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Popular Content

Showing most liked content since 09/15/2017 in all areas

  1. 5 points
    So lately my boyfriend started watching “奇葩说” and one of the videos caught my attention because of the presence of 李銀河, perhaps the only Chinese sociologist I readily recognise the name of. I guess I am one of her fans or something. But on the forum often everyone seems to talk a lot more about 王小波 and his books than they do about his surviving wife. If you have read many of 王小波's work but aren't very acquainted with 李銀河, just take a few moments to imagine the type of person who would be married to him. 李銀河 is everything and more. I think this is what's called being a "stan" (a rabid fan?) This is the retired professor who has been calling every year since 2001 for gay marriage legalisation in China. With all my preconceived notions of China, something about someone (who has well-known research on sadomasochist subculture) trying to use whatever pull she has to bring up gay marriage (the year right after the Netherlands passed their gay marriage bill) in spite of receiving death threats is just so mind-bogglingly badass. Recently, she went on the show “奇葩说” to talk about the five reasons marriage will "die out", but specified that she doesn't believe it will completely disappear, just that what many might call 'traditional marriage' will become a much less core type of union. I think this is what some fear as the 'destruction of traditional marriage' or whatever the rhetoric is that is going on in Singapore and Australia right now. For those who have access to YouTube, you can watch her on “奇葩说” at this link: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vxF_KgWa3Mc and I've transcribed her little monologue below with the heading《婚姻終將消亡》"Marriage Gon' Die Out". But I find her comments about retiring and turning to writing SM novels "like 50 Shades of Grey" probably the most amusing. Does anyone have any recommended readings? Favourite interviews?
  2. 4 points
    Dim sum 点心 is one of the glories of the South China Cantonese food world 粤菜。It is the fine art of leisurely early-day munching on an assortment bite-sized delicacies served in bamboo steamer baskets or on small plates. This kind of feast sometimes goes by the name of yum cha 饮茶 because these small tasty morsels are typically washed down by endless small cups of hot tea. I was fortunate enough to have had several memorable dim sum brunches last week during a trip to Macau and Hong Kong. Let me give you a look at how it works in the hope that this will help induce you give it a try, or if you are already an aficionado, to go back for another dim sum adventure real soon. Three days in a row I just walked across the street from my Macau Hotel (十六浦酒店) to an unpretentious dim sum joint that's always busy and popular with locals. Their name sign boasts 御龙海鲜火锅 but their operating hours are only from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. so nobody really goes there for that. Instead 茶市点心 is clearly their principal draw. You always have to wait a few minutes for the busy waitresses to clear you a spot at one of their long communal tables, each of which seats 6 to 8 people. (Upstairs the tables are round.) Reminder: You can click the photos to enlarge them. She brings you a pencil and a check-box menu. You order your big pot of tea (mine was Tieguanyin 铁观音) and study the options, taking time out to do the ritual washing of your eating utensils. It's something I thought a bit strange initially, but by now I wash my own dishes right along with the meticulous elderly grannies. You use the scalding hot tea water from your big pot, emptying the waste into a bowl provided temporarily for that purpose. In a few minutes the waitress returns with a receipt to show that your items have been entered into their ordering system. Sometimes these dim sum menus can be really forbidding, providing only the names of the dishes in Traditional Hanzi, with no pictures or descriptions and of course no English. I always try to grab an extra menu to study back in my room in preparation for the next visit. Dim Sum works best if you go with several family members or friends so you can order lots of different items and taste each other's selections. This time I was alone, so I just planned on having some leftovers. Not ideal, but still workable. The dishes arrive in no fixed order. As they are delivered, the waitress scratches them off your receipt with her thumbnail. I always struggle with whether to order my favorites, or to try out new options that might not be as much to my liking. Shrimp dumplings 虾饺, made with fresh shrimp, is one of those things I find irresistible. I'm also a sucker for well made Cantonese turnip cake 萝卜糕, shown just below the shrimp. This time I accompanied those two with an order of plain cooked caixin 白灼菜心。It's the small tender heart of a member of the cabbage family, immensely popular in the south. I had some of these left over for a late-night snack in my room, heated together with a container of instant noodles. Lingered at table about an hour, enjoying many cups of tea and even some conversation with two neighbors. Set me back under 100 MOP. This unit of currency is the Macanese Pataca, roughly equivalent to the HKD (Hong Kong Dollar.) Time and money well spent. Returned the next morning, intent on variety. Had rolled out early, hit the gym, gone for a swim, and worked up a good appetite. Decided on shao mai 烧卖 as my most expensive item. These are made with dumpling wrappers squeezed around a filling of lean pork and shrimp combined, leaving the top open, sprinkled with crab roe. (Many recipes exist, using other ingredients.) Accompanied the shao mai with griddle cakes made with whole kernels of sweet corn 香煎玉米饼 and some plain-cooked Cantonese lettuce 白灼生菜。 The menu designates items as belonging to one of several price categories. For example, today's shao mai and the shrimp dumplings that I had yesterday are both in the 特 category, costing 28 MOP. 大点 dishes, such as the luobo gao, sell for 22 MOP, and so on down to 中点 and 小点 items. Pot of basic tea costs 8 MOP, including endless refills of hot water. Some places offer gong fu tea 功夫茶 made in small pots, but not here. Today's expedition once again did not break the bank, coming out well under 100 MOP. If I'm with others, which I prefer, we always order a bowl of porridge 粥。It is offered in many varieties and goes very well with all of these other dishes. My personal favorites are the fish slice porridge 鱼片粥 and the century egg porridge 皮蛋瘦肉粥。These bowls are just right for 2 or 3 people. Sometimes, in a group, we will add a plate of fried noodles 炒面 or fried rice 炒饭。Sometimes a plate of sliced roast pork 叉烧 or goose 烤鹅。