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Showing content with the highest reputation since 04/27/2020 in all areas

  1. 18 points
    I recently completed 300 lessons on italki.com with my Chinese teacher, and it's been suggested that I write something up. I'll try to focus on lessons learned, as in: things I would do differently if starting again. Background When I started learning Chinese in Feb 2017 it was more or less from zero. I knew nihao and xiexie, and I could recognise a few Hanzi thanks to the beginner's level Japanese I've done twice in F2F evening classes. That was it. My motivation for learning was partly because I was living in Singapore at the time (and therefore seeing Chinese written on signs everywhere, so I was curious), and partly because I love learning languages, and Chinese to me always seemed like one of the great challenges to have a go at. I also had a vague idea about moving to China to work for a while, like many of us I guess. I knew I wanted to learn 1:1 online rather than having F2F classes, because I really enjoy the flexibility. I studied Hindi with a teacher on Skype when I lived in India and that had worked really well. I'd also done plenty of evening classes over the years and been dissatisfied with the rigidity of once-a-week, 10 weeks in a semester, and having to travel to a school somewhere to study after a tiring day at work. With 1:1 classes I appreciate being able to dictate my own pace, and with online I like the flexibility of being able to move classes around, re-scheduling to suit my situation when necessary. italki.com is useful like this as it basically acts a scheduling system for your lessons. I always keep going with classes even when I'm travelling or on holiday, so long as I have a decent Internet connection. Getting Started I went to italki.com, found a teacher with 5-star reviews and good qualifications, and we had a 30-minute trial lesson. It went very well, so we started having one-hour lessons once a week using Zoom or Skype... we've switched back and forth for various technical reasons over the years (and even used WeChat once I think although it doesn't support screen sharing). I like my teacher a lot — we're still together after more than 3 years — but in retrospect once a week wasn't enough to begin with, particularly in retaining vocabulary. We studied using pinyin and I made steady but slow progress for the first 6 months, using the Integrated Chinese textbooks to start with. (I was working a full-time job at this point btw.) After 6 months we decided it was time to move onto Hanzi, and shortly after that — around September — I decided to go for the December HSK 2 exam as a short-term objective. So we switched from the Integrated Chinese series to the HSK 2 Standard Course textbook and workbook, and eventually to the HSK 2 practice exams in the 3-4 weeks before the actual exam. HSK and HSKK I did the paper-based version of the HSK 2 exam in Singapore in Dec 2017. Sitting in a classroom surrounded by 10-year old schoolkids was a bit weird! My thinking was that going for Level 2 first would give me experience of the exam format, and something to aim for that wasn't too daunting. I scored 92% for listening and 99% for reading. Round about then I discovered these forums and started getting more motivated and more excited about what might lie ahead. 😎 I had lesson #65 a year to the day since I started, so that was an average of 1.25 per week in the first year, and by this point we'd done 5 lessons in the HSK 3 textbook out of a total of 20. We switched up a gear and I began having lessons 2-3 times a week, and conscientiously doing homework, both of which I found made a lot of difference with retention of material. My teacher is fond of this quote, which seems very apt: 学如逆水行舟,不进则退。 Learning is like rowing upstream; not to advance is to drop back. We finished the HSK 3 textbook in June 2018 and then moved onto exam preparation for HSK 3 and HSKK 初级 beginner level. I registered to do both the exams in Shanghai in July as part of a holiday in China — my first visit. (If ever you want to ruin the first few days of your holiday, just try spending them sitting in a hotel room doing mock exams!) This was also my first experience of doing the HSK on computer rather than the paper test, and I found it harder and slower to read the Hanzi as they were pretty low-resolution in a poor quality font. I wrote up the experience in detail on this thread: HSK 3 "internet-based test" — report. In the end my HSK 3 score was Listening: 88, Reading: 74, Writing: 92, total 254 (pass mark is 180, 60%). On reflection, I wish I had spent more time preparing for the reading section, because you have to be able to read very quickly, and it’s useful to have some tactics for answering certain kinds of questions, such as skimming the ones that are asking you “in general, what is this text about?”. For example I could have done more mock tests, but just the reading section against a timer. The HSKK beginner level exam was pretty painless and in fact I was the only person in the room, so it was very relaxed. I scored 78/100 (the pass mark is 60). Next we started the HSK 4 textbooks (two volumes) and I plodded along with those; meanwhile I also registered for the HSKK 中极 intermediate exam in Singapore in Dec 2018. We did some oral preparation for that in lessons in the weeks before. In the end this exam was a bit of a disaster, mainly due to the very noisy set-up in the room (as I described in another post) and I could barely hear what was going on. I only scored 53/100 for this (the pass mark again is 60). I left Singapore in Dec 2018, and 2019 was meant to be a "gap year" although it didn't really turn out that way. I continued with my online lessons though, apart from a 4-week break when I studied CELTA intensively. From May to December I ended up in Beijing teaching English to Chinese schoolkids, and obviously living in China for the first time made a big difference to my studies. Certainly by the time I was about to leave Beijing in December 2019 I felt like something was starting to "click" in terms of listening because I was just hearing Mandarin spoken a lot of the time, including from Chinese work colleagues and students. In April 2020 we finished the second HSK 4 textbook (4下) shortly after completing 300 lessons, after around 3 years and 2 months in total, and originally the aim would then have been to move into exam preparation mode. But meanwhile most of the world had become locked-down due to COVID-19 and exams were cancelled. So in the interim we've recently shifted to working on listening and speaking again, using photos as stimulus material and some bits of HSKK 中级 tests. So far this year we'd been doing 2 lessons a week as I was trying to save money, but I'm going to move it back up to 3 per week again now. I'd like to do the HSK 4 exam this year (2020) but this will probably be in China and I've no idea when I'll finally get back there. Lesson Formats Generally we follow a lesson format set by the teacher, although whenever there's something specific I want to work on, like revising certain aspects of grammar or pronunciation we'll switch to those for a while. My teacher always gives a full 60 minute lesson — no mean feat if you have back-to-back classes. We usually begin each lesson with a 5-10 minute chat about what I've been doing since the last lesson, talking about the weather or current affairs etc. I know some folk really don't like this, but I find it a good warm-up exercise... apart from anything else, I usually prepare some vocab for it which is useful since it's usually non-HSK vocab but directly relevant to my everyday life, so it fills a certain gap. After the chat we move onto the textbook or workbook. Mostly we've been working through the HSK Standard Course textbooks chapter by chapter, and each chapter has a set structure: Some new words and discussion of topic area for the chapter Dialogues and texts, with new words at the side Grammar points, examples and exercises For the dialogues and texts we'll go through the new words and then I'll try to read the text out loud. Typically then I'll read again but with the teacher reading first and me repeating, so we can focus