Learning Chinese - Tests and the anxieties

Written by April Zhang on Thursday, 06 September 2018. Posted in Blogs

Learning Chinese - Tests and the anxieties

Learning Chinese can causes lots of anxieties, for both teachers and students. As the power structure goes, I suppose students suffer more. There are so many defeated students out there, more than defeated teachers. So this post is about students.

Learning Classical Chinese Texts

Written by April Zhang on Tuesday, 29 August 2017. Posted in Blogs

Learning Classical Chinese Texts

At the fourth stage, the acculturation stage, students start to get deep into the Chinese cultural literacy. This stage opens up tremendous directions for students to pursue further learning. 

In Mandarin Express Intermediate Level B, a substantial amount of classical Chinese (wenyanwen) is included. There is no doubt that wenyanwen is difficult to learn, and many students get by without knowing any of it. So, why do I include so many wenyanwen texts?

Learning Mandarin - From Pinyin to Characters

Written by April Zhang on Saturday, 01 October 2016. Posted in Blogs

Learning Mandarin - From Pinyin to Characters

Student's post, by Adam C.

I began taking Mandarin lessons with MSL Master / April Zhang in June 2015, starting essentially from scratch. Shortly before studying with April, I had short-lived experiments with two other Mandarin tutors, but I left both of those tutors fairly quickly without picking up much of use -- it was too frustrating to be taught by someone who was unenthusiastic about teaching, and was simply reading straight from a textbook with which they were barely familiar. 

Learning Mandarin - Difficulty is an illusion

Written by April Zhang on Wednesday, 20 July 2016. Posted in Blogs

Learning Mandarin - Difficulty is an illusion

Student's post, by Keong:

It's often said that learning Chinese (Mandarin) is very difficult. When considering the truth or otherwise of that virtual cliché, the reality is that learning ANY foreign language presents all sorts of challenges – particularly when at that stage of learning (and it is a long stage) where you are relying on memory, when language ability is not yet at that level which can reasonably be described as 'fluent' and there is no practical opportunity for immersion.

Mahjong, maque, majiang, anyone?

Written by April Zhang on Saturday, 11 July 2015. Posted in Blogs

Mahjong, maque, majiang, anyone?

I have only played mahjong twice. Each time I played for four to five hours. The game started after dinner, and it was finished just before mid-night.

In Hong Kong, this game is also called máquè (麻雀) which means sparrow. I was quite puzzled when I first saw the huge street signs saying "sparrow house", but I eventually figured out that it meant mahjong. According to Wikipedia, "sparrow" is still the most commonly used name in southern China. For me, I only see it displayed prominently in Hong Kong. I have either not noticed the street signs in other southern cities, or overlooked them completely. The reason might be my limited experience in playing mahjong.


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