Cantonese roast pork, in particular, is a recommended specialty item, slow cooked and glazed with honey. Here was day three. No fear of monotony. One could come here lots of times without it becoming boring. On weekends, one usually sees extended family groups from grandparents to toddlers, making a real project out of it. Cousins and nieces coming to join the big round table as others are leaving, maybe one withdrawn uncle reading the newspaper, an auntie with her knitting, empty bamboo steamer baskets piled high. Merry conversation is the order of the day. They also love to praise and show off the babes in arms. How can a restaurant handle the logistics of putting a large variety of food on all these tables, given such close quarters? They don't use magic, but they utilize available space extremely well. Food is prepared in a remote kitchen upstairs and then sent to the waitresses by means of a "dumb waiter" on the guest levels. One cashier handles all the checks, guarded by a red-faced, bearded kitchen god and and equally iconic "Hello Kitty." (Could he be 关羽, General of Shu and blood brother of Liu Bei 刘备?) Here's what I enjoyed this time around. More Cantonese specialties. No trip is complete without at least one batch of 肠粉,which are a type soft steamed rice noodle rolls, built with an interesting stuffing. Mine were 韭王鲜虾 fragrant garlic chives and fresh shrimp, served with a brown sauce. Nicely balanced, while still following the 清淡 (bland, non-spicy) dictates of Cantonese cooking. Lots of these dishes probably would not sell well in Kunming, where seasoning is more "forward." Had them with an order of plain-cooked 芥菜,usually translated as "leaf mustard." I like that it has a slightly bitter note, even though it's not very aggressive,does not entirely take over the mouth. These steamed dumplings are something I saw my neighbors eating the day before. So darned pretty I had to try them. Made with translucent rice skins and stuffed with a mix of lean pork and a vegetable I don't know how to translate (Latin name Rubia cordifolia.) The Chinese name of the dish is figurative more than it is descriptive. 瑶柱茜草。You dip them in dark aged vinegar 老陈醋。 It's borderline bad manners to ask your neighbors too many questions about their food. OK to maybe just inquire, "What is that called?" 这是什么菜?You enter a troubled zone if you add, "Does it taste good?" 好吃吗?because then they will usually smile and offer you one of their three or four bit-sized pieces whether they really want to or not. So it was another great meal for under 100 MOP, rough actual cost about 70 Chinese Yuan or $11 US Dollars. And being a "tea nut" you probably guessed I would have to play with the leaves at least once. (Tieguanyin again. 铁观音) If you go to Guangzhou, Hong Kong or Macau, be sure to make time for at least one Cantonese dim sum meal. It's a regional specialty and culinary treat not to be missed. It is now copied all over the world, but this is the source, the original mother lode.
  3. 4 points
    I agree with the English translator and your colleague. 行程 usually means the whole trip, therefore unlikely to be measured in seconds. If I wanted to express the other meaning, I would use 原本只需十餘秒的過程 + 被 or 把 construction. Make sense?
  4. 3 points
    What are we actually describing?
  5. 3 points
    To me this is a permutation of: (他)拖慢行程拖慢了十餘秒 我看了一天的書 <- this book doesn't take a day to read, I just read a whole day's worth of it. Since I think this is an analogous case, I'd say: "he dawdled away 10+ seconds of (precious) travel time". I think saying it was "extra" is not accurate, unless the speaker did not realise there was a toll there at all. Presumably even if the speaker had gotten a fast toll-booth person, they would have had to spend at least some of the seconds contained in the 10+ seconds to effect the transaction. Edit: Sorry I find I always have extra thoughts after hitting enter... I didn't mention that I translate 拖慢 as dawdle or to just drag something out, but I think I was trying to imply that the complement is of duration not of result/degree or whatever. But in theory it should be able to also do what 耽誤 does if you set up whatever right conditions necessary.
  6. 3 points
    Where is the classifier in that sentence? If 枝 is a classifier, what is 條? It is more empty than 枝. The meaning is so diluted that in Modern Standard Mandarin it cannot be used alone as a noun. 枝上結滿麻雀 ✔ 條上結滿麻雀 ✘ No, 枝條 is one word, formed by juxtaposing two morphemes that are synonymous or near-synonymous: 枝,木别生條也 + 條,小枝也. There is a special use of classifiers, namely reduplication, that does convey the meaning of "every", or "down to the last one" if you prefer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_classifier#Specialized_uses https://baike.baidu.com/item/量词#5_1 In which case, the noun is often omitted. 條條大路通羅馬 人人奮勇,個個爭先 綻放的花兒,朵朵嬌豔欲滴 I don't think a bare classifier + noun is even grammatical in Mandarin. (Though it is in Cantonese, e.g. 枝筆幾錢/條女好正/塊面黑晒)
  7. 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!
  8. 2 points
    @abcdefg WeChat mini programs were supposed to be called WeChat mini apps. After a reaction from Apple (they were afraid the mini apps would undermine their App Store, when the people from Apple are afraid there must be a reason, it is that good), there was a consensus reached on allowing this to happen, with a modified official name, WeChat mini programs/微信小程序. You can find them when you click at 发现/discover. 发现:朋友圈、扫一扫、游戏、小程序. When you use Mobike's WeChat mini program, you can rent a bike without having to download Mobike's app. You don't even need a deposit, 免押金, only WeChat. Unfortunately, this option to rent a Mobike bike without a deposit, just like Alipay's new pay-with-your-face at KFC (K PRO) function, is only available for Chinese citizens. Mini programs in general are ok for anyone, no need to have a Chinese ID.
  9. 2 points
    There's a feast for you here! http://www.ximalaya.com/search/album/kw/李銀河/page/1/sc/true I wish there were more readings by her, she has a beautiful voice and very clear diction. Anyway, lots of good listening in these pages. 《同性恋亚文化》--李银河(同性爱情,同志,gay)is really good, credit to Ximalaya for podcasting the whole book. http://www.ximalaya.com/63710018/album/6894664/ the anchor is not very clear (too nervous, I sympathize) but it's worth sticking with it for the content - perhaps download and play the mp3 at a slightly lower speed. He improves a lot in the later chapters.
  10. 2 points
    WTF!! One of the presenters is dressed up as Colonel Sanders!!!! Producer: Hey, cameraman, randomly cut to a shot of someone drawing a cartoon of her! Cameraman: What, in the middle of a sentence? Producer: Yeah! Me: 喷饭 Hang on, they're having sensible discussion. Wasn't expecting that. Alright, the on-screen graphics and so on aside, that was actually decent. Thanks, 陳德聰
  11. 2 points
    The problem is, what a criminal records check covers is up to the authority that issues it. In some jurisdictions it'll cover only convictions, in others it'll include arrests as well. This is a grave problem for a vast number of Americans in particular, given the arrest-first ask-questions-later approach of U.S. law enforcement: "Nearly half of black males and almost 40 percent of white males in the U.S. are arrested by age 23." https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-01/uosc-sho010314.php Policing is different in China, where the PSB usually handles minor issues administratively, without involvement of the courts. I don't know the actual statistics, but it's fair to say it's beyond belief that anything like 40 percent of Chinese men have been arrested. So from a Chinese viewpoint, an actual arrest followed by a court appearance is a big deal, a very big deal.
