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Showing content with the highest reputation since 12/12/2018 in all areas

  1. 15 points
    It was all because I, out of curiosity, downloaded @imron's Chinese Text Analyzer. I just wanted to get a rough idea on how different Chinese writers compare with each other in terms of accessibility for foreign language learners. As a native speaker, I'm not in a good position to assess the relative ease or difficulty of a book. Of course I know 《道德经》 is more difficult than 《小布头奇遇记》. But what about normal books that normal people read? I wanted a more objective criterion. And I think I've found one – the number of unique characters in a book. (Total characters and unique words are also useful – Chinese word segmentation is not a perfect science but the number still means something when comparing different texts.) After running a dozen of .txt files through CTA, I have some interesting findings: 1) 余华 really is easy. He is like the Chinese Hemingway. You can't get any easier, really. 余华's 《活着》 is a favorite among Chinese learners for good reason. It has 1865 unique characters, significantly lower than 2619, the number of unique characters in 曹文轩's 《草房子》, a children's novel suitable for 4-6th graders. 2) For advanced readers like imron, who knows 4400 characters and has quite a few 金庸s under his belt, the Four Classic Novels or 四大名著 should be theoretically within reach. (《水浒传》 was among the first novels I read. I was in 初一 and I don't think I knew that many characters. I didn't understand everything of course, but understanding everything isn't the point.) So it was a dark and stormy night. I ran a dozen of .txt files through CTA. And the perfectionist in me wasn't happy. As anyone who has used these "free" e-books knows, they're a very mixed bag. Typos, OCR errors, bad formatting, and no way to know which version/edition they are based on. When all the texts you pull from the internet give you 身后“”的马蹄声, you know something is missing. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I bought some 300 yuan's worth of books and was proofreading e-books... That's when it struck me: We have a First Episode Project, why not a First Chapter Project? Thus here I am, presenting you with 第一弹 of the First Chapter Project! biu~biu~ The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu. The reason I chose it is because: 1) It's popular. It's one of the bestselling books on JD.com, Dangdang, and Amazon.cn. 2) It's a contemporary work, not too easy, not too difficult, and rather heavy on dialogue. A major obstacle may be technical vocabulary. But the Chinese technical words are mostly compounds and relatively transparent compared to English. And you don't need to be a scientist to read science fictions. From what I gathered from JD.com reviews, children as young as 10 are able to enjoy this book. How much do you reckon they know about particle physics or radio cosmology? Not much. It's just a fun escapist adventure. Don't take it too seriously. 3) It has two different versions of the first chapter. The novel was first serialized in Science Fiction World in 2006, because the opening scene (China at the height of the Cultural Revolution) was deemed too sensitive for the year 2006 – the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the said revolution. In the book version published in 2008, the story begins instead in present-day Beijing – the original Chapter 1 was tone down a bit and became Chapter 7. The English translation from 2014, which went on to win the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel, was based on the serialized version. Personally, I like the book narrative better. Science fiction with no sign of science in the first 30 pages is, frustrating. Although admittedly, had it not been for the Cultural Revolution theme, it wouldn't have won the Hugo Award and I wouldn't have read it in the first place. All right, enough third conditionals. Let's get to the main course. 《三体》,刘慈欣,重庆出版社,2008年1月第1版,2017年8月第7次印刷,ISBN 978-7-5366-9293-0 Difficulty: medium; Total characters: 162,680; Unique characters: 2,817; Unique words: 10,228 (not counting preface, epilogue and the like) First chapter (6,897 characters): (I made two corrections: 不、不→不,不 and 看去很小很小→看上去很小很小) Characters: 汪淼 Wāng Miǎo – Nanomaterials researcher (淼,大水也。 Personal names are the best opportunity to get acquainted with some rare characters, e.g., 金鑫, 牛犇, 朴文垚.) 史强 Shǐ Qiáng – Police detective and counter-terrorism specialist, nicknamed 大史 Dà Shǐ 常伟思 Cháng Wěisī – Major general of the People's Liberation Army 杨冬 Yáng Dōng – String theorist, recently committed suicide 丁仪 Dīng Yí – Theoretical physicist, Yang Dong's boyfriend 申玉菲 Shēn Yùfēi – Chinese-Japanese physicist and member of the Frontiers of Science Other names: 科学边界 Kēxué Biānjiè – Frontiers of Science, a fictional international academic group 吉普赛人 Jípǔsàirén – Gypsy 北约 Běiyuē (abbr. for 北大西洋公约组织) – NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) 中央情报局 Zhōngyāng Qíngbào Jú (中情局) – Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) 罗非鱼 Luófēiyú – tilapia 良湘 Liángxiāng – Fictional place name, site of China's new high-energy particle accelerator 钱钟书 Qián Zhōngshū (1910.11.21–1998.12.19) – Chinese literary scholar and writer 白桦树 Báihuàshù – Siberian silver birch (Betula platyphylla) 联合国教科文组织 Liánhéguó Jiào Kē Wén Zǔzhī – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 三菱电机 Sānlíng Diànjī – Mitsubishi Electric 石器时代 Shíqì Shídài – Stone Age Vocabulary (explanations in Chinese, taken from 《现代汉语词典》第7版 and 教育部《重編國語辭典修訂本》): (A bit long, so I'll just fold it into a spoiler tag) ==================== P.S. If you're planning to buy the book, don't buy the hard copy, at least not until there's a revision. They made 200+ changes to the original text, ranging from unnecessary (它几乎完全被野草埋没/它几乎被野草完全埋没) to awkward (扩大搜索目标、频率及范围/扩大搜索目标和频率和范围) to stupid (夕阳、晚霞/朝阳、朝霞). The handling of 了 and measure words makes one wonder whether the editors are native speakers. And I'm not even talking about typographical errors that can throw a reader completely off the planet (一颗恒星/一个颗状星). The electronic version restored most of the original text while keeping the rearranged chapter order. It is the version I recommend.
  2. 15 points
    As promised, here is the second installment of my blog following the second term of teaching in a one year Masters program in interpreting and translation at Bath University in the UK. The structure and content of teaching in the second term has been very different to the first term, so if you are interested in comparing, please take a look at my first blog entry. The second term put A LOT more emphasis on live interpreting practice, pressure has been a lot higher, and the requirements for specialized vocabulary has been noticeably greater than the first term. I will break down the different classes over a few blog entries, in the hope its more palatable for reading. I will assess my own performance vs my Chinese classmates, as well as reflect on Chinese-English interpreting from a native English speakers perspective whenever it might be useful. Firstly I’ll start with Simultaneous Interpreting. Simultaneous Interpreting and using Glossaries So, our SI (Simultaneous Interpreting) class has been every Monday at 11:15. The course works both directions C-E and E-C, and we have alternated direction from week to week. We mostly work inside professional interpreting booths for the first hour, doing live interpreting of videos that vary from 10 mins in length to half an hour using headphones and microphones that record live. The second hour is largely dedicated to feedback and guidance for improvement. We are told the broad topic of the class via email around Thursday the week before, for example, “next weeks SI will be on ‘fracking’” and that’s it. We are then expected to prepare a glossary of specialized terms, usually that can fit on one A4 page, which we can then bring to class and place next to our microphones as we interpret, for reference. The point of this is not to actually collect huge lists of words (although this inevitably happens), but rather, read widely and educate ourselves on different subjects in both English and Chinese, as well as learn how to ‘prep’ for real life interpreting jobs. Many students seemed to have no issue with this set up, as many already have rich active vocabularies and encyclopedic knowledge. (side note: Seriously, I have never met such widely read people in my life. And that really goes for every single one of my classmates; they can talk through macro and microeconomics with ease, go to a doctors ward and discuss the treatment regimen for obscure diseases, explain in depth how neural networking is changing media reporting; all in both Chinese AND English. Quite amazing and very motivating for study). One downside of this set up for me has been that I have spent almost all my free time building glossaries and learning vocabulary, whereas my classmates have had time to practice the actual skill of interpreting in out-of-class hours. That being said, if I had known this before starting the course I probably would have been scared away and never even started. It is an inevitability for many of us coming from a background of only starting learning Chinese at university, there is simply not enough time to consolidate the vast amounts of knowledge required for professional level interpreting. Getting back on topic: everyone seemed to have their own method to putting together specialized glossaries, for SI classes some even came with entire prepared folders with concise glossaries on pretty much every entry to an encyclopedia (I later learnt that in some cases these glossaries had already been used for many years and were very familiar to their users). I have spent the better part of every week this year picking out key terminology for Monday’s SI class (and Thursday’s Consecutive Interpreting class), that is, terms that would require thinking time over and above the constraints of simultaneous interpreting. The reaction time to a speaker usually needs to be kept within 2 seconds; if terminology comes up that is not in your active vocabulary, it will almost certainly stretch you to around 5-10 seconds before you get it out in the target language, by which time the entire thread of the speakers argument has been missed. Evidently, glossaries are incredibly important to successful simultaneous interpreting. In almost all cases I short-term memorised every item on each glossary; heres a look at my anki: Vocabulary requirements In the last 3 months alone I have accumulated 1610 specialised vocabulary terms in my anki. This in fact EXCLUDES my cards from Supermemo (another well-know srs system which I both love and hate at the same time) which has another 2733 cards added since early March (see attached images). I use Supermemo for reading, so many of these cards aren’t vocabulary items, but clozed passages from Wikipedia/academic articles. Nonetheless, the mental strain for getting up to the standard required for SI is frankly unhealthy: it is simply not doable in the time frame that the course allows. Many of my classmates have already taken courses in interpreting prior to this course, and so managed to keep up with the pace, but lets just say there were tears in class from some a number of times. Left: Anki deck specifically for interpreting glossaries. Right: excel files for glossaries Regarding the workload and how I coped. I estimate (stressing estimate, based on a pleco deck I have added to over the last five years to track my vocab progress) my passive vocabulary is now around 15-20,000, but active is to be honest probably only around 10-15,000 (again, hard to really know). Which is certainly not good enough to do professional interpreting with. For anyone considering doing a course like this, you should know that you are aiming for ‘near-native’ level size of active vocabulary, what I have been working with seemed like an impressive vocabulary size when I started the course, but now it seems laughable. Some of my classmates are far better read than me in English, 30k+ I reckon. a deck I have added any word I think 'useful' to over the years. I review these words in anki. an example of what my supermemo decks for reading Chinese/English articles looks like. As you can see, the requirements for vocabulary appear very scary. That being said, to someone that has learnt Chinese or English seriously for 10+ years, this is quite reasonable and achievable. I first went to China in 2008, and didn’t properly start learning until 2013/14, so I still have many years to go! I’m sure some of the longer-standing members of these forums must be nodding with a wry smile right now - been there done that! That’s it for now, next entry I’ll go through my thoughts on the CI class. Sorry if this is a bit of a ramble, very hard to try and structure all that has happened over the last few months.
