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Showing content with the highest reputation since 12/09/2019 in Posts

  1. 4 points
    Foreign language performance (listening comprehension, reading rate, speaking intelligibility, etc.) can be regarded as a random variable subject to variance caused by external factors (Did you get enough sleep last night? Are you in a noisy environment? Have you ever encountered the current conversation topic?) Some performance metrics have so much variance that it is hard to see your progress at all over time. For example, the plot below shows about a year's worth of my data from daily reading practice. Some days I breeze through the material, and some days I feel like I'm plowing through mud, but the mean shows slow, steady, and statistically significant improvement. Don't be discouraged by your "downs"; the "ups" will cancel them out.
  2. 3 points
    Oh, only since birth. And suddenly I feel better about my running spreadsheet...
  3. 3 points
    Absolutely, don't beat yourself up. If something isn't working for you, or you need a break, try doing something different. For example, if you're getting burned out on a textbook you could take a break to dive into a podcast, try deeply watching some TV, or maybe read a short story. If you are getting burned out on grinding through books or TV, maybe do the opposite - pick up a graded reader or textbook and see if that brings some focus back to your study.
  4. 2 points
    Before moving to Kunming, I mainly thought of celery as something to turn into a salad. But here in China it is more often used as a hearty, medicinal vegetable. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) maintains that it dispels excess internal heat and lowers blood pressure. In addition to that, it boosts the immune system and fights constipation. As if that were not enough, it is also prescribed as a tonic to calm the nerves and fortify one against stress. By now it should not surprise you to learn that China has several kinds of celery, in fact 5 or 6 distinct types. The two main ones that you can find in every fresh market are the thick-stalk western kind 西芹菜that I used in today’s dish and a thin-stalked indigenous kind 本地芹菜that is typically used together with meat as a stuffing for dumplings and steamed buns. My photo, below left, shows the western kind, and the Baidu picture, below right, shows the indigenous kind. (Please click the pictures to enlarge them.) For stir fry dishes, such as today’s, celery works best when cut on a bias. The feathered ends cook quickly and soak up flavor well. After cleaning and cutting the celery, I blanched it in a pot of boiling unsalted water. When the water returned to a boil, I fished it out and dropped it into a large basin of cold water for a few seconds. This cold shock after blanching helps the celery remain crisp and retain its attractive green color. Rinse, pat dry and slice the small sections of dry tofu 豆腐干。This tofu product is immensely popular all over China possibly because it has tons of character and flavor. It is light years from boring and bland. The tofu is brined and marinated in interesting spices before being pressed and finally smoked. Works very well as a meat substitute. I'm not vegetarian, but I still enjoy it sometimes in place of meat. Ingredients all laid out, time to fire up the wok. As you see, I’ve also thinly sliced a red bell pepper 红甜椒 and minced a small amount of ginger 生姜 and garlic 独蒜。Used a couple tablespoons of corn oil 玉米油, added to a hot wok. Today we will exclusively work over medium-high heat, just shy of smoking. Quickly fry the ginger and garlic, being careful not to burn them. Add the red bell peppers. After only seconds on high flame, add the celery to the center. All new ingredients start out in the center since it’s the hottest part of the wok. Make room for each addition by pushing partially-cooked ingredients up the sides, where it is cooler. After you have added the tofu strips and mixed everything a couple of times, salt it well by sprinkling in a teaspoon or so of coarse salt from 8 or 10 inches up in the air. If you just dump in a teaspoon of salt, it might never get thoroughly mixed. Do the same with a pinch of sugar and MSG 味精 if you use it. (I use a little bit, a pinch -- between 1/8 and ¼ of a teaspoon.) A tablespoon or two of light soy sauce 生抽 goes in next. Pour liquid seasonings onto the back of your spatula and let it splash into the whole dish. Ditto for a tablespoon or two of oyster sauce 蚝油。Last of all, add the chopped scallions. They provide fragrance and touch of contrasting bite. If your left arm is strong, emulate the professional chefs by using it to shake the wok back and forth as you stir with right. Stir and flip like your life depended on it: this needs to be a fast process; time is not on your side. If you dawdle, the dish will overcook: the tofu will turn to mush and the vegetables will lose their crunch. You will forfeit your hard-earned Michelin star. Serve it up 装盘。Eat it with a bowl of steamed rice 米饭。Tasty, inexpensive and pretty darned healthy. Raw material cost, enough to serve two people, about one US Dollar. Took under 30 minutes, start to finish. Clean-up not daunting. Hope you will feel moved to give it a try. Very Chinese, very straight-ahead simple. Phoning for take-out has its place every now and then. But so does do-it-yourself.
