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Showing content with the highest reputation on 07/01/2020 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    I have been thinking about this since the question was posted. I have a smart/fitness watch and I can think of a use for it as an aid to my Chinese studies as a very simple flashcard app. Just a procession of characters on the screen, swipe right for "Know it" and left " Forgotten it" When it syncs with my phone/tablet it can put the Forgotten ones in the list for study. I can image using it while waiting in a queue (something we are all doing more of), a taxi, bus ride which is not very long, or anywhere else I have 5 minutes or so. I even thought of a working title for such a project - Chinder.
  2. 1 point
    Disclaimer: This write up is not a guide on how to type using Cangjie, check out the wiki page for a basic intro if you're interested. This is aimed at anyone who simply wants to know whether learning a new input method is or is not worth the time investment. 2020 has been a very strange year for me, as I'm sure it has for most of us. With all the extra time, I decided to get down to some things that I've wanted to do for a while but...just never had the time. One of those things was learning to type Cangjie both fast enough that I can use it for live conversation on Wechat, and for practicing my character retention abilities. There are a number of shape-based input methods for Chinese out there, the most famous being Cangjie (倉頡), Dayi (大易) and Zhengma (鄭碼) for traditional, and Wubi (五笔) for simplified. I chose to learn Cangjie as it is well suited for typing both traditional and simplified, which can't be said of most other shape-based methods (most are now able to some extent, but mainly rely on 'conversion' rather than directly typing in the specific character according to its structure). Thats not to say Cangjie is 'the best' of these systems, its just the one that suited my needs the most. Other benefits of Cangjie are that it is widely available and license-free, so no worries that it will suddenly disappear or require some payment to use. It also uses a lot less keys than methods such as Dayi, so less finger stretching. Regardless, I believe Cangjie is an incredibly well-designed system, a real work of genius that functions to break down computer-font characters in the same way stroke order helps with handwriting characters. After 6 months of practice I have racked up just close to 100 hours of typing practice on anki (typing out sentences from memory based on prompts). I can now reach around 25-30cpm. I type at around 60-70wpm in English, so I've still got a long way to go, but I'm happy with my progress as it stands. Here's what I've found is important on my journey: 1. Your keyboard keys affect how a shape-based input method helps with character retention I originally set out using normal keys with alphanumeric symbols. I learned to touch type fairly quickly in Cangjie, but found that I began to see characters as strings of English letters in my head, a little like how when you're typing in pinyin you often think of the romanised version of what you're writing before the image of the character floats into your mind. This became quite annoying and counterconstructive, so I got some Cangjie stickers from ebay and stuck them on blank keycaps to see what difference there might be. The difference was noticeable immediately, as I began to associate the keys with Chinese characters much quicker. However, I still found that with some of the more difficult keys (where the character and the element it could represent are connected in a fairly abstract way), my brain would start remembering the string of keys for the character instead of properly decomposing it into its elements. The brain always chooses the easiest option I guess. A good example of this would be 麼, where 戈 represents both 广 and 丶 in the decomposition, with 女 also representing the stroke 𡿨, it was just easier to remember 麼=戈木女戈, or even just the shape the keys made on the keyboard. So I decided to make a set of keys similar to the ones you see for 五笔, where every single symbol is listed on the keycaps (ive seen them for 鄭碼 too, probably because the amount you need to remember for it is too much of a burden on the brain). I should emphasise, I decided to use this keyboard specifically for the purposes of character retention. If I wanted raw speed I would just use blank keycaps and rely on muscle memory. This keyboard has had a massive effect on how Cangjie has helped with remembering character writing, and if anyone is interested I'll be happy to send on the inkscape file. Now when I look at my keyboard to type 麼 I can actually look for 广 - 木 (-木) -𡿨-厶 instead of remembering some arbitrary code or pattern. Think that looks scary? Its not, it is very intuitive and can be learnt in half an hour of typing I would estimate. Check out 徐碼 for a typing system that has a single code for every single character you could possibly type. Bet you like the look of that Cangjie keyboard now: 2. Cangjie 5 is a massive improvement on Cangjie 3. Microsoft Cangjie is riddled with errors. I first set out using Cangjie probably around 2 years ago, but it was only really out of curiousity and I only used it on my phone. I didnt realise it at the time but I was using the 3rd generation of the system (for reference, 1 and 2 were largely just glorified betas). Then when I moved onto using cangjie on my laptop (ms surface), I discovered that many of the codes were different, despite it still being classed as Cangjie 3. Thankfully I came across this fantastic wikibook which not only explained the errors that MS has made in its own hacky version of Cangjie (after parting ways with the creator of Cangjie), but also showed how the 5th generation of Cangjie had corrected all the weird decomposition errors and inconsistencies in Cangjie 3. I immediately switched to Cangjie 5 and have not looked back, it is internally consistent and logical throughout. I strongly recommend any future students of Cangjie to use Cangjie 5, it is a pleasure to type with and really feels like you're writing characters, just like that feeling you get when you type English and your thoughts seem to just 'appear' on the screen - there is no feeling of detachment. Here are some notes I made when I first made the switch from MS Cangjie 3 to Cangjie 5 (using 倉頡平台) Correction of character selection order based on frequency. Eg 致 before 玫,知 before 佑. Damn that ms input was annoying, always having to add in '2' after so many common characters. recognition of 尸 as representative of the double dot, eg 假 人口尸水 應:戈人土心 this is fantastic, finally the parts are separated properly! 篼 has been corrected to 竹竹女山 (instead of 竹竹尸弓, which breaks away from the treatment of 兜 as a single unit (both in 3 and 5) 撐 and 撑 have their own unique codes (another MS error, typing 牙 here gives you 手...) 木廿 来 大木 东 etc the list goes on... I encourage anyone thats interested in comparing the differences between CJ 3 and 5 to have a look at this list. In fact, browse through the whole book, its incredibly well written. (Written by the 'boss'? of 倉頡之友, a forum without which I would never have found any success in learning 倉頡). 3. Cangjie is really fun to type with If you've ever felt the frustration of having to cycle through pages of characters to find the one you want, hate typing out whole words then delete the parts you don't want, or if you just can't stand 联系and 练习 causing all your friends to question what on earth you've been doing with all those hours of Chinese study, then Cangjie is defintely worth a try (or any other shape-based input method for that matter). Once you get used to typing using a shape-based method, you realise just how annoying typing phonetically is. Yes, I get it, its very, very, very easy to learn, and it means you don't have to remember how to write characters, only recognise them. But if you are at all interested in writing Chinese, then try Cangjie (or Wubi if you're simplified only gang) and I'm sure you'll never look back. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing an obscure character and being able to check it instantaneously in your dictionary. I still remember the first time I saw 鑾 and realised it was just three keys right next to each other (女火金), the pure satisfaction... Here is an update video of me typing from today:https://youtu.be/DaZ9QRSKTbc I drafted a short paragraph then recorded myself typing it back out. There are errors, and its pretty slow going, but still, shows where I am honestly at after 6 months. Hope some of this helps, and if you've got any questions let me know and I'll try and help out
  3. 1 point
    Hello everyone, I am learning Mandarin as a second language and I am at HSK3 level. My gf (native speaker) and I decided to start a YouTube channel to help people at my level practice their listening while learning about current topics in an accessible way. We would love as much feedback as possible on the content and the learning experience from students like yourself to make sure we can do something really useful for you. Our channel is: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCj5Hkvgl9nCSTOjEKjWyhvg/ Would you be so kind to share your candid feedback about it? Much appreciated! Cheers, Jonathan
  4. 1 point
    (sorry, another mooc post) I bring this up here because there are very few moocs on Classical Chinese and I think this is an exceptionally good one...maybe I'm biased. It is a 17 lessons mooc from Wuhan University: 古汉语 (Ancient Chinese) Teacher: 王统尚 (Wang Tongshang) https://www.icourse163.org/course/WHU-1002922024 It's not entirely on classical Chinese, but he syllabus is very interesting, includes a fair amount of readings, and the topics presentation is clear and very unusual (I'm at the end of Lesson 5 and still haven't heard 5,000 年的历史 even once!). The teacher is excellent, he explains 文言文 very well and has a fantastic sense of humour (his selection of readings is proof). The videos are subtitled (in simplified Chinese) and the subtitles are responsive to mouseover dictionaries like Zhongwen so one gets instant word lookup. There's a slight snag (depending on how one sees it), the teacher speaks some sort of Wu dialect (吴语). I had no close experience of it when the course started, but the subtitles allowed me to understand the lectures. Now, at the end of Week 5, it seems that the teacher's accent has become a lot weaker and I'm not so glued to the subtitles. Another snag is, some of the 文言文, like this week's texts (from the Mencius) is quite difficult. It's not an easy course but sticking with it can be very rewarding. A third snag: it's a very popular course, which means there are bandwidth / buffering problems at certain times (Sundays during term time are almost impossible) - but all is running smoothly now and I can even set the video player to HD. Registration is about to close for this semester. The lessons remain available for registered students to study at their own pace. If you can't sign up now, the mooc will run again next semester and interested students can sign up when registration re-opens. To sign up, one has to be registered with 中国大学MOOC. Registration is easy but needs a legitimate mobile phone number, you can register directly or using Weibo / Wechat / QQ. There's an iOS app for iPad/iPhone (where you can legally download video lessons to watch offline). More information on 中国大学MOOC here: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/53786-chinese-universities-moocs-中国大学-moocs/
