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Showing content with the highest reputation since 10/12/2019 in Posts

  1. 11 points
    Hey guys, I can comment on this because I know a lot of people who have been in the China Horizons program and I am familiar with the program over my time in China. They are unaffiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints although they are members of the church and primarily recruit students from BYU. Basically, they have been breaking the law in China for a decade or so. They are being accused of human trafficking which, while I think does not exactly capture what has happened, does have a case as a legal charge. Here is what CH has been doing. They offer a program to primarily undergraduate students to go to China to teach English for 2-3 month stints. The students pay CH a fee to go to China and the students pay for their own flights to China. The students are placed in a small town with largely private English schools in the area, primarily teaching young kids. The students go to China on a tourist visa. During their time in China, the school provides accommodations and a small stipend of around 500 RMB per month. The students then return back to America after their time is up. There are legal problems with this situation as well as some ethical issues I have always had with it. First, the students are working in China illegally. To legally work, in China, you must have a work permit. It's a lengthy and sometimes costly process which would not justify just a 2-3 month employment. The students largely would be unqualified to receive work permits anyways because they do not have a college degree. China Horizons is "double dipping" on both sides: they receive a payment from the students AND they receive money from the school employing the students. This seems supremely unfair the first time I ever heard of it and I've always felt the students are being taken advantage of it. The students have no idea how much of a risky situation they have been placed into. With the stricter enforcement that the Chinese government has enacted over the last few years, they could easily be jailed and deported if they were found to be working without proper documentation. I've heard a lot of people rally for Jacob Harlan and his associates indicating that they are victims of Chinese government oppression, but this is just not the case. While I feel for Jacob and his family (his family being the real victims of his crimes), he has been breaking the law and arguably exploiting students for a very long time and the chickens have proverbially come home to roost. I have been in touch with some of the representatives about this and I have expressed my opinion about all of this but they didn't seem to want any of this information spread around because it is damaging to his case. However, it is my prediction that he will not be coming home till he finishes a jail sentence complete with an apology and possibly fine. I will say that despite what I have said, I have known a number of the students who went through the CH program and had a very good experience and some even went back to China under more legitimate circumstances. I am really happy for them and I am glad that they did have this experience. However, I have always harbored big reservations about the CH program and it appears that things have finally caught up to them. I hope this sheds some light on the issue for anyone interested.
  2. 7 points
    2 nights in a row, I stopped for take-out from a restaurant near my hotel in 北京. Last night, I got back to my hotel and realized they had forgotten the most expensive part of my order. However, it was too late & too far to go back. A Chinese friend said “just tell them tomorrow. They will remember a foreigner didn’t get his dish.” I was skeptical. I also wondered if my language skills were sufficient to handle the situation. However, I hardly needed them. Today, I walked by the restaurant very fast on my way to the subway. A guy from the restaurant apparently saw me, chased after me, and told me they would give me my money back (I walk very fast, it’s amazing he caught up to me) He wasn’t even the one who made the mistake. I knew him from the previous night. They gave me my money back with much pride; Everyone smiled. Their food is good as well so I owe them a TripAdvisor review. In the USA, I would expect a restaurant to refund my money, but I can’t imagine them chasing me down the road to return my money.
  3. 4 points
    We are six days into our China road trip now. We easily procured a temporary Chinese drivers license at the Beijing airport which is valid for 1 year anywhere in China and valid just for driving a rented car. Reserving the rental car was a hassle. What they didn't tell us in advance was that the car rental company (a Hertz affiliate) would not rent any car to foreigners during Golden Week. So we could only start our road trip on October 8. In general, the car rental business in China is small compared to other countries and not very customer friendly. My husband, who is a Beijing native, had a hard time understanding the car rental people - partly because of a lot of jargon he didn't know and partly because of accent. So his sister, who lives in Beijing, did most of the negotiating for us. We have been navigating easily using Baidu Maps. More later when I have time.
