly get more beginners showing up. Remember that people don't read event descriptions! Members I fairly strict about membership requests, requiring applicants to write a coherent introduction in Chinese. You can decide to be more lax on this front, and just accept any applicant that completes the profile (which is what I used to do). You have to accept that some beginners might slip through, and when they show up, you can refer them to the all-levels group if it's clear they don't belong in the advanced group. Try to keep a good record of no-shows. If someone with a history of no-shows signs up, you'll know that they likely won't attend, and they can be automatically kicked off a waiting list if there is one. There have been rare occasions when a member brings their child to a conversation event. I think this is OK if the parent is taking part in the conversation themselves, and the child is just hanging out. But if the parent tries to leave their child there, kick them both out! Meetup is not free babysitting. Co-hosts When I started out, it was just me and my friend Aaron, and it was weeks before we got a third attendee. Even though it was a very small gathering, it was easy to host because I had a co-host and friend who I could count on to be there more-or-less on time every week. Definitely try to recruit your friends and coworkers to come, and keep a mental list of people who can step in for you when you're absent or running late. There are a lot of people who claim that they would like to host a event. Do not believe them! If they actually name a place and time and show up at that place and time, that's when you can believe them. Marketing Big announcements should be published on these platforms (in order of priority): Meetup mailing list WeChat group Blog FB page Twitter Normal announcements should just go on the mailing list. Posting pictures to meetup.com helps a lot with promotion. It's better to have the picture taken on your own phone so you can just upload it yourself. Another good way of promoting the meetup is to encourage people to write positive reviews. You should send out a message to the mailing list introducing yourself and explaining that you will be organizing the group from now on. There are probably some members who still believe that this meetup group is dead. Remember to change your profile to indicate that you're now an organizer! Scheduling Having a recurring event helps convince people that this is a stable, active meetup. I recommend having at least one event that always occurs on the same relative day of the month at the same location and same time. You can schedule additional events at different places and times to spice things up. Expect that about 50% of the RSVPs will actually show up. If the event is at a restaurant, make sure to schedule the meetup 30 minutes in advance of when you want to take a seat. This avoids a lot of problems, like having to be reseated because the expected number of people didn't show up. If at all possible try to schedule at the edge of busy periods. For example, instead of scheduling for noon, choose 11:00 am or 1:00 pm. If you can avoid it, don't make reservations ahead of time since it's hard to estimate the number of attendees. You don't need to announce it, but you should always have a backup plan. For restaurant events, you might show up to find that the restaurant is full or it's suddenly closed down for renovation or failed health inspection. Backup restaurant should be one that you're familiar with and which is generally not busy. For Chinatown, I think the underground cafeteria is a decent backup venue. Try to avoid cancelling events if at all possible, even if the number of RSVPs is really low. Sometimes people will show up even if they didn't RSVP. If you do need to cancel an event, announce it the day before, especially if there are guests who would be coming from out of town to attend. The best backup plans account for the event where no one shows up (hopefully that never happens to you). Topics Since the average level of attendees is likely to be lower from now on, you should consider announcing discussion topics ahead of the event. Intermediate speakers tend to be more passive conversationalists and need more prodding. When you encounter an awkward silence, that's your cue to introduce a topic. Restaurants Prefer venues that are quieter, less crowded, and have lazy susans on their tables. When ordering at a restaurant, the host(s) should always order for the group. Always remember to ask about dietary restrictions. Do not allow more than 20% of the dishes to be "adventurous" (e.g. chicken feet, jellyfish, duck's blood, etc). Do not let every attendee order one dish. Instead, ask every attendee what kind of food they're most looking forward to eating, and take everyone's wishes into consideration. If an attendee has special knowledge of a restaurant's cuisine, let them order. When dishes are brought to the table, ask the server which dish it is and what ingredients are in it. This is useful for people who aren't very familiar with the cuisine. Make sure to take a picture of the receipt so that people know what you ordered. Better yet, take pictures of the dishes and post them to meetup.com. If I'm the host, I prefer to pay the whole bill and ask everyone to pay me via Venmo or cash. Sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior If a member reports another meetup.com user (not necessarily a member) for abusive messages, report them to meetup.com. The admins can see the messages on their side and hopefully they'll take the appropriate action. Keep in mind that for every abusive message you hear about, there are many more that aren't reported. Women receive a crazy amount of creepy messages online. Kick spammers out and block them from rejoining. IRL abusive behavior should be shut down immediately. Kick the offender out of the meetup group right away. If they want to rejoin the group, they'll have to talk to you before their membership request can be approved. Things I have kicked people out for: homophobia, trying to use the group to sell pot, and trying to recruit members into one of those Chinese pyramid schemes. You cannot kick someone out for looking like a creep. You can, however, pull female members aside and advise them not to accept free car rides from creepy-looking men. We used to have a code of conduct. We should bring it back as a blog post and put a link to it on the meetup.com description page. WeChat It's good to maintain a WeChat group so that it's easier for attendees to add each other. Just scan the group instead of scanning each other. The group is also useful for announcing events to existing members. Any person who is spamming the group should be kicked out immediately. They can rejoin if they agree to stop spamming. Currently, the requirement on the WeChat group is that no English is allowed. In practice, the group is really low traffic so I don't think that this is a necessary rule. I will transfer ownership of the existing group to you. You should periodically clean out the WeChat group of members who haven't shown up in a long time. It's harder to find the people you want to add if the group has a lot of members. We used to have a Facebook Group, but I don't think it's a viable option anymore now that the FB Groups app has been pulled. Using FB Groups from the main Facebook app is a way worse experience than just using WeChat. Also, I don't think FB Groups has the translate feature. Recruiters You will eventually be contacted by a recruiter who wants to post job ads to the group. It's your call whether to allow it, but I sent out a survey to ask the members if they want to see job ads through the meetup, and the response was mostly negative. In truth, only a few members have the language skills that qualify for the jobs I've seen. I think the best way to handle this is to ask the recruiter for the Chinese version of the job ad and post it in the WeChat group. Or just ignore recruiters entirely. Events at your home On occasion, you might want to host an event at your own home, like a potluck, game night, or movie-watching party. This is a great idea, and a wonderful opportunity to torment your friends with your indie music collection (ahem). Do not post the event with your exact address, the street corner or closest El station is good enough. You can message your phone number and address to confirmed attendees the day before the event. You may want to enable a waiting list whose size corresponds to the size of your apartment. Exclude inveterate no-showers from RSVP'ing. You may also want to limit the number of guests that you haven't personally met before. It is not a big deal if your place doesn't have enough chairs for everyone. In practice, people are happy to stand for 2 hours if they're having a good time. If it really bothers you, then clean your floor and people can sit on that. If you invite a total stranger to your home, you don't have to give your phone number and address to them right away. Remember that this person might not even show up! You can add them on WeChat/Facebook, and tell them to send their location to you when they get within a mile of your location. Once you've confirmed that they're actually coming, you can send them the relevant information. Other types of events Here are some events I've hosted or attended, and what I think of them. Exhibition of Ai Weiwei's photos: It was really nice to chat while browsing the exhibition. I don't think this type of event needs to be limited to exhibitions of Chinese artists. Mandarin Mingle in SF: This was held inside a hotel bar and everyone stood the whole time because there was no seating in that area. An absurd number of attendees, RSVPs were capped at 70 and maybe half showed up. I enjoyed it, but I wonder how long it would take to set up in Chicago. Chinese chess and conversation in Montreal: People really seemed to like the vibe of chatting while playing a board game. After the meetup proper they went to a nearby restaurant for dinner. Experience was marred by the organizer being a really creepy guy who didn't speak a lick of Chinese and who threatened to expel a female member who wouldn't give him her number (he was only there briefly since he had nothing to contribute beyond being creepy). Mahjong and hotpot: I thought this was an interesting combination. Worth the effort if you have the equipment and some people willing to help you out with chopping and cleanup. Watch a Chinese movie at a film festival: I don't really recommend this as a meetup event. It's fine to watch a movie with friends, but watching a movie with other meetup members is pretty much the same as watching it with random strangers. In practice, no one stays around after the movie to discuss it. Language exchange: Maybe I'm bad at managing this type of event but I've never seen it go well. After the switchover from Chinese to English, the conversation tends to just stay in English. Picnic in a park: This was fun, and we got some exercise to boot. We chatted while eating unhealthy snacks. We spent most of the time playing that game where you draw a card and put it on your forehead, and you lose if you say the number on your head. Loser has to do a challenge (usually something physical, like running to the library and back or getting a photo taken with a passing dog). Friendsgiving at Sun Wah BBQ: Kind of an annual tradition that we skipped this year. I don't usually like hosting events at restaurants but this is somewhat of an exception. It's interesting how this event tends to attract people who show up just for this and never come back.