  5. 1 point
    I've only ever heard fan3er2 in Hubei, but it's quite flat in tone, not as exaggerated as the standard fan3er2 you hear on TV. I asked my wife and she says that she's heard people from 东北 say fan2er3, definitely a dialect preference
  6. 1 point
    For HSK 4 they're pretty irrelevant as you only have to write short sentences, but for HSK 5 they should have much more use. You should be able to get an example of what type of sentence structures are used, the range of vocab, and what type of content you should write for each question.
  7. 1 point
    That's because Chinese students have already gone through the basics and more in Primary and High School. Most moocs are for University level learners, so most of what is listed are advanced guided readings and analyses. Same goes for poetry. The table on the right on this page will give you an idea of how far behind we are - incidentally. this is a great site for anything classical. https://www.gushiwen.cn/ For the real basic grammar etc. one would have to go to the online school sites, though Rouzer, Fuller and co. seem much more suitable for us. Beginners classes assume you're about 7 years old.
  8. 1 point
    If I remember correctly, there are usually example answers at the back of the mock test books you can buy. I remember they had a lot of example sentences for the writing part in HSK 4 when I did that a while ago. I'm sure there would be some mock test examples in the HSK 5 books, too. I've got a tonne of books somewhere. I'll dig them out when I'm free and see if I can find anything.
  9. 1 point
    According to their websites, recently updated: The Edinburgh VFC office will start phased re-opening from today, 30 June (see news item) The Manchester VFC office will start phased re-opening from 7 July (see news item) Both currently have the same limitations as London on the visa types that can be applied for. (Belfast is still showing the closure notice from 27 March.)
  10. 1 point
    Continuing the topic of vaccine development, saw this yesterday in SCMP (South China Morning Post.) Here's the source. The article has more in-depth discussion as well as some video.
  11. 1 point
    @Singe after-match reports are over in this other thread. Results will be out around 8 July I think.
  12. 1 point
    That's exactly the problem, I have a residence permit from last year that is valid until September 2020, but it seems that i won't be able to use it to come back. Another problem is, that if they won't allow me to return until September, i will need to get a new visa. It will be hard as all the documents required for the visa applications i left in China Been doing a little bit of unpaid internship, writing my master thesis and generally using the opportunity to explore Korea a bit. It's not the worst but i'm struggling to survive with the little money I have. At this point, I would welcome any opportunity to return to China, I wouldn't mind going through quarantine (even two quarantines, in Korea and China, why not!), as many COVID tests as they deem necessary, just let me back in 😅 Not a bad idea with Australia or NZ but I'm pretty sure their borders are shut tight. Will definitely consider if they reopen before China. I think I'm in a somewhat unusual situation, most of the students who left China for the winter break went back home. I went travelling instead. Even in the official notes by the university, they tell students who are outside of China to stay in their home country. As if nobody even thought that we may not be in our home country in the first place?? Funny thing is that I was only supposed to stay in Korea for about 3 hours, as I had my layover here, but then the second leg of my flight got cancelled and i've been stuck ever since. It's been at the beginning of March. After my ticket got cancelled I wanted to book a new one, but then I saw the notice from my uni that students outside of China are not allowed to return. At first I thought that I could just disregard it, especially since I don't even live on-campus. But then i started hearing rumours that people who returned got severely punished, many lost their scholarships. Again, not sure if that would happen to me but didn't want to risk it. Decided to stay for a couple weeks in Korea believing that this is probably just temporary and it will be open again soon. The rest you probably know.. Anyway, that's what i'm also worried about - borders reopening but university still expressly prohibiting students to come back. My friends who are in China tell me that they are still extremelly strict about letting people out of the campus (many are not even allowed to do that) while everything else in China is basically back to business as usual. And to make my life even harder, since April universities have stopped sending out scholarships for students who are outside of mainland China.
