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Showing content with the highest reputation since 08/24/2020 in Posts

  1. 14 points
    Wow, this is so funny, I experienced an eerily similar situation to the OP, only mine came from the opposite side: I was on a long train journey in southern China a couple of years back. Unfortunately there weren't any sleepers left, so I had to take a seat. There were four of us squeezed around a tiny table, all strangers, but we got to know each other a little as the afternoon wore on. As night began to fall, one of the passengers, a lady in her early thirties, started to open up about her unhappy marriage: about her bad relationship with her mother-in-law, about how her husband had been seeing prostitutes and how she had just now found out that he was having an affair with a work colleague. The other two people around our table (a man and a woman, both in their thirties or thereabouts) took turns in giving her advice, while I tried my best to keep out of it. At some point I fell asleep and was woken by the noise of the lady having a very animated discussion on the phone while standing in that little area of the train where the bathrooms are (our seats were very close to it). My guess is that she had been thinking about her marriage all night and couldn't wait until she got home before having it all out with her husband. I managed to get back to sleep for another hour or two, only to be woken up by her jabbing finger. She told me that she had decided to divorce and wanted my advice on a tattoo to commemorate the occasion. I think you can see what is coming next... She had decided that 无情 was the best word to describe her current attitude (or aspiration, even), but just like the OP, felt her own language insufficient to express all the layers of meaning that she wanted to convey. She had already found a translation on her phone, "no feelings", and wanted my opinion. Now, it was 3am, and normally I wouldn't be too happy about being woken up so late, especially in a situation in which I generally find it really hard to fall asleep in the first place. However, given the personal crisis she was obviously going through, I didn't have the heart to refuse. As a native English speaker, "no feelings" just sounds a little awkward to me, a bit incomplete. On the other hand, all the other translations ("heartless", "merciless" etc), are not exactly positive descriptions, so I couldn't really recommend those either. I suppose "numb" would be an option, but I think that sounds much more passive than what she was aiming for. There ensued a long conversation about the various meanings and translations of 无情 (on a crowded train, rattling through southern China in the middle of the night), and I was trying my best to keep my voice down to avoid waking anyone else. Despite my misgivings, her heart did seem pretty set on her initial translation, "no feelings", so I guess that is what she went with in the end. Seeing this thread randomly pop up all this time later, I can't help but think that Mr "无情" and Ms "No Feelings" have a kind of 缘分, and that maybe one day this story will have a happy ending!
  2. 9 points
    Hi all, Something I reflect on alot, is people tend to have a warped view of how long it takes to become fluent in Chinese. I myself had it when I started. I told myself that if I did a year studying Mandarin at university in China, I would definitely be fluent in Chinese. 1 year? what the hell was I thinking. In part it's difficult not to think this way, with snappily titled Youtube videos such as "30 days to fluency" or engaging language services such as "The Mandarin Blueprint". It gives the sense, that becoming fluent is easy, can be done in a short amount of time, and is achievable in a smooth and routine manner. Well it can't. As such - here is my guide as to how long a so called "normal person" will take to become "fluent" in Chinese. TLDR - 10 years. A NORMAL Persons Guide of just how much it takes to become Fluent in Chinese Year 1 - Your journey begins with you trying a weekly class of Chinese in your home country. You quite like it and can now say your name, and introduce you family and favourite hobby. You pass HSK 1 - You are not fluent Year 2 - You increase your classes to twice weekly. You can now say colours, talk about your holidays, and introduce a range of hobbies. You pass HSK 2 and 3. Go you! - You still aren't fluent Year 3 - You move to China and sign up to Uni. You have 4 classes a day, 5 days a week. Surely after a year of this you will be well on your way to being fluent? Now you can go to a coffee shop and have a conversation with a language partner for 15 mins all in Chinese. Your family back at home now say you seem completely fluent to them. You pass HSK 4. You still aren't fluent. You feel somewhat dejected. You are starting to realise just how far you have to go. Year 4 - You return home, and continue with weekly classes. Now you can touch on a range of subjects, but you worry you are regressing in your home country. People who you speak to say, wow a year living in China, I bet your language skills are awesome. You hesitantly shrug your shoulders and say, "yeah I guess." You work towards HSK 5 but its alot of words so you vow to take it next year. You still aren't fluent. Year 5 - You move back to China and get a job. You teach english, but your colleagues are Chinese so you hope you will speak in Chinese alot with them. You don't. Their english is way better than your Chinese, and its tiresome to always force them to speak Mandarin. It seems selfish. Your Chinese does improve more than your year at home though. You pretty much grasp everything at a basic level. Any instruction in a shop, or topic of conversation you can make a comment on. You pass HSK 5. You feel pride at this and you should. All your family and friends back home think you are fluent. You still aren't fluent. And despite now passing the advanced level of a Chinese proficiency test, you start to worry that you never will achieve fluency. You've put 5 years into this, and 2 years living abroad, and lets be honest. You. Are. Still. Not. Fluent. Year 6 - Pretty much the same as last year. But slowly you use mandarin a little more. You make a Chinese friend who cant speak English, and when you socialise with them you do so in Mandarin. Cool you think, a relationship that relies on you speaking only Chinese. You start preparing for HSK 6. As always your friends and family back home think you are fluent. And you know what, you have a friend that you converse only in Mandarin with and it works, you can make them laugh and you talk about a considerable range of subjects. You are now socially fluent. Well done! Year 7 - You take a deep dive. You get a girlfriend/boyfriend/housemate that can only speak Mandarin. Now you spend alot of social time with them outside of work. You are now using Mandarin 50% of the time. Thinks flow easy. You rarely feel anxiety thinking, i don't understand what they are saying. If the subject becomes complex or terchnical. You are lost however. You pass HSK 6. You are still socially fluent, but more so. Year 8 - You start a job in a mandarin only environment. All of your colleagues use Chinese. You recognize that whereas before most people had better english than you so the conversation naturally reverted to english, this has now reversed. Your