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Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 09/20/2020 in all areas

  1. 9 points
    Long time lurker, first time poster...thought this data might be of interest to some of you. The graph below shows my increasing reading speed over the course of about 15.6 million characters read between December 2018 and July 2020 (so just over a year and a half). Some notes: Reading time includes time spent looking up unknown words in Pleco's document reader, creating Pleco flashcards, and googling unknown references, plus a little occasional texting. Most of what I read was webnovels, with a few real books thrown in here and there. Other than starting out with a webnovel that I'd heard was easy, I didn't make much of an attempt to filter for difficulty. When I started, I'd learned around 1600 characters (recognition only), but I'm a heritage speaker, so my vocabulary was probably somewhat larger than that of a second-language learner who knows an equal number of characters. At this point I'd say I recognize 4000 characters or so. I read roughly the first 2.5 million characters either fully out loud or muttered under my breath, and switched to reading silently only when reading out loud began to noticeably slow me down. I still tend to semi-voluntarily mouth the words when reading something unfamiliar or difficult. I hope this is helpful for someone, as my small attempt to give back after all the time I've spent reading the massive amount of accumulated wisdom on these forums.
  2. 7 points
    Lately, I've been binge-watching the second season of Big Band (乐队的夏天). This is a battle of the bands reality show featuring a mix of established and up-and-coming rock bands. In my expert opinion (as an avid watcher of Chinese music reality shows), this is the best-in-class of this sub-genre of reality TV. If you are into music and Chinese then you should just go check it out now. You can either watch it in the iQiyi app or through the English-language site https://iq.com (link to episode one). The series isn't available on YouTube. Recent evolution of music reality television Chinese music competition shows have been a thing for as long as I've been alive, but the current era of music reality television probably started with the Voice of China. VoC was a massive success from the very beginning, and I believe it played an important part in raising awareness of music genres other than mass-produced pop and propaganda songs. Producers affiliated with VoC also started shows that emphasized original music rather than simply singing covers of popular pop songs. This has now come full circle, as the latest season of VoC now features many acts who perform their own music rather than sing covers (in past seasons, original music was only allowed in later rounds). Within the last couple of years, the battle of the bands sub-genre has exploded. I think the first really successful shows of this type were probably iQiyi's Big Band and Youku's Let's Band (一起乐队吧), both of which premiered in the summer of 2019. Even though less than a year has passed, Let's Band has inspired at least two clones (我们的乐队 and 明日之子乐团季). In the Let's Band formula, competitors have a much greater amount of creative control than in previous music reality shows: besides creating music and singing, they also have to recruit band members and play their own instruments. Why Big Band is different Big Band is the first hyper-successful battle of bands show and the first to get a second season. However, its format hasn't yet been cloned and there is one striking difference from most mainland reality shows: the first season of Big Band is the least patriotic mass-market mainland reality show I have seen in recent years (maybe ever?). You can pretty much expect any mainland reality show nowadays to throw some propaganda at you, so the dearth of it in Big Band is frankly jarring. For example, in other shows, someone's going to stand up and sing a song about the Chinese Dream (VoC was notorious for this, and you could usually count on the big patriotic number being the worst song of the season). I think this, in itself, is a kind of political statement in this day and age, especially when so many celebrities in the Chinese entertainment industry go to great lengths to praise and support the CCP, even if they aren't PROC nationals. Another big difference is that the rosters of the bands in Big Band are fixed from the very beginning. There's no recruiting aspect, each band has an established identity and its own body of work. As such, they perform more original music on the show, although obviously most of it is prepared well before they go on the show. There are at least two phases where the competitors need to create new covers for existing songs, but they're allowed so much flexibility that they can (and sometimes do) essentially rewrite the song they cover. The last difference of Big Band from its brethren is that the competition aspect (which includes rehearsal segments, performing in front of a live audience, commentary, and scoring) takes up only half of its running time. The other two aspects are music education segments and mini-documentaries. The music education segments are short animated pieces that cover a particular musical instrument, a common chord, a music genre, etc. They are very well-produced and showing them to a classroom of children would be totally justified as they truly are informative. Mini-documentaries cover the history of a particular band, and, as some of these bands have been around for 20+ years, you also get snapshots of the history of Chinese rock'n'roll. They usually show archival footage, and in voice over band members will wax nostalgic about their lives back then and also mention other old bands that haven't been on the show. Sometimes the film crew will show bands visiting the places where they started out and talking to people they knew back then. Conclusion As you can probably tell, I think this show is awesome. To be honest, I'm not that into much of the music, but the show is about so much more that (see random list of highlights below). It's sort of a love letter to music, music culture, and music history. If you haven't caught on yet, the vast majority of the show consists of talking--I bet actual music performance accounts for like one-tenth of the stupendously long running times (this is a web show, so there is no set running time, and some episodes go over the 2-hour mark). There are many other Chinese shows that go deep into some aspect of Chinese culture or are very talk-centric, but even if they're well-made, I don't think they're very accessible to foreign audiences. On the other hand, I think someone with strong listening ability but relatively little knowledge of Chinese culture could actually appreciate Big Band. There are also official English subtitles, although I can't attest to their quality since I always turn them off. Random highlights of the show Host Ma Dong's willingness to be the butt of many, many jokes, culminating in the song 马东是个大坏蛋 being created and performed on the show. Ma Dong is an expert interviewer, as demonstrated by the mini-interviews that he conducts after each performance. The celebrity panel of Big Band is pretty great. It consists mostly of older celebrities who participated in or have first-hand knowledge of pre-2000s Chinese rock. Their commentary and stories lend a lot of flavor to the show. The one-joke cartoon interludes are amazing. You can often get the joke even if you can't read fast enough to understand all the text. Many of the songs are sung in colorfully broken English. If you can read fast enough, the Chinese translations are sometimes interesting. There's a weird female representation problem going on in mainland reality TV, especially in competition shows. I wouldn't say that there are a ton of women in this show, but at least there are some. Some of my favorite moments from the show are when band members fight each other during rehearsals. One of the highlights for me of season 2 was when the triplet sisters of 福禄寿 were fighting while rehearsing for their performance of 少年 (episode 7, part 2 at 51:25). There's a spin-off talk show that runs concurrently with Big Band called 乐队我做东, where host Ma Dong talks with bands that appear on the show while eating hot pot. Frankly, it looks great but it seems like you need a premium subscription on iQiyi to watch it.