  3. 11 points
    I will get round to writing part 2 of my write up of the university course: in the meantime heres a brief thought I ended up writing out in full. Would be interested to hear others thoughts: Recently I have noticed I am stuttering a lot more when just regularly chatting to friends in Chinese; my brain appears to constantly be asking itself, 'is this really the most appropriate word?' Perhaps this is a result of moving back to the UK and being away from the total immersion of China, but I feel like its more likely a result of learning how to work between two languages when on the mic in interpreting situations... Take the various concepts of 'collapse' in Chinese as an example. There's 垮, it denotes the idea of collapsing inwards on itself. then there's 崩潰, the idea of something or someone collapsing from the cause of not being able to bear a load. what about 瓦解, collapse due to internal disintegration, figuratively as well as literally, or even 塌縮, the idea of, say, a star collapsing inwards on itself to eventually become a black hole. All these different concepts of collapsing will almost always be translated into English simply as 'collapse'. Whilst this makes for very easy interpreting, it actually makes your Chinese worse, as you are constantly drawing together these distinct meanings into one basket named 'collapse', not allowing your brain to understand the finesse in their differences. What one is constantly striving towards in learning another language is to rewire the brain in order to divide and distinguish concepts that are different from one's mother tongue. Not only does learning the skill of interpreting not tolerate such rewiring, it actually bundles all the wires together in a big tangled mess. The brain is told to forget the small but important differences between words and instead group words into easy to manage target language categories. As a result, I find I question my word choice a lot more often than I once did. I find I can no longer simply rely on feeling, or make choices as easily simply based on a gut feeling. So it would seem, while my Chinese has improved a lot in the last year, learning to interpret has perhaps had a negative effect on my "語感", or my ability to simply 'feel' what the right word should be. Hopefully this is just temporary.
  4. 11 points
    Going through the same "what are you reading" thread (but over a longer period of time), below is my list from when I started making a conscious effort to do more reading. The list is in the order that I read them, and I read them one after the other (sometimes finishing one and straight away picking up the next). Like I mentioned to Mark, it's always a good idea to have your next book ready to go before you finish your current one to prevent any break or lull in reading. Like Lu, I could read quite well when I first starting doing this and regularly read newspaper articles and such, but other than a couple of half-hearted attempts, I had only previously finished 1 or 2 novels, and didn't do any sort of regular long form reading. Also worth noting is that when I decided to do more reading the first book I chose was actually《书剑恩仇录》. However due to it having too many new words/characters a page I put that aside and came back to it a dozen books later which made it much easier to read (an experience I wrote about here). This was a good decision. I've since come to the opinion that you are better off reading a bunch of easier novels than struggling through a more difficult one - especially when you are just starting out. If the more difficult book is one you really want to read, you can always come back to it later (like I did) and it will be much more enjoyable. In the list, I've highlighted the books I think are suitable for beginners in blue, and the books I'd avoid entirely in red. The reason I'd avoid them is not because the language used is unsuitable, but rather because I didn't like the book. I've also thrown in a couple of oranges, which are books I didn't like, but that are part of a set so it may be worth reading them if you are interested in being able to say you've read the set. Finally, you'll see a couple of green ones, which are my favourites out of all the books listed here. 《平凡的世界》in particular is one of my favourite books I've read in any language (I've written about it here). Although it's quite accessible in terms of language, it's really long, which is I why I don't recommend it as a first book because you'll want to build up your reading stamina before tackling it. 《汉语与文化交际》 《家》 《春》 《秋》 《活着》 《许三观卖血记》 《记忆的微风》 《天下无贼》 《中国式离婚》 《兄弟》(上) 《兄弟》(下) 《书剑恩仇录》(上) 《书剑恩仇录》(下) 《碧血剑》(上) 《碧血剑》(下) 《圈子圈套1》 《圈子圈套2》 《圈子圈套3》 《射雕英雄传》(1) 《射雕英雄传》(2) 《射雕英雄传》(3) 《射雕英雄传》(4) 《狼图腾》 《在细雨中呼喊》 《平凡的世界》(1) 《平凡的世界》(2) 《平凡的世界》(3) 《色,戒》 《神雕侠侣》(1) 《神雕侠侣》(2) 《神雕侠侣》(3) 《神雕侠侣》(4) 《夜谭十计》 (includes the short story that《让子弹飞》was based off) 《人生》which is by the same author as 《平凡的世界》 《雪山飞狐》 《杜拉拉升职记》 《杜拉拉华年似水》 《杜拉拉3:我在这战斗的一年里》 《裸婚》 《蛙》 《飞狐外传》 《北京记者》 《黄金时代》 If I was doing it again I'd definitely change up the order of things. I was smart enough to put aside《书剑恩仇录》until I was a better reader, but was still stuck in the trap of wanting to read "great literature/notable books", hence 《家》《春》and《秋》. Those books are worthy of reading for the insight they give you in to China during that period of time, but in hindsight, I would have been better off reading them later. I had to force myself to finish 《春》because it was boring me to tears. 《家》and 《秋》were much better in that regard but still contained enough archaic and old-fashioned language that I wouldn't recommend them as first books (I know others disagree with this). Of the blue books, 《活着》is the one I'd recommend first, although《许三观卖血记》is at around the same level and is also a good choice (I put 《活着》first because I prefer the story). 余华 is a very accessible author for learners because the language he uses isn't too complicated, the only thing is, he tends to write about the same sort of things, and so if you've read a couple of his books and want a break from that genre, you'll have to go to another author. Here's how I would break down the genres of the other blue books Rural China/Cultural Revolution and Beyond 《活着》 《许三观卖血记》 《人生》(same author as 《平凡的世界》) Modern China - Business Intrigue 《圈子圈套1》 《圈子圈套2》 《圈子圈套3》 Modern China - Relationship Drama 《中国式离婚》 《裸婚》 Reading things in the same genre will have the benefit of having similar vocabulary, but mixing things up can keep things interesting. It comes down to personal preference as to what works better for you. If you look at the main list, you'll see I tended to read a few books in one genre and then switch up to another genre, and then go back to the original genre and so on. I think that approach worked quite well. Once you've read all those blue books, you can probably start venturing out in to longer and/or more difficult works. 《兄弟》is good if you like 余华, although the second half is much better than the first. If you're looking at getting in to 武侠 novels 《雪山飞狐》is one of 金庸's more accessible stories, and《流星•蝴蝶•剑》by Gu Long is also apparently quite accessible (but I haven't read it). 《鬼吹灯 》also comes recommended (but again I've not read it so can't comment more on it). Once you're comfortable reading longer texts then《平凡的世界》might be a good choice, or perhaps some of the other 金庸 novels -《碧血剑》is a favourite of mine. Regarding advice for book selection, I think for the first 10-20 books, I'd really focus on pulpy, easy read books just to build up reading stamina and other reading skills (not to mention incidental vocabulary). With handful of exceptions, the way I chose books was just to walk in to one of the giant bookstores (北京图书大厦 is 西单 is a favourite) and have a browse around to see if any of the promoted books looked interesting or if any of the authors I knew had other books available, and then purchase 10-15 books at a time (this also solved the problem mentioned above about always having the next book ready). I agree with Lu that you need to enjoy the book you are reading, but I'd hold off on more difficult books that you want to read until after you have acquired decent reading experience and ability - that way they'll be that much more enjoyable. Once you've got 10-20 books under your belt you can then start to branch out in to more serious literature. The only other thing I'd add is the importance of doing daily reading, even if it's only a page, or half a page. Once you stop, it's easy to stay stopped - and somewhat ironically, that's the position I find myself in at the moment, as I haven't done much long-form Chinese reading for a number of months. I could blame an international move, or life getting in the way, but there are always excuses if you want to make them. Making sure you do a little bit of reading every day helps keep the momentum going.
  5. 10 points
    I just wanted to chime in and say good job with the product. The more resources there are the better! I don't understand why there's so much much flak when you're just announcing your product. You've not once said it's the only way to successfully learn Chinese, but it's another method people can use to learn. I've just subscribed to the YouTube channel and really enjoy the videos. It's great to have some good video production for a change. My feedback regarding the product is 1. the price and 2. the need to submit card details to get the free trial. I'd be more than willing to try if there was say a 7 day free trial without needing to submit card details, then it just expired after 7 days. If I was interested, I could then pay for the subscription. Regarding the price, with websites like Lynda.com being just £15 a month which has hundreds of different courses, it tough to spend $30 a month on just a Chinese course. I know there's the biannual option, but personally I don't purchase long subscriptions until I've used the product a while. Nonetheless, keep up the work. Take some of the comments with a pinch of salt, as some people seem to spend much more time criticising studying techniques than actually studying themselves.
  6. 8 points
    No pencil, no mouth, no food, no drawing a straight line. I'm not sure where that explanation came from, but it's simply not accurate. I'm going to oversimplify a bit here, but this is essentially what happened. There were originally two characters: and The one on the left is zuǒ (left hand), while the one on the right is yòu (right hand; now written 又). They look exactly alike, except for the direction they face. Over time, they started to resemble each other: (that's zuǒ, but you wouldn't know to look at it). So you have 𠂇 zuǒ and 𠂇 yòu. They look identical, but one is "left" and the other is "right." So how do you know which one you're looking at? You add a mark to distinguish them. Now you have 𠂇 zuǒ and 右 yòu. Note that in 右, 口 isn't "a mouth," but a distinguishing mark. But since 𠂇 can be "left" or "right," it's still a bit ambiguous. So it's really best to have a character used exclusively for "left," don't you think? Enter 左. It already existed, as a depiction of a "left" hand holding a tool (not a ruler, but a shovel-like tool of some sort), and it meant "to assist." They borrowed it to mean "left," and that's how we got to where we are today. All of this happened pretty early in the history of the writing system. Interesting tidbit: in Japanese and in traditional (not 繁體 but 傳統) stroke order rules, the 𠂇 in 左 and the 𠂇 in 右 are written with different stroke orders. That's due to the fact that they were originally different hands.