Chinese is better than most people. You spend lots of time learning vocab relevant to your job. You can now express everything you want to say. In reality however it is clunky, and you make many mistakes. Well done. You are now socially fluent, and work fluent. Year 9 - Everything is going well. You rarely meet anyone whose english is better than your mandarin. Many of your friends you now socialise with in Mandarin. You rarely feel anxiety, and even rarer still have no grasp at all of what is going on. You still make many mistakes though, and vow to iron them out. In truth though, if you listen to the radio, or watch tv. Its complex. You get this gist easily, but its not as enjoyable as watching stuff in english. Because your brain is working overtime.You are now socially fluent, and work fluent, but not entertainment content . Year 10 - You find a tv show that you enjoy, and you watch it pretty confidently. Your mistakes start to iron out, and you don't pause it that much. Your family, your friends, your colleagues, your boss, society at large and now, finally, yourself, consider you to be fluent. In reality, fluent is now probably an accurate description of where you are at. PHEW, Well done, it only took 10 years, and not the 30 days you had hoped for. You are now fluent. Despite this, you now have the wisdom to know. This is a life long journey, that is nowhere close to completion. You vow to become more fluent. Notes - Every year it has got harder to define what progress means. No longer do you make big, clear jumps, like when you went from HSK 1 to HSK 4 in around 2 years of serious study. Every year however, it has got easier, to get better at mandarin. Every year your incidental exposure to the language has increased. By year 10 you spend hours practicing Chinese without even intending to. You watch Chinese tv for enjoyment , you speak to friends to socialise, you get paid to work in a chinese office. You do all of this without having to force yourself to do it. You still do intentional study, but now you also do hours of non-intentional study because, well, this is your life. ... Comment This is generalised. It's not my path, it probably wont be yours. There will be outliers and exceptions that do it much quicker/slower. However I do think it is realistic aim for the majority who want to be socially, work, and entertainment content fluent. You are probably looking at 10 years, of consistent study and exposure to the language. And let me be clear, the person above is dedicated, they went to Chinese university for a bit, they lived in china, got a chinese housemate/girlfriend/boyfriend and eventually worked in a Chinese office environment. This person has had lots of kind supportive Chinese friends and teachers, received small grants and scholarships, been able to afford tuition, been given lots of societal support (Wow your Chinese is great!), has had the life and financial circumstances to allow freedom to study. This isn't 10 years of 1 hour weekly classes back at home. My aim for this post, is so people who are say, in year 3 of studying, and have got that nagging feeling they are making no progress and that they should be fluent by now. Well in my opinion, you can relax. If you are a normal person, you shouldn't be. P.S You now you look back and enjoy the long and winding road. You understand the need for consistent but small amounts of effort. You appreciate people who have skills more. You look at your friend who plays a musical instrument and now see all of the small steps it took to play this beautiful tune, rather than just the beautiful tune itself. You feel pride in your friend, and more importantly in yourself. You've gained a life skill that won't erode quickly, the foundations have been built deep and firm. People praise your ability, and you take it onboard, no longer do you think , if only you knew how influent I am. You look at trees differently. You have a sense of self worth. You want to share this feeling and hard earned wisdom with others. You encourage them. You tell them, don't work stick at it. You are even more sure now than ever, that 水滴石穿 is your favourite chengyu. P.P.S - The title is intentionally misleading. There is no guide to becoming fluent in mandarin. Fluent - is such a varied and changing word. We all have our own interpretations of what this means. It's really amorphous. There are no fixed levels of fluency. There is no socially fluent, work fluent etc. It's not an achievement on xbox that you either have or don't have. The aim of this thread, is hoping people aren't so hard on themselves, and realise progress takes time. To relax and enjoy it, rather to constantly worry, I should be "fluent" by this point.
  3. 9 points
    My primary hobby is badminton. More than forty years in the game. I take photos of professionals in international tournaments , undertaken coaching qualifications, teach, compete in competitions. It’s not full time. I have the respect of players who have played at the top level including Olympics. We get along very well. I always wanted to talk to more players. Many players are Mandarin speakers. Learning mandarin helps me communicate with players from China, Taiwan and Malaysia. Hobbies are lifelong. I get invited to go to China because of badminton. It’s a pity I don’t have enough time to learn japanese nor Bahasa as many top players are from Japan and Indonesia. Bahasa would be useful for some Malaysian players. Malaysians can speak hokkien, Cantonese, mandarin, English, Bahasa to varying degrees. At least I can cover that with cantonese and English plus some basic mandarin. People have different motivations for their hobbies. Some will lose interest but come back to it. That’s not a problem. So long as the individual is happy, I think that’s is what matters rather than the absolute level of expertise or the length of time. Every person is different. My university classmate is a success story for Spanish. After the age of thirty, she started Spanish and continued it for ten years at a local college. Later she would go on cycling holidays in Spanish speaking countries practicing and using the language. I am lucky to have a hobby that I love and can pass on to a new generation. I can make new friends with it, travel and use it. These aspects are easily overlooked. For learning a language, perhaps we don’t see it as similar to sports. But even in a chinese learning forum like this we can interact and discuss, learn and talk with each other. Personally, I think it’s wonderful. I met a couple of people through this forum in real life that I wouldn’t have got to meet in normal life. We had a great time (I ate most of the 北京烤鸭 at dinner 😂). Will I ever get to true fluency? Probably not. Can I use what I learnt (even if limited) to enrich my life and make things more interesting? Definitely so.
  4. 8 points
    Update: so one more day until freedom! i did my final covid test (just as brutal as the airport) on Tuesday. I will be issued with release papers and test results upon checkout that will allow me to freely travel until my health code turns green. My 社区 in Beijing asked me to fill out another WeChat mini app form that details my return to Beijing - they require me to report my temperature twice a day for 7 days once i'm back in Beijing. I've heard some other 社区s have asked people to quarantine for a further 7 days at home...