  5. 2 points
    Hi Guys, I just got my HSK 4 and 5 exam results back results posted to HSK results thread here The 2019 thread and previous threads have been a source of inspiration for me and I hope no one minds that I get the 2020 thread started a little early. While I failed HSK5 fairly hard, I was happy that I did most of what I had set out to do in 2019 with massive amounts of listening practise and watching of TV shows - I saw a big improvement in general communication. 2020 I'd like to pass HSK5 with a 200+ Get into structured classes again. At some point during 2020 - turn off the subtitles on the tv shows. Thanks !
  6. 2 points
    I really liked 影. The story is really predictable but Zhang Yimou's style shines through really nicely. I've also seen 白蛇:起源 and enjoyed it a lot. But most importantly I watched 三峽好人 last weekened. What a beautiful film, touching and provocative on many levels.
  7. 2 points
  8. 2 points
    One of the reasons I'm ploughing on with Chinese is that research has shown that language learning (among other things) helps the brain to maintain neuroplasticity, and possibly stave off dementia.
  9. 2 points
    Welcome to the joys of learning Chinese. This must be one of the commonest comments people make, sometimes called the plateau effect. My advice - Don't worry about it, plod on and eventually you will have another aha moment and you will be filled with enthusiasm again. the important thing is consistency, keep at it and you will find the plateaus get smaller and the highs are longer, but I don't think it ever gets totally flat. I think its just the nature of language learning, some of is just hard work and some of it is intuitive and when the hard work outweighs the intuitive it feels like you are not making progress. There will always be progress but it get less and less as there becomes less and less to learn. Its also a case of diminishing returns, as explained very well by our good friends at Hacking Chinese https://chinesehacks.com/study/learning-chinese-and-the-law-of-diminishing-returns/
  10. 2 points
    this wikipedia article might help https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/寧靜禱文
  11. 2 points
    First time doing one of these "tattoo translations", so let me rant a little. First of all, 接受 is a verb. Also, acceptance is a rather broad term. When translating anything to Chinese it helps to give context. Acceptance could mean that you're happy with your lot in life, or that you've learned from your past mistakes and that you're now able to grow in life. One is resignation, the other is someone trying to turn over a new leaf by acknowledging his past mistakes. Is the purpose of the words chosen for this tattoo to be intentionally vague? If I were to replace "acceptance" to something like contentment you could use: 知足, which means to know contentment (hence happiness). Courage in Chinese seems to be often accompanied by what you might call "lofty foolhardiness". As in that someone has to be bold to tempt their fate in life.The same goes for "wisdom". It's too broad. Are we talking about resourcefulness, wit, enlightenment, intelligence, ingenuity, vision, etc? Personally though, I've never been a fan of such tattoos. I find them superficial. That being said I still would like to give you an alternative; why not go for an idiomatic phrase. e.g. "知足身常乐,能忍心自安。“ Lit. being content with what one has brings happiness; [one who] can exercise forbearance [will be] peaceful at heart.” > This sentence covers everything but courage, albeit in more context. Or, ”知人者智,自知者名。“ Lit. [One who] knows others [is] intelligent; [one who] know himself is wise. Which is a phrase from Laozi's 道德经.
  12. 1 point
    just got the results from hsk4 and hsk5 done on November 16 passed hsk4 but score wasn’t 完美 failed hsk5 but not terribly upset about it - wasn’t prepared and passed the 听力 barely - I really have never practiced writing since I started learning - need to get on it. Really could have failed that HSK5 by a lot more - i guessed more than half of the 阅读, and the writing was brutal no idea how I got 46.