  3. 7 points
    Yes. The difficulty is that in all European languages I'm familiar with, we count in groups of three zeroes (thousand, million, billion etc) while in Chinese you count in groups of four zeroes (万,亿,兆等). Since this is really hard to re-calculate on the fly in your head, you run into difficulties. Some people can probably get fluent in this area, I think one could with simply lots of practice. I'm not fluent, so what I do: - If interpreting (or listening for a test or such things), write down the number without thinking and then go back and add dots (or commas if that's what your language does) every three zeroes. Or every four zeroes if you're translating into Chinese. Then read out the new number. No calculating necessary, just counting to three or four. - For numbers that you regularly need, such as the 人口 of your country, just learn them by heart so they roll off your tongue without you even needing to think about them. The Netherlands has 一千七百万 people, Taiwan has 两千三百万, China has 十三亿 etc. Or if you know you'll have to talk about certain numbers (because you give a talk about the box office revenue of your favourite movie, or the tonnage shipped into Rotterdam or something), look up the numbers beforehand and learn the Chinese by heart. Added advantage is that once you have these down pat, you get quicker at saying other numbers around them (11 million, 34 million, 1.5 billion etc). Similar issues with months and percentages: in Chinese, you start on the other end. The solution is the same also: write it down and read out the result; if you need it often (birthday), learn it by heart beforehand. With percentages, you can cheat sometimes, because many Chinese know the word percent, so if you already started on the number and forgot the 百分之 at the beginning, you can just say 六十七percent and it'll be fine.
  4. 6 points
    (Small update: I tested negative, fortunately. The call came some 50 hours after the test, pretty good.)
  5. 5 points
    I've been avoiding giving specifics because I don't really understand Japanese culture that much and I'm scared I'd give a bad example, but well, I'll try. So in Japanese culture there is a concept of omote (surface) and ura (behind). People will play a role on the surface that it what they want to project to the world, and also what the society expects them to project, while "ura" will be what they really feel, but may not be allowed/encouraged to show outwardly. So I just read an article about some Taiwanese lady living in Japan talking about how Japanese "aren't direct" and "aren't able to accept different opinions". When a Japanese coworker bought a new handbag, all the other Japanese coworkers complimented her on it, but this Taiwanese lady said the "colour was a bit off". This shocked pretty much everyone, because in the omote sense of the world it's socially expected to compliment the new bag no matter what you actually think, and not complimenting would be pretty rude. So this Taiwanese lady just made a big faux pas in Japanese culture, but she thought she was just being herself/being honest and didn't see why other people should be offended. You're probably thinking, if everyone compliments everything, then how do people know that their bag looks bad? Isn't there strict judgement of bag fashion in Japan? (This is a joke, but not totally untrue) How does it all work? Well, Japanese people are constantly playing a game of "hiding your own ura" versus "guessing other people's ura". When people compliment your bag, they can compliment it looking very genuine, or complimenting it looking like they are just complimenting for the sake of being polite. Actually, some people are good at masking their ura feelings when they compliment, and it's hard to know whether they mean it or not. Japanese people are skilled at telling these apart. If you don't learn to "hide your ura", you'll come off as rude, and if you don't learn to "guess other people's ura", you'll piss people off and make them go mad. There is a word in Japanese, kuuki wo yomu, that literally means "read the air". It roughly means to pay attention to your surroundings (to know whether it's a smart idea to do something). About the "strict judgement of bag fashion". Well, there is a thing in Japanese culture (that may be related to omote ura), where you have to suppress your individualism. Japanese culture is always about pleasing "everyone". But sometimes when you please "everyone", not everyone is pleased. "Everyone" is like a nonexistent mythical being dictated by the strictness/rigidness of Japanese culture. It's what everyone thinks everyone wants; and what everyone is dictated to want by the norms of society, but not necessarily really what everyone wants. So with bag fashion, and well many things in general, you want to do choose something that "everyone" gets. This comes off to foreigners as Japanese people seeming to be really shy sometimes. Basically, nobody wants to stand out. Chinese culture shares this part too, because it's also a collectivism culture or something. About "guessing other people's ura" and kuuki wo yomu. This is related to another concept, ki wo tsukau (caring?). In Japanese culture, there's a general big expectation to pay attention to peoples needs, and make them feel comfortable (how much you're expected to do it depends on various things, I'll get to in a minute). I tried googling this and barely found any results. I can't believe people don't blog in English about such an important concept. But I did find one blog, which had a few examples: It's because of ki wo tsukau that you get "omotenashi". That word they use to describe how the service in Japan is good. Now service is a sort of special situation, because the customer is king, and as a customer you actually get a relax and don't have to do a lot of mental work (but trust the people servicing you will be). I remember reading some foreign people say that being a convenience store worker in a Japan is a big eye opener, because you get exposed to the most rude people ever (certain kinds of customers) who will treat you like trash. Partly it's because they think it's okay because they're a customer, but it's magnified in the convenience store worker situation probably due to perceived lack of worth or low status of the worker. Also, if a foreign convenience store worker isn't providing the level of omotenashi that people expect, people get more pissed. (But this is getting less of an issue in recent years, partly because in a lot of places people have gotten used to seeing foreign workers, and have gotten used to the poorer level of