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Showing content with the highest reputation since 05/07/2010 in Blog Entries

  1. 15 points
    As promised, here is the second installment of my blog following the second term of teaching in a one year Masters program in interpreting and translation at Bath University in the UK. The structure and content of teaching in the second term has been very different to the first term, so if you are interested in comparing, please take a look at my first blog entry. The second term put A LOT more emphasis on live interpreting practice, pressure has been a lot higher, and the requirements for specialized vocabulary has been noticeably greater than the first term. I will break down the different classes over a few blog entries, in the hope its more palatable for reading. I will assess my own performance vs my Chinese classmates, as well as reflect on Chinese-English interpreting from a native English speakers perspective whenever it might be useful. Firstly I’ll start with Simultaneous Interpreting. Simultaneous Interpreting and using Glossaries So, our SI (Simultaneous Interpreting) class has been every Monday at 11:15. The course works both directions C-E and E-C, and we have alternated direction from week to week. We mostly work inside professional interpreting booths for the first hour, doing live interpreting of videos that vary from 10 mins in length to half an hour using headphones and microphones that record live. The second hour is largely dedicated to feedback and guidance for improvement. We are told the broad topic of the class via email around Thursday the week before, for example, “next weeks SI will be on ‘fracking’” and that’s it. We are then expected to prepare a glossary of specialized terms, usually that can fit on one A4 page, which we can then bring to class and place next to our microphones as we interpret, for reference. The point of this is not to actually collect huge lists of words (although this inevitably happens), but rather, read widely and educate ourselves on different subjects in both English and Chinese, as well as learn how to ‘prep’ for real life interpreting jobs. Many students seemed to have no issue with this set up, as many already have rich active vocabularies and encyclopedic knowledge. (side note: Seriously, I have never met such widely read people in my life. And that really goes for every single one of my classmates; they can talk through macro and microeconomics with ease, go to a doctors ward and discuss the treatment regimen for obscure diseases, explain in depth how neural networking is changing media reporting; all in both Chinese AND English. Quite amazing and very motivating for study). One downside of this set up for me has been that I have spent almost all my free time building glossaries and learning vocabulary, whereas my classmates have had time to practice the actual skill of interpreting in out-of-class hours. That being said, if I had known this before starting the course I probably would have been scared away and never even started. It is an inevitability for many of us coming from a background of only starting learning Chinese at university, there is simply not enough time to consolidate the vast amounts of knowledge required for professional level interpreting. Getting back on topic: everyone seemed to have their own method to putting together specialized glossaries, for SI classes some even came with entire prepared folders with concise glossaries on pretty much every entry to an encyclopedia (I later learnt that in some cases these glossaries had already been used for many years and were very familiar to their users). I have spent the better part of every week this year picking out key terminology for Monday’s SI class (and Thursday’s Consecutive Interpreting class), that is, terms that would require thinking time over and above the constraints of simultaneous interpreting. The reaction time to a speaker usually needs to be kept within 2 seconds; if terminology comes up that is not in your active vocabulary, it will almost certainly stretch you to around 5-10 seconds before you get it out in the target language, by which time the entire thread of the speakers argument has been missed. Evidently, glossaries are incredibly important to successful simultaneous interpreting. In almost all cases I short-term memorised every item on each glossary; heres a look at my anki: Vocabulary requirements In the last 3 months alone I have accumulated 1610 specialised vocabulary terms in my anki. This in fact EXCLUDES my cards from Supermemo (another well-know srs system which I both love and hate at the same time) which has another 2733 cards added since early March (see attached images). I use Supermemo for reading, so many of these cards aren’t vocabulary items, but clozed passages from Wikipedia/academic articles. Nonetheless, the mental strain for getting up to the standard required for SI is frankly unhealthy: it is simply not doable in the time frame that the course allows. Many of my classmates have already taken courses in interpreting prior to this course, and so managed to keep up with the pace, but lets just say there were tears in class from some a number of times. Left: Anki deck specifically for interpreting glossaries. Right: excel files for glossaries Regarding the workload and how I coped. I estimate (stressing estimate, based on a pleco deck I have added to over the last five years to track my vocab progress) my passive vocabulary is now around 15-20,000, but active is to be honest probably only around 10-15,000 (again, hard to really know). Which is certainly not good enough to do professional interpreting with. For anyone considering doing a course like this, you should know that you are aiming for ‘near-native’ level size of active vocabulary, what I have been working with seemed like an impressive vocabulary size when I started the course, but now it seems laughable. Some of my classmates are far better read than me in English, 30k+ I reckon. a deck I have added any word I think 'useful' to over the years. I review these words in anki. an example of what my supermemo decks for reading Chinese/English articles looks like. As you can see, the requirements for vocabulary appear very scary. That being said, to someone that has learnt Chinese or English seriously for 10+ years, this is quite reasonable and achievable. I first went to China in 2008, and didn’t properly start learning until 2013/14, so I still have many years to go! I’m sure some of the longer-standing members of these forums must be nodding with a wry smile right now - been there done that! That’s it for now, next entry I’ll go through my thoughts on the CI class. Sorry if this is a bit of a ramble, very hard to try and structure all that has happened over the last few months.
  2. 14 points
    Here is the first installment of my blog on doing a Masters course in Translation and Interpretation (Chinese) at Bath University in the UK. Seeing as it is reading week, I've found I finally have time to do an update on how things are going, I guess I will probably do the next update when we break up for Christmas in December. There's really no time to do anything else except study and class prep in normal term time. Well I've been on the course for six weeks now, and it has been as intense as expected. Despite being at a UK university, I am the only westerner on the course, with 23 students, mainly mainland, but also a few Taiwanese and HK too. There is actually a Taiwanese American student who has taken English as his mother tongue (with all due right), but having been bilingual and living in Taiwan for the last 20 or so years, I feel like we're not really in the same boat. I am clearly bottom of the class in terms of relative language ability, as expected. Being surrounded by people who have studied English for decades, my 5/6 years of Mandarin stands out as particularly bad. I am so used to speaking Chinese colloquially, I am frequently lost for words when asked to interpret English speeches into Chinese using the right register. Anyway, onto the course content. All parts of the course have a two hour class slot that meets once a week: Simultaneous interpreting: we have a dedicated lab with fully equiped professional booths that all face into a bigger room with a conference table in the middle. The set up accurately mimics a real simultaneous interpreting situation, and the tech available is fantastic. Classes are very active, with every student having a chance to practice every class at least twice (practicing skills taught by the teacher in the lesson). I was placed on an internship at a UN week-long environmental protection meeting two weeks ago in London, to get in some valuable practice time. We used the real booths used by the pros for a week (with our mics switched off of course). We did shadowing and interpreting (almost exclusively from English into Chinese) for around 8 hours a day for a week. After this week something clicked in my brain, and now I can keep up with my peers in this class now. Not only that, but my professional Chinese has improved a lot as a result of the E-C direction. I have also discovered that in many cases working from English into Chinese is more often than not EASIER than Chinese to English. Why? I personally feel like the sparsity of phrases 'like' 成語 in English, plus the terseness of professional Chinese means you've always got enough time to think and interpret. Chinese to English is so much harder than I expected, to put it lightly. For example, 授人以魚不如授人以漁 was said in a speech during class a few weeks ago; not only had I not heard the phrase before, but I had no time to guess the meaning (多音字嘛 I thought the person had said the same thing twice by a mistake...), and by the time it was already too late the interpreting student had already interpreted it into "better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish". I mean, that makes more sense than what I was able to offer (which was just silence). So, simultaneous as a skill, I can do. But the sheer amount of knowledge you need at your fingertips is insane, and I am still far from being at a professional level yet. Consecutive interpreting: This class is largely centred around memory skills and note taking. Most of my peers have already studied interpreting in some form or another before starting this course, and many are already able to acurately remember speeches of five or more minutes long using some quite fantastic symbol-based systems. The teacher does not teach us a system, but rather teaches us how to build our own personal system effectively. I have found that using English keywords and acronyms has helped a lot, but really don't get too much of a kick out of arrows going everywhere and houses with dollar signs on them etc. As a little side hobby, I've taken up learning Pitman shorthand (new era) mainly for fun, but also with the hope that /some/ of it may come in handy with consec. note taking at some point in the future. This class is by far the hardest, and the teacher seems to enjoy choosing incredibly difficult speeches from people with non-standard accents. Very difficult, very embarassing for me, as most students have no issues in this class. What can you do when you didn't understand, or have forgotten what was said, and have no way to ask the speaker to repeat/clarify? This class makes me so nervous. Liaison interpreting: We have a mock conference/meeting every friday and are expected to prepare for it in the preceding week. The class is split into two groups: Chinese side, English side, and interpreters. The two sides discuss a topic for 2-3 hours whilst the interpreters take it in turns to sit one-by-one in between the two groups and act as a liaison interpreter. The pressure is noticeable, as the whole course is there watching you, and everyone is able to discern how good or bad your interpreting ability is (unlike when you're in the sim. interpreting booths, secluded and safe). Again, note taking is a skill that many of the students here employ. I would say to any westerner thinking about taking on a course like this, aside from having a very, very strong and well-rounded ability in Chinese, you should almost certainly also be practicing note-taking on speeches both in English and Chinese BEFORE starting a course (evidently with Chinese students in particular it would seem). I regret being under the impression I was going to learn note taking skills ON this course; I now know this of course is not the case, as pretty much everyone is already able to do this. Translation: We have both 'Chinese to English' and 'English to Chinese' classes. This needs no real explanation, its pretty much exactly what you would expect: teacher teaches theory, sets translation piece for homework, you translate it, get feedback, rinse and repeat. C-E very relaxing, the teacher seems to enjoy literary translation (lately lots of 紅樓夢 talk), E-C also ok but a much slower translation process for me. The translation process is private, however, so there's no real embarrassment to be had on this part of the course (so far...) All in all? I am loving the course, my classmates are fantastic people, very intelligent, hard working, inclusive, not 'immaturely' competitive if you understand what I mean, and importantly, very supportive as a community. Nobody treats me like a foreigner at all, I'm just another student. In that respect, theres not much leeway given, and as a result I feel like I'm ALWAYS being pushed to get up to their standard rather than being forgiven for being a 'foreigner'. Teaching is top notch, facilities are fantastic. And the fact that the course DOES have English-Chinese direction (as well as C-E) is a massive bonus if you ask me. My Chinese has improved rapidly, I can now read news probably 2-3 times faster than when I started the course. Why? Because I now read (mostly outloud, under my breath) for about 4-5 hours a day (as opposed to about 1 hour before the course). As you may be able to tell, I now live, breath and sleep in a world of studying speeches. I would not recommend this course for anyone who 'wants a life'. I feel obliged to say "sorry for the wall of text" - see you all in December.