  13. 1 point
    pretty sure this is everyones struggle, takes years. Two things I could recommend from my own experience is shadowing mass sentences and reading lots of books aloud. The former is good for internalising rhythmns, the latter is good for forcing your brain to sound out the emphasis of a sentence based on comprehension. You will quickly get a feel of how to express the different meanings of say 他是我的朋友 and 他是我的朋友 by actually voicing out sentences over and over. I spent months reading the defrancis readers out loud and it made a massive difference for me.
  14. 1 point
    Subtitles for Episode 7 – I Love Beijing Opera Happy Chinese 快乐汉语 Ep007 SRT subtitles.ass
  15. 1 point
    T That sounds good! I think that was probably a different kind of tofu. From your description, might have been 包浆豆腐。Made on a griddle. These pieces of tofu like I used today are dry. One could tear them in pieces if so inclined. So much can be done with tofu. Never ceases to amaze me.
  16. 1 point
    You are partly right. 死 is the meaning of this character and the rest indicates the sound of this character in Ancient Chinese (both character sounds like *hmeungs) but this is not a cross between the two characters. They are simply combined like A+B=AB.
  17. 1 point
    Anyone else who lives in China and could help me test out two VPN setups I have running right now? One uses OpenVPN and requires you to download either Tunnelblick[0] (MacOS) or OpenVPN Connect client[1] (Windows), the either one uses Wireguard and you need the Wireguard client[2] for that one. The OpenVPN client and Wireguard are also available on mobile platforms. [0] https://tunnelblick.net/downloads.html [1] https://openvpn.net/client-connect-vpn-for-windows/ [2] https://www.wireguard.com/install/
  18. 1 point
  19. 1 point
    I've done it and found it helpful. The only problem was that my teacher hated Chinese Breeze, or at least the book we were using. She kept telling me "That's fake Chinese." Wanted me to use native content instead. The reason I preferred the Chinese Breeze book was that I could listen to the dialogues on my own (the CD's were included) and practice saying things right on my own in between sessions with the teacher. I could also do the short "self tests" that were included at the end of each chapter.
  20. 1 point
    The HSK is general and aims for breadth rather than depth. It contains a bit of this and a bit of that across a broad range of topics, authors, writing styles and genres. It also stops at upper intermediate. Contrast this with reading some piece of Chinese content, which is typically specific to a certain topic, author, writing style and genre, and that has a significant impact on the relative frequencies of the words you encounter. I've written about both of these topics separately, here and here.
  21. 1 point
    I have download the CTA, and it is quite a nice tool. I imported only HSK1-3 (to be on the safe side) and so there are a lot of "dud" unknown words so far, but it's really convenient that I can just mark them as known with one hit of the spacebar. It's nice to see my progress - I have probably quite a few "dud" unknown words to mark off but so far my number of known words is a lot higher than I expected and that is very reassuring for those times when I self-consciously wonder if my Chinese abilities might just be more acting skills than attained knowledge. Interestingly, the vast majority of my unknown words are either HSK5, 6, or (in most cases) * tier. I had no idea that the HSK was so limited.
  22. 1 point
    Note that Zhang Yimou's "Shadaow" has been added to Netflix. If you haven't seen it I recommend that is your next movie to watch.
  23. 1 point
    The non-native copying characters has to get the characters from somewhere. Perhaps a native-speaker mistakenly wrote the wrong character someplace else and this soldier copied it onto his helmet.
  24. 1 point
    Yes, just playing around wih the colour balance, saturation, and contrast to bring out the script.
  25. 1 point
    To help those learning to read handwritten Chinese or trying to improve their penmanship, here is a compilation of handwritten Chinese characters for reference. It currently contains examples extracted from the HCL2000 database (PDF). I created an individual PNG image for 3755 Chinese characters, and each image contains 16 handwritten examples of that character selected randomly from one of 1000 different writers. For example, "好.png" is shown below. Find the Github repo here. Download a ZIP file of the images here. (28.8 MB)
  26. 1 point
    I do this with my italki teacher for all the dialogues and texts in the standard course textbook. They look like this: First we review the new words by the side of the text, then I try to read the text out loud. Teacher prompts me if I can't remember any hanzi. Next she reads the text in short chunks and I repeat: teacher - student - teacher - student etc. so I can hear the tones and make sure I'm pronouncing correctly. Then she'll ask me if I understood the text. (Answer is usually: 差不多, but I don't get hung up on understanding every single word.) If I have any grammar questions this is when I pick that up. Finally she'll ask me several comprehension questions about the text: Why did this person say that? According to person X, why shouldn't you do Y? And so on. This might not be to everyone's taste, but it works for me. Actually I think these texts are one of the more useful parts of the textbook (and they come with MP3 audio too).