on tones and sentence structure. Then my teacher will ask me a few questions to test comprehension, often leading into a broader discussion, asking my opinions etc., followed by some discussion of main grammar points. Finally we'll discuss any problems or questions I might have. For the grammar and exercises we'll work through the material together, skipping some stuff that's meant to be group-work. I've been pretty happy with this approach... it's good to have a structure to work with and I like the way that the new vocabulary is introduced in chunks in each chapter. We've also used the HSK Standard Course workbooks, in a fairly ad hoc way for HSK 3 but by HSK 4 we had settled on a pretty solid routine whereby after finishing each chapter in the textbook we would do the corresponding reading and writing exercises in the workbook. These are like cut-down versions of the HSK exam, but only using the vocab that has been introduced up to that point, chapter by chapter, so I've found they work very well. At HSK 3 level we did some of the listening exercises from the workbook, with the teacher reading out the text, but we didn't bother doing this for HSK 4... since the workbook comes with audio I can do this on my own when I finally start to prepare for the HSK 4 exam. The other lesson formats we've had have been preparation for the HSK or HSKK exam, which in the earlier days was going through the mock papers, but I soon moved onto doing these against the clock in my own time, and then making a note of any problems so we could discuss them in the next class. Tools and Resources I've found that the tools and resources I've used have changed over time. When I first started to learn Hanzi I began using the Skritter app and was focused on trying to learn radicals. I don't know how or where I came across this recommendation ("learn radicals first"), but in the end I decided it was pointless, especially learning their names. For me it was more important to be learning words. I ended up with a little poster stuck up in the kitchen with radicals and variants on it, and rather than trying to "learn" them I found it more useful just to browse this from time to time, while cooking for example, and to go and look at it when I noticed a certain radical was cropping up. Actually I think what made a lot more difference to me was thinking about components and how phonetic-semantic characters work. If I'm working on a laptop I often use MDBG.net or HanziCraft to look up a new character and break it down into components to help me understand what's going on, and to see if there's a pronunciation "clue" in there. I also use the ZhongWen pop-up dictionary extension for Chrome all the time, and that hooks very nicely into MDBG and Chinese Grammar Wiki. I liked Skritter — the method for learning tones is interesting — but I found that when using this app it was just taking me too long to learn the HSK vocabulary for the level I was at. Plus, my attitude to handwriting has always been that it's not essential and that I will come to it eventually. So in the end I cancelled my subscription. When I was working towards HSK 3 I was using memrise.com a lot, via the browser on my laptop rather than the app. I built my own multi-level deck for studying the vocab, organised in the order they're presented in the textbook, testing by audio. I built my own because there's one for HSK 2 which I had found useful. What eventually turned me off memrise is that it was full of mistakes and missing audio, one of the downsides of user-generated content. Plus I moved more to using apps on my phone for learning on the go, and I didn't like the memrise app. (Memrise seems to have changed a lot since then.) Eventually I moved onto using the StickyStudy app for vocab, and I hacked my own decks (available here) so I had one for each chapter in the HSK 4 textbooks. Again I found it better to break things down a bit — a single deck with 600 cards in it is harder to manage. Recently I was curious about Tofulearn after hearing good things here so I started using that as well, including using it briefly to go back to learning handwriting for HSK1 level, "for fun". Currently I'm mainly using Tofulearn on my iPad, drilling the HSK 4 vocab... it doesn't work well on my iPhone as I have the text set to be quite large (accessibility settings) and it doesn't fit on the screen properly. But on the iPad it just seems to hit the sweet spot for me. I hadn't really dug into it much until recently, but it also allows you to drill down into components, similar characters and so on. Since I've now finished the textbooks and covered all the vocab, the order of presentation doesn't matter any more — but in Tofulearn the 600 word deck is broken down into sets of 50 cards, so you can practice a smaller subset if you want. One thing I've found really useful and important with all these tools is being able to hear native-speaker audio (not synthesised text-to-speech) when I'm learning the Hanzi... this has helped me a lot with recalling tones, to the extent that I can subvocalise or "hear in my mind's ear" what many of these words sound like in the recordings. Of course there's also an enormous amount of content out there even just on youtube. I enjoyed watching the free ChinesePod videos from the "Fiona and Constance era" — I really liked the way they presented the Qing Wen series, especially when I was starting out and I needed some solid explanations of things like the differences between 的 - 得 - 地. I also found the XM Mandarin youtube channel to have a lot of useful videos relating to understanding and preparing for HSK and HSKK exams. Xiao Min's voice is very clear and well-recorded... I used some of her vocabulary playlists when I needed to revise but wanted a change or was feeling tired. Alan Davies @hskalan did some great analysis and clustering of HSK vocab along with visualisations at hskhsk.com which I've had fun with... things get a bit unwieldy at HSK 4 but looking at the common characters in HSK1-3 is really interesting and helped me consolidate my understanding quite a bit. I've tried creating my own visualisations using Gephi and the source files which is interesting but a but tricky. Finally of course there's Pleco, which I use every day. I've tried using the flashcards feature for revision but found it a bit basic compared to StickyStudy. Apart from that it's one of the best apps I've ever used for anything. Graded readers is one area I've not managed to get into properly yet... I read The Monkey's Paw last year and the story was a bit simplistic, but it's nice to be able to read an actual book. I have a graded reader sitting on Pleco too which I've not started yet (Legend of the White Snake), and again on the iPad it seems like it hits the sweet spot in terms of presentation and function, although I do find the mix of hyperlinks and underlined text too cluttered... it would be nice to be able to turn this off. Well that was a couple of hours of brain-dump on a Saturday lunchtime. I hope it's useful to someone.
  2. 11 points
    Right, we had about 50 hours of being offline there, possibly the longest in 17 years? Server got choked up (basically, it got full), I thought I was going to have to shift to a back-up server, had the domain redirected (which takes time to propagate) and database back-up in place (we'd have lost 24 hours of content, so annoying rather than catastrophic). Then server came back up but software wasn't working, so shifted domain back again (again, takes time), back and forth with software support, escalated, might have to wait, managed to figure out what the problem was (corrupt cache file in a folder I didn't realise had them) and.. back! Let me know if you see anything glitchy. Currently I know the front page is missing, hopefully sort that out soonish [sorted]. But have work and lunch to do. Anything emailed to [email protected] over the weekend may or may not have gone missing - I'm not sure. Maybe nobody emailed me. Need to ponder hosting options a bit. The current one is sold as fully managed, but... well. And I could do with being a bit more savvy on server admin. Anyway, that's for another topic. We should, now, be strong and stable. I'll be keeping a close eye on things.