  3. 11 points
    I will get round to writing part 2 of my write up of the university course: in the meantime heres a brief thought I ended up writing out in full. Would be interested to hear others thoughts: Recently I have noticed I am stuttering a lot more when just regularly chatting to friends in Chinese; my brain appears to constantly be asking itself, 'is this really the most appropriate word?' Perhaps this is a result of moving back to the UK and being away from the total immersion of China, but I feel like its more likely a result of learning how to work between two languages when on the mic in interpreting situations... Take the various concepts of 'collapse' in Chinese as an example. There's 垮, it denotes the idea of collapsing inwards on itself. then there's 崩潰, the idea of something or someone collapsing from the cause of not being able to bear a load. what about 瓦解, collapse due to internal disintegration, figuratively as well as literally, or even 塌縮, the idea of, say, a star collapsing inwards on itself to eventually become a black hole. All these different concepts of collapsing will almost always be translated into English simply as 'collapse'. Whilst this makes for very easy interpreting, it actually makes your Chinese worse, as you are constantly drawing together these distinct meanings into one basket named 'collapse', not allowing your brain to understand the finesse in their differences. What one is constantly striving towards in learning another language is to rewire the brain in order to divide and distinguish concepts that are different from one's mother tongue. Not only does learning the skill of interpreting not tolerate such rewiring, it actually bundles all the wires together in a big tangled mess. The brain is told to forget the small but important differences between words and instead group words into easy to manage target language categories. As a result, I find I question my word choice a lot more often than I once did. I find I can no longer simply rely on feeling, or make choices as easily simply based on a gut feeling. So it would seem, while my Chinese has improved a lot in the last year, learning to interpret has perhaps had a negative effect on my "語感", or my ability to simply 'feel' what the right word should be. Hopefully this is just temporary.
  4. 9 points
    In most of the world's languages, you can turn a word into its respective occupation by adding affixes to it. However, as Chinese doesn't conjugate, we attach an additional character to a word instead to form that corresponding job. One aspect in which Chinese differs from English when forming occupation words is that in English, what suffix is used depends mainly on the origins of words, but in Chinese people choose occupation particles based on the properties and characteristics of that job. Here're some practically and frequently used occupation particles in Chinese. 1.家 家, with its original meaning of a family or a clan, can be extended to refer to a particular philosophy, theory or ideology. Hence, when it's used to form an occupation word, that occupation would be usually related to a professional skill, interest or talent. For example: -文学家: a person who has been educated on literature — a litterateur. -画家: a person who is professional in drawing — a painter. -科学家: a person who has professional knowledge about science — a scientist. -音乐家: a person who is well-educated and professional in music — a musician. -美食家: a person who is passionate and authoritative in appraising foods — a gourmet. It's good to note that when two different occupation words are derived from the same origin, the one with 家 added often has a higher level of profession, authority or recognisation. For instance, 歌手 and 歌唱家 are both people who take singing as their jobs, but 歌唱家 is definitely regarded as an artist while 歌手 is probably just a public performer or a pop song singer. Another interesting fact is that when we come to players for specific musical instruments, the only two that are conventionally named with 家 are 钢琴家, a pianist and 小提琴家, a violinist. 2.师 师 originally means a teacher or an adviser. When a job is named with 师 attached, it refers to people who are well-trained or experienced in a particular area. The difference between it and 家 is that a 师 may not necessarily have the profession or talent. Here're some examples: -教师: a person who is trained to teach others — a teacher. -厨师: a person who is trained to work in a kitchen — a cook. -理发师: a person who is trained to manage people's hair — a barber. -会计师: a person who is trained to account money — an accountant. 3.手 手 means hands, thus referring to people who have high skills or talents, but only in a small area. Unlike 家, a XX手 usually doesn't have an overall profession in a general field, but in a much more specific section. It is very often seen in players of a particular instrument. For example: -鼓手: a person whose task is to play the drums — a drummer. -吉他手: a person who plays the guitar — a guitarist. -小号手: a person who plays the trumpet — a trumpeter. -舵手: a person who is responsible for managing and controlling the helm — a helmsman. 4.工 工 means originally work or labour. Hence it is usually used to name those jobs that need hard labour or manual processes. For example: -技工: a person hired to manage technical issues — a technician. -水管工: a person paid to repair waterpipes — plumber. -电工: a person paid to check and fix electrical devices — an electrician. -油漆工: a person who paints buildings — a painter. 5.匠 匠 basically means a craftsman, so it is used for any job related to crafting and designing. Though it also involves laborious processes often, it's different from 工 as the labour is done in order to craft or make a certain object or artefact. For example: -木匠: a person who uses woods to do handicrafts — a carpenter. -铁匠: a person who crafts metal objects — a blacksmith.
  5. 6 points
    Hello everyone, It has been a while since I last updated my blog. There were a couple of reasons for this - My eyes My vision was deteriorating quite a lot and last November the decision was taken to under go cataract surgery. As this was in the UK and on the NHS the wheels grind (no complaints it just the way it is) and eventually I now have 2 new lenses and can see better than I have been able to for many years. I found it was becoming increasingly frustrating trying to read characters with bad eyes and magnifying glasses are a pain, hard to scan pages with one. I am still in recovery, it is only the third day after my second eye so slowly slowly does it. My intention is to return and update my blog with my new learning schedule and updates as to my successes and failures and hopefully help myself and others to progress with learning Chinese. Just wanted to update anyone who was interested that my hiatus from learning is now turning slowly into a return to learning.
  6. 6 points
    This was copied from the conclusion of a research paper I wrote. I'm not super confident on the quality of the paper so I'm not putting it here. A lot of this should be "no shit" to many of you. Some of it might be surprising.
  7. 6 points
    Just a warning, in case all of the "女" confuses you into thinking that a "女婿" is female. I assumed it was, and boy did I get the wrong impression of that relationship! "姪女婿" is male too. Just saying.