  27. 1 point
    same here mate! I have been studying English for 20 years now, it is the only language I speak daily and I still feel ups and downs...so yeah that's probably not going to change. Just enjoy the good moments and don't take it personally
  28. 1 point
    I am now roughly at HSK5 level, and noticed the following: 1) only from very recently I have been able to start consuming a significant amount of native material (websites, TV series, anime, comic books - nothing that requires specialized knowledge). I found that, while a HSK4 foundation is in my opinion insufficient in allowing you to transition to "real world" stuff, HSK5 is largely sufficient. The challenges for me shifted quite a bit: wth an HSK4 vocabulary I just couldn't understand because I didn't know half of the words in a sentence, doesn't matter how many times I listened. With an HSK5 vocabulary - I still don't understand most times - but it is largely a matter of speed. 2) among the new words that I learn from native material which are too advanced for HSK5, comparatively few belong to HSK6. In my opinion, this is because the HSK6 is very academic in nature. That is to say, some of the words you will learn for HSK6 will not really help you in explaining a concept that you wouldn't be able to explain otherwise, but rather doing it so in a more "refined" way. This is of course desirable but -in my view -not as necessary as having a good base for getting by in any situation. So in conclusion, I think there isn't really an alternative to studying at least to HSK5 if you want to achieve any degree of proficiency. Or in other words, whether you are a hairdresser or a university professor, you will need most of the HSK5 words in your everyday life. From there on however, I think the choice varies from person to person. Of course you can stick to the HSK if you find it convenient, but I think you already have all you need to move on to different (and more interesting) sources. You will probably end up covering most of the HSK 6 vocabulary in the end anyways, but in a more balanced way.
  29. 1 point
    If you're already wondering whether HSK5 will be worth it to you... then, forgive me, maybe you should just stick to having someone do all the talking for you. Words like neck, glass, playground, product, to quarrel, and the like aren't what you might call "low frequency". Personally, and let me make myself clear in saying that I don't belittle people for just wanting to get the base essentials in a language; I think a language is there solely for communication. I don't care about ancient Chinese, nor do I care about calligraphy. I study Chinese because I have Chinese people I want to talk to about topics that go further than kindergarten-grade. For example; people rarely use ”粗糙“ in their day to day lives (from HSK5), which translates to rough, whether it be as a material or to describe a situation/way of doing things. Still, it's a word I've used quite often due to having had surgery and the rough lining around my tongue is driving me crazy. It's a word I could do without, but then I'd have to use 10 words to describe one.
  30. 1 point
    Common experiences for me when I first arrived in China: (Orders food in Chinese in a restaurant) Waitress: (in Chinese) "wow, your Chinese is really good!" Compared with: (Orders food in Chinese in a different restaurant the next day) Waitress: ???? Zero understanding of what I just said. We try to communicate but in the end I point the menu and say "这个". And similarly for taxi drivers, etc I think some of it is down to whether people are used to dealing with foreigners. Chinese is difficult! 加油!
  31. 1 point
    I'm currently working on a compilation based on the HIT-MW database, which was collected from people copying texts out longhand. I think the examples here are more reflective of the sort of handwriting you'd actually encounter in day-to-day life.
  32. 1 point
    The jump to native materials is always going to be difficult no matter when you make it because there are skills and stamina required for reading native content that you can only build up by reading native content.
  33. 1 point
    What? You've never had deep discussions about the Loess Plateau and soil composition? Man, you haven't lived. /s That hits way too close to home, haha. Though when it comes to verbs it isn't that uncommon, for example "沁". Or the names of animals/dinosaurs. I don't mind the broad scope of the word lists. The perfect solution would be a brief introduction to topics, with relevant vocabulary... Or you know... better focus on grammar, writing, logic etc... In the end you all have to admit that the jump from HSK to "native" materials makes you launch from a pretty shaky foundation.
