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Showing content with the highest reputation since 04/24/2019 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    This is a story I sometimes tell to my maths classes when we're learning fractions (I'm a primary school teacher). I was eating lunch in the school canteen. that day, it was hamburgers. Because the children have smaller appetites, the hamburgers had been cut in half, and you could ask for one or two halves. When it came to my turn, I said: "liang ge ban". The ayi was surprised, but gave me what I asked for - two and a half whole hamburgers. Later, my Chinese wife told me I should have said "liang ge ban ge" if I had wanted to say "two halves".
  2. 1 point
    Earlier this week I finished reading the novella 《一个女剧院的生活》 by 沈从文. 《一个女剧院的生活》 is a story about several men of different ages and stations in life all vying for the love of a beautiful and talented young actress. While the men contend for her love, the actress, 萝, rejects their advances. The opening chapters of the novella establish a love triangle, which later turns into a love quadrilateral, which later turns into a love pentagon. Much of the novella consists of drawn out conversations about love in the abstract; of men having trying to convince 萝 to be with them; and of 萝 criticizing the men’s behavior and mannerisms and words. Here is an example of one such conversation. The conversation is between 萝 and her uncle(舅父), who criticizes 萝 for her capricious treatment toward one her suitors. While 沈从文 is a talented storyteller, I didn’t much like this novella. I found the story boring and didn’t care about its characters. I also found the dialogue tiresome. In over half the conversations in this story, characters lecture each other, chastise each other, and engage in overlong detached disputations on love and freedom. That is not what people in love do. 沈从文 made his female lead character unlikeable. 萝 has this tremendous power to make any man around her want to marry her. But rather than be gracious, wise, or even shrewd, 萝 is haughty, hectoring any man who would presume to compete for her affections. In the real world, this kind of behavior would lead to gossip, resentment, and reputational damage. In 《一个女剧院的生活》, no one seems bothered by her badgering. The men in this novella don’t come off much better than 萝. They are desperate, neurotic, feckless, vain. This story would be more believable if it had contained a strong supporting female character. There are a female student actress and an 阿姨 (who works for 舅父), but these characters don’t have much to say. Also, the dialogue is sometimes cheesy. An example: Yech. At 61,154 characters, this novella is the longest work I have completed so far this year. The language wasn’t too hard and should be accessible to any advanced Chinese-language learner. (The quotes above are fairly representative, difficulty-wise.) 《一个女剧院的生活》 is the third work of 沈从文’s I have read. The first was his short story 《牛》, which I loved. The second was the short story collection 《虎雏》, which was pretty good. My reading list contains many other works by 沈从文, including his classic novels. I plan to read some other authors, then come back to him. Link to 沈从文’s 《一个女剧院的生活》: https://m.ixdzs.com/d/116894 Some statistics: Characters read this year: 211,905 Characters left to read this year: 788,095 Percent of goal completed: 21.2% List of things read: 《三八节有感》by 丁玲 (2,370 characters) 《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲 (10,754 characters) 《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东 (18,276 characters) 《自杀日记》by 丁玲 (4,567 characters) 《我没有自己的名字》by 余华 (8,416 characters) 《手》by 萧红 (7,477 characters) 《牛》by 沈从文 (8,097 characters) 《彭德怀速写》by 丁玲 (693 characters) 《我怎样飞向了自由的天地》by 丁玲 (2,176 characters) 《IBM Cloud文档:Personality Insights》 by IBM (25,098 characters) 《夜》by 丁玲 (4,218 characters) 《虎雏》by 沈从文 (46,945 characters) 《在巴黎大戏院》 by 施蛰存 (6,181 characters) 《分析Sonny Stitt即兴与演奏特点——以专辑《Only the Blues》中曲目 《Blues for Bags》为例》 (5,483 characters) 《一个女剧院的生活》 by 沈从文 (61,154 characters)
  3. 1 point
  4. 1 point
    I just wanted to chime in and say good job with the product. The more resources there are the better! I don't understand why there's so much much flak when you're just announcing your product. You've not once said it's the only way to successfully learn Chinese, but it's another method people can use to learn. I've just subscribed to the YouTube channel and really enjoy the videos. It's great to have some good video production for a change. My feedback regarding the product is 1. the price and 2. the need to submit card details to get the free trial. I'd be more than willing to try if there was say a 7 day free trial without needing to submit card details, then it just expired after 7 days. If I was interested, I could then pay for the subscription. Regarding the price, with websites like Lynda.com being just £15 a month which has hundreds of different courses, it tough to spend $30 a month on just a Chinese course. I know there's the biannual option, but personally I don't purchase long subscriptions until I've used the product a while. Nonetheless, keep up the work. Take some of the comments with a pinch of salt, as some people seem to spend much more time criticising studying techniques than actually studying themselves.