  8. 5 points
    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)
  9. 5 points
    A little embarrassed to notice I haven't updated on my progress since the first post - perhaps should have been predictable given how far down my list of priorities it this blog sits, but all the same... On the other hand, the challenge is still going strong - 74/112 days completed now, none missed so far! My method for keeping track of this, and motivating myself, is the old but classic crosses-on-a-calendar method. I've tried some phone-based "don't break the chain" apps in the past, but none of them have quite the same impact as keeping physical track of my progress. It's gotten to the point that, when planning excursions or family days, my first thought is often "how can I plan my hours around that to guarantee I don't miss a day?" That's not to say it's become easy. I've almost never felt like the 2 hours were effortless. It's just without this motivation I'd probably do less and less every day until I stop altogether. Anyway, if you're struggling with motivation to keep a daily habit (as I often have), I can definitely recommend buying a cheap calendar and just marking it off every day. Super effective. So what have I learned over the 46 hours of Chinese since I last updated this blog? Firstly, just as intermediate learners often observe, the rate of progress feels slower every week. I'm still on the boundary between intermediate/upper intermediate on ChinesePod, and when I listen to hard dialogues I downloaded three weeks ago, I don't feel like they've become any easier to decipher in the intervening time. New stories and dialogues introduce just as many new words now as they did two months ago, and I'm getting a visceral sense of just how vast a task learning a language is. The number of near homonyms makes this no easier, and I'm constantly confusing the meanings of words that to a Chinese speaker sound nothing alike. On that topic, tones in particular continue to frustrate me. I'm not exactly tone-deaf - a few weeks ago I tried Olle Linge's tone training - 100% on the initial level placement - and John Pasden's tone pair drills - no problem there either. But I still often make comprehension mistakes in full sentences due to tones, and still can't reliably predict the tones of an unfamiliar word when spoken as part of a larger utterance. Even when hearing a tone isn't necessary to understand a sentence (at my level context is still mostly enough) it feels like full comprehension is slower than it should be, I'm using grammar/context as a crutch, and the other shoe is going to drop when I try to advance to native materials. It seems like there's a big gap in the market for intermediate tone training - forcing students to listen for tones until this habit is fully internalised. Does such a product already exist? I'm also quite curious what others think about this problem, and whether it's really an issue - particularly from those who have learned Chinese to a very high level of proficiency. On the other hand, I do feel like I'm currently developing in three related areas. "Chinese subconscious" - occasionally in the past two weeks I have found myself following some non-trivial material without actively concentrating on the language at all, just thinking about the subject material. This is one of the things I had been hoping to achieve through mass listening, and it's good to feel it might eventually pan out. I have very limited stamina to fully concentrate on spoken language (I can't maintain 100% concentration for more than a few minutes!) so this is very necessary in the long run. This point might seem trivial to many here, but it's a big breakthrough for me! Speed of listening. The 4th level of the Chinese Breeze books has helped with this, as the narrators have stepped up the speed a bit for this level, forcing me to internalise more of the very high frequency words and grammatical structures. (I'll give a more complete review of the Chinese Breeze books later if I can find the time) Ability to learn. The more words I learn, the easier it seems to be to remember new words, and the better I can distinguish between similar words. And because I can listen faster, I can hear more words and grammar structures in 2 hours. It feels like entering a virtuous cycle. Of course because I've properly hit intermediate level now, it still feels like my rate of progress has slowed in spite of all of this. Finally, I've entirely dropped SRSing of new words in isolation. I've just found it a drain on my mental energy with seemingly little-to-no gain. The SpoonFed Chinese Anki deck is doing a great job of introducing me to new words in context, and providing regular reminders. I re-listen to ChinesePod episodes at regular intervals when they have lots of new vocabulary (is there SRS software that can schedule this for me more conveniently than Anki?) The graded readers use the same words so often that there's no need to SRS them. And best of all, all of these activities are simply more fun than grinding Anki decks of words (well SpoonFed isn't much fun, but is definitely more effective). The only thing I'm losing here is the ability to recognise characters of words I'm learning, but given that all of my learning material currently comes with pinyin, this is something I can tolerate (and will probably fix through extensive reading after the challenge is over)
  10. 4 points
    Despite learning Chinese Mandarin, I don't get the chance to use it very often. I get the feeling of minimal progress. I haven't really been watching many intermediate learning materials since my last post. A bit boring for my liking... I wasted a lot of time on the hellotalk app. Being a native English speaker is a big advantage when learning Chinese. Eventually, I decided to tell people I am only interested in talking verbally and real time conversation. This proved helpful in screening out quite a number of people who just wanted a friendly text chat with a foreigner. I tend to screen out people who have a strong 南方 accent though Taiwanese are fine. In the end HT is just an area for practice and I cut down my time on it. For learning, I have been using Glossika. 25% through the A1 course. It's a bit boring but I stick with it. I don't like that it only gives two reps of a sentence. I prefer 3 or 4 at one time. Does it have an effect? I think it is hard to say for me - maybe a longer duration of practice would help. I recently dug out some old ankicards that I made long ago. These were made from the Growing up in China series. I remember I had tremendous difficulty in following the speech at time of making them. Well, amazingly, I found my listening comprehension is definitely much better. There are words which I forgot but definitely relearn much better and it's much less frustrating. I recently went to Qingdao for business and badminton. Initially a bit apprehensive yet looking forward to trying out the field experience. Last time I was by myself in China was two years ago in Guangzhou and I fell back to using Cantonese much of the time. Pleased to say I didnt really have any major problems using the language for day to day life. Of course there were the trip-ups. What I particularly liked was I had to use the language for some simple problem solving which sharpens the mind considerably. Although there is still a lot to learn in terms of extending conversations, the initial handling of issues went quite smoothly. I had a couple of nice conversations with taxi drivers and made a large number of wechat contacts from playing badminton. I played a lot of amateur competitions in the past and when I played my trickshots on this trip, they were really well received. Of course, there was also the novelty factor of being an overseas Chinese. So a great morale booster that there is some progression and I got a lot of extensive listening experience even though I didn't understand all of it.
  11. 4 points
    I recently finished reading the 1928 short story《自杀日记》by 丁玲. This story has much in common with the novella《莎菲女士的日记》, a better-known work that 丁玲 published the same year. Both stories are about troubled young women in large Chinese cities who record their thoughts in diary form. 丁玲 gives both young women transliterated western names: 莎菲 and 伊萨. In some ways the women have similar temperaments. They are angsty, reclusive, and uninterested in the young men who fall in love with them. While both women are deeply unhappy—to the point of wanting to end their lives—their unhappiness manifests differently. 莎菲 is brooding, impetuous, judgmental, misanthropic. 伊萨 is apathetic. Finding no meaning in life, she resigns herself to a nihilistic suicide: 她只觉得这生活很无意思,很不必有,她固执的屡次向自己说:“顶好是死去算了!” Like other works by 丁玲 from this period, the language is not difficult for a Chinese language learner to understand. The story is short, just over 4,500 characters long. Here is a link: https://www.kanunu8.com/book3/8372/186036.html Below are some statistics and a list of the works I have finished reading this year. Despite showing only 3.6% my goal complete, I am ahead of my reading schedule, because these numbers do not include works currently in progress. Next up to finish is the 余华 short story《我没有自己的名字》. Some statistics: Characters read this year: 35,967 Characters left to read this year: 964,033 Percent of goal completed: 3.6% 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)
  12. 4 points
    ....is a favourite song of mine by Nik Kershaw. Wouldn’t it be good to just get a bit of time to oneself just to study without life getting in the way. It’s been very busy. At at least I have glossika to fall back on. It’s now very convenient - connect up my earphones, go into the browser on my phone and start the course. If I don’t finish, then do some reps later at another time. So far I have managed about five days out of seven for the last three weeks. Nice.
  13. 4 points
    I was quite shocked when I saw this poster last week. It can't be, can it? Do I have a particularly dirty mind, I asked myself. Well, dirty maybe, particularly definitely not, I concluded. This is a well-known wordplay. So well-known that whoever made this poster had to use quotation marks to eliminate ambiguity. But the quotation marks only serve to remind the reader that there is another reading. So the shock was calculated. Which leaves me wondering how low can you go in advertising these days. (For anyone who doesn't get it, 下面 = the nether regions.)
  14. 4 points
    Earlier this year, I decided to step down as organizer of the Chicago Mandarin Conversation meetup. As for why, I've been hosting Mandarin conversation meetups in some form or another since fall 2013, and I've simply lost interest (but I will continue to host the Chinese study group for a while). Fortunately, Kenneth has decided to take my place, starting in January of next year. We had a nice WeChat call just now about how to run the meetup, and these are my notes from that meeting. Should we merge the two groups? (Chicago Mandarin Conversation and Chicago Chinese Study) I'm slightly against this idea. One is for all levels and the other is for advanced speakers. It does make some things easier, but the problem is that with a mixed membership the advanced group will almost certainly get more beginners showing up. Remember that people don't read event descriptions! Members I fairly strict about membership requests, requiring applicants to write a coherent introduction in Chinese. You can decide to be more lax on this front, and just accept any applicant that completes the profile (which is what I used to do). You have to accept that some beginners might slip through, and when they show up, you can refer them to the all-levels group if it's clear they don't belong in the advanced group. Try to keep a good record of no-shows. If someone with a history of no-shows signs up, you'll know that they likely won't attend, and they can be automatically kicked off a waiting list if there is one. There have been rare occasions when a member brings their child to a conversation event. I think this is OK if the parent is taking part in the conversation themselves, and the child is just hanging out. But if the parent tries to leave their child there, kick them both out! Meetup is not free babysitting. Co-hosts When I started out, it was just me and my friend Aaron, and it was weeks before we got a third attendee. Even though it was a very small gathering, it was easy to host because I had a co-host and friend who I could count on to be there more-or-less on time every week. Definitely try to recruit your friends and coworkers to come, and keep a mental list of people who can step in for you when you're absent or running late. There are a lot of people who claim that they would like to host a event. Do not believe them! If they actually name a place and time and show up at that place and time, that's when you can believe them. Marketing Big announcements should be published on these platforms (in order of priority): Meetup mailing list WeChat group Blog FB page Twitter Normal announcements should just go on the mailing list. Posting pictures to meetup.com helps a lot with promotion. It's better to have the picture taken on your own phone so you can just upload it yourself. Another good way of promoting the meetup is to encourage people to write positive reviews. You should send out a message to the mailing list introducing yourself and explaining that you will be organizing the group from now on. There are probably some members who still believe that this meetup group is dead. Remember to change your profile to indicate that you're now an organizer! Scheduling Having a recurring event helps convince people that this is a stable, active meetup. I recommend having at least one event that always occurs on the same relative day of the month at the same location and same time. You can schedule additional events at different places and times to spice things up. Expect that about 50% of the RSVPs will actually show up. If the event is at a restaurant, make sure to schedule the meetup 30 minutes in advance of when you want to take a seat. This avoids a lot of problems, like having to be reseated because the expected number of people didn't show up. If at all possible try to schedule at the edge of busy periods. For example, instead of scheduling for noon, choose 11:00 am or 1:00 pm. If you can avoid it, don't make reservations ahead of time since it's hard to estimate the number of attendees. You don't need to announce it, but you should always have a backup plan. For restaurant events, you might show up to find that the restaurant is full or it's suddenly closed down for renovation or failed health inspection. Backup restaurant should be one