Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Most embarrassing moments while learning Chinese

I found a list on Chinese-forums of peoples most embarrassing moments while learning chinese. Some of them are very funny. Luckily nothing like this has happened to me yet.

A few months after I first came to Taiwan I arranged a language exchange with a friend's sister. At our second or third meeting she brought along a friend. Trying to make polite conversation in my, what was at the time, quite limited Chinese I asked if her friend was her tongzhi. I had only been in Taiwan for a few months and most of the Chinese I knew was straight out of a textbook printed in Beijing. Of course I thought tongzhi was a perfectly fine word to describe a friend or comrade. I was quite surprised though by the strange response I got to my question. It was then explained to me that in Taiwan the word tongzhi is most commonly used to describe someone who is gay. Needless to say I was very embarrassed and to this day remain very aware of the double meaning of tongzhi.

By wix
A chinese friend of my wifes rang up on the phone. At that time I was lying on the bed reading a book, my wife was lying beside me doing the same. I answered the phone and said. Yes she is here, you can talk to her. "Wo zai ta shangbian". Actually I meant to say "wo zai ta SHEN bian"
So the meaning came out as "I am on top of her" instead of "I am beside her".

By beijingbooty
I work with a woman who's name is Guo Jia - the same as 'country' or 'nation', apart from the tones which I'm lousy at anyway. One day someone came into the office while she was out, pointed at the empty desk and asked who it belonged to. In best revolutionary fashion I replied 'The desk belongs to the nation'

By Roddy
I was teaching in Taiwan at the College of Chinese Culture. It was either a midterm or a final exam and I was walking around the room as the students worked on their exams. One of the young ladies got my attention and told me her pen had run out of ink. Very confident in my Chinese I asked the class in Chinese if anyone could lend her a pen as her pen had run out of ink. There were a lot of stifled guffaws and I wondered what I had said. It turned out that the way I said it it sounded like her nose had run out of water....

My friend when I was in Taiwan once went into a restaurant and ordered "pieces of chicken" noodles but it came out chicken shit noodles which was a great laugh for his Chinese friends who were with him.

By Mike

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Chiang Kaishek memorial video

HERE is a new short video I made. This one is of the Chiang Kaishek memorial in Taipei. I think this video is much better than the previous ones. Mainly because the subject mater is much more interesting to see. This one also has sound which the last few didn’t.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Images of Taiwan & Singapore

I have created a new Blog and I’ve put all the Singapore and Taiwan pictures on it. I have added a link to it on this page and the study centre.

Or you can just click HERE.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Video Chinese Lesson from ChinesePod

Here is a cool video lesson from Apparently the guys in the video are students so their pronunciation isn’t always the best, however there is a native speaker narrating the Chinese correctly. This is a very good and fun video actually.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Chiang Kaishek memorial

Here are some pictures I took of the Chiang Kaishek memorial compound in Taipei.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Going to Taiwan

There has been some more trouble with the blog yesterday. All I had was a blank white page with the Statcounter icon in the top left corner. Fingers crossed everything will be ok from now on.

Other news. I will be going to Taiwan later this year, probably about October or November. I don't have a date yet and I'm not sure how long I will be there, but I hope to be able to keep blogging from internet cafe's while there.

I am realy going to have to do a lot of work if my Chinese is to be up to a usable standard by then.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I got back here at last!

Five days ago we lost the telephone and internet connection. I feel like swearing at the telephone company, but this is actually the first time this has happened so I'll let it ride this time....

What was actually worse than this was that yesterday I finally got back online only to discover that my entire blog was gone! When the initial panic wore off, I searched around a bit and discovered that there was a few other bloggers having the same problem, but nobody knew what the problem was. I felt a bit better knowing this wasn't just happening to me. It turned out that a piece of equipment that displayed the blogs was faulty. Anyway today everything seems to be working, so at last I can blog again.

Just in case however I think I might backup my past posts.

Monday, March 13, 2006

A great PodCast for Learning Mandarin

This web site is a great resource for anyone thinking about learning Chinese. broadcasts daily free podcasts that range from the very basic to Advanced level. They also offer a wiki and a learning centre for a price that includes a word bank and transcripts of all their podcasts.

The podcast themselves are a great resource and the hosts of the 10 to 15 minute shows make them a lot of fun to listen to. Ken and Jenny’s enthusiasm spurs you on to want to learn more.

The web site also has a free archive of all their past podcasts.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Lesson 13 - On the farm

I've added the next lesson to the jMemorize flash card file. Lesson 13 titled "On the farm" basically deals with seeing and hearing various farm animals. I also included the past tense "le" so there is a lot of what I heard and what I saw stuff.

The file is available HERE.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Taiwan Pictures

Here is a couple of pictures I took in Taiwan. The first one is of the National Palace Museum in Taipei. The building is based on the original National Palace Museum in the Forbidden City in Beijing. The museum holds what is probably the greatest collection of historic artefacts anywhere in the world. Mainland China claims they were stolen from China and should be returned, but Taiwan claims that they were rescued from the communists. I tend to side with Taiwan on this one. I think very little of the collection would have survived the Cultural Revolution in China if they had stayed there.

The second picture is of a Chinese Garden that is located next to the National Palace Museum.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Tiger Balm Garden Video

HERE is my next short video. This is the Tiger Balm Gardens in Singapore. It is a theme park based on Chinese legends, built by the inventor of the Tiger Balm ointment.

When we were here the taxi driver was happy to sit at the gate and wait for us to return, at no extra cost. In this situation this was great, but some times in Asia it can be almost impossible to get rid of an unwanted taxi driver.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Advice for Beginners

I have added a new page to my web site entitled “Advice for beginners”. It was basically a post on the Chinese-forums, but it is such good advice I decided to lift it and use it as my new study guide.

The new page can be seen HERE.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Taiwan China Tensions

I thought I would make a comment on the current tensions across the Taiwan Strait, but the whole situation is so complicated I'm not really sure where to start. There is not really any point to going into the history of the situation. The fact is that for all intents and purposes Taiwan is an independent state. As much as China claims sovereignty over Taiwan in reality China has no control over anything in Taiwan what so ever. Unfortunately for Taiwan however another reality is that China's growing economic power is giving it an ever-increasing influence over how the rest of the world deals with Taiwan.

Fifteen years ago the then Taiwan government set up a China Unification Council along with a set of guidelines setting out the path to unification with the mainland. Yesterday the president of Taiwan Chen Shui-bian shut down both the council and the guidelines declaring that the previous government had no right to set up either without first asking the people of Taiwan if it was what they wanted.

Beijing has angrily replied to Chen Shui-bian's actions by declaring that under no circumstances will China ever allow Taiwan independence and stated that Chen is endangering the whole population of Taiwan through his actions. I suspect however that Chen's actions are at least in part a retaliation for China passing a law late last year which made the invasion of Taiwan legal according to Chinese law.

There is no doubt that Chen want's recognised independence for Taiwan, and I'm sure most of the population of Taiwan would as well, but I doubt many of them would say that they want independence at any cost.