Author: chinese4kids

Invisible Wings

I love this song by Zhāng Shàohán 张韶涵. Let’s quote some from the words 每一次都在徘徊孤单中坚强 měi yī cì dōu zài pái huái gū dān zhōng jiān qiáng Every time I wander in loneliness, I get stronger; 每一次就算很受伤也不闪泪光 měi yī cì jiù suàn hěn shòu shāng yě bù shǎn lèi guāng Every time even if I get hurt, I don’t let my tear glimmer; 我知道我一直有双隐形的翅膀 wǒ zhī dào wǒ yì zhí yǒu shuāng yǐn xíng de chì bǎng I know I always have a pair of invisible wings; 带我飞,飞过绝望 dài wǒ fēi, fēi guò jué wàng which lead me fly, flying over despair....

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The Opening Time of Olympic Games 2008 Beijing

There are only 297 days to the date of 2008 Olympic Games. We were searching for tickets for the opening ceremony, we asked several travel agencies and were told that all the tickets to the opening ceremony were sold out! OK, no chance to go for the opening ceremony, but it is still good to talk about the opening time of the ceremony. The opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games will be 08:08:08pm, 08/08, that means,8 minutes and 8 seconds past 8 o’clock in the evening, Aug. 08, 2008. If we put them together, it is 8-8-8-8-8, five eights. Interesting, isn’t it? In Chinese, we would say, the opening time is 二零零八年八月八号八点八分八秒 (èr líng líng bā nián bā yuè bā hào bā diǎn bā fēn bā miǎo ) Why eight? You may ask. The reason is simple: because 8 is the lucky number in Chinese. The pronunciation of 八, bā, is close to 发(fā ), which means getting rich, getting well… The good wish for the Olympic Games is thus hidden in the choice of the opening ceremony time. Let’s give our best wishes to the success of the Olympic Games 2008 Beijing too! Good luck,...

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New urgency to learn Chinese

WashingtonPost featured an article titled “New urgency to learn Chinese” by Lori Aratani. The article covered the increasing interest in learning Chinese in US schools and the lack of qualified Chinese teachers. ” Increasingly, it’s non-Asian parents who want their children to learn Chinese, citing the desire to remain competitive for the best jobs.” “They want their children to have an edge, and they see Chinese as helping them get that,” “Kathryn B. Groth, vice president of the Frederick school board, whose system will start a Mandarin program this fall, said she welcomes the global focus. “I think Americans who used to feel other people needed to learn [English] now realize that the time has come when that doesn’t work anymore,” Groth said. “I’ve heard from people who say: ‘Forget the engineering. Learn the foreign language. If you want a job, the foreign language is going to sell your engineering.’ “ Here is the link if you are interested in reading the whole...

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A Short Story Made of Words of One Chinese Sound

There is one short story made of words that used only one Chinese sound, shi (sounds like ‘sure’). It was written by Zhao Yuanren, a linguist in Chinese, the author of “A Grammar of Spoken Chinese”. This short story is composed of 91 words and all of the words are of the same sound “Shi”(yes). It was totally incomprehensible, just as a sentence of “yes yes yes yes yes”, unless you got all the tones right or could see the characters. Maybe only Chinese can create something like this. Let’s try to read: 《施(shī)氏(shì)食(shí)狮(shī)史(shǐ)》 石(shí)室(shì)诗(shī)士(shì)施(shī)氏(shì),嗜(shì)狮(shī),誓(shì)食(shí)十(shí)狮(shī)。 氏(shì)时(shí)时(shí)适(shì)市(shì)视(shì)狮(shī)。 十(shí)时(shí),适(shì)十(shí)狮(shī)适(shì)市(shì)。 是(shì)时(shí),适(shì)施(shī)氏(shì)适(shì)市(shì)。 氏(shì)视(shì)是(shì)十(shí)狮(shī),恃(shì)矢(shǐ)势(shì),使(shǐ)是(shì)十(shí)狮(shī)逝(shì)世(shì)。 氏(shì)拾(shí)是(shì)十(shí)狮(shī)尸(shī),适(shì)石(shí)室(shì)。 石(shí)室(shì)湿(shī),氏(shì)使(shǐ)侍(shì)拭(shì)石(shí)室(shì)。 石(shí)室(shì)拭(shì),氏(shì)始(shǐ)试(shì)食(shí)是(shì)十(shí)狮(shī)。 食(shí)时(shí),始(shǐ)识(shí)是(shì)十(shí)狮(shī)尸(shī),实(shí)十(shí)石(shí)狮(shī)。 试(shì)释(shì)是(shì)事(shì)。 The translation of this story, according to wikipedia is as follows: “Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den” In a stone den was a poet Shi, who was a lion addict, and had resolved to eat ten. He often went to the market to look for lions. At ten o’clock, ten lions had just arrived at the market. At that time, Shi had just arrived at the market. He saw those ten lions, and using his trusty arrows, caused the ten lions to die. He brought the corpses of the ten lions to the stone den. The stone den was damp. He asked his servants to wipe it. After the stone den was wiped, he tried to eat those ten lions. When he ate, he realized...

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Why Chinese?

Why do we study Chinese? It is a question I initially asked the LP’s in the Chinese club. The answers varied from “my parents want me to learn Chinese” to “It is an interesting language. I want to know how to write Chinese characters” to “My father is going to be transferred to Shanghai, and we are going there as a family.”… Interesting, right? For kids, Chinese is not a common language such as Spanish, French or Italian which most other students learn; Chinese is different. Learning Chinese is thus cool since few of the others know it. But, why Chinese? It is an important question we need to understand so we can keep on learning.  Let’s make a list: Chinese is interesting and not that hard Chinese culture is one of the oldest in the world. Chinese is artistically formed with a combination of meaningful parts: for example, the word “crisis” (危机)means “danger” and “opportunity”. Chinese is a language of arts and poems. Not to mention the beautiful classical poems, Chinese calligraphy is well known for its artistic value. If you know 1000 commonly used Chinese words, you can recognize most of the characters in a Chinese newspaper. Now you can see Chinese characters on lots of labels. It is cool to be able to recognize them and simply show off in front of your friends. Chinese traditions...

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How Old Are You?

When I passed today’s lesson to the students, they showed surprise: “How come there are two different questions to ask the same ‘How old are you’ ?” Their surprise is reasonable, but there are actually more ways asking “How old are you” in Chinese. The choice of how to ask depends on the age of the person being asked. If the asked person is older, the question has to be in the polite form; if the asked person is at the same age, the question can be in a polite form or a intimate form; if the asked person is younger or a child, the question can be asked 你几岁? nǐ jǐ suì 你多大? nǐ duō...

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I came across an article “Language Learning is Messy” today, and I think the analysis on Children’s language learning advantages is quite good. According to the author Albert Wolfe, the following points stand out: Children talk a lot. Children make lots of mistakes. Children learn what they need. Children don’t have language goals. If you are interested in the article, please visit...

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