  12. 2 points
    All foreign students in the class are technically not even part of the system yet. What does this mean? I'm guessing it means we could literally not attend classes and no one would notice because we're not even technically registered in the course. It's a bit strange. But I suppose I can understand. There are some classes that we 3 foreign students are not required to take. Such as the 政治 politics course, and the 中国语言文化 class. I also feel like I shouldn't even be in the 口译 class because it’s basically an English class, but I'm still attending these and just act as the teacher’s assistant when needed. The Chinese democrat I mentioned last week has been telling everyone how stupid I am and picking apart my pronunciation. I don't care at all. It just makes it easier for me to ignore him because I didn't like him very much the first time I met him or any other occasion that follows. It bothered my friend a lot because she's in a group with him and she was like "OH next time I'm going to pick apart his English and make him feel stupid". I'm like It’s okayy I don't like him either. At least now I know the feelings mutual so I don't have to bother talking with him. haha. I finally attended my other consecutive interpreting class last week (English-Chinese). It's quite different from the Chinese-English one because the professor doesn't want us to take notes at all. She wants us to focus on 1) presentation skills and 2) memorization. Some of the exercises in class consisted of having one student go up to the front and make a speech their own and present to the class. Afterwards, everyone had to record their own recitation of it. For now the professor said we should translate into our most comfortable language so naturally the Chinese used Chinese and I used English. But it's not as easy as you'd imagine. I found it quite hard to relay my translation of the speech while 30 other students were at the same time. I think this is good practice for more 'real life' interpreting. I also really liked the teacher who also seems quite 'western'. One of her requirements for the students is 'speak English', unless you're the 3 foreign students, in which case we all must speak Chinese. I think this is a little bit unfair on part of the other foreign students because their mother tongue isn’t even English. My other consecutive interpreting class (Chinese-English) has so far taught us short-hand. I find these a bit harder to remember, because I think short hand is a personal thing and some of the symbols don't feel personal to me at all. I included a picture under the description to give a small example of shorthand. I love the teacher though, he's very talkative and very cool kind of guy. Putting it to use is just as hard but the professor goes over it during class when we have translation exercises. The homework this week was quite normal until my professor sent us a translation hw Friday night, due Tuesday night. Which is kind of stressful because she had a total of 3 days to assign us homework and waited until the weekend to give it to us. I caught a cold for the weekend so you can imagine I did not spend a single second on Saturday studying (mostly sleeping and mulling about miserably), Sunday was beautiful and I'm a bad student so I just went out for the pizza festival. I can see now how Chinese students have no life outside of school. D: When I went into the office today I found out that we only need to take our foreign language class (I chose Spanish) for one semester. I find it a bit strange. It seems almost useless to bother taking it for one semester but that’s the schools requirements. Learning another language is hard enough as it is but learning it in Chinese is soo weird. My professor was going over this grammar point and I honestly understood nothing of it, I just looked at what she was writing and the pairings and figured out the grammar structure somehow by my own genius, but I can’t for the life explain the reason to you. Other than that the homework for most classes is pretty much the same. It’s something like 1) watch the news 2) prepare to present 3) prepare to translate. In about 3 or 4 of my classes it’s like this. I just have one teacher that prefers us to prepare different (not news) material to translate. I watch the news anyway but it's a bit more difficult to anticipate what your classmate will find as "the most important news of the week" is. Last week I prepared to talk about Irma only to find that was not the "most important" of the week. Our first translation homework (a lengthy article on the housing bubble crisis) was put on the board for everyone to follow and discuss one student’s translation. It was one of the foreign students translation who was put up and I'm glad it was because she had told me before that instead of just having one person correct her translation, a total of 4 people decided to 'fix' it and they absolutely destroyed it and said everything she wrote was basically shit. When the professor went over the translation I was happy to find that the professor actually critiqued alot of the Chinese students 'fixes' and at the end advised everyone to not go into corrections as a mission to completely destroy the original, instead to just focus on one or two mistakes because a lot of the time the corrections were actually not correct at all. My friend has found a different partner to work on corrections so hopefully next time will be better. Things I find confusing so far is that I have so many wechat groups that keep getting created that no one talks in. I'm not really sure what group I’m in most of the time and the banzhang is always pissed to have to answer. I just found out from one of my classmates that I was supposedly in their group and I felt so bad because a week or so ago he added me into a group but i wasn't sure what that group was for and the banzhang just put me into an entirely different group. I also feel bad because (and not to sound mean) but I really find it difficult to remember who my classmates are. Nobody uses their picture on wechat and they don't even use their names so I don't really know anyone even though many people have added me. I'm making an effort now to put a face to the name. I made some friends with some girls who roll in about the same time as me to class all the time, we laughed about how we always seems to be late when we're actually early (1-5 minutes before class). And slowly but surely my classmates have been talking with me. Oh if you thought foreign students were the minority in this class, you could also say guys are. I think there are only 3-4 male students in the interpreting class of mine, and the translation section might have about the same amount. They're a bit odd but I liked the guy who studied simultaneous translation into japanese and english. He's a bit strange but very sweet. Last thing: Complaint of the day: My teacher had a last minute thing so she wants us all to do a makeup class and miss another professors class to go to a lecture. I'm going to the lecture but not class. I wish I could say "I hope the professor doesn't notice" but being the only three foreigners in class means the professor is always going to notice when any one of us is missing. I signed up for an event at the embassy two weeks ago and I don't raell ywanna miss it but I'm torn. To follow my western virtues or go Chinese. Any thoughts? haha.
