Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

Featured

Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 11/25/2022 in all areas

  1. The publishers of Chinese Made Easier have decided not to print any more copies, so the 3rd edition was written but never published, and no recordings were made. The 2nd edition is still available on Amazon, but at a terrible price. So I have uploaded all the textbook files to my website (https://chinesemadeeasier.org/) and anyone is free to download both the textbook and mp3 recordings. Any questions, please contact me – either through Chinese-forms or https://chinesemadeeasier.org/contact/ Appreciating your kind comments. Martin
    9 points
  2. Just finished Jiang Rong's "Wolf Totem." After experimenting with more short form content for a few weeks (i.e., just social media and news articles), I started to get bored with it. Ironically, one of the articles on Zhihu I read was on the importance of reading more long form content (especially books) to engage one's mind. So I decided to go back and finish Wolf Totem. I would describe the book as "good, but not without flaws." It's extremely long, and it could probably afford to be at least 1/3 shorter than it actually is. My complaint is similar to the one that some have had about the first book in Liu Cixin's "Three Body Problem" trilogy. Sometimes the plot slows down way too much and gets replaced by long academic lectures. Somebody else on here (I can't remember who) said that this book falls apart in the middle, because the author spends way too much time talking about how awesome wolves are, and how they're the cause of everything good in China and the world. And...yes. That description is 100% accurate. The author's opinion is that wolves have trained the Mongolians to have a strong, freedom-loving spirit and the nomadic lifestyle that upholds it. The Han, on the other hand, settled down into a sedentary farming lifestyle and lack the resilience of the Mongolians. They don't understand the delicate balance between wolves and the rest of wildlife, so their presence destroys the Inner Mongolian wilderness and leaves it as a dead waste. And, really, every successful society in the history of the world likely learned its primitive skills from wolves. Even the Americans and other Westerners have a more nomadic, wolf-like lifestyle that has helped them to rise to power. Way, way too much time is spent on that topic, and I really don't buy the thesis. I think it's odd. There's a really long epilogue after the end of the story that more thoroughly explains the author's political ideas, but I just couldn't endure further. I stopped there. The story itself is actually quite good. It's about a "sent-down youth," named Chen Zhen, who is working in the Inner Mongolian plains to help the shepherds. He wants to understand the local wolves, so he gets a crazy idea take a wolf pup and raise it in captivity. Along the way, he learns about the ways of the culture, especially from "Old Man Bilgee," his mentor. The book doesn't really have any true villains, but there is a constant feeling of conflict with the migrant Han workers who want to irresponsibly use the land for its resources and kill off all the wolves (because the wolves kill livestock, mainly). The Mongolians respect the wolves and wish to maintain the delicate balance of nature. Especially in the first half of the book, the action is relentless, adventurous, and violent. Even when the book started to slow down, I was still curious as to what would happen to the wolf pup being raised in captivity (which really forms the core of the story), so I kept reading. The difficulty of the book (the Chinese edition, I mean) is probably a little elevated, but not terrible. A lot of words relating to animal husbandry and nomadic life. I would cautiously recommend it to anyone who is a diehard fan of adventure/wilderness novels in the vein of Jack London (who, actually, inspired the author).
    5 points
  3. I just noticed if you search for 学英语 ("study English") on YouTube, you get some pretty good Chinese-learning resources. They usually speak both English and Chinese, and in the videos I've watched, their Chinese is very crisp and standard. Most of the time, they use Chinese to give precise explanations, or just translate the English. Learn housework in English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGD9j_nU2bQ Going to the supermarket in English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMLb6d4MfPU Read the news and study English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kf59X8rpS7s Read the news and study English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NKvYa1DTUg
    3 points
  4. If you want to learn Chinese, start learning it today. Don't interpose artificial hurdles that delay the project indefinitely, probably forever. That is nuts. "After I master calculus and astronomy and become fluent in Finnish and Bengali, and get the time down to a respectable number on my hundred-yard dash, I will tackle Mandarin." About learning a new language without learning to speak it: It helps a lot to converse with native speakers, even if it's via the internet.
    2 points
  5. Agree. I've used some of those resources. Found them very helpful. Also found several skilled private language teachers over the years among Chinese teachers of English. Unconventional resources are often terrific. Plus more fun. One of the best private language teachers I ever had was a lady who taught Chinese to minority middle school students in Kunming. These were kids who didn't speak Chinese in the home and she was trying to get them up to speed in Putonghua. She had infinite patience and was very inventive. All our classes were "on the fly" -- walking around doing interesting things and talking about the process in Chinese.