  5. 1 point
    @markhavemann thank you for these links! I was meant to just casually browse through them but ended up spending a good 20 minutes watching 家有儿女 😂 What a great find! I'm a Mandarin learner myself and have always been frustrated at the lack of subtitles with hanzi+pinyin+english translations for Chinese TV shows, so I've just started my own project for this Taiwanese travel show called "Couchsurfing Around the World". In case you're interested, I've posted my progress so far on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/singingmandarin P.S. After a month of doing translations for videos, I now realized why you can't really find subtitled Chinese videos where the pinyin aligns with the hanzi. It's such a time-consuming manual work since you have to manually adjust the spacing yourself! Even then, I still wish more people would do subtitles like this, since its such an effective learning tool!
  6. 1 point
    Only thing I'd add to the above discussion is that your inner ear may not be as good as you think. I would occasionally do this: 1. Ask a native speaker to record a few sentences for me; 2. Spend at least an hour trying to mimic him exactly. This means >30 takes, spectrum analysis one syllable at a time to spot problem areas, cut and paste, etc. 3. I'd then mail him an mp3 of my "impersonation" and ask for feedback. More often than not, he'd pick up on things that totally passed me by. One of the best partners I found for this (a very good language learner himself) was able to point exactly to where I sounded off. It would have taken me years of passive exposure (if ever) to achieve the same on my own.
  7. 1 point
    This probably isn't as much use as it would have been ten years ago, but may still be useful. Pressreader.com has 265 simplified Chinese publications and 50 traditional Chinese ones. There are some known names in there - Sanlian Shenghuo, October, Yanhuang Chunqiu, I think I saw Caijing, plus lots of specialist stuff - martial arts, cats, angling. Some local stuff (Wuhan: The Magazine!) There are also the 'digest' type magazines which provide lots of short fairly straightforward readings, 今日文摘 for example. Pressreader isn't free, but you may well have free access already through a university or library login - I get it via my local library.
  8. 1 point
    Hi everyone, Finally, finally, finally!!! The long wait is over. I finally got my CSC admit notice today, at NUAA. Yes, it's really worth the wait. I am shaking with joy. As I have received such good news, I know there's great news for those who are still waiting. This calls for celebration......YAAYYY!!!
  9. 1 point
    Since we are coming to the end of the Spring semester here at Tianjin University, I'd like to do a write-up/review. I will share my thoughts and answer some questions that I feel you can't really find on the web. This is coming from the perspective of a self-financed student taking a semester of Chinese. Application process When I first applied as a language student I was still in the US, they sent me the application forms through email and we went back and forth a couple times. The process wasn't particularly hard, they required basic application forms, a copy of my passport and visa. At the time I had a tourist visa and they told me it was no problem getting it changed to a six month F visa once I was on campus. The tuition and fees were later taken care of on campus paid in cash, their website is very old and archaic and I am sure can't handle payments even though it looks like at one point they did use the website for registration fees. Course and Funding I was a Chinese language student for the Spring semester of 2013. The tuition for one semester of Chinese is 6500 rmb, there is also a 400 rmb registration fee as well as an additional 300 rmb fee for insurance. Also textbooks, which are roughly 200 rmb altogether. Arrival and Registration Getting to the university is no problem, every taxi driver should know where the university is located. The only problem is taxi drivers may be reluctant to take you there since the area near the school seems to have a lot traffic. I got to the city by bus and was initially bombarded with many drivers wanting to take me places until I put them off by telling them I want to go to Tianjin University because of all the traffic. Tell the driver to take you to Tianjin University's east gate (天津大学东门) and the dormitory you will be staying at as well as the international school's office is not too far off. There are two or three main dorms for foreigners. At the west there is liu yuan (留园) where rooms are shared and on the east there is another - you yuan (友园) where rooms are one per person. There is also another smaller building – Zhuan jia lou (专家楼). Liu yuan and Zhuan jia lou are primarily for scholarship students and are shared rooms, the international school's office is located in