  34. 1 point
    Many people who come here for tattoo advice don't know much more about Chinese characters than that they look cool. Many have never considered that they can be written wrong or in an ugly font, or that the tattoo artist can get things wrong. Occasionally someone comes here with a tattoo idea and in the end decides against getting the tattoo after learing more from people like Shelley, or decide to do more research into the tattooist before getting one. Sure, people come for the simple 'what characters to get' part of the advice, but the rest of it is valuable too and I don't think we should stop doing it just because the asker is a fellow adult.
  35. 1 point
    You also need to play around with the lighting. It looks like you're using a flash, and that can tend to wash out colours. Natural shaded sunlight is best.
  36. 1 point
    Until you start diving into authentic Chinese materials you don't really know how much these kind of words show up. How would you feel about being HSK5-6 if you picked up a children's novel and had to look it up?
  37. 1 point
    Upside down, but 中華陶瓷, the mark of the China Pottery Arts Co., as it was known in English. It operated from 1958 at Beitou on Taiwan.
  38. 1 point
    New HSK stops at upper intermediate. Old HSK advanced actually was advanced. So it was 'better' in that it went further and required a higher level in order to pass the upper levels. It still had its flaws (it didn't really test speaking), but it was more thorough. Words show up in unexpected places. You'll probably be seeing this word everywhere for the next few weeks (only half joking here). At some point though, if you're preparing an advanced level test you're going to be reaching in order to produce relevant vocab. The current HSK has 5,000 words at the top level, the old one almost 9,000. Almost every word from 5,000 to 9,000 will be low frequency, but generally speaking a 9,000 word vocabulary will provide significantly better comprehension of texts than a 5,000 word vocab (I say comprehension of texts, because that's really what the HSK is testing with those vocabs).
  39. 1 point
    OK, I don't have time just now to address this fully, but how was it "better"? As a teacher (not of Chinese, of course) for more than 25 years, I am usually very suspicious of the claims of assessments and tests. But as a Chinese learner, I'm also curious about the graphs on that blog which appear to show (if I understand them correctly) that HSK levels 5-6 include a lot of very uncommon vocabulary. As if learning those words makes you a better communicator. How useful really are those "advanced" words? To put it another way: for those who've studied HSK 5-6, is it really useful in terms of living your daily life in a Chinese-speaking country? When I look at the old HSK list I see words like 沙土 (sandy soil) which I can't ever imagine using in my life. So I do wonder if we can argue against "modernisation" of the word list.
  40. 1 point
    Well put - I'm sure for many of us here the first draw to learn Chinese was precisely this, the aesthetic of characters and wanting to understand the unknown
  41. 1 point
    Thanks so much, Weyland and Edelweis! You guessed right about it being an AA related serenity prayer thing. I had a feeling 接受 wasn't really a synonym for "acceptance," but couldn't think of any word that worked. I'll run getting the whole poem as a tattoo by him. He might not want to give up the geometry of having eight big characters tattooed on him, but I think the whole tattoo would be better. I hadn't thought of that as an option. If it were my body, I wouldn't get any tattoo, and if I did get a tattoo, it definitely wouldn't be Hanzi. If I had to get a tattoo, it'd probably be a wrist watch with the face blank so I can write things like "party," "smashing" or "to go" on it with a sharpie and then point at it and say, "it's party time," "it's smashing time." or "it's time to go." This is why I don't have a tattoo. But I've been well trained and generally don't question my in-laws' decisions.
  42. 1 point
    So the Wikipedia article you linked has a nice structured version by Hong Songxian (洪宋弦), if @Dahuzi's father doesn't mind getting the entire poem inscribed on his body. But then again... Though, if it's for AA then I guess it's fine.
  43. 1 point
    Old habits die hard, which is why its so important to get into good habits as early as possible. This is why so many struggle with tones. Its also why some of my Chinese friends who have studied English for 20+ years, and speak fluent English often with more eloquency than native speakers, will still say "open the light".