that you're familiar with and which is generally not busy. For Chinatown, I think the underground cafeteria is a decent backup venue. Try to avoid cancelling events if at all possible, even if the number of RSVPs is really low. Sometimes people will show up even if they didn't RSVP. If you do need to cancel an event, announce it the day before, especially if there are guests who would be coming from out of town to attend. The best backup plans account for the event where no one shows up (hopefully that never happens to you). Topics Since the average level of attendees is likely to be lower from now on, you should consider announcing discussion topics ahead of the event. Intermediate speakers tend to be more passive conversationalists and need more prodding. When you encounter an awkward silence, that's your cue to introduce a topic. Restaurants Prefer venues that are quieter, less crowded, and have lazy susans on their tables. When ordering at a restaurant, the host(s) should always order for the group. Always remember to ask about dietary restrictions. Do not allow more than 20% of the dishes to be "adventurous" (e.g. chicken feet, jellyfish, duck's blood, etc). Do not let every attendee order one dish. Instead, ask every attendee what kind of food they're most looking forward to eating, and take everyone's wishes into consideration. If an attendee has special knowledge of a restaurant's cuisine, let them order. When dishes are brought to the table, ask the server which dish it is and what ingredients are in it. This is useful for people who aren't very familiar with the cuisine. Make sure to take a picture of the receipt so that people know what you ordered. Better yet, take pictures of the dishes and post them to meetup.com. If I'm the host, I prefer to pay the whole bill and ask everyone to pay me via Venmo or cash. Sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior If a member reports another meetup.com user (not necessarily a member) for abusive messages, report them to meetup.com. The admins can see the messages on their side and hopefully they'll take the appropriate action. Keep in mind that for every abusive message you hear about, there are many more that aren't reported. Women receive a crazy amount of creepy messages online. Kick spammers out and block them from rejoining. IRL abusive behavior should be shut down immediately. Kick the offender out of the meetup group right away. If they want to rejoin the group, they'll have to talk to you before their membership request can be approved. Things I have kicked people out for: homophobia, trying to use the group to sell pot, and trying to recruit members into one of those Chinese pyramid schemes. You cannot kick someone out for looking like a creep. You can, however, pull female members aside and advise them not to accept free car rides from creepy-looking men. We used to have a code of conduct. We should bring it back as a blog post and put a link to it on the meetup.com description page. WeChat It's good to maintain a WeChat group so that it's easier for attendees to add each other. Just scan the group instead of scanning each other. The group is also useful for announcing events to existing members. Any person who is spamming the group should be kicked out immediately. They can rejoin if they agree to stop spamming. Currently, the requirement on the WeChat group is that no English is allowed. In practice, the group is really low traffic so I don't think that this is a necessary rule. I will transfer ownership of the existing group to you. You should periodically clean out the WeChat group of members who haven't shown up in a long time. It's harder to find the people you want to add if the group has a lot of members. We used to have a Facebook Group, but I don't think it's a viable option anymore now that the FB Groups app has been pulled. Using FB Groups from the main Facebook app is a way worse experience than just using WeChat. Also, I don't think FB Groups has the translate feature. Recruiters You will eventually be contacted by a recruiter who wants to post job ads to the group. It's your call whether to allow it, but I sent out a survey to ask the members if they want to see job ads through the meetup, and the response was mostly negative. In truth, only a few members have the language skills that qualify for the jobs I've seen. I think the best way to handle this is to ask the recruiter for the Chinese version of the job ad and post it in the WeChat group. Or just ignore recruiters entirely. Events at your home On occasion, you might want to host an event at your own home, like a potluck, game night, or movie-watching party. This is a great idea, and a wonderful opportunity to torment your friends with your indie music collection (ahem). Do not post the event with your exact address, the street corner or closest El station is good enough. You can message your phone number and address to confirmed attendees the day before the event. You may want to enable a waiting list whose size corresponds to the size of your apartment. Exclude inveterate no-showers from RSVP'ing. You may also want to limit the number of guests that you haven't personally met before. It is not a big deal if your place doesn't have enough chairs for everyone. In practice, people are happy to stand for 2 hours if they're having a good time. If it really bothers you, then clean your floor and people can sit on that. If you invite a total stranger to your home, you don't have to give your phone number and address to them right away. Remember that this person might not even show up! You can add them on WeChat/Facebook, and tell them to send their location to you when they get within a mile of your location. Once you've confirmed that they're actually coming, you can send them the relevant information. Other types of events Here are some events I've hosted or attended, and what I think of them. Exhibition of Ai Weiwei's photos: It was really nice to chat while browsing the exhibition. I don't think this type of event needs to be limited to exhibitions of Chinese artists. Mandarin Mingle in SF: This was held inside a hotel bar and everyone stood the whole time because there was no seating in that area. An absurd number of attendees, RSVPs were capped at 70 and maybe half showed up. I enjoyed it, but I wonder how long it would take to set up in Chicago. Chinese chess and conversation in Montreal: People really seemed to like the vibe of chatting while playing a board game. After the meetup proper they went to a nearby restaurant for dinner. Experience was marred by the organizer being a really creepy guy who didn't speak a lick of Chinese and who threatened to expel a female member who wouldn't give him her number (he was only there briefly since he had nothing to contribute beyond being creepy). Mahjong and hotpot: I thought this was an interesting combination. Worth the effort if you have the equipment and some people willing to help you out with chopping and cleanup. Watch a Chinese movie at a film festival: I don't really recommend this as a meetup event. It's fine to watch a movie with friends, but watching a movie with other meetup members is pretty much the same as watching it with random strangers. In practice, no one stays around after the movie to discuss it. Language exchange: Maybe I'm bad at managing this type of event but I've never seen it go well. After the switchover from Chinese to English, the conversation tends to just stay in English. Picnic in a park: This was fun, and we got some exercise to boot. We chatted while eating unhealthy snacks. We spent most of the time playing that game where you draw a card and put it on your forehead, and you lose if you say the number on your head. Loser has to do a challenge (usually something physical, like running to the library and back or getting a photo taken with a passing dog). Friendsgiving at Sun Wah BBQ: Kind of an annual tradition that we skipped this year. I don't usually like hosting events at restaurants but this is somewhat of an exception. It's interesting how this event tends to attract people who show up just for this and never come back.
  15. 4 points
    One of the reasons I now enjoy writing this blog so much, is the feedback and help that I get when I do. I think that at the end of my first year I might try and make a list of the resources I have used, as it will include many things that get suggested over the weeks. This week gwr71 was incredibly helpful in suggesting a cultural visual dictionary, one for measure words, and a grammar book, all of which I now have an am beginning to tuck into. Last week I was also asked about my schedule, including how much time I spend on homework, and so I will give that here. Each week we have 20 hours of class, with each class lasting 2 hours. That is broken down into 4 comprehensive classes, which, as the name suggests, brings all the elements we learn from the other classes together. We have 2 listening classes, 1 reading/writing class, and 3 speaking classes. Listening classes can be a bit repetitious, but I think that's just the nature of it, and there's really no way to avoid it. I also really need it as listening is what I find hardest. Regarding homework, some days we get it, some days we don't, it's fairly unpredictable for the most part. What is predictable is our reading/writing homework each week. In class we cover 2 chapters in the book, and for homework we take the list of new words from each chapter and write them out a couple of times, then make a word of our own choosing, then make a sentence which includes that word. I really enjoy doing this because it's where I get to experiment a lot and the corrections help a ton. We also have to do the exercises for each chapter, and then at the end of each chapter there is a text, and we need to write and answer 3 of our own questions relating to the text. This homework is supposed to be done over the course of the week, but being as it's on a day when I have 4 hours to kill on campus, I just hammer it out then. As I do other reading and writing throughout the week, I don't think it negatively impacts my studies in any way. We rarely get any homework for listening, and for speaking and comprehensive it really varies. Some days we might need to write a dialogue relating to the topic we are studying, or talk about a specific subject. Most days we have dictation in class, and so we need to learn the appropriate characters. We have now moved on to phrases (started with single characters, then words, now phrases, and I assume longer sentences will be next). My assumption is that the idea behind this is so we don't forget characters we have learned previously, and it seems to be doing the job! Being as we are still looking at very common characters, there may only be one or two that I really need to memorize, and so this doesn't normally take very long. This frees me up to do more of my own studying. Random new words that come up in class, and vocabulary that I just want to learn myself, I study throughout the week. I will attach a picture of what it looks like but I just do it in the way that I have found works best for me (and before it gets pointed out, I know how messy my handwriting is, both in Chinese and English!) - I write down 5-7 characters/words that I want to learn, and then write each of them down 5 times. A bit later I come back and write them down again, this time in a different colour. The following day I come back a third time, and again with a different colour I write them down a final time. How many words I do just depends on the week. Once I have a full page of words, I put them into Anki. For listening I just try and get myself as immersed as possible, and spend time with Chinese people. I really like tattoos, and so I have made good friends with 2 tattoo artists who have a shop just down the street from where we live. They don't speak English which is perfect, and they are really fun to hang out with, and have even offered to teach me some stuff! It's perfect because they speak just like anybody else, which of course is often a far cry from what we learn in the books! I also find myself reading and writing more with Wechat (although it is of course pinyin input). I frequently message my current teachers, and my previous ones, with different questions about new vocab and grammar, and I will actually often ask the same question to different teachers, or just make up a question so that I can practice reading when they respond. Thankfully none of them have let on that they are fed up of me yet hah! A highlight this week was attending a sort of 'Chinese competition' at the international student center at uni. Fortunately I wasn't involved, as this is only for the short term classes that I was a part of before I started the degree. This was a more advanced level than the one I had to compete in, as I was watching my friend who has now moved up to a higher level class. The reason I was happy not to be involved was that not only did they have to act out a skit of some sort in Chinese, but they had to sing a song, and my voice is unbelievably bad! It was great to watch, and actually quite funny. I think it also alerted me to the fact that the previous classes seem to have been much more rigid in the structure they follow. I feel like in the degree program there is much more freedom and the pace is basically whatever the students make it, rather than very rigidly sticking to the book and having to pack a large amount of content into a short space of time. I chuckled when I heard the phrases '三天打鱼,两天晒网不行‘ 和 ’在家靠父母,出去靠朋友‘,which I myself learned in the short term class only a few months back! The final thing for this week (I feel like there is a ton I want to write, but I want to save stuff for future posts also!), was my reading/writing midterm. I think it went fairly well. I kicked myself afterwards at having written 容 incorrectly! I wrote two characters next to each other to try and compare them and remember which was right, one of them had a tiny extra heng just above the kou, and unfortunately I went with that one and erased the other one! Other than that, unless I have grossly overestimated my ability, I don't think it was too bad. Ok, one final, final thing! As I add pictures each week and describe what I am doing to learn, please feel free to critique, make suggestions, tell me why there is a better way of doing things etc. I want to learn and I want to do it efficiently, and so far the help that people have given has been really, really useful. Thank you! Edit - Please excuse the lack of pictures this week. I tried 4 times to upload a couple of photos but for some reason it failed every time, even after copying the blog post and reloading the page. I will try again next week.