  3. 10 points
    According to this page the HSK exam will be changed to offer nine levels: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/48yDq48T_WzCjfD9uT4laA I don't know if this is (a) fake news (I don't see a source for the information) or (b) new news (maybe everyone knew this already) The link suggests there'll be nine levels, not six. Reading through - not very well - I'm not sure the text explicitly says this will replace the previous HSK regime. I certainly don't see any date for it doing so. Old timers will remember that the 'original' HSK co-existed for a while with the "new" HSK that is the current standard one now. Or is it that the Confucius Institute organisation has put together a 《汉语水平等级标准》 and it expects that HSK people (assuming they are different or even rival organisations) will at some point in the future modify the exam to match those standards? Anyway, a good day for publishers of textbooks!
  4. 8 points
    Interesting thread. I really envy Meng Lelan - I can't imagine what an experience arriving in China in 1980 would have been. My first foray into China was in 2000. Doesn't sound that long ago, but even then, things were very different compared to now. I couldn't speak Chinese in those days, and very few people spoke any English - even at the information desk at Beijing Airport (unthinkable now). Part of the change since then is specific to China, but in my opinion, the single biggest change to China and the rest of the world has been the digital/internet/information revolution. I'm old enough to remember the pre-internet days (my schooldays). Yet, the internet pervades practically every aspect of our lives now, to the extent that it is difficult to imagine what the world without the internet was like. Just to give a simple example, I don't know exactly when my interest in China developed. I just remember as a child playing a computer game called Repton (specifically Around the World in 40 screens - does anyone else remember Repton?), where part of the game had an Orient theme, where you'd run around amongst low resolution graphics depicting oriental-style architecture collecting rice bowls with chopsticks. That imagery piqued an interest and curiosity that I still remember. The thing is that in those days, the availability of information was extremely limited, such that even something as trivial as a computer game had this kind of significance. Just think about what other sources of information about China were accessible in those days. The television would have almost nothing to offer, as one was restricted to the four channels that were available at the time, and the only appearance of China would be when something like Tiananmen happened. The next best option would be the local library, but even then, you'd be lucky to find much specifically related to China (I don't think books such as Lonely Planet were available then), and almost certainly nothing about Chinese language. (Of course, larger libraries in London would have been better, but not so accessible to a youngster living a distance away - and it probably wouldn't have occurred to me to go to those lengths at that time anyway.) There would be essentially no chance of any direct contact with Chinese people, or people from any other country for that matter - unlike now when all you need to do is open up something like HelloTalk on your smart phone and you can talk immediately to and exchange pictures with people from any country you desire more or less. Or you can Google for information about any place, and language, and even see videos on demand of these things on YouTube. We take this for granted now, but it wasn't very long ago that none of this existed. Of course the same thing has happened in China. In the early 2000s, as a foreigner, you'd attract a lot of attention anywhere you went. Most Chinese people's experience of foreigners was very limited - limited only to the occasional appearance of foreigners on the news, and perhaps a few years later, Dashan. Seeing a foreigner in the flesh would have been even more of a rarity (except for in the centres of the largest cities - which of course represents only a tiny proportion of the country as a whole). Yet now, many more foreigners go to China. And even in the remote regions, exposure to foreigners is still accessible on request through apps such as Douyin, as ChTTAy mentioned. Therefore the curiosity that foreigners arouse is much less than it used to be, and foreigners attract much less attention than before. In the early 2000s, frequently (as in many times per day), people would try to strike up conversations with me or ask to have photos taken together. I'd occasionally be invited to people's houses and so on. This still happens occasionally in the remoter places, but pretty much never in the larger cities. In the same vein, previously on public transport, people would be much more aware of their surroundings. If I'd be reading anything in Chinese, this would inevitably raise a few eyebrows and elicit a few questions. Now people tend to be wearing earphones and have their eyes fixed to their mobile phones. Of course foreigners speaking Chinese is much less unusual than it used to be, but I get the feeling that people also care much less about what is going on around them when their main focus of attention is in the palms of their hands. Another big change is the expansion of public transport, particularly with the development of metro systems in the large cities, and high-speed rail between cities. This obviously is of enormous benefit to the population, and makes travel much more convenient for foreigners. At the same time, though, places which previously seemed more special because of their inaccessibility no longer seem so special. On my first visit to Xishuangbanna in 2006, I visited a hilltop temple which was a bumpy drive of several hours on a mud road through the forest and remote villages. I was the only visitor to that temple for the time I was there. It was an amazing feeling to be in such a serene and inaccessible location. The temple itself has not changed much since then, but is now connected by a motor way to the main city in Xishuangbanna, and is reachable in in just an hour or two. Though Xishuangbanna has an airport, its connection with the rest of China used to be fairly limited, accessible by a short flight from Kunming, or a very long journey by road. Now, however, with the expansion of domestic aviation, there are direct flights to many more cities, and there is even a new high speed railway line stopping in Xishuangbanna on its way to Laos and Thailand (not sure if it has opened yet) which will inevitably bring a lot more outside influence and possible dilution of the local character. With the development of China and rise in income for a large proportion of the population, I also feel the reverence towards foreigners has diminished. Of course, I'm not saying that foreigners deserve to or should be treated in any special way, but it is a fact of life that foreigners used to be viewed as wealthy and successful (regardless of whether that was in fact the case or not), and revered to some extent as a consequence. However, many super rich Chinese people have entered the public consciousness over the last couple of decades (Jack Ma and the owner of Wanda, for example), and the average Chinese city dweller has seen their net worth increase substantially (if they own any property). Whilst the number of people on low incomes is still large, with many wealthy Chinese people around, foreigners are no longer singled out as being wealthy, and consequently do not gain any special status. Of course China has changed in many ways other than those outlined above. It is difficult to convey this to people who have not experienced China in the early 2000s - the saying 只可意会不可言传 comes to mind. The political situation has also changed, and this has its consequences for every aspect of the China experience too, but that is the subject for a different discussion.
  5. 7 points
    I have a one-way ticket on American Airlines and Cathay Pacific to Kunming departing DFW (Dallas) on 7 July and flying via EWR (Newark) and HKG (Hong Kong.) The stop in Hong Kong is 15 hours (overnight.) As of right now, to the best of my knowledge, this itinerary will be impossible, as entry of US citizens into Hong Kong is not permitted and passage onward to Kunming is also forbidden. Also, I've been told the airlines are mainly offering these flights to accommodate citizens/permanent residents of Hong Kong and Mainland China who are returning to their homes (repatriating.) Unless the situation changes and restrictions are eased between now and the time of departure, I will have to reschedule or cancel. My boarding will not be permitted. I knew that up front and am prepared for that eventuality. The odds of this plan succeeding in its original form are not high, but I'm willing to give it a try.