  13. 2 points
    Holy crap, that long ass list of symbols is really quite abstract. No wonder you're struggling to remember all of them. Does your instructor expect you to use those exact symbols, or are they just a "starter kit" for you to start from? My teachers all gave us similar starter kits, and we eventually all modified them at will. I use a lot of the symbols on your list, but some of them mean different things to me than the proposed meaning on your list! (Note-taking really is a very personal thing!) For me, I do what a lot of interpreters do, and have a "root" symbol and then modify that symbol at will. For example, if a rectangle symbolizes country, then import and export (as presented on your list) makes sense because the rectangle represents the country, and then arrow in = import, and arrow out = export. But then I'd also go back to the base, meaning the rectangle = country, and then make more modifications to that symbol. So for instance, developing country would be an arrow pointing upwards within the rectangle, and then developed country would be an upwards arrow on top of the rectangle, and under-developed country would be an upwards arrow under the rectangle. And then, if I needed to do anything related to the concept of country, it would be represented by the rectangle, with modifications applied to it. My classmates and I would practice together when we were learning note-taking, and then we would exchange our notes to see how we did note-taking, and then steal symbols from each other. Honestly, because they are symbols, you make them your own, so that they have meaning to you. Note-taking takes about a month to learn, and then you'll just keep on refining it as you go. Keep on chugging!
  14. 2 points
    I doubt anonymoose expects to resolve any issues in one trip to the voice-doctor. But if he can get a diagnosis and some solid advice he knows what to work on in the longer term.
  15. 2 points
    Meant to add that I think your reasoning is flawed. Need to practice this stuff over and over and over again with your coach. It won't stick if you just whiz through it a couple times and then run off home. Changing bad habits, such as flawed pronunciation requires lots of sustained effort, expended over a long time.
  16. 2 points
    To Flickserve, this is a somewhat complicated subject. Below is something I originally wrote for a different question on another forum which overlaps with your question. BTW, I live in the US and am Toishanese. I am in my late 50’s so my thoughts on this have changed over the years. My parents are from the generation who left the mainland before 1949. Interestingly when mentioning that, Taiwanese seem to immediately warm up to me. I took Mandarin in college for my language requirement and back then my mother was encouraging. Mandarin is difficult for me so after taking it, I quickly forgot it. My parents, parental relatives, and their friends consider speaking Chinese to be paramount to Chinese identity so growing up and into adulthood, my Toishanese or lack of was prodded, criticized, and the like. My husband and I both have a decent amount of non-fond memories of our respective local Chinese (Toishanese and Cantonese) communities. After establishing my life as an adult, my ties to the local Chinese community became for practical purposes next to non-existent. Encountering native Cantonese or Toishanese speakers generally meant being grilled about my familial background and my Chinese skills. It also meant a good amount of attitude about why I did not “hang out” with Chinese or other east Asians. This sort of thing would happen with co-workers from Hong Kong or SE Asia. About 8-10 years ago I visited a cousin in Hong Kong which started me on learning Mandarin this time around. The local Chinese community here now is different due to the immigration shifts. There are many more Mandarin speakers than Cantonese. The groups of Mandarin speakers that I come into contact with here are more well educated than the Cantonese and they generally do not mix much. There are cultural differences and at times tension. Besides culturally, the tension can be explained politically and myriad other ways. These days I identify myself as American because of my American sentiments. In Taiwan last summer, when I said that I’m American either the reaction was weird looks or asking if I’m 華裔. When I talk to native Mandarin speakers here in the US, they generally light up upon discovering that I’m American born. I think that echoes their hopes for their children. Mandarin speakers become even warmer when they learn that my parents are from Guangdong which I believe reflects the tension between Mandarin and Cantonese. The dynamics of speaking Mandarin to native Cantonese (older people) are different. I was in California (huge Asian population) at an elder care facility for Chinese when one of the residents asked me in Toishanese whether I spoke any Chinese. I had been speaking only English since my Toishanese is non-existent. I replied to her in Mandarin. She lit up and responded in Mandarin… how do you know Mandarin? Are you from Beijing? She became quieter upon learning that I’m American born and that my parents are Toishanese. I’m no longer hassled about my Chinese skills. A sad thing is that only stopped within the past 10 or so years. The Cantonese and Toishanese speakers stopped when they realized that I can speak Mandarin. The native Mandarin speakers who unintentionally disparaged my Mandarin progress stopped when they learned that I can read. My trips to Taiwan also seems to influence people’s perceptions about me (did not do the tourist thing).
  17. 2 points
    Okay so I just decided to put up a blog because I saw someone else put up one for their studies. Small background information: I'm a master’s degree student studying Interpretation (Chinese-English English-Chinese) at Beijing international studies university. I first started learning Chinese in 2011 in the USA and have studied in china before, first in Harbin in 2014 for 5 months and then at BLCU from 2014-2015. I took a year language prep courses at my current university from 2016-2017. There are a total of 3 non-Chinese students (including me) in the course. My first week was a pretty rough start. I flew back into Beijing on the 2nd of September and went to register for classes that following Monday only to find out that registration was on the 1st. Okaaaaay. I tried to find out my schedule but the department head was gone, office locked, and thus no one knew the schedule. The lady I spoke with (who turned out to be one of my teachers) was nice enough to put me into contact with a second year student, who later put me into my classes wechat group and gave me the schedule. It also turned out that I missed the first day of class (Monday) sigh. Lol. (my schedule is under attachments) The politics class isn’t necessary to take, and neither is the Wednesday morning class. Those classes are just for Chinese students to take. The classes are a lot of fun. Many of my teachers seem to have more of a ‘western’ approach to teaching so I get the impression they’ve had experience living or studying abroad. They love to use English in class. Its really quite normal to hear a teacher switch from speaking Chinese one second then English the next. Then there are some teachers who speak exclusively in English. Which