service; I mean who cares so much in a convenience store). There are also joge kankei (hierarchical relationships) and uchi-soto kankei (inner/outer relationships). Joge kankei is what it sounds like, often its based on age, status etc. uchi-soto kankei is whether or not people are your "in" group. Uchi (in group) is like family, close friends, your own company, your own club, your own whatever group. Soto (out group) are like strangers, people you are not as close to, people from other companies, etcetc. Both joge kankei and uchi-soto kankei sort of mix together in various ways to define formality/politeness and how you're supposed to act in front of people. This is also reflected in the language (there is formality and politeness directly encoded in the Japanese language). Basically, you need to be more formal/polite to higher hierarchy people, and to soto people, but to lower hierarchy or uchi people you don't have to be as much. I think in Japanese culture, uchi-soto trumps joge kankei to some degree, but I heard in Korean culture, hierarchical relationships rule (I dunno if it's true). While you have to ki wo tsukau in general in Japanese culture, you have to do it /more/ towards higher hierarchy relationships, and more towards soto relationships. Especially soto relationships. So when you meet people you don't know well, you put on your omote mask very tightly, and try really hard to make them feel their needs attended to. While with your uchi relationships, you can show more of your real feelings (but usually not all... depends on the person really). In my opinion, kuuki wo yomu, ki wo tsukau, doing your omote, and fitting everything in to joge kankei and soto kankei is all very tiring, and is very very difficult for non-Japanese raised people to do properly. I dunno, if you think you can do it, good for you, maybe I just suck. But not all hope is lost! Now remember how I explained there are so many rules, well, luckily, the rules can sometimes be broken. There's another concept, called amae. I googled, and found it to be defined as "to depend and presume upon another's benevolence". Actually, I think this is human universal (at least I do it all the time in all cultures, but also a lot of people consider me to be very immature so lol iunno). Though some people (Doi 1971) have tried to claim it's unique to Japan in adults (though with some controversy). Amae is like a child's relationship to their mother. It's where you ask your mother for a cookie, even though you shouldn't really eat another cookie because it's bad for you, but your mother gives you a cookie because she loves you and will spoil you. It's like when you ask your friends for notes even though you should do the notes yourself. Or it's when you ask your busy coworker/senior to help you with something, that actually you're supposed to do, when they actually really don't have the time to bother... but they still help you anyways. Or basically, in general just asking for anything "against the rules", and expecting to get it. Amae can be done to anyone, but it's usually done to people higher in hierarchy (but who are also uchi), and maybe usually is more successful to the opposite sex (just a guess, I'm actually not sure). It sounds strange, because I kept talking about how breaking the rules will piss people off earlier, and yes, if you fail at amae you will piss people off, but if you succeed, actually everyone is happier somehow. Something about how the amae'd like the feeling of being relied upon, or taking care of someone etc. I am pretty good at amae, and it saved me when I was in Japan, because I found Japanese culture to be difficult, but I could use amae to get people to help me. I was also a cute teenage boy at the time, ymmv. (But even adult males do amae too, just there may be slightly less chances.) That's a quick introduction I guess?
  6. 4 points
    This is a hard question, because in China it's usually the other way around. All the Chinese elders I know eat very healthily, and are the ones always convincing younger people to eat healthier.
  7. 4 points
    One of my favorite things about learning Chinese is encountering colorful 谚语 and 成语. Here is a thread to share amusing proverbs. 过屠门而大嚼 to chew when passing the butcher shop; to feed on illusions
  8. 4 points
    If you make sure to memorize at least one such number for each power of 10 above 104 (1 万), this should make it even easier. The population of Shanghai is 24 million 上海总人口为 2.4 万 The prehistory of modern humans began roughly 250,000 years ago 现代人类的史前史大约开始于 25 万年前 There are 9 million bicycles in Beijing (according to Katie Melua, anyway...) 北京总共有 900 万辆自行车 Population of UK is 66 million 英国总人口为 6600 万(六千六百万) Population of US is 330 million 美国总人口为 3.3 亿 Population of China is 1.4 billion 中国总人口为 14 亿
  9. 4 points
    This is what I've come to understand over the years: 小姐 is fine in Taiwan. Generally speaking, avoid using 小姐 in Mainland China, but you are welcome to use the term if you add the person's name (王小姐) or in formal situations where noone would think of a double entendre. If you are a female customer at a high-end place you will be addressed as 小姐. If you don't know the person very well (like a clerk on a supermarket) it's better to use 阿姨 if the person is 35-40 or over and 姐姐 if younger. Don't try to use 姐姐 if the person is clearly middle-aged, because you will come up as rude. 阿姨 is fine and doesn't have negative connotations... But you shouldn't use 阿姨 with younger girls if you value your life, though. If it's a grandma, use 婆婆 (and 奶奶 in SW China). 夫人 is technically the polite version to address an old woman, but I've yet to see that used in real life. Even if the woman looks younger than you, don't use 妹妹. That's a textbook rookie mistake: 妹妹 or 小妹 are only used to address little girls, close friends and actual family members, regardless of the people involved being sisters or not. If you are unsure and there are other titles available, such as 服务员, 老板 or 老师 better use them instead, but you should be fine with 阿姨 and 姐姐 in 90% of the situations you encounter. I've heard 小姐 before being used by some guys to pick-up girls, but it comes up as flirty rather than offensive. Your mileage may vary. Bonus: nobody really cares about the words that come out of a foreigner's mouth unless you've been here for a long time and nobody will ever think you are calling someone a "prostitute" because you addressed a woman as 小姐. That doesn't apply, of course, if you are actually looking for a prostitute after eating some street 烧烤 at 4am - then it's fine to ask for a 小姐 with that meaning in mind.