  15. 3 points
    While travelling on the Chongqing subway last summer, I noticed a series of public adverts designed to encourage healthy use of smartphones, all based on the 四大名著 (four great works of Chinese literature). Being both a lover of the 四大名著 and a hater of smartphones, these humourous ads caught my attention enough for me to want to take a photo of each. This first one is based on 西游记 (Journey to the West). It asks if the monk (贫僧/圣僧) is travelling all the way to the west just to recharge and play with his phone ("去往西天充电玩手机"). Has he forgotten his original aim (初心) of bringing back the scriptures (取经)? It ends by encouraging people to use their phones in moderation ("合理正确使用手机") in order not to be distracted from achieving their goals and dreams ("为了自身的梦想与目标").
  16. 3 points
    We are currently in the midst of our midterms. Last week was 听力,写作和阅读,next week we have 中国文化,语法学,口语和综合。It's good because we get all of our exams out the way before the 5/1 break. Exams seem to have gone ok so far. As far as how this semester is going, I am really enjoying it and I feel that I am progressing. Last week for 口语 we had to explain one of 8 成语 based on its story, and so I chose 愚公移山。I really enjoyed doing this, and was encouraged and how much I must have improved to even be able to consider doing this. Then a couple of days ago I was in the gym trying to have a conversation and basically couldn't understand a word the guy was saying! This seems to happen a lot - I will be really encouraged by my progress in one area, then take a hit in another area. More often than not it's when comparing what is spoken/heard in the classroom, with the authentic stuff that happens outside the classroom. Regular people are under no obligation to use standard Putonghua and dumb it down for you because you are a foreigner! I suppose this just needs a lot more time and practice. I have been trying to increase the input I get, and so I have been watching 男人帮。 I just finished episode 26 last night, and when I have watched all 30 I will find something similar to watch. I watched this series 2 years ago and understood very little, but now I am getting a ton out of it. I find that so many of the things I am learning at uni keep coming up in it, and it really helps solidify them in my mind. This has probably been one of the most useful things I have done so far, and actually although I would always make excuses about being busy, finding 45 minutes every other evening to watch an episode isn't hard.
  17. 3 points
    Where are you likely to see this sign?
  18. 3 points
    We know the names of dishes don't translate well, but I wondered what these dishes actually are... (From an eatery on 平江路 in 苏州, by the old canal.)
  19. 3 points
    The new semester started a week ago, and it's been a great first week. As far as my goals for this year, I've basically failed them all already! I wanted to read a lot more, but over the break I went home for the first time in a couple of years, and so unfortunately my Chinese took a back seat. However, I did get through one and a half books. Now being back I feel like I have so much more to focus on, and I'd rather do a good job of covering all my class materials well than spreading myself too thin by plodding through a book. Hopefully I can change this up when the books are a bit easier to read, and don't require constant stopping and note making. Rather than dwelling on my failure here, I am trying to put it behind me and go all in with everything else! This semester we have two different classes. Our 中国概况 and 汉字学 classes are over, and in their place we have 中国文化 and 语法学。 I really like 语法学 and find it to be incredibly useful. The books we are using are fantastic, and basically contain answers to many questions that keep coming up for me. 中国文化 seems to be fairly interesting, and we have a new teacher for this class. She's very friendly and asks a lot of questions. Although our class consists of 40+ students, there's only a few of us that don't sit on our phones and actually participate in the class, so I really appreciate an interactive setting. On that note, our speaking class has changed slightly. For some reason all of our exams are now going to be written exams (how someone's speaking can be tested with a written exam is beyond me, but it's out of the teacher's control). So in light of this our teacher has said he will just teach one of our classes each week, and the other one will be dedicated to us speaking (presentations/reports/skits etc.). All in all, I'm really excited about this semester!
  20. 3 points
    Since my last post, I read a collection of four short stories by 沈从文. The short stories are titled 《虎雏》, 《黔小景》, 《三三》, and 《医生》. The stories were written in 1931. They are easy to read and understand. The stories contain a diverse cast of characters from different parts of China: The Shanghai-based author and his military brother stationed in Hunan. Merchants traveling a public road in Guizhou. The mother and daughter with a grain mill and their visitors from a nearby city. The itinerant doctor and the crazy man in the mountains of Sichuan. Each of the four stories has a different setting and tone. The plots are quite different, though there is a thematic connection between them: in each of the four stories, a person dies in a peculiar way. The stories range from pretty good to very good. One story is engaging but anticlimactic. Another story is boring. Yet another story has touching characters but no plot. 沈从文 is a gifted storyteller. Certain parts of 《虎雏》 and 《医生》are exciting and hard to put down. 《医生》is also funny. A doctor goes missing for several weeks. He returns to find his co-workers waiting for him inside his home. The doctor thinks they have gathered to welcome him, but actually they gathered to divide up his possessions. The titular young woman 三三 is strong-willed and sweet and is probably my favorite character from these stories. The stories are an enjoyable read, but none of them are as good or as powerful as the author’s《牛》. This is the longest text I have read in 2019 so far (about 47,000 Chinese characters total). Link to the short story collection: https://www.ixdzs.com/d/117/117016/ Some statistics: Characters read this year: 139,087 Characters left to read this year: 860,913 Percent of goal completed: 13.9% List of things read: 《三八节有感》by 丁玲 (2,370 characters) 《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲 (10,754 characters) 《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东 (18,276 characters) 《自杀日记》by 丁玲 (4,567 characters) 《我没有自己的名字》by 余华 (8,416 characters) 《手》by 萧红 (7,477 characters) 《牛》by 沈从文 (8,097 characters) 《彭德怀速写》by 丁玲 (693 characters) 《我怎样飞向了自由的天地》by 丁玲 (2,176 characters) 《IBM Cloud文档:Personality Insights》by IBM (25,098 characters) 《夜》by 丁玲 (4,218 characters) 《虎雏》by 沈从文 (46,945 characters)
  21. 3 points
    Today I finished reading the short story《牛》by 沈从文. It is one of my favorite things I have read in Chinese. The story is about a farmer nicknamed 大牛伯 and his ox 小牛. One day, while plowing the field, 大牛伯 gets angry and strikes the ox in the leg with a wooden mallet. The rest of the story is devoted to the aftermath of this event. When he realizes his ox is seriously injured, 大牛伯 starts to worry about his future. How will he plow the field without his ox? Can the ox’s leg be healed? Should the ox be sent to the butcher? The story is a fable of surprising moral and psychological depth. I was hooked from the first paragraph. Here it is: For most of the rest of the story 沈从文 explores, in plain language, the thoughts and emotions of 大牛伯 and his stricken ox. 大牛伯 feels guilty for hurting his ox. He is also angry with the ox for being hurt and suspects it of exaggerating the seriousness of its injury. The ox enjoys finally having an opportunity to relax in the hot sun. But it also feels guilty it cannot plow the field for its master, because it wants to make him happy. If you like the paragraph quoted above you will like《牛》.The tone and style of that paragraph are representative of what follows. I loved this story, and look forward to reading more works by 沈从文. Text of《牛》: http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_53fc4c510100m2sg.html Some statistics: Characters read this year: 59,957 Characters left to read this year: 940,043 Percent of goal completed: 6.0% List of things read: 《三八节有感》by 丁玲 (2,370 characters) 《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲 (10,754 characters) 《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东 (18,276 characters) 《自杀日记》by 丁玲 (4,567 characters) 《我没有自己的名字》by 余华 (8,416 characters) 《手》by 萧红 (7,477 characters) 《牛》by 沈从文 (8,097 characters) [Thanks to @Lu for pointing out that the animal in this story is an ox, not a calf.]