  6. 7 points
    This morning I had the seemingly innocuous idea to leave a comment on a video I liked on Bilibili. What happened next blew my mind. First, I had to register an account and verify it by linking it to my phone number and email. Ok, I thought, just some extra security, should have expected that. No problem. Then, it told me that in order to comment on a video, first I had to 转正. That is, get my new account promoted up a level. In order to do that, there’s a 100-question exam (I kid you not) where a pass consists of at least 60 correct answers. Being it a lazy Saturday morning, I thought, ok, let’s do this. How hard can it be? It turns out, a lot harder than the old advanced HSK. Many questions are in 网络语言 and are totally incomprehensible to an old fart like me — 文言文, or 甲骨文 would have been easier. It also asked me physics trick questions (“how tall is a six-foot person travelling at half the speed of light?”) and at what level of videogame X do you get to play against character Y. After a lot of googling, I got my pass and level 1 badge. Only to find out that, sorry, your level is still not high enough to leave a damn comment. Bye. Most social networking sites do everything possible to make it easy for people to interact. This is almost comically the opposite. It must rely on a subculture of people who take this as seriously as the Gaokao? Not that the other comments I saw on my video were obviously all from PhDs though. So I must be missing something....
  7. 7 points
    Alright I went to the Chengdu entry/exit office today. The lady told me that I can extend, but I shouldn't do it today. She recommended that since my visa expires on 5/18, I should do the extension closer to my expiration date to maximize the extension. Otherwise the extension will start today and I'll lose some time. I forgot to ask how long the extension she can offer would last. I suppose I'll wait another week and try again. I kind of regret not just doing it today because now there's still some uncertainty.
  8. 6 points
    As discussed and decided on here, the Book of the Month for May 2020 is 《草鞋湾》 by 曹文轩. Cao Wenxuan (1954) is a children's book writer (he's written some things for adults as well, but children's literature is his main work). Some of his work has been translated, most notably Bronze and Sunflower, and in 2016 he he won the Hans Christian Andersen Award. 《草鞋湾》 is his latest book, published in 2019. 209 pages (in my edition), 22 chapters of about 10 pages each. So far (one chapter in) the language is easy, both in vocabulary and in sentence structure. Chapter 1: Shanghai, 1940s. We meet the inhabitants of Straw Sandal Bay Street no. 108: Private detective 沙丘克, his ten-year-old son 沙小丘 and caretaker 马大伯. Because father Sha is so good at his work, gangsters tend to come by and threaten him and/or shoot at him. When Xiaoqiu was two, his mother got enough of this and left. In the yard of the Sha family stands a scholar tree, with an abandoned magpie nest. Xiaoqiu hopes a new magpie family will move in. (Cao Wenxuan really likes writing about birds.) Some words: 喜鹊 xǐquè magpie 槐树 huáishù Chinese scholartree 不由得 bùyóude cannot but, can’t help (doing sth) 私家侦探 sījiā zhēntàn private detective 管家 guǎnjiā housekeeper 傍晚 bàngwǎn toward evening, at dusk 稀松 xīsōng sloppy, lax 将就 jiāngjiu make do, make the best of it (not to be confused with 讲究, which means pretty much the opposite) 邬 Wū family name (with bird in it) 高枕无忧 gāozhěn wúyōu shake up the pillow and have a good rest, sit back and relax, not worry at all
  9. 6 points
    Well, yes, I will admit that title is a bit of a stretch since salmon is far from a popular everyday food in China. Be that as it may, one of the things a person can do during this crazy COVID time is to occasionally make a nice meal for oneself. It is more than simple nutrition. I view it as a means of emotional self-care. Salmon was on sale this morning during early-bird hours at the supermarket. I bought a one-pound fillet for seven dollars and ninety-eight cents. At nine o’clock sharp I drove to the once-a-week local farmer’s market and picked up some decent early-season tomatoes and a few crunchy, thin-skinned cucumbers. A stand on the way out had some baby onions, and I snagged a small bundle of those as well. A piece of salmon is an investment. I never eat it all at one sitting. After it’s cooked, it will form the nucleus of several tasty meals during the early part of the week: Part of a colorful pasta salad, part of a salmon and avocado sandwich on whole wheat toast. But tonight, for starters, I simply poached it. Sliced a couple stems of celery along with the small onions. Could have added some carrot if one had been available. Smashed a clove of garlic with the side of my knife and sliced a thumb of ginger without removing the skin. Put these flavoring ingredients into a shallow pot with three cups of water and a half a cup of white wine. This is barely enough to cover the fish. Added half a lime, sliced and gently squeezed, two bay leaves and a teaspoon of salt. This poaching liquid is called a “court bouillon” and it gives the salmon a touch of additional flavor without overpowering it. The usual method is to bring the stock to a boil before adding the fish. This makes it all too easy to overcook the fish. So instead today I used the “cold start” method, putting everything together before setting the pot on the heat. This approach is described here if you would like to know more about it. Brought the pot to a boil over medium heat and immediately turned it down to the lowest setting. Cooked it uncovered for three minutes with only occasional small bubbles rising to the top. (A minimum “simmer” setting.) After three minutes I gently turned the fish over. After three more minutes I checked the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer to make sure it had reached the target of 115 degrees F. Lifted it out with a slotted spoon. Laid it in chunks onto a bed of tomatoes and cucumbers that I had already salted and drained of their excess water. Made a simple dipping sauce of mayo, a dash of mustard and a squeeze of lime. Had a side dish of steamed rice. Ate it all with chopsticks so I could pretend I was back in Kunming. I usually strain and save the court bouillon since by now it has a good deal of flavor. Tomorrow or the next day I will add a sliced pepper and use it to poach a batch of jumbo shrimp. Good eats are strong medicine in keeping the COVID blues at bay.
  10. 6 points
    Mandarin Daily News is a publisher in Taiwan offering four different newspapers for kids which are also available online for people who don't live in Taiwan. There are 國語日報, two levels of 國語日報週刊 and 中學生報. Naturally, all of those are in traditional characters, the former three additionally provide bopomofo. Since the 中學生報 is written for teenagers, I would say it's the most suitable one for adult Chinese learners. It's released weekly and has 16 pages, in the online edition each page is available as an image. This is a major drawback, I would much prefer a proper pdf, but the resolution is sufficient for the Pleco OCR to do a reasonable job. The first two pages have short articles in both English and Chinese, which is great as a warmup excercise or to check how much you have understood. In general I like the selection of topics and I feel the difficulty is a bit easier than the regular news, also due to the maximum article length being limited to one page. For around 30€ per year, paid with credit card, you get a steady stream of native material for studying, so even if you have just a few minutes there are some shorter articles in the reading pipeline. They provide an older edition online for evaluation, the format is exactly the same as the one you get with a subscription.