  16. 4 points
    Last week was another great week! I got my midterm results back for listening and speaking - 95% and 96% respectively. That put me third for listening and top for speaking so I can't complain! I was somewhat annoyed with myself when it came to my listening though, as I could easily have gotten a better score. The teacher graded something that I had dismissed as unimportant, although that wasn't the case (at least not for this test) - which vowel you place the tone mark over on the pinyin! It's annoying because we learned it and I could have studied it, but I didn't really think it mattered. So even though I got the correct tone with a few word like 'jiu', jue' etc., I put the tone mark over the wrong letter and got penalized hah! I am happy that after our final exam there will be no more pinyin anywhere! This coming Thursday is our reading/writing midterm, and then that's all 4 out of the way, and we just have finals in January to look forward to! Last Wednesday was a really fun day in our speaking class - we were on a topic which involved clothes, and so the day before our teacher told us to prepare some items of clothing in Chinese, and she would split us up into 3 groups the following day and we'd have a competition writing as many different items of clothing on the board as possible. Not overly surprising at this point, but there were only enough students there to make 2 groups, but all in all the groups got 63 and 64 separate things written on the board. I don't think I know that many in English, let alone Chinese! My list of 12 that I had prepared seemed somewhat inadequate, but it was great to pick up lots of new clothing terms, and by the end the board was crammed with Hanzi, written by 9 different people, and so it looked awesome (our group actually had to wipe some off to make room for more)! I also picked up a couple of new words in class, and then some more from my own personal study. Some personal vocabulary highlights from the week were 发抖,浮躁,后悔,激动,抽象 和 承担后果。 As I write the almost mandatory update on the ongoing student saga, it might become clear why I wanted to know the final phrase! There was an incident with a Russian student in the 3rd year of the program I am studying. At a bar, ironically named Russian Size, he had a fight with another Russian student at 3am in the morning. Damaged the tooth of the other student, was arrested and is spending 7 days in prison. My assumption is he'll be deported after that. Regarding the students in my year, this week 9 of them were told they won't be allowed to take the final exam, they will have to resit it next year. Furthermore, they all had to sign a statement declaring that if they fail to attend 10 or more classes (one week's worth in total) between now and Dec 30th, without any good reason for doing so, they will be expelled. It seems the hammer has finally been laid down, and now they have to 承担后果!
  17. 4 points
    Here's a 综合填空 (cloze) passage taken from a grade 10 Higher Chinese practice book from Singapore. Can you pick the best word for each blank? Native speakers are welcome to take part! Instructions: 1. Answer any number of questions in the passage. Simply post your answers as [spoilers] in this blog, and optionally give a quick reason why you chose each answer (in English or Chinese). If you want, say whether you used a dictionary or researched the questions. (Note: This passage was apparently modified from material on the web, so be careful in your searching, else you might spoil your practice.) 2. I'll then send you your score and list the questions you got wrong. 3. After 3 days, I'll post the model answers given in the book. You can then decide and discuss whether the book's answers are right. (They may not be: see the thread that spawned this challenge for an example.) The passage may look long, but it's really not that difficult. Feel free to answer just a few questions here and there - I'll let you know how you did on those. Here's the scanned passage. It's a simple one this time, about 台北的小吃. I've also OCRed the passage and edited it, so you can do all the e-dictionary looking up you want. Typos may still be present, so watch out. Here it is: 填空,GO! (This is the first time we're doing this, so feedback on the 挑战 is welcome.)
  18. 3 points
    Where are you likely to see this sign?
  19. 3 points
    The new semester started a week ago, and it's been a great first week. As far as my goals for this year, I've basically failed them all already! I wanted to read a lot more, but over the break I went home for the first time in a couple of years, and so unfortunately my Chinese took a back seat. However, I did get through one and a half books. Now being back I feel like I have so much more to focus on, and I'd rather do a good job of covering all my class materials well than spreading myself too thin by plodding through a book. Hopefully I can change this up when the books are a bit easier to read, and don't require constant stopping and note making. Rather than dwelling on my failure here, I am trying to put it behind me and go all in with everything else! This semester we have two different classes. Our 中国概况 and 汉字学 classes are over, and in their place we have 中国文化 and 语法学。 I really like 语法学 and find it to be incredibly useful. The books we are using are fantastic, and basically contain answers to many questions that keep coming up for me. 中国文化 seems to be fairly interesting, and we have a new teacher for this class. She's very friendly and asks a lot of questions. Although our class consists of 40+ students, there's only a few of us that don't sit on our phones and actually participate in the class, so I really appreciate an interactive setting. On that note, our speaking class has changed slightly. For some reason all of our exams are now going to be written exams (how someone's speaking can be tested with a written exam is beyond me, but it's out of the teacher's control). So in light of this our teacher has said he will just teach one of our classes each week, and the other one will be dedicated to us speaking (presentations/reports/skits etc.). All in all, I'm really excited about this semester!
  20. 3 points
    Today I finished reading the short story《牛》by 沈从文. It is one of my favorite things I have read in Chinese. The story is about a farmer nicknamed 大牛伯 and his ox 小牛. One day, while plowing the field, 大牛伯 gets angry and strikes the ox in the leg with a wooden mallet. The rest of the story is devoted to the aftermath of this event. When he realizes his ox is seriously injured, 大牛伯 starts to worry about his future. How will he plow the field without his ox? Can the ox’s leg be healed? Should the ox be sent to the butcher? The story is a fable of surprising moral and psychological depth. I was hooked from the first paragraph. Here it is: For most of the rest of the story 沈从文 explores, in plain language, the thoughts and emotions of 大牛伯 and his stricken ox. 大牛伯 feels guilty for hurting his ox. He is also angry with the ox for being hurt and suspects it of exaggerating the seriousness of its injury. The ox enjoys finally having an opportunity to relax in the hot sun. But it also feels guilty it cannot plow the field for its master, because it wants to make him happy. If you like the paragraph quoted above you will like《牛》.The tone and style of that paragraph are representative of what follows. I loved this story, and look forward to reading more works by 沈从文. Text of《牛》: http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_53fc4c510100m2sg.html Some statistics: Characters read this year: 59,957 Characters left to read this year: 940,043 Percent of goal completed: 6.0% 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) [Thanks to @Lu for pointing out that the animal in this story is an ox, not a calf.]
  21. 3 points
    Over the last 2 weeks I had my reading/writing midterm, and then next Friday is the last of my 3 comprehensive midterms, and this one will cover the whole book we have been studying, rather than just one of the 3 units. My reading/writing midterm went great, apart from one really stupid mistake on my part. I misread the question and thought we just had to give the pinyin for the characters listed below, but we were also meant to make words. Unfortunately that mistake cost me 10 easy marks, but I still managed to get an 88% so it's not the end of the world. A couple of other students made the same mistake as we just assumed the question was the same as we cover each week in our book. Well, we all know what they say about assumption! One of our teachers frequently encourages us to get to know each other better, which makes sense, and so this weekend I invited pretty much all the students from my year over. We had a blast, there were 14 not including us, all crammed into my our apartment, and each made food from their own nation. Thai, Korean, English and Russian food! I felt like it opened the way for more relationships, because we were basically forced to use our Chinese to communicate, rather than in class where each nation uses their own language. If nothing else it was at least good speaking practice! In class at the moment we are basically just continuing to slog through our books. Listening is pretty mind-numbing, comprehensive class is the most fun. We have covered a selection of grammar, including where to put nouns when you are dealing with the number of times something has happened, how to use 从来,the use of 地,要是...就, and a couple of other points that have slipped my mind! I do have a test to photo and upload, but I've gone and left it in the classroom, so it will have to wait until next time!
  22. 3 points
    One fairly random photo of Chinese characters in action, per week, until around this time in 2018. And perhaps longer if I'm encouraged. Those who want to contribute their own random photos of Chinese characters are welcome, just get in touch and I'll add you to the contributor list so you can post directly, from computer or phone. And what better to start with than breakfast?