  22. 2 points
    He learns to play chess and music instrument just to draw better 沈冰山:27载习棋练琴,只为更好地作画 It was Sunday, trapped in house by the rainy morning, that I read the story about him. I was not knowing what to do then since the rain put an end to my plan going out for a walk and doing the recording along the way. I was thinking about doing the recording at home only to find that the goddamn cellphone was unavailable for clear record without blending some noise of electric current into my voice. What the hell is going on? What a big joke! 星期天的清晨,正被雨天困在家里,我读到了关于他的故事。当时我正无所事事,这雨一下,我外出散步顺带录音的计划泡了汤。好吧那就在家里录音得了,谁知道这该死的手机居然闹起来别扭,录音也不能好好录了,人声跟电流干扰声还混声了。这是在闹哪出?诸事不宜吗! We have planned to do a lot in the leisure future when we are busy, making a to do list and awaiting them to be finished when we have the time. But the things don't see any accomplishment when that time comes, since a lot of other things unexpected do come along with the time available. 在忙的时候,我们计划好要在将来闲暇的某个时段做很多事情,也列了相应的清单等待着那个空闲时间的到来。但当有时间了,我们却不见得能完成计划的事项,毕竟随之而来的可能是其他意想不到的状况。 Somebody may go around the obstacle and find another way to his goal set, while the others stand still wondering why, cursing damn, or moving to another direction when they see no possibility to go through the barrier. 困境当前,有人会绕过障碍,开拓出另一种路径去接近原定的目标,而其余的人只是站在那里,或问着为什么,或诅咒着什么,或因为看不到穿越屏障的可能而改变初衷。 The story I read about Mr Bingshan Shen is a well reflection of the somebody mentioned above. 读着沈冰山的故事,我看到了上述“某一种人”的真实写照。 What if what you do could always have something to do with what you are going to do next? It may be a perfect form of efficiency in life, because nothing you've ever done has been wasted. 如果你现在所做的每一件事都能与接下来所要做的产生联系,你的生活会是怎样?这将是人生的一种高效形式,因为你所做的一切都不曾白费。 Mr Shen enjoyed drawing when he was young, and that's his lifelong love of labor too. Sight means almost everything to a painter, but illness got him blind when he was right 26 years old. He had to quit drawing unless he could draw without seeing, which means he should draw with the guidance of memory, judging the position of next stroke based on the last one, and having his own rhythm in mind to move along. 沈先生热爱绘画,这是他年幼时的爱好,也是他一生所爱。视力对于一个画家而言何其重要,然而他26岁时因病失明。他不得不放弃作画,除非他可以在什么也看不见的情况下画,这意味着他要凭借记忆对他的指引去画,根据前一笔的落笔去规划下一笔的走向,并心存作画时可依据的节奏。 That's difficult for even normal people, let alone for someone disable. But one has no idea of what difference he is capable of making until fate gets him cornered. He put drawing aside, starting to learn to play chess and a kind of traditional Chinese music instrument named Yangqin. It took him 27 years. 这对于正常人而言,都显得困难,何况是他这个残障人士。但若命运没有将你逼到绝处,你还不知道自己还能剑走偏锋。他暂时把画画这事搁置在一旁,开始学习下象棋,学习弹扬琴这种中国传统乐器。这花了他27载光阴。 He led the way back to drawing when he had mastered both chess and Yangqin well, which brought him fame nationwide. He wouldn't rest on that glory, since he knew what he had learned these for. 当棋艺与琴艺都掌握了,并且在国内也名声渐长的时候,他让精力回归到作画上。他没有在荣耀之上长眠,因为他深知,学习琴棋是为了什么。 I was shocked when I saw how he connected drawing with the way he played chess and the Yangqin. Playing chess gave him a great improvement in memory, so he's good at visualizing the chessboard in mind, systemizing every move based on the lines crossing each other on it. He made it planning what to do next playing without watching the layout. 当领悟到他是如何把作画跟下棋和弹奏扬琴相联系时,我被震撼了。磨炼棋艺提升了他的记忆力,因此他善于让棋局在心头可视化,并有系统地根据其上纵横交错的线去设计接下来每一步棋的走位。于是他便可以不用看棋局也能自如地走子。 The layout's in his heart. And when this game saw its transformation on the paper and color, he could manage drawing well by memorizing what he had done and designing the coming steps based on what's formed in his mind, so blindness was no longer in the way. He took the paper his chessboard and every time he put a brush on it, it's like moving a piece of chess thereon. 布局就在他心里,当这个游戏延伸到纸面上,与颜色挂钩时,他便能凭借对之前步骤的记忆和心中所想,去画好接下来的每一笔,这样,双目失明不再是种障碍。他视纸箱为棋盘,每在上面添一笔,都像是挪动棋局之上的一枚棋。 His experience in Yangqin sharpened his sense in rhythm and alteration of details. Different pitches arranged in various rhythm make the melody. And he was specialized in making ever-changing melody possible without seeing. He saw drawing as the flow of music where colors and lines got changing to make what's in his mind vivid onto the paper. That's how playing the Yangqin helped him with his drawing. It's all about control of rhythm when you polish the details. 扬琴的弹奏经验锐化了他对节奏和细节变化的感知。不同的音高根据不一的节奏进行排列重组,形成了旋律。他擅长仅凭感觉去弹奏并展现这种多变的旋律。绘画对他而言只是一幅流动的音乐,色彩与线条跃然纸面,且变化多端,他心中的画卷也随之在纸上活灵活现。弹奏扬琴有助于他作画:一切关乎雕琢细节时对节奏的把控。 Barrier brings him patience, and he makes it a legend. 命中的阻滞给了他耐性,而他成全了这段传奇。
  23. 2 points
    8 Q&A ABOUT QIXI FESTIVAL 1 Why is it called 七夕? It is on July 7 lunar calendar, and the related activity worshiping Zhinv, the seventh daughters (织女/七姐)of the Queen of Heaven (王母娘娘), comes in the evening of this day. We call evening 夕(xi) in ancient Chinese. So it means a festival falling on the evening of July 7. And the legend of 织女 furthers the meaning of this custom and its connection with the number seven. 2 Why does somebody regard it as Chinese Valentine? As the myth goes, 织女 comes to the man's world (we call it 下凡) and falls in love with 牛郎. However, their love gets hindered by the parents of 织女, and the couple is forced to be apart, without any opportunity to meet each other except the date July 7, when the magpies (喜鹊) of the world gather to make the bridge across the milky way for them. It is said that 牛郎织女 will meet each other this day, which is a symbol of reunion of couples through the thick and thin, a reflection of 有情人终成眷属. 3 Is it really the Chinese Valentine? Traditional Chinese Valentine is on Jan 15 lunar calendar, and it is lantern festival (正月十五:元宵节) too. Girls stay at home with no chance to meet the potential BF in ancient China, but their opportunity comes in lantern festival, when they are allowed to go out watch the lantern show (赏花灯) and have fun figuring out the lantern riddles (猜灯谜). And that's when the single get to each other, so lantern festival works like the Valentine better than Qixi, when single girls just have fun on their own. 4 Why is it also called 乞巧节? Being smart in mind and deft in handcraft (心灵手巧)is the best praise for girls in ancient China. It is a day when single girls ask that quality and ability from 织女. Zhinv is good at waving and capable of getting the fabric done next to perfect. Girls dressed up decently gather and worship the goddess with the handcraft they make, praying for the skillfulness like 织女 and a happy marriage like 牛郎织女. 5 What did girls in ancient China do in Qixi Festival? Worship 织女 with their handcraft. There will be a competition in handcraft, and girls are judged by their handwork, like embroidery, decorations knitted with beads, clay figurine, etc. as offerings. Collect the dews to wash their hands and eyes. It is said that eyes will be clearer and hands will be more skillful and proficient with the craft after wash. Water is deemed blessed by 织女 on that day. Wash their hair and dye their nails. Single girls do this as a way in seek of beautify and happy marriage. 6 Why does ancient Chinese have a festival like this on July 7? Initially, festival on July 7 has nothing to do with 牛郎织女, and it is just a day to worship time and nature. 七 is a special number in Chinese culture, which sounds similar to 吉. It means lucky. July 7 could be deemed as double 吉, conforming to the Chinese saying 好事成双. China has several festivals like this, with the day in the same number as the month per lunar calendar, say, double five, May 5 as dragon boat day, double nine, Sep 9, Chongyang Festival. 7 Why is it a festival for single girls in ancient China? It was originally a day for single girls to pray for all the best from 织女. Actually married female are fully occupied by family and kids and they are far away from those days when they gather to pray for a better self and the ideal marriage accordingly. Qixi provides a good timing for young girls to get together and discuss what they are longing for. 8 Why do people store water or go swimming that day as a custom? It is said that 织女 comes down for a bath in the river that day and the water is blessed. People believe that water fetched in a certain period of time is magically good for human body.
