New Mandarin Phrase: In My Opinion

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Sunday, 27 December 2009 7 comments

Yesterday I muttered 'à mon avis' from the small amount of French I know; meaning in my opinion. (I must admit to being quite bad at French, so apologies here.) So I was thinking, about how to say 'In My Opinion' in Mandarin.

MDBG suggests:

zài​ wǒ ​kàn ​lái​

But I know from both the French & English, there are many ways to say this.

selon moi and d'après moi

or in English variations include:

"In my opinion", "In my view", "As I see it", "I believe that", "To my mind" etc.

So on Twitter I posted the Question. So far I have had several responses, it was interesting to see how different they all were.

So here are the suggestions I have had, below with Hanzi and Hanyu Pinyin:

wǒ juéde

wǒ rènwéi

wǒ de guāndiǎn shì

wǒ de kànfǎ shì

duì ​wǒ ​lái ​shuō​
(as far as I'm concerned)

wǒ yǐwéi
I (originally) thought - (but it turns out I was wrong.)

I would love to hear the ways in which you say 'In my opinion' and if there are required situations for each of the above...

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Thursday, 24 December 2009 0 comments

Here is to a wonderful Christmas and English new years holiday to everyone that has supported me this year. I will be back in the new year, with renewed efforts to learn Mandarin. In the mean time, all my best wishes for a peaceful, wonderful time this Christmas.

Merry Christmas

Happy New Year

Daily Chinese Proverb: Anger

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Monday, 16 November 2009 3 comments

I came across this Chinese proverb today. I am completely confused as to its usage. Funny imagery though. I couldn't find a picture to do this proverb justice either. Maybe it is just a way to express one's anger.

nù ​fà​ chōng ​guān​
lit. hair stands up in anger and tips off one's hat

Learning Mandarin: Inspired By Martial Arts

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Sunday, 15 November 2009 1 comments

The following article is written by Karen, who lives in Canada and is part of my growing series of Guest Posts from people I have met online that are also Learning Mandarin. She founded the Chen Pan Ling Kuo Shu Preservation Group in Atlanta, Georgia with a friend. Without martial arts, she would never have started learning Chinese.


My Chinese studies all started with martial arts. My teacher in Atlanta, Allen Pittman, had studied with Chen Yun Ching in Taiwan in the 70's. My friend and I realized he was still alive. A friend's father agreed to phone him for us; then we communicated by fax, and arranged a visit. Considering Mr. Chen knew little English, we thought anything we could learn would be helpful.

We took a Chinese I class at the community college, and found a college student who tutored us. She drilled us on pronunciation- a good thing. At least if our vocabulary was small, people understood what we did say. It also allowed us to use a dictionary and pronounce words correctly.

Our visit was a success, but I think our Chinese failed us. We took our clothes to the laundry, and the clerk ended up calling the hotel to find out what we wanted. I think the surprise of strangers visiting the laundry was more the issue than our language. There were very few Caucasians around. Once we left Taipei for Taichung, we only saw eight Caucasians in two weeks.

With the help of Mr. Chen's translator, we started setting up a teaching tour in the United States. I needed to know more Chinese! So, more tutoring sessions, listening to language CD's, and eavesdropping on conversations in restaurants. I could visit our Chinatown and have brief conversations. My tutor told me she shamed an American-born Chinese because my Chinese was better than his. I also worked with a professor from a local university, to provide more language practice.

We have continued our exchange of visits with Mr. Chen. We have been to Taiwan two more times and he has been to the US twice. He is returning to the US in 2010.

My skills are about those of a three year old. Studying Chinese is fun. I don't think additional Chinese skills will help significantly in my martial arts training, but I like learning the language. It is satisfying to visit Taiwan and not feel totally lost. I feel comfortable touring around Taiwan (dictionary in hand!).

It's tough being a self-guided student, though. The encouragement of language-learning bloggers, the expatriates living in Taiwan and China, and my fellow Twitter tweeters has encouraged me. I am now using Anki for SRS. It is easier and more accessible than cards. Our library has an ESL program that provides speaking practice. I rearranged my lunchtime to talk with my Chinese co-workers. I am using more language immersion, and purposely listening to things beyond my language skills to get a better sense of the language. Sometimes I can tell what it's about even if I don't get the details.

I make up stories about what goes on in my life, as if I were talking to a Chinese friend. "I went to Chinatown last week. There was a Chinese college professor there. She had brought her students to the market. The girls liked the candy. Some of the students bought tea. All the students thought the freezer area was icky. I don't think they learned much at the store." When I translate it back to English, it's not too bad. Maybe I have progressed and now can speak like a five year old! I look forward to speaking something closer to my own age level.

Daily Chinese Proverb: The Rice Is cooked

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin 0 comments

This Chinese proverb is the same as the English proverb 'what's done is done' or 'Let bygones be bygones'. It means that things are too late noe to do anything about them. In this situation, it is wise to forgive and be prepared to move forwards positivley as it's too late to change anything now.