Liu yuan. You yuan is for self-financed students and are single rooms, the rooms are by a large majority rented by South Korean students and fill up very quickly, I called weeks in advance before the semester started to save myself a spot and was lucky enough that the person working at the time was willing to reserve me a spot. There are one or two days dedicated to just registering for classes and getting everything sorted out before classes which is nice. You get a piece of paper on the day of the registration and have a checklist of stations to visit, basic registration, visa, tuition, insurance, and finally placement tests. The tuition and all fees has to be paid in cash and credit card is not accepted. The initial placement test is you just simply talking with a teacher and introducing yourself, they can quickly judge what kind of Chinese level you are at and then next week you take a written test. They put me in a test where we took a mock HSK5 test, and from those test results we get put into a class. Accommodation I stayed in you yuan which was 50 rmb per day, rent is paid during the beginning of the month and is usually 1500 per month, depending on how many days the month had. You yuan has six floors and are all single rooms with classrooms as well on each floor. Each room has a TV, shower, wired internet, air conditioner, a bathroom, a sink, a closet, a desk for studying, and a bed. You yuan doesn't have a canteen nearby like Liu yuan, so that's a drag but there is a small lobby on the first floor where snacks and drinks are sold, but more expensive than you would normally pay, a soft drink is 5 rmb where it is 3 rmb at the small supermarket nearby. There is a laundry room on the first floor that requires you to buy a magnetic key to activate the washing machine which is about 40 rmb, it gives you 10 credits and using the washing machine uses 1 credit and the dryer uses 2, there is only one dryer but many washing machines. There are no curfews that I know of, but guests are only allowed to come in your room from 4pm till 10pm during weekdays and 9am till 10pm on weekends. Wired Internet will cost you 85 rmb a month, you have to use prepaid cards and the speed is not that great, but better than nothing. Classes, Classrooms and Teachers Classes here are split from level A to G, A being beginner and G being the most advanced. I was placed in class E, and feel that they placed me very appropriately, the material wasn't too hard but also not way above my head. There are approximately 15 students per class and the grand majority were from South Korea, there are also some people from Thailand, North Korea, Russia, and Indonesia, but the largest amount of students are from South Korea. There are 4 classes, 精读,阅读,听力,口语。Classes are held Monday through Friday from 8:30am till 12:00pm. You will have two classes per day which will rotate depending on which day it is. I have no complaints about the teachers whom all seemed to care about the students, I feel my Chinese has improved tremendously, hearing the teacher give lecture, interacting with your classmates and becoming friends, and making lots of mistakes while learning is the key to success. There are two exams, a midterm and final and homework is given out regularly. If you want to take additional classes there are free classes in the afternoon such as calligraphy, HSK classes, business Chinese and more. Campus and Environment The campus is pretty convenient, most of your everyday life needs can be taken care of here. There are plenty of supermarkets, ATMs, and restaurants nearby. The school has canteens throughout the campus, though the foreigner's canteen in liu yuan is a bit more experience than the Chinese canteen. I feel Tianjin University is kind of in the middle of everything and if you need something it's not too far away. There is a subway, plenty of buses, and taxis to get you to just about anywhere. I still haven't really explored the city as much as I want to, but definitely will in the near future. There are always many events held on campus to meet many foreigners as well as Chinese if you are looking. I have barely spoken a word of English here because I don't often meet other Americans or English speakers. I feel Tianjin is a good place to study Chinese. Cost of Living and Budgeting I spend roughly 1500rmb a month besides rent, I tend to spend very little and eat at the canteen often. That's about it. I may have made some mistakes typing on my phone and would love to answer more questions. I am going to post pictures of my dorm next time I get on a computer. Before I first came to Tianjin University I barely knew anything because of how little information there seems to be on the internet about the student life here. Through the helpful words of Tianjin42 and others on this forum I have come to understand a lot more. I want to help anyone else that has questions.