is fine by me as a native speaker, but my other foreign classmates find it a bit hard to keep up because English isn’t their mother tongue. One of my favorite classes thus far has been the 视译 (sight translation) class. It’s a mix between simultaneous translation and written translation. One of our first classes the teacher had us translate a sentence that she would delete as time passed. Wednesdays last class (口译理论与技巧) is quite a useless class for me. It’s about improving spoken English. I’m trying to see if I can just take a Chinese language course in place of this class as it won’t benefit me at all. Even the teacher was confused why I was even in the class. There was one class I went into (one minute late) that was completely filled. My vision is bad so I thought I saw a seat available up at the front of the room (toward the window), but that wasn’t a seat. I stood in the middle of the room struggling to find an available seat and the whole while the professor kept lecturing without a notice in the world at the strange foreign girl just standing in the middle of the class, even my classmates seemed unphased. I have a few impressions so far based on my (almost) first two weeks of class. 1) Chinese students are insanely gifted. They’re very talented and I was so amazed after todays class that many could memorize the short hand the teacher taught (same day) in less than ten minutes). I’m also impressed every day by their abilities in the classes. I don’t think I will ever be as good as any of them but I think I could learn a lot by the end of the program. 2) I don’t think that foreigners were supposed to be in this major. Actually it seems at times that they aren’t really sure what to do with us. There are only 3 of us and yet none of us have been on the roster. When I spoke to the office about it I got a very sassy reply that went something like ‘OF COURSE you’re not on the list. You guys didn’t take the test that the Chinese students took’. The fact that we have essentially a spoken English course also notes that perhaps they weren’t prepared for foreign students. There was even one teacher that asked if we needed a grade for the class. It can be bit discouraging, but I’m not the type to get hung up on trivialities. 3) The Chinese classmates think all 3 of us foreigners are stupid and can’t speak Chinese. Maybe we are stupid, but we’re all in this class because we CAN speak Chinese. It really baffles me when I have classmates ask me if I can speak Chinese, or worse, the one guy who turned around to face me and instead of just asking me if I understood, he decided to ask the girl NEXT to him ‘you think she understands?’ uh? What? Excuse me? That’s just rude AF. If you wanna ask something ask me to my face, don’t ask about me like I’m not even there, or do it when you’re not facing me. That’s just obnoxious. I was so cold to him you have no idea. 4) Students get to class something like 15-30 minutes before class begins. I normally get to class just in time and end up in the last seat available or at the very back. One day I managed to get to class early by 15 minutes and most of the room was filled, I got a seat on the side which was okay by me. That’s about it. Oh and my classmates fear me. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s my hair style? At first I thought I was imagining it. But then my friend also noticed the same. Noones ever feared me before. It’s kind of empowering but I wonder what I can do to fix that.
  18. 2 points
    I didn't know where to post this, it might be a little off-topic, but anyway. Although I don't live in Barcelona anymore, I like to check the curriculum of a very good Chinese language course offered there, and while in previous years they picked Chinese breeze as supplementary readings, this year they chose three Mandarin companion stories! Were you aware of that? Books and reading material
  19. 2 points
    It's pretty much all in the annotations. 则其天者全而其性得矣 32. 则其天者全而其性得矣:那么树木的生长规律可以保全而它的本性得到了。则:那么,连词。者:助词,无义。 不抑耗其实而已 In the note to the first half of the parallelism: 33. 不害其长:不妨碍它的生长。而已:罢了,句末语气词连用。 而已 is still frequently used in modern Chinese, e.g. 人生不過如此而已。 More examples here: https://zhidao.baidu.com/question/1958198230403798660.html 其培之也,若不过焉则不及 38. 若不过焉则不及:如果不是过多就是不够。若……则……,如果……那么(就),连接假设复句的固定结构。焉:句中语气词,无义。 You shouldn't have difficulty with 其培之也 if you understand a previous sentence 凡植木之性,其本欲舒,其培欲平,其土欲故,其筑欲密。 培 means 'to earth up' -- (Horticulture) (tr, adverb) to cover (part of a plant, esp the stem) with soil in order to protect from frost, light, etc. 吾小人辍飧饔以劳吏者,且不得暇 63. 吾小人:我们小百姓。辍飧(sūn)饔(yōng):不吃饭。辍,停止。飧,晚饭。饔,早饭。以:来,连词。劳吏者:慰劳当差的。且:尚且。暇:空暇。 者 is the same usage as in 夫A者,B也。 In other words, a topic marker. 传其事以为官戒 71. 传:作传。以为:以(之)为,把它作为。戒:鉴戒。 詞類活用/Conversion (esp. verbification) is extremely common in Classical Chinese. You might want to brush up on classical grammar a bit: https://baike.baidu.com/item/词类活用 & https://baike.baidu.com/item/为动用法
  20. 2 points
    Oh... My.... HolyGoodGod- why did that never occur to me?!?! That earned you a good hearty groan! Every punsters laughter!
  21. 2 points
    Hi, welcome to the forums. 1) I don't know if you have covered the 把字句 construction in your study. Chinese Grammar Wiki has an excellent explanation of why its use is grammatically necessary. 2) 微黄 is 'slightly yellow', so I'd say 微 is a degree adverb like 很 'very', 有些 'somewhat'. Not all adverbs need a 得 or 地. They are only used when a (multisyllabic) adjective is turned into an adverb to modify a verb. 3) I don't know how to explain it, but my impression is that 地 is quite common if not the preferred choice in this case (involving a 象声词).
  22. 2 points
    Based on prior experience: 1) Chinese students have spent their entire school career honing their memorization skills. You will never beat them because you are already at least 16 years behind the curve. That's okay. You'll make up for it with something else that they don't have (or aren't as good at): critical thinking skills & analytical thought. 2) It's probably a lot worse for you because you're doing this in China, but in general, most Chinese-English interpretation courses are created with Chinese native speakers in mind because they tend to make up the majority of the students in such courses. Hang in there! Get your professors and some of your Chinese classmates on your side! Help them out with English, and get them to help you out with Chinese! You're basically a unicorn, so use your powers for good. *g* 3) Again, also probably worse because you are doing this in China, but Chinese people are ignorant AF. This is your chance to educate them. Befriend them, take every ignorant thing they say as a joke (in my experience, it's just so much better to be laughing than raging). Remember also that they are surrounded by people who are equally ignorant, and equally rude. It's not like Chinese culture is a bastion of politeness. But at least they're being rude right in front of you, and you have an idea of what misconceptions they are having about you! You won't win all the battles, but one or two is okay. Find your niche with your Chinese classmates, and hang out with the ones you feel comfortable with! Remember that they will be your network in the future, so start building it now! So excited to see this blog! Hope you keep updating. I'll be sending moral support from afar.