In this situation; the rice is cooked. It cannot now be uncooked, therefore this proverb talks about how you must let things be as they cannot be changed after it is happened. Just your attitude and perception of the event can be changed.

shēng ​mǐ ​zhǔ​ chéng ​shú ​fàn​
the rice is cooked

Daily Chinese Proverb: Time Flies Like an Arrow

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Saturday, 14 November 2009 1 comments

This Chinese proverb has a strong meaning for me today. It is the first anniversary of my girlfriend and I going out together. This proverb talks about how time flies, and resembles an arrow.

My first year with my girlfriend has gone scarily quickly, yet also seems like I have known her this way forever.

guāng ​yīn ​sì ​jiàn​
time flies like an arrow

Daily Chinese Proverb: Business is Business

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Friday, 13 November 2009 0 comments

This Chinese proverb relates to when you keep business seperate from private issues. It means keeping your private interests seperate from business, no matter what.

gōng​ shì ​gōng ​bàn​
Business is Business

Daily Chinese Proverb: Suffering

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Thursday, 12 November 2009 0 comments

This Chinese proverb is in a similiar vein to the English proverb 'to bear ones cross'. Which means - to accept trials or troubles patiently, as in the story of Jesus carrying his cross.

hán ​xīn ​rú ​kǔ​
to suffer every possible torment

Daily Chinese Proverb: All Roads To Rome

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Wednesday, 11 November 2009 1 comments

This Chinese proverb is similiar to the English proverb "All roads to Rome". It means that there are many ways to go about things and there is no one right way to do it. This is very relavant when talking about how people learn Mandarin. There are so many different ways to learn, and none is 'one and only correct way' all the different methods are valid.

shū tú tóng guī
different routes to the same destination

Daily Chinese Proverb: Excited

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Tuesday, 10 November 2009 0 comments

This Chinese proverb can be used in situations where you are in high spirits. This proverb means to be elated, really happy, I imagine people would use this before and during festivities.

xīng ​gāo ​cǎi ​liè​
happy and excited

Daily Chinese Proverb: Superhuman

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Monday, 9 November 2009 4 comments

This Chinese proverb when broken down literally means 'three heads and six arms'. It is metaphorical of being above the ability of a normal man. I think this can be used in situations where someone does something so far beyond what was expected of them that it was a 'superhuman' effort.

sān tóu liù bì

Incidentally I think that Greg has made a superhuman effort with his Heisig learning.

Photo Source: DamnDigital

Daily Chinese Proverb: Relax vs. Effort

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Sunday, 8 November 2009 0 comments

These two Chinese proverbs are very much like the English pairs of proverbs that contradict each other.

Personally I feel that sometimes when you are really struggling to do something you end up making a mess of it by overthinking it. Yet times where you are relaxed you end up being more productive.

shì bàn gōng bèi
get twice the result with half the effort

shì bèi gōng bàn
get half the result with twice the effort

An English pair of contradictory proverbs like these above are

Many hands make light work
Too many cooks spoil the broth

Daily Chinese Proverb: Perfect Order

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Saturday, 7 November 2009 2 comments

This Chinese proverb is about how things in order are perfect and methodical. For me it is a strong signifier of the historical Chinese figure Qin Shi Huangdi unifying the country. The emperor gave the unified empire a single currency, a standardised system of weights and measures and a legal system and introduced a common written language.

jǐng jǐng yǒutiáo
in perfect order; neat and tidy

Photo Source: Flickr

Daily Chinese Proverb: No Pain, No Gain

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Friday, 6 November 2009 2 comments

This Chinese proverb is in stark contrast to 不劳而获. The English equivalent to this proverb is no pain, no gain. It says without the work, there is no harvest.

一分耕耘, 一分收获
yī fēn gēngyún, yī fēn shōuhuò
Without plowing and weeding there is not a harvest

Daily Chinese Proverb: Educational Development

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Thursday, 5 November 2009 0 comments

This proverb is about how a good education program takes a long time to develop. It also makes me think about the methods I am using to learning Mandarin which are quite disseperate and not like a traditional syllabus.

Also interestingly, our education programs tend to be very un-environmentally friendly using a lot of paper and resources to sustain it.

shí ​nián ​shù ​mù​, bǎi ​nián ​shù ​rén​
It takes ten years to nurture a tree, but a hundred years to train a man

Daily Chinese Proverb: Reap Without Sowing

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Wednesday, 4 November 2009 0 comments

This proverb is the opposite of the English proverb 'Reap what you sow', which means the hard effort you put in will be rewarded. This proverb is about something unearned. To reap without sowing or to have the rewards without having put the effort in.

bù ​láo​ ér​ huò​
Unearned / Reap without Sowing

Daily Chinese Proverb: To Advocate....