    2 points
  6. The answer is quite clearly going to be that "emigrants who were highly educated and who left mainland China because of the Cultural Revolution" cannot be treated as a single entity. Furthermore, whilst it may be true for some, I don't think they all had to "live and work in poverty in the United States never having the opportunity to use their education in jobs in the US". Besides these flaws in the question, I can't speak for how such emigrants may feel. However, the cultural revolution ended in 1976. Chinese people who were "highly educated" presumably were in their 20s at the youngest at the time of leaving which means now they would be in their late 60s, 70s, or older. As can be seen from this graph here, the Chinese economy has only picked up substantially within the last 20 years or so, when these people would have been coming towards the end of their working lives. So I doubt the relatively recent economic rise of China would have had a significant economic impact on the cohort of people you talk about.
    2 points
  7. I have had Mr. Martin Symonds’ textbooks Chinese Made Easier for many months. I haven’t had any problems reading them. I don’t remember having any technical difficulties being able to read them either. So, for anyone who has technical difficulties, it should be a very minor thing that is easily overcome. I would say that you shouldn’t let it deter you from being able to read these great textbooks. I also want to say that to me, these textbooks are the best. Various schools in China chose to use them. Also, for example, none of the other popular textbooks in the West provide good, detailed explanations of tones and pronunciation. (I could be wrong. If I’m wrong, I’d like to know what other textbook(s) rivals Chinese Made Easier in this regard.) To me tones and pronunciation are so important to a beginner. Also, Martin Symonds’ videos on YouTube are really helpful and focus on the most difficult pronunciations. I’m an ABC who was fluent in Chinese as a 13-year-old or so. But, I lost almost all if it afterwards, even though I heard my parents speaking only Chinese to each other at home my whole life. (My husband’s grandmother grew up in Italy and moved to the U. S., when she was 18. When she was much older, she lost almost all her Italian. So, some people, like me and my husband’s grandmother don’t have a talent for language. It was use it or lose it for us.) As a retirement hobby, I have a great interest in trying to relearn Chinese, even though I don’t have a natural talent for language, lol. I know that different people have different learning styles. From my ABC’s perspective, the Chinese Made Easier textbooks are the best textbooks.
    2 points
  8. I'm guessing it's perhaps because you're trying to get the translation app to recognise Chinese when this is Japanese?
    1 point
  9. Yes, do Chinese at once. I speak fluent German so if you can't manage that, following what abcdefg says, I think you should go for Bengali or German first and Finnish later.
    1 point
  10. as a person with a very low and clumsy level of chinese, I had fun trying to describe my most recent Amazon purchases. Weighted Blanket was a particularly difficult one to explain when the other person wasn't even aware of its existence!
    1 point
  11. I'm looking for the mp3s for Chinese Made Easier book2 (Martin Symonds), does anyone have any leads? Ive scoured the internet but cant find anything. I'd be willing to buy the book on amazon if it came with a cd or mp3, but the description doesn't mention it. I like the book and I'm doing the book with a tutor, so it isn't absolutely necessary I guess, but it'd be nice.
    1 point
  12. Hello. This past weekend, I rewatched the videos from the course Outlier Chinese Character Masterclass and I am motivated again to start learning characters in a systematic fashion. The course suggests breaking down the workload by allocating 1 day for learning the form, meaning, and sound of a new character. For example, let's say that you are learning 5 characters per day. A group of Chinese characters contains 5 characters. Day 1 - Learn the form of Group 1 Day 2 - Learn the meaning of Group 1 Day 3 - Learn the sound of Group 1 Day 4 - Learn the form of Group 2 Day 5 - Learn the meaning of Group 2 Day 6 - Learn the sound of Group 2 I know that I can add fields as needed to a card on Anki. So I don't have problems with adding form, meaning, and sound for all the Chinese characters. But, how do I set-up the Anki so that Anki allows me to study characters as per the schedule described above? Could you please help? Thank you in advance.
    1 point
  13. I agree with the other commenters that this statement may be based on a misconception. Or several misconceptions. People who were "highly educated" prior to the Cultural Revolution generally didn't come to the US afterwards. They had kids and got their old jobs back. Those who did come to the US after the Cultural Revolution was over would have been educated during 1977-1985, and everyone I know in that category landed on their feet in the US relatively easily. I never heard of anyone educated who came to the US from China in their twenties and ended up in poverty. Maybe you are thinking of refugees from other countries?
