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Chinese Language Programme November Newsletter
Registration period is from 1 to 19 November. Students in a regular class (Level 1 - Level 8) can do an in-class registration. Registration for a special class can be done either in person or by form. For details, please visit http://www.un.org/Depts/OHRM/sds/lcp/UNLCP/english/registration.html.
For our course offerings for January to April 2011 term, please visit http://www.un.org/Depts/OHRM/sds/lcp/UNLCP/docs/chinese_schedule.pdf.
UN Chinese Language Day
The UN Chinese Language Day is Friday, 12 November. There will be a host of events organized by various Chinese-related programmes at the UN, including a poetry reading by our students and a bilingual lecture by Prof. Yuzhou Fan of Nanjing University on the origin and development of Chinese characters. Both of these events will be organized by our programme. A separate announcement with details of each of the events will be sent shortly before 12 November.
In celebration of the UN Chinese Language Day, http://chinesepod.com produced a special podcast on the UN featuring a scenario of a UN staff member showing a guest around the UN. You can hear the episode, see the transcript and vocabulary at UN.
UN China-related News
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on 31 October received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from China's prestigious Nanjing University. The SG was granted the honor at the university's auditorium in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, during his visit there after attending the Summit Forum on the sidelines of the Shanghai World Expo. At the degree-awarding ceremony, the university president said the degree was given to the SG for his talent, knowledge, wisdom and courage as UN Secretary General to promote international exchanges and world peace. In his remarks, the SG said he considered the degree an acknowledgement of UN's work and he received the honor on behalf of the UN rather than for himself. For the full text of the SG's speech at Nanjing University, please click speech.
It's worth noting that Nanjing University has been the host of our China Study Programme for the last 7 years. The dates of our 2011 programme there will be 11-30 July, 2011. Detailed announcement will be made at a later time.
If anyone is interested in using Tonally Orthographic Pinyin (a simple systematic addition to standard Pinyin that marks tones in three ways --colors, capital and small letters and the usual diacritical marks of Pinyin). The converter will produce text formatted for use in handouts or document files, in HTML files, or for inclusion in flashcards in the orangeorapple.com Flashcards Deluxe iPhone app.
How technology might help during studying Chinese
Although I might not be the best candidate to write something about studying Chinese (I doubled some levels), here a short outline of the possibilities of the current technology. Studying Chinese was the perfect excuse to buy an I-phone, the time that I spent during homework in looking up characters has been reduced by the dictionaries available online.
The first tool I downloaded was Estroke ($6,99) an easy tool where (after you have installed the mandarin language on the i-phone) you can look up characters and the tool indicates the stroke order. Currently I have replaced Estroke by DianHua ($4,99) as this dictionary has a cool audio sound. If you have never used a tool on the I-phone, a dictionary is an eye-opener of what is possible. Secondly, for studying the words and characters there are a number of “flash card” applications out there, for making your own flashcards (for any subject, not only Chinese) Flash Cards deluxe ($3,99), but many sets of cards are out there to start studying. Currently I like TrainChinese. With this flashcard you need to recognize the word in 4 different ways: on sound, in English, in pinyin, and the Chinese character. For this tool, the first sets of flash cards are completely free, after it forces you to take a subscription. The same company TrainChinese has a simple tool to recognize tones, PinyinTrainer, the application makes a sound and you need to choose via multiple choice what tone it was. Here no need to buy an upgrade as a couple of sounds a day is enough and this is a tool only for the beginners.
Also recently I read an article about Piotr Wozniak who has devoted his life to finding out the best way to learn. I can recommend the article “Want to Remember Everything You'll Ever Learn? Surrender to This Algorithm” and after reading it, I downloaded as well SuperMemo, a system which defines when you should learn what. The Chinese tool is not the best (SuperMemo is developed mostly for English and Polish), but it will be cool to see if a new way of learning will have immediate impact.
One word of caution with all the tools, if you don’t make your homework, progress will still be limited, no matter how many tools you have installed on the pad or phone, happy studying, xie xie, zaijian!
Patrick Haverman, level IV
the 1920s, the game of mah jongg has ignited the Jewish-American imagination
in living rooms and gathering spots around the country. Introduced to American
audiences by Joseph P. Babcock who began importing sets en masse around
1922, the game delighted players with its beautifully adorned tiles,
associations with other lands, and mysterious rules. Companies such as
Abercrombie & Fitch, Milton Bradley, and Parker Brothers further
popularized the game by selling affordable sets across America, setting a