  24. 2 points
    FOUR REASONS WHY CHINESE LISTENING IS SO DAMN DIFFICULT It takes listening, speaking, reading and writing to make a language complete, and listening is always the hardest part to crack. Compared with reading and writing, you have limited time to react, without any possibility to go over a certain wording for times the way you do when reading. Moreover, reading doesn't involve pronunciation and sometimes you may find that you understand what's been said once you have the script of the listening materials. What'll be said and the way it sounds, the speed it takes depend on the person leading the conversation, and the uncertainty of content, accent and pace make listening harder than spoken Chinese. Conclusion above is based on the assumption that the degree of complexity stays the same. Characteristics of Chinese below make you need more time to figure out the content orally expressed, and further the uncertainty of Chinese listening. 1 Different characters in the same pronunciation There are several characters sharing the same Pinyin, and you have no idea what's talked about without connecting it to the words around it or putting it in the context. You won't see the difference about 气, 器, 弃 since they sound the same. And you have no idea which of the following is mentioned here, 中指, 终止or 中止if "zhong zhi" is all you hear. Such a high frequency in application of same pronunciation makes Chinese confusing to foreign speakers. Therefore, memorizing the characters in words, and minding how the certain word match with the other (collocation) mean a lot to improvement of Chinese listening skill. 2 Standard Mandarin challenged by dialects Not every Chinese speaks standard Mandarin like the host or hostess in broadcast. Unfortunately, people living in different areas of China have a lifelong battle against their dialect's negative impact on Mandarin pronunciation. This could be a huge influence since Chinese dialects vary a lot from each other. You know the English is speaking English even if he has accent, but you don't know the Chinese is speaking Mandarin if he sounds much too dialect influenced. However, it's not the reason that you could slack off in practicing standard Mandarin. On the contrary, you should be familiar with Mandarin pronunciation to know which pronunciation is likely to be influenced by dialect and how it is affected, so you could realize which character is about even if it is not pronounced in perfect Mandarin. Be well prepared with the Mandarin blending with several dialect, so you are not losing confidence when you doesn't sound good for the moment, and you won't be too shocked when some Chinese disappoint you with their pronunciation far from perfect. 3 Pronunciation in monosyllable with tones unfamiliar to non native speakers Characters are pronounced in monosyllable no matter how long its Pinyin seems to be. Each character is pronounced separatedly, like water drops falling down to hit the ground one by one, different from liaison in English, which sounds like a river flowing forward. Say each Chinese character independently without lengthening the sound or make them connect to each other. That's the way how Chinese is spoken, and familiar with such a style in pronunciation does matter to your listening. It is true that some Chinese students claim that the listening materials in English test will be easier to understand if the announcers making the audio tape speak English the way they do, pronouncing each t, d, k at the end of each vocabulary clearly, without consonant at the end of a word connecting to the vowel at the beginning of next word. Be familiar with the pronunciation rules and style of a language does smooth the process of listening comprehension. We may understand in seconds if our own pronunciation is identical with how native Chinese people speak Chinese. 4 Wording out of range There are words you seldom come across in text book or literature reading, and you are likely to get trapped if they show up in the conversation. Make yourself exposed to 成语, 谚语, 歇后语, 网络热词, 双关语, etc, and listen to conversation or materials with topics close to daily life. I am not recommending CCTV news but you could try it if it is not boring to you. Documentary in CCTV 9 will be good choice but go get some refreshment before it makes you doze off. TV shows recording how people are asked to finish the tasks or introducing you to something worth your attention or place worth visiting (综艺节目, 游记, 美食节目) are easy for you to cling to and follow through. The more you don't understand, the more you need to practice listening. We didn't understand most of our parents' conversations when we were around two or three, but we still listened until we learned enough to comprehend what's been said. Therefore, do not say no to listening material because you understand little about it. Try and you may find even if you can't tell the meaning of a word you are still getting familiar with the way Chinese is spoken, how Chinese people describe things and what kind of wording they choose. It is a process of accumulation hidden but may see its meaning as you proceed with and finally make what you've heard part of your wordings.
  25. 2 points
    This fourth and final entry in the anti-mobile phone campaign on the Chongqing subway takes the famous "Wu Song Defeats the Tiger" (武松打虎) story from the The Water Margin (水浒传) as its subject. It says when the ferocious tiger ("吊睛白额猛虎") attacks ("袭"), the warrior is busy playing with his phone ("好汉却在玩手机"). It goes on to state that the hero has become a phone zombie/idiot ("打虎英雄变手机痴汉"), and asks how he can allow himself to become so absorbed with his phone during such a vital moment ("紧要时刻怎轻易低头?"). As with the previous three adverts, it requests that people use their phones wisely ("请合理正确使用手机"), so as not to endanger their health and safety ("为了自身的安全与健康").