  44. 1 point
    I also have aphantasia (I self-diagnosed about 11 years ago, before it was a recognized condition). I don't have a huge amount of advice for you, but want you to know you're not alone! I've always struggled to produce vocabulary, even in very familiar situations, which I attribute to the inability to attach new terms with their real-world object. Concepts and objects are very rooted to their linguistic representation in my mind, so it's hard to get past the mental translation stage. I just started learning Chinese. I imagine writing will be a challenge (I draw a house just like you do, but I can't draw the house I lived in for 22 years because I can't remember how many windows it has, or whether it was white or grey), but reading has been surprisingly easy - probably due to years of coping strategies & finding explicit ways to recognize things. What has worked well for me so far has been diving in to the character components that aren't always taught, in my experience, at the beginning - learning the most common radicals and pronunciation components. Learning the components (rather than just entire complete characters) makes it a bit easier for me to decode and puzzle together the meaning.
  45. 1 point
    Here is another example of myself being frustrated about not finding a consensus regarding the correct tones. 我们为何不坐下来聊聊呢? Google translator: zuò xiàlái Pleco: zuò xiàlai Zhongwen Chinese Popup Dictionary only sees them as pairs. So, either: "zuòxia" or "xiàlai". Does that make it zuòxialai (zuo4xia5lai5)?
  46. 1 point
    Pretty much. But there are some logical connections missing from your translation. 我這時候死了,... *If* I die now, ... 別的...,就是... It's a contrastive structure with the main clause in the post position, so the general meaning is really like "There's nothing much I can't leave behind, except him. I'm worried about him."
  47. 1 point
    It is with some trepidation that I will try to give you a little background on how tofu is made and consumed here in my part of China (Yunnan, Kunming.) Since it is such a vast topic and I lack expertise, what I did was just walk around my neighborhood wet market and take snapshots of the tofu that was readily available. I'll simply show you the photos and tell you what I can about what they show. (Remember, you can click the photos to enlarge them.) It goes without saying that other types can be found in supermarkets, the result of rigidly standardized large-scale industrial processes. These are nicely wrapped and have ingredients and expiration dates listed on the package. But they often come with flavor enhancers, preservatives, stabilizers, and coloring agents to make them sell better. My 老百姓 neighbors eschew them as "factory food," and find their way to the wet market to buy the "real stuff" instead. It also goes without saying that tofu differs from place to place within China, and even more so when talking about those from Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma and so on. These often represent the taste preferences of members of the Chinese diaspora who landed and settled there many years ago. These "foreign tofu's" also often reflect changes made to incorporate local ingredients: coconut milk on such and such island, fish sauce in such and such port, and so on. All tofu starts out as soy milk, extracted with heat from soybeans, that has been acidulated to produce curdling or coagulation into a solid form. That basic raw tofu is then strained and pressed into blocks. It can be pressed a little or a lot, making it thin enough to need to be kept in a pot, or a little thicker, sort of like jello, or a lot thicker and firmer like cheese. (I have oversimplified grievously.) Here's a look at some of that basic raw tofu. In the two photos above, you can see a color difference between the tofu in the foreground and that in the background. The "whiter" tofu in back is softer; it is called 嫩豆腐 (nen doufu) or "tender" tofu. That in the front is slightly firmer and is called 老豆腐 (lao doufu) or "tough" tofu, though it isn't very tough at all. Some recipes work best with one, some with the other. Tofu vendors frequently sell other things as well, things that are often paired with tofu or things that can easily be made with the same raw materials. Photo on the left shows soy bean sprouts and mung bean sprouts next to the nice lady who sells them. Bottom left in this photo is a non-tofu item that is often eaten instead of tofu; it's made from bean sprouts that have been processed differently, often with addition of some natural gelatin. Goes by the name 凉粉 (liang fen) around here; in the west, when it can be found, it gets the odd name "grass jelly." In these parts it's usually cut in strips and served cold with a sauce of chilies and scallions. Sometimes the tofu is barely solidified at all, being described as "silken." This extremely soft style is known here as "tofu flowers" 豆花 and is used in making several delicious dishes such as 豆花米线 (tofu flower rice noodles) which is one of Kunming's signature snacks 小吃。