  23. 3 points
    So...I wrote 3 spring couplets to put on doors and stuff. Quiz: Anything wrong with them? Answer:
  24. 3 points
    I've been following Publius' and Imron's advice: Transcribe by hand to improve listening ability. Here I'll keep track of the results. Here's the original thread: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/53708-transcribing-mandarin-as-a-learning-method/#comment-412781 To ensure consistency in how I keep this record, I've created my own arbitrary "rules": -Before starting, I watch aprox. 4 minutes of the video I'll be transcribing, without subtitles. This time is not counted. This is the "step 2" we talked about in the forum thread. -I transcribe using LAMP player, which allows me to quickly toggle subtitles on/off, pause after each line, and repeat a line, all with keyboard shortcuts. -I work for 2 25-minute sessions per day, separated by a 5-minute break -If the break starts when I'm mid-sentence, I leave it there and continue after the break. -If, during the second 25-minute session, the time's up and I'm mid-sentence, I finish the sentence. -I'm writing by hand on paper, with a mechanical pencil and an eraser. I designed my own page w/25 8mm squares per row, and left enough separation between rows for corrections. I was previously working with 7.5mm squares, but it felt cramped. I'm attaching the PDF in case you want to use it. It has 2 pages to make it easier to print it double-sided in duplex printers. -I don't consult any dictionary when I'm writing down each line. -After each subtitle line, I show the subtitles (toggle with Q in LAMP player) and make corrections. Only now I do consult the dictionary for new words, words I got wrong and to clarify stroke order if I'm in doubt. This correction is done after each subtitle line for immediate feedback, and included in the 25 minutes. This way I got a second chance to get a word right if it appears often within the session. -I'm sticking only to this particular type of video: Documentary/interview style, clearly dubbed to Mandarin from the original English. Subject matter is very familiar to me. I did watch it in Spanish days before starting to transcribe it in Chinese, so I know the general idea, but I already forgot the specifics. As you can see, my stats go up and down wildly from one day to the next. I guess I need to complete the first 30 days and average the results to get a better picture of my current ability. I can then compare that result to the next 30 days, and the final 30 days. transcriptionpaper.pdf
  25. 3 points
    You won't really need a decoder ring, just a pen and paper. The attached clip contains two coded messages (two sets of a bunch of numbers). Your mission is to simply to write down all the numbers you hear. Here are the rules - listen straight through, no pausing. Listen additional times as needed to get any numbers you miss. Can you get it on the first try? If not, how many tries does it take? Share your results. Decoder Ring.mp3 Getting it on the first try is tricky. It took me 7 blessed tries to get all the numbers. I kept missing the same pocket of numbers. Note: 一 is pronounced yao. Transcript Links: The clip is taken from 潜伏, so it has a 1940s AM radio flavor. DRINK MORE OVALTINE
  26. 2 points
    Attended: 6 The restaurant we talked about in Chinatown is called MCCB (Modern Chinese Cookbook). Perhaps we should schedule an event to go there together some time? Wow, we covered quite a lot today! If you have some specific questions, you can write them as a comment on the event page so you don't forget to ask them later. We reviewed common phrases for giving directions. 往东走 往西走 往南走 往北走 往前走 往前开 往前骑 直走 过了饭点以后右拐 过了图书馆以后左转 沿着这条路走 We covered how to express over and under. 把杯子放在桌子上 把杯子放在桌子下 We went over how to give commands using 把 preposition. 把鱼蒸一蒸。 把衣服洗洗。 把玩具给我。 We went over measure words. Ge4 is the generic measure word that you can use anywhere. But you can optionally use other measure words depending on the noun. 一个人 两个人 三个人 一只猫 (zhi is for most animals) 一只狗 一条狗 (more common) 一条鱼 (tiao is for things that are long and thin) 一条河 一辆车 We reviewed the words for morning, noon, and afternoon. 早上 (morning over) 中午 (middle noon) 下午 (under noon) You can certainly say 下午好 to someone, but maybe it'd be better to say 你吃了吗?in the afternoon. We discussed when to say er4 and when to say liang3 for 2. 两个人 (liang with measure words) 2:00 两点钟 (liang for time of day) 2012 二零一二 (er for years) Special colloquial term for 两个:俩 我们两个人去电影院吧 我们俩去电影院吧 We discussed the 被 preposition. 鱼被我蒸了 衣服被他洗了 我被他欺负了 We did a couple rounds of collaborative storytelling, where everyone takes turns contributing a sentence to the story. 我很喜欢旅行。I like to travel. 我去过中国。I've been to China. 我的朋友住在台湾,他酿啤酒。My friend lives in Taiwan; he brews beer. 我喜欢中国菜。I like Chinese food. 我叫飞鸿。My name is Feihong. Huang Feihong is a very popular character in Chinese history and film. Jackie Chan's most famous turn as Huang Feihong featured one of his most iconic fight scenes. There is also a famous actress named Yu Feihong, who may be China's most famous spinster. 你的名字很漂亮。Your name is pretty. 我非常感谢你,是我老师起的。Thank you very much, it was chosen by my teacher. 我在微信看到你。I saw you on WeChat. 我们一起喝杯啤酒吧。Let's have a beer together. (Note that you could also use 瓶, 听, or 桶 for the measure word) 我知道附近有一家很棒的酒吧。I know an excellent bar nearby. Questions, corrections, thoughts? Leave a comment!
  27. 2 points
    我想去中国学汉语。 我相信在英国学汉语很难因为所有的东西都用英语。 我工作工资不错可是我的经理不是友好的人而且我的工作很无聊。 我想存钱所以我从来不需要工作。三年后我就可以去中国。 如果我继续工作,我就没有很多时间提高我汉语的水平。
  28. 2 points
    As I finally got round to uploading my photos to my computer, this week I have added a few random photos from uni and around Harbin in general! I haven't got a ton to add this week as I now plan to wait and then write a bigger entry in 3 weeks, as that will be the end of this semester. I got a 98 on my final comprehensive midterm and so I was really pleased with that. My comp teacher said that our biggest issue now as a class is getting our speaking up to scratch. For me personally I need to work on speaking speed, as I tend to pause a lot when thinking of what I want to say next. This is also what I do in English, and so with Mandarin being a new language, the problem becomes compounded! In order to continue to build my vocabulary, and especially to make my 口语更丰富了, I have been trying to find new adverbs and conjunctions. Things like 何必,何况,究竟等等. I might even start a thread to build a good list of these kind of words, as I find they really make things more interesting, not only for speaking, but also when writing 文章. My family (mum, dad, sister, brother-in-law and niece) are all out visiting at the moment and we are having a blast. Our comp teacher had said that if anyone got 95 or above in our midterm, we could miss 3 classes for free, whether it be this year or in the following 3 years sometime! It worked out perfectly for me to miss 3 while my family is here, and being as I only have comp class on a Friday I get a 3 day weekend!
  29. 2 points
    One fairly random photo of Chinese characters in action, per week, until sometime in 2018. And perhaps longer if I'm encouraged. Those who want to contribute their own random photos of Chinese characters are welcome, just get in touch and I'll add you to the contributor list so you can post directly, from computer or phone. Chai Dynasty Beijing. I liked that the paint matched.
  30. 2 points
    Sure thing! So the book I was too lazy to grab is called 'Conversational Chinese 301'. It's not bad, but unfortunately it has pinyin all the way through. I find it so hard to concentrate on the characters when the pinyin is written underneath, but in theory you don't even need to pass HSK 3 to do this degree so I can understand it. The degree itself is 'Chinese Language and Literature', and the only requirement was high school graduation, so very easy to get in for. However, once you're in it seems like they won't have a problem kicking you out if you're not serious. My teacher was not amused today when a guy strolled in an hour late, and another of my teachers said our class will probably go from the 28 we are out now down to around 20 students or so in the next couple of weeks as they deal with people not coming to class etc! Tomorrow we will finish the final chapter (8) of the first book of the 'Threshold' level of the Road To Success series, which contains 4 books. On Wednesday we are meant to have a test on all the characters we have covered in the book (there aren't actually any in there, but we either had to find them or were given them so we could learn them). By the end of the 4th book in this series we should have studied 1200 words (according to the back of the book). The next stage then has 2 books, which gets us up to 3000 words, then the final stage has another 2 books, leaving us at 6000 words. I actually really like this book, in fact I really like all the books we are using, I have found them especially helpful for stroke order. I am far from perfect, but I find myself actively thinking about stroke order and getting it right much more of the time now. Also, even though they are beginner books, I find I am having to learn characters that I would never have taken an interest in learning to write otherwise (things like fruit and vegetables). This is great because it means I'm not getting bored just hearing stuff I have already learned repeated. Last Friday I gave a brief description of a family photo. It was an on the spot thing rather than prepared, so it wasn't until afterwards that I realized how bad it had been! I pretty much just went through and said who everyone was, pointing at people or using the colour of their clothes to describe them. I should have been using words like 旁边,前面,后面 etc. but I didn't. Anyway never mind, it was good fun and reminded me to slow down and think a little bit more before I speak. The quality of the teaching at this point is fantastic. It's almost 100% Chinese which is great (although obviously spoken at more of a basic level so we can understand). Our 'comprehensive' teacher relies very little on the book, and breaks off into his own little world all the time, which I actually really like as we end up getting all sorts of new words and culture points out of it. He also teaches us things that we probably wouldn't learn for a while otherwise, like 公主病, 王子病,or how Q is commonly used in place of 可爱 on social media, or 3Q for 'thank you'! It's hard to know what to put in an update, but as I said, I would love to look back on this in 4 years and remember the start of this journey, so most of this is for me rather than anyone else! But if anyone has any questions or anything, then please feel free to ask!
  31. 2 points
    Here's another dim sum menu, sort of. This one is especially useful because it features only 12 items from a busy upstairs restaurant that offers probably a hundred items. (I ate upstairs.) These take away selections are available for purchase on the street level. My guess is they are some of the house's best sellers. This place was across the street from my Hong Kong (Wan Chai) hotel 華美粵海酒店。 If you figure out and learn these 12 items, you might not be a dim sum virtuoso, but you won't go hungry and will be able to gain a toehold in the dim sum world.