  26. 2 points
    Read before you intend to escape, not at the time of said escape. (Location: Taipei apartment balcony)
  27. 2 points
    The past few weeks I have not read much in Chinese. This is because I recently received some excellent news, news about something that will keep me very busy in 2019, far busier than I expected. Going forward, I will need to set aside time specifically for reading Chinese, or it will be difficult to meet my million-character goal. A few weeks ago I finished a short story by 20th-century Shanghai author 施蛰存. The story is 《在巴黎大戏院》. It is part of a collection of short stories available online. The story is about a man on a movie date with a girl. The man is a neurotic mess, overthinking every word his date says and every movement she makes. The man is also probably an adulterer—he’s married—and a weirdo/pervert. At one point, the man, nervous and sweating profusely, is handed a handcloth by his date. He wipes his sweaty face, then discreetly tastes (and even sucks on) his date’s handcloth. Eww. The narrative is told entirely from a first-person, in-his-brain running-commentary perspective. The language is simple, but I found the story difficult—even unpleasant—to read. The man is weird and obsessive and I did not enjoy being inside his head. That being said, I will read more short stories from 施蛰存. He is a famous author and surely not all of his stories are like this. Today I finished reading 《分析Sonny Stitt即兴与演奏特点——以专辑《Only the Blues》中曲目 《Blues for Bags》为例》. It is the thesis of an undergraduate music student at 中国音乐学院 in Beijing. The topic of the thesis was jazz saxophonist Sonny Stitt. I am something of a Stitt expert, having studied Stitt and his music for years, and having written a 552-page doctoral dissertation about him. (Link for the curious.) The student reached out to me to ask some questions about Stitt and jazz music analysis. I don’t want to name the student since he is not a public figure. But his thesis was pretty good, especially compared with other work in jazz studies in China I have read. Link to 施蛰存’s《在巴黎大戏院》: http://telestarbookshelf.blogspot.com/2005/03/blog-post_13.html Some statistics: Characters read this year: 150,751 Characters left to read this year: 849,249 Percent of goal completed: 15.1% List of things read: 《三八节有感》by 丁玲 (2,370 characters) 《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲 (10,754 characters) 《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东 (18,276 characters) 《自杀日记》by 丁玲 (4,567 characters) 《我没有自己的名字》by 余华 (8,416 characters) 《手》by 萧红 (7,477 characters) 《牛》by 沈从文 (8,097 characters) 《彭德怀速写》by 丁玲 (693 characters) 《我怎样飞向了自由的天地》by 丁玲 (2,176 characters) 《IBM Cloud文档:Personality Insights》 by IBM (25,098 characters) 《夜》by 丁玲 (4,218 characters) 《虎雏》by 沈从文 (46,945 characters) 《在巴黎大戏院》 by 施蛰存 (6,181 characters) 《分析Sonny Stitt即兴与演奏特点——以专辑《Only the Blues》中曲目 《Blues for Bags》为例》 (5,483 characters)
  28. 2 points
    I saw many slogans like this written on the side of the hills and mountains while cycling through the 甘孜 Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Sichuan province last spring: This one says "感党恩 爱祖国 奔小康". Roughly translated: "Be grateful to the party, love your country, strive to be middle-class". I noticed it when I went with a friend to look for a valuable type of caterpillar fungus, called 虫草. There were also a large group of locals there, all looking to 奔小康 by finding the fungus and then selling it in the market (apparently, a single large piece can fetch potentially fetch several hundred RMB). Unfortunately, despite the encouragement of the mountainside slogan, my friend and I both left empty handed.
  29. 2 points
    In the last few days I read two short stories: 《我没有自己的名字》 by 余华, and《手》by 萧红. The two stories address a common theme: the humanity of damaged people, juxtaposed with the cruelty of everyday people.《我没有自己的名字》is the story of a boy with very low intelligence, 来发, and the harassment he receives from other boys in his village.《手》is the story of a poor girl with abnormally-colored hands, 王亚明, and the harassment she receives from her classmates and her school president. While 来发 and 王亚明 are dimwitted and dirty, they are good people who do not deserve the abuse they receive from their peers. They also do not object to this unfair treatment, which emboldens their abusers. I have noticed a theme appear in several 20th-century Chinese stories. There is a maligned but ultimately sympathetic person (e.g.: 来发, 王亚明, 贞贞 in 丁玲’s《我在霞村的时候》). The person is damaged or compromised in some way, either by birth (来发, 王亚明), or by societal circumstances outside their control (贞贞). The damaged person is righteous, while the “normal” people in society are callous and cruel. The damaged person suffers loss, but faces this loss with equanimity. Both《我没有自己的名字》and《手》are short (under 10,000 characters). They are also easy to read. I would not recommend《我没有自己的名字》. The story is stylistically underwhelming and less engaging than 余华’s longer works, like《活着》and《许三观卖血记》. I would recommend《手》, although I don’t know quite what to make of 萧红’s style. I have added two longer works of hers,《生死场》and《呼兰河传》, to my reading list. Text of《我没有自己的名字》: http://www.rain8.com/article/class6/3582.htm Text of《手》: https://www.kanunu8.com/book3/8047/175923.html Some statistics: Characters read this year: 51,860 Characters left to read this year: 948,140 Percent of goal completed: 5.2% List of things read: 《三八节有感》by 丁玲 (2,370 characters) 《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲 (10,754 characters) 《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东 (18,276 characters) 《自杀日记》by 丁玲 (4,567 characters) 《我没有自己的名字》by 余华 (8,416 characters) 《手》by 萧红 (7,477 characters)
  30. 2 points
    I recently finished reading《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东. It is a series of five talks on literature and art that Mao delivered between February and May 1942 at Yan’an. In these five talks, Mao expounds the purpose of revolutionary literature, criticizes the defective thinking of his Yan’an comrades, and prescribes widespread intra-party thought reform for these defects. Below is my loose paraphrase of Mao’s arguments with corresponding quotations from the text, and a brief thought on mainstream art in modern-day China. = Literature is a part of the machinery of the revolution. It is a weapon used to unite and teach the people, and to strike and destroy the enemy. 我们今天开会,就是要使文艺很好地成为整个革命机器的一个组成部分,作为团结人民、教育人民、打击敌人、消灭敌人的有力的武器,帮助人民同心同德地和敌人作斗争。 Literature is not neutral. Writers must be on the side of the proletariat, the people, and the Party. 我们是站在无产阶级的和人民大众的立场。对于共产党员来说,也就是要站在党的立场,站在党性和党的政策的立场。 Unfortunately, many comrades champion petty bourgeois ideas. They view the intelligentsia and petty bourgeoisie as more important than the workers, farmers, and soldiers. They stand with the petty bourgeoisie and express petty bourgeois ideas in their work. 在实际上,在行动上,他们是否对小资产阶级知识分子比对工农兵还更看得重要些呢?我以为是这样…… 他们是站在小资产阶级立场,他们是把自己的作品当作小资产阶级的自我表现来创作的 There is much of value in Chinese and foreign literature traditions. What has value should be kept. Older literary forms can be used, but they should be changed, filled with revolutionary content, and pressed into the service of the people. 对于中国和外国过去时代所遗留下来的丰富的文学艺术遗产和优良的文学艺术传统,我们是要继承的,但是目的仍然是为了人民大众。对于过去时代的文艺形式,我们也并不拒绝利用,但这些旧形式到了我们手里,给了改造,加进了新内容,也就变成革命的为人民服务的东西了。 