The end of year is drawing near. I hope you had a good and productive one so far and managed to stay positive, despite of the state our world is currently in. Here are some more Chinese vocabulary notes, a double dose of omicron or 奥密克戎 included.
How did I learn English well enough to become a lawyer in California?
I’m not Chinese and I’m not studying English either, but I got some useful tips from this video (with transcript). What’s more, there’s a load of vocabulary on language learning in it. Maymay is a Chinese lawyer based in the US who reached a high proficiency in English and speaks Chinese quite fast. Basically, she’s advocating old-school reading and writing, combined with speaking. Of course not just blindly reading away, but only picking stuff that’s relevant to you.
Some of the tactics discussed in this video remind me of Chinese class in China. The basic procedure for each chapter was always the same:
- Listen to the text and vocabulary (like 100x), discuss it
- Read, read aloud, read fast (our teacher would give us a time limit)
- Do exercises, role-playing games, dictation (good old 听写!)
- Write your own “essay” based on the text (what she calls 默写 in this video)
Although, back in the day in China, this kind of “textbook-centered” learning made me feel like a school kid, however, it did work to some extent. At the end of each chapter, I had the feeling I learned about everything the authors wanted me to know. I absorbed all the important information. I had invested a serious amount of time completing the chapter and practiced all four language skills. To do this outside of a class situation by self-studying requires the highest standard of discipline though.
|yùdào shēngpì cí
|Encounter rare words
|bèi cíhuì shū
|Memorize vocabulary book
|tígāo zìjǐ de cíhuì liàng
|Improve your vocabulary
|tōngguò shàngxiàwén de lǐjiě
|Understanding through context
|zài yīgè zìrán de yǔjìng zhōng
|In a natural context (语境 )
|zài zhège xīnwén de biāotí lǐ
|In this news headline
|cāicè yīxià zhège cí dàgài de yìsi
|Guess what the word means
She also mentions rote learning in alphabetical order as a particularly ineffective practice for language learning. Surprisingly, this approach must be quite common. Many HSK vocabulary books are in alphabetical order. I prepared my HSK 4 test in China by rote learning all vocabulary from A to Z, because I knew no better. I couldn’t agree more that this is not the way to actual fluency.
|shàngxiàwén yuèdú lǐjiě de nénglì
|contextual reading comprehension
|gēnzhe MP3 lǎngdú
|read aloud with MP3
|write from memory
|gǒnggù nǐ zìjǐ de jìyì
|consolidate your own memory
Chinese top medical expert offers first statement regarding “Omicron”
The top Chinese medical expert for respiratory diseases 钟南山 (Zhong Nanshan) talked to CCTV about the newest SARS-Covid virus mutation named Omicron. The German media have been hyping this topic for days as I write this. That’s why 钟南山’s calm demeanor is absolutely refreshing in my eyes. He tells his Chinese viewers what is known about the newest variant, namely next to nothing. He cannot say if Omicron is more harmful than any of the other previous mutations, it might be more contagious. That’s about it.
|Ào mì kè róng
|Variant virus / mutant virus
|ào mǐ kè róng biànzhǒng bìngdú sìhū gèng róngyì chuánbò
|the Omicron variant seems to spread more easily.
|yìmiáo duìyú Omicron de bǎohù lì
|The protective power of the vaccine against Omicron
VOA: Is Omicron worth panic?
Contrary to the previous video, VOA presents twenty minutes of
more or less well informed speculation about the nature of the “new variant of interest”. I’ll just share the video here for reasons of historical documentation. It’s a perfect example of hyperventilating media coverage. A comment summarizes the answer to the main question nicely: “If you want to panic, you can panic; if you don’t want to panic, you can not panic.”
|yǐnfā guǎngfàn dānyōu
|Cause widespread concern
|shíshī lǚxíng xiànzhì
|Implement travel restrictions
|cǎiqǔ fángfàn cuòshī
Is China’s real estate bubble about to burst?
This is a compilation of short videos of people relating their bad experiences buying property in China. I don’t know what to make of this. The situation seems to be the exact opposite of what I’m seeing over here. In contrast to Germany at the moment where property prices continue to rise, in China they are falling – or at least so it is claimed in this video. This means that people who recently bought property to live in or as an investment are loosing money or overpay in case they still have to pay off the debt. Say you bought the apartment for 500.000 Renminbi a year ago and now its worth has dropped 20 percent to 400.000. That’s not something that you intended to happen.
|kuīle 30 wàn
|right, the right layout (看的时候，我们就觉得这个房子方正)
|huā guāngle wǒmen suǒyǒu de jīxù
|Spent all our savings
|fángzi jiàngjià jiàng dé fēicháng lìhài
|The price of the house has dropped drastically
|cóng A diē dào B
|(price) dropped from A to B
|shuō qǐlái dōu shì lèi
|idiom, talking about it makes me want to cry
|jiāo wùyè fèi
|pay the property fee
Visiting the countryside of Shanghai
This month’s overview wouldn’t be complete without a Afu video. Here’s a quite interesting one about Shanghai’s countryside. Amazing to see how long it takes to leave the urban jungle of Shanghai and visit one of the villages on edge of the city. What’s particularly interesting in this episode is Afu’s struggling with the local dialect, although he gets by extremely well. It’s just one of these occasions where you get reminded no matter how splendid your command of Chinese, you should never underestimate the lingual variety of China.
|zhù zài jiāoqū
|live in the suburbs
|gǎn shàng chē
|catch the bus
|to be picky about something
|cūnzhuāng de lǎogànbù
|old cadre of the village
That’s it for this month and 2021. I really hope and pray for a better 2022 without travel restrictions so our two-year-old daughter can finally visit her Chinese grandparents. Thanks for visiting my blog and hope to see you in ’22! : )