  10. 4 points
    In much of southern China, especially Cantonese-speaking parts, it's pretty common as a term of address (小姐请问一下…), and no cause for offense or ambiguity when used as such. In northern China, this usage is basically unheard of. On the other hand, using it as a description of someone (她是个小姐) is unambiguously saying they're a prostitute. I wouldn't translate it as "whore", because that's a term of abuse, whereas 小姐 is a fairly neutral descriptor for someone who sells sex. In this respect, you can think of it as a little like "madam". "Excuse me, madam" — a polite if rather formal means of address. Contrast with "she's the local madam" — she runs the brothel down the street.
  11. 4 points
    Random lady was not very good at Chinese herself. It clearly says 佳, either correctly or mirrored, meaning 'good, fine, beautiful'. So it does say 'beautiful' or at least 'lufituaeb'.
  12. 4 points
    It's Tsingtao one word and it's a brand name worth an immense sum, one of the most valuable brands in China. The outdated spelling suggests tradition and quality. Qingdao would suggest it's something Commie, and who wants to buy that. Much less drink it. Yuk. See, e.g., http://english.pku.edu.cn
  13. 4 points
    Finished the book!! About the difficulty, I found it not too bad but definitely harder than 余华,with quite marked differences between the "action" chapters which were very flowy and easy to read, and the "descriptive" chapters (the ones where nothing happens) which used more advanced vocabulary.
  14. 4 points
    There is another short series (12 episodes) that is currently earning plaudits in China,《 沉默的真相》. It's a crime thriller and it currently has a 9.1 rating on 豆瓣. You can watch a quick review of the series here (I only watched the first couple of minutes as I want to avoid any spoilers). I have to say, I'm enjoying the recent trend for shorter, higher quality TV dramas.
  15. 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
  16. 3 points
    又要当婊子,又想立牌坊 is a long-time favourite for its forthrightness and culturally specific architectural reference; wanting to be a prostitute and have a monumental arch erected to their chastity; expecting to be treated like a good person while doing all the bad things.
  17. 3 points
    I just watched the third and final episode of "The Secret History of Writing" on BBC4, which you may enjoy if you're a writing systems enthusiast like I am. The series has a lot on Egyptian hieroglyphics, Chinese hanzi, the Arabic abjad (or alphabet — discuss) and a few other bits and pieces. There were some surprises for me, and some stunning footage that really made me want to visit Uzbekistan at some point! Without giving too much away, I thought Ep 3 was particularly interesting, dealing as it does with the political motives and cultural impacts of changing a writing system, such as Turkey moving from Arabic script to the Latin alphabet in an incredibly short time. I'm sure scholars and experts will find fault with the discussion of Pinyin here, but hey — there's a lot of ground covered in only 3 hours of content in total, and some over-simplification was probably inevitable. Presented by Lydia Wilson, "an academic and journalist who is also the editor of the Cambridge Literary Review". (inews) Edit: a proper bio on Dr Wilson now I found one. Since this is on the BBC website, you will need to be in the UK (or able to pretend that you are) to watch the episodes, but I suppose they may also be available in other locations too. Arte France is a collaborator, so it's probably also available through that channel? Episode 1: From Words to Pictures Episode 2: Words on a Page Episode 3: Changing the Script General programme website (short clips might be viewable outside the UK?)
  18. 3 points
    I was swinging either way with Chinese vs Arabic when I decided to start learning Chinese 3 years back. Both of them felt like some kind of ultimate challenge of language learning. Since I was living in Singapore at the time, Chinese was the obvious choice. Plus having learned a few Kanji in basic Japanese studies had piqued my interest. Funny how our aesthetic judgements affect our decisions like this... I always used to maintain that German sounded ugly and harsh, although I didn't really know any. Then I found myself with a German girlfriend so I had a reason to learn, and discovered many unexpectedly joyful things about the language. The grammar is still fairly hellish, but my attitude to the aesthetics of the language completely changed. I'm a big fan of world music, and Arabic for me would win hands-down in that department, notwithstanding its many forms... and I guess a lot of artists sing in local versions rather than Modern Standard Arabic. But there are many artists whose songs I would love to sing and understand.
  19. 3 points
    Yes but I choose Chinese. Some of you might remember that my grandfather was a language professor who spoke, read and wrote 7 languages and could read and write another 7. He translated Shakespeare into Arabic and translated many 10s of Arabic proverbs into English (I am honoured to have inherited his first draft of this) and many other important works of translation. When I was about 10 years old he sent me a letter for my birthday and included a little lesson on how to write my name in Arabic, this I think started me on the journey of loving languages. I choose Chinese becuase although the writing is beautiful the sounds of Arabic sounded unpleasant to my ears and I much prefer the almost musical sounds of Chinese.
  20. 3 points
    I'm in Texas now, having left Kunming at the start of the pandemic. My ear is still adjusting to regional informal speech customs. Yesterday I stopped in at a small cafe for coffee and a slice of apple pie after getting a haircut nearby. Waitress stopped by to check on me a few minutes after bringing my order. She asked, "Do you need some more coffee, Honey?" We were complete strangers, but this is a small town in the American south. I smiled, nodded, and made sure to leave her a suitable tip.