Some comrades mistakenly believe that all art must flow out of “love,” as though love were some transcendent ideal untouched by social class. Others argue that literature should reflect “human nature.” But human nature is a concrete thing with a class dimension, not an abstract concept. What is often called “human nature” is actually capitalist individualism. Literature must not proceed from so-called abstract notions of love, freedom, truth, or humanity. The presence of these errors in the Party show that some comrades have been deeply influenced by bourgeois and capitalist ideas. These comrades should cast off this influence, and study Marxist-Leninist thought. 但是我们有些同志… 说什么一切应该从“爱”出发。就说爱吧,在阶级社会里,也只有阶级的爱,但是这些同志却要追求什么超阶级的爱,抽象的爱,以及抽象的自由、抽象的真理、抽象的人性等等。这是表明这些同志是受了资产阶级的很深的影响。应该很彻底地清算这种影响,很虚心地学习马克思列宁主义…… “人性论”。有没有人性这种东西?当然有的。但是只有具体的人性,没有抽象的人性。在阶级社会里就是只有带着阶级性的人性,而没有什么超阶级的人性。我们主张无产阶级的人性,人民大众的人性,而地主阶级资产阶级则主张地主阶级资产阶级的人性,不过他们口头上不这样说,却说成为唯一的人性。有些小资产阶级知识分子所鼓吹的人性,也是脱离人民大众或者反对人民大众的,他们的所谓人性实质上不过是资产阶级的个人主义,因此在他们眼中,无产阶级的人性就不合于人性 We must not love our enemies. We must not love noxious social phenomena. Rather, we must seek to destroy them. 我们不能爱敌人,不能爱社会的丑恶现象,我们的目的是消灭这些东西。 Many petit bourgeois writers write pessimistic literature that exposes the darkness in society without also showing the light. Capitalist writers invert light and darkness, portraying revolutionaries as thugs and themselves as saints. Only true revolutionary writers praise and expose correctly. All dark powers that harm the people must be exposed, and all the revolutionary struggles of the people must be praised. This is the fundamental duty of revolutionary writers. 许多小资产阶级作家并没有找到过光明,他们的作品就只是暴露黑暗,被称为“暴露文学”,还有简直是专门宣传悲观厌世的…… 反动时期的资产阶级文艺家把革命群众写成暴徒,把他们自己写成神圣,所谓光明和黑暗是颠倒的。只有真正革命的文艺家才能正确地解决歌颂和暴露的问题。一切危害人民群众的黑暗势力必须暴露之,一切人民群众的革命斗争必须歌颂之,这就是革命文艺家的基本任务。 Revolutionary writers must expose the invaders, the exploiters, the oppressors, and their harmful influence on the people. Revolutionary writers must not expose the people themselves. 对于革命的文艺家,暴露的对象,只能是侵略者、剥削者、压迫者及其在人民中所遗留的恶劣影响,而不能是人民大众。 Literature is subordinate to politics. But literature is also a tool of great political influence. Revolutionary literature is like a gear and a screw. These tools are less important than other parts of the machine, but the machine cannot function properly without them. 文艺是从属于政治的,但又反转来给予伟大的影响于政治。革命文艺是整个革命事业的一部分,是齿轮和螺丝钉,和别的更重要的部分比较起来,自然有轻重缓急第一第二之分,但它是对于整个机器不可缺少的齿轮和螺丝钉,对于整个革命事业不可缺少的一部分。 How can we know if the primary motivations of a writer are correct and good? Not by listening to what the writer says, but by observing the effect of that writer’s work on society. 检验一个作家的主观愿望即其动机是否正确,是否善良,不是看他的宣言,而是看他的行为(主要是作品)在社会大众中产生的效果。 In light of many false ideologies that have taken hold among the comrades, what is needed is a strict rectification campaign. Many comrades are unclear of the difference between the proletariat and the petit bourgeoisie. Many comrades have joined the Party with their bodies, but have only partially joined the Party in their thinking. The minds of these comrades are filled with the thoughts of the exploiting class; they do not know what proletariat thinking is, what communism is, what the Party is. So although most within the Party and its ranks are pure, for the future of our leadership, there must be a serious transformation in the thinking and organization of the Party. To transform the organization of the Party, first we must transform the thinking of the Party. There must be an ideological struggle against non-proletariat thinking. 同志们中间还有很多的唯心论、教条主义、空想、空谈、轻视实践、脱离群众等等的缺点,需要有一个切实的严肃的整风运动。我们有许多同志还不大清楚无产阶级和小资产阶级的区别。有许多党员,在组织上入了党,思想上并没有完全入党,甚至完全没有入党。这种思想上没有入党的人,头脑里还装着许多剥削阶级的脏东西,根本不知道什么是无产阶级思想,什么是共产主义,什么是党…… 因此我们的党,我们的队伍,虽然其中的大部分是纯洁的,但是为要领导革命运动更好地发展,更快地完成,就必须从思想上组织上认真地整顿一番。而为要从组织上整顿,首先需要在思想上整顿,需要展开一个无产阶级对非无产阶级的思想斗争。 [end paraphrase] = A concluding thought: Back when I lived in China, I ascribed the bathos, banality, and overwrought patriotism of much modern-day mainstream Chinese music and television to government censorship. But I also sensed that such an ascription was pat and lacked explanatory power. Seeing mainstream Chinese music and television in light of Mao’s instructions on literature and art makes a lot more sense. One of the many things Mao did at Yan’an was come up with—and inculcate—a framework for understanding the making of art in modern China. He provided artists and future leaders of the Party with answers to questions like: Why make art? Who is art is for? What does art do? How should art be made? At Yan’an, Mao made a positive case for Chinese art that serves the people and their Party. This view of art was highly influential and informs the making of art in China to this day. I became aware of Mao’s talks on literature and art through an episode of the Chinese Literature Podcast. A link to that episode is below. Link to the text in Chinese: https://www.marxists.org/chinese/maozedong/marxist.org-chinese-mao-194205.htm Link to the text in English: https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-3/mswv3_08.htm Chinese Literature Podcast: “Art for the Masses: Mao Zedong’s Yan’An Lectures” https://www.chineseliteraturepodcast.com/?p=493 Some statistics: Characters read this year: 31,400 Characters left to read this year: 968,600 Percent of goal completed: 3.1% List of things read: 《三八节有感》by 丁玲 (2,370 characters) 《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲 (10,754 characters) 《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东 (18,276 characters)
  31. 2 points
    Attended: 6 The restaurant we talked about in Chinatown is called MCCB (Modern Chinese Cookbook). Perhaps we should schedule an event to go there together some time? Wow, we covered quite a lot today! If you have some specific questions, you can write them as a comment on the event page so you don't forget to ask them later. We reviewed common phrases for giving directions. 往东走 往西走 往南走 往北走 往前走 往前开 往前骑 直走 过了饭点以后右拐 过了图书馆以后左转 沿着这条路走 We covered how to express over and under. 把杯子放在桌子上 把杯子放在桌子下 We went over how to give commands using 把 preposition. 把鱼蒸一蒸。 把衣服洗洗。 把玩具给我。 We went over measure words. Ge4 is the generic measure word that you can use anywhere. But you can optionally use other measure words depending on the noun. 一个人 两个人 三个人 一只猫 (zhi is for most animals) 一只狗 一条狗 (more common) 一条鱼 (tiao is for things that are long and thin) 一条河 一辆车 We reviewed the words for morning, noon, and afternoon. 早上 (morning over) 中午 (middle noon) 下午 (under noon) You can certainly say 下午好 to someone, but maybe it'd be better to say 你吃了吗?in the afternoon. We discussed when to say er4 and when to say liang3 for 2. 两个人 (liang with measure words) 2:00 两点钟 (liang for time of day) 2012 二零一二 (er for years) Special colloquial term for 两个:俩 我们两个人去电影院吧 我们俩去电影院吧 We discussed the 被 preposition. 鱼被我蒸了 衣服被他洗了 我被他欺负了 We did a couple rounds of collaborative storytelling, where everyone takes turns contributing a sentence to the story. 我很喜欢旅行。I like to travel. 我去过中国。I've been to China. 我的朋友住在台湾,他酿啤酒。My friend lives in Taiwan; he brews beer. 我喜欢中国菜。I like Chinese food. 我叫飞鸿。My name is Feihong. Huang Feihong is a very popular character in Chinese history and film. Jackie Chan's most famous turn as Huang Feihong featured one of his most iconic fight scenes. There is also a famous actress named Yu Feihong, who may be China's most famous spinster. 你的名字很漂亮。Your name is pretty. 我非常感谢你,是我老师起的。Thank you very much, it was chosen by my teacher. 我在微信看到你。I saw you on WeChat. 我们一起喝杯啤酒吧。Let's have a beer together. (Note that you could also use 瓶, 听, or 桶 for the measure word) 我知道附近有一家很棒的酒吧。I know an excellent bar nearby. Questions, corrections, thoughts? Leave a comment!
  32. 2 points
    How many 69s are there en route?