  7. 8 points
    This lovely stuff has been trickling onto the shelves since the middle of March. This year's crop is especially fine because it was a dry but not bitterly cold winter. In Yunnan, that makes for topnotch tea and lovers of fresh green tea have been eagerly awaiting it here in Kunming. Let me take you on a short tour to buy some. Then you can read about brewing it at home in this companion article: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/58173-and-heres-how-it-brews-yunnan-spring-tea-2019/ . First score was a few days ago at a retail store not far from home where I often stop for a cup and occasionally buy. The new stuff is usually marked something like this, not difficult to notice or to decipher: (Please click the photos to enlarge them.) You will usually find two main types of early spring tea, as pictured here. The one on the left with the pink sign (早春绿茶 = early spring green tea) has leaves which are fluffy and open, sometimes called 毛峰 maofeng. The tea on the right, behind the orange sign saying "manager's recommendation" 店长推荐 has been rolled into balls and is sometimes called 碧螺春, which means "green snails of spring." Here are closeups of those two common types of early spring tea, before we go any farther. The unrolled tea on the left, and the rolled tea on the right. Both are delicious, but have differences. In the case of these two, the "open" maofeng 毛峰 was milder 清淡一点 than the rolled biluochun 碧螺春。That doesn't always hold true. Ask the seller to guide you. The boss's assistant brewed me some of the open leaf tea first, since it was supposed to be milder. Wanted to progress in my tasting from mild 淡 to stronger 浓一点。She first warmed the glass with boiling hot water and let it thoroughly heat. Poured out that water. Put enough tea into the bottom of a clear drinking glass (180 to 200 ml is suggested) and shook it around so it could heat and begin releasing some aroma. Passed me the glass so I could have a whiff. Very aromatic, floral and slightly grassy. Then she slow-poured hot water in a high stream into the tea to wake it up gently and not kill the flavor by scalding it. Swirled it around and gave the leaves time to expand. Poured it into a small pitcher 公道杯 through a strainer 滤网。From there into my small drinking cup 品茗杯,which only held enough brewed tea for two or three mouthfuls. The idea behind this is to not let the tea get tepid or cool like it might if she poured me a mug. The tea leaves greened up as she worked. I was asking questions she couldn't answer and the boss soon came over to help me himself. We progressed to one of his better biluochun teas, a little more expensive than the one on display in the big bin. It was also an early spring harvest, and from Youleshan 攸乐山 in Xishuangbanna Prefecture 西双版纳州。That is one of Yunnan's traditional six famous tea mountains, located deep down in the province between the Mekong River 澜沧江 and Laos 老挝。 Here's what I wound up with. Very tasty stuff. I'll show you how to brew it once I get back home. But for now, the adventure continues since I wanted to explore more exotic offerings in the wholesale tea market. Rode the Number 25 bus about 20 minutes to get to one of my favorite places in Kunming. I will use any excuse to go there and just poke around. All the shopkeepers welcome you in to taste their wares. It's easy to spend half a day giving your kidneys an Olympic workout. Kunming has several wholesale tea markets, but this one is easiest for me to reach and has become my favorite. It's the Xiongda Tea City 雄达茶城, located north of center in the 金买小区 Jinmai Quarter. About a thousand tea stores on the north side of the street, spanning two blocks, and slightly less on the other side of the road. Several ornate entrances, like this one. My strategy is to dive in pretty deep, getting away from the shops on the main road. Rent is higher out front, as are prices. I looked for the signs advertising spring tea, just like we saw earlier. Go in and ask the shopkeeper about his or her wares. An invitation to sample usually follows. There's never an obligation to buy and I don't think I've ever felt pressured. All these shops also sell cakes of Pu'er tea 普洱茶, in fact it's far and away their main draw. Today, however, I was intent on finding spring tea and didn't want to lose focus. Tried several of them at several different shops, always following the same basic procedure. Made sure to do plenty of smelling as well as drinking. Sample several steeps to see how the flavor develops. Swirl it around well in the mouth so it gets to reach all your taste buds. Pay attention to the after-taste 后感。Always look at a few of the leaves after the tea had been brewed. Leaf appearance and structure can be very revealing. The tea above left opened up very evenly after being brewed, showing what this merchant called “两呀,没有叶”。She was putting a spin on the truth, since actually this complex is one bud and one very small leaf. I didn't argue, just nodded. Tea of this type has a very subtle flavor. Above right is a picture of one of the "double shoot" teas beside a more standard configuration consisting of one bud and two small leaves. That tea, the darker one with two leaves and one bud, turned out to be one of my favorites and I bought a small bag of it, 100 grams. It was rich and full of the mountains from which it came, deep in a different part of 'Banna. (Pasha Village 帕莎村 in Menghai County 勐海县)。It was from old trees with deep roots 古树 over 200 years old. Those leaves were too large to brew well in a glass, and she used a gaiwan 盖碗 instead. I'll tell you more about it later. Don't want to get off track. Wound around a bit more, back in the bowels of the place, passing lots of signs offering spring tea. Shops are arranged on a maze of narrow lanes, barely wide enough to allow for a single small car. Customers cannot drive in, but a guard admitted vehicles belonging to the merchants or staff. Eventually had my limit of tea, so I wandered upstairs to look at teaware 茶具。Such a lot of beautiful pieces!. Dangerous; any pretensions I may have had towards a minimalist lifestyle are quickly out the window. This time I escaped with only a couple of small items. Some stores are basic and small; others are large, artistic and lavish. Finished up, trekked back down the stairs and onto the street. Caught the same bus back home. It had been a fruitful expedition. Here's a parting look at the 雄达 Tea City from the inside. In a few minutes, I'll show you how this new tea brewed up. (Don't want this post to get too long.) ---------------- Add: Here's a link to the thread about brewing it: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/58173-and-heres-how-it-brews-yunnan-spring-tea-2019/?tab=comments#comment-451545
  8. 8 points
    The reason I ask this question is because last week my father asked me, and I couldn't come up with a convincing answer. I often hear expats complaining about China, and yet many of them have been here for over a decade and don't seem to have any plans of returning to their home countries any time soon. Many such complaints are not unfounded, and I too do my fair bit of moaning (I've you've seen my other posts you'd know I hate fireworks, noise and censorship) and yet again there must be something bigger that negates all the bad stuff because a decade has gone by and... here I still am! After reading through your replies and thinking about it for a while, I started to think that the question might be easier to answer if, instead of thinking of it not in terms of what I like about China, I turned it around and considered the things I miss about China when I'm back home. This lead me to the following main two reasons: Life doesn't feel stagnant: This could be just me, but my life in China has never felt stagnant, not one day. There's a prevalent sense of opportunity, maybe due to the fact that China is not yet fully developed, or perhaps the sheer size of the country and its population—either way, it oozes opportunity and excitement. Lower societal expectations: In China I don't need to meet my home country's societal demands and expectations and, being a foreigner, Chinese people tend to forgive me for not meeting theirs. Once the societal burden is removed, you are free to be yourself and focus on the things that really matter, and not the petty crap that drags you down and serves no real purpose. Other more specific reasons I can think of: Easier to meet new people: It's just really easy to strike up a conversation with just about anyone in China, both locals and expats, male or female, of any age, so I'm continuously meeting new people. That's just pretty awesome. Product availability: Though, at times, it can be challenging finding exactly what you want, it's almost guaranteed to be somewhere out there on Taobao or Jingdong. I also quite like the availability of engineering services such as 3D priting, PCB manufacturing, CNC milling, etc which costs relatively little money—great if you are a hobbyist. Convenience: Being able to do almost everything from my phone, from paying for my groceries, paying utility bills, booking travel tickets, calling a cab. Being able to just step outside and get stuff done without having to plan too much in advance (a lot of things in China are done impromptu). Cost of living: Being a frugal person, not having kids, knowing how to take good care of my health (at least I like to think so), not having a desire to own a home or a motor vehicle, being a devoted minimalist and worshipper of life's little pleasures more than, say, an obscenely expensive holiday and other material cr*p, I find in China I don't need to work as much as back home to make ends meet (in fact ends meet pretty effortlessly here) and still have loads of spare time to do the things I like. What's really interesting is the fact that I could tell you a thousand reasons why China sucks and still, overall, I quite like living in China. It's as though all the bad stuff and the good stuff combined adds up to something better, kind of like a dish where you don't like the individual ingredients but the finished product actually tastes alright. Chinese people tend to be quite tolerant to rule-bending and chaos, which one one hand gives rise to a whole host of annoyances, but on the other also encourages individuals to venture and explore without fear of crossing a line. Maybe my observations resonate with some of you.
  9. 6 points
    Well, I think I'd better speak up here because I have rather unusual qualifications on this topic. I am a white Western woman who met my Chinese husband when I was working in China, and we have been married now for 34 years. I would call it a successful marriage, though we did go through some rough patches related to his difficulty in finding jobs in the US. I don't remember any huge cultural differences at all around courtship and romance, except that he doesn't like to talk about his feelings much. Hah! I don't fit any of those criteria. I'm not beautiful, not petite and am not outgoing. I'm an intellectual and very adventurous, and it was those qualities that attracted my husband to me, I think. When we were dating, we most often talked about philosophical ideas. Maybe he's an outlier in Chinese society, but it appears he was looking for what we call in the West a "soulmate."
  10. 6 points
    There doesn’t appear to be a thread on this and I’ve found patchy reviews online (most reddit comments). Do you use spoonfed? How long have you used it? What’s your level? How do you use it? For example, I’ve seen some people set the cards to audio on the front and everything on the back. Any advice on starting to use it? Things you’d wish you had or hadn’t done. Any other tips? I think I’d like to start using it to combine with watching some TV. I’d like to know more about it and others experiences. @admin could you help take the relevant posts from this topic on textbooks and put them in here? There are 2-3.
  11. 6 points
    Whatever the case, I think we can all agree it sounds like a terrible shirt.
  12. 6 points
    Here's a look at how this fresh tea brews up. (This article is a companion to one about shopping for spring tea. You can read that one here: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/58172-hello-spring-tea-2019-早春茶/?tab=comments#comment-451546 .) It's the biluochun 碧螺春茶 from Youleshan Mountain 攸乐山 in deep south Xishuangbanna 西双版欸州。A two hundred-gram bag of it cost me 25 Yuan and will probably last me until the end of the year. This is plenty beaucoup cups of good tea. It's even enough that I can give a little to a good friend or two as well so they can try it at home themselves. (Please click the photos to enlarge them.) Biluochun 碧螺春 is the one below left, rolled into tidy little pearls. It's the one we will be using today. An open leaf maofeng 毛峰 from last year is shown below right for comparison. If you want one insider tip before surfing away to take care of other more pressing matters, it's this: Use a glass to brew these light green spring teas 早春绿茶。You get to enjoy the visual treat of the process along with the aroma and taste. Using that heavy old crockery teapot you inherited from Aunt Martha, the one with the tacky flowers, would be a crime against nature. You could get away with a gaiwan 盖碗 but a plain, clear glass of 180 to 200 ml capacity is the choice of the pros. Try it at least once and you'll see what a difference it makes. Fill the glass about half full with boiling water. Let it stand half a minute or so to allow the glass to get hot. Pour out that water. Drop the tea leaves into the glass and shake them around well. Smell the aroma; let the aroma sink in. Drinking tea is about pleasing the eye and the nose as well as the mouth. How much tea should I use? People who do this all day just drop it in by eye. I generally use enough to loosely cover the bottom of the glass, as shown above right. If you have a small scale, start with 5 grams the first time. Depending on factors having to do with how your tea was produced, you might need to use 4 grams or 6. Adjust it to taste after that first time. Either pour in hot water in a high, thin stream or put it into a small pitcher as a first step before adding it to the dry tea leaves. This lets it cool off a little. Water which is too hot will "kill" this delicate green tea and demolish its flavor. If in doubt, err on the side of less hot instead of too hot. Don't fill the glass completely full; that makes it difficult to handle without burning your fingers. Leave the top quarter or third empty. If your tap water is funky or full of chemicals, use some from a bottle. The tea masters say that "the leaves are father of the finished cup of tea, but water is the mother." Let the tea leave steep undisturbed until most of them fall to the bottom of the glass and you can see them expand. That takes less than a minute. It won't really hurt if you want to swirl the glass gently while reciting a Tang Dynasty poem. Just don't stir it madly with a spoon. It's also not a big deal if you can't wait and drink it a little too soon. It won't be the end of the world. The second brewing and the third will probably be better than the first one. These leaves are good for maybe 4 or 5 steeps before they become weak and insipid. Discard them and start over if you and your guests are still in a tea drinking mood. Pour it through a strainer 落网 into a small pitcher or beaker 公道杯 gongdaobei。You have warmed this ahead of time with plain hot water. Decant it straight away into your small drinking cup 品茗杯 and that of your guests. I'm sure you have pre-wamed these as well. Do lots of sniffing along the way. Be sure to smell the glass after you have poured off the tea. Smell the gongdaobei once it is emptied. Pass them around. This is my setup, above. It's a simple one but fine for two, three or even four people. A larger tea tray 茶盘 would be better for more. Even this small one has a drain hole where you attach a rubber hose to lead the spilled liquids away into a plastic discard pail on the floor. It's time now to play with the leaves. You don't need to be psychic. Spread some out on a plate and have a close look. The pickers just snap off the last little bit of new growth on the tea plant, usually one bud 一芽 and one or two leaves 两叶。They work fast but carefully, often getting their start in early morning just after a quick breakfast of porridge 稀饭/粥 with a fried egg on top. The work is made tough because in these far south Yunnan tea hills, pickers must stand on an incline all day, working their way through the bushes and small tea trees, most of them a little bit over head high. These aren't flat, well-groomed plantation fields like you see in the postcards. Notice that some of the leaves are darker than others. This is an indication that this tea has been processed by hand instead of by some computerized machine. The leaves have been hand-fried in a large hot wok that is set over a wood fire. This "kills the green" 杀青 and keeps the tea leaves from .oxidizing and turning brown. They are then roughly rubbed and rolled against an irregular pan in such a way as to break up inner cellular partitions a bit, releasing flavors that would not come to the fore if the leaves were left completely intact. These and the other steps involved in making this tea require experience and good judgment. It's an art. This light spring Yunnan biluochun tea 碧螺春 and its cousins will keep its charm pretty well for a year if stored away from direct sunlight. Put it into a cupboard where it isn't too hot. It doesn't actually "go bad" after a year in terms of becoming unsafe to drink; it just looses it's zip and becomes boring. Don't put it in the fridge. That doesn't work because as the refrigerator cycles, the tea gets damp and becomes musty, develops off flavors. If you can store it in a crockery jar or one made of clay, that's perfect. Best not to keep in the the plastic bag that came from the store. You can enjoy this tea art if you get on the next plane to Yunnan. Well, actually ladies and gentlemen, you can order some from your favorite purveyor by mail. Might not be quite as fresh as mine, but I'll bet it will still be real good. Refreshing plus all sorts of outrageous health benefits. Everything from curing cancer to weight loss and stopping the ageing process dead in it's tracks. Try it and see what you think. Warning: It's hard not to like it.