  4. 3 points
    Prompted by a recent question in another thread (https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/59118-revisiting-the-classics-家常菜/?tab=comments#comment-459919), here's some simple help on picking the right soy sauce. My neighborhood supermarket has 30 or 40 brands on several yards of shelves. If one just walked in cold, the choice would be nearly overwhelming. In figuring out what kind of soy sauce to use, It helps to divide them into broad categories or types. Light soy sauce 生抽 is far and away the most commonly used. If a recipe just calls for "soy sauce" without specifying further, best strategy is to use light soy sauce 生抽。It is made by fermenting soybeans for several months. The higher grades usually have a longer fermentation time. Look for brands that have no additives (many of the cheaper ones are laced with MSG.) These better ones often bear the designation 特级 te ji, which roughly means "top grade." Expect to pay 15 to 25 Yuan for a 500 ml bottle. Please click the photos to enlarge them. Here's the kind I have used for the last 5 or 6 years. Notice that it says 不加味精 (no added MSG.) I'm not against small amounts of MSG, but would rather add it judiciously with my own hand instead of having unknown amounts of it hiding in my soy sauce. The arrow near the bottom points to where it says 特级。It has fermented 280 days; that's what the large number means. Same company makes one with a shorter time (180 days) and another with a longer time (380 days.) I take the middle road; the middle way. This brand also has no preservatives. You can also buy soy sauce in large plastic jugs for little more than the price of Coca Cola. You could afford to take a bath in it, not that you would want to. That stuff is made with lots of zippy "instant chemistry" and has only a passing acquaintance with the soy bean to which it owes its name. Best avoided. It's easy to get seduced by "special purpose" soy sauce being promoted just for making one kind of food. One can buy a special type of soy sauce for steaming fish 蒸鱼豉油 and another soy sauce that has been flavored with tiny 虾米 dried shrimp 海鲜酱油。One other common type is promoted as being specifically for 红烧肉 red-cooked pork. It typically contains star anise plus a little cinnamon. There's nothing wrong with these, but they take a lot of extra cabinet space and aren't really necessary. You can use plain soy sauce just as well and add the extra seasonings by hand as required. Low-sodium soy sauce exists, and will usually be labeled 低盐酱油, meaning "low salt." It would be a mistake to think that "light soy sauce" means it is low in salt. Some brands are labeled as being "natural and organic" 天然有机。I don't have any experience with them. When I use soy sauce in a dish, I dial back the cooking salt 食用盐 a little to allow for it. All soy sauce contains flour in addition to fermented soy, so it's not gluten free, just in case that is something with which you are concerned. The second main kind of soy sauce is 老抽,usually rendered into English as "old soy sauce." or "dark soy sauce." It is used in cooking, not as a table condiment. It's quite a bit more concentrated than "young soy sauce" 生抽,and typically contains both flour-based thickeners and molasses-type sweeteners. It is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, whereas light soy sauce just runs right off. If I'm using a casual Chinese recipe that calls for both 生抽 and 老抽 without specifying precise amounts, I will use three or four times as much 生抽 as 老抽。Old soy sauce imparts a deeper color to a dish but not a whole lot of flavor. It is very often made with fermented mushrooms added during processing to enrich the taste, to make it more substantial. Here's one I've used several years with good results. Note the arrow pointing out that it is also 特级 (top grade.) Costs about the same as 生抽, 15 or 20 Yuan for a 500 ml bottle. Sometimes one also uses a very thick soy sauce as a dipping sauce for roast meat or duck 烤肉/烤鸭, alone or mixed with plum sauce. It is slightly sweet and comes in a wide-mouth jar; thick enough to require a spoon to serve it. If you are looking for general-purpose Chinese cooking soy sauce, that's not what you are after. Pass it by. In summary, your kitchen cupboard will be just fine with a bottle of 生抽 and another of 老抽。It's worth shelling out the little bit extra to get 特级 editions of both.
  5. 3 points
  6. 2 points
    I should say 怀念 or 思念 would better express cherished memory and longing. For Far East, I should think 东方 would do; was The East in "The East is Red" for example.