  11. 5 points
    What a fantastic thread! A few books that haven't been mentioned yet here (and I apologize if they've been mentioned elsewhere in the forum, but just for the sake of collecting things under one thread....) Dictionaries 1. Paul Kroll, A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese - I believe this is the only Classical Chinese to English dictionary that has been updated in many decades. It is excellent! Get the Pleco version, which I believe is about 30 to 40 USD, and much cheaper than Amazon. 2. Pleco also has a free Classical Chinese to Contemporary Chinese dictionary from Taiwan Ministry of Education. I haven't used this enough to know how it stacks up against something like Gu Hanyu Da Cidian, but not much to lose from a free download. Texts I am going through the Rouzer text right now, and am finding it excellent! Before that, I went through 1. Bryan Van Norden, Classical Chinese for Everyone: A Guide for Absolute Beginners - This is very basic, but a great intro for those new to classical. I found it a really easy entry point, while still being rich and informative. I think it's also the newest entry into the English language Classical Chinese study book market, having just been published in fall 2019. 2. Archie Barnes, Chinese through Poetry - The first 15 chapters are excellent. And then in chapter 16 it suddenly gets much harder, going from super basic 床前明月光 (i.e., the poem every Chinese grade schooler knows) in chapter 15 to a 36-line 七言古诗 in chapter 16. Not exactly a smooth progression.... With that said, I might return to this after I make more progress in the Rouzer book.
  12. 5 points
    I don't want to say I'm a prophet or anything, but looking at the vocab levels, it turns out that HSK 6 does in fact get you halfway!
  13. 5 points
    Saw this earlier today. Might be relevant for overseas students wondering about the timing of their return to class. http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-05/13/c_139053804.htm I've booked a flight for the first part of July. It's a ticket which can be changed without penalty. Will follow the situation closely to see whether or not it is actually a feasible date. Would prefer to wait until a long quarantine on arrival is not required.
  14. 5 points
    Feeling bored at home and decided to start a little project to help people get better at reading. Chinese is my native language. Check it out at www.chinesenewsclub.com You need at least intermediate-level reading skills for this to be useful to you. Would love your feedback! Should I continue this?
  15. 5 points
    Is it a bird, is it a plane, no... it's @mikelove If there were to be a Nobel Prize for software support, then this man should have it. IMHO.
  16. 5 points
    Before I came to China (first arrived in 2001) I didn't have much of an idea of what to expect. What I knew of China had been largely informed by films, and news reports so I wasn't sure if it was going to be something like you'd see in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon minus the flying kungfu people (the film influence) or a draconian police state (the news reports influence). What it ended up being was neither of the two - bleak industrialised cities and towns, but no real police state in any way (at least if you weren't trying to pull any sort of political stunts), and there was an energy and buzz about the place from people going at a fast pace to bring about change and improvement in their lives. Life was constantly changing and there was a feeling that things were always moving forward. I think it was that energy and buzz that hooked many people (myself included) because life would be total roller-coaster and you wouldn't know from one day to the next what random thing (good or bad) that China was going to throw at you. Coupled with an interest in the language and culture, that feeling lasted for me until around the 2008 Olympics. The shift was subtle, but noticeable in many small things - e.g. people starting to say 钱 instead of 茄子 when taking photos, numerous food safety scandals, old buildings being knocked down and replaced by new 'old-style' buildings, or being knocked down and replaced entirely by european-themed architecture, greater restrictions on security and movement (x-ray scanners introduced in subway stations as part of the security measures for the Olympics, staying in place long after they'd ended) and so on. By that time my language skills had improved to a point that I has happy with, and it was becoming harder and harder to overlook the drawbacks of living in China (pollution, food-safety etc), and I ended up leaving in 2009.
  17. 4 points
    I have largely been following an "input first, output later" approach to learning Chinese for about a year now. So far, I have "only" had 16 lessons with an online tutor. The majority of those lessons were in the early stages to make sure my pronunciation and tones were OK. I took a 4 months gap from working with my tutor, because I felt unless I first improve my vocabulary tutoring sessions are quite boring. Now, my passive vocabulary is much better and I wonder how to get better at speaking. The obvious thing would be to do more tutoring sessions on Italki and the like. But I wonder what I can do outside of those tutoring sessions. My main concern is that I feel unsure if the sentences I create in my head are correct or not until I check them with my tutor in the next session. I wonder how you would approach let's say a homework assignment to prepare a 5 minute talk about Chinese tea culture? How would you prepare the sentences? How do you ensure grammar, word order and the words chosen are correct? Do you have a memory bank of sentences or parts of sentences and then pick and mix them as needed? Here are my strategies at the moment: Option 1: I pretty much learn a text on Chinese tea culture by heart and then "replay it" to my tutor. Option 2: I can steal sentences or parts of sentences from online texts and pick and mix them create hopefully meaningful new sentences. Option 3: stumble and create my own sentences from scratch only to google parts of those sentences later on and realise there are hits or zero hits... Option 4: use google translator to "help" me. All these approaches remain frustrating, because until I check the result with my tutor, I have no way of knowing if my sentences are correct or not.
  18. 4 points
    good point. I spent many hours on martial arts. I don’t enter competitions. I have rarely been in situations where I need to use them. what is the point of still training when I don’t want to actually fight? (Well even at my age I am still getting in the ring and semi-sparring. There is a political situation in HK and I nearly accidentally got caught in it last weekend). the skill is listening skills. In order to interact, I need to understand input. If I can speak but not understand the input, then I have no chance to communicate. I have been in that situation many times before. If I can understand but not articulate very well, I can still get by when I need to use mandarin. Much earlier, I used to do a lot of interaction with italki community tutors. Lots of it. The progress was ok but not totally satisfying. For me, perhaps my own learning style is a preference to understand which I didn’t appreciate in previous years. My experiences of going to Shenzhen, Beijing and Qingdao last year reaffirmed that my listening skills are the main limitation. I can ask questions but not deal with many of the answers and therefore the utility of speaking at this point in time, is of lower priority. For me, those sexy promises of getting the student to talk in mandarin as quickly as possible didn’t work out very well. In this blog, I am actually only concerned with listening skills for handling people situations. It is not concerned with speaking skills, grammar skills etc. I.e. just focussed on one aspect. That probably gives an impression of single mindedness over other aspects of learning a language. I just haven’t got to the other stages yet! Southern Mandarin accents are easier for me but I do want to balance it out with understanding northern accents. Listening to standard mandarin is ok for me so long as it’s not too fast. For example, I can listen to the radio in mandarin and follow (with vocabulary limitations). I have my materials for speaking setup for the future. I just want to train my ears better to deal with the vast input and at some point, I will decrease the time on listening with an increase in time on the other skills. I think most people like to move up each skill in tandem. After all things considered, at present, I think I prefer to focus on certain areas at different times and have decided listening is the priority. Then sentences and pronunciation, then examining grammar (having hopefully had the benefit of lots of aural comprehension as a base). My own basis for practicing like this was from @OneEye describing how he wasn’t going to be beaten by not understanding a sappy film, and then after practically learning the dialogue by heart, he noticed other associated benefits. The flashcard technique works well for me allowing to carry around material on my phone and doing a quick listen during different parts of the day and also getting lots of reps in.