  21. 3 points
    蚂蚁 mǎ yǐ ant This does not sound too amazing, but then I realised the 蚂 character means 3 different animals depending on the tone: 蚂 mā dragonfly 蚂 mǎ ant 蚂 mà grasshopper Beautiful and horrible at the same time. Who is going to remember this? 😅
  22. 3 points
    I was finally able to submit my new Z-visa application yesterday, at the visaforchina.org centre in Manchester (UK), and came across an unexpected problem. I sat down at the counter with all my documents, which were perfectly in order except that they said the bar code on the top right of the application form was "too old" and they wouldn't accept it. The date was 28 August... I had started my application online when I got my work permit notification, then had to wait 2 weeks for my magic "PU Letter" to come through. On 14 September I submitted docs by email for verification (which is how the Manchester centre is handling it), and they said all was OK and gave me an appointment but the earliest available wasn't until 8 October. It would've been useful if they'd flagged up the inevitable problem at that point, but they didn't. *grrr* Anyway the result was that I had to sit down in the centre with my laptop, get online through my phone, and fill in a totally new application from scratch, including all that irrelevant information that doesn't apply to a Z-visa, plus dates, phone numbers etc. The online system does have an option to re-start a new application with previous details, but it said there was an error with my application number, presumably because it doesn't store the information for more than 30 days. There's also supposed to be an option to save your data so you can re-import it later, but when I tried that back in September I got an error so I gave up. This is quite possibly an obscure error condition that only arises when there are long delays between submitting the application online and visiting to submit in person, but then again it's quite likely this is happening more than usual right now. In fact there was someone else in the centre with exactly the same problem, and he'd driven 3.5 hours from Newcastle to submit his application. So, TL;DR: Don't fill in your application "too early" or you may find it has expired when you get to submitting the actual documents.
  23. 3 points
    That is actually pretty funny and made me laugh longer than it should! Thanks for that 😂
  24. 3 points
    That's correct. It's included in the beginner vocab list for the TOCFL.
  25. 3 points
    @matteo That webpage only allows you to read for free the first four chapters, the rest are locked and it costs 18.99 元, so I asume it's legal. I've read the first two chapters too. I think the language seems easier than in 笛安's《景恒街》(the business parts were hard for me), but then there are sentences that I can't understand, such as the one quoted by @Lu. I can't detect easily when it's 文言, it's rewarding to know that it's not that my Chinese is terrible, but rather that 颜歌 uses a language that is clearly difficult. The story is very original, but it also makes me wonder if I'm understanding correctly what I read. I have a couple of silly questions, if anyone can give me their opinion, I'll be grateful. Fist of all, a very general question: when you find a proper name in a novel, and its character(s) have multiple readings, how do you know which reading is the correct one, or at least, the most plausible one? For example, in the first chapter we have these two siblings, 乐云 and 乐雨, and I wondered if it was lè or yuè. Is it something evident to native speakers? And then a question about the plot (warning, SPOILERS of the first chapter): I'll try to keep on reading this book, but it might turn out to be too difficult.
  26. 3 points
    Made one of my favourite soups tonight. 排骨湯 pork rib soup with daikon, lotus roots, peanuts and mushrooms.
  27. 3 points
    As a German, I prefer Zingtao (edit: actually "Zingtau"). Pronounced as "Tsingtao" for English people (not English "z" as in "zoo"). It is originally German, isn't it? So, we should have a say in it 🤣😉
  28. 3 points
    personally #1 sounds better simply because I know so many 王s. My chinese name was also given to me by a teacher, '罗道艺', with the given name relating to my character/interests. I never remembered to ask why she chose that last name. Fastforward a few years and I was having dinner with my gf's family, one of which was her uncle, and he brought up a good point - using the surname 罗 is almost as if I'm jumping in the family. It would feel just as weird to me as if some Chinese guy were to come over to the US and start calling himself 'Joey O'Connor'. I have since mostly dropped the last name and just refer to myself as '道艺' haha. Just some food for thought when thinking about your 姓
  29. 3 points
    Oh, I have many: I once won a frantic Ping Pong match against a girl and yelled 我硬了!, instead of 我赢了!, with a rather excited face. Yes, it means what you think it means. My girlfriend was next to me and she couldn't stop laughing, which in all honesty was for the best. Tones are important, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Went to a fruit shop in my early stages of learning the language. Pointed at a bucketload of mandarins and simply said 八 while gesturing for a bag. The clerk started filling one bag, then another and I had to yell "stop" when I finally realised that I had asked her for 4-8kg of mandarins instead of 8 pieces of fruit. Ended up buying more than 8 mandarins and went to Wal-Mart from then on afterwards. Got cheeky with my knowledge of Sichuanese cuisine and proudly ordered 鱼香肉丝 thinking I could eat fish for once. Surprise, surprise, that is not one of the ingredients included in this dish! I thought they just gave me the wrong stuff but didn't want to argue with the laobar and dropped a random but annoyed 好吃. I still cringe to this day but, hey, manners. Many instances when I wanted to ask something and ended up asking something totally unrelated because half-way I lost confidence in my Chinese ability. Didn't get the answer I wanted but played it cool; then I asked someone else when the first person wasn't looking... and the same exact thing happened, so I just left without my answer at all. Admittedly this still happens to this day so I don't think there's a cure. Many times where I've asked my teacher about something, she understands something totally different, compliments me in front of the class for bringing up the topic and I just nod and go with the flow. Tbh, I am only half-ashamed here.
