Anki flashcards

I’ve been studying languages for many years and one of the most common learning tools is flashcards. A very popular learning method and tool is known as SRS, or spaced repetition software. One such software is Anki. I have avoided Anki for many years thinking that it would be too boring for me, however I have recently begun using it and I have to say that it is quite effective. It is open-source and available on Windows, Mac, Linux/BSD, iOS, Android, and can even be used from a browser.

Mandarin Radio

Well, I don’t have too much to post at the moment. Been very busy working full-time again. But I’ve been listening to the radio in Mandarin again. Because I am interested in Taiwan, I have been listening to Taiwanese radio stations. http://hichannel.hinet.net/radio.html However, since I am using Linux I cannot use the site properly since there is DRM-protected material there. So I have made 2 scripts to listen and record the online radios.

敖 vs. 敫

So I’ve had this finished for quite a long time now, I just haven’t posted it because I wanted the picture to be better. In the end however, I decided that I didn’t care and I’ll just post what I’ve done…which isn’t much^^; So I’ve always had trouble remembering how to pronounce characters with the graphemes 敖 and 敫. I have never found a good mnemonic device for remembering them. So I took the most used characters and grouped them all together by pronunciation.

Etymology of 載

Many Chinese characters are difficult for learners to remember, especially those with many strokes. However, if you learn them properly, i.e., you learn their origins, memorization becomes much simpler. Today we are looking at 載. 載(zǎi/zài) means “to load” or “to carry”, among several other meanings. It is a 形聲, below are its components. So we can see it is made up of 車(car), its semantic value, and “zāi”(to cut), its phonetic value.

Explaining how easy Chinese is to others pt.2

Spoken Chinese Ok, so you’ve seen how a sound in Mandarin (and other Chinese languages) can mean many things. You have also seen how when written there is no confusion as to the meaning of each sound. However, how does this all work when you’re speaking? Surely native speakers don’t draw each syllable that is not understood and show it to the listener. In Ancient Chinese and/or Classical Chinese monosyllabic words were no problem.

Explaining how easy Chinese is to others pt.1

Written Chinese The written Chinese language is very intimidating and/or confusing to most who do not know how it actually works. Here is a very brief explanation of how Chinese characters are a very efficient and easy system, arguably easier than languages that use the Roman alphabet. Over 97% of all Chinese characters have only 2 parts, a meaning part and a pronunciation. When looking at a character that you don’t know, you can use these parts to know a lot more about it.

New Tong Wen Tang 新同文堂

Would you like to view this page in Simplified Chinese? Want to see Baidu in Traditional Chinese? No problem! Get New Tong Wen Tang (新同文堂) for your browser and you will be able to read any website in your preferred script. Firefox **Click on the 繁 and 簡 to convert webpages, and the “S” and “T” to convert the clipboard. Chrome/Chromium **Click on the 同文 icon to toggle between Simplified and Traditional, right-click for more options.

More examples of 被

Here are 2 more examples of 被 that I have found in my daily studying. 海綿寶寶(Spongebob Squarepants) 線被切斷了,好討厭哦 “The wire has been cut, how annoying.”(lit. very annoying) 龍騎士(Eragon) 「在他身後,也就是鹿群之前待的地方,一大圈的樹和草都被燒焦了,許多松樹光禿禿的立著,在焦黑圈子外面的草都被壓平了。」 在…後: behind … 他身: his body 也就是: is also 鹿群: deer herd 之前: before 待: to stay (first tone) 地方: place 一大圈: a large ring, a large circle

Fun ways to learn

I know a lot of you out there think, “If I’m not learning from a textbook, or studying with flashcards, then I’m not learning.” Well I’ve got news for you, you don’t HAVE to learn that way! You are not learning a foreign language to be able to take a test well, you are learning it to be able to communicate with others. Have fun with it! Don’t just sit there mindlessly memorizing vocabulary, taking tests, and killing yourself when you forget something.

Passive voice with 被

There are a few ways to make the passive voice in Mandarin. We are going to focus on the most common way, by using 被. I thought I would try something new in this post. Instead of writing my little lesson for 被 here, I decided to make a PDF explaining it. I made a simplified and traditional version, so choose whichever you like. After clicking on the link click on the “Download” button on the top-right of the window.