  5. 7 points
    Hahaha, you'll love Japan then. Only Chinese people will say something like that. Japanese people will expect you to have to do "it", no exceptions for being a foreigner. Striving to become Chinese is more like an option in China, but it's absolutely necessary to strive to be Japanese in Japan if you're anything more than a short term visitor. After the first day when everyone is super excited to meet you and everything, expect everyone to hate you as you do everything wrong and inconvenience everyone... until you manage to learn Japanese culture, which is honestly a little hard. The point is, if a Japanese person acted like you, they'd be hated too, so it's kind of fair (actually they'd be totally despised; there is some level of forgiveness/understanding that foreigners will do things wrong). Short term visitors have a completely different experience where everyone will (pretend to) love them no matter what they do and they will get away with everything. Some people like this experience and try to act like this for a long time. Don't lol. As for what Japanese culture is like, well it's like a polar opposite of Chinese culture in a way. Like, in China nobody gives a **** about anything they don't have to care about. In my opinion, it feels really liberating and refreshing to be in China. There are tons of things that are "okay to do" in China but would irritate even weaterners (I dunno, putting bones on the table, spitting on the street, folding up your shirt, toddlers using trees as toilets, pushing people into the metro car who are trying to get out, the list goes on). In general, in my opinion this makes Chinese culture a very open and accepting culture in general. You can do whatever you want, act however you like, and if nobody is bothered by it, it's probably okay. For example, say if a guy crossdressed as a girl in a lolita dress and went around town, in China nobody would really care, or at most, people would be amused or want to take pictures of them. In other parts of the world they may get judged and things. Even in western culture there are some sort of "societal norms and expectations" that "normal people" are expected to adhere to in order to be respected. This is practically non-existent in China. Nowadays in China, the government is using technology and surveillance to try to "encourage civilized behaviour", and for the most part it works. But the thing is, people do it only because of the surveillance. Japan, on the other hand, takes it to the other extreme. There is no "freedom" in a cultural sense, everyone is strongly expected to "do the right thing" in society which involves quite a lot of things. In a way, Japanese culture itself "encourages civilized behaviour" without the need for surveillance cameras technology, because instead everyone's eyes are the cameras. Everybody is watching everyone all the time, and nobody wants to be caught doing something "bad". This whole system results in a pretty elegant and efficient society. Many foreign visitors to Japan are surprised at how clean and nice it is, or how good the quality of service is etc. As a visitor, Japan feels like heaven because everything works properly and efficiently and nicely, but it's easy for them because they're not a part of the system. But then when you think about it, for everything to be so clean in Japan, people have to clean up everything all the time. For service to be so good, service workers have to provide good service... or else. I dunno if I'm explaining it well, but like for Japan to function as it does, it requires the collective input of everyone to be doing the things and acting in the way they are expected to in society. It's honestly a big pain and a lot of work. Not just "work" though, but the cultural expectations of how you're supposed to act in front of people. These include hierarchical relations between people, and inner-outer relations between people, and the surface and the behind, and so many things. You'll understand it all eventually. When I was in China I had a lot of Japanese friends. While it's true that many Japanese people were irritated by all the things that were "okay" to do in China that totally baffled them. There were also a lot of people who loved their newfound freedom of no longer having to be shackled by Japanese culture. Japanese culture is stressful and annoying even to actual Japanese people, but they put up with it in Japan because they have to. When foreigners come into the equation, usually everything screws up because foreigners don't have the same cultural base, so there's no guarantee they would act properly in the complicated framework system that is Japanese culture. Basically, there's no guarantee that foreigners share "Japanese common sense". This is why Japanese people are so racist basically. Let's say you're a foreigner, and you want to do something (say, rent an apartment), when a Japanese person sees that you're a foreigner, they're probably thinking "oh God, I don't know if this person knows what he's doing" (in terms of renting an apartment, there's a fear that foreigners won't take care of it as well, because foreigners don't necessarily have the same "Japanese common sense" in terms of how to properly take care of an apartment). In the past, it was easiest for Japanese people to just reject services and run away and avoid interactions with foreigners in general, but this is slowly being understood as racist (I'm sure it still happens for apartments though), and now I guess people just bite the loss and hate you secretly inside if things screw up because a foreigner did something wrong. Imagine this issue exists basically for every little thing in life. Japanese people are proud of their culture; expect Japanese people to feel they are fundamentally superior to foreigners who don't share their culture. As a foreigner living in Japan, the best thing you can do is be aware of this issue as much as you can. When people see you're a foreigner and start hating you automatically, it's up to you to prove your understanding of Japanese culture to make people feel comfortable that you won't screw things up. People who you actually know will know you know and treat you fine, but every stranger will secretly worry you are likely to be a cultural idiot/inferior subhuman the moment they see you, and you have to start to prove yourself from the ground up every single time to every single new person you meet. It sucks, but if Japanese people showed no prejudices to foreigners at all, Japanese society would completely fall apart. And that's assuming you even get Japanese culture in the first place. I'm not saying it's impossible, but for me personally, I'd say I get like 80% ish of it. I would say I'm fairly successful in assimilating as being a "bad Japanese". But I still screw up all the time, and keeps causing problems. But it extra sucks for me because I'm good enough that people totally forget I'm a foreigner (and therefore I don't get the forgiveness/understanding afforded to foreigners who screw up), but I'm still not good enough that people actually like me as a Japanese. And even though I can be a 80% correct Japanese, it takes a lot of mental effort for me to do this, and I find it tiring and unpleasant, while I'm sure that for actual Japanese people, even if it's still tiring and unpleasant for them too, they're probably more used to it.
  6. 7 points
    I wonder what you would consider essential knowledge about China including geography, history, public holidays, politics, culture, pop culture, etc. So, a bit like "what would the Chinese equivalent of the British citizen test" (https://lifeintheuktestweb.co.uk/british-citizenship-test-practice-questions-12/) or what "would you expect the average Chinese high school graduate would/should know about China". This thread is to collect topics including possible sources (books, links, etc) of what you would expect to be essential knowledge. For instance here is a 10+ hour lecture series on Chinese history, I like: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLafBIh7dYzoIWlQfebcrNbwCt_TdTvv96
  7. 6 points
    I've done Chinese-to-English translation myself (monolingually-raised native English speaker) and also worked alongside other translators, most of whom were monolingually-raised native Chinese speakers. The best of them weren't able to produce truly "native-like" English, but that didn't mean their translations were bad or worthless. On the contrary, many times they could capture nuances in the source that I would have totally missed. Working together, them translating and me editing, we could produce better and faster results than either of us could individually. And for lower-priority copy that didn't need to be so polished, they could easily do a good-enough job without needing my help at all. Don't put yourself down Kenny! I'd rank your Chinese-to-English translations as on a par with some of the best I've worked with, which is no small feat.