  7. 2 points
    ironically i remember taking an HSK test where one essay was describing techniques students could use to improve reading speeds. their biggest advice was to not mouth the words or imagine pronounciation as you're going because it will slow you down. i'm finding in practice that that has to be true as your reading speed will eventually outpass your comfortable speaking speed. anyway the essay really slowed down my test because i was too interested in the subject matter to just skim for correct answers
  8. 2 points
    I attended 1 on 1 classes at Culture Yard bear Beixinqiao and found them excellent. Would mean a commute for you though.
  9. 2 points
    I think I've made these points before, but so what: "For example, imagine a movie character with a distinct voice such as Darth Vader or Yoda." It's really really useful if you can find a Chinese tutor who has a distinctive memorable voice you feel comfortable imitating. Listen to an actor like 葛优: you can never forget the voice. "Once you have internalized the different tones as different sounds on a handful of mandarin sounds, you can then apply that across all sounds without much effort." Do this in pairs, and place names are the perfect models since you hear them all the time. Even if you've been in China only a few months, your ears should hurt if you try to say 中国 、 北京 、 上海 、 西安 all the same. But try, since saying things wrong is one way to start saying things right: zhong1guo1, bei1jing1, shang1hai1: OUCH! But xi1an1: AH!
  10. 1 point
    QuickPinyin QuickPinyin is a small app for typing pinyin with tone marks. It works in any Windows program and with any keyboard layout. I originally created QuickPinyin for my private use because I didn't like the way other pinyin typing apps worked. My classmates at the time liked it and I thought other students might find it useful too, so I decided to share it here. Why use QuickPinyin? Portable: QuickPinyin is a portable app. This means you can run it on any computer directly from a USB stick without installing anything at all. Other pinyin typing programs must be installed first to work. Faster: QuickPinyin adds tone marks as soon as you type the tone number—no need to press Space or Enter like other pinyin typing programs require. Compatible: QuickPinyin runs alongside normal input methods without getting in the way—no need to constantly switch input languages. Mixed-case: Any combination of mixed-case pinyin is supported, for example: GuAn1 becomes GuĀn, etc. Erhua: Full erhua support, for example: dianr3 becomes diǎnr (mixed-case erhua is also supported). 32 and 64-bit: QuickPinyin runs happily on both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. Zero-bloat policy: I hate bloatware and malware as much as anyone. QuickPinyin contains no hidden, annoying or malicious garbage. Open source: The source code made available for anyone to audit and modify. I provide QuickPinyin free of charge for anyone to use, share and modify—go mad! I am always happy to improve my creations so feel free to post your suggestions here, and maybe a short thank you message if you like QuickPinyin... or buy me a beer some day 😋 Usage instructions: This is the easy part... Just run QuickPinyin and then type each pinyin syllable followed by a tone number, for example type hao3. As soon as you finish typing the tone number, QuickPinyin will immediately convert hao3 to hǎo and, yes, it will place the tone mark on the correct vowel so you will get hǎo (correct) and not haǒ (wrong). You can toggle QuickPinyin by double-clicking its system tray icon or via a user-defined keyboard shortcut that you can set in the preferences. For detailed usage instructions, please refer to included Readme.txt document. Enjoy! Portable version: If you prefer portable apps (I do), get the "portable version" below. This version is identical to the "installer version", but doesn't need installation. Instead, you simply copy-paste the QuickPinyin files to a folder and run from there. You can also make a portable version from the installed version simply by copying out the entire QuickPinyin folder to a location of your choosing (such as a USB stick, etc). Downloads: Current software version: QuickPinyin v1.15 Release date: 6 September 2014 System requirements: Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10 either 32-bit or 64-bit Installer version (main download) Download Alternative download* Portable version (optional) Download Alternative download* Source code (requires Autohotkey to run as script) Download Alternative download* *Alternative download links don't require forum membership, downloaded files are the exact same.