    1 point
  14. I went through the video with my Chinese friend. After relistening very closely, I realized I messed up tones more than I thought. It is quite interesting, as my Chinese friend says in normal chat (with no preparation) I rarely mess up tones. But in this very rehearsed video, I mess up a lot (go figure). I assume this is partly due to speed of speech in the video. Also a lot of the feedback was regarding the actually delivery (ie. you should pause between these two words longer), to make it more like a native speaker and easier to understand. Other feedback was just on some things I said wrong/or too wordy. @becky82 I like your method of just describing random pics. I find myself often not sure what to talk about in Chinese. That method allows you to always have something to talk about. Currently I am just watching some youtubers (ie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQ3C62kmPAo) and prepare my own thoughts on their topic, pretend I am responding to some of their thoughts, and writing down any interest sentences/words he uses.
    1 point
  15. @mackie1402-- I have not had any experience with these guys, but in similar situations I have sometimes managed to get results by reaching out politely to one or both of the Prinicpals via Facebook or Twitter. (Or WeChat.) Sometimes the website notification software does not function the way they intended and it might not be conveying your wish to be deleted from their mailing list. Just a thought. Frustrating situation.
    1 point
  16. They are [expletive] (!) https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/58073-it-only-took-3-years-the-mandarin-blueprint-method-is-ready/?do=findComment&comment=474864
    1 point
  17. 1 point
  18. If you are using Chinese Made Easier with a Chinese teacher, I have just uploaded to my website resources that she should find helpful when teaching the textbook. They can be downloaded from: https://chinesemadeeasier.org/teachers-resources/ Martin
    1 point
  19. You're too hard on yourself - you sound lovely. Will this improve your Chinese? It can, especially if delivering presentations is what you want to improve. I noticed my understanding was often impaired by the fact that you seemed to be swallowing syllables a lot, but that's probably because you were going fast on a piece of rehearsed speech. Memorising speeches and presentations is actually very helpful, but you might want to practice speaking them out at a deliberately slower pace when you do. (Like you would in English when you're doing a presentation as opposed to when you're mumbling on the phone to your friends. Maybe if you were to stand up at a lecturn of sorts...?) So if it's formal presentation skills you need to practice then doing this more slowly could certainly be useful. From a general language practice point of view, you do say you found it hard and intensive work, what with new vocab and the like, so it's definitely helpful. My advice though would be to be much less ambitious in terms of how much you tackle because a. it won't be sustainable in the long run (and one-offs don't count as practice, do they) and b. you end up doing too much in only one sitting so you don't take advantage of the spacing repetition effect you would have if you did, say, 10 different smaller presentations on the same topic for a few weeks. So in terms of how to use this as a study technique, I suggest turning it into a more regular/sustainable form of exercise where you practice delivering 5-min presentations based on well-crafted but very short pieces of text. It might even be better to reduce the workload further by spreading the exercise over several days: days when you practice free-writing on the subject, days when you practice editing your text down to a couple paragraphs of excellent prose, and days when you practice formal delivery. PS I'd completely do away with the ppt, especially if it just means wasting time collating images from the internet. Unless you're working your way towards actual YouTubing and video-editing, that's just extra homework that's not gonna help with anything language-wise.
    1 point
  20. 1 point
  21. I know I've used hardware store before for 建材 in the context of 建材城 if that gives you another option. Home renovation might be a more 'US' option too
    1 point
  22. I realise I could never be a translator, because despite 傷-ing my 腦筋 I've got no idea how to answer your question. In the UK, "building supplies" is slightly the more 'professional' or 专业 word, other people might use "building materials". These are both used for 'bigger', external or more structural things, like bricks, roof tiles, cement etc. People wouldn't usually distinguish between "home" and e.g. "office", because there is usually no need: a brick is a brick. For interiors, builders talk about "fixtures and fittings". And then when it comes to choosing nice wallpaper or furniture, it's "home furnishings". "Home building materials" isn't perfect but might stretch to cover a broader Chinese meaning, if the Chinese meaning is indeed broader? "Home building materials, fixtures and fittings" seems a mouthful. "Home building materials and accessories" might work better?