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Tuesday, 3 November 2009 0 comments

Today's Chinese proverb is actually more of an idiom. However seen as I seem to be spending increasing amounts of my time marketing on projects recently this one seems very appropriate for me at the moment. As most of the time I spend trying to make other people becoming advocates, this is a phrase I would be using quite often.

When you break these characters down its meaning is very clear. To devolop and to promote (making something bigger).

fā yáng guāng dà

Incidently I have learnt the last two of these characters with Heisig, which means 光 ray (of light) and 大 big.

Chinese Spicy Beef & Tomato Soup: Recipe

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Monday, 2 November 2009 0 comments

Chinese Spicy Beef & Tomato Soup
Serves 4

This spicy beef and tomato soup is a very tasty wholesome meal. It is based on a rich and creamy Chinese recipe I found in a book some time ago. I served it with some prawn crackers and a nice crusty bread roll. I really love the effect of the egg nesting like clouds on top of the soup. The egg contrasts with the spicy nature of the dish.

Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 45 mins

You Will Need:

1 tsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp of rice wine
2 tbsp cornflour
pinch ground black pepper
400g beef (cut up into bite size pieces)
1 tablespoon Oil
1/2 tsp of ginger puree or grated ginger
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
4¼ cup Chicken stock
4 cloves of roughly chopped garlic
1/2 tsp of 5-spice
pinch of salt
Tin of chopped tomatos
2 Sticks of Celery

To Serve:
2 Spring Onions (Scallions)
Prawn Crackers
Crusty Bread Roll

1. Mix together the Rice wine, soy sauce, pepper and cornflour (cornstarch) in a bowl. Add the beef and turn until well coated.

2. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the beef, garlic and ginger. Stir-fry until beef becomes brown.

3. Add the stock, 5-spice, chili flakes and salt and bring to the boil. Add the tomato and celery. Cook for 25 minutes on a low heat.

4. Slowly pour in the beaten eggs (If you pour them in fast they will sink), without stirring so that they resemble clouds floating on top of the soup. Cook for a further 5 minutes.

5. Garnish with the chopped spring onion (scallion) and serve immediately.

How I Served
Chinese Spicy Beef & Tomato Soup:

With a bread roll, prawn crackers and spring onions on top.

Enjoy your Chinese-style Spicy Beef & Tomato Soup.

Daily Chinese Proverb: Helpless

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin 0 comments

This Chinese Proverb speaks of times when you are helpless in a situation. This is used in situations such as crises where things are unavoidable. In these situations it is useful to remember 防不胜防 (you can't guard against it).

A similiar English proverb is that "My hands are tied".

shù​ shǒu ​wú​ cè​
to have one's hands bound and be unable to do anything about it

Daily Chinese Proverb: Gamble

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Sunday, 1 November 2009 0 comments

This Chinese proverb is about a gamble. It is to warn against putting all your stake on one bet. The common English proverb with a similiar meaning is 'To put all your eggs in one basket'.

gū ​zhù ​yī ​zhì​
to stake all on one throw

20 Chinese Proverbs Hath October

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin 2 comments

Here are the 20 Daily Chinese Proverbs I published and translated into English, Hanyu Pinyin and Mandarin during October. I had a little trouble with keeping the proverbs daily this month due to my laptop breaking. I aim to be more on track this month.

You may also be interested in my daily proverbs for September and August.

October's (almost) Daily Proverbs

October 1st
yǔ rì jù zēng
grow day by day; increase steadily
October 2nd
gè yǒu qiān qiū
Each has something they are good at / Each has its advantages
October 3rd
yī bào shí hán
one day's sun, ten days' frost
October 4th
ài wū jí wū
love the house and its crow
October 5th
luò ​yì ​bù ​jué​
an endless stream
October 6th
bù zì liàng lì
Overconfident / To overestimate capabilities
October 7th
hú ​sī ​luàn ​xiǎng
to let one's imagination run wild
October 8th

Duì niú tán qín
to play the lute to a cow

October 9th

kāi tiān pì dì
to split heaven and earth apart / Giant Steps
October 10th
jǐng dǐ zhī wā
Frog in a well
October 11th
hè lì jī qún
a crane standing among chickens
October 12th
hǎoshì duō mó
the course of true love never runs smooth
October 13th
biàn běn jiā lì
be intensified
October 14th
sì shì ér fēi
Apparently right, Actually wrong
October 15th
jiàn ​yì ​sī ​qiān​
to change at once on seeing something different
October 17th
hún ​shuǐ ​mō ​yú​
to fish in troubled water
October 18th
塞翁失马. 焉知非福.
Sài ​wēng ​shī ​mǎ​. yān​ zhī ​fēi ​fú​.
The old man at the frontier lost his horse. How do you know it is not a blessing?
October 19th
chuí xián sān chǐ
To drool over
October 30th
fáng ​bù​ shèng​ fáng​
you can't guard against it
October 31st
chāi​ dōng ​qiáng ​bǔ ​xī ​qiáng​
pull down the east wall to repair the west wall