  13. 6 points
    If you enjoyed the big China-X course by the Harvard team of Prof. Peter Bol and Prof. William Kirby a couple years ago, here's another (smaller) one just starting. It's about the Tang. Lasts 15 weeks. Here is the official descriptive blurb: Here's a link for more information or to sign up: https://www.edx.org/course/china-part-3-cosmopolitan-tang-aristocratic-culture-2 I plan to take it.
  14. 6 points
    春發叔公敬啓者:     本人上月回鄉裏探親時,聞悉秀叔公由馬來西亞回來祖國唐山定居,藉此前去拜訪他老人家,詢問我親叔父亞財在海外生活等情形,得秀叔公詳細傳達。使我熱望之餘,謹煩勞叔公,爲您孫侄女之懇求,多費脣舌相助一是,敬乞叔公收到我的信,將情形轉告我叔父亞財明白,唐山有親女來信尋親望他要懷有唐山叔侄女觀念望他有音信給我,有機會時,要回來唐山省視親人,是天倫之樂也。   今將本人狀況敘述給叔公明白,以便轉述給我財叔父知之,諒他能接納耳。諒深有叔侄女之情。我的名字是炳娣,現年53歲了,我的父親名字是嚴定友,母親黃嬌,生下我姊妹倆。早年父母雙亡(我三歲時失父,九歲時失母),哥哥相繼在民國32年離世,使我成爲孤兒。深蒙水清叔把我撫養育作成人,婚後又遭波折,慘愧之餘,今於1974年婚以寶安坪山碧嶺大屋廖家生活,家有五口,耕田爲生,算是溫暖家庭,但生活不勝以人,三女同人打工,四男現年13歲正當求學,剛考入初中學校,負擔甚大,生活全靠我夫婦倆辛勤勞力維持。是所奉字,容後在敘,此致     順祝 福體安康         愚孫侄女嚴炳娣托         一九八八年十二月三日 回信地址 CHINE 中國廣東寶安坪山碧嶺大屋,嚴炳娣收。 (Trying to do genealogy without the ability to read? That's... tough. Google Translate is trained on modern Chinese corpus, not very good at handling this kind of text.)
  15. 5 points
    She's around 50 and didn't take kindly to you sending random bits of Internet slang? Play social Russian roulette, you're going to get shot in the head now and then. I think there's a not-particularly-wise tendency for learners to reach for the slang on the assumption that it's authentic and how people really talk. And it is, but it's also hugely variable across age groups and class and place and has to be used with caution.
  16. 5 points
    I've never read the book before. My memories of 《城南舊事》 mainly involve the theme song of the 1982 film My Memories of Old Beijing. The song has a memorable tune and lyrics. 《城南舊事》 is a collection of five short stories:《惠安館》、《我們看海去》、《蘭姨娘》、《驢打滾兒》、《爸爸的花兒落了》. The stories are semi-autobiographical and in chronological order. Read together, they can be considered a novel — a novel that follows a little girl 林英子 around the south side of the old city during the years 1923-1929 and sees through her eyes the sometimes incomprehensible adult world. The book was first published in Taiwan in 1960. But I think it's fair to say the success of the mainland film adaptation brought renewed interest in the book, contributed to its popularity and helped cement its place as one of the 100 best Chinese novels of the 20th century. Today on the mainland, it's on the recommended reading list for primary school students; in Taiwan, 《爸爸的花兒落了》 is in high school textbook. (I tried to watch the film the other day but it was, ahem, cringy. It was 1982 after all. And some things are best left to imagination...) 林海音's style is simple and straightforward. No unnecessary long descriptive sentences. I think @Fred0 can agree (he has a related thread here), both the content and vocabulary are fairly accessible. The main hurdle seems to be dialectal and historical. I'll try to focus more on that respect. The geography: Old Beijing was a walled city in a "凸" shape (the 2nd Ring Road runs where the old city walls stood). The north side was 內城, the south side 外城. Three gates connected the inner and outer city: 正陽門 (colloquially known as 前門) in the middle, 崇文門 (哈德門) in the east, and 宣武門 (順治門) in the west. The inner city was inhabited by lords and princes, high officials and business magnates, leaving the outer or southern city to ordinary people. Lin and her family mainly lived in the southwest part around 宣武門外. About the editions: There are too many versions of the text. It took me a while to track down the source. For simplified edition, 人民文學出版社's is the best (ISBN 978-7-02-011259-3). For traditional edition, of course 爾雅出版社 as shown below. There's also an English edition Memories of Peking: South Side Stories translated by Nancy C. Ing 殷張蘭煕 and Chi Pang-yuan 齊邦媛. Here's a zip file that includes both simplified and traditional versions in txt format. I think some of Lin's essays and the foreword penned by the book's English translator are very good reading and very helpful in better understanding the book. chengnanjiushi.zip 《城南舊事》,林海音,爾雅出版社有限公司,一九六〇年七月初版,二〇一七年十月十日新五十七印,ISBN 978-957-9159-22-7 Difficulty: easy; Total characters: 56,344; Unique characters: 1,935; Unique words: 4,122 (counting only the 5 short stories) First chapter (4510 characters): Characters: 英子 Yīngzi – Narrator, 6-year-old girl who has just moved to Beijing from the South with her parents 宋媽 Sòng Mā – Nanny/housemaid 秀貞 Xiùzhēn – The Madwoman 瘋子 妞兒 Niūer – Yingzi's friend of the same age 小桂子 Xiǎo Guìzi – Xiuzhen's missing daughter 老王 Lǎo Wáng – Xiuzhen's father, janitor at the Hui'an Huiguan Other names: 惠安 Huì-ān – A county in Quanzhou 泉州, Fujian; the 館 in the title means 同鄉會館 or huiguan, essentially a hostel for fellow countrymen from the same county or province 順義 Shùnyì – A county 30 km northeast of Beijing; during the Beiyang government era (1914–1928), Shunyi was under the jurisdiction of 京兆地方 (Capital Area); when Beijing was demoted from national capital to a provincial city and renamed Beiping, the surrounding rural counties, including Sunyi, were redrawn into Hebei, hence the historically inaccurate mentioning of 河北省順義縣 in the foreword by Chi Pang-yuan; in the eyes of Yingzi's family, Song Ma is a "北京的老媽子/北京人", although even today people outside the urban/suburban area still say 上北京 when referring to the city proper 燕京大學 Yānjīng Dàxué – Yenching University, a Christian university founded in 1919; its first president was John Leighton Stuart, who later became the U.S. ambassador to China and whose Chinese name is well known to every Chinese person growing up in the People's Republic reading Mao Zedong's 《別了,司徒雷登》at school; Yenching University was dissolved in 1952, its departments absorbed by several universities, its scenic campus 燕園 taken over by Peking University (previously located in downtown Beijing at 沙灘, near 美術館 the National Art Museum) 騾馬市 Luómǎshì – A street in the southern part of present-day Xicheng 西城 District (formerly Xuanwu 宣武 District) between 虎坊橋 and 菜市口 (I used to ride through there every evening on my way back from work, stopping to buy kebab occasionally); the street got its name from the "mule & horse market" formed in the Ming dynasty and existed for centuries 佛照樓 Fuózhaòlóu – A Cantonese hotel, from what I can gather from the internet 魏染胡同 Wèirǎn Hútòng – A north-south running hutong between 騾馬市 in the south and 南柳巷 in the north; named after a dyehouse run by a Wei family 西草廠 Xīcǎochǎng – A street parallel to Luomashi; so named because it was where fodder was stockpiled for the Qing cavalry, and before that in the Yuan dynasty where reeds were grown and harvested to reinforce the mud city wall during rainy seasons 椿樹胡同 Chūnshù Hútòng – Where Yingzi lives; some celebrities in the literary and theatrical circles used to live there 海甸 Hǎidiàn – Old name of 海澱, administrative seat of the Haidian District; it was a swampland before the Yuan dynasty; 澱 means shallow water, e.g. 白洋澱 Baiyangdian in Hebei province 齊化門 Qíhuàmén – Old name of 朝陽門 Chaoyangmen; it used to be the southeast gate of the Yuan capital and got its name from 《周易》「齊乎巽,巽東南也」; the official name changed during the Ming dynasty but it was still known by its old name among the people in the early 20th century Variant characters: 牀/床 裏/裡 撢/撣 鷄/雞 響/響 駡/罵 秃/禿 吿/告 囘/回 爲/為 眞/真 敎/教 淸/清 楞/愣 靑/青 混身/渾身 偸/偷 擡/抬 吜/扭 朶/朵 葱/蔥 揷/插 簷/檐 Vocabulary and notes: 三屜桌 sāntìzhuō – three-drawer desk 雞毛撢子 jīmáo dǎnzi – feather duster made of chicken feathers attached to a bamboo stick (also 撣子) 絨褲褂 róng kùguà – sweat pants and sweat shirt (絨 = cloth with soft nap/pile, such as corduroy, flannel or velvet; 褲 = 褲子, 褂 = 褂子, but people no longer say 褲褂) 打噴嚏 dǎ pēntì pēnti – to sneeze (less commonly, 嚏噴 tìpen) 棉襖 miánǎo – cotton-padded jacket 篦子 bìzi – fine-toothed double-edged comb (one of the main functions was to remove lice from the hair, because of the poor hygiene conditions of the past) (as an aside, 篦 is bis in Korean, a piece of evidence supporting the theory that the departing tone 去聲 arose from the loss of Old Chinese -s suffix) 搽 chá or cā (also written as 擦) – to put (powder, ointment, etc.) on the skin, to apply 惠難館、灰娃館、飛安館 – I don't know Hokkien or Hakka, but the Shunyi accent is spot-on. In 北京官話懷承片, i.e. 密雲、順義、河北承德 including 灤平縣 where the local dialect is billed as "the most standard Putonghua", an n- initial is often present where Standard Mandarin uses zero initial, for example, 愛 -> 耐. 匾 biǎn – horizontal rectangular inscribed tablet hung over a door or on a wall (I like this definition, lol, what a mouthful) 做唔得 – 唔 (pronounced m or ng) is the 客家話 Hakka equivalent of 不. 做唔得 = 不可以 油鬆 yóusōng – sleek and lush (not to be confused with 油松 Chinese red pine, Pinus tabuliformis) 鴨蛋粉 yādànfěn – cosmetic face powder in oval shape (not made of duck eggs!) 八珍梅 bāzhēnméi – a kind of red bayberry preserves (made of 楊梅 yángméi, Myrica rubra) 井窩子 jǐngwōzi – 舊日北平賣水的人,於水井旁建屋聚居,人皆稱其處為「井窩子」。也稱為「水窩子」。 毛窩 máowō – cotton-padded shoes (=棉鞋) 劉海兒 liúhǎir – bangs/fringe (named after 劉海蟾, a Taoist immortal who wears his hair in bangs) 洋槐 yánghuái – black locust, Robinia pseudoacacia 烏鴉 wūyā – crow; raven (in Classical Chinese, 烏 = 鴉, 鴉 = 烏; the character 烏 is a pictograph – a bird with no eye, because it's black on black! and by extension it means the color black) 念叨 niàndao – to keep talking to oneself 打寒戰 dǎ hánzhàn hánzhan – to shiver (also 寒顫 hánzhan, 寒噤 hánjin) 溺尿 niào niào – to pee (note 溺 when pronounced nì means 'to drown') 被窩兒 bèiwōr – quilt folded to form a sleeping bag (the non-erhua but neutralized 被窩 bèiwo means 'bedding, bedclothes' – erhua and neutral tone in the north often serve a distinctive function differentiating, for example, 門道 méndao 'way of doing something, knack' from 門道 méndào 'doorway, gateway') 老媽子 lǎomāzi – older female servant 長班 chángbān – 隨身侍候官吏的僕人。《二刻拍案驚奇》卷一七:「杜子中見說聞俊卿來到,不勝之喜,忙差長班來接到下處。」《儒林外史》第七回:「長班傳進帖,周司業心裡疑惑,並沒有這個親戚。」也作「長隨」。 吱吱吜吜 – In all the dictionaries 吜 is pronounced chǒu, but I'm pretty sure what the author intended is zhīzhī-niūniū, which is usually written 吱吱扭扭. 一大枚 – a copper (即一個銅板、一個銅子兒) 淚坑兒 – Here Song Ma is channeling her inner physiognomist. She says Niuer, though pretty (俊 zùn), has a 薄命之相. Her eyes are too limpid, as if always brimming with water. She has two "tear puddles" under her eyes, referring to the dimples which Yingzi finds very attractive. 淚坑兒 will appear again and again in the story, foreshadowing the fate of the character. 吊嗓子 diào sǎngzi – 戲曲或歌唱表演者藉由清唱或在樂器伴奏下鍛鍊嗓音、唱腔。如:「她每天一早起來便到陽臺吊嗓子,勤練歌藝。」 (I guess the verb 吊 is used because you need to "lift" 拔高 your voice to a higher pitch?) 趕明兒 gǎnmíngr – literally 'until tomorrow' but usually means 'another day' or 'one of these days' depending on context 橫胡同 – I have no idea what it means. It seems from later description to be not a real hutong but an east-west running alleyway with no house opening into it. 揣手 chuāi//shǒu – to tuck each hand in the opposite sleeve 囘頭 huítóu – later ⇒ ⑤〔連〕不然;否則(用在祈使句後的句子開頭申述理由):小點兒聲兒,~把孩子吵醒了|快走吧,~要遲到了。 南蠻子 nánmánzi – barbarian from the south (Chinese is full of these kind of insults based on locality. The term 四夷, namely 东夷、南蛮、西戎、北狄, existed in the Zhou dynasty. Xiuzhen's mother uses it more affectionately with the diminutive 小 and 兒, but Yingzi is right, it's 罵人的話.) 