  8. 6 points
    So, I have been doing this regularly for 3 months now. Basically I spend one hour or so each morning listening and transcribing podcasts. I'm sticking to storyfm because it is very colloquial, usually has different speakers for each podcast so you are exposed to different accents and ways to speak. But most importantly it is quite fun to listen to! Last few weeks I've been slowly going through this one https://storyfm.cn/episodes/e391-those-awkward-moments/ and it cracks me up. That really helps when you spend a whole month listening to 25 minutes of recording audio (because yeah, that's pretty much the speed I'm going at...). No way I could do this every day with "中国人在端午节做粽子。北方的粽子和南方的粽子形式不同。。。“ Not sure about the improvements, it's really hard to gauge as they are very gradual. Listening and transcribing speed for sure has increased a little bit - I can see that cause now I write down longer bits than I did at the beginning - but that also depends a lot from the speaker. What I'm certainly noticing is that I'm slowly becoming more and more familiar with all those standard bits that used to throw me in despair at the beginning, all those "就是那种。。。" ,"那这时候”,“然后" which are always pronounced very fast and sloppily. I'm definitely happy about this at the moment, will try to keep it up!
  9. 6 points
    I realise this is a total beginner topic history-wise, and maybe it's well-known already, but I stumbled across it by accident the other day and thought it might be of interest. A little song to help you remember the order of the main Chinese dynasties, to the tune of "Frère Jacques". (Read from right to left.) This is from the ChinaX course apparently. Check out the youtube video if you don't know the tune, or just want to watch two slightly embarrassed Harvard professors singing it. Edit: Apparently the tune has also made it into Chinese culture, although on a completely different topic. #learningeveryday
  10. 6 points
    Yes, your quest for perfect understanding is hampering progress, you see the problem. The best solution is to stop striving for perfection but strive for improvement instead, and try to achieve that by reading not deeper but broader. Don't read one paragraph ten times to understand it better, read ten paragraphs once instead. Then do that many more times (while occasionally pausing to look closer at a sentence here and there or to learn new vocab), and you'll find that you'll understand all these paragraphs better, including the ones you didn't spend extra time on. Compare it to learning a new sport. I'll pick rowing because that's something I like. You don't learn rowing by first focussing exclusively on the point where you put your oar into the water, then focussing exclusively on the legs, then focussing etc. That will take a lot of time and frustration and it won't lead to good rowing either. Instead, you just make full strokes from the start, and every outing you focus on improving (not perfecting) one or two points in your stroke, while still also doing all the other things. After doing that for a long time, every aspect of your stroke will be better.
  11. 5 points
    👾 LEVEL UNLOCKED! 👾 I just got my new work permit this morning, and thanks to passing HSK 4 (in June) I just managed to scrape enough points for a Category A work permit to be granted. Feels like a win! Meanwhile my teacher and I are now working through the HSK 5 materials... We've just completed Chapter 6 in the HSK 5上 textbook, and next we're going to review the grammar and vocab and do Chapters 1-6 in the workbook. Hopefully I should be back in China around the end of September (just in time to spend Golden Week in quarantine, ha!), and I'm really looking forward to being around Chinese spoken on a daily basis again.
  12. 5 points
    lets hope he doesnt say 给
  13. 5 points
    Radiolab documentary on wubi entry system. https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/articles/wubi-effect Very entertaining and informative. Thinking about moving away from pinyin to wubi to stick it to the man
  14. 5 points
    @Geiko, are you still reading? How do you like it? (Warning: post with some minor spoilers at the end!) Hi, @Lu, sorry for the late reply. The last couple months have been a bit complicated for me work-wise and family wise, and I'm progressing slowly with the book. I've reached chapter 15, and due to my lack of time and concentration, 草鞋湾 is probably the best book I could read now: the vocabulary isn't overwelming, the plot is easy to follow and the mystery makes you want to pick up the book even after some days of not reading at all. I have to admit that at first I wasn't too fond of 沙丘克, he seemed too cold and distanced as a father, even 马大伯 was more caring and paternal to 沙小丘. But after 沙小丘 is kidnapped I felt he really cares for his son, he just doesn't express it. I expect to finish it in a couple of weeks (hopefully), but I already recommend it as a good read after graded readers and before adult novels. Great choice!
  15. 5 points
    I am sorry folks but I have been super busy for the past few days. I talked with my girlfriend and shared the thread with her. We have decided that she will study on job in the United States as she may not be able to come to China in the near future. She will complete the programme online and as this is very flexible, she will be able to work on the side, which I think will be a great thing. When the border reopens, she may come to China and live with me for a few months every year. As the programme she intends to apply for will be an chiefly online one, she will also be able to attend the classes from China. I want to say thanks a million to all of you for your contributions. Much appreciated, folks. 🙂
  16. 5 points
    This history podcast I follow is great: https://chinahistorypodcast.libsyn.com/ With +200 episodes one would think it already covers everything you'd like to know about China's history, but nope, still ongoing.
  17. 5 points
    Thanks. I'm pretty far from the coast (in NE Texas) so it should not be too bad (famous last words.) And you're right about these minor opening-ups 改革开放 being a step in the right direction. They at least provide a small glimmer of hope. I've paid my Kunming apartment rent (at a reduced rate) through the middle of December in hopes that I can at least make a short visit, collect my stuff, tell friends goodbye, etc. Till then I still have a refugee or "displaced person" mindset. Rudely uprooted from my home in China and shipwrecked on the distant shores of this odd and savage place where people eat strange meals, huge portions, often fried and sweet, don't drink tea, don't buy killed-to-order chickens or fish and garden-fresh vegetables are a rarity. Produce is usually wrapped in plastic. They don't get foot massages or other ancient healing therapies; instead relying on costly pills. The natives of this New World drive their cars everywhere instead of walking or riding a bike. Forty percent of them are obese. It's an epidemic. A third of them refuse vaccinations for themselves and their children because of quasi-religious beliefs. It won't matter if a magically-effective COVID vaccine is synthesized and proven safe tomorrow. Most locals don't even get Flu shots and their kids are promped to ignore measles and mumps. After all, vaccination is as bogus as climate change. Masks are still uncommon; they are part of a communist/liberal plot to steal our precious freedoms.
