So language and and culture are important sure, but the country of China itself is huge,the 3rd largest in the world, and within it’s borders it contains every climate and geographical feature found on the planet. You’ve got the rolling Gobi Desert in Monogolia, the ice city of Harbin, a temperate climate in Beijing (four distinct seasons included), and the tropical Hai Nan island to the south. Aside from western education, and escape from authoritarian government why would you ever want to leave?
Throughout the Mandarin learning journey you meet countless 中国人. Each one of them has come 1000’s of miles to start a new life in a different world, each from a distinct part of China. So the next time you try to spark up a conversation with one you can ask them …
Nǐ láizì nǎge shěng?
(Which province are you from?)
Knowing when Moon Festival is, is one thing but letting them know you know where they came from is a special touch that shows you are serious.
So。。。 give this site a whirl and test and improve your Chinese 地理
And while wikipedia isn’t the most trustworthy reference source it does have quite a bit of general information about each of China’s 22 provinces including the meaning behind their names. Most of them are pretty interesting and actually have some geographical reference. China also has a few odd regions which are not quite provinces but are referred to as Autonomous Regions such as Tibet and Mongolia which contain large ethnic minorities and Special Administrative Regions like Hong Kong and Macao which were formerly controlled by foreign powers and now enjoy a high level of autonomy from the Chinese government.
*Special Note* China claims Taiwan as a province, Taiwanese beg to to differ. This is a subject for another time. If you call Taiwan a province in front of a Taiwanese they will beat you.
Beijing Detains Illegal Church Members on Easter- New York Times
While the Communist party in China is officially atheist the government has apparently been pretty lax with religious freedoms in the country. But there might be some evidence that shows Big Red’s anxiousness about China’s growing Christian population…
Photo from Chinadigitaltimes.net
Beautiful 汉字 Art
Recently I’ve been working on my research paper on the Middle East and it reminded me of a China Smack post I read awhile back about Chinese 汉字(characters). Let me give some context…So according to the Qur’an(Islamic holy book) there can be no visual depiction on Allah(god) or the prophet Muhammad. So unlike Christianity and Hinduism,and most other religions where you can make paintings, sculptures, postcard, refrigerator magnets, and bobble head dashboards of you desired deities in Islam you’re pretty limited. So they improvised using one thing that wasn’t forbidden, script. That’s where you get this…
Centuries of mastering the art of Arabic calligraphy to produce stunning word art.
Which brings me to my point..
In all of China’s rich history why hasn’t anybody thought of something like this with Hanzi? Is it because it couldn’t be done??? No, somebody just recently started doing it and it’s amazing!
I’ll just post one here but be sure to check out ChinaSmack.com for the full list of calligraphy.
菜 of the Week
This week I stopped by Taiwan Cafe’s neighbor 椰林阁美食 (yē lín gé měi shí ）to get my rainbow on! That its English name anyway… Rainbow Cafe is friendly little restaurant with pretty decent food. I got the squid fried noodles which were pretty light on the squid part, as you can probably see by the picture, but the sauce was still pretty good and portion size was large enough.
The Yelp reviewers were all raving about the mango bubble tea so I thought I’d have try that out too to complete the experience. Looking at the menu and all the signs on the walls it seems like they have quite an impressive selection of bubble tea and frozen drinks which I definitely plan on coming back and exploring further. The Mango Tea was pretty awesome, a little sweet but they use fresh Mangoes and you could taste it.
菜 of the Week!
Taiwan cafe, I swore I would return。Pan fried dumplings are 很好吃！
Another super useful book! Grammar for me is definitely one of more difficult aspects of Hanyu and every once in a while you’ll find this one phrase that makes question realty itself. This little red book can help. It contains a really comprehensive collection of Chinese grammar in an easy to access format, in fact I’ve used it for a while now and I would but it right up there with the DK Visual Dictionary.
It’s super portable too, so at around $10 this one is a must!
Crackdown In China Continues…
艾未未(ai weiwei), prominent artist and activist in China has been “disappeared” by Big Red.
Click on photo to go to the telegraph article.
*Disclamer*This lesson was directly inspired by a recent Intermediate PopUp Chinese Podcast~
This is a piece of vocab that most beginners learn pretty early on as ” recently“ eg.
How have you been recently?
But a better interpretation of this vocab might be ” these days”. The main reason for this technicality is that 最近 not only refers to the recent past, but also the near future, eg.
Do you have time these days? We should go see a movie together.
I just thought this was an interesting grammar bit because I always looked a 最近 in that one way before. It seems that the more I study Chinese the more the words are recycling themselves to reveal different meanings/uses, and I can’t get enough of it though!
Thanks to Popup and 加油！
Link to Podcast
好久不见, So this last week has been pretty hectic. Last weekend I was informed by my 老师 that there would be the first Chinese Bridge(汉语桥) competition for Massachusetts Colleges at UMASS Boston this past Satuday. Chinese Bridge is an event put on by of the Confucius institute(孔子学院） , a instituion created by the Chinese government to help bridge the gap between Chinese culture and everywhere else in the world, and also to entertain CCTV viewers who love to watch 老外 try to struggle speaking the Chinese language language.
无论如何… I told my teacher if we could meet everyday for a week before the competition I would possibly not be able to make a complete fool of myself. Mission sort of accomplished. Even though it was really short notice I figured that even if I did completely horrible It would still be an experience.
Only five competitors showed up. I was the first one up and forgot a large chunk of my speech( I’m not an experienced public speaker) but I was still able get a few laughs, mostly when I said…
We were told to keep our speeches around four minuets and right when I was about to say my 成语 I got dinged by the egg-timer! Which sucked because I was the ONLY ONE they used the timer on and it ran out at 3:30! I mean this was their first time they’ve done the competition and their still working out all the kinks but I was still a little discouraged… But I have to say that every one after me did a way better job and they made a lot more use of their time. Afterwards we each had to perform a talent.Pretty much everyone sang(I use that word loosely) a Chinese song. I got meet some good people and I definitely recommend that if you ever have the chance to participate in something like this you should take it, no matter what skill level you’re at. You get a free t-shirt no matter what!
~I want to add some more detail to this story so I’ll be posting some more info and probably some photos soon!~