    1 point
  23. You say "strange body font". Are you referring to the Pinyin? If so, just download the Pintone font (attached here) and all should be well. If all is still not well, send me another message. Martin PINTONEA.TTF
    1 point
  24. 妤 yu2 Very nearly tricked me there - "an appellation of what is good" is the definition from Morrisons dictionary too. Key is different, however, giving 'beautiful, handsome' as in 婕妤 'court lady'
    1 point
  25. Hah, not for anyone with any significant dealings with PayPal 🤪
    1 point
  26. I have used Wise too, to send money from the US to China Mainland. (Wise/Transferwise.) Worked OK. But I've used bank wire transfer most of all, in both directions. No problems with that either. It goes without saying that you have to get all the data right for it to be smooth (spellings of names, correct address of record, account numbers, etc.) Got into an awful mess with Xoom. Endless verifications and unexplained fails. Poor explanations. Shabby customer service, outsourced to some foreign call center. Lots of frustration. I would definitely never attempt to use them again. In fact, I would go out of my way to never attempt to use them again. It's an affiliate of PayPal, which I thought would lend it some reliability and transparency, but it didn't. They have many consumer complaints. https://www.sitejabber.com/reviews/xoom.com
    1 point
  27. A client in the US has used Wise to pay me both here in China and to my old bank back in the UK, went smoothly both times and I think they arrived at Wise having explored various options with the various and regular international remittances they make. My UK bank charges nothing to transfer GBP to China, then there's a flat local fee and the exchange rate loss, pretty reasonable, to the point not shopped around; will have to send some the other way shortly and wondering how best to do that, probably WISE again.
    1 point
  28. I use your website---it's great! Understanding the chengyu backstories is often key to making sense of the chengyu. And because it's in English, I understand the story at a deeper level (if I want to, I can go read a Chinese version too). Some of these chengyu backstories appear on the HSK5 and HSK6 exams---if you know the chengyu backstory, you basically get free marks.
    1 point
  29. I just crossed the 100-hour mark in my 500-hour challenge . What's changed thus far? I'm substantially less nervous about speaking Chinese in front of the camera. I'm finding myself paying a lot of attention to mistakes in my pronunciation, and especially tones. There's an "invisible audience" that I'm talking to. I sometimes listen to my own videos, and discover pronunciation errors I don't realize I'm making. My speaking speed seems to have increased. It's not just that I'm getting better at mentally constructing sentences, I feel like my muscles are getting better at knowing what to do. It's like hitting the racetrack, but for my facial muscles. I'm becoming increasingly interested in making YouTube videos, and increasingly aware of YouTube's many features. (And I'm becoming increasingly aware how many new skills I'd need to become a successful YouTuber.) I find myself trying quirky study methods, e.g., in my latest video, I seem to have created a new type of challenge: a kind of speedrun where I read aloud a text as fast as I can. Developers of various websites I use, like HSK Level and MyLingua, seem to find my videos helpful for understanding how their sites are being used. I've deleted a few videos, since e.g. I accidentally leaked my info in them (and editing videos is 麻烦). Sometimes my battery or storage space has run out while videoing on the go. I've tried livestreaming, but it's just too complicated since I live in China and YouTube is blocked. At the moment, I haven't spent a fortune (perhaps 100 yuan). I bought some ultra-cheap equipment (mic, stands, green screen) since I don't know where this is all going. But I feel like I should buy a good quality mic; even if this ends up going nowhere, I can use the mic for other things.
    1 point
  30. I've been slowly reading works from 古文觀止 (wiki for those unfamiliar). However there are over 220 works and each one is quite a slog to get through, particularly as I like to not only read and understand the text, but also learn about the author, when and why they wrote the piece, historical context around what the piece is about, etc etc. I tried reading them in order but quickly found it pretty dry.. So I started picking out the most famous pieces, either mentioned on this forum (thanks to Grand 文言文 Reading Project!) or part of Chinese high school readings. I've listed some of these below, perhaps this might be helpful for future readers. If anyone has any recommendations of other well-known or interesting passages from this book, would be keen to hear! Or any related resources/discussion.. seems like quite a few people have a copy of this book so would be interested to know what approach others have taken to reading it. Selected well-known 古文觀止 texts: 《前出师表》,《后出师表》by 诸葛亮 (previous thread; wiki) 《兰亭集序》 by 王羲之 (previous thread) 《桃花源记》 by 陶渊明 (wiki; also in Fuller's Introduction to Literary Chinese (ILC) chapter 29) 《滕王阁序》 by 王勃 (wiki) (quite difficult as it's written in 骈文; but very famous and the pavilion is quite a tourist attraction) 《原道》 by 韩愈 (also in Fuller's ILC chapter 32) 《师说》 by 韩愈 (previous thread) 《祭鳄鱼文》 by 韩愈 (previous thread) (a fun read, I enjoyed this one) 《岳阳楼记》 by 范仲淹 (memorial to Yueyang Tower) 《醉翁亭记》 by 欧阳修 (previous thread) 《留侯论》 by 苏轼 (an essay on Zhang Liang, advisor to Liu Bang from Chu-Han contention) 《前赤壁赋》,《后赤壁赋》 by 苏轼 (previous thread) 《贾谊论》 by 苏轼 (also in Fuller's ILC chapter 34) (an essay on Jia Yi, a talented official in Western Han Dynasty who was banished for a while and died young) 《过秦论》 by 贾谊 (a piece on the reasons for the collapse of the Qin Dynasty, written early in Han Dynasty. 上篇 is best known) 《郑伯克段于鄢》 from 左传 (previous thread) 《子鱼论战》from 左传 (previous thread) 《屈原列传》from 史记 (biography of Qu Yuan) High school readings that I haven't gotten to yet include 陋室铭,阿房宫赋,陈情表,石钟山记.. as well as some of the early stuff (左传,战国策), and some 列传 from 史记. Although I'm currently enjoying the essays on historical figures, so might have a squiz at 范增论,豫让论 next..