Daily Chinese Proverb: Shifting Problems

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Saturday, 31 October 2009 0 comments

This proverb is one that describes exactly what has happed causing the current global recession. It talks about solving a problem, by creating the exact same problem elsewhere. Which is exactly what has happened in modern society shifting debt around until it got out of control.

chāi​ dōng ​qiáng ​bǔ ​xī ​qiáng​
pull down the east wall to repair the west wall

Daily Chinese Proverb: Cannot be Helped

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Friday, 30 October 2009 0 comments

This Chinese proverb means that sometimes things can't be prevented. Much like my recent experience of having a broken laptop could not have been prevented. This allows thought to be taken away from the incident and how to deal with it instead. If it could not have been prevented, now look to how to deal with it.

fáng ​bù​ shèng​ fáng​
you can't guard against it

Back To Stay : With New Laptop

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin 2 comments

Just a quick note to say I am back, with my new laptop after my old one broke a while ago. It is very beautiful (windows 7 seems to be working well), much faster than the old laptop and has loud inbuilt speakers.

All very impressive I'm sure, but I have been busy in my absense. I started Heisig's Remembering the Simplified Hanzi as anticipated when the book came. Although I haven't been testing myself much, past asking my girlfriend to casually quiz me on them every now and then. I have learnt the first 170 fairly confidently, though not quite sticking to the 15 a day anticpated, it seems to be going well. (I think she is accidently picking some characters up too.) There are a couple of blog posts waiting to be written about this experience. They will come soon, I will also by downloading ANKI soon.

I would like to thank all of you who dropped by in my absense. I guess I will have missed out on many a blog post. I hope to get back round to you all and read some of what I have missed out on. Here is to continuing Mandarin and blogging about it.

Website Addresses Can Now Appear in Chinese

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin 2 comments

The interenet regulator ICANN has now allowed web addresses to be in non-Latin characters – such as Chinese, Arabic, Hindi or Russian Cyrillic script. The first of these Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) is thought to be up and running by the middle of next year.

This is quite exciting and interesting although all web addresses will still need "http://" at the beggining. It is being billed as one of the biggest changes to the interenet in the last 15 years.

The Internet had its 40th Birthday yesterday.

"Of the 1.6 billion users today worldwide, more than half use languages that have scripts that are not Latin-based," Beckstrom said at the opening of Icann's conference in Seoul, South Korea, this week. The conference approved the change today, its last day, following more than nine years of work and two years of testing.

"It's more incremental [than previous changes] but it's the single biggest change in 10 or 15 years," Beckstrom said. "It's about making the internet more global and more accessible. One world, one internet."

I think this will make browsing and learning Chinese that little bit more interesting. What are your thoughts?

- Will English people have trouble browsing the emerging populations of China & India's web presence if web addresses are in their languages?

IT Pro make an interesting point about piracy across the language barrier...

News Source : Guardian

Learning Mandarin: It's a Lifestyle

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Tuesday, 27 October 2009 0 comments

This is another Guest post from a friend that continues to learn Mandarin. Today's guest post is from Boyd, who runs several successful and interesting blogs related to Chinese culture. Boyd runs an Business English course for Chinese speakers. Chinese speakers My favourite of Boyd's blogs is Boyd's Bijou or his Musings on China. Here is a little about Boyd's journey Learning Mandarin.


Chairman Mao famously dictated that one should 活学活用 - "live learn and live use" -- perhaps translatable as "learn by living and doing and utilize or implement by living and doing." Since I started learning Mandarin in 1987, I have taken this aphorism to heart. Attempting to implement this saying, I used some methods as follows to learn Mandarin:

  • Forcing myself to interact with Mandarin speakers daily.

  • Moving to and spending time in Mandarin-speaking areas such as Taiwan and China.

  • Working in local companies and immersing myself in Mandarin-speaking environments.
  • Reading Chinese-language newspapers daily (with dictionary in hand) and attempting to write letters to the editor.

  • More recently, reading Chinese-language blogs and using character recognition input devices (so I can practice writing) and pinyin input to comment.
In a word, I try to incorporate Mandarin into daily life and business - Chairman Mao would be proud?

Learning Pinyin & Tones

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Sunday, 25 October 2009 11 comments

I wanted to do a proper post about learning Hanyu Pinyin and the Chinese tones.

I found this video which is remarkably helpful distinguishing the intials, finals and tones. Though it looks like it was made for children, It hink it is useful for anyone learning the language.

I will write a post when I get my new laptop with tables of the intials, the finals and the tones. With tips on how they are pronounced and equivalents in English. Hopefully this will give a little more deatail to what this video shows with how the syllables can be put together.

Broken Laptop: Not Given Up

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Thursday, 22 October 2009 6 comments

Just a quick message to those of you who do drop by here fairly often. A massive thank you for all helping me out with my Mandarin and I wanted to let you know that I haven't stopped and I certainly haven't quit writing here or learning Mandarin.