  19. 4 points
    I emailed one of the coauthors of (Liu et al. 2020) to confirm that the Chinese Proficiency Standards haven't been officially published yet. My email: Her reply: Translation:
  20. 4 points
    @LuThank you so much! That is extremely validating as 亲爱的婆婆大人 is the exact story that came bustling at me like a freight train. After throwing up my hands, I just decided for competitions sake to read it until the end and not do any word look ups. I was surprised that despite skipping so many chengyu and advanced words, I was still able to follow the basics of the plot. Well, I have procured another 巴金 book from his third trilogy, which a poster here said was far easier than the first trilogy. I have the May book of the month coming. And I plugged the first chapter of 流星蝴蝶劍 into the CTA and came up with 85% (before reading through to see if I could mark up any more words as known) so I think I have some ideas for a start!
  21. 4 points
    Ended up reading 小王子. I wasn't exactly keen to read it but I had this book at home for 2+ years and I was never able to read it, so I figured it was time to give it another try. The reason I have this book in the first place is that my partner's mum, as soon as she new that we were learning Chinese, decided to send it to us as a present. Obviously, as it is a children's book and she has no idea whatsoever of how bloody complicated Chinese is, she thought that we could read it straight away. In typical mum fashion she kept asking about it at every possible occasion, so much so that it became almost embarrassing. Month after month she would ask " did you read the book?" and we would say "ehr...not yet, still too hard..." till in the end my girlfriend literally had to pretend that she had read it. lol Now I picked it up again and the good news is, it wasn't too hard to read anymore. The bad news, it really wasn't worth the wait in my opinion. I get all the enthusiasm about it being all a metaphor and all that, but I find the narrative to be really bland and uneventful. Although the author's aim is to use the simple story to hint and make you reflect on important ethical and philosophical themes, as an adult I think I can say that I already met and thought about most of these in more depth elsewhere...so I don't really find it that enlightening. From the point of view of Chinese learning, I think the book has some strong points and some weak ones. It is short and hence looks very approachable, moreover chapters themselves are even shorter (sometimes just a page) so it's easy to motivate yourself to read even just a chapter a day. The structure of the sentences is in general very simple. However, I find the vocabulary to be not super easy and sometimes a bit unusual due to the fairy tale-like atmosphere. So in my opinion not the best for enriching your vocabulary, at least at a beginner's stage. In conclusion, I don't think I would recommend it. I think I'll now start on 消失中的江城 , hopefully it is within my reach. I know I like that one cause I read it in english before 😄
  22. 4 points
    I'd register for what's available when you're ready to register for it, it's not worth hanging around for. There's an advantage to taking soon disappearing exams, though - you get to hang around on here for the next decade going "Oooh, it's a lot easier than it was in my day.... the old HSK listening, recorded on a wax cylinder, it was... you had to do the writing with a brush..."
  23. 4 points
    Well they didn't respond to me directly, but their account tweeted this a few hours later.
  24. 4 points
    Bragging rights on your CV, yes. English is not my native language, so learning languages was a must since my childhood. I have a C1 cert in English (Cambridge), C1 cert in Spanish (DELE), B2 cert in German (Goethe), HSK 5 and JLPT N4. It definitely doesn't mean that I'm polyglot, because I'm very far from it. The above statement only means that at a certain point in time in the past I could pass an exam. As a tool, exams can be useful and can structure how you approach a language. The problem is that for most language learners, a stupid cert is seen as something as an end goal, rather than a check-in.
  25. 4 points
    From my own experience, there are the two things you need. Your passport and the certificate/letter that says you’re free to marry. In my case this was provided by the U.K. embassy here. For foreigners marrying Chinese people you need to go to the home province’s capital city. The smaller cities can not handle Chinese-Foreign marriages. For example, if you’re boyfriend was from Qingdao In Shandong you'd have to go to Jinan. There was no one else at the office when we went. We didn’t see anyone else getting married the whole time. One person at the office spoke enough English and insisted on doing so even though we were all speaking Chinese. They had examples of forms with English translations on then to see what each box was asking for. My form was Chinese but my answers were in English. The whole process took about 15 minutes. The longest part was waiting for the marriage books once everything is done. You also need to have your passport and letter translated. My letter was bilingual mostly but it still needed to be translated at a verified/official translation office. I guess it might be obvious but we called the wedding office to check what we needed and also had a local friend go there to ask. It wasn’t mentioned. It’s more than likely the wedding office you go to has a translator that they use. Just use them because they know exactly what the office wants. It’s worth knowing in case you plan to go to the wedding office for opening and have a train that day... only to be told you need things translated. That initial translation took about 30-40 minutes. After you have been married, you should probably take all the stuff back to the translators office and have them translate it all into English, stamp it, etc. We were told you this translation must be done in the city/province you’re married in. However, they could have just been getting us to pay them to do it! 😂 It wasn’t that expensive anyway. This involves translating more stuff so was about a 1-2 hour wait. Do you mind if I ask how you will do this?