  10. 1 point
    I have gone ahead and replied to my own question since no one has answered. DISCLAIMER: This is my first time at IUP and I am only here for the summer, so this post only refers to the current situation at IUP (summer 2007). All views expressed are my own. The IUP placement test has a written section as well as a 15 minute interview in Chinese. The interview is to determine to determine what problems the person has with spoken Chinese and determine level of fluency (do the words flow out effortlessly? does the person speak in words, or in complete sentences, or in coherent paragraphs linked with conjunction, etc?). The interview is also used to find out personal and academic interests and look into personal background and extent of formal education in Chinese. There are no existential question, but the question of why/for what purpose are you studying Chinese can be difficult enough. The questions they ask can sometimes be very basic. I think this means that they have not read people's applications, as they are dealt with by Berkeley in the US and not in China. The written section of the IUP placement test takes 2 hours. There are 3 major sections that are further divided into subsections: listening comprehension, grammar and vocabulary, and reading comprehension. In the listening section there is no repetition and things are said pretty quickly. The whole test is worth 220 points, though I will not go into the points breakdown of each section. The test is very grueling because there are so many questions that it is sometime difficult to complete the whole test. SCORES AND PLACEMENT: For summer 2007 entrance scores seemed to range from about 30% to 75%. I do not know what the cutoff points are for placement into each sublevel of the program. The interview is very important in determining one's main textbook. If one can speak somewhat in paragraphs one is placed in Academic Topics in Chinese or above. This is because Academic Topics marks the beginning of learning Chinese usage that is limited solely to writing. These courses thus do not have as much benefit to one's speaking ability. Also, students may be placed in listening courses that are up to two sublevels higher or lower than their main textbook course. I have many classmates whose listening class is in some level of intermediate while their main textbook class is in some level of intermediate. No ones is entirely sure how the sublevels within intermediate and advanced translate into different levels in university. Course placement is also influenced by what courses are being offered, students' interests, and each teacher's schedule. The guaranteed 3 to 1 student teacher ratio makes it difficult for one to change to another group class (as IUP tries to maintain teacher efficiency by making classes effectively either 3 or 1 student). For example, I have an academic interest in business. I was placed in a supplementary group newspaper course, though I have already taken one elsewhere, because there were not enough students interested in business Chinese (one is in private tutorial for the basic book, another in tutorial for self selected materials on Chinese stock market) and I did not pressure them to put me in a tutorial. LISTENING COMPREHENSION: TONE DISTINCTION: sets of four syllables are given one must write the tone of each syllable). TONE AND SYLLABLE DISTINCTION: for each question 3 or was it 4? sets of two syllables are read out and one chooses which two sets are the same. They may differ in tone or may use easily confusable sounds, perhaps to test for dialect interference. SINGLE SENTENCE, DIALOGUE, AND STORY COMPREHENSION: The dialogues and stories are several sentences long and contain a lot of extraneous information. The questions are about some basic detail of what one has just heard.The answer choices are given in the exam booklet as well as read out. Some answer choices are very close to each other, and some are based on a sometimes ambiguous interpretation of the situation. GRAMMAR AND VOCABULARY: BASIC GRAMMAR: One must indicate into which position in a given sentence (indicated by a blank) the given conjunction, particle or other grammar feature should be placed. SENTENCE STRUCTURE: One is given sentences that apparently have errors (though some may already be correct) and one rewrites a corrected version of the sentence. No indication is given to the kind or extent of correction expected, so it is sometimes hard to figure out what one must do. VOCABULARY: There are very many vocabulary items given (I seem to remember 100-150 but I have forgotten already). One must choose from a list of four choices, a term with equivalent meaning. Here again there is some difficulty as sometimes rather similar synonyms are given, and many are not all that common. CHENGYU: I believe there were 5 or 10 chengyu items. One has to choose out of a list of four which definition or chengyu is equivalent in meaning to the chengyu given. The chengyu seemed rather difficult and seemed to be rather sloppily selected (I have no idea what criteria were used for selection). READING COMPREHENSION: There are five reading selections of progressive difficulty, each with five four choice multiple choice interpretive questions. The first selection is a story. The next three are more academic in nature and present complex ideas or views on the topics. Again some of the answer choices are ambiguous, but others are in themselves difficult to understand. The fifth section is in classical Chinese but the answer choices are in modern Chinese. If their Chinese is otherwise strong, students who get two or more of the classical questions right are eligible to take classical Chinese.
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