  13. 1 point
    Just finished HSK 5 home edition. About 10 others taking it. Had great fun in the writing section - normally it's a nightmare trying to remember how to write anything. At the end it just finished the timer and said exam complete (I didn't get to click on "submit paper"). Did that happen to you Mungouk? I assume it just submits it automatically. Audio section was much harder than previous mock exams... reading section the usual disaster - I'd say my result will be similiar to the last time I sat the HSK last November, except writing section should be slightly better. I could have done well in the writing, but sentence structure not great 虽然。。。但是 won't get very many marks at this level but did manage to squeeze in 莫名其妙. The first writing section story I have to admit got a bit weird - it was 浪漫 母亲 至今 and one other word I forget (remembered 微笑)。 (not a difficult word), and another word I didn't know what it meant....I used the word i didn't know as an adjective, and the story was about my mum advising me on the most romantic way of wooing (追ing)my girlfriend...we ended up with 4 kids at the end of the story - not sure that is great advice from my mu qin. And the Second writing section was a dad and Son together - and the son had just caught a fish and is holding the fishing rod with fish on the hook in the picture. So you know I say I'm so proud of you son, but you know we aren't getting any younger and we will have to rely on you soon...so study hard and earn lots of money type thing...now lets go home and eat the fish... yea creative writing is not my strong point! but there was some decent chinese in there compared to my normal crappy writing section.
  14. 1 point
    I did the "at home" version of HSK 4 this morning, conducted by the Confucius Institute at Nottingham University in the UK. There's not really much to add to this lengthy thread about this "at home" version of the test, except that the arrangements went smoothly from my point of view. There were 4 of us taking tests this morning, plus 2 invigilators. We all logged into the same Skype call, presented our ID to the camera and then gave a 360-degree view of the room we were in... it was all very casual. Then we set up our phones/tablets to show ourselves and our computer so that the invigilator could watch us doing the test. My laptop's camera was also on throughout the test... I think the software takes some stills of you during the test for temporary records until the results are released. Then we ran the Exam Client program, it downloaded the test, and we sat there for 30 mins waiting for it to start. Overall I thought Ms Chen the coordinator at the Nottingham CI was really helpful... communications were regularly (emails), she explained everything really well before the test began and so on. I didn't even receive a reply to my email enquiries from some UK Confucius Institutes, but I was very happy with Nottingham — as well as Sheffield, Manchester, London South Bank and Edinburgh, who were all helpful and responsive even though they weren't running the tests this time. The results will be out in 10 days.
  15. 1 point
    2020 Update One or two new 古汉语 / Ancient Chinese moocs have appeared since 2018, so here's an updated list in the 中国大学MOOCs platform. BLCU 古代汉语入门 Introduction to Ancient Chinese https://www.icourse163.org/course/BLCU-1450193180 Don't be put off by the awful introduction in the general pages! This is a rare one, because it is designed for foreign students and doesn't assume any previous knowledge of classical Chinese. It is very well presented and very clear (at least the first few lectures that I have seen), has Chinese subtitles and enough handouts to be able to follow the videos without much trouble. It is very basic, but I think a nice introduction for beginners in Classical Ancient Chinese. More advanced: BLCU 古代汉语 Ancient Chinese https://www.icourse163.org/course/BLCU-1206312837?tid=1206618259 No subtitles, no handouts either. Probably not very appealing for western students. I gave up after the first 2-3 videos. Fujian Normal University 古代汉语 (上)(下) https://www.icourse163.org/course/FJNU-1205698810 Much easier to follow than BLCU's, Chinese subtitles and plenty of handouts. Looks quite well organised, some very interesting insights relating Min language to ancient Chinese. I enjoyed the first few videos and will get back to do more at a slow pace. Wuhan University 古代汉语 https://www.icourse163.org/course/WHU-1002922024?tid=1450286449 Still there and still my favourite but get my brain done in by the teacher's dialect, can only take a bit at a time, tough it is very interesting and funny. Worth the effort. Thankfully the videos have clear Chinese subtitles and the ppts are available for download.
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