Archive | February, 2013

The Earliest Chinese Poem Collection: Odes

28 Feb

Chinese language has a very long history of more than 3000 years and still is used today. Poem “诗经(shī jīng) epitomized the thought of ancient Chinese.” Did you learn or try to speak it? Try it now! Find more Chinese Poetry.

关关雎鸠,在河之洲;
Guān guān jū jiū, zài hé zhī zhōu;

窈窕淑女,君子好逑;
Yǎotiǎo shūnǚ, jūnzǐ hǎo qiú;

Guan! Guan! Cry the fish hawks on sandbars in the river; a gentleman is wooing a fair lady he loves. “诗经 shī jīng”, translated into Book of Songs, or the Collection of Odes, is the earliest existing collection of poems and songs in China. It consists of 305 poems and songs written from 10th to 7th century BC, covers a wide range of topics from political views, to love songs. Using vivid words and sentences, the songs and poems described the scene of wars or love. The lyrics shown in the beginning of the article, is about a man wooing for the lady he fell in love with. In another poem, a wife is singing the anticipation on the return of her husband through “Carriages passed by, but you are on none of them”. The returning solders chant the loss of his good years by “when we set out, the willows were drooping with spring; when we return, there is only snow”.

There is nothing more powerful than revealing the true feelings people live their life and in the society. Through the ancient poems, we see the same cycle of social hates and loves: the pursuit of pretty women, the worries and miss a wife has to her husband in expedition, the ruthless nature of war, and the longing for peace. Generation after generation, it never changes. Some of the suffering, however, is still on.

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Optimize Your Strategy in Learning Mandarin Chinese!

26 Feb

When I was a college teaching assistant in Chinese Department, I was asked many times by my students of how they can learn mandarin Chinese faster and memorize better, within their crazy college schedule. Trying to persuade them Rome was not built on one day (In Chinese: 罗马不是一天建成的。) didn’t seem to work well. All in all, as  a second, or maybe third language, we don’t have the determination as to build Rome devoted into your language studies. Moreover, learning a language like Chinese is probably the most challenging yet tedious process you can have. Therefore, my suggestion, to my students in college, and to my dear customers of SpeakMandairn.com, is to optimize your learning strategy!

Start slowly, experience the Chinese language first, and then think through it. Don’t just take it all in at once. Chinese language is a heritage from the 5000 years of Chinese history. It has so much to offer beyond the language itself: the formation of different idioms are associated with different stories; Chinese characters (汉字) are developed through inscriptions on the shell…Cultivate some love and interest into this language can always make the learning process more fun and livable.

Everyday is a crucial day if you accumulate a little to form a lot. I especially like the Supermemo.net learning idea. It’s a very useful way to help students learn Chinese by themselves and with their Chinese tutors. Learn a lesson on Day 1, review the portion you may forget on Day 2 and 3 until it has been engraved in your brain like a gem. Then start something new. Months later you will notice the difference. Learning a language is not “a big deal”, but really a small thing to do each day to make a total difference. What leads you through may not be the passion you have, but definitely the persistence you own.

Well, I have to admit that it has to come to the point of endless repeating and struggling of memorization. You can always take a break. But be aware of the risk of putting your previous efforts in vain, and that can even lead to a goodbye to your learning of Chinese. Find a learning partner, switch a topic, travel to China, talk to someone who is native…tons of strategies you can use to resume your passion in this path. That’s why we have partner classes offered. Rome was not built on one day, but it was built eventually and stays till today! You will make it too!

Conversation makes a real difference in Chinese language learning!

25 Feb

In the world of communication, having conversations are the easiest way to hear somebody and make yourself heard. It’s tha same as Chinese language learning. That is why the world has those Six-party Talk, Bilateral Talk, Global Talk and various other talks. To the lower end, it works the same way. In the world of language learning, having conversations is vital in the entire learning process, yet it is always neglected by many learners.

Most people start learning a language in school, while you read the textbook, memorize the vocabulary, answer the questions raised by the teacher, finish the tests and… that’s all! They may never have the real opportunity to talk with other people in the extra language they are learning. After several months, the textbooks are still the textbooks, but their memory of the contents blur. Even if the memorization stays long enough, your communication abilities are not guaranteed. For example, I have learned English for 20 years and regard myself as intermediate level of speaking. However, the moment I entered the U.S. I found myself lost in the greetings “How are doing?”, “What’s up?” and “How are you?”. On textbooks, American people should say “How do you do?”, yet it seems nobody is greeting following the textbooks I have used for years.

However, there will be a difference if they could have real conversations duringlearning, which means using the extra language for real communication. It is a leap forward from memorization to application and also a test in the real world of the true language abilities. You may be able to spell “encyclopedia”, but you may not be able to answer the question “What do you like most about encyclopedia?” All in all, language is a
tool for people to talk. It will remain on the textbook until used in the real world, real communication. I always try to persuade my students to talk to each other in Chinese during class, find a language partner after class, or go on Skype to find some native speakers who can help. The efforts may not have a direct impact on their test scores, but that is the way they can truly master the Chinese language even when the semester ends. Practice makes perfect. What do you use language for? Talking. So start practicing talking now

Are you planning to learn Chinese language right now since China is in the Spotlight!

21 Feb

Though currently now a big player in the world’s business jet market, the situation is about to change. The Canada-based plane producer Bombardier Inc. predicted that China would receive about 2,360 corporate jets by 2030, and the company is expanding its sales team in China now. The market took off approximately after the 2008 Olympics and is having an annual growth rate of more than 150%, and is expecting more growth in the next decade. With 132 business jets registered in 2011, the sky will be even busier with more jets to join. (The data above come from China Daily news.)

Like most Westerners, just a few years ago you might not have been thinking very much about China. However, these days China is all over the news. You, like more and more people, may be wondering: “Should I be learning Chinese language?” Yes, more and more countries pay attention to improve the Mandarin Chinese lever of their people especially for their kids. The most important reason is that the China is a large market to develop. If you can speak fluent Chinese, you will have a good opportunity to catch up your career.

Learning to speak Chinese is not as hard as you think. Modern technology can aid in the learning process dramatically just as SpeakMandarin.com which offers LIVE online Mandarin Chinese classes whenever and wherever you choose. By utilizing interactive whiteboard technology, SpeakMandarin.com creates an excellent Chinese language learning environment that integrates the benefits of a virtual classroom that is as adaptable, convenient and efficient as a physical one. The online Chinese classes are conducted live; in individualized settings and using teaching materials that can be customized based on your needs.

The Chinese language has a surprisingly straightforward set of rules regarding speaking and grammar. With the correct approach people can find themselves speaking Chinese within a short period of time. So by learning Chinese you can take part in an activity that has huge benefits for your career but takes less time than getting a second degree or learning other skills. Business Chinese course is just designed for students who have no previous exposure to the Chinese language and society.