My laptop decided to die a quiet and very untimely death this week (not the explosive death shown here). Which caused me more distress than the material laptop-ness of it. I had lots of posts saved up and lots of translations ready to go up here which have all been lost, (as well as uni work, marketing notes etc.) and at the moment my girlfriends computer seems very alien to me.

I am hoping to be back and have a laptop of my own very soon. Maybe you could pretend I am having a lovely holiday somewhere nice, while I instead bury on through the Heisig book, my dissertation and try and run my company off a shared laptop.

Most of my browsing and twittering has been on my blackberry, which as yet (unless someone has a nice fix for me) does not support Chinese characters. Also whilst looking for a new laptop wondering whether to go for windows 7. The multi-language version (only supported with ultimate edition) costs £229 seems to me like I might get a pirate copy if I want that feature!!
So thank you all for your time, and attention. And I will be back. In the meanwhile, please think up some lovely pretend vacation destinations that I am not in, and have some great daydreams.

Daily Chinese Proverb: To Drool....

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Monday, 19 October 2009 4 comments

This Chinese proverb means to crave something, to desire it and this proverb although could be taken to mean to literally salivate. I prefer the meaning to have a strong desire or craving. 'to drool over'.

chuí xián sān chǐ
To drool over

The picture depicts my desire to get to China, and the celebration that will ensue. One of my goals is to spend Chinese New Year in China at least once.

Daily Chinese Proverb: Blessing In Disguise

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Sunday, 18 October 2009 3 comments

This Chinese proverb comes with a fine story, about a wise man. It comes to mean a blessing in disguise. When smething bad happens, we must look for the good that follows. Equally when something great happens, we must be ready for something bad to happen as a consequence. Things are comparitive; the good comes with the bad.

塞翁失马. 焉知非福.
Sài ​wēng ​shī ​mǎ​. yān​ zhī ​fēi ​fú​.
The old man at the frontier lost his horse. How do you know it is not a blessing?
(the horse eventually came back bringing another fine horse with it)

Near China's northern borders lived a man well versed in the practices of Taoism. His horse, for no reason at all, got into the territory of the northern tribes. Everyone commiserated with him.

"Perhaps this will soon turn out to be a blessing," said his father.

After a few months, his animal came back, leading a fine horse from the north. Everyone congratulated him.

"Perhaps this will soon turn out to be a cause of misfortune," said his father.

Since he was well-off and kept good horses his son became fond of riding and eventually broke his thigh bone falling from a horse. Everyone commiserated with him.

"Perhaps this will soon turn out to be a blessing," said his father.

One year later, the northern tribes started a big invasion of the border regions. All able-bodied young men took up arms and fought against the invaders, and as a result, around the border nine out of ten men died. This man's son did not join in the fighting because he was crippled and so both the boy and his father survived.


Story source:
Photo souce: Flickr

Daily Chinese Proverb: To Fish in Troubled Water

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Saturday, 17 October 2009 2 comments

This Chinese proverb describes someone taking advantage of a confused situation. It is similiar in use to 趁火打劫 (to loot a burning house.)

hún ​shuǐ ​mō ​yú​
to fish in troubled water

2 Crazy Chinese Building Concepts

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Friday, 16 October 2009 0 comments

China seems to like to be the best at everything, even if it doesnt always turn out the way they had intended. (See South China Shopping Mall for example) Also see 'The Onions' satirical and funny take on a certain recent rather large parade.

Here are two Chinese building projects that are fantastic but a little crazy:

Automobile Museum in Nanjing,

An origami inspired, drive through automobile museum in Nanjing the capital of Jiangsu province in the east.

"You visit the first external ramp of the museum with your own private car, like a SAFARI, you park your car on the roof and visit by foot the internal ramp going down," said Francesco Gatti of 3Gatti, the architecture studio which won the commission.

The cars actually will sit at gravity defying angles. Weird...

The second of these designs is less crazy... But does make you wonder what is next to be copied...

Shanghai Pentagonal Mart (SPM) Nanhui, Shanghai.

The Chinese are Replicating Washington DC's Pentagon, a new shopping mall in Nanhui, Shanghai.

It wil be 40 minutes by car from Shanghai's center. This building is not only impressive externally, but it is actually a very smart design. The logistics mean that people can circulate freely inside. The US Pentagon is said to have been designed so that employees can reach any office inside in under seven minutes on foot.

Heisig's First 1500 Traditional Hanzi

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin 8 comments

Firstly, my Heisig book came today. Excited!!!! (due to being busy I start learning tomorrow.)

The main reason for this post is that I have been asked by several people recently, to include Heisig's suggested 1500 Traditional characters as I had eluded to them in a previous post.

Heisig proposes a method of learning where you only learn the meaning of the character and a way to remember how to write it through a story of its primitives and their meanings. Not the pronounciation in tones or the pinyin.