  11. 1 point
    My rental contract ends this month and my landlord came around last week. He wanted to up the rent by 1400 a month. 5400 to 6800 for an empty apartment. I live out past the 5th ring road. That's what? a 25% increase in two years! I really though he was being unreasonable but he said he just wants to charge the market rate. he'd a good landlord to be fair. I checked with a few estate agents and asked a wechat group. He'd pretty much in line with the market. I checked my old building in shuangjing. I paid 7500pm two years ago. They are asking 10000+ pm month now! I noticed everything is rapidly increasing. Restaurants , gym membership, etc Rapidly becoming an expensive city.
  12. 1 point
    The initial sentence as well as the comment about the boss hating anyone who dares asking suggests to me a reality check is in order about what work is like, especially in China and especially since the OP apparently wants to continue to work in China. You either accept China's a very the-boss-is-the-boss type of society or you look for work elsewhere. If you see someone blindly walking out into traffic you're going to call out to them, whether they asked for help crossing the street or not.
  13. 1 point
    The initial sentence had no relation to the rest of the post? I think we were meant to link her absence from work (which she apparently felt was justified) with the problems she's having with her employer. Why else did she add it? And my message is, if you walk off the job when the boss says no, don't be shocked or amazed when there are problems down the road.
  14. 1 point
    I think any company doing this is likely operating illegally in China. There are some provisions to obtain visas for internships which are unpaid and have restrictions on how many hours the person may work, but this requires sponsoring companies and approval. It is likely that these companies are doing this.
  15. 1 point
    I don't know how much work experience you have, but in an awful lot of countries if the boss needs you there on the job and you leave for a few days no matter the reason, then don't be surprised if the job isn't there when you return. That's life.
  16. 1 point
    忆东方,取自白居易的忆江南。 忆 is more of recall ,less meaning of longing for fareast远东 in mandarin sounds political, someting about imperialism and war, better avoid it.
  17. 1 point
    I would use 想念 if the context allows. "I lived in Shenyang for nearly 10 years, and now that I'm back in Peoria, I really miss it, really long for it. Would love to go back. Those were the days! 我真的好想念沈阳。(Substitute 东方 for 沈阳。) Might work in your example. Of course, it's not the only way to express those sentiments. @Jim 怀念 appeals to me too. Both it and 想念 verge on being poetic, full of emotion and feeling.
  18. 1 point
  19. 1 point
    Correct. This is why I don't recommend trying to increase your speeds on any text that still requires learning, and only do it on texts that are fully learnt. The speed increase you get from doing that will then carry over in to normal reading and you'll find that even when you slow down, it will still be faster than what you could previously read at.
  20. 1 point
    Glad I'm in Kunming (for several reasons.)
  21. 1 point
    thanks @Bibu @abcdefg very informative. I noticed one or two recipes online just simple mention 红烧 in the procedural steps yup thats what I do a lot with my dishes, nuke the meat in the pressure cooker, when tender caramelize with peanut oil and sugar, the start whacking in the soya combo and other ingredients The turn out well actually, Took a lot of trial and error though
  22. 1 point
    @Balthazar ya i’m sure they have fancier ones by now, i’m kinda turned off by the whole brand though honestly, anything by suntory as well. @abcdefg this is my favorite sea salt, fab taste and it comes in flakes which have a great little crunch.