  23. 2 points
    Howdie Strangers! I don't usually want people to see works in progress (they always look so *rough until the end), but I wanted to share my happiness that I managed to squeek in enough drill time to at least start laying it all out. So, just so you don't think I petered out on ya'll: (Not much yet, but I'm feeling good about it so far)
  24. 2 points
    Hi everyone, Sorry for the delayed post, we got married in June and it has been a busy year! Droudrou, good luck with it! We ended up succeeding, but oh my goodness I hope you have left enough time! So it made it easy that my dad was in China, and was able to do everything from their end, but it took a long time! He went to the notary office in Beijing to get all this done. The hospital where I was born wrote him a certified letter stating that I was born there, which day, and to whom (luckily they still had the records). I had to give photocopies of my passport (Australian, HK passport with date of entry into Australia, citizenship certificate, name change certificate) and all my mum's documents (passport, citizenship certificate etc). and these all had to be notarised and then authenticated by the Australian foreign affairs office for use in China. I then sent them to China for my dad to use at the notary office. He had to present all these, plus his documents. Easiest if your parents are still married, or can show a marriage certificate. This took a few months, and then I had to go to China for them to verify me in person, I had a photo taken, then they issued the official documents (get them in Chinese and English). These then had to be sent to the French embassy in Beijing for them to certify, and I believe after that the foreign affairs office in Beijing. This took another month and a half. My dad then sent this back to us. We then sent this, along with the official form, along with our Australian marriage certificate (we got married here at the registry so that we wouldn't need to do a town hall marriage in France), to the French consulate in Sydney. They took about a week to get back to us, and we were then officially registered, and received a 'Family book' (or whatever you call it). My husband took care of this side, but it seemed this was the easiest out of everything, you can contact the consulate directly and ask them what is required. I hope all this helps! If you have someone still in China who can do this all that would be ideal, as there was no way we could have done it by ourselves from Australia. Please let me know if you have any other questions! Good luck and congratulations! WendyWoo
  25. 1 point
    I've rearranged the top level menu in the header to... a) show everything at once, rather than on mouseover (apart from My Activity Streams, which is still a drop-down) b) Give more prominence to the stuff that gets used most c) Remove some things I didn't think were needed - specifically the header links to search (there's a box on every page), online users (did people use that link? It's still accessible via the box on the home page) and the 'Featured' page, which was highest ranked users by reputation, which nobody seemed to be looking at. I can make more changes, or reverse those, if necessary, let me know what you think. I based some decisions on low levels of use. I'm not sure the 'my activity streams' one is needed now, but that's not accessible elsewhere at the moment so left it.
  26. 1 point
    In some places this kind of thing could get you into a lot of trouble. So, what do we think of the calligraphy on show here?
  27. 1 point
    已 19.同“以”。表示時間、方位、數量的界限。 《孫子‧作戰》:“故車戰,得車十乘已上,賞其先得者。” 《漢書‧文帝紀》:“年八十已上賜米人月一石,肉二十斤,酒五斗。” 《儒林外史》第五回:“到了中秋已後,醫家都不下藥了。” ——《漢語大詞典》
  28. 1 point
    This stuff to be precise: https://www.consumerhealthdigest.com/weight-loss-reviews/feiyan-tea.html No idea how reliable that review site is.
  29. 1 point
    Not even a single mention of 凤爪 !? 瑶柱茜草 - is it the same as 香茜饺 in other places?
  30. 1 point
    Me too! Another thing I liked, and I'm a bit hesitant to say this because it's pretty bad to critique a feminist icon on her clothes, is her fashion sense, or rather, her lack thereof. She's apparently totally fine going on tv wearing an unflattering and rather ugly sweater topped off with a bandanna that makes it appear she has no neck. I wish I could pull that off. At one point in my life I considered going into academia so that I, too, could wear whatever the hell I felt like every day, but I think even in academia it is no longer okay to wear frayed shirts or ugly sweaters. (Fortunately, I'm now a literary translator and can indeed wear whatever I want because barely anyone sees me.)
  31. 1 point
    @roddy and @somethingfunny Someone on YouTube cut out the intro and the follow-up comments which I think should pop up in related videos, but I actually enjoyed her talking about the appeal of studying something that is basically unheard of in China more than I enjoyed her condensed points on marriage. Like Lu, I think it's awesome when she talks so nonchalantly about SM on "tv" (it's a web show this one lol but still).
  32. 1 point
    It's probably not nearly as bad to be on it as to watch it. After all, the annoying sounds and all are aftereffects. I don't agree with all the points she makes there (people have been having sex for fun since the invention of sex, that's not a new development) but it's pretty great to see someone (especially a Chinese woman) talk about such topics so calmly. She doesn't even have a hint of a giggle when she says she's writing an S&M novel. That is awesome.
  33. 1 point
    Very interesting --- but I have too low a tolerance of that kind of Chinese TV show, only managed three minutes.... This is far more manageable: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IgqVCcKSI0 I remember them talking about her on 锵锵三人行 a couple of times.
  34. 1 point
    It was probably my fault, but I'll blame the site anyway to save face.
  35. 1 point
    Hi all, first post on here! Anyway, my background: I'm an ABC, and while I do speak Cantonese (thanks to my parents) my idiot 8 year old self gave up on formal training and as a result cannot comprehend formal speech (i.e. news or business) and cannot read or write at all. I'm now a 25 year old grad student, and am looking at taking my uni's introductory Mandarin course (no Cantonese). Would my oral Cantonese be of an advantage here, or are the two systems too different? Any suggestions on how I could take advantage of this Mandarin course to also concurrently develop my Cantonese? Would appreciate if anyone who've been in my shoes could give their voice
  36. 1 point
    Hello I have recently received an email from a professor and he is willing to accommodate me as postdoctoral fellow. HE sent me an annex which is in Chinese completely. I dont know what do now? How am I suppose to read it? Kindly help me I ll be much obliged. Following is the email I received "Dear Dr. Urooj Zafar Greetings for the day! I am glad to receive your letter and welcome to join us. In our school, a full-time postdoctoral position will last for two years and the yearly salary is 50,000. In addition, the age is limited to under 35 yeas old. It would be better that you could speak some Chinese, because the application procedures are very complicated. And the relevant requirements are in the annex. Finally, please send me a full curriculum vitae. Best wishes, Prof. Zimin Wei"
  37. 1 point
    When they mean "still" then they are interchangeable. However, you need to be a little careful. If the verb in the sentence is 是 then you can't swap them, for example: This is OK: 你明天去吗? Are you going tomorrow? 你明天还去吗? Are you still going tomorrow? 你明天还是去吗? Are you still going tomorrow? Here, the extra 是 is just doing what it normally does and adding emphasis. However: 你们是朋友吗? Are you guys friends? 你们还是朋友吗? Are you guys still friends? 你们还朋友吗? This is not OK. For the other meanings of 还是 (or) and 还 (swap, pronounced huan2), these are not interchangeable.