I include links to buy both the traditional characters (listed below) and the simplifed characters I talked about last week.

I apologise for not organising them as neatly as the last post. But I hope those that had asked for them, will be happy.


Daily Chinese Proverb: Change

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Thursday, 15 October 2009 0 comments

This Chinese proverb serves as a warning to us. It talks about how some people are never satisfied with what they have. It is also important to realise that happiness is found in moments not things.

This proverb is used to describe how someone might follow a fad, and as soon as it falls out of fashion change to something new.

jiàn ​yì ​sī ​qiān​
to change at once on seeing something different

Photo Source: Flickr

Daily Chinese Proverb: A Paradox

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Wednesday, 14 October 2009 0 comments

This Chinese proverb describes the feeling of a paradox. Where something seems correct but leads to a contradiction or a situation which defies intuition.

sì shì ér fēi
Apparently right, Actually wrong

Daily Chinese Proverb: Intensify

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Tuesday, 13 October 2009 0 comments

This Chinese proverb describes perfectly what I hope the Heisig method of learning Mandarin will do to my learning process. Intensify it.

This proverb is actually more often used in a negative way though. How one may aggravate or cause a situation to intensify through their actions.

biàn běn jiā lì
be intensified

The further story behind the character 本 (běn) can be found over at Grace Lee's How do you know Chinese?

Photo Source: Flickr

Taiwanese Pop Group: Nán Quán Māmā (南拳妈妈)

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Monday, 12 October 2009 3 comments

乐队(band): 南拳妈妈 Nán Quán Māmā Nan Quan Mama
国家(country): Taiwan

Nan Quan Mama are a Taiwanese pop group that are famous throughout Taiwan and China for their brand of C-pop / Mandopop that incorperates rapping and singing by different members. The guys all rap, whilst the choruses seem to be usually 'Lara' the female vocalist singing a catchy melody. Nan Quan Mama are also the official spokespeople for Motorola in Taiwan.

It turns out past this one song I really don't like this group at all. But this song has a really catchy chorus that gets stuck in my head.

南拳妈妈 Nán​ Quán​ Mā​mā​
破晓 pò​xiǎo​ Day Break

This song is a bit more slushy and rap driven. But it was reccomended to me so I thought I would share it here for other people to have a listen.

南拳妈妈 Nán​ Quán​ Mā​mā​
Here We Go

And here is one of the more ballady sickly pop songs Nan Quan Mama have released. My girlfriend says it is very pretty and reminds her of a Disney film. Equally I detest it as being far too twee.

南拳媽媽 Nán​ Quán​ Mā​mā
下雨天 xià​ yǔ​tiān​ Rainy Days

Please let me know what you think of Nan Quan Mama below in the comments.

Preparing for Heisig: Remebering Simplified Hanzi

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin 18 comments

I ordered Heisig's the 'Remembering the Simplified Hanzi' last week as you may know if you read my post about my excitement. Whilst learning with this method I am still going to be carrying on learning sentences from books and carrying on with Rosetta Stone (although I have been finding my progress in it rather slow recently.)

I won't be doing much preparation before I start this method of learning the Hanzi. Though, I did hunt out the list of all of the 1500 Hanzi characters published in his first book to see what I would be trying to overcome. (Thanks to John @ Chinese Quest for helping me find them. Also check out his great post about the Heisig method and its criticisms)

If you want to download the excel file with all the hanzi, hanyu pinyin, stroke numbers and lesson numbers for the first Heisig book (this is the ANKI file for simplified hanzi in excel essentially) I include the link here for you.

Heisig & Richardon say that these characters (shown below) are the most frequently used 1000 hanzi plus some additional Chinese characters that make sense to learn with the primitives learnt along the way.

(If you would like to download the sample chapter from their book Remembering Simplified Hanzi 1: and give this method a go yourself you can do so here. I have breifly looked over it, but havent commited to learning them yet. I will start when the book gets here.)

Below, I list the hanzi in order they are taught in Heisig & Richardson's 'Remembering Simplified Hanzi'. It really serves its purpose for me because I wanted to print them out and stick them up in my room. But also illustrates quite how many characters I aim to learn and how dizzy 1500 hanzi can make the uninitiated.

Remembering the first 1500 Hanzi (with Heisig)

一 二 三 四 五 六 七 八 九 十 口 日 月 田 目 古 胡 叶 吾 朋 明 唱 晶 品 昌
早 旭 世 胃 旦 凹 凸 自 白 百 皂 旧 中 千 舌 升 丸 卜 占 上 下 卡 卓 朝 嘲
只 贝 贴 贞 员 儿 几 见 元 页 顽 凡 肌 负 万 匀 句 旬 勺 的 首 直 置 具 真
工 左 右 有 贿 贡 项 刀 刃 切 召 昭 则 副 丁 叮 可 哥 顶 乙 飞 子 孔 吼 乱
了 女 好 如 母 贯 兄 克 小 少 吵 孙 大 尖 夕 多 够 外 名 罗 厂 厅 厉 厚 石
砂 妙 肖 削 光 太 省 奇 川 州 顺 水 永 脉 求 泉 原 泳 洲 沼 沙 江 汁 潮 源

That is the first 150 hanzi ^ And only 1/10 of the way through the book.