Douhua mixian 豆花米线 is shown below right. The food stall offers a meatless version or a version with seasoned ground pork. I'm not vegetarian and I enjoy the kind that has meat, as you see here. It is sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and includes pickled chopped greens 泡菜 and several kinds of herbs to achieve a result that is just this side of Heaven. Often tofu is processed instead of being consumed in it's raw, unadulterated state. One of the most common things that is done to it is to press it, removing some moisture and allowing a concentration of flavors. This process is particularly prized when the water with which the tofu has been made tastes good on its own. This is true of the deep Artesian well water of Jianshui 建水 and Shiping 石屏, both ancient cities in SE Yunnan's Honghe Prefecture 红河州。 Here is some of that on display at the stall where I usually buy it: Not surprisingly, these rectangular sheets of pressed Shiping tofu come in different tastes and textures. You can buy firmer or softer; milder or more flavorful varieties, tailored to your preference or cooking application. Some of this tofu has been allowed to ferment slightly and is formed into small "packets" shown at the rear of both photos above. This tofu is "mildly stinky" 臭豆腐 -- a far cry from the hugely pungent product popular in Taiwan. In the far left of the photo just above, in a white basket, is the notorious "hairy tofu" 毛豆腐, that has a very distinctive look, aroma, and taste. The photo below left shows another vendor's hairy tofu. Some days it's more photogenic than others. Below right you see a snack stall on the edge of the market where the guy is grilling the small briquettes of stinky tofu to serve hot with a spicy dipping sauce. You belly up to the bar facing him, sit on a low stool, and eat your fill. He keeps track of your consumption with small colored beans and and the sharp eye of an experienced casino croupier; you settle your account after eating your fill. Once tofu has been pressed it can be brined and then smoked, as discussed in the recipe posted here yesterday. As you can well imagine, the finished product is affected by the kind of tofu one pressed to start with and then how it was soaked, in what and for how long. Finally, the flavor and texture are further dictated by how it is smoked, over what wood or twigs and for how long. It comes in several shapes, analogous to the way smoked cheese varies: a smoked Edam is not the same as a smoked Provolone. One from this maker may not be exactly like that from his neighbor. Sometimes tofu is deep fried, puffing it up and giving it a golden color. It can then be eaten with a sauce, or served together with dishes that contain lots of gravy, such as red cooked pork 红烧肉。Here below left is some of it coming out fresh from the wok. That's a good time to buy it, instead of later the same day after it has sat around in a plastic bag getting stale. Sometimes tofu-making byproducts are for sale, such as tofu skin that has risen to the top of the pot during processing. It can be air dried or fried, and is usually sold as tofu skin 豆腐皮。(Below right.) Numerous special local wrinkles exist, such as this vendor who only sells tofu made with the water of a prized mountain spring in NE Yunnan's Xuanwei County 宣威县。It sells for a small premium but there is always a line outside his stall, telling me that it's in high demand. I've tried it, but honestly can't tell the difference. One part of my neighborhood wet market is "tofu row" with about 25 vendors near each other. Some have the usual fare, and others have exotica. Some make it completely on the premises and others have workrooms nearby where the rent is cheaper. They resupply throughout the day by motorbike or electric scooter 电动车。 This vendor makes his on the premises and has a workshop behind the sales area. You can see a tall pot on the stove, in the left corner. Probably has more kinds than anyone else. Unfortunately he is not very forthcoming and doesn't like to chat about his wares. You point and he bags it up; you hand over your money and leave. Not even a thank you. What I do from a practical standpoint is buy certain tofu staples over and over from the same one or two vendors. Then from time to time I branch out and try new types or new variations on the old types. I often ask the sellers for their recommendations as to cooking methods. Sometimes I try something in a restaurant that I would like to try to reproduce, or watch something being made on TV. Before moving here a decade ago I seldom ate tofu at all; in fact practically never. Now it's something I have about once a week. Good source of protein without many calories and it is definitely economical. For better or worse, tofu has become part of my China life. Here's a link to the last two tofu recipes: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/56990-addictive-smoked-tofu-青椒豆腐干/ https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/56975-sunday-brunch-tofu-and-eggs-豆腐炒鸡蛋/