  33. 2 points
    我想去中国学汉语。 我相信在英国学汉语很难因为所有的东西都用英语。 我工作工资不错可是我的经理不是友好的人而且我的工作很无聊。 我想存钱所以我从来不需要工作。三年后我就可以去中国。 如果我继续工作,我就没有很多时间提高我汉语的水平。
  34. 2 points
    As I finally got round to uploading my photos to my computer, this week I have added a few random photos from uni and around Harbin in general! I haven't got a ton to add this week as I now plan to wait and then write a bigger entry in 3 weeks, as that will be the end of this semester. I got a 98 on my final comprehensive midterm and so I was really pleased with that. My comp teacher said that our biggest issue now as a class is getting our speaking up to scratch. For me personally I need to work on speaking speed, as I tend to pause a lot when thinking of what I want to say next. This is also what I do in English, and so with Mandarin being a new language, the problem becomes compounded! In order to continue to build my vocabulary, and especially to make my 口语更丰富了, I have been trying to find new adverbs and conjunctions. Things like 何必,何况,究竟等等. I might even start a thread to build a good list of these kind of words, as I find they really make things more interesting, not only for speaking, but also when writing 文章. My family (mum, dad, sister, brother-in-law and niece) are all out visiting at the moment and we are having a blast. Our comp teacher had said that if anyone got 95 or above in our midterm, we could miss 3 classes for free, whether it be this year or in the following 3 years sometime! It worked out perfectly for me to miss 3 while my family is here, and being as I only have comp class on a Friday I get a 3 day weekend!
  35. 1 point
    Faded 消逝 Original by Alan Walker Translated and presented by Enjune Zhang You were the shadow to my light 你如影嵌入我命里 Did you feel us 能否感受彼此 Another start 新的开始 You fade away 你渐渐消逝 Afraid our aim is out of sight 怕我们的蓝图已遗失 Wanna see us 只愿彼此 Alight 依然明丽 Where are you now 你在何方 Where are you now 你在何方 Where are you now 你在何方 Was it all in my fantasy 难道这只是我幻想 Where are you now 你在何方 Were you only imaginary 难道你长眠于我的想象 Where are you now 你在何方 Atlantis 如岛屿沉溺 Under the sea 沉入海里 Under the sea 匿于海底 Where are you now 你在何方 Another dream 另一重梦境 The monsters running wild inside of me 万千思绪如猛兽追逐心际 I'm faded 我正消逝 I'm faded 我已消逝 So lost 迷失 I'm faded 已消逝 I'm faded 渐已消逝 So lost 迷失 I'm faded 已消逝 These shallow waters never met 浅水区不曾让我满足  What I needed 不曾止步 I'm letting go 我只追逐 A deeper dive 更深的潜伏 Eternal silence of the sea 无尽海里只剩沉寂 I'm breathing 我在呼吸 Alive 尚存一息 Where are you now 你在何方 Where are you now 你在何方 Under the bright 身处微光 But faded lights 却渐渺茫 You set my heart on fire 你点燃我心 光芒万丈 Where are you now 你在何方 Where are you now 你在何方 Where are you now 你在何方 Atlantis 如岛屿沉溺 Under the sea 沉入海里 Under the sea 匿于海底 Where are you now 你在何方 Another dream 另一重梦境 The monsters running wild inside of me 万千思绪如猛兽追逐心际 I'm faded 我正消逝 I'm faded 我已消逝 So lost 迷失 I'm faded 已消逝 I'm faded 渐已消逝 So lost 迷失 I'm faded 已消逝 faded消逝-enjune.mp3
  36. 1 point
    The main menu is entirely English and standard cafe burgers and breakfasts. Not been in yet, but maybe next time I'm passing.
  37. 1 point
    OK I know weird translations of food are a cheap shot, but I figured someone must know the story behind this one... Possibly even the precursor to women laughing alone with salad?
  38. 1 point
    我很失望。 七月十四号我开始新的日记只用汉语。 到七月十五,我停了! 我停了为了集中提高我的听力。[See Note 1] 从今天我会集中写句子因为。 我很难写对法语的句子。[See Note 2] 这使得说汉语很难。[See Note 3] 我先提高我汉语写的能力然后我提高我的口语能力。 Note 1: Can I use 了 here? I've been told I need to use 下 but not sure why. Note 2: Trying to say "I find it very hard to write grammatically correct sentences." Note 3: Trying to say "This makes speaking Hanyu very difficult." 我正在看《如若巴黎不快乐》。 我觉得不很好中国戏剧。 为什么在中国戏剧主要男的演员常常逼女人做不想做的东西? 女人说“不,不,不” 可是男人还逼她。 在英国,观众会抱怨。 Sorry for my poor writing!!!!
  39. 1 point
    Announcements We encourage you to sign up for events on Meetup.com Any specific feedback on previous months’ activities? Would someone else like to try taking notes? We welcome feedback! Comments to blog posts are fine Private messages through Meetup.com or WeChat work as well Review of last month's meeting Introductions at 1:30 pm Q&A Activity: Intro to WeChat vocabulary: 加我吧,请加我,发信息,发微信,发短信,微信群,把我加到群里吧,你想加入我们的群吗?, 请扫我,你来扫我吧,我来扫你吧,发语音,翻译 WeChat functionality (15 minutes): Scan someone Let someone else scan you Add someone to group by letting them scan the group QR code Translate message Send voice message Create group Mention: switch interface to Chinese, export to email, people nearby, shake How to ask for help in WeChat group (15 minutes): Simple question: expect a direct answer Non-question: how do I say this? Question in quotes: how do I ask this in Chinese? Voice message: how is my pronunciation? Answer questions in WeChat group (30 minutes): 你最喜欢吃什么? 你上次旅游的时候去了哪里?玩了什么? 请你描述一下你很喜欢的电影的情节,但不要暴露电影的名字哦! 请你给我们推荐一个跟中国或中文有关的作品 Play a round of Werewords if there's time Optional Mandarin corner for 15-30 minutes (set timer) Notes for future reference: wechat in chinese webcomics (pair up) dictation (google translate) translation (poem, song, dialogue) partial verses interview art museum madlibs text adventure
  40. 1 point
    Attendees: 7 Q&A: Get divorced: 我离婚了 我们离婚了 Get married: 我结婚了 我们结婚了 Get a haircut: 我要去一次理个发 Sign a contract: 我签了工作合同 我签了一张工作合同 张 is the measure word for flat things: 一张桌子 一张纸 一张扑克牌 Exception: You cannot use 张 with plates! You have to say 一个盘子. I like to spend time with friends 我喜欢和朋友一起玩 How do you address people on the street? Somewhat close to your age: 美女, 帅哥 Older than you by 20+ years: 阿姨, 叔叔 Much older than you: 大爷 Different examples of using 了: 我吃过了。 你吃了吗? 我吃了。 我还没吃。 你考完试了吗? 我喝咖啡了。 我喝了咖啡。 Note that the 了 is a character with multiple pronunciations and meanings. See 了解 (understand), 了结 (finish), and 知了(cicada). Here is a list grammar patterns using 了, from Chinese Grammar Wiki: https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/了 Anna asked a question about how people remember characters. Wenlin is an excellent academic desktop application for learning about etymology and character breakdowns (phonetic and signific), but is very expensive and not recommended for the average learner. A more affordable and more convenient tool is the Outlier Chinese character dictionary add-on for Pleco. To chat: 闲聊 聊天 Kid's song: 儿歌 快乐的小王子 (The Happy Little Prince) 蚊子蚊子嗡嗡叫 Mosquitoes, mosquitoes, buzzing buzzing 咬得小朋友都是包 Biting children so they're covered with bumps 我愿变成一只癞蛤蟆 I wish to become a toad 把他们都吃掉 To eat them all up 我的衣服很粗糙 My clothes are rough 也没有青蛙名声好 My reputation is not as good as a frog's 小朋友们都不爱我 The children all don't like me 我不难过,也不烦恼 I'm not sad, nor am I vexed This song can be thought of as a satirical reaction to this famous kid's song: 虫儿飞 (Bugs flying), although the bugs are clearly lightning bugs, even if not explicitly stated Sentences with similar grammar patterns: 小狗汪汪叫 知了吱吱叫 树叶掉得满地都是 打得人都是伤 我愿读这本书 我愿唱一首歌 愿 is short for 愿意, expressing "I wish", as opposed to "I want" (我想) It's more natural to say 我愿意为你(do something) over 我想为你(do something) 这些东西,他们都不想买 大家都爱美食 我不要咖啡,也不要茶 我不要吃饭,也不要睡觉 把活都干完 把衣服都洗好 我的妹妹很漂亮 你的皮肤很光滑 我的菜没有他的好吃 Two ways to express comparison: 她比我快 我没有她快 You can find Chinese kid's songs on iTunes Podcasts, and especially on the Chinese podcast app 喜马拉雅. Picks: Feihong: Interview with US diplomat Chas Freeman on Sinica podcast (part 1 of 3) Anna: Jay Chou's movie 不能说的秘密 Ethan: ADVChina Youtube channel. Is it Stupid to Move to China in 2018? might be a good episode to start with. Richard: Theme song from Jackie Chan movie The Myth, Endless Love Tom: The book AI Superpowers by Kai-fu Lee Yunyi: 蓝精灵, Chinese version of the Smurf theme song 拇指姑娘 快乐的小王子.mp3
  41. 1 point