  23. 1 point
    They have a whole range of varieties. I recommend you try their marudaizu version (if you haven't already), which uses whole beans. Nothing like the standard offering, but can be hard to find abroad and it's not cheap. I wouldn't really put Japanese and Chinese soy sauce up against each other, as they are quite different beasts (I have no experience with Korean soy sauce, but hear they are closer to the Chinese). I prefer using Chinese soy sauce when making Chinese food and vice versa. Living in the West severely limits our options, but I'll post a info on what we use when I get home Great write-up as usual @abcdefg
  24. 1 point
    in the old nice days, 红烧 means soybean sauce + sugar, the two would make the color of dish into red(红), for me it looks more dark brown. The major differ between 生抽 and 老抽 is have sugar in or not..., so in a modern recipe it is always use 老抽 for 红烧. @abcdefgfor the real classic family dishes, i recommend you can reference this book wrote in 1966: https://book.douban.com/subject/3017522/
  25. 1 point
    Soybean sauce aka 酱油 today is so different from my childhood, basically you not not have so many choices and brand like today, but local made soybean sauce, the very traditional sauce, it turns bad in summer time easily , when many white particles floating in your sauce bottle, you know it turns bad. also the term 打酱油 reflected the way of buying sauce: you take your own bottle to the grocery, and they pour over the amount through a funnel tube into your own bottle. The sauce was in a big jar like the pic attached. 打酱油 normally is the privilege for kids. one day i just realised all the above 10 years ago in Beijing, the same soybean sauce was intact for more than 1 years. For quite a long time i never saw those white floating in my sauce bottle.... As a northern, I do believe the term of 生抽 and 老抽 is from Canton area. In those nice old day we only have local organic soybean sauce and local beers.
  26. 1 point
    I don't bother going to the hutongs anymore . Many seem to have become more like hipsters place to hang out with prices to match.
  27. 1 point
    @abcdefg the kikkoman is basically just flavorless colored saltwater. this stuff, called kishibori shoyu, has got a really strong flavor; great for japanese, chinese or western cooking. i’m often looking for something to add a little punch of flavor and this is one of my go-to solutions. my friend’s wife is an editor for a cooking blog, and after i gave her some she wrote a whole article about how much she like it: www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/this-is-the-best-soy-sauce-article/amp
  28. 1 point
    This is definitely true. People build up reading habits such as moving mouth and so on when they are a beginner, and then those habits stick even as your ability improves to the point where you no longer need them. Actively drilling to avoid that can help solve that problem, and if it was a problem you can probably double reading speed with a bit of effort. By far though, the biggest hit to reading speed is encountering an unknown word or character.
  29. 1 point
    This is a good case where both examples are correct and have different meanings. I can now see how this is not an American/British difference at all.
  30. 1 point
    Don't forget this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_soy_sauce
  31. 1 point
    Yes, that's a real good one that you found. Top shelf!
  32. 1 point
    A favorite of mine and on the menus here in the UK along with sweet and sour chicken or prawns or even beef. One thing I think that is often forgotten is soups, egg drop soup or sweet corn soup. there are probably more - a clear soup I don't know the name of.
  33. 1 point
    I look forward to 红烧茄子, and even have some aubergines at home waiting for a recipe. If there's room for another request, I used to like 罗汉斋 (Buddha's delight), I guess the dish can take different combinations of tofu and many types of vegetables (or pickled Chinese veggies only?), and would love to know what is the sauce.
  34. 1 point
    Gotta have 回锅肉 on “the list”.
  35. 1 point
    do you use different 老抽 or 生抽 for the different dishes. I have bought a few different 生抽 now but some seem to verge towards the 老抽 end of things
  36. 1 point
    Epicures can sneer all they want, but you can't ignore 古老肉/糖醋里脊. (But yes, it seems embarrassing to order it, so I usually don't.) Another can't-miss is 炸酱面. (It can be ordered without embarrassment.) 麻婆豆腐 and 京酱肉丝 also belong on the old-standbys list. (These all assume you can these days still afford to order meat.)
  37. 1 point
    We had some 家里做的包子 tonight
  38. 1 point
  39. 1 point
    unfortunately not that sophisticated! That would be an awesome thing. The closest workaround I can think of is to get all the Audio sentences in the lesson with their text equivalents. Then, input all these sentences (audio+text) into anki. This will be your main deck and serves as a big pool of Notes from various sources. You can then use anki to search the word across all your Notes. Then, you can identify all sentences where that word has occurred in any of your lessons. Copy these Notes (or the cards depending on your preference) out into a new sub-deck. This is the deck that you use to train, not your master deck. Each card has the audio so when you are testing yourself on your sub-deck, you also get to hear your teacher saying the sentence. IMO, this is essential for tone training. A bit off topic, but if you have created a Master deck, this is not the deck that you want to test yourself on. It’s the sub-deck that you test yourself on. So, unlike some who suggest completely wiping out a deck when struggling, I suggest not to do this with the Master deck as it has taken lots of lesson time and extra effort to prepare. However, one can delete sub-decks at will and create new sub decks depending on which words you want to review.