  18. 4 points
    "China’s foreign ministry has announced that foreigners with valid residence permits can enter the country without needing to re-apply for visas from 28 September. Foreigners whose residence permits expired after March 28 can apply for visas at Chinese embassies and consulates for entry, the ministry said in a statement on its website." From The Guardian 23/09/2020
  19. 4 points
    Hi~ I think I am on the same boat as you. To be honest, I first started to be very interested in Korea. I learned the Korean language on my own, studied Korean culture and history. I think some people judged me as a Koreaboo already but I never wanted to become a Korean though. I love my home country and it will always be special in my own heart. Anyway, before Korean, I also had wanted to study Chinese but I was not confident enough to learn it on my own. I said "I want to learn it with a teacher." Entering university, I was shocked to find out there was no Korean classes when I needed to enlist (but the class was offered in that semester), and okay, I guess it was the sign from the heavens for me to study Chinese which I did for 3 semesters. During those times, I was not highly motivated because I really wanted to study Korean, my heart was with Korean basically. So when I was on my 3rd and last semester of Chinese in the university (this was the highest Chinese course offered), I decided to took Korean classes where I already knew like ninety percent of the lesson but I had no choice because I was required to take it to fulfill my second foreign language elective and can help me to apply for an exchange program in Korea. When it is was the time to apply for that, I submitted my application but unfortunately, I was not able to get in. It was sad for me because it was my dream to study abroad in Korea and I also applied with some friends, so they went to Korea without me. But, I took the HSK, and then I was able to know about the Chinese government scholarship (this website was a big help for me that time back in 2013~2014!). I applied and fortunately got in! So I flew to China and studied for one year. But, after that, I said, I still wanted to learn Korean so I studied on my own and took more Korean classes until I graduated and started to work. Since I have a big interest on Sino-Korean phonology, I decided to apply for a scholarship here in Korea to pursue my master's on Chinese language and literature and fortunately I got in as well! I am on my last year now and doing my thesis which I hope I can present this coming December. My original plan after my master's is to pursue PhD but with my family's current financial situation and with the fatigue of living and studying here in Korea, I think I want to take a break first. The JET program or teaching in Japan is very attractive to me. I have been to Japan as a tourist and I really liked it and I also have a relative living there for 20 years and my boyfriend is also interested in Japan. I started to study Japanese this year, I have finished the genki series and I will be taking the JLPT this year. My Chinese and Korean skills really maked Japanese easier but I just have no time to study now because of my thesis but I guess my current level is around N4~N3. I registered for N1 but I dunno if I can pass it hahaha! I still have next month to change the level (I might change it to N3). So, I can say, yes, it is possible to maintain a lot of languages as long as you use it regulary and have a solid foundation. The reply of @Takeshi really captured my interest and attention that is why I decided to share mine as well. For me, I also believe Chinese people love foreigners assimilating in their culture. They love when a foreigner shows their love for their culture, studies and speaks Chinese etc., but sometimes they would still tell "you are still a foreigner" which sometimes is true because we can still have our own biases but sometimes I believe foreigners can still have valid criticisms or valuable insights towards China which are overlooked or ignored by the locals. However, now that I have lived in Korea for two years, I cannot say that I had the same experience. Of course, Korea likes foreigners appreciating their culture. You see different events catered to foreigners which I also personally joined in the past like quiz bees, speech contests, etc. I also get the "한국말 잘하시네요" praises from random Koreans or even friends and professors. However, sometimes, I have experienced to be antagonized for knowing how to speak Korean. Sometimes, Koreans feel threatened because I can understand what they say about me, especially when they mutter and believe no one understands them. Sometimes, I also get the impression that they do not like foreigners like me in this place. I also cannot forget how some of my friends felt scared when we went out to eat in a restaurant and the owner is an ethnic Korean from China (조선족). I wonder if some Koreans feel worse about me if they already feel that way to someone who shares the same ethnicity as they have? And now, thanks to this thread and with other anecdotes that I have found online and heard from friends who have lived in Japan, I have an idea on how the Japanese treat its foreigners. I think my view of Japan and the Japanese is still on the good side because I had only traveled there twice. I am still scared if I should pursue my JET application or continue learning Japanese. What if Japan is not for me? I am so worried yet you know, sometimes we need to take risks in life. For me, it is very interesting how these countries have different attitudes and reactions towards foreigners (trying to assimilate in their culture). On the other hand, every person has a different experience in each place and it is hard to generalize that each person from each of these countries is like what is described here. I believe if you want to experience a certain country`s culture, the best way is to live there and try to be open-minded and ready for anything.