  38. 1 point
    His son has been kidnapped and the kidnapper has given him a limited amount of time to get from A to B, so he's very stressed and every second of delay is two seconds too many. I've never timed toll-paying but it sounds plausible enough for me that someone who passes through it often can pay in 10 seconds.
  39. 1 point
    If the shorthand is what I think it is, you're basically learning basic note-taking, Chinese-style. Note-taking is actually very personal. After about the first month of doing note-taking, everybody pretty much comes up with their own style of note-taking. At least, they did where I studied. Not sure how these things work at BISU. They might be a lot stricter and have everybody do it the same way, but I suspect given enough time, you will come up with your own symbols that will help you remember things as well. To be fair, a lot of the symbols I use are fairly international amongst interpreters, but note-taking symbols also vary between language pairs! Good luck with the WeChat group thing. I've started tagging people and typing in descriptions in the WeChat profile when I add people nowadays, so I can jog my memory. Maybe that could be helpful? Otherwise, I'm always guessing who is who, and I usually guess wrong!
  40. 1 point
    I used to get this from some work colleagues when I first came to HK and not being able to speak Cantonese. This was just before 97. It was fairly easy to reply though. I would first confirm the speaker regards themselves as Chinese (of course the answer was yes), then I would say "a Chinese person should be able to speak the national language of China....so....how good is your putonghua?" And you know that generation of HKers had no education in putonghua. I guess it wasn't nice to use that but you know, years of public criticism by native HK cantonese speakers does make one quite defensive. Agree, the dynamics changed so quickly. i am a bit younger but in England it was slightly different. I could not match the same social wavelength as the HK or few Taiwanese students at University. The Malaysians were OK as many spoke hokkien and no mandarin. But it was only when I fell into a group of British Chinese when things started changing. Yes. I haven't had much issue with Mandarin speakers and my lack of Mandarin when communicating with them in HK - perhaps it helps that the baseline mandarin level of the indigenous population around me is quite low. . but it sometimes bugs me how badly some colleagues speak Mandarin. I was evesdropping on my colleague giving some instructions to a Mandarin speaker who indicated comprehension. I asked my colleague what he said - to me it sounded nothing like Mandarin. I just wonder how the heck the other person understood or were they just nodding to be polite.... Out of curiosity, how do you express this in Chinese? 我是美国人?我在美国出生?
  41. 1 point
    We could make a series of guesses at what the intended meaning was, but that would only serve to show that there is no apparent meaning. The only person who knows what it should mean, is the person who has it printed on their body for the rest of their life.
  42. 1 point
    @Zbigniew, I think you are correct in your criticism that that there was a lot of generalization in that statement. There was. I should have been more specific in that statement and said that in general, "Chinese students are ignorant AF". And it makes complete sense why they would be. They have been completely sheltered/blocked off from the outside world and only exist in their tiny China is great bubble. They've been completely immersed in a study-study-study, test-test-test life from the time they learned to speak until young adulthood. And the entire Chinese education system has been built around rote memorization and regurgitation. Furthermore, if these students came from the more rural and backwards parts of China (and that would be the majority of students), they would have less, or even no, access to information streams about foreigners. I think it would be more surprising if any one of them weren't ignorant at all. I, too, also know a lot of lovely, engaging Chinese people who aren't ignorant, but these tend to be more affluent and in the minority. The Chinese people who are ignorant, are, in large part, ignorant through no fault of their own. You can't expect them to read outside sources in a language they don't speak, right? And if they are closed off from "outside influences" how would they even get access to any of this? I don't necessarily think of it as an evil or a bad thing, but it is a thing, and it is quite simply, fact.
  43. 1 point
    Back when ticket scalping was a problem you could be certain that in the run-up to Chinese New Year TV news would feature a line-up of hopeless-looking mugs who'd been snared by the police in front of the local train station selling tickets. Yet in spite of such demonstrated diligence by the authorities, scalping would always go on just as before. That is, in China a well-publicized crackdown is often the surest sign there isn't really a crackdown. The louder the fanfare the greater the odds it's all just for show. So I'll believe there's a crackdown on those bikes when the crackdown shows up in the streets, not the newspapers.
  44. 1 point
    It's ok, there are people in a far worse position. A slight advantage in that you pick up the logic of the sentences far more quickly even though spoken Mandarin has some differences to spoken Cantonese. The trouble is remembering.... Look up the Cantonese equivalent word. If you pay for pleco, you can listen to the Cantonese word. If you keep listening to Cantonese, you will eventually recognise this words when listening. Probably, your biggest frustrations will be comprehending the language structure making you feel that you should and ought to be doing much better - the thought in your brain to expressing it verbally seems very, very close yet you cannot control your mouth. Thus, you still need to put a lot of hours in and not be complacent. My other advice would be to work on listening skills a lot. In this way, you can pick up the characteristics of Mandarin and then slowly try to incorporate them into your own speech. The rhythm of Mandarin has differences to Cantonese which will affect your accent. But it depends how good an accent you want. Do you want to sound mostly like an American speaking Mandarin? Then native speakers in China may not understand you. Do you mind sounding like a Cantonese speaker speaking Mandarin? In that situation, many many native speakers will understand your imperfections.
  45. 1 point
    Looking good! I feel like I am watching a serial drama where each post is like a cliffhanger leaving me waiting in agony for the next instalment
  46. 1 point
  47. 1 point
    Actually, this guy's reminding me of my theory of cross-cultural idiocy. There are some people who are just pointless in any culture. Be civil and see how your Chinese classmates get on with the guy. It's entirely possibly they don't like him either.