腦門兒 nǎoménr – forehead 炕 kàng – heatable brick bed in northern China (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kang_bed-stove ) (when I was very little, I used to sit on 炕頭 the warmer end watching grandma baking pancakes) 活計 huóji – needlework 害臊 hài//sào – to feel ashamed (不害臊! = You've got no shame!) 納悶兒 nà//mènr – to feel puzzled, to be perplexed 檔子 dàngzi – measure word for affairs or matters (=件, but only combines with 事) 過家家兒 guò jiājiār – to play house (children's game) 敢情 gǎnqing – of course; indeed; really (那敢情好 = That'll be really wonderful!) 換洋火 huàn yánghuǒ – 洋火 is the old name for 火柴 matches. In old Beijing dialect, it's called 取燈兒. 換洋火兒的/ 換取燈兒的 were usually old women. People traded in their old newspapers, old clothes, etc. in exchange for matches. 如今晚兒 rújīnwǎnr – same as 如今 'now; nowadays' but with a more glib tone (you can hear it in a late Qing tune: https://3g.163.com/v/video/VF32CK9AQ.html) 明媒正娶 míngméi-zhèngqǔ – 舊時指有媒人說合,按傳統結婚儀式迎娶的婚姻。 (In those days, a formal marriage proposal must be made through a matchmaker, even if the two families knew each other for generations. It's the 規矩.) 有了 yǒule – euphemism for being pregnant 義地 yìdì – 舊時埋葬窮人的公共墓地,也指由私人或團體購置,專爲埋葬一般同鄉、團體成員及其家屬的墓地。 裹包裹包 – I always thought it was 裹吧裹吧, similar to 揉吧揉吧、團吧團吧, conveying a sense of casual indifference, but 裹包裹包 makes sense. In some mainland versions it's been changed to 包裹包裹, obviously by editors who do not speak the dialect. 城根兒底下 – at the foot of the city wall (The original meaning of 城 is city wall, or more specifically, the inner wall. 城 meaning city is a metonymic use. A city without walls cannot be called 城. Therefore “城鐵” is a misnomer.) 刨花 bàohuā – wood shavings (But why?) ☞ ② 以往民間特指從榆木鉋下的薄片,泡水有黏性,用這種水洗刷頭髮,可以光潔不亂。 So, a poor man's styling mousse. 老親嘍!我大媽娘家二舅屋裏的三姐算是瘋子她二媽 – We're very close! My father's eldest brother's wife's second brother's third daughter is Fengzi's father's second brother's wife! (Close indeed!)
  17. 5 points
    Yep. Confirmed, pretty much. What happens to me is that the person with whom I am talking starts out trying hard to use standard Putonghua, like they learned in school. They speak slowly and clearly. Easy to understand. Then after a few minutes they sort of forget I'm not their neighbor or cousin. They speed way up and slip into a heavily accented version of standard Chinese sprinkled with plenty of dialect. I have to wave time out and urge them to go back to the way they were talking three minutes ago. This is one way in which professional teachers are better than ordinary folks for language practice. Teachers tend to be able consciously maintain a type of speech suitable for conversing with foreigners or students. Ordinary folks cannot always do that. They unconsciously slip back into their most comfortable mode of speech. It's similar to how the foot massage guy will ease up if you say "轻一点师傅,疼了!“ ("Take it easy, that hurts!)" Then three or four minutes later he's back to his usual style of massage and you either have to just wince through it or get up and leave. Corrections don't last.
  18. 5 points
    Earlier this week I finished reading the novella 《一个女剧院的生活》 by 沈从文. 《一个女剧院的生活》 is a story about several men of different ages and stations in life all vying for the love of a beautiful and talented young actress. While the men contend for her love, the actress, 萝, rejects their advances. The opening chapters of the novella establish a love triangle, which later turns into a love quadrilateral, which later turns into a love pentagon. Much of the novella consists of drawn out conversations about love in the abstract; of men having trying to convince 萝 to be with them; and of 萝 criticizing the men’s behavior and mannerisms and words. Here is an example of one such conversation. The conversation is between 萝 and her uncle(舅父), who criticizes 萝 for her capricious treatment toward one her suitors. While 沈从文 is a talented storyteller, I didn’t much like this novella. I found the story boring and didn’t care about its characters. I also found the dialogue tiresome. In over half the conversations in this story, characters lecture each other, chastise each other, and engage in overlong detached disputations on love and freedom. That is not what people in love do. 沈从文 made his female lead character unlikeable. 萝 has this tremendous power to make any man around her want to marry her. But rather than be gracious, wise, or even shrewd, 萝 is haughty, hectoring any man who would presume to compete for her affections. In the real world, this kind of behavior would lead to gossip, resentment, and reputational damage. In 《一个女剧院的生活》, no one seems bothered by her badgering. The men in this novella don’t come off much better than 萝. They are desperate, neurotic, feckless, vain. This story would be more believable if it had contained a strong supporting female character. There are a female student actress and an 阿姨 (who works for 舅父), but these characters don’t have much to say. Also, the dialogue is sometimes cheesy. An example: Yech. At 61,154 characters, this novella is the longest work I have completed so far this year. The language wasn’t too hard and should be accessible to any advanced Chinese-language learner. (The quotes above are fairly representative, difficulty-wise.) 《一个女剧院的生活》 is the third work of 沈从文’s I have read. The first was his short story 《牛》, which I loved. The second was the short story collection 《虎雏》, which was pretty good. My reading list contains many other works by 沈从文, including his classic novels. I plan to read some other authors, then come back to him. Link to 沈从文’s 《一个女剧院的生活》: https://m.ixdzs.com/d/116894 Some statistics: Characters read this year: 211,905 Characters left to read this year: 788,095 Percent of goal completed: 21.2% List of things read: 《三八节有感》by 丁玲 (2,370 characters) 《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲 (10,754 characters) 《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东 (18,276 characters) 《自杀日记》by 丁玲 (4,567 characters) 《我没有自己的名字》by 余华 (8,416 characters) 《手》by 萧红 (7,477 characters) 《牛》by 沈从文 (8,097 characters) 《彭德怀速写》by 丁玲 (693 characters) 《我怎样飞向了自由的天地》by 丁玲 (2,176 characters) 《IBM Cloud文档:Personality Insights》 by IBM (25,098 characters) 《夜》by 丁玲 (4,218 characters) 《虎雏》by 沈从文 (46,945 characters) 《在巴黎大戏院》 by 施蛰存 (6,181 characters) 《分析Sonny Stitt即兴与演奏特点——以专辑《Only the Blues》中曲目 《Blues for Bags》为例》 (5,483 characters) 《一个女剧院的生活》 by 沈从文 (61,154 characters)
  19. 5 points
    I loved this whole reply, and we've agreed with you about every aspect of this from the moment we started making this course. There are some details in your post I think are debatable, but it's not necessary, I just wanted to get this across: We make it extraordinarily clear to people throughout the course that 80% is your foundation and you have a much longer road ahead if you want to approach native fluency. Now, you might say, 'but you don't make this clear in the one-sentece marketing claim.' That's correct, and hence the free trial & 30-day money back guarantee. So far only two people have asked for their money back, and so it's fair to say that the people who didn't ask for their money back weren't under the impression that they would be nearly done after the foundation. I think the reason they stay in the course is that the following is true about pre & post-foundation building: Your State as a Learner with Zero or Little Foundation (non-exhaustive): Everything is fog. Your understanding of pronunciation isn't strong enough to be able to pick out recognizable sounds in your listening material You don't know what characters are, how you might figure out the pronunciation, or even simple components. You don't have a systematic methodology for acquiring a new character You don't know what a Chinese word is, much less how the characters within the word relate to each other You can't read anything, so there's no chance of determining a word through context. Naturally, without characters or words, you have no sense of sentence structure There is virtually no pleasure that can be derived from reading There aren't any situations where you can successfully communicate without relying entirely on body language You've not built up healthy study habits, and thus all momentum must be self-derived Unless you used it before, you are unfamiliar with how to use SRS (most people). Your State as a Learning After you Build your 80% Foundation: There's a lot of light breaking through the fog. You understand the principles of how to pronounce every Mandarin sound, thus increasing the likelihood of recognizing more of the sounds produced in the listening material. You can even start to associate purely auditory input with characters. You know hundreds of components and understand how they can have semantic or phonetic functions, therefore providing a layer of context for most unknown characters. You haven't learned every component, but you've mastered the ones you are most likely to see in a new character (Pareto principle again). You have a methodology for quickly committing a new character to memory. You know how to make an SRS flashcard out of it. The characters learned to construct the top 1000 words are the component characters in another 4000 lower frequency words. Because you have a strong sense of how the characters in compound words related to each other, there's a high probability of being able to understand those 4000 words, especially in context. There is a lot of content you can read, and the resources available for graded material are continually expanding (including the tailored content from MB). As a result, you increase the likelihood of understanding an unknown word through your keen sense of sentence structure combined with your knowledge of components and how words related to each other. Sidenote: @imron This is a refutation of your claim that someone has "no idea" what the remaining unknown 20% of the sentence is. If they know one or more of the characters in the word, some (or all) of the components, or even what part of speech it likely is based on sentence structure, that's far more knowledge than "no idea." I find this to be Chinese's primary 优势 compared to English; there's just so much more context once you have a foundation. To be clear, I'm not saying they will fully understand, but their chances of either getting the gist or entirely understanding the missing parts of the sentence are far higher than they would be in English. Not only can you derive pleasure from reading, but you start to feel how Chinese can change how you think. There are loads of situations where you can successfully communicate. If you don't know how to say something, you have the vocabulary necessary to explain what you mean. "Hey, do you guys sell those big boxes you put in the kitchen to keep things cold?" You can't communicate well in every situation, but getting by in China is far more accessible. You've already built up enough Myelin Sheaths around your neurons associated with the habit of daily study that it's not difficult to continue. The momentum is already gained, just keep going. Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a thoughtful response @imron, and to everyone who has politely engaged in the content of the course and how we're presenting it. I'm going to keep working all day every day on it, and it's never going to be perfect, but I know that it's helping people get through the "everything is fog" phase very effectively.