  20. 4 points
    Found this doing a search on Youku with the terms 汉学家 讲课 :https://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNzg4NjI2Nzky.html?spm=a2h0c.8166622.PhoneSokuUgc_3.dtitle There were other results too, only checked out a couple. ETA If you want something really 地道 there's Dr Fred Engst but it's a bit of a cheat as he grew up in Xi'an. https://www.bilibili.com/video/av12478295/
  21. 4 points
    Well, I can give some input as someone who has gone the other direction (Japan -> China/HK). I did Japan in high school (went on an exchange for a year), and in university, I figured that I might as well do China too (again went on an exchange for a year). I currently live in Hong Kong. Learning/keeping fluency in both languages is definitely possible, especially since you're still young. Although I technically started taking Chinese (Mandarin only) classes in high school, I only seriously started learning Chinese (and Cantonese) in university at basically your age. My spoken Mandarin is not that great, but it's passable; my Cantonese (and written Chinese) is fluent though, and my Japanese is almost nativelike. I can use Cantonese(+written Chinese) fine in all contexts, but I don't regularly use work/business/academic Japanese (though I'm sure I could easily pick it up if I had to). So I've got two languages down at least. Interestingly, my Japanese has always improved over the years, even though I left Japan. I stopped making an active effort to study or practice Japanese since I left Japan, but I since have used Japanese very often in my daily life (playing videogames, watching anime, reading light novels, reading news articles, and conversing with Japanese friends in China and Hong Kong). I guess whether you can keep your old foreign language depends on whether you keep a connection to it even when you're in your new foreign country. If you don't, you could lost it easily. I'm sure it's possible for you to keep a connection to Chinese while living in Japan, and to meet and make friends with Chinese people (there are a lot of them). Make this your thing. I'll admit that the other way around was even easier for me, because of how strong Japanese media is (and personal interest in Japanese media in the first place). Regarding society, I would say that Japan is more strict and less welcoming than China, but they have a strong culture of expecting foreigners to assimilate, and a rigid societal structure that makes it easy for foreigners to "learn how to be Japanese" because you are sort of forced to. This is basically a very unpleasant experience to have to go through, but is actually very helpful. The catch is, that even if you do everything perfectly, you may not really be accepted. (This is changing though; I was in Japan more than 10 years ago; I find the Japan of today to be a much more open minded and welcoming country.) China on the other hand is more open and welcoming, but you have to take the initiative to learn to be Chinese on your own because you won't really be encouraged or forced to do so (at least not as much as in Japan). Chinese people will be quick to accept you as one of them you even before you fully assimilate though. This is both good and bad, it helps life be more enjoyable, but it makes it harder to actually learn to be Chinese. In terms of me, even though I "learned how to be Japanese" decently enough, I don't really feel very Japanese because I don't truly feel like I'm welcome or a part of them. However, the skills I gained in Japan about learning cultures helped me tremendously in "learning how to be Chinese" in China, and in the end, I would consider myself to feel much more Chinese. I would love to spend the rest of my life in China, but I can't say the same about Japan. I'm not sure what happens if you go in the other direction. But I guess my point is, maybe you can find your societal skills you learned from China to be useful in Japan in a unique way that foreigners in Japan with no connection to China won't experience. These skills included language learning skills. Japanese education in Japan is very well thought out, and there are lots of useful resources. I used the げんき textbooks and would recommend them, but there are a lot of good books really. Coming to China knowing Japanese made learning Chinese easy, since I already knew 漢字 and already knew "how to learn a language" (which again, I find is taught much better in Japan than in China). You're going in the other direction, so I don't know what it would be like, but I think you would find your Classical Chinese knowledge very useful in Japan I guess.
  22. 4 points
    聻 jiàn the ghost of a ghost, for lack of a better English alternative. When a ghost dies, it becomes a jiàn. 人人死作鬼,人见惧之;鬼死作聻,鬼见怕之。
  23. 4 points
    You called these sentences "propaganda" and then you want to take all the propagandistic flavor out of the translations? That makes no sense. Who are you to decide that some other culture's propaganda makes no sense? If they are using rhetorical doubling, then for you to put that into a single phrase is really bad translation practice, in my opinion. All of these sayings have two parts, and they had a reason to do it that way. Plug them into Google Translate and you'll get a more or less accurate translation that also preserves the literal meanings as well as the intended balance or contrast of two sayings. What you've done here is like taking a line like Dickens' "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" and then changing it to "It wasn't really so bad, for the most part."
  24. 4 points
    Scanning the forums, it's been mentioned numerous times that shadowing and recording is very beneficial for things like improving pronunciation. I've started incorporating this more into my practice, but I'm interested what approach people find the most effective. For example, right now I start by looping a portion of a sentence, first listening to the native speaker, then chorusing with them, then recording myself. Then I listen to the recording of myself, then switch to the native recording, listening for differences. I might switch back and forth a couple times until I hear something off. Then I try to fix what I hear is different and repeat the process. I typically focus on one part of the recording at a time. Once that section of the sentence sounds right, I work on the other parts and finally combine the full sentence. That's as far as I take it. Has anyone found practicing multiple sentences, memorizing paragraphs or even going so far as to memorize a whole recording is beneficial? I find that going through one recording sentence by sentence can take a couple of hours, so the time investment is quite high. I don't know if spending the time to memorize a whole recording is worth it or if there are diminishing returns at this point and I'd be better served moving on to the next recording. It seems like memorizing something takes it past the point of improving pronunciation, but it does drill in the sentences which seems like it could be useful for easier production when speaking.
  25. 4 points
    Surely not to their face, though!
  26. 4 points
    surely rule number one is: don't get the tattoo. I love the advice some people have shared here before: commission a piece of calligraphy to hang on your wall. then its the basics like: do I even understand what I'm getting tattooed is? Do I know what it means to people that actually use the script as a way to live and communicate? why am I getting this done in Chinese? why not in my own language? if you can justify it to yourself after that then you should consider: getting it done in handwritten script, not some computer font. getting it done vertically, and/or in traditional, so at least it looks cool enough if the content is lacking how accurate is the translation if it is a translation? If you've made it this far, congratulations, jump to rule number one to continue your adventure
  27. 4 points
    I think it's a lot like practicing a musical instrument. No matter whether you're "mechanically" reproducing what you hear/ jamming along, or making an exact copy, what you are really doing is training your ears. If you've ever transcribed a jazz solo, it works in a very similar way. I find that practicing longer passages (after you can do the small chunks) teaches you how to connect phrases fluently (obvious I know, but it's a skill on its own). Memorising a whole recording may be overkill -- what you are doing is training your ears. Well-trained ears take in and memorise a lot more information more quickly and naturally than untrained ones, with less effort (at least, that has been my experience).
  28. 4 points
    Chinese is a good language to study if you're relentless.