    1 point
  31. I so wish I'd seen this 2 years ago. These lessons are fantastic! I want to thank Martin for sending me the resources, and for having a lengthy chat online with lots of advice, and a thoroughly enjoyable conversation.
    1 point
  32. According to Cornelius Kubler : Grammatical and Cultural Notes 1A. LĂO and XIĂO Before Monosyllabic Surnames. Lăo is a stative verb meaning “be old” (of people, not things). Unlike English “old,” lăo usually has favorable connotations, indicating wisdom and experience. Xiăo is also a stative verb; it means “be small, little, young.” Lăo and Xiăo followed by a monosyllabic surname are commonly used together in informal, colloquial conversation to address people or to refer to them. The patterns are: LĂO Surname Lăo Lĭ “Old Li” XIĂO Surname Xiăo Gāo “Little Gao” Lăo is used for people who are older than oneself while Xiăo is used for people who are younger than or about the same age as oneself. These terms are especially common in China, where they are used for women as well as men; in other Chinese-speaking areas they are used less often, and usually for men only. It is best for non-native speakers not to use these terms until invited to do so by a Chinese. In this text, we will translate Lăo as “Old” and Xiăo as “Little,” though in English the best translation of Lăo or Xiăo plus surname would often be the given name of the person. Once two people have gotten into the habit of calling each other Lăo... or Xiăo... , that habit usually stays with them, regardless of their getting older as the years pass. So if a twenty-five-year-old man and his twenty-year-old friend refer to each other as Lăo Wáng and Xiăo Zhào , they will probably still refer to each other that way when they are eighty-five and eighty, respectively. Also, note that the same person will typically be called Lăo by some of his or her friends and Xiăo by others, depending on the ages of the people involved and their particular relationships. Here is a list of all the possible combinations, based on the surnames that have appeared so far: Lăo Wáng “Old Wang” Xiăo Wáng “Little Wang” Lăo Zhào “Old Zhao” Xiăo Zhào “Little Zhao” Lăo Kē “Old Ke” Xiăo Kē “Little Ke” Lăo Gāo “Old Gao” Xiăo Gāo “Little Gao” Lăo Hé “Old He” Xiăo Hé “Little He” Lăo and Xiăo are not used with bisyllabic surnames like Duānmù , Ōuyáng , or Sītú . Unlike the monosyllabic surnames, which are not normally said alone, the bisyllabic ones can be called out directly (e.g., Ōuyáng , nĭ dào năr qù a? ), very much like “Smith!” or “Jones!” in English. Kubler,Cornelius C.. Basic Spoken Chinese (Basic Chinese) (pp. 87-88). Tuttle Publishing. Kindle Edition.
    1 point
  33. Martin, I'm so glad that you checked in! Chinese Made Easier was my choice of textbooks when it was time to start learning Chinese again & it served very well. I've shifted over to electronic resources but am still holding CME in reserve. It's good to know that the audio & supplements are still on the website & that some of your pronunciation tips are now on Youtube. Thanks again for your work on the books & making these resources available.
    1 point
  34. Hi there ... Martin Symonds here. All the mp3 can be downloaded from my Dropbox account. Just send me an email and I'll reply straightaway. Martin (now retired in U.K.)
    1 point
×
×
  • Create New...