  40. 1 point
    Great observation, and true from my experience at least. When I first started learning Chinese I often used to try to pun based on the phoneme element of a word. I would think 老板 and 老伴 was hilarious because they were so similar sounding to me. Yet I would have no idea how 脑公 was meant to sound so similar to 老公. It took many years to realise that puns are usually based first on an identical tone pattern, then a close phoneme resemblance (rather than the other way round).
  41. 1 point
    Here's the corresponding characters with dictionary links that include an audio file (little red icon to right of main character): Chu 诸 https://www.zdic.net/hans/诸 Kuei 刿 https://www.zdic.net/hans/刿 Yueh 越 https://www.zdic.net/hans/越 shuai-jan 率然 https://www.zdic.net/hans/率然 Ch'ang (as in the Ch'ang Mountains) 常 https://www.zdic.net/hans/常 Yin (as in Yin Dynasty) 殷 this has a couple of readings, you want yīn with a high level tone, first audio button: https://www.zdic.net/hans/殷 I Chih 伊挚 https://www.zdic.net/hans/伊 https://www.zdic.net/hans/挚 Hsia 夏 https://www.zdic.net/hans/夏 Chou (as in Chou Dynasty) 周 https://www.zdic.net/hans/周 Lu Ya 吕牙 https://www.zdic.net/hans/吕牙
  42. 1 point
    I actually did this, throughout the week wrote down everything I'd encountered in my week of Chinese study/TV watching/language exchanges that I couldn't wrap my head around, sent it to her in a word doc, and we spent about 30 minutes going over it all this week. It was FANTASTIC, best and most helpful tutoring session I've had yet. And I do think worth the time, even if it's only once per week.
  43. 1 point
    I think it is really important to develop this skill - the ability to think of, and hear in your mind any sound in Mandarin and to be able to clearly differentiate (in your mind's ears) the different sounds and different tones, building a model in your mind where different tone = different sound. Once you can do that, remembering the tones becomes simple because you don't need to remember the tone, you just remember the complete sound (which includes the tone). Even if you think you don't have the ability to remember sounds like this, that's probably not true. I'm sure if you try you can think of and hear "Happy Birthday", "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" or the voice of your favourite TV/movie character in your head, and that's because you've heard them over and over and over again. You need to do the same with the sounds of Mandarin until they are ingrained enough in your mind that you can hear them at will.
  44. 1 point
    I've noticed that to native Chinese speakers the tone is probably more important than the phoneme. e.g. In a restaurant, a foreign girl raised her hand and said "mai3dan4", very clearly pronouncing the second syllable incorrectly as a falling tone, but to me of course it was obvious what she meant. And the fuwuyuan replied I think (sadly I don't remember the exact word) "leng3dan4?!" For the OP, the only thing I can add to what has been said here is to test whether you remember tones. What I mean is, when I need to learn a new vocabulary list, I add the new words as a set in Pleco, and test myself. (I recommend testing yourself immediately, as well as days later: trying to recall words that you only just studied minutes ago really helps squeezing those words into your brain in the first place IME). And when I test myself, I must get the all the tones and phonemes right, no exceptions. A 成语 where I knew all the characters and pinyin and just said one of the four tones wrong? Mark it wrong. My Chinese has plenty of problems but not remembering what the tones are for a given word I wouldn't consider to be one of them -- it rarely happens.