活 消 河 鱼 渔 湖 测 土 均 肚 尘 填 吐 压 哇 寸 封 时 寺 火 灭 灰 烦 炎 淡
灯 点 照 里 量 埋 墨 黑 冒 同 洞 丽 向 响 尚 字 守 完 灾 宣 宵 安 宴 寄 富
贮 木 林 森 梦 机 植 杏 呆 枯 村 相 本 案 未 末 沫 味 妹 查 渣 染 李 桌 杂
若 草 艺 苦 宽 莫 模 漠 墓 苗 瞄 兆 桃 犬 尤 厌 状 妆 将 获 默 然 哭 器 臭
狗 牛 特 告 浩 先 洗 个 介 界 茶 合 哈 塔 王 玉 宝 球 现 玩 狂 皇 煌 呈 全
理 主 注 金 钟 铜 钓 针 钉 铭 镇 道 达 远 适 过 迈 迅 造 逃 巡 选 逊 逛 车

That brings us to 300 hanzi, and will only be a small victory.

连 莲 前 剪 输 逾 条 处 各 格 略 客 额 夏 洛 落 备 冗 沉 军 辉 冠 坑 亩 高
享 熟 亭 亮 京 景 就 周 士 吉 壮 学 觉 攻 敌 败 故 救 敬 敞 言 警 计 让 狱
讨 训 识 话 诗 语 调 谈 式 试 戈 战 划 或 贼 载 茂 成 城 诚 威 咸 钱 浅 贱
尧 烧 晓 止 步 涉 频 肯 企 武 赋 正 证 政 定 走 超 越 是 题 延 诞 建 楚 衣
裁 装 哀 袁 初 补 衬 农 浓 巾 帅 师 狮 布 帜 帽 幕 棉 市 肺 带 滞 刺 制 雨
雷 霜 云 运 冰 况 冲 减 凉 冬 天 吴 娱 误 夭 乔 桥 娇 立 泣 站 章 竞 帝 童
商 滴 匕 北 背 比 昆 混 皆 此 些 它 旨 脂 论 轮 每 梅 海 乞 吃 复 腹 欠 吹
歌 软 次 资 姿 咨 赔 培 音 暗 韵 竟 镜 境 亡 盲 妄 望 方 妨 放 激 旁 兑 脱

500 so far... ... If I am learning 15 hanzi a day I will reach this just after a month of learning.

说 曾 增 赠 也 她 地 池 虫 虾 独 虽 蛇 蛋 己 起 改 记 已 包 泡 导 顾 逐 家
场 汤 羊 美 洋 鲜 样 兰 烂 差 着 养 集 准 谁 售 午 许 羽 习 翔 困 固 国 圆
因 烟 园 回 图 广 店 库 裤 床 麻 庄 心 忘 忍 总 态 志 思 恩 愿 意 想 息 恐
感 憾 忧 惊 怕 忙 惯 必 手 看 摩 拿 我 抱 抗 批 招 打 指 持 担 括 提 挥 推
搅 执 热 接 挂 按 掉 拉 啦 找 无 抚 开 研 弄 异 鼻 刑 型 才 财 团 存 在 乃
奶 及 吸 极 史 更 硬 又 圣 友 双 汉 戏 观 欢 怪 对 树 难 摊 投 没 设 股 支
技 枝 叔 督 寂 反 板 返 后 质 派 乐 爪 抓 采 菜 受 授 爱 么 雄 台 治 始 去
法 会 至 室 到 互 充 育 流 梳 购 构 山 出 础 岁 密 入 分 贫 公 松 谷 浴 欲
容 溶 赏 党 常 堂 皮 波 婆 破 被 歹 列 烈 死 葬 耳 取 趣 最 职 敢 曼 慢 漫
夫 规 替 失 铁 臣 力 边 势 动 励 历 另 别 拐 男 功 办 协 苏 为 奴 努 加 贺

750 hanzi. Chinese characters starting to make my head spin a little.