  26. 4 points
    OK, figured I'd give a brief update on my listening this week, since it was the first week of a new routine for me: Day 1: Spent 30 minutes listening to the first 5 minutes of the first episode of 兩個女生的聊天記錄. It was pretty easy to understand, but tough to figure out words that I didn't get the first time around. Maybe it was the Taiwanese accent, or special Taiwanese words? Day 2: Listened to recordings my online tutor gives me. These are kind of easy compared to the podcasts but they speed seems close to authentic, just enunciated clearly and without characters talking over one another like they did in 兩個女生的聊天記錄. Anyway I have to do it for homework. Day 3: Back to 兩個女生的聊天記錄. This time, I just listened to the rest of the 25 podcast. Overall, I found it pretty understandable. I would say I inferred what they were talking about most of the time, and could grasp each hosts different points of view. I would put myself maybe at 50-60% comprehension (50% being the benchmark of 'I know what they are talking about, and can follow it clearly). Day 4: Over 20-30 minutes, Listened to the first half of the 兩個女生的聊天記錄 episode 1 again, this type stopping every minute or so to loop back, and see if I could get gain a clearer understanding by listening again or looking up words. I feel like I could only find at least half the words I thought I was hearing in the dictionary (sometimes they're too fast, sometimes I just can't hear them clearly or must be mishearing), Day 5: Over 20-30 minutes, listened to remainder of the podcast. Same as above. There were some things I never really grasped totally, and without transcripts, there wasn't much I could do about it. Day 6: Did more homework. Back to the tutor's recordings. Day 7: Listened to the first episode of 狗熊有话说. This was MUCH harder than the Taiwanese podcast for me. I was having trouble following anything but the general direction or what he was saying. Especially in the middle, where he starts talking about the history of why he's making this podcast. Will go back in further detail today and see if I can get a better understanding with word lookups.
  27. 4 points
    @Perpetual Chang @david387 Yes David is correct Moments function is temporarily not available for China. We need to rehaul and upgrade our systems for reasons you probably can guess that I can't go into much details. In any case it's best for HelloTalk to remain a language exchange app not related to non language and culture type of discussion, and it has always been that way anyway. We are trying our best to bring back Moments to China users as soon as possible. We can probably bring it back by end of May. Hope everybody understand and be patient with us.
  28. 4 points
    Chapter 2: A client! (Because we wouldn't have much of a detective story without a client.) A man named 盛大中 comes knocking to ask for 沙丘克's help: his four-year-old daughter 阿珠 has disappeared. She was with her mother at the market and disappeared when mother wasn't holding her hand for just a second. But after some deliberation, 沙丘克 decides not to take the case. I like the interaction between big Sha and little Sha. Father Sha is pretty hard-boiled (and strong, and tall, and smart) and quite strict with 丘丘, but at the same time he clearly loves his son very much. Chapter 3: After being told the great detective would not take their case, the entire Sheng family comes to the Shas' house to beg him to take the case and find their 阿珠. It's a very dramatic and emotional scene (and in the end 沙丘克 says yes, of course). Some words: 疑惑 yíhuò to doubt, to distrust, to puzzle over 缭绕 liáorào to spiral up, to curl up; to entangle 猖獗 chāngjué rampant, running wild 非但 fēidàn not only, as in 可非但没有… But not only did he not… 扑簌簌 pūsùsù (of tears) trickling down All words you can easily guess the meaning of from context, or ignore and still understand everything. So far this book is so easy that it might actually be that mythical 'As a beginner, you should start with reading children's books' children's book.
  29. 4 points
    Just finished reading 许三观卖血记, my first novel in chinese! such a good feeling, I feel I achieved something. I enjoy reading 余华 and read a few of his books even before I got interested in chinese, I appreciate the simplicity of the language and his ability to draw a picture with very few, powerful strokes, therefore I really liked this novel. I was surprised at how easy it was to read and totally recommend it as first reading, it almost feels like a graded reader. Now I'm thinking what to read next, i'm considering 消失中的江城 (the Chinese translation of "River Town" by Peter Hessler) or maybe 魔道祖师 (my girlfriend is a fan of The Untamed and she's reading it now and really enjoying it - although it is certainly not high literature). I have a copy of 活着 but probably two books in a row about hardship in the chinese countryside is a bit too much 😄
  30. 4 points
    If you don't mind waiting a few extra days, the best option I've found is using a 代购 (agent) service like 86daigou.com. With this service, you can pay with PayPal (amongst other options, which I can't remember). There is a fee for the service, but it is not extortionate. Then you can buy books or anything else for that matter off practically any Chinese website. Taobao.com is one option. A good option for books is kongfz.com. They have a lot of old and out of print books, often for a fraction of the original price. The only issue some may face is that the website is in Chinese only. @rebor For example, 圈子圈套3 is available here for RMB2.98 (+ RMB7 for domestic shipping). Even with the agent fee and shipping to Sweden, it will still probably come to less than $10.
  31. 4 points
    The trick is to separate looking at the transcript from the listening, and to make sure you are engaging your brain when you are listening. So you'd listen over and over to a small section of audio (maybe a sentence, maybe a paragraph, depending on your level) and try to isolate and figure out each individual word as you hear it. When you get to the point where you've tried several times and you still can't make out some of the words, then you stop and go to the transcript and look it up and realise "oh right, that's what they were saying". Then you go back and listen (without the transcript), doing the same thing where you try and isolate the words you are hearing, but this time you pay particular attention to the bit you originally couldn't understand, filling in the gap with your new knowledge. And you keep doing this until you can listen to the whole sentence, and pick up and hear every word without mental effort. Yes, you were falling back on your newly memorized meaning, but you were actively engaging your listening the whole time and you've now plugged one small little hole. Then you repeat with the next sentence, and you plug another small hole. Then you put the two sentences together and make sure you can still hear everything automatically. Then you repeat with the third sentence, and you plug some more holes. Then you put all the sentences together and make sure you can still hear everything automatically and without much effort. And so on, and so on. Mind-numbing repetition, and yes, it was all just memorized transcripts, but those words and sentences are now branded in your brain from listening to them over and over again, and that's the point. It's now branded in your brain, so when you hear that word in a different context you won't have to expend much (if any) effort to understand it because understanding it has become an automatic reflex. If you spend some time on this every day, then over days, and weeks and months all the little holes that you've plugged will amount to a great big deal of improvement.
  32. 4 points
    some of my anki packs are here. Please let me know if you find the practice useful Or too easy. The others are right to say it’s not an exercise for enjoyment. It’s a training exercise that requires repetition. It is laborious work. if you are picking a film, then pick only five minutes of dialogue and aim to understand every single sentence without needing subtitles. It will be almost like being an actor learning a script except you learn it by listening first and repetitively. Only refer to the script when you really can’t understand or to clarify certain words. Be mentally prepared to listen five or more times. The workaudio book app is great for this as it allows you to conveniently isolate a sentence within an mp3 and listen many times over.
  33. 4 points
    Honestly, I don't know. I haven't used them. I will try and compare. I don't see how anyone would fund, build and launch a paid product without doing basic competitor analysis. What's your USP? There is a very crowded market for this kind of app, and some of the options are free.
  34. 4 points
    But what if it's a picture of abcdefg's lunch ?