  32. 2 points
    I don't think I want to live in China. No insult at all to native Chinese, nor to any ex-pat enjoying life there. But for me personally, it's just too much activity, and too much effort. Likely if I did live there I'd get more used to the flow and find it less effort and more pleasant, but I fear I've gotten too soft living in Suburbia to handle a major city, let alone a major city in China. I take back every good thing I've ever said about taxi drivers in China and how honest they are. At least in Chengdu. Out of 5 taxi rides, they tried to cheat us twice. And I don't mean just go a couple extra blocks longer for an extra yuan or two (used to that), I mean try to charge us 2x-3x the proper fare. And these are in licensed, metered taxis. It's too difficult to find diet soda in China. On the plus side, when I do find it, it's usually Coke Zero. Things are still cheap in China. I was concerned that between the USD-RMB exchange rate going from 8.4:1 to 6.2:1 since I was there last, and the high inflation rate in China, things would feel expensive. Nope, still not. Especially in 3rd tier cities like Pingxiang. One morning took my daughter to a neighborhood square to run around; we bought three rides on those kiddie coin-op rides, two bottled drinks (water and "iced" tea), and two "ice cream" snacks; total cost, 14 yuan (!). Compare that to, say, the cheapest bottle water I found in terminal D of the Shanghai airport was 34 yuan (but it was Evian). Mixed kids still gets a lot of attention in China. I'm used to be stared at when out and about, but with her, it was a lot more attention. People even came up and wanted to have their picture taken with her! I was more impressed with Shanghai than I was last time I was there (2005). Not sure what the difference is, but it feels like it's advanced a lot in the last 7 years. Chengdu is backwards. I don't mean the infrastructure -- it's quite developed. I mean the peoples' thinking. I can't believe in 2012, in the central business district of a major city, one still has kids yelling "hello!" to all the random 老外. Yes, I'm white, not Chinese, get over it. I really felt the difference between Chengdu and Shanghai. In addition, I was less impressed with the food in Chengdu than I expected. I've heard great things about Sichuan food, but we didn't see it. This is certainly due in part to our choice of food -- we didn't have Sichuan hot pot (too spicy), for example. But we did go to what was told were decent restaurants and tried Sichuan dishes. Not bad, but not great, and everything was much too oily. On the plus side, I think Chengdu woman are more attractive. To me, Beijing and Shanghai woman are too skinny, Chengdu woman are much curvier. They also dress skimpier, but less fashionable. I don't like jiaozi as much as I thought I did. Last trip (in Beijing), I ate jiaozi at every opportunity, and loved every one, down to the 1 yuan street vendor ones. This trip, had a couple of them, not so impressed. Only decent one was at the Nanxiang 1900 (at the Super Brand Mall). I even encountered ones I actually didn't like, first time ever. I no longer feel the need to speak in Chinese just to show them that I can speak Chinese. On past trips, I've had a bit of a chip on my shoulder about it; this trip, well, not only did I not mind switching to English if they replied in English to my Chinese, but I would often just start in English. The only exception to that was passing by a book store in Shanghai airport, a woman calls out to me (in English) "Do you want to learn Chinese?" I had to reply in Chinese to that! The second best part of the Oriental Pearl is the History of Shanghai Museum (at the end). "Interestingly" enough, there are no signs in English saying what it is, nor saying that it's free (with ticket to visit the tower). It's a really well done museum, very interesting, with signage in English and Chinese (and Japanese). Plane ticket to China for my daughter: $1400. Look on her face the first time she sees (and needs to use) a squat toilet: priceless! Addition 5/22/12: What's up with the meaningless use of pinyin? As an example, I saw a road/traffic working with a sign on his back saying 交通 -- with "jiao tong" written on the back. How can that ever be helpful? Addition 6/16/12: A much smaller percent of the people smoked than I remember. I remember last trip it seemed like freeking EVERYONE smoked. This trip, very few people smoked. On the downside, those that smoked did so freeking EVERYWHERE: hotel lobbies, next to non-smoking signs, even in elevators! And in bathrooms -- it seems a common way to smoke in non-smoking buildings (hotels, airports) is to go into a bathroom stall, lock the door, and puff away.
  33. 2 points
    Read the comic page and answer the following questions. For reference, the man wearing sunglasses is Clint, and the man wearing the red shirt is Logan. 1. What has Logan been hired to do? 2. What urgent matter does Clint need to attend to? 3. How does Clint try to convince Logan to accept the change of plans? Source: Wolverine: Old Man Logan, by Mark Millar & Steve McNiven
  34. 2 points
    Below is a complete but scrambled walkthrough for the first screen of this point-and-click adventure game. Put the sentences back into their proper order. 峭壁底下有一只在睡觉的乌龟和一株高大的仙人掌。 他们三个就这样离开沙漠... 这个过程得重复三次,因为一共有三个花苞。 马车上面有一个气球,靠在气球边有一个睡懒觉的男人,得点击他。 气吹完了,气球会飘飘地上升,直到峭壁的高度时,另外两位队员会跳到气球的平台上。 先点击仙人掌的花苞,让它变色。 再点击,它会变成花,再一次会变成水果,最后一次会落到地上。 他醒后会开始给气球吹气(用自己的呼吸,厉害吧)。 其中一个水果总会被住在仙人掌里面的老鼠偷吃掉。 接下来,点击乌龟。 它醒来之后会眼馋落地的水果,开始往前爬。 其实乌龟在拉一辆马车! 在广阔的沙漠之间,两个队员站在峭壁上。 Source: Quest for the Rest, by Amanita Design
  35. 2 points
    Use Chinese to describe how the bunny meets its maker. Source: The Book of Bunny Suicides
  36. 1 point
    我很失望。 七月十四号我开始新的日记只用汉语。 到七月十五,我停了! 我停了为了集中提高我的听力。[See Note 1] 从今天我会集中写句子因为。 我很难写对法语的句子。[See Note 2] 这使得说汉语很难。[See Note 3] 我先提高我汉语写的能力然后我提高我的口语能力。 Note 1: Can I use 了 here? I've been told I need to use 下 but not sure why. Note 2: Trying to say "I find it very hard to write grammatically correct sentences." Note 3: Trying to say "This makes speaking Hanyu very difficult." 我正在看《如若巴黎不快乐》。 我觉得不很好中国戏剧。 为什么在中国戏剧主要男的演员常常逼女人做不想做的东西? 女人说“不,不,不” 可是男人还逼她。 在英国,观众会抱怨。 Sorry for my poor writing!!!!
  37. 1 point
    Announcements We encourage you to sign up for events on Meetup.com Any specific feedback on previous months’ activities? Would someone else like to try taking notes? We welcome feedback! Comments to blog posts are fine Private messages through Meetup.com or WeChat work as well Review of last month's meeting Introductions at 1:30 pm Q&A Activity: Intro to WeChat vocabulary: 加我吧,请加我,发信息,发微信,发短信,微信群,把我加到群里吧,你想加入我们的群吗?, 请扫我,你来扫我吧,我来扫你吧,发语音,翻译 WeChat functionality (15 minutes): Scan someone Let someone else scan you Add someone to group by letting them scan the group QR code Translate message Send voice message Create group Mention: switch interface to Chinese, export to email, people nearby, shake How to ask for help in WeChat group (15 minutes): Simple question: expect a direct answer Non-question: how do I say this? Question in quotes: how do I ask this in Chinese? Voice message: how is my pronunciation? Answer questions in WeChat group (30 minutes): 你最喜欢吃什么? 你上次旅游的时候去了哪里?玩了什么? 请你描述一下你很喜欢的电影的情节,但不要暴露电影的名字哦! 请你给我们推荐一个跟中国或中文有关的作品 Play a round of Werewords if there's time Optional Mandarin corner for 15-30 minutes (set timer) Notes for future reference: wechat in chinese webcomics (pair up) dictation (google translate) translation (poem, song, dialogue) partial verses interview art museum madlibs text adventure
  38. 1 point
    Attendees: 7 Q&A: Get divorced: 我离婚了 我们离婚了 Get married: 我结婚了 我们结婚了 Get a haircut: 我要去一次理个发 Sign a contract: 我签了工作合同 我签了一张工作合同 张 is the measure word for flat things: 一张桌子 一张纸 一张扑克牌 Exception: You cannot use 张 with plates! You have to say 一个盘子. I like to spend time with friends 我喜欢和朋友一起玩 How do you address people on the street? Somewhat close to your age: 美女, 帅哥 Older than you by 20+ years: 阿姨, 叔叔 Much older than you: 大爷 Different examples of using 了: 我吃过了。 你吃了吗? 我吃了。 我还没吃。 你考完试了吗? 我喝咖啡了。 我喝了咖啡。 Note that the 了 is a character with multiple pronunciations and meanings. See 了解 (understand), 了结 (finish), and 知了(cicada). Here is a list grammar patterns using 了, from Chinese Grammar Wiki: https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/了 Anna asked a question about how people remember characters. Wenlin is an excellent academic desktop application for learning about etymology and character breakdowns (phonetic and signific), but is very expensive and not recommended for the average learner. A more affordable and more convenient tool is the Outlier Chinese character dictionary add-on for Pleco. To chat: 闲聊 聊天 Kid's song: 儿歌 快乐的小王子 (The Happy Little Prince) 蚊子蚊子嗡嗡叫 Mosquitoes, mosquitoes, buzzing buzzing 咬得小朋友都是包 Biting children so they're covered with bumps 我愿变成一只癞蛤蟆 I wish to become a toad 把他们都吃掉 To eat them all up 我的衣服很粗糙 My clothes are rough 也没有青蛙名声好 My reputation is not as good as a frog's 小朋友们都不爱我 The children all don't like me 我不难过,也不烦恼 I'm not sad, nor am I vexed This song can be thought of as a satirical reaction to this famous kid's song: 虫儿飞 (Bugs flying), although the bugs are clearly lightning bugs, even if not explicitly stated Sentences with similar grammar patterns: 小狗汪汪叫 知了吱吱叫 树叶掉得满地都是 打得人都是伤 我愿读这本书 我愿唱一首歌 愿 is short for 愿意, expressing "I wish", as opposed to "I want" (我想) It's more natural to say 我愿意为你(do something) over 我想为你(do something) 这些东西,他们都不想买 大家都爱美食 我不要咖啡,也不要茶 我不要吃饭,也不要睡觉 把活都干完 把衣服都洗好 我的妹妹很漂亮 你的皮肤很光滑 我的菜没有他的好吃 Two ways to express comparison: 她比我快 我没有她快 You can find Chinese kid's songs on iTunes Podcasts, and especially on the Chinese podcast app 喜马拉雅. Picks: Feihong: Interview with US diplomat Chas Freeman on Sinica podcast (part 1 of 3) Anna: Jay Chou's movie 不能说的秘密 Ethan: ADVChina Youtube channel. Is it Stupid to Move to China in 2018? might be a good episode to start with. Richard: Theme song from Jackie Chan movie The Myth, Endless Love Tom: The book AI Superpowers by Kai-fu Lee Yunyi: 蓝精灵, Chinese version of the Smurf theme song 拇指姑娘 快乐的小王子.mp3