  48. 1 point
    There is 圆桌派, with the same host at 锵锵三人行, and several of the same guests, which started its season two not long ago: it's made by youku rather than phoenix. I've no idea if it's still running but currently the episodes are available on youku. http://list.youku.com/show/id_z3127efbfbd11250911ef.html But anyway it's by no means a daily broadcast. Surely there should be some stuff we can find from Taiwan. Quick scan of youtube and the best I've found so far is 看板人物 which isn't ideal.
  49. 1 point
    Could it be 麗珍 (beautiful treasure)? It is prounounced Lai Zan (rhymes with "fun") in Cantonese. It is a common name. The female lead of many films of famous director Wong Kar-wai is called 麗珍.
  50. 1 point
    Let me begin by saying I hate the term Oral English, it's one of these awkward English phrases that seems to somehow to have become standard usage in China. Anyway, that being said, I taught Spoken English to college level students in China for a total of three years (not consecutively). The way I saw it, my role wasn't to teach them English, but to teach them confidence and to teach them to communicate. Like a large number of Chinese students, many of my students had good levels of English if they were reading or writing, but they had difficultly with even basic everyday things. e.g. you see a student in the corridor and ask "how are you going?" and the typical reply would be something like "to my dormitory" . Or they just didn't have the confidence or the familiarity with speaking regularly in English. I saw my role as trying to get them to speak as much English as possible and then to provide guidance when they ran into problems. For building confidence, one of the things I did was choose 2-3 students to give a talk up in front of class at the beginning of each class. The students were chosen the week before to give them enough time to prepare, and the talk was not allowed to be a recited essay/article/story that they had found in a book or a magazine, or that had been written by someone else. It didn't have to be long (2-3 minutes) but it had to be something they had come up with themselves (a personal story/anecdote etc). I was able to set the marking scheme for my class, and made the speeches count for a small part. I made it clear from the beginning that reciting some article or story would make the students lose marks. I also made it clear that the other students in the class would need to ask questions at the end of the speech. If no-one did, I would pick names from the roll. Pretty soon people got the idea. I had reasonably small class sizes for China so every student would need to speak twice during a semester. It was obvious to see the difference in confidence once everyone had given their first speech and we got to second round. Although most stories are pretty ordinary you do get some absolutely amazing ones, and it also gives you some great insights into Chinese life. Anyway, I definitely recommend doing this. With talks, questions, and then feedback and corrections from me, it would usually take up about 10-15 at the beginning of each class. Although sometimes if the topic aroused the interest of students, the question/answer sessions could go for much longer (the longest I had was questions/answers that went on for half an hour from just one talk). It doesn't teach them so much English (although you can provide corrections and suggestions on things they have said), however it does wonders for their confidence at speaking English, which for many students is just as important. In my classes I also had a rule that no Chinese was to be spoken in the classroom, even during the break. This is how I enforced it: During the first lesson of the semester, I taught the class to sing the nursery rhyme "I'm a little teapot", along with corresponding movements and actions. They all thought it was great fun. Then I told them that from now on, anyone who speaks in Chinese has to come and stand up the front of the class and sing that song and do the actions. This was enforced rigorously, even for the good students who might accidentally slip in a 'neige' while pausing for something to say. It usually doesn't take more than about 5-10 mins until you hear someone talking in Chinese and so, much to the embarassment of that student and the amusement of the rest of the class, you have a few examples. Once 2-3 students have had to do this, you'll have everyone in your class doing their absolute best not to speak Chinese. You'll also have other students letting you know when someone speaks in Chinese because they all think its fun to watch someone else stand up the front and sing this song. Anyway, the way I see it, the real challenge of a Spoken English class is to get the students speaking and communicating in English as much as possible. You can't really do this if you are getting them to speak one-by-one (including doing speeches/skits/roleplay at the front of class with everyone else just watching/listening), or if you are up at the front doing a lot of talking. Therefore, typically I would structure my classes so that students would be split up into groups and would need to speak with each other. Preparation time and example sentences relevant to the topic of the class were always given, so that the students wouldn't just be going into a topic cold and not know what to say. Example 1: Split the class into groups of 3-4. Each group needs to create a company, including company name, what the company, does, how many employees it has, and the role of each person in the company. Give them a few minutes to do this and then say, ok, now one person from each company resigns/gets fired and has to look for a new job. Have that student move to a new group for a job interview with that company. You can introduce all sorts of interesting vocab and example interview questions/answers here, and the interview sessions can be as simple or as complicated as you like depending on the students' level. After 5-10 minutes, move them on to do interviews at the next company, and so on and so on. This sort of activity is great because it means that students are really maximising the amount of time they get to speak and communicate during the lesson. As the teacher, I would walk around to each group, listening for common mistakes, offering corrections and suggestions. Before moving the people on for their next interview, these would be summarised on the board so that everyone could pay attention to these things in the next round. Example 2: Split the class into pairs. Each pair is told they are the parents of a child and they have to come up with all the characteristics of their child e.g. name, age (has to be between 20-30), occupation, three good characteristics and three bad characteristics (it's important to get them to write all of this down, for reasons that will become apparent soon). They don't get to choose the sex of their child however, this is given out by you, and should be alternating boy-girl-boy-girl for each group. After time to prepare, tell the students they need to find someone for their child to marry, and so all the parents with male children need to go and speak to all the parents with female children, and vice-versa in order to find a potential match. It's important you don't tell them this until after they've finished writing their good/bad characteristics, as this way you'll get all sorts of funny things written down that will make it interesting when prospective parents come looking. This one can be really fun, especially when you get two sets of parents fighting over the same person for their child to marry. There are all sorts of variations and themes you can come up with similar to this, but the general idea is to have activities where the students spend most of their time speaking with other students, with you providing guidance, feedback, corrections and sample sentences/vocabulary to the class as a whole. Getting the students speaking to each other as much as possible is the best way to maximise their speaking time, and after all it's a Spoken English class so this is what they should be doing. It also prevents students from getting too bored like they would do if you were getting them to speak out one at a time. By providing sample sentences for a given activity, even the bad students can have something to say. Every semester I'd get a few students complain that didn't want to be speaking so much with their classmates in class, and wanted me to be doing more speaking. My typical response to this was that this was their Spoken English class and not mine, and it was them that needed to practice their speaking as much as possible, even if that meant speaking with their classmates instead of the native speaker. Anyway, these are my thoughts on the matter, I hope you can find something of use in them.
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