    I am a week late in updating my blog for a couple of reasons. Firstly because of the week off, and secondly because we moved house last weekend. Our landlord wanted to sell her place, and we wanted to move out before it gets really cold. We have found an awesome place, cheaper and bigger than the last one. Mid-terms are fast approaching, and I have 5 out of 8 of them over the next two weeks. Speaking was last week. For someone Chinese, our speaking teacher is very direct when it comes to telling us how we are progressing. I can't remember if I mentioned it in my last post or not, but we had to do a dialogue with a friend, and then do a short powerpoint presentation on a topic that we were allowed to choose from a selection of 7 topics. I felt that it went ok, but because of nerves my pronunciation was even worse than usual (my tones are pretty bad at the best of times). The teacher said the presentation was fine, but my pronunciation was pretty bad. I already knew that, but being told it by the teacher was discouraging! However, I am glad he hammers me on this because it challenges me to improve. For our midterm we were randomly put into groups, and then given 3 words. We had to do a 10 minute presentation. The first task was to explain each of the 3 words, basically as if we were teaching the class. Then we had to write a dialogue which included the 3 words, and present that. Having been blasted for my pronunciation, I made sure to practice this over and over so it would be better. I got a 98 on the exam and my teacher said that this time there were no major tone mistakes, and that it was way better than before. I was really encouraged by this. In general my pronunciation isn't really any better than 2 weeks ago, but because I have seen that I am CAPABLE of having much better pronunciation, this has sort of re-energized me to put more effort into getting it correct. The task now is to get to a point where I can speak like I did after 3 days of continually practicing the same 10 minute talk, without having to think about it. It wouldn't surprise me if this takes a lot longer than my time at university here! However, I have to start somewhere! I got some advice from my teacher, as well as trying to follow some points from one of Imron's posts on improving speaking. I am also really encouraged to be hearing more words I know in general conversation. Over the past few weeks these are a few of the words/phrases that I learnt, and then heard/read and immediately recognized when chatting with Chinese people - 露一手,侵略,急于求成,结巴,挖. Until next time!
  42. 1 point
    I am a week late in updating my blog for a couple of reasons. Firstly because of the week off, and secondly because we moved house last weekend. Our landlord wanted to sell her place, and we wanted to move out before it gets really cold. We have found an awesome place, cheaper and bigger than the last one. Mid-terms are fast approaching, and I have 5 out of 8 of them over the next two weeks. Speaking was last week. For someone Chinese, our speaking teacher is very direct when it comes to telling us how we are progressing. I can't remember if I mentioned it in my last post or not, but we had to do a dialogue with a friend, and then do a short powerpoint presentation on a topic that we were allowed to choose from a selection of 7 topics. I felt that it went ok, but because of nerves my pronunciation was even worse than usual (my tones are pretty bad at the best of times). The teacher said the presentation was fine, but my pronunciation was pretty bad. I already knew that, but being told it by the teacher was discouraging! However, I am glad he hammers me on this because it challenges me to improve. For our midterm we were randomly put into groups, and then given 3 words. We had to do a 10 minute presentation. The first task was to explain each of the 3 words, basically as if we were teaching the class. Then we had to write a dialogue which included the 3 words, and present that. Having been blasted for my pronunciation, I made sure to practice this over and over so it would be better. I got a 98 on the exam and my teacher said that this time there were no major tone mistakes, and that it was way better than before. I was really encouraged by this. In general my pronunciation isn't really any better than 2 weeks ago, but because I have seen that I am CAPABLE of having much better pronunciation, this has sort of re-energized me to put more effort into getting it correct. The task now is to get to a point where I can speak like I did after 3 days of continually practicing the same 10 minute talk, without having to think about it. It wouldn't surprise me if this takes a lot longer than my time at university here! However, I have to start somewhere! I got some advice from my teacher, as well as trying to follow some points from one of Imron's posts on improving speaking. I am also really encouraged to be hearing more words I know in general conversation. Over the past few weeks these are a few of the words/phrases that I learnt, and then heard/read and immediately recognized when chatting with Chinese people - 露一手,侵略,急于求成,结巴,挖. Until next time!
  43. 1 point
    What is this sign forbidding, and what is the rationale given? Bonus: Where was this photo likely to have been taken?
  44. 1 point
    Here's an amazing fact about a loanword in Chinese which is casually thought by many people to be a Chengyu. The word is 歇斯底里(xiē sī dǐ lǐ). Even by appearance, we would recognise it as a Chengyu, not to mention that it looks seemingly like a concise idiom just like all other Chengyu. However, the word actually came from "hysteria", which is a specialised medical term for a mental disease that makes the patients experience extreme and uncontrollable emotions. It's hard to tell whether the word is first translated as a technical term or not, but the corresponding Chinese transcription, 歇斯底里, did have been used for the same disease before. What is the most amazing about this word is, despite it IS a medical term used in specialised context, it seems to appear in casual usage much more frequently. People use it just like some casual or informal Chengyu and idioms, which has somehow turned 歇斯底里 into a daily idiom as well. Usually, 歇斯底里 is used to describe a mental condition of a person which makes the person have an extreme feeling that stirs him unnaturally, often with extremely uncontrollable emotions or behaviours.
  45. 1 point
    Attended: 5 (2 advanced) Introductions, how long have you been studying Chinese and why? Went over basic functionality of Pleco, encouraged members to continue looking up new words as we go to get more familiar with the interface. Pleco points: Switching between simplified and traditional Switching between English and Chinese (when ambiguous) Turning on handwriting input We went over a couple of short monologues about life, extracting the general structure for other members to customize to their own particular situation. Original monologues: 我喜欢棒球。 我喜欢看比赛。 我最喜欢小熊队。 我的太太怀孕了。 她会生一个儿子。 她现在不吃糖。
  46. 1 point
    Attended: 7 Introductions. Why are you learning Chinese and how long have you been studying it? I recommended Pleco as the best software dictionary, and we discussed some of its useful features. We played Werewords. I think this worked pretty well because the game is fairly simple and it allows players to practice some common patterns of asking yes/no questions such as: 是不是noun? 是noun吗? 它有没有noun? 它有noun吗? 可不可以用它verb noun? 可以用它verb noun吗? 跟noun有关吗? We also practiced answering yes/no questions by mirroring the question and reformatting it, e.g. 它是一种机器码? 不,它不是一种机器。
  47. 1 point
    Attended: 6 We played Werewords for the first time. It was pretty good, but I don't think we need to do more than a couple of rounds. We talked about the miraculous liquid (which we've all ingested at some point) that can be used to cure a dog's eye infection. Feihong recommended Vox's Today Explained podcast. Miho introduced the topic of embarrassing situations at work Feihong recommended the "Street Cupid" series of videos on YouTube. Here's a good one to start with.
  48. 1 point
    看着就垂涎三尺
  49. 1 point
    What is the language on the top row?
  50. 1 point
    Not much to say about this one.
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