  39. 1 point
    I am a week late in updating my blog for a couple of reasons. Firstly because of the week off, and secondly because we moved house last weekend. Our landlord wanted to sell her place, and we wanted to move out before it gets really cold. We have found an awesome place, cheaper and bigger than the last one. Mid-terms are fast approaching, and I have 5 out of 8 of them over the next two weeks. Speaking was last week. For someone Chinese, our speaking teacher is very direct when it comes to telling us how we are progressing. I can't remember if I mentioned it in my last post or not, but we had to do a dialogue with a friend, and then do a short powerpoint presentation on a topic that we were allowed to choose from a selection of 7 topics. I felt that it went ok, but because of nerves my pronunciation was even worse than usual (my tones are pretty bad at the best of times). The teacher said the presentation was fine, but my pronunciation was pretty bad. I already knew that, but being told it by the teacher was discouraging! However, I am glad he hammers me on this because it challenges me to improve. For our midterm we were randomly put into groups, and then given 3 words. We had to do a 10 minute presentation. The first task was to explain each of the 3 words, basically as if we were teaching the class. Then we had to write a dialogue which included the 3 words, and present that. Having been blasted for my pronunciation, I made sure to practice this over and over so it would be better. I got a 98 on the exam and my teacher said that this time there were no major tone mistakes, and that it was way better than before. I was really encouraged by this. In general my pronunciation isn't really any better than 2 weeks ago, but because I have seen that I am CAPABLE of having much better pronunciation, this has sort of re-energized me to put more effort into getting it correct. The task now is to get to a point where I can speak like I did after 3 days of continually practicing the same 10 minute talk, without having to think about it. It wouldn't surprise me if this takes a lot longer than my time at university here! However, I have to start somewhere! I got some advice from my teacher, as well as trying to follow some points from one of Imron's posts on improving speaking. I am also really encouraged to be hearing more words I know in general conversation. Over the past few weeks these are a few of the words/phrases that I learnt, and then heard/read and immediately recognized when chatting with Chinese people - 露一手,侵略,急于求成,结巴,挖. Until next time!
  40. 1 point
    I am a week late in updating my blog for a couple of reasons. Firstly because of the week off, and secondly because we moved house last weekend. Our landlord wanted to sell her place, and we wanted to move out before it gets really cold. We have found an awesome place, cheaper and bigger than the last one. Mid-terms are fast approaching, and I have 5 out of 8 of them over the next two weeks. Speaking was last week. For someone Chinese, our speaking teacher is very direct when it comes to telling us how we are progressing. I can't remember if I mentioned it in my last post or not, but we had to do a dialogue with a friend, and then do a short powerpoint presentation on a topic that we were allowed to choose from a selection of 7 topics. I felt that it went ok, but because of nerves my pronunciation was even worse than usual (my tones are pretty bad at the best of times). The teacher said the presentation was fine, but my pronunciation was pretty bad. I already knew that, but being told it by the teacher was discouraging! However, I am glad he hammers me on this because it challenges me to improve. For our midterm we were randomly put into groups, and then given 3 words. We had to do a 10 minute presentation. The first task was to explain each of the 3 words, basically as if we were teaching the class. Then we had to write a dialogue which included the 3 words, and present that. Having been blasted for my pronunciation, I made sure to practice this over and over so it would be better. I got a 98 on the exam and my teacher said that this time there were no major tone mistakes, and that it was way better than before. I was really encouraged by this. In general my pronunciation isn't really any better than 2 weeks ago, but because I have seen that I am CAPABLE of having much better pronunciation, this has sort of re-energized me to put more effort into getting it correct. The task now is to get to a point where I can speak like I did after 3 days of continually practicing the same 10 minute talk, without having to think about it. It wouldn't surprise me if this takes a lot longer than my time at university here! However, I have to start somewhere! I got some advice from my teacher, as well as trying to follow some points from one of Imron's posts on improving speaking. I am also really encouraged to be hearing more words I know in general conversation. Over the past few weeks these are a few of the words/phrases that I learnt, and then heard/read and immediately recognized when chatting with Chinese people - 露一手,侵略,急于求成,结巴,挖. Until next time!
  41. 1 point
    What is this sign forbidding, and what is the rationale given? Bonus: Where was this photo likely to have been taken?
  42. 1 point
    Attended: 7 Introductions. Why are you learning Chinese and how long have you been studying it? I recommended Pleco as the best software dictionary, and we discussed some of its useful features. We played Werewords. I think this worked pretty well because the game is fairly simple and it allows players to practice some common patterns of asking yes/no questions such as: 是不是noun? 是noun吗? 它有没有noun? 它有noun吗? 可不可以用它verb noun? 可以用它verb noun吗? 跟noun有关吗? We also practiced answering yes/no questions by mirroring the question and reformatting it, e.g. 它是一种机器码? 不,它不是一种机器。
  43. 1 point
    Attended: 6 We played Werewords for the first time. It was pretty good, but I don't think we need to do more than a couple of rounds. We talked about the miraculous liquid (which we've all ingested at some point) that can be used to cure a dog's eye infection. Feihong recommended Vox's Today Explained podcast. Miho introduced the topic of embarrassing situations at work Feihong recommended the "Street Cupid" series of videos on YouTube. Here's a good one to start with.
  44. 1 point
    I live next door to an elementary school, and walk past it's side gate pretty much every day. Last week was nice and quiet as the kids were still on holiday. But they're back now. Spotted this little etching which mysterious appeared right next to the school gate a few days ago…
  45. 1 point
    Let's hope this brings luck in the new year. Q: How are these characters supposed to be read?
  46. 1 point
    What kind of shop is this, and what product is being advertised?
  47. 1 point
    What kind of food can you get here, and what are its 3 qualities?
  48. 1 point
    I took this picture because I found the selling point / slogan 吃不過癮的美味 weird. I mean I would use 吃(得)不過癮 on something negative, for example when the quantity of food is not enough, or if the food is too expensive, or if I am too full to eat the tasty food, or if there is not enough time to enjoy the food, or if the companions and/or environment are unpleasant. I don't have a positive interpretation for it. So have I missed something? Like perhaps for trendy people it means that the food is really good? What do you think?
  49. 1 point
    Put the lines back into their proper order. 机器人在颤抖,发出了呼呼声。 科珀:“我啥也没碰!它自己走起来了,这个舵轮也并不能使用!” 科珀和佛瑞德往前瞪着眼睛(目惊口呆)。 科珀:“咱们进去调查一下吧。” 科珀:“佛瑞德!它自己在动呢!” 科珀:“我觉得它大概听不见你,佛瑞德。”佛瑞德:“你好。” 科珀:“好像没人在家。佛瑞德,去看看这里面是不是空的。” 牌子:“扩音器。”科珀:“做点什么!” 机器人的扩音器:“你好。”机器人撞上了一栋大楼。 哔哔声。 科珀和佛瑞德被惊醒了。科珀伸手,想把闹钟关掉。 牌子:“危险!前面有城市。”科珀:“快!” 科珀和佛瑞德站在大机器人的腿上。佛瑞德:“你好。” 科珀和佛瑞德爬到了入口。 科珀:“我想知道这玩意儿还能使吗。” Source: Copper by Kazu Kibuishi
  50. 1 point
    youtube link ifeng link Please listen to this episode of 《锵锵三人行》up to the first commercial break (10:30) and answer the following questions. Rules: - This is a listening quiz so please do not search for and use online transcripts. - Feel free to use a dictionary or search engines to help define terms you don't understand. - If a question has (# characters), then your answer for that part of the question needs to be in Chinese. Otherwise, feel free to use English. - All the questions are in order. 1. In the beginning of the show, what does the host (窦文涛) call the guy on the right? (4 characters) 2. According to 窦文涛, what do you get during 婚姻低潮? (2 characters) 3. According to the guy on the right (马家辉), what did Hong Kong people think of Faye Wong (王菲) when she first started performing? 4. According to 马家辉, what do Hong Kong people expect to get from a typical concert in addition to singing? 5. According to 窦文涛, when did Faye Wong's problems begin? 6. According to the girl on the left (竹幼婷), what show is she unable to watch? Why? 7. According to 竹幼婷, what is giving Faye Wong so much pressure to sing accurately? 8. What's the joke with Jay Chou (周杰伦) and his voice? 9. According to 窦文涛, what kind of person does not exist in this world? - How does he use TV hosts and TV shows to illustrate his point? - What should we not worship? - Why did he bring up Whitney Houston? 10. According to 马家辉, what does the audience expect of performers/athletes/singers/hosts/etc. these days? 11. What is 竹幼婷's reasoning for not agreeing with 马家辉 regarding audience expectations? - What's the difference between Faye Wong and Jeremy Lin (林书豪)?
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