  29. 4 points
    It's a bit silly, to be honest. Me and my boyfriend were on a 6 month vacation all over Asia. We visited a lot of countries (not China, think more Indoneisa to Turkey route with hops). However, it was not a backpacking thing, we stayed at quite nice hotels all the time. Therefore, one day I felt I had some responsibilty to actually do something of value every day, so I decided I would learn a language. I knew nothing of Anki (or Pleco for that matter) and had my smartphone with me, and decided on Japanese, since I've always loved it and a lot of the media (manga, anime, but also 30s to 80s cinema). I started a premade Anki deck but after a month or so I got tired of it because it was too difficult to learn that way. Once again, I knew nothing of Anki and didn't spend much time researching while abroad, so I downloaded a Chinese deck instead (Spoonfed Chinese, I'm sure a lot of people here have heard of it). It was better sorted, it was easier when hanzi mostly had one reading instead of many, and so on. I figured at least I'll learn the characters, which would help my Japanese. Most of these reasons would make no sense for someone who has actually done a bit of reading up, but I had not. When I got home I had only scratched the surface of the deck, but my reasoning went a bit like this: "I've done these two months or so of Chinese, it would be such a waste to just throw it away". I know this is a psychological phenomenon that has a catchy name, but I can't recall it now. I started reading up a bit more on how the language worked and I learned Anki to the core (most things I want to achieve in Anki I know can, and I never use it on the smartphone anymore). I threw away my Spoonfed Chinese deck since I didn't like it, and instead went my own way, but built on what I had learnt from Spoonfed Chinese. Basically I just stuck with Chinese that way. It should be said I had been in China on vacation twice and I do like Chinese arthouse cinema (Jia Zhangke and so on), but I had no experience of the language except from two weeks of an online course back in 2016. So even if it wasn't the language I wanted to learn, it was still a culture I wasn't completely unfamiliar with or had no interest in. If that were the case I probably would have just thrown that Anki experience away when I came home. Fast forward until today and I'm still doing Chinese, but every week that passes I long for Japanese. I have set December 1st as the date where I'm beginning to phase out my active Chinese studying, and January 1st as my starting Japanese date. I will keep exposing myself to Chinese stuff and will keep hanging around this forum. In some way it's been a blessing in disguise I think. I know more Chinese than I thought I ever would. I also have much more knowledge of how to actually study a language, and how to use Anki, to achieve the results I'm after.
  30. 4 points
    finished 活着! I found it just slightly harder than 许三观卖血记, but still quite easy, and the vocabulary is pretty much the same. Being able to read several pages at a time without dictionary is really pleasant and I think helps in improving the reading speed. I enjoyed the book, the atmosphere and the storytelling which is always straightforward and concise. The story however is so sad at points, that can feel depressing. I guess some people might like that aspect of it, but well it's not my cup of tea. Next coming is 草鞋湾, I should receive it anytime now, I hope it lives up to the hype 😁
  31. 4 points
    I've always thought a firm grounding in Chinese physical and political geography is essential if you're going to be spending any time in China: Names of places and such come up constantly in conversation and reading. So add maps and travel books and gazetteers to your store of wisdom. Besides, being able to distinguish 山西 and 陕西, 苏州 and 徐州, 河南 and 湖南, 等等 will help with your language studies. Similarly, have a good sense of China's administrative structure. Know the difference, for example, between a 自治区 and a 自治州. Wikipedia has a good page on this. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Administrative_divisions_of_China
  32. 4 points
    This series is a good start: https://www.edx.org/chinax-chinas-past-present-future
  33. 4 points
    @roddy it’s mostly a function of my reading/studying habits being well-formed before the creation of CTA, and already having a good feel for what words I should add. What you suggest is definitely a practical use for CTA, I suppose the other thing though for me is that I prefer to encounter the word first in context as that provides extra memory hooks that help with remembering the word.
  34. 4 points
    Question for @imron, and apologies if I've missed the answer. It sounds like you're making judgement calls as you go through a book on what's worth adding to flashcards. Presumably the ideal measure of that is how frequently the word appears in the book, and in the language. What I don't understand is: Why not use the frequency information from CTA to identify those words in advance and preload the flashcards. I'm not suggesting you spend two weeks learning X hundred new words before reading, but unless I'm mistaken you could estimate a book will take you 20 days, set a sustainable goal of 10 words a day, then clip off the... wait, let me see if CTA could do this... yes, take the 200 most frequent new words ordered by appearance in the book ( Words: unknown, Sort by: Frequency Descending, Rows: 200, Sort by: First Occurrence Ascending. ) That gives you the 200 most useful words, in order they appear in the book. Review the first ten before you start reading, and those should be (give or take) the ten you encounter in your first day's read. If you end up reviewing some that won't appear till tomorrow, or you need to look one up because you didn't review that far, that's no big deal. You'd be stopping to do dictionary look-ups less often, and while you could still (and would sometimes need to) check a definition, you could also skip a word confident it's not going to appear seventeen times in Chapter 19.
  35. 4 points
    While slightly different to other western countries, China still does offer a green card. I'm in the application process myself. It takes about 6-12 months for the application process. There are a few requirements, but the basics are: - married for 5 years - you've spent at least 9 months of each of the last five years in China - you freeze 150,000 rmb in a Chinese bank account for six months to prove you have funds - you have purchased an apartment Once you get the green card, you get a 身份证 which entitles you to everything a local can get access to, including schooling for children, health insurance and even working without having to get a working visa.
  36. 3 points
    Because Pinyin is a near-lossless phonetic system for transcribing the sounds of Mandarin Chinese. The only phonetic information it fails to capture are some non-phonemic stuff, non-naturalized loanwords, and intonation. Intonation is the only relevant one in the context of this poem, and the speaker in the video doesn't seem to be using very natural intonation in any case, so it isn't much help. In other words, if Pinyin can't render a piece of Chinese text intelligible, neither can reading it aloud in Mandarin Chinese. Spoken Cantonese, Min Nan, reconstructed Middle Chinese pronunciation, and so on might do a better job, depending on the specifics of the dialect and the text. Not sure if you read the article linked to in my post, but here's the relevant part: The point is that, if [《施氏食狮史》] were written in Hanyu Pinyin, everything would be shi … Even if it were written in characters, people still would not be able to understand it when it is read aloud. I think this is part of the story. It seems there's some disagreement as to the extent that classical Chinese evolved from a specific form of the spoken language, which I couldn't comment on. But there's also the fact that Mandarin pronunciation is very different from that of Middle Chinese. Finally, Yuan Ren Chao wrote this in 民国 times, so it's kinda like a modern Italian person writing a contrived text in Latin.