  30. 3 points
    If you happen to be in Beijing there's a multi-storey spectacles mega-market called Panjiayuan Glasses City 眼镜城 https://www.thebeijinger.com/directory/panjiayuan-glasses-city https://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Attraction_Review-g294212-d1603977-Reviews-Glasses_City-Beijing.html 43 Huawei Beili, Panjiayuan, Dongsanhuan Nanlu Chaoyang District 朝阳区 东三环南路 内环华威北里43号楼 The most commonly-recommended shop, with good English spoken, seems to be D-65 on 4th Floor (edit: looking at Tripadvisor this shop has now moved to CC-8). I got a couple of pairs of reading glasses there in December and I'm very happy with them. Many (most?) places have the equipment to measure you up in store and will make custom lenses. Nearest metro station: Panjiayuan 潘家园 on line 10, between connection to line 7 at Shuangjing 双井 and line 14 at Shilihe 十里河. When you leave the station by Exit A you turn LEFT, walk a few hundred yards, then take the footbridge and on the other side of the road walk under a big archway to the store entrance that is set back about another 50 yards. See photo below. There are several other large glasses shops between the station and the actual multi-storey glasses market, but you might want to ignore those and head straight to the main centre.
  31. 3 points
    旺角卡门/As Tears Go By (1988) 刘德华/Andy Lau plays a small time gangster in 1980s Hong Kong. 张曼玉/Maggie Cheung plays his distant relative who comes to stay at his place for a few days so that she can go to a city hospital about the respiratory illness she has been suffering from. This sets up an interesting little dialogue where he tells he to take off her face mask as it looks ugly, but she refuses saying that she needs to wear one to prevent infecting other people - funny to hear this 1980s pro/anti-mask conversation in 2020! What could have been a simple love story between an innocent small town girl and a handsome big city bad boy is disrupted by the constant failings of 刘德华's "little brother". I didn't know who 张学友/Jacky Cheung was before this movie, but apparently is was/is a hugely famous singer/songwriter. Although more famous for his music career, he puts in a great performance here as the junior partner in 刘德华's little gang, who's repeated failed attempts to gain respect and status in the small-time criminal underworld result in his "big brother" having to constantly step in and clear up the mess. The scene below where he threatens a fellow gangster with a gun seems to have become something of a meme on the Chinese internet, especially the “食屎啦你" line. The film pretty much revolves around 刘德华 being torn between starting a new life with his new girlfriend, and protecting and sticking up for his incompetent "little brother". In between the bloody fighting scenes, there are also some nice low key ones. I especially liked the one where 刘德华 is talking to his ex-girlfriend in the rain, and the one where 张曼玉 is waiting for him at the ferry terminal. The film has a 7.8 豆瓣 rating, and is a tightly told story with little added fluff. It's a story of love, friendship and loyalty that's well worth your time. Here are a couple of youtube videos giving a summary/review of the story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18lAj7l8KtM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fHr6mQ--RU
  32. 3 points
    …得… implies "can", just like …不… implies "can't". 我看得见 I can see 我看不见 I can't see 我看见了 I saw 我没看见 I didn't see You can also combine it with different verbs or different complements. 看得/不清 can/can't see clearly 听得/不见 can/can't hear Edit: Your example of 起得来 may be causing confusion because 起来 can be either a complement (-qilai) or a verb + complement (qǐ-lái). So you could have 拿得/不起来 (can/can't pick up), but you could also have 起得/不来 (can/can't get up).
  33. 3 points
    Fun coincidence, I actually saw two Jackie Chan movies this weekend myself! Dragons Forever (1988) and Island of Fire (1990). The former is the last fillm featuring Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung og Yuen Biao together. It's one of those action comedy classics that are as charming as they are banal. Jackie (which is also his name in the film) plays a lawyer that represents all sorts of seedy characters until - what else - the prospects of getting it on with a beautiful woman of higher moral standards has him questioning his choice of clients. Lots of people trying to kill him, as always. Spectacular fight scenes packed with slapstick. In the latter film, he has a secondary role as an unlucky pool player that ends up in prison. It's actually a "prison film" that checks off most of the boxes for prison film cliches, but it's a pretty good watch nonetheless. I've been meaning to see City Hunter ever since I saw an image from that Chun-Li-cosplay scene. By the way, I really recommend this short video from Every Frame a Painting, which does a really good job of explaining the genius of Jackie Chan, particularly the films of the 80s and 90s he did in Hong Kong.
  34. 3 points
    I wouldn't worry too much about stroke counts and so on — even traditionalist 老太太s who care about such things when helping name their own grandchildren are unlikely to go to the trouble of counting strokes of other people's names. Personally I prefer 王江离, simply because it's a bit more unique. From what I could find online, it looks like 江离 in the poem is another way of writing 江蓠, which is another name for 蘼芜, a type of fragrant plant. You could consider the version with 草字头 as an alternative, if that makes the stroke count more auspicious.
  35. 3 points
    Is this a punishable crime? in as much as will either party receive a penalty either monetary or jail time? Is the item expensive? Could you afford to loose the cost of the item? What I am saying if there is nothing to lose why not just send it anyway, being honest is the best thing so be honest on any descriptions and declarations. Either it gets there or not, as long as no one gets into trouble, it might be worth a go.