  20. 5 points
    Sometimes the ignorant presume to be experts. When I lived in China, sometimes Chinese people told me things about the west that were simply untrue. Most of these people had never been to the west. But rather than asking me if these things corresponded with my experience growing up in the west, they spoke as though they—not I—knew what the west was actually like, and argued with me if I disagreed. After I returned to the west from China, sometimes western people told me things about China that were simply untrue. Most of these people had never been to China. But rather than asking me if these things corresponded with my experience living in China, they spoke as though they—not I—knew what China was actually like, and argued with me if I disagreed.
  21. 5 points
    Hi, My name is Karen. I was a high school Chinese teacher in Ohio, USA for several years. Recently I created a website for people who are teaching or/and learning Chinese. I thought about using infographics to learn Chinese when I was a teacher because I found some of my students are visual learners. The infographic types of materials helped them tremendously. All the infographics in my website are free. I have made about 30 infographics so far. They are categorized to 3 groups, culture, grammar and vocabulary. The website is VividChinese.com. Culture infographics: https://vividchinese.com/category/infographics/culture/ Grammar infographics: https://vividchinese.com/category/infographics/grammar/ Vocabulary infographics: https://vividchinese.com/category/infographics/vocabulary/ Hope you find this website useful!
  22. 5 points
    I can totally see that joke land well in China, I can see Chinese men (and some women even) make that joke, but not at the office water cooler. Another factor: if your Chinese is not great yet (no idea whether it is, can't tell from here), people will often have the impression that you're a bit naïve or not too smart, simply because you often don't understand the banter (too fast, too complicated Chinese). If you then say something intended as humourous, it might not come across as a joke because people don't expect a joke from earnest, slow-talking John Foreigner. And then the joke is interpreted as a straight remark, with all the attached misunderstandings.
  23. 4 points
    No, it really depends where you are in Shenzhen and where you are headed to in Hong Kong. If you are in Nanshan, for example, crossing at Shenzhen Bay to shop in Tuen Mun or Yuen Long is most convenient. Note too that the HSR connection from Futian is around twice the cost of the other approaches and leaves you at W Kowloon, where you have to connect to other points in HK.
  24. 4 points
    I remember in the past getting frustrated by how I heard quite a few 2nd tones as 3rd tones. I think I've worked out why it used to bother me -- and though may well be common knowledge, I thought I'd put it up here. I just heard 原谅 yuánliàng and although I know that yuán is 2nd tone, I was sure I heard a dip at the start. Someone who knows about linguistics and Chinese pronunciation may be able to confirm that [yuán] is a dipthong which begins with a [yu] glide. I think I'm right in saying that the "rising-tone" isn't expressed until the [an] part of [yuán]. And if the [yu] part of [yuán] isn't rising - and perhaps even falls - it can cause the whole [yuán] to sound like something that isn't a 2nd tone, but one that first falls and then rises. (Or maybe it's that the [y] has a sound that dips and the [uan] rises - I don't know much about linguistics... but I think it's less critical than that one sound goes down and the next one goes up.) I'll attach an audio of the brief sentence, the word, and a pic of praat's analysis of the tones of the single word yuánliàng (with the [liàng] in the red-shaded section). Does anyone else hear it the way I described? sentence sentence.mp3 yuánliàng yuanliang.mp3
  25. 4 points
    Despite learning Chinese Mandarin, I don't get the chance to use it very often. I get the feeling of minimal progress. I haven't really been watching many intermediate learning materials since my last post. A bit boring for my liking... I wasted a lot of time on the hellotalk app. Being a native English speaker is a big advantage when learning Chinese. Eventually, I decided to tell people I am only interested in talking verbally and real time conversation. This proved helpful in screening out quite a number of people who just wanted a friendly text chat with a foreigner. I tend to screen out people who have a strong 南方 accent though Taiwanese are fine. In the end HT is just an area for practice and I cut down my time on it. For learning, I have been using Glossika. 25% through the A1 course. It's a bit boring but I stick with it. I don't like that it only gives two reps of a sentence. I prefer 3 or 4 at one time. Does it have an effect? I think it is hard to say for me - maybe a longer duration of practice would help. I recently dug out some old ankicards that I made long ago. These were made from the Growing up in China series. I remember I had tremendous difficulty in following the speech at time of making them. Well, amazingly, I found my listening comprehension is definitely much better. There are words which I forgot but definitely relearn much better and it's much less frustrating. I recently went to Qingdao for business and badminton. Initially a bit apprehensive yet looking forward to trying out the field experience. Last time I was by myself in China was two years ago in Guangzhou and I fell back to using Cantonese much of the time. Pleased to say I didnt really have any major problems using the language for day to day life. Of course there were the trip-ups. What I particularly liked was I had to use the language for some simple problem solving which sharpens the mind considerably. Although there is still a lot to learn in terms of extending conversations, the initial handling of issues went quite smoothly. I had a couple of nice conversations with taxi drivers and made a large number of wechat contacts from playing badminton. I played a lot of amateur competitions in the past and when I played my trickshots on this trip, they were really well received. Of course, there was also the novelty factor of being an overseas Chinese. So a great morale booster that there is some progression and I got a lot of extensive listening experience even though I didn't understand all of it.
  26. 4 points
    @murrayjames Amazon.cn has a Kindle version. Dangdang.com also has a electronic version. I didn't buy them though. I found a pirated 《三体全集》 that contains a copyright page: 出版时间:2012年1月 ISBN: 978-7-229-04206-6 此书授权在亚马逊进行销售 版权归广州市久邦数码科技有限公司所有 @Yadang Next book will be easier. I'm considering 曹文轩's 《草房子》 or 林海音's 《城南旧事》, both on the recommended reading list for primary school students.
  27. 4 points
    If you're going to study a text intensively, look up every word, learn most of the new vocabulary, practise any unfamilar syntax or grammar constructions, maybe memorise the text, certainly return to it in the future and aim to internalise how the language is used -- how would you choose the right text? Would you rely on luck - the first magazine you pick off the shelf? Or would you ask an expert in teaching the language to foreigners what he or she thought would be best for your level, would contain the most important and useful words and grammar, and comes with the occasional gloss to help you out with proper names and so on? I say this because after reading a dozen novels or so I went to a textbook, studied the texts, found words and grammar that I'd only vaguely understood, as well as ones I'd never learned - and then as soon as I picked up a new novel it felt like almost every page had something in it from the textbook. It was because the textbook was using the higher-impact, higher frequency vocab and grammar. This was a while back and I've barely looked at anything Chinese for the last year or two but it's time to start studying again and I don't have time to waste on low-impact items, nor do I want to waste time only half-remembering higher-impact ones. Plus, native level materials contain a lot of super-easy sentences which won't improve my Chinese because they're too easy. That's not the case with well-curated texts for learners - you don't waste time reading easy stuff. Finally - advanced textbooks usually are native materials, just, as I say, well-curated, sometimes glossed, and without too much that is too hard or too much that is too easy.
  28. 4 points
    Its the last week of teaching next week, so im gonna sit down and try and write a structured review then once ive got the time. Quick summary: hardest thing ive ever attempted in my life I have heard good things about the Leeds programme, especially their interpreting booth facilities, which are supposedly world class.
  29. 4 points
    OK reassuring to see that this audio is not commercially available for sale. So I'm not uneasy about bundling the files up and putting them here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/m5flh0ov4flhuqs/Thought and society.rar?dl=0 Please let me know if this is easily downloadable and that therefore I have been marvellous.
