Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Reading signs

When I was in Taiwan a few months back I mentioned in this post that being there would be much easier if I was able to read a few of the signs around the place. So with this in mind I started to photograph some signs that I thought it would be useful to understand. Here is the first one as mentioned in the above post.

The first part 聖堡羅 sheng4 bao3 luo2 is obviously the name of the restaurant, and 牛排 niu2 pai2 as the sign says means steak. Sometimes you will also see 牛排館 nui2 pai2 guan3 meaning Steakhouse. This is the same 館 as in fan4 guan3 飯館 "Restaurant".

Sunday, February 25, 2007

First Chinese character Flash cards

I've added the next couple of lessons to the latest flashcard file. The first of these lesson number 25 is the first set of Chinese characters that I've included in the flash cards. It's actually the same words and phrases as lesson one, which is how I'm going to learn characters.

I've made the front side of each card the word or phrase in Chinese characters and the flip side is in pinyin with "(CH)" at the end, so that I know that this is a character card. The way I learn these is that I have jMemorize sized so that it covers the top 3/4 of the screen and I have WordPad opened in the bottom 1/4 of the screen. Then when a card pops up and I need to say what the character is I type it into WordPad, then check it against the answer.

Lesson 26 is a normal lesson all about exercise.

All the flashcard files can be found on my flashcard page.

Friday, February 23, 2007


Here is a useful post from about how to say numbers and how to write them in hanyu pinyin.

Though I did say previously that people in Taiwan very often leave the "shi" out of numbers between 20 and 99, I have since been told that this is just laziness. Even so the "shi" or 十 is never left out when writing in Chinese Characters.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Chinese TV on the TV

The more Chinese I watch and listen to the more I will get used to listening to the language. That's the theory anyway.

So with this in mind I have always wished I could watch some Chinese television on television in the lounge room sitting in the comfortable chair. At one stage I considered installing a satellite dish and decoder so I could watch MAC TV. But now I have a much cheaper alternative. I went and bought one of those cheep TV transmitters you can get so you don't need to buy a DVD player for every television in the house. Then I upgraded my computer video card (which I was actually doing anyway) to one with a TV outlet and duel display on it, and it turned out I only needed a cheapish bottom end card to get this. Then I plugged the transmitter into the computer and the receiver into the AV sockets of the video player, and it works like a charm.

The picture quality doesn't look quite as good on the bigger TV screen, but it's still not too bad. At least it is good enough that I can make out any Chinese characters on the screen easily, and it is smooth and not jerky at all. So thanks to WCETV I now have about 6 Chinese television channels I can watch in much more comfort.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Happy New Year

xin1 nian2 kuai4 le4
Happy New Year

From midnight tonight it will be the year of the pig, so we went to a Chinese bookshop and bought a new year pig to hang in the lounge room.

It is the tradition that you should stay up all night tonight to see the sun rise. I'm not sure if I will make that, though it is a Saturday night for a change.

This year people in Taiwan are getting about 9 days holiday, though the New Year period lasts about 2 weeks and finishes with the Lantern Festival. One thing I miss about Chinese New Year in Taiwan is the sound of fire crackers. It's just not the same when it's so quiet.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Lesson 010 The Chinese zodiac

All the flashcard files are HERE.

Don't be polite. - bu2 ke4 qi
Listen - ting1
Pig - zhu1
Mouse - shu3
Cattle - niu2
Tiger - hu3
animal - dong4 wu4
To which animal do you belong? - ni3 shu3 shen2 me dong4 wu4
I belong to the dog. - wo3 shu3 gou3
I belong to the mouse. - wo3 shu3 shu3
I belong to the rabbit. - wo3 shu3 tu4
I belong to the pig. - wo3 shu3 zhu1
I belong to the cattle. - wo3 shu3 niu2
I belong to the tiger. - wo3 shu3 hu3
Dragon - long2
I belong to the dragon. - wo3 shu3 long2
What do you belong to? - ni3 shu3 shen2 me

Monday, February 12, 2007

Starting a new Flashcard file

It's been a while since I finished the last file, but I've finally got the time to start on the next one. As there is only a few days to go now I thought it would be a good idea to start this new flashcard file with a short lesson on the Chinese New Year.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Website Version 2

Finally the new website is up and running. It is mostly the same stuff as before, just rearrange a bit. Hopefully stuff will be easier to find now.

So now it is time for some heads down study. I have rebuilt a lot of the notes and stuff I lost when my computer crashed, so now I'm ready to get back on track. I still have a bit of a time problem at the moment, but that looks like improving very soon.

I thought I would start the next flashcard file with a lesson on the Chinese New Year.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Pinyin Chat

I've been sorting out what links to include in the new version of the website and in the process rediscovered the Pinyin Chat on This is a fun way to practice your pinyin. And everyone is using it for the same reason, so people are generally very forgiving when you make a mistake or can't keep up with the conversation.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Chinese speaking politician

I have noticed in the past that the leader of the opposition Kevin Rudd was a bit more knowledgeable on Chinese matters than the average politician. But even so I was a bit surprised to learn he can speak Mandarin.

From the SBS TV website,
And with Chinese New Year approaching, He's been pressed into showing off his strengths in the Mandarin department.

KEVIN RUDD: Chinese New Year's coming around, so... (speaks in Mandarin). Which is "Happy New Year" but "may the 10,000 things go your way."

Every politician's New Year's wish. Karen Middleton, World News Australia.


The "speaks in Mandarin" bit was actually,

新年快樂 萬事如意 (xin1 nian2 kuai4 le4, wan4 shi4 ru2 yi4)