  36. 3 points
    City Hunter/城市猎人 (1993) I think it's about time we covered a Jackie Chan film (our first 90s movie too). 城市猎人 (rated 7.6 on 豆瓣) is adapted from a Japanese manga/anime, and has seen numerous movie versions over the years (including this French one). I'm not sure about the tone of the original, but as you can probably already guess from the fact that this is a 成龙 film, this adaptation takes a very light-hearted and slapstick approach. The plot is pretty simple. Jackie Chan is some kind of private investigator who is hired by a Japanese magnate to track down his rebellious daughter. That eventually leads him to board a cruise ship, which is then taken over by terrorists. On board he is helped by his adopted daughter (王祖贤/Joey Wong, who played the ghost in last month's A Chinese Ghost Story), as well as a couple of undercover spies. One of the things I like most about this film is how both the good guys and bad guys can be super cool and dangerous one minute, and super clumsy and silly the next. There are some really nice action scenes to go with the comedy, including this Street Fighter II skit: Some of my other favourite scenes include the skateboarding chase at the beginning and the scene where Joey Wong is trying to knock out one of the bad guys, but is then forced to pretend that it is some kind of S&M thing when her attacks don't have the desired effect. One of my guilty pleasures from 90s cinema is Under Siege starring Steven Seagal, which also involves terrorists taking over a cruise ship (that movie came out 1 year before this one, so maybe provided some inspiration). This version of City Hunter is like a slapstick version of that. A really fun movie!
  37. 3 points
    Update for you all, via another forum. The design is from a coin, one of the earlier standardised currencies. 光緒元寶 = Guangxu Yuanbao Your medallion is not likely a real coin converted to a medallion, I'd say merely the design is inspired by the centre part of the coin with a more stylised character set. There are hundreds of such examples of this coin design, and a great many variations of the coin over time. The Guangxu Emperor reigned from from 1875 to 1908, so that fits on the date front...
  38. 3 points
    Since my last post about downloading documents from Baidu and Docin got such an overwhelmingly positive response, I thought I would share this too. I was kind of forced to buy a book on Douban but their platform doesn't really make the material very accessible for studying, and a PDF would be much better. I found this Chrome plugin that will download the book and (for some mystifying reason) email it to you. It has a good rating so I downloaded and ran it. It emailed me a .mobi which I bravely imported into Calibre and converted to PDF without any problems. It even kept the pictures which was nice. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/gk7-豆瓣阅读推送/lmiobbkpdjmkfhgagdkpgbgonkogbllb/related?hl=zh-CN Disclaimer: I have nothing to do the people who make this. If you are afraid of downloading files that have been emailed to you by a random Chrome plugin, and you don't trust your anti virus software to say it's virus free, then this might not be for you.
  39. 3 points
    Got it, had to 'pin' the extension icon to the window so it would be there to click. Then enter email address, click again, and good to go, turned up in my inbox as a .mobi within a minute, and looks properly formatted in the Kindle desktop app, so no reason to think there'll be any issues sending to my actual Kindle. This is really useful, thanks for the help.
  40. 3 points
    Yea, sorry, you're right. I have a bad habit of bashing Japan when I talk to people about Japan, but it's mainly because just too many people have an overly rosy and superficial view of Japan, and I want people to understand Japan in ways beyond that. But actually, in the end it's because I love Japan too that I want people to understand it more. I don't actually hate Japan, and I feel I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to live there. It really changed my life. Even with my rant about the strictness/rigidness of Japanese culture, I don't just want to say "oh it's horrible" (though it is), but more like want to say that, a lot of the good things in Japan come because of the strictness and rigidness. So, when you appreciate the good things, also appreciate the work behind it. When you enjoy the nice things in Japan, you also have an obligation to... be humble and reciprocate by playing your part as a cog in the machine (oftentimes this is just in very subtle little things and mannerisms, but it can be many things). This is Japanese culture. When you learn to do this, you'll get even more joy from Japan (but it is really really hard). I'll try to think about more positive things to talk about Japan and post here...... sometime...... maybe. XD
  41. 3 points
    我们先了解一下这份作业的需求
  42. 3 points
    Yes here's the MFA announcement dated today, 23 September. https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/wjbxw/t1817370.shtml Although this is frustrating for those who don't already have a residence permit, it may have the effect of speeding up visa applications for everyone since some people no longer need to apply. In my case I applied for my visa application appointment recently and was given a date 3.5 weeks hence which they said was the earliest available, whereas a colleague of mine applied yesterday at the same Visa Application Centre and was given a date next Tuesday.
  43. 3 points
    The Edinburgh Taiwanese Film Festival has put all its films online for free [edit: numbers limited, see below] - you'd need to create an account and 'rent' them for £0.00. I don't know anything about the movies (they could be on Youtube already for all I know) but thought it might be of interest. Not necessarily in Mandarin, of course. If anyone knows any of the films it'd be useful to have recommendations (or warnings).
  44. 3 points
    It's official, ban is temporarily halted: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/09/20/federal-court-issues-preliminary-injunction-halting-trump-administrations-ban-chinese-app-wechat/
  45. 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.
  46. 3 points
    Except people did not speak like this! The poem is a contrived example, much like Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Because for all intents and purposes, reading pinyin gives you the same level of information as hearing the same thing spoken out loud.
  47. 2 points
    I would think additional local anaesthetic spray into the nose would be quite useful but I don't know if it would be available to purchase. Cophenylcaine or something similar sprayed up the nostril about ten minutes beforehand would do the trick. Edit: don't think antihistamine will have any benefit whatsoever.