  35. 4 points
    The reaction to me, oh wow, I remember that. China had just opened up after the Cultural Revolution was over. Crowds converged all around me if I stood for one minute. Kids pointed to me crying out "waiguoren! waiguoren!". Individuals would touch my reddish hair. One time I went out with a Chinese friend who was deaf like me, we went shopping in a department store and we stopped to looked at an item we wanted to buy. It was just an ordinary soap and towel set I was looking for. Right then a crowd of over a hundred people were surrounding us. Friend and I couldn't get through and leave. So the police came in to disperse them all. I don't think this happened as much in 2000 when I came back. Not even sure if this happens anymore nowadays.
  36. 4 points
    I was there far earlier, in 1980. No iPhones no cell phone no emails. Life was just life in simplest form. Citizens got up to exercise, all of them. I remember a college girl running for exercise in a gauzy dress, every morning at 6am. Then citizens got on bikes and buses and went to work and school then came home. Windows full of steaming dinner and light. Then I came back in 2000, I couldn't recognize it at all, and it seemed like a gradual shift into bland be-like-the-Western-world shift was happening. Little things that imron described. I didn't come back after that because the China I knew in the 1980s just wasn't there anymore.
  37. 3 points
    I think it is 吉祥如意。 It reads from right to left .
  38. 3 points
    What I can say from my own experience here in Brazil is that all classes held by the Confucius Institute avoid any topics related to politics, but that might not be the same everywhere else.
  39. 3 points
    FWIW, I think mouse support on iPad is going to be *huge* in ~6 months or so when iOS 14 is out and the mouse APIs are a little more fleshed-out. There are some weird omissions at the moment, but we've nevertheless been able to add experimental mouseover support to our document reader (even when editing!) and by the end of the year I expect it'll also be possible to do stuff like trackpad handwriting (nicer than trying to write on a vertical touchscreen), mouse steering in FPS games, repositionable floating windows, etc.
  40. 3 points
    That's what I was hoping for, I am very experienced in finding things on the English language internet, but I've been out of the China game so long that my cultural references are still along the lines of 同一个世界同一个梦想。 In case anyone else is interested, I did come up with this collection of 评书, including the buzzy, tinny quality that we all remember fondly from taxi rides in a Volkswagen Santana. I hope someone out there recognizes my snippets of memory from my two favorite commercials: 集美家具!集美!集美家具!集美! No idea what the ad was for but the number was very excitedly announced: Liu liu ling yao, baaaa jiu jiu jiu. Liu liu ling yao, baaaaa jiu jiu jiu. "Welcome to take Beijing Taxi, your advice on our services is appreci-ated." Please reminisce with me! I'm so excited I came across this forum, someone get Peter Hessler in here
  41. 3 points
    Hello Chinese learners! I'm a Chinese native and recently developed an online AI grammar checker for multiple languages including Chinese. Think of it as Grammarly for Chinese! I would love your feedback. Try at https://www.karenina.io/?lang=zh
  42. 3 points
    Well, we've got a Chekov's Gun! Now let's see if it gets fired...
  43. 3 points
    It's a little more than that. Not everyone is comfortable going up to a stranger and talking their ear off, like the vlogger here. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure having that kind of personality is helpful because language after all is a social construct. I tend to not volunteer information about myself randomly to strangers unless they ask, here the vlogger does the opposite.
  44. 3 points
    You've got a lot useful translations of current terms there. But it's hard on the eyes to read the Chinese text because you've broken it apart, putting English explanations and translations after each sentence. The original Chinese texts are all short, so just display them in full and then put all the explanations and translations at the end. And you don't need to number the translated words in the Chinese text. That just makes the text harder to read.
  45. 3 points
    Well yes... StickyStudy, TofuLearn, Pleco Flashcards, Memrise and Skritter all use SRS. If the question were "Why not Anki?", then my answer would be that I didn't like it. This is based on my possibly-outdated experience back in 2012-2014 when I was using it for learning Hindi vocab. I think I also made some Japanese decks at some point... probably 2015. I've used both AnkiDroid and Anki for iOS (AnkiMobile? The paid-for app anyway) and the desktop app, and thought that the decks looked awful. Plus the amount of fiddling around "under the hood" with CSS to get things to look how you want just wasn't worth the trouble. Maybe things are different these days... I notice now that I did download the Mac desktop app onto this new macbook which I've only had since November, so I'm open to trying out some "good" decks if anyone has exemplars that might change my mind! But for standard HSK vocab lists with text + audio I think StickyStudy and Tofulearn do a very good job.
  46. 3 points
    A woman whose Springtime has already faded = a woman past her prime
  47. 3 points
    You can't bring that up without at least linking to it so newer members can enjoy it also.
  48. 3 points
    Platform(s): PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One Languages: English and Chinese (both simplified and traditional characters), French, German, Korean, Japanese (that's for the PC version, please check before buying the console versions - apparently the Switch version allows language selection, the rest should too) Chinese voices/dub: Only a few words here and there, but mostly just text I've been playing this for a bit, and can heartily recommend it for both Chinese learning and having fun. While it unfortunately doesn't really have any voice acting, it does have plenty of text, the vast majority of which you can take your time reading, looking up words in Pleco etc, before clicking and moving on. In the game you'll have to pay attention to witness testimony, trying to pick holes in their versions of events in order to defend your client. The opposing lawyer won't make things easy for you though, and you'll have to defend yourself against him or her too. You'll also be selecting evidence and your own witnesses in defence of your client. As you can probably tell from the description, this game requires a lot of reading and paying attention to details, so is great for Chinese reading and comprehension practice. It really ramps up the courtroom drama aspect of it too, which makes it a lot of fun to play. I'm not sure about other platforms, but it is 50% off on Steam until the 7th of May 2020, and at £14.99 (UK pricing) is well worth the money. https://store.steampowered.com/app/787480/Phoenix_Wright_Ace_Attorney_Trilogy__123/
  49. 3 points
    I had the arm hair stroking a bit too though one of the funniest was in a remote-ish part of Kham/West Sichuan where the local Khamba lads also wore their hair long in a braid same as I had, so would run up behind me in the street and give mine a tug, then giggle and point at their own hairdo. Very friendly which was fortunate as they were hulking great buggers with a large knife in their waistbands
  50. 3 points
    I think this is huge. Used to be easy to strike up a conversation on a cross-city bus. Now it is so much less likely. Once I was reviewing small paper Hanzi flashcards on the bus. Three middle-school-age boys were watching closely. One finally asked what I was doing. I explained and then all three of them started "Practicing English." They asked the usual canned questions that "Practicing English" always seems to entail and I answered them patiently. (I am not usually so obliging, but they caught me on a good day.) When it was time for me to get off, one of the boys took off his red "Mao kerchief" (红领巾 -- Young Pioneers) and handed it to me as a token of thanks.
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