架 务 雾 行 律 得 待 往 德 微 街 禾 程 和 积 种 移 秋 愁 揪 利 香 季 委 秀
透 诱 米 粉 迷 谜 类 来 数 楼 竹 笑 箱 等 算 答 策 人 认 价 份 伪 尔 你 您
称 什 值 做 但 住 位 件 仍 他 仅 休 体 信 依 例 健 停 倒 仁 优 伤 保 堡 付
府 俯 代 袋 化 华 哗 花 货 何 便 丈 使 久 内 呐 丙 柄 肉 腐 从 众 坐 座 巫
喝 渴 任 廷 庭 头 实 买 卖 读 以 似 并 拼 吕 侣 荣 劳 营 善 年 夜 液 旅 施
游 勿 忽 物 易 赐 尸 尼 呢 泥 屋 握 居 锯 剧 据 层 局 尺 尽 户 房 雇 护 示
社 礼 视 福 标 禁 襟 宗 崇 祭 察 擦 由 抽 油 甲 押 申 伸 神 果 课 颗 斤 听
所 近 斩 暂 渐 断 折 哲 逝 斥 诉 乍 怎 昨 作 雪 灵 妇 扫 寻 急 当 档 录 碌
争 净 事 唐 糖 康 尹 伊 君 裙 群 而 需 儒 瑞 端 曲 斗 料 科 用 确 昔 借 错
散 撒 廿 席 度 渡 半 伴 胖 判 眷 拳 片 版 之 乏 眨 不 否 坏 环 杯 还 怀 矢

1000 hanzi. This is how far Greg got in 6 weeks. It is certainly something to aim for.

族 知 智 矛 柔 揉 予 序 预 野 班 临 坚 贤 弓 引 弥 强 弱 单 弹 费 佛 弟 第
巧 号 身 射 谢 老 考 烤 与 写 泻 孝 教 者 著 猪 追 官 管 父 交 效 较 校 足
跑 跳 路 露 骨 滑 阿 啊 随 阳 阴 荫 防 附 际 阶 院 阵 队 坠 降 穴 究 突 空
控 深 探 丘 兵 丝 织 线 维 统 给 结 终 级 纪 红 约 细 纵 绿 经 轻 续 继 药
系 紧 却 脚 服 报 命 贸 留 溜 聊 柳 节 卫 令 冷 零 领 通 勇 仓 枪 创 犯 危
脆 印 酒 配 酋 尊 遵 豆 短 厨 鼓 喜 血 盖 温 监 篮 蓝 银 跟 很 根 即 退 腿
限 眼 良 浪 娘 食 饭 餐 馆 既 概 平 评 坪 乎 呼 希 稀 杀 风 讽 冈 刚 网 画
凶 胸 脑 恼 离 禽 义 仪 蚁 辛 辩 辟 壁 避 亲 新 薪 幸 叫 收 亥 核 孩 刻 该
术 述 襄 壤 寒 赛 毒 麦 素 青 精 请 情 睛 清 静 责 绩 表 生 星 姓 性 胜 丰
害 割 慧 韦 围 伟 春 泰 奉 棒 击 陆 专 传 转 勤 谨 垂 锤 睡 今 含 念 东 栋
冻 陈 练 拣 西 要 腰 票 漂 贾 南 门 们 闲 问 间 简 闻 非 排 罪 靠 侯 候 决
快 块 筷 干 岸 旱 赶 于 宇 余 除 途 束 速 辣 整 重 懂 病 痛 疯 区 枢 欧 医
仰 迎 登 发 废 形 影 彩 须 参 惨 修 珍 产 彦 颜 文 蚊 这 齐 济 率 摔 央 英
唤 换 巴 把 爸 吧 色 绝 艳 甘 某 其 期 基 甚 斯 贵 遗 舞 且 姐 组 祖 助 普
业 显 亚 恶 严 共 供 巷 港 井 讲 进 角 解 嘴 再 扁 篇 编 典 氏 纸 昏 婚 低
底 民 眠 甫 辅 博 搏 都 部 郎 帮 乡 段 锻 幻 司 词 书 舟 船 般 盘 搬 瓜 孤
益 假 暇 气 汽 面 革 鞋 勒 馨 声 承 蒸 牙 穿 呀 释 番 翻 播 毛 尾 笔 托 宅
展 丧 长 张 涨 雁 应 兴 举 检 脸 险 鸟 鸡 鹰 鸭 岛 遇 缺 遥 摇 兔 逸 免 晚
象 像 马 妈 吗 骂 验 骑 虎 虑 虚 鹿 熊 能 寅 演 辰 晨 关 送 联 鬼 魔 龙 袭
那 哪 两 俩 满 县 悬 窗 电 掩 丑 扭 黄 横 赤 亦 弯 湾 恋 变 卑 牌 套 曰 属

That is the first 1500 Chinese characters that Heisig proposes we remember. That is a lot of Chinese characters to take in, in one go. Having done some quick maths, if I learn 15 a day from now until my birthday on January 20th 2010. I should be able to complete the first 1500 hanzi thanks to Heisig and you guys for inspiring me.

Here are the hanzi all printed out and stuck up in my room. :D Whilst at the moment they are achieving not a lot by being there. By my 22nd birthday I hope to be able to understand them all.

So here is to Heisig. And here is to to a journey of learning many Chinese Characters. Here is to remembering the hanzi. Hopefully I will see you on the other side.

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