  48. 2 points
    国产凌凌漆/From Beijing With Love (1994) @Flickserve mentioned watching this movie early on in the thread, so I thought I'd give it a try. 周星驰/Stephen Chow plays the spoof spy (it took me way longer than it should have to realise what 凌凌漆 was referring to). He is more "licence to carve fine cuts of pork" than licence to kill and much hilarity ensues as he is sent on a mission to Hong Kong to get a stolen dinosaur fossil back. For me, the humour was a bit hit and miss. Some of the jokes I could see coming a mile off and some of those overstayed their welcome too, but there were enough funny moments to keep it interesting. Although not as funny as some of Stephen Chow's other work, he still puts in a good performance here, as does his fellow undercover agent, played by 袁咏仪/Anita Yuen. She displays great comic timing, and also does a nice job in her more serious dramatic scenes. They both work really well together, and it's funny seeing her incredulous reactions to Chow's usual comic obliviousness to whatever situation he is in. There is quite a lot of violence for a comedy movie (at least by western standards), with much more blood than you would typically see in a James Bond film. It's also interesting how the PLA is portrayed, with a mainland general being the main bad guy (I don't think that would wash these days). Of particular interest to Chinese learners is a rare instance of that foreigner favourite phrase, 马马虎虎, actually being used by real Chinese people. It's got an impressive 8.3 rating on Douban. Easy to find online and worth watching for some silly fun.
  49. 2 points
    This suggests it's broadly the same meaning: https://zhidao.baidu.com/question/1695494187412062228.html 释义:形容事物不清晰或关系不亲密。 And here the latter is suggested as a near synonym: https://zhidao.baidu.com/question/383512941.html Couldn't find a cite for earliest recorded usage but similar phrases dating back to Ming, suspect it's not Shi's own coinage.
  50. 2 points
    Platform(s): Nintendo DS (you can also play it in an emulator on almost any platform) Where to buy: You can't buy it, it's an unofficial translation of the Japanese game, so you have to search for the Chinese name and you can download it from one of many ROM sites Release Date: February 15, 2007 Chinese Level Required: HSK5+, I guess. But it's playable even if you aren't close to that level, as the game lets you read the text as slowly as you want. Languages: Chinese (simplified characters), parts of the UI are in Japanese Chinese voices/dub: It's based on the Japanese version, so the narration is all in Japanese This is a classic puzzle game that is incidentally pretty good practice for Chinese. There are basically two types of text in this game: dialogues and puzzle descriptions. Dialogues are pretty easy, the story is simple and it's supposed to be kid-friendly so there isn't much fancy vocabulary. But the puzzle descriptions were often quite difficult for me. This is because I'm not used to reading precise descriptions of quantitative and spatial relationships. If you need or want to use Chinese in a technical or scientific setting, this is good practice. Fortunately, if you don't quite understand what is being said, the hint system is quite generous. Each puzzle has 3 hints, and you can choose to reveal them progressively. In many cases, the last hint stops just short of telling you the answer. Therefore, you don't need to be very good at puzzles to get through this game, and, in reality, you will probably get more Chinese practice if you're bad at puzzles because you'll end up reading more hints. Most puzzles are essentially brainteasers. All of them fit on a single screen, with the top half showing the explanation of what needs to be solved, and the bottom half displaying a custom interface that allows you to submit your answer. The Good High degree of polish. There are even some very well-done animated scenes sprinkled throughout the game. There is a lot of content, in total there are 120 puzzles! I took 15 hours to beat the game, and I didn't even solve each puzzle. There is a great variety in the types of puzzle you are given to solve. The difficulty is spread out. Even very late in the game, you'll still get some easy puzzles. This prevents your brain from getting too fatigued while playing this game for longer time periods. The Bad All the spoken dialogue is in Japanese. Much of the UI is in Japanese. But the interface is fairly simple and it doesn't take a long time to memorize what each menu item does. Very few of the puzzles have anything to do with the plot. There are a number of word puzzles, and they are mostly unsolvable unless you know Japanese (they aren't really translatable to Chinese). You can opt to skip them, though. There are a lot of places in the game where you just wander around the map clicking on characters to see if they'll give you a puzzle to solve. This can feel a bit pointless because the curious village isn't very large and you're essentially backtracking. Strategies Except for the toughest puzzles in the game, you probably won't get stuck if you understand everything that you're reading. Note that some puzzles are described in a purposefully misleading way. There are a number of puzzles that would fall in the category of "trick question". You can get a rough idea of how difficult a puzzle is by looking at how many points it’s worth. I believe “hard” puzzles are designated as 50 points and above. If you really want to solve the word puzzles, it is easy for look for their solutions on Google. For example, if you want to know the solution for puzzle 88, you would search for "雷顿教授与不可思议的小镇 88". In the cases where you must enter kana, remember that stroke direction for Japanese characters can be different. Most of the type, it is exactly as you would expect, but in at least one case, it's the opposite. It costs a "hint coin" to reveal a hint. Randomly click all over every screen to find hidden hint coins. If you are using a lot of hint coins, you might want to conserve them by using the instant save feature of emulators. That is, you can do a save right as you start a puzzle, reveal all hints, solve the puzzle, then load from your last save point immediately after and redo the puzzle without using any hints. This game is more than ten years old, so it runs great in emulators. If you have an Android phone whose screen isn't too small, it's very easy to play because the interface is completely touch-based (just hide the on-screen controls because they'll get in the way of the text). I personally recommend the DraStic DS Emulator on Android, and OpenEmu on Mac. One of the problems with this game is that it's old enough to be using an aliased font that can take a bit of getting used to. This is mostly unavoidable, I think, since the DS just didn't have a high resolution screen. I should note that there is an official Chinese translation of this game that came out earlier this year. However, it is only available on China-specific app stores and at present you can't purchase them unless you have a Chinese payment method. I'm sure that it won't include unsolvable Japanese word puzzles, although I don't know what they would be replaced with (perhaps puzzles from the English version). More video game reviews
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