  30. 4 points
    Platform(s): PC / Mac OS X Where to buy: here System Requirements: OS: Windows 7 64-bit, Processor: Intel Core i3 6100 or AMD FX-4350, Memory: 4 GB RAM, Graphics: NVIDIA Geforce GT 1030, 2GB (Legacy: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460), AMD RX550, 2GB (Legacy: AMD Radeon HD 6850), Integrated: Intel HD Graphics 630, DirectX: Version 11, Storage: 5 GB available space Release Date: 30 Aug 2018 Languages: English and Chinese (both text and audio), French, Italian, German, Russian, Polish, Spanish (text only) Chinese Level Required: intermediate/upper intermediate Proportion of play time where you'll be using Chinese: High (lots of text-based resource management, plus plenty of audio) Specific/specialised Vocab Learned: Medical This game is a spiritual successor to the popular mid-90s sim Theme Hospital. Your job is to build and maintain hospitals in a variety of challenging environments. It takes a pretty cynical view on private healthcare, and the main aim of the game is to make money rather than cure patients. A game centred around illness could get a little depressing, so the developers have created their own humorous diseases and cures. You'll be dealing with illnesses such as Freddie Mercury Sickness rather than the common cold: Despite the relatively low system requirements, my laptop still isn't quite up to running it, but a fellow forum member, @markhavemann, has played the game and was kind enough to leave the following review:
  31. 4 points
    Here is the first installment of my blog on doing a Masters course in Translation and Interpretation (Chinese) at Bath University in the UK. Seeing as it is reading week, I've found I finally have time to do an update on how things are going, I guess I will probably do the next update when we break up for Christmas in December. There's really no time to do anything else except study and class prep in normal term time. Well I've been on the course for six weeks now, and it has been as intense as expected. Despite being at a UK university, I am the only westerner on the course, with 23 students, mainly mainland, but also a few Taiwanese and HK too. There is actually a Taiwanese American student who has taken English as his mother tongue (with all due right), but having been bilingual and living in Taiwan for the last 20 or so years, I feel like we're not really in the same boat. I am clearly bottom of the class in terms of relative language ability, as expected. Being surrounded by people who have studied English for decades, my 5/6 years of Mandarin stands out as particularly bad. I am so used to speaking Chinese colloquially, I am frequently lost for words when asked to interpret English speeches into Chinese using the right register. Anyway, onto the course content. All parts of the course have a two hour class slot that meets once a week: Simultaneous interpreting: we have a dedicated lab with fully equiped professional booths that all face into a bigger room with a conference table in the middle. The set up accurately mimics a real simultaneous interpreting situation, and the tech available is fantastic. Classes are very active, with every student having a chance to practice every class at least twice (practicing skills taught by the teacher in the lesson). I was placed on an internship at a UN week-long environmental protection meeting two weeks ago in London, to get in some valuable practice time. We used the real booths used by the pros for a week (with our mics switched off of course). We did shadowing and interpreting (almost exclusively from English into Chinese) for around 8 hours a day for a week. After this week something clicked in my brain, and now I can keep up with my peers in this class now. Not only that, but my professional Chinese has improved a lot as a result of the E-C direction. I have also discovered that in many cases working from English into Chinese is more often than not EASIER than Chinese to English. Why? I personally feel like the sparsity of phrases 'like' 成語 in English, plus the terseness of professional Chinese means you've always got enough time to think and interpret. Chinese to English is so much harder than I expected, to put it lightly. For example, 授人以魚不如授人以漁 was said in a speech during class a few weeks ago; not only had I not heard the phrase before, but I had no time to guess the meaning (多音字嘛 I thought the person had said the same thing twice by a mistake...), and by the time it was already too late the interpreting student had already interpreted it into "better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish". I mean, that makes more sense than what I was able to offer (which was just silence). So, simultaneous as a skill, I can do. But the sheer amount of knowledge you need at your fingertips is insane, and I am still far from being at a professional level yet. Consecutive interpreting: This class is largely centred around memory skills and note taking. Most of my peers have already studied interpreting in some form or another before starting this course, and many are already able to acurately remember speeches of five or more minutes long using some quite fantastic symbol-based systems. The teacher does not teach us a system, but rather teaches us how to build our own personal system effectively. I have found that using English keywords and acronyms has helped a lot, but really don't get too much of a kick out of arrows going everywhere and houses with dollar signs on them etc. As a little side hobby, I've taken up learning Pitman shorthand (new era) mainly for fun, but also with the hope that /some/ of it may come in handy with consec. note taking at some point in the future. This class is by far the hardest, and the teacher seems to enjoy choosing incredibly difficult speeches from people with non-standard accents. Very difficult, very embarassing for me, as most students have no issues in this class. What can you do when you didn't understand, or have forgotten what was said, and have no way to ask the speaker to repeat/clarify? This class makes me so nervous. Liaison interpreting: We have a mock conference/meeting every friday and are expected to prepare for it in the preceding week. The class is split into two groups: Chinese side, English side, and interpreters. The two sides discuss a topic for 2-3 hours whilst the interpreters take it in turns to sit one-by-one in between the two groups and act as a liaison interpreter. The pressure is noticeable, as the whole course is there watching you, and everyone is able to discern how good or bad your interpreting ability is (unlike when you're in the sim. interpreting booths, secluded and safe). Again, note taking is a skill that many of the students here employ. I would say to any westerner thinking about taking on a course like this, aside from having a very, very strong and well-rounded ability in Chinese, you should almost certainly also be practicing note-taking on speeches both in English and Chinese BEFORE starting a course (evidently with Chinese students in particular it would seem). I regret being under the impression I was going to learn note taking skills ON this course; I now know this of course is not the case, as pretty much everyone is already able to do this. Translation: We have both 'Chinese to English' and 'English to Chinese' classes. This needs no real explanation, its pretty much exactly what you would expect: teacher teaches theory, sets translation piece for homework, you translate it, get feedback, rinse and repeat. C-E very relaxing, the teacher seems to enjoy literary translation (lately lots of 紅樓夢 talk), E-C also ok but a much slower translation process for me. The translation process is private, however, so there's no real embarrassment to be had on this part of the course (so far...) All in all? I am loving the course, my classmates are fantastic people, very intelligent, hard working, inclusive, not 'immaturely' competitive if you understand what I mean, and importantly, very supportive as a community. Nobody treats me like a foreigner at all, I'm just another student. In that respect, theres not much leeway given, and as a result I feel like I'm ALWAYS being pushed to get up to their standard rather than being forgiven for being a 'foreigner'. Teaching is top notch, facilities are fantastic. And the fact that the course DOES have English-Chinese direction (as well as C-E) is a massive bonus if you ask me. My Chinese has improved rapidly, I can now read news probably 2-3 times faster than when I started the course. Why? Because I now read (mostly outloud, under my breath) for about 4-5 hours a day (as opposed to about 1 hour before the course). As you may be able to tell, I now live, breath and sleep in a world of studying speeches. I would not recommend this course for anyone who 'wants a life'. I feel obliged to say "sorry for the wall of text" - see you all in December.
  32. 4 points
    "So cool!" "That's amazing!" "Awesome!" "Wow!" And of course, the ever-present "Yeah!" None of these are exactly the same as 好玩, but they're used in the same way to express the same feelings. It's arbitrary. Next topic: Why do Westerners say "Oh my God!" all the time? Is it because they are especially religious? Perhaps this has something to do with the Reformation?
  33. 4 points
    Just a couple more basic things. Apart from 学习, here are what the other buttons in the bottom right do: 社交 (social life) - this is where you can choose which friends to hang out with or who to pursue as a boyfriend/girlfriend 商店 (shop) - you can buy things using your pocket money. Some will help relieve stress (ice cream, movie tickets), some will help with your studies (exam secrets book), and some will help develop new hobbies (buying a guitar etc). 事务 (duties/jobs) - here you can do household chores (to earn extra money) or ask for things from your parents (eg a new games console - whether they get you one is down to the amount of face you have, which is earned by doing well in exams and doing things your parents approve of) 期望 (hopes/expectations) - your parents will have various hopes and dreams throughout the game. Normally these involve achieving something within a certain timeframe (eg learn the piano). You earn rewards if you complete these.
  34. 4 points
    Yes, 梅根 is the standard transliteration, e.g. for Meghan Markle. But the situation is a bit different. Our client has a Chinese surname. 何梅根 doesn't sound like a Chinese name. Also three level tones in a row is not very pleasing to the ear. I agree 何美安 sounds the best. 梅根 and 美根 are okay. Just don't choose 美感. It's an existing word. A quite common one actually. Putting a 何 in front of it would make the full name sound like a rhetorical question. It negates any 美感 you could possibly have.
  35. 4 points
    Technically, spring doesn't begin with the Spring Festival. It begins on 立春 (which in 2019 falls on 除夕 the day before 春節). 立 has an obscure ancient meaning of "to manifest" therefore "the beginning". This sense is preserved in Japanese words like 日立 Hitachi (named after a city, itself named after a mountain facing the Pacific Ocean) and the first day of the month 一日 tsuitachi < tsuchi (月) + tachi (立). The Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar. Seasons are defined by 24 solar terms which divide up a solar year evenly therefore are (almost) fixed. This is necessary for agriculture. Lunar calendar fluctuates too much. The fist month may have 29 days one year and 30 days the next. Not to mention the leap month to keep lunar year aligned with solar year. So spring officially begins on 立春 (Feb 4, the midpoint between winter solstice and vernal equinox -- because in Chinese culture, the solstice, which marks the shortest day and longest night of the year, is taken as mid-season). Meanwhile the first day of the lunar year was called 元旦. It wasn't until the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1912 that the term 元旦 began to be applied to January 1st. Traditionally 春節 was the same thing as 立春. But then in 1914, 袁世凱 decreed that the Chinese New Year be called 春節 henceforward. And now here we are. Spring Festival is no longer the beginning of the spring season. To help memorize the 24 solar terms, we Chinese use the 二十四節氣歌: 春雨驚春清穀天(立春、雨水、驚蟄、春分、清明、穀雨) 夏滿芒夏暑相連(立夏、小滿、芒種、夏至、小暑、大暑) 秋處露秋寒霜降(立秋、處暑、白露、秋分、寒露、霜降) 冬雪雪冬小大寒(立冬、小雪、大雪、冬至、小寒、大寒) People in the north have another way called 數九 to count the days since the winter solstice. If you read wuxia novels, the phrase 冬練三九、夏練三伏 probably would pop up quite frequently. 三九 (Jan 9 - Jan 17) is considered the coldest in China. And today is 六九第七天. The 12 animals of the Earthly Branches are: 子鼠丑牛、寅虎卯兔、辰龍巳蛇、午馬未羊、申猴酉雞、戌狗亥豬 Create your own mnemonic and it shouldn't be any harder than 12 zodiac signs. The 10 Heavenly Stems are better memorized along with Wu Xing: 東方甲乙木、南方丙丁火、西方庚辛金、北方壬癸水、中央戊己土 It got repeated so many times in 評書 it's hard for me to not remember them.
  36. 4 points
    Thanks for all of this! (a lot of these are very familiar now that you're all mentioning them, it's been a long 19 years running Pleco...) Anybody remember any early China-based websites? I don't really recall there being any when I first went to China in 1999; everybody had PowerWord (and that seemed like absolute magic at the time, plus Kingsoft had the brilliant idea of charging like 20 or 30 RMB for the thing so people would actually buy a legitimate version), and in any event CDs were cheap enough and internet data was expensive enough that I have a hard time imagining anybody would have used an online dictionary when an offline one was available. But I have to think that there were at least a few. Regarding old electronic dictionaries, all my research so far suggests that the Sharp Zaurus does deserve credit as the very first electronic dictionary with touchscreen kanji/hanzi input; specifically the ZI-3000, which debuted in the fall of 1993. (it doesn't seem like the dedicated e-dictionary makers had that until several years later, though certainly by '99 you could go to a shop in Zhongguancun and find a bunch of them) Though if you're willing to count the 2.8-pound Sony PalmTop as an 'electronic dictionary', then the PTC-500 which debuted in 1990 would get that honor. For general-purpose PDAs running Chinese dictionary software, in theory the Psion Series 5 had the hardware to accommodate a handwriting Chinese dictionary in 1997 but I don't believe that anybody ever actually made one. The Palm IIIx shipped in early 1999 and was the first Palm with what I'd view as enough memory (4 MB) to store a Chinese font + dictionary database + handwriting recognizer template file. (and as far as I know the first Palm dictionary viewer app with double-byte character support was Kdic, which Roddy mentions; that was what I used for early Pleco prototypes anyway)
  37. 4 points
    I recently finished reading the 1928 short story《自杀日记》by 丁玲. This story has much in common with the novella《莎菲女士的日记》, a better-known work that 丁玲 published the same year. Both stories are about troubled young women in large Chinese cities who record their thoughts in diary form. 丁玲 gives both young women transliterated western names: 莎菲 and 伊萨. In some ways the women have similar temperaments. They are angsty, reclusive, and uninterested in the young men who fall in love with them. While both women are deeply unhappy—to the point of wanting to end their lives—their unhappiness manifests differently. 莎菲 is brooding, impetuous, judgmental, misanthropic. 伊萨 is apathetic. Finding no meaning in life, she resigns herself to a nihilistic suicide: 她只觉得这生活很无意思,很不必有,她固执的屡次向自己说:“顶好是死去算了!” Like other works by 丁玲 from this period, the language is not difficult for a Chinese language learner to understand. The story is short, just over 4,500 characters long. Here is a link: https://www.kanunu8.com/book3/8372/186036.html Below are some statistics and a list of the works I have finished reading this year. Despite showing only 3.6% my goal complete, I am ahead of my reading schedule, because these numbers do not include works currently in progress. Next up to finish is the 余华 short story《我没有自己的名字》. Some statistics: Characters read this year: 35,967 Characters left to read this year: 964,033 Percent of goal completed: 3.6% List of things read: 《三八节有感》by 丁玲 (2,370 characters) 《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲 (10,754 characters) 《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东 (18,276 characters) 《自杀日记》by 丁玲 (4,567 characters)
  38. 4 points
    I once said there wasn’t much chance of a nuclear physicist turning up to answer the OP’s question. Five minutes later...