  45. 1 point
    I tried so many teachers before i found one i feel is effective. I now have one who knows exactly how to get me to talk, using what we're learning. She is always asking me questions rather than “telling me” things, so I need to focus and listen closely as well as speaking. She corrects me just the right amount on pron/grammar/vocab. Not so much that it kills my confidence, but she consistently corrects me. I asked her once how long shes been teaching, she said several years. Ive only come across a couple other good teachers so far. This one is a diamond in the rough, and I wont let her go. I was also given the advice by an advanced Chinese learner that 3 hours a week is pretty much the minimum to get any real value.
  46. 1 point
    First time buying a graded reader, bought My Teacher is a Martian, Kindle version on Amazon. Love it! Well done on all fronts. Can't wait to read the other 150 and 300 character level ones. @Rufus If you're out there, I'm curious, do you recommend reading it silently or out loud? https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/44660-eliminating-subvocalisation/ Would you mind putting in your two cents as a publisher?
  47. 1 point
    yup i do it every now and then (5, 6 times a year ). Its a great way to see the nearby and faraway places . I went to 古北水镇 last weekend but have done a lot of much longer road trips. I heard about this temporary driving license facility at Beijing airport but no idea if its a reality or not., Might be best to to go and ask directly as rules and websites can become out of date quite quickly in China. As of a more general long term suggestion, If you plan to stay in Beijing for a while and have a resident permit then a chinese driving licence is the way to go. Its pretty straight forward if you use an agent.He wll bring you to the testing center and do everything (apart from sit the test). The test is fairly straightforward, 2 full days study you should pass Driving in Beijing is an experience, some foreigners make a song and dance about it but you get used to the rules or lack thereof, quite quickly. Its not as dangerous as people make out as everyone drives at a modest pace, even on the freeways, ring roads (compared to Europe) but the chances of a fender bender is higher. Its sterotyping i know but the average chinese person can't drive for *insert derogatory word of your choice*. So if you expect the unexpected (people cutting in front of you from junctions, no indictaors, driving whilst browsing their phones, driving down the street the wrong way etc) its pretty mangeable and an adventure. You can park overnight on the street (there is sometimes a number you can phone or someone will come peddling after you on a bike to take payment, in carparks etc) but its not cheap so best to hire the car the day you leave Beijing to go elsewhere . Finding a parking spot on the street is a difficult enough task though even a good deal out from the center I use the 神州租车 APP. its useful. You need to upload you passport and visa on the APP, wait for a few days for them to register you, go to one of their offices and enquire as to why they haven't, the guys wakes up from his afternoon nap looks at you startled like your an alien, then gets on with it , and bingo your set to go I link my ALIPAY account to it, you have 3 options, credit card details , alipay 芝麻points if you have them (700) or prepay deposit on the day. The car are usually good and cheap 200kuai upwards, 300 for a SUV but there is always 70 or so extra charges for this and that fee. A decent company don't make any issues about a few scuffs here and there, no more that hertz or avis do anyway. I like driving as its part of a road trip for me, full up with snacks, stop off at small towns, take detours to see lakes etc, see the sights but if its just a way of getting from A to B e.g. beijing to Xi'an then the high speed train is the way to go. However others I know just see it as stressful and avoid it if possible, each to their own. Actually I am thinking about the same trip soon to Xian, haven't been there in 10 years I doubth thats correct Shelly I have done it a load of times and every year there is a max exodus of rental cars leaving Beijing during chunjie and national holidays. In fact its hard to rent a car at that time as they are nearly all gone. Last time I went to 辽宁 and had to hire the top end range, everything else already gone can you even go there as a foreigner without an invite I seem hear varying reports about that all contradicting each other.
  48. 1 point
    Is it Hanping Chinese HSK (1-6) deck? Best do it on PC then Download the deck (Hanping_Chinese_HSK_1-6.apkg), double click to import into ANKI Open Browser Click on 'Hanping Chinese HSK' deck (left hand side) click on any card in the window. (The top window bar (right hand side) should show "deck:Hanping Chinese HSK" ) Select All (CTRL A) click SUSPEND, all rows will turn yellow in the window bar add the text 'tag:HSK1' so it will show "deck:Hanping Chinese HSK" tag:HSK1 600 rows should be displayed (150 of the HSK cards x 4 card types ) Select All again (CTRL A) click SUSPEND again, all 600 rows will back to white (i.e. unsuspended) when you want HSK2 included as well, just change the search to "deck:Hanping Chinese HSK" tag:HSK1 OR tag:HSK2 (1200 cards will be shown) and click SUSPEND (to toggle the 'suspend' action on /off) and you get the idea ....
