Archive | July, 2013


24 Jul


        “80后”,“90后”,“00后”,这是目前(mùqián, recently )在中国很流行( liúxíng, popular)的说法。什么是“80后”呢?是指出生于1980年到1989年这段时间的孩子,“80后”作为一个新生词语已经为大众所接受,泛指中国大陆上个世纪80年代之后出生,由于环境原因造成的新一代人。
       目前这批人有一些已经30岁了,也到了成家立业(chéngjiālìyè, get married and start one’s career)的年纪。80后经历(jīnglì, go through )了中国经济真正腾飞(téngfēi, boom/take off )的几十年,经历了日常生活里巨大的变迁。我是80后,我的童年(tóngnián, childlife)没有手机和电脑,但是我的童年也没有补习班(bǔxíbān, cram school),没有现在孩子所承受的压力(yālì, stress)。你是几零后?欢迎和SpeakMandarin.com的在线汉语老师讨论这个话题(huàtí, topic)。

Why Isn’t The Cat in the Chinese Zodiac?-十二生肖

10 Jul

Previously, we introduced you the Chinese Zodiac (生肖 shēngxiāo) in the order of Rat (Chinese character: 鼠 shǔ), Ox (牛 niú), Tiger (虎 hǔ), Rabbit (兔 tù), Dragon (龙 lóng), Snake (蛇 shé), Horse (马 mǎ), Ram (羊 yáng), Monkey (猴 hóu), Rooster (鸡 jī), Dog (狗 gǒu), and Pig (猪 zhū) in Chinese culture. By knowing 2010 is the year of Tiger, you can calculate (计算 jìsuàn) which Chinese year you were born in (出生 chūshēng). However, like many others, you may also have the question: why isn’t the cat (猫 māo) included in the Chinese Zodiac? Well, that was a long long time ago…

The Jade Emperor (玉皇大帝 yùhuángdàdì) wanted to select (选择 xuǎnzé) 12 animals to represent (代表 dàibiǎo) each (每一个 měiyīgè) zodiac, and he appointed (任命 rènmìng) the rat to inform all the animals in the forest (森林 sēnlín) to join the ground selection the next day. The rule (规则 guīzé) was: the 12 zodiac mascot position would be assigned at a first come first serve order (先到先得 xiāndào xiāndé). At that time, the cat and the rat were very good friends (朋友 péngyǒu). The cat was very excited (兴奋 xīngfèn) about this event, however, he had quite no sense of time. Therefore, he told the rat to wake (叫醒 jiàoxǐng)him up early the next day and the rat promised (保证 bǎozhèng) with no hesitation. Unfortunately, the rat forgot about it completely because he was so busy informing the other animals. When the cat woke up and rushed to the palace of the Jade Emperor, he was the 13th to get there and all spots were taken. Sad (伤心 shāngxīn) and ashamed, the cat finally turned into anger and swore to be the rat’s enemy (敌人 dírén) for ages.

If you want to learn more lessons of Chinese culture, please find more self-taught lessons here and join us now!

Beijing Opera in Chinese Culture.

2 Jul

Actress of Beijing Opera京剧

Beijing Opera, or Peking Drama (京剧 jīngjù) which is different with speaking Chinese is a tradition Chinese theatre (戏曲 xìqǔ) that has 200 years history (历史 lìshǐ) in China. It says some of Chinese people who speak mandarin Chinese can not understand it totally. It was formed (形成 xíngchéng) in Beijing around the 1800s, therefore was called the “Beijing” opera. Nowadays, it is loved (喜爱 xǐài) and praised (赞美 zànměi) as the quintessence of Chinese culture (国粹 guócuì).

It is a Ban-qiang style (板腔体 bǎnqiāngtǐ) drama usually consisted of melodies of Xi-pi (西皮 xīpí) and Er-huang (二黄 èrhuáng). On the stage, artists will use singing, dancing, and symbolic (象征性的 xiàngzhēngxìngde) movements to present a scene; while the accompany band (伴奏 bànzòu) will use percussion instruments (乐器 yuèqì) and string instruments to give the rhythms (节奏 jiézòu). With the art of symbolism, you won’t see a real horse (马 mǎ) running on stage (舞台 wǔtái), but a whip (鞭打 biāndǎ) by an actor (演员 yǎnyuán) shows that there should be a horse in this scene.

Therefore, imagination (想象力 xiǎngxiànglì) is important in appreciating (欣赏 xīnshǎng) Beijing Opera. With an actress (女演员 nǚyǎnyuán) holding a flower in her hand and looking around, you can picture her standing in a garden (花园 huāyuán) and looking at many beautiful flowers at that moment (那时 nàshí); with a boatman (船夫 chuánfū) holding a peddle (船桨 chuánjiǎng) in his hand and moving ups and down, you could see a boat (船 chuán) is sailing (航行 hángxíng) in the river with waves (波浪 bōlàng) rise and fall.

Beijing Opera also has many other features (特点 tèdiǎn). For example, it has unique (特殊的 tèshūde) costume (戏服 xìfú) designs while different color represents different social status. Facial makeup also uses color to express different characteristic: red as of loyalty (忠诚 zhōngchéng) and black shows blunt (鲁莽 lǔmǎng) and honesty (诚实 chéngshí).

Well, it might take days and nights to introduce (介绍 jièshào) the full Beijing Opera to you, and you might still not get it. Why not having a try yourself to the real Beijing Opera. The quintessence of Chinese culture-See is believing (眼见为实 yǎnjiàn wéishí)!