  48. 1 point
    Hey, I've made the decks for episodes 1 to 6. Anybody still making more? Let me know if there are any problems with the deck, I use a lot of Anki AddOns, so there may be issues. https://www.dropbox.com/s/865plnxouy807cx/Happy Chinese with Susan%2C Episodes 1 - 6.apkg?dl=0 For the deck to function properly, you need to install this plugin, which will queue up a listening version of the cards once your comprehension of the sentence is well learned enough. https://www.dropbox.com/s/3hw2rqmwr885fg1/Learned_FieldTag.py?dl=0 That should be the only AddOn you actually need for things to work correctly. You can also install my branch of MorphMan, JiebaMorph, which will add some nice functionality. Let me know if you're interested in getting that set up properly, since it takes a little configuration. https://github.com/NinKenDo64/Jieba-Morph
  49. 1 point
    Hi, I think Manuel just nailed it, as a non-native English speaker I guess I can bring my two cents, and I can tell you this: often, though at least in reading I might be considered a C1 or even more (I have a gap between my listening skills and my reading skills) I still got problems to make out if someone tells me "I can't" or "I can", so I rely on the context: If someone says "Sorry I can't do it" even though they don't say the "t", or they speak very fast and I don't make out any difference, I can of course understand very easily and the association in my brain is very prompt. Or like the terms "word" and "ward", I really still don't hear almost any difference when a native says them each one on its own, or maybe I hear something very very tiny, but of course it's impossibile not to be able to distinguish between these two words in normal conversation, since the context will be always quite different. So, I never paid attention to the prononciation of these 2 "wards" since there was no actual need. Or take for instance many native English speakers that may say "ho' " (without the "t", at least for me) or all the connected speech or contracions like "dunno", since you have context, you don't really need to make out these words. My chinese teacher told me to listen naturally when she speaks and try to imitate her, avoiding thinking too much about each tone when I'm speaking, otherwise it'll be a huge and not rewarding job. I noticed that if you ask a native Chinese speaker the tone of some characters, sometimes they have to think a little bit, it's not immediate, they have just imitated their parents when they learned chinese, not really knowing they were making tones. And what about the fact that almost no native English speaker would ever say "I askt her", making the "t" very clear, I guess they say something like "I ast her", since it's not easy to let the words flow well in the first case. So you already know that unlike what they teach you in Chinese textbooks, Chinese people almost never say the third tone entirely, but it's more like an half third tone, and they do that for the same reasons native English speakers won't say the above mentioned sentence in the way it is supposed to be pronounced.
  50. 1 point
    So, this is more information, that may or may not be useful.. (if no one ever reads this thread at least it serves as a bookmark of useful links to me ) However if you specifically want to improve your Putonghua, you can look here, www.bjradio.com.cn or specifically this link here. They have a training center and apparently do accent correction...etc etc. It was the info that I received from the putonghua office i talk about below: And if you want to get yelled by a mean chinese lady, but in the process get a free Putonghua evaluation (depending on how slick you are) call this number: 首师大测试站电话:68903424 68902814 To make a long story short I wanted to inquire about this whole exam since I might take it next year and need to actually start preparing. My personal goal is just ultimately score in the solid 80's after I work on my tones more, etc etc...,which according to this would be"中小学及幼儿园、校外教育单位的教师,普通话水平不低于二级乙等(80分),其中语文教师不低于二级甲等(87分)。" So anyway I call and ask about the exam. Immediaty the lady says you won't pass the exam you would only get a score of 70 something and asks if I'm from Xinjiang. OMG! I actually don't mind getting some really direct criticism (since my other teacher gives it to me all the time anyway, and given my totaly disregard for tones lately, in comparison to my friend who had the 80.7, this sounds about right) but I then had to explain, yes I KNOW I wouldn't 'pass it' and I am trying to find some Putonghua resources (I also want to学好普通话,让普通话伴我天下行嘿嘿嘿), hence I am calling your office. . Anyway, the whole conversation was quite funny I suppose in a 哭笑不得 kind of way...but after a diaperless baby peed on my shoe on the bus today I think I'm leaning more towards 哭
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