  49. 1 point
    As far as the accents and dialects go in China, there are a ton. I studied in Beijing and found it hard to understand typical people on the streets. I studied in Kunming, at Keats, and also found the accent there different. But, most people can speak standard Mandarin so that once I got a feel for the accent, I was able to understand them. I found younger people to have the least accents, in general. The older driver from the airport to Keats had a pretty thick accent so I asked him if Mandarin was his native language, and it wasn't. I think that it's all part of the learning experience, and I wouldn't let the local accent be the deciding factor on where you choose to study. Also, I did a homestay for a month in Beijing and found it to be OK, but my biggest problem is that I think in English. I'd have a short dinner (and breakfast) with the family, then I'd go to study and they'd go to watch TV, and didn't invite me to join them. So, I'd go to my room, and think in English, so wasn't particularly "immersed". At the meals I didn't understand the older folks at all because of their very thick Beijing accents, and the 50 something "kids" would translate for me into standard Mandarin. I was probably an advanced beginner at that time. When I went to Keats I just stayed in the school itself and found it a lot less stressful than living in a stranger's apartment (but that's me). I found a coffee shop where the staff was bored and spoke standard ("perfect") Mandarin and would chat with them a few times a week. They were nice 20 something women who appreciated the foreigners going to their shop. If/when you find people who are willing to talk with you, you luck out. I went to a local temple and befriended the older men there through doing gung fu. They did have thick accents, but we had very interesting discussions about housing costs and prices of things. Keats hired a driver of a car to go to the Stone Forest and I sat in the front and had two hours each way of discussions about everything. As your vocabulary and Chinese move to higher levels you'll find that more people want to talk to you, because they're also curious about the west. Around the corner from Keats the last time I went was a new Western coffee shop and an English language school. Parents would drop off their kids and wait. I'd go there to get coffee (almost double the price of American coffee!) and study. I had two occasions to talk to parents in Chinese waiting for kids. To me, not the most extroverted person around, it took a little work to be available and open to talking to strangers. You get better at it with time, and have to be willing to accept rejections as well, because people have their own priorities in life and often don't want to have to try to understand a foreigner. Once you get beyond the "you speak Chinese very well, where do you study" level of conversation, it gets easier, and harder, to have "real" conversations about a vast array of topics. I'm a veterinarian and always find a vet hospital to visit where ever I am in China. I spent an afternoon in Kunming at a practice where the vet there is doing stem cell research, so I brushed up on my medical Chinese with my Keats teacher before I visited him. It takes work and dedication to find a way beneath the surface of Chinese people, language and culture. I found that my profession has helped a lot in that regard, though it wasn't my intent at the beginning. Since the vet didn't speak a word of English, the immersion was complete. Good luck on your journey, and be willing to try different schools and cities to broaden your experience.
  50. 1 point
    I have been going to China on business for 7-8 times, each time tagging on one or two weeks of intensive study. However, I work full time in another country and use Chinese at work sometimes when I am not in China (my work involves communicating with experts (mostly in English) in various countries and China is one. I need Chinese if I am to communicate with these people but I could have used an interpreter too). I have learnt most of my Chinese on those short courses though. Additionally I probably spent 80 percent of my time on listening comprehension and this has paid off. You end up knowning what to say in a particular context because you have "heard" it before. I do 2-4 hours of skype with a Bejing based teacher over the weekend. That works as well as the course nearly. I also study 3 hours a day which is related to a commute I do. Took me around five years to reach this level. I dont know what you term near fluency. I can do presentations and moderate events. For my line of work that is enough fluency.
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