  37. 3 points
    大清乾隆年制. That is, your standard spurious Qianlong reign mark.
  38. 3 points
    OK folks, to preserve the propagandistic flavour of the original texts and after referring to your versions, I am going to go with: 倡导文明新风,共建美好校园 Advocate a new civility, co-build a wonderful campus 创建文明学校,争做文明学生 Create a civilised school, compete to be a more civil student 共建美好环境,共创文明校园 Build a beautiful environment, create a civilised campus 维护校园安全,创建文明环境 Maintain campus safety, create a civil environment
  39. 3 points
    This really depends on the purpose of the translation. Some translations prioritize fidelity to the source, whereas others prioritize overall intention. The intention of propaganda is to persuade, and what works as persuasive rhetoric in Chinese often just sounds weird in English. Seems like the intention is to persuade students to... be good? I don't think you'd ever really see this kind of thing in English — instead of aspirational exhortations in the positive, it'd be more concrete examples in the negative. So instead of "维护校园安全" you'd have "don't run in the corridors", instead of "共建美好环境" you'd have "don't chew gum", and so on. With all that said, without further information that's a bit of a stretch, so literal translations are probably your best bet.
  40. 3 points
    牝 pin4, female animal or plant as in 牝猫 or 牝马. I saw it in an old photograph but I never heard it before, so I do not know if it is still common today since I am wary of asking my Chinese friends about this kind of words.
  41. 3 points
    Here's a character most long-time learners will be familiar with already, but it deserves a post in celebration of finally being awarded its own Unicode codepoints earlier this year! 🎉🎉🎉 Biang Traditional: U+30EDE 𰻞 Simplified: U+30EDD 𰻝 ↑ Give it another couple of years for the font support, and these will hopefully no longer display as tofu!
  42. 3 points
    Should have gone ogham. https://ogham.co/?q=Niall
  43. 3 points
    No, I don’t approve of political correctness taken too far, but this is an assumption that’s being made here. I think we should automatically be skeptical of reports that contradict themselves factually (and contain obvious typos), regardless of the reputation of their source. The article linked in the petition is interesting, it has a more nuanced and slightly different spin on events (or perhaps I just read it more carefully). For example, even the complainants don’t go as far as asking the prof to be dropped, so it’s weird that the university would take that action solely based on that single complaint. Even that article has received at least two corrections, showing there’s confusion about the matter even on the USC campus. I tried to find an official announcement from USC, but looks like it doesn’t exist, other than a vague quote from a spokesperson. My point is that we react too quickly to news like this, and rush to judgment before all the facts are known. It’s a trap we should avoid because there are many more clear injustices happening that are more worthy of our limited attention.
  44. 3 points
    I think I've said this elsewhere, but I have the impression that this 'must be fluent [whatever that means] in 6 months!!!' thing is very much an English speakers thing. I've never heard Dutch people with these kinds of expectations. My father took a Chinese class for a while. I think he had one classmate who expected to become 'fluent' at some point. Usually these classes tell you in advance what you can expect to learn: some characters, pronunciation, introduce yourself, basic travel vocab. And that is what learners here in the Netherlands then expect. (And that is what my dad learned. After a year or so of classes he could call the waiter, say 结账 and understand the answer if the waiter spoke slowly (which they did, because they liked it that he was making an effort).) There is no 'learn Chinese in 10 weeks' or 'learn Chinese fast' snake oil on offer here. I think because we all learn languages in secondary school (English, French, German), so we have a pretty good idea of how much work is required and what kind of results to expect, and we know that Chinese is more difficult than German to us and so will need more effort for less results. So yah, expectations need to be managed; people who claim that they can teach you Chinese in x months are lying; people who believe them have no clue about language learning and if they are from a country that doesn't teach its children languages, that is not those people's fault.
  45. 3 points
  46. 3 points
    Don't know if it's been recommended already, but I am enjoying "三十而已Nothing But Thirty". And as with 都挺好 (another great serie BTW), you can find all episodes in Youtube (and for those in China, in Youku and the like, no need to click the link): https://youtu.be/F4zhJHw-BpA Chinese dramas are getting better and better every year and both the stories and characters are quite down-to-earth, albeit the obsession behind petty things and actions is still often ridiculous... oh well, some suspension of disbelief will always be required I guess.
  47. 3 points
    You'd be surprised... The song is a great way to start but an associated timeline will make it even more helpful. There are lots of Chinese history charts, from very simple to irritatingly complex. Best to start with a plain one like this: http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/timelines/china_timeline.htm
  48. 3 points
    原著党 yuan2 zhu4 dang3 those who prefer the original of a story, instead of later adaptations e.g. someone who likes a novel more than the movie based on that novel
  49. 3 points
    Yeah, that's right. I've always found the PSB really easy to deal with in Hangzhou.
  50. 3 points
    That I'm not too sure about. I've heard rumours that there is kind of a point based system, so the better the apartment the higher the chance of success etc, but nothing I can say is 100% true. My wife and I went to the PSB last week to talk about this. We mentioned the exact same thing about how online is always talking about how they are 'the worlds most difficult green card' to get. The guy at the PSB just kind of laughed it off and basically said as long as you meet all of the criteria, there isn't any reason not to get it. Apparently, the reason why the number of green cards given out every year is such a low number, is because the number of applications is also extremely low. In fact, when I applied for my spousal visa last year, the guy at the PSB even said to me "Don't forget you can apply for a green card next year!". I didn't even ask, and he reminded me about it. I was discussing this with my wife, and the conclusion we came to was this: - majority of foreigners in China don't see China as their long term plan, more of a 'get a quick buck' - majority of relationships are foreign male, Chinese female. Going by Chinese culture, the husband usually purchases the house/car. I know this isn't entirely true these days, but there are still a tonne of traditions which people follow. If a foreign husband saves up the money to buy a place, they'd probably prefer to do it in their own country. - most families I've met in China would prefer to send their kids to schools in their own country.
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