Chinese New Year is coming. Here is a little bit of cultural interest for all Chinese learners. There will be 384 days in the year of rat, starting from the first day Jan 25, 2020 and ending on Feb 11, 2021.
The first animated video lesson was just officially released. If you have never learned anything about reading and writing Chinese characters, you can watch this video and learn strokes and stroke orders.
The much anticipated holiday season is finally around the corner. Visiting families and friends, travelling around the world, or staying home receiving all the guests. Holidays can be hectic. What about learning Chinese?
Sometimes I have my breakfast in a restaurant which is right next to my office building. This is a typical Hong Kong restaurant where you see locals most of the time. The menu is usually placed underneath the glass top of the table. You sit down, you read the menu, and you order your food. In this restaurant, most of the service staff look quite senior in age. And Cantonese is the default language in this restaurant.
It happens that, when some students want to say something, they find that they can’t. They are trying very hard to translate everything from English to Chinese, word by word. As a result, they either get stuck, or miscommunicate themselves. I have seen it quite often during consultations or when talking to someone at a gathering.
If you have ever blamed yourself for not speaking fluent Mandarin because you just can’t seem to memorise all the new words taught in your Chinese textbooks or by your Mandarin teachers, you can relax now.
September 12th, 2019, was Qian Xuantong (钱玄同)’s 132th birthday. In 1923, when he was 36 years old, he proposed to simplify Chinese characters, which was the first step to his ultimate goal of making Chinese into a phonetic writing system. He wanted to abolish the Chinese characters.
This year’s Mid-Autumn festival is only two weeks away, and it is a time for Chinese learners around the world to take a break in their regular study routines and to enjoy some of the festivities. Let’s remind ourselves that learning Chinese is also about learning Chinese culture and about participating in the cultural activities. And you don’t have to be in China to enjoy Mid-Autumn festival.
I recently had a trip to Okinawa. One day, I got caught in the rain and had to spend a couple of hours in a coffee house, where other tourists suffered the same fate. There was a nice couple from Germany. It was their first trip to Japan and they found it really hard to get around or to order food, because they did not speak Japanese. I do not speak Japanese either, yet for me Japan is not a hard place to get around. The reason is simply because I can read Chinese characters.