In this month’s edition: bitcoin explained in Chinese, what do people in China have to say about the Johnny Depp – Amber Heard trial, the story of Will hart (fluent in Chinese after 1.5 years), apartment hunting in Taipei and more!
In Dutch we call this time of year the “komkommertijd”, in German “Saure-Gurken-Zeit”. The Dutch word translates into “cucumber time”, referring to the time of year where most people go on holidays and productivity and even life itself seem to slow down to a more comfortable pace. That’s not the reason this post is later than it should be though. No, it’s something else: on July 28th our second child was born. It’s a boy and he is called Dylan. That is such a great event in our lives that my blog had to wait.
However, I did manage to protocol last month’s vocabulary notes. For me Will Hart’s Chinese learning story further below definitely July’s highlight. If you haven’t listened to the interview already, I recommend that you do, it’s very inspiring.
Teacher Li Yongle talks about Bitcoin
Bitcoin: a topic hard to illuminate? Teacher Li Yongle gives his in-depth explanation of this digital currency in high speed, covering the origin of the no. 1 cryptocurrency and its technicalities. Advanced listening for sure, but he does a great job at breaking down a hard subject into understandable parts or bits, in this case. Activating subtitles and slowing down the video to 0.75 is recommended.
|区块链||qū kuài liàn||blockchain|
|数字货币||shùzì huòbì||digital currency|
|白皮书||báipíshū||white paper (referring to Satoshi’s “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System“)|
|电子记账系统||diànzǐ jì zhàng xìtǒng||electronic billing system|
|去中心化||qù zhōngxīn huà||decentralized|
|哈希函数||Hā xī hánshù||hash function|
Chinese React to Johnny Depp – Amber Heard Trial
The bizarre Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial went around the globe, not excluding China. Watch how amazingly well informed these Chinese citizens of Shenzhen and Zhongshan answer questions about the court case and share their own views.
|美国演员||Měiguó yǎnyuán||American actor|
|剪刀手爱德华||jiǎndāo shǒu àidéhuá||Edward Scissorhands|
|加勒比海盗||jiālèbǐ hǎidào||Pirates of the Caribbean|
|八卦||bāguà||gossip, to gossip|
To let things deteriorate | Chinese language conversation
Another short sketch telling you not to give up (摆烂). I agree!
|健身卡||jiànshēn kǎ||fitness card|
|变瘦||biàn shòu||to loose weight|
|摆烂||bǎilàn||“To let things deteriorate”, to give up|
|滚蛋||gǔndàn||to piss off|
He SELF STUDIED Native-Sounding Chinese in 1.5 Years?! How Did He Do It?
Finally someone who did the right thing during the pandemic! Will Hart, a British med student, spent the long months of lockdown mastering Chinese. In this interview, he not only speaks super fluent Chinese, but also sounds native-like, using Chinese filler words and conjunctions like a pro. The vocabulary he uses to describe his Chinese language journey is impressively elaborate and precise. To be honest, it’s almost uncanny.
Most Chinese learners spent years to reach this level of spoken fluency and some never get even close. What amazes me the most is that he never visited China (even though he uses the word 国内 almost as if he was born in China himself)! Nor did he buy any textbooks or book expensive classes. In other words, his learning success is completely based on self-study.
|系统的方法||xìtǒng de fāngfǎ||systematic approach|
|应试教育||yìngshì jiàoyù||Exam-oriented education|
|有挑战性||yǒu tiǎozhàn xìng||to be challenging|
|华裔朋友||huáyì péngyǒu||Chinese friends|
|被动的输入||bèidòng de shūrù||passive input|
|自言自语||zì yán zì yǔ||talking to oneself|
What is his secret then? Judging from his statements in this interview, I see several clues:
- Chinese friends to speak with from the start
- speaking from day on, including “自言自语”
- Strong focus on pronunciation and getting the tones right
- discipline & dedication
- curiosity or the ability to keep things interesting (跟着兴趣走)
- Input, input, input
- Flashcards and dictionary (and the discipline to use them efficiently)
By the way, the interviewer (Rita) clearly knows more than a thing or two about phonetics. She does an excellent job explaining the subtleties of Chinese pronunciation. Extremely helpful and entertaining as well, since she evaluates the pronunciation of several laowai YouTubers like (her husband) Laoma Chris.
|看不太懂||kàn bù tài dǒng||I don’t quite understand|
|北方口音||běifāng kǒuyīn||northern accent|
|交流的工具||jiāoliú de gōngjù||tool of communication|
|anki卡片||anki kǎpiàn||anki cards|
|句子结构||jùzǐ jiégòu||Sentence Structure|
|大量输入的学习方法||dàliàng shūrù de xuéxí fāngfǎ||Learning method with a large quantity of input|
Should we be ashamed to admit how others influence us?
Oh but this is rather personal stuff, right? I like to listen to these personal, unscripted stories though. This is the kind of authentic Chinese the typical textbook doesn’t cover. The short video contains lots of useful expressions to describe different stages of personal development.
|尽量避免焦虑的话题||Jǐnliàng bìmiǎn jiāolǜ de huàtí||Try to avoid the topic of anxiety as much as possible|
|分享自己最近的感想||fēnxiǎng zìjǐ zuìjìn de gǎnxiǎng||share your latest thoughts|
|受一个人的影响||shòu yīgè rén de yǐngxiǎng||to be influenced by someone|
|优秀的伴侣||yōuxiù de bànlǚ||excellent companion|
|是不可否认的||shì bùkě fǒurèn de||something is undeniable|
|跨国恋||kuàguó liàn||“transnational love”|
|应该这两个区分清楚||yīnggāi zhè liǎng gè qūfēn qīngchǔ||one should distinct these two things clearly|
|自然而然去学习||zìrán’érrán qù xuéxí||learn naturally (or natural to learn something)|
|这是一种本能||zhè shì yī zhǒng běnnéng||It’s an instinct|
|一件耻辱的事情||yī jiàn chǐrǔ de shìqíng||a shameful thing|
Apartment hunting in Taipei / Taiwan – Intermediate Chinese Podcast – Renting a house in Chinese
In this podcast, Abby shares her experiences hunting for apartments in Taiwan and give tips in case you ever decide to rent your own place in the Taiwanese capital. Unfortunately, I don’t know Standard Mandarin and Taiwanese well enough to point out the distinctions in vocabulary or tones, but I think it’s a good thing to vary the monthly listening diet and include different variants of Mandarin.
|分享在台北租房子的经验||Fēnxiǎng zài táiběi zūfángzi de jīngyàn||Share the experience of renting a house in Taipei|
|预算有多少||yùsuàn yǒu duōshǎo||What is the budget|
|预算不高||yùsuàn bù gāo||low budget|
|在台北租房的社团||zài táiběi zū fáng de shètuán||social media groups for apartment renting in Taipei|
|理想的房子||lǐxiǎng de fángzi||ideal house|
|在意哪一些条件||zàiyì nǎ yīxiē tiáojiàn||What conditions do you care about|
|对声音很敏感||duì shēngyīn hěn mǐngǎn||very sensitive to sound|
That’s it for this month. Keep on enjoying the summer, learn Chinese and hope to see you back soon!