  39. 4 points
    ....is a favourite song of mine by Nik Kershaw. Wouldn’t it be good to just get a bit of time to oneself just to study without life getting in the way. It’s been very busy. At at least I have glossika to fall back on. It’s now very convenient - connect up my earphones, go into the browser on my phone and start the course. If I don’t finish, then do some reps later at another time. So far I have managed about five days out of seven for the last three weeks. Nice.
  40. 4 points
    My Chinese isn't amazing but I'm always complimented on my pronunciation, so here's what I do. Shadowing. Watch some videos in YouTube and read up on shadowing. Long story short you basically follow an audio recording and speak along with the recording. It really helps with stressing the right words and when to pause mid-sentence. Most textbooks have CDs to follow the dialogues. Chinesepod is also a good resource for this. Start with short sentences over and over again. Then longer sentences. Finally try short texts. Tone pairs I think that's what it's called. There are some resources online teaching patterns for certain tones together. Pretty helpful to drill and practice. Record. Most importantly, every time you practice what I've mentioned, record it! Just use your phone and make a quick recording, then listen back. You can really hear your mistakes when you record and listen back to yourself. I personally enjoy working hard on my pronunciation. I'm happy to slowly build up my vocabulary but have a solid base when it comes to speaking and my pronunciation. It's an amazing feeling when your taxi/Didi/Uber drives past you, because he didn't expect a foreigner after speaking to you on the phone to book! Perfect practice makes perfect! Just to add: Don't be trapped in thinking you need more/better resources. When I started I was the same and got a tonne of advice on which resources to use, and I got them all. The most important thing is knowing how to best use those resources. You can sign up for the best gym in your city, but you still need to put in the hours, have the discipline and have good knowledge of the equipment to make the most of it and see results.
  41. 4 points
    Another mooc. Sorry, they keep on coming! I remember there was a discussion about standard pronunciation and standard putonghua a few months ago, this mooc seems very relevant. It starts on 18 December. 普通话实训与测试 Mandarin Training and Testing Sichuan University (good place to learn 普通话). Instructor: 朱姝 Zhu Shu https://www.icourse163.org/course/SCU-1003501002 It is for Chinese students with high school level as a minimum and it looks like it doesn't have subtitles. People who don't understand the trailer may struggle to keep up with the lectures. I'd advice doing at least the phonetics parts of 魅力汉语 (Charming Chinese) first: https://www.icourse163.org/course/HZAU-1001741023 On an aside note, how can they possibly say 普通话 is 中国人的“母语??? At best it would be their stepmother. The more they try, the more I like 方言
  42. 4 points
    That is called 四人歸西 and is a taboo for some superstitious people. 歸西 (going/returning west) is a euphemism for death based on the Buddhist idea of heaven in the west.
  43. 4 points
    I was quite shocked when I saw this poster last week. It can't be, can it? Do I have a particularly dirty mind, I asked myself. Well, dirty maybe, particularly definitely not, I concluded. This is a well-known wordplay. So well-known that whoever made this poster had to use quotation marks to eliminate ambiguity. But the quotation marks only serve to remind the reader that there is another reading. So the shock was calculated. Which leaves me wondering how low can you go in advertising these days. (For anyone who doesn't get it, 下面 = the nether regions.)
  44. 4 points
    Since you are a beginner, I suggest you watch children's videos in Chinese. These videos might be a bit boring, but they are great ear-training. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vY3Xz5Q532o https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gM_QSDCjHKY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpseCxt5Wkk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7vP9EYCYsA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSkZsh3sl8c https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_GQPMqJR30 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0lTEAPVkbA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUDt4vyCOfo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoulIKjl09w https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zx9OhgVxxyE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeQhpeNgM68 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlYuykVFYNo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-BaeRspg9U https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0eT6dA3vDo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vw8GIf7KYLY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3s96iyEYcPo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7iaXVgk1xk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsz99rmn-P4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jojGGiCvplM (When you move past the beginner level, I have higher-level videos I can also recommend.)
  45. 3 points
    I usually use Fiverr for this type of thing. I think the most important question is what are you using these recordings for? Is it to practise shadowing to improve your pronunciation? In that case it might work out best to get a tutor on italki to make a recording, then help you go over your pronunciation the following week. Rinse and repeat. Are you making a product where you need professional quality recordings to sell? In that case go with someone on fiverr and make sure you get the appropriate licenses. Be sure to check the speaker's accent. Finally, a wordlist is entirely different to an article. If people charge per 100 characters/words, that's for sentences and articles. If you want 100 characters/words to be read like a wordlist one-by-one, there's usually a different price as this takes much more time. In fact here is a quote from one of the fiverr links from above: I also wouldn't expect someone who teaches for 1 hour on italki to give you 1 hour worth of recorded material either. It's a completely different job. A teacher gives input and feedback, explains grammatical points and most of the time lets the student do the talking (after all we want to practise Chinese, not listen to a lecture.) Recording articles for 1 hour with clear pronunciation and no mistakes is actually quite exhausting, physically and mentally. Just give it a try yourself and try to record 1 page from a book in your native language without making a mistake. Good luck and let us know how you get on!
  46. 3 points
    With the increasing number of both Chinese developed games and foreign games localised into Chinese, playing games is becoming an increasing viable method of improving your language skills . Since we already have comic book index and TV series index threads, I thought it's about time we had a games index thread as well. Feel free to write your own reviews and I will add them to this index. The format of the review is up to you, but try to include: - basic info about the game - screenshots/gifs - a link of where to buy - how fun it is to play - how effective playing it is for improving your Chinese Chinese Parents 中国式家长 Experience life as a Chinese kid, as you guide him or her from birth all the way to the dreaded gaokao exam. Two Point Hospital 双点医院 Design stunning hospitals, cure peculiar illnesses and manage troublesome staff as you spread your budding healthcare organisation across Two Point County. Devotion 还原 / 還願 Explore an apartment in 1980s Taipei, as you try to uncover unsettling family secrets in this first-person psychological horror game. Unheard 疑案追声 What if you could hear every word spoken at the scene of a crime? “Acoustic Detectives” wanted for testing our new device! Return aurally to crime scenes and use the voices you hear to identify potential suspects and solve the mysteries. What is it that’s connecting these seemingly unrelated cases? Three Kingdoms 全面战争:三国 Total War: THREE KINGDOMS is the first in the award-winning series to recreate epic conflict across ancient China. Combining a gripping turn-based campaign of empire-building & conquest with stunning real-time battles, THREE KINGDOMS redefines the series in an age of heroes & legends. Civilization VI 文明6 Originally created by legendary game designer Sid Meier, Civilization is a turn-based strategy game in which you attempt to build an empire to stand the test of time. Become Ruler of the World by establishing and leading a civilization from the Stone Age to the Information Age. Wage war, conduct diplomacy, advance your culture, and go head-to-head with history’s greatest leaders as you attempt to build the greatest civilization the world has ever known.
  47. 3 points
    It's a phone app, but you can download to the app. Android phones are easier to use. I download all the shows I want to watch on the app, then I got to my file manager on my phone (android), go to RRJM, Downloads, and there are a bunch of folders with all of your episodes in mp4 format! If you have a smart TV you can set your wifi and the TVs wifi to the same, then play it from your phone onto the TV. Yeah I couldn't believe it when I found the full versions of GoT. My wife's wanted to watch it, but without decent Chinese subtitles it's just pretty complex for a non native speaker to understand. The app itself has its ups and downs. Sometimes TV shows go missing for about 3-4 weeks, then suddenly come back again. I started watching Shameless, then had to wait a few weeks before it was available again. Once it was available I just downloaded every single season on the app so I could watch it offline. I had that with nearly every VPN I tried. Then I finally took the plunge and got Express VPN and it worked. It didn't work 100% of the time, but perhaps 80%. The same with 4OD (UK channel online). Most other VPNs said they were connected to a UK server, but I still couldn't watch 4OD online, the website just said I wasn't in the UK. But with Express it works nearly 100% of the time. Only downside is it isn't cheap compared to other VPNs!
  48. 3 points
    I’m not willing to be The Bumper but I can update: My Chinese has gone to crap in the last year, so it’s just about regaining my groove. This week I’m doing a load of online chats and trying to find a book I can read relatively easily without too much dictionary checking. I’m not doing listening or speaking at all right now, because I am perennially terrible at it and don’t want to deflate my newly recovered enthusiasm.
  49. 3 points
    Today I finished reading the short story《牛》by 沈从文. It is one of my favorite things I have read in Chinese. The story is about a farmer nicknamed 大牛伯 and his ox 小牛. One day, while plowing the field, 大牛伯 gets angry and strikes the ox in the leg with a wooden mallet. The rest of the story is devoted to the aftermath of this event. When he realizes his ox is seriously injured, 大牛伯 starts to worry about his future. How will he plow the field without his ox? Can the ox’s leg be healed? Should the ox be sent to the butcher? The story is a fable of surprising moral and psychological depth. I was hooked from the first paragraph. Here it is: For most of the rest of the story 沈从文 explores, in plain language, the thoughts and emotions of 大牛伯 and his stricken ox. 大牛伯 feels guilty for hurting his ox. He is also angry with the ox for being hurt and suspects it of exaggerating the seriousness of its injury. The ox enjoys finally having an opportunity to relax in the hot sun. But it also feels guilty it cannot plow the field for its master, because it wants to make him happy. If you like the paragraph quoted above you will like《牛》.The tone and style of that paragraph are representative of what follows. I loved this story, and look forward to reading more works by 沈从文. Text of《牛》: http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_53fc4c510100m2sg.html Some statistics: Characters read this year: 59,957 Characters left to read this year: 940,043 Percent of goal completed: 6.0% List of things read: 《三八节有感》by 丁玲 (2,370 characters) 《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲 (10,754 characters) 《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东 (18,276 characters) 《自杀日记》by 丁玲 (4,567 characters) 《我没有自己的名字》by 余华 (8,416 characters) 《手》by 萧红 (7,477 characters) 《牛》by 沈从文 (8,097 characters) [Thanks to @Lu for pointing out that the animal in this story is an ox, not a calf.]
  50. 3 points
    These are all variations of the same thing: 要不 (if not) 要不然 (if not so) 不然 (not so) 不然的話 (if not so) 要不然的話 (double if not so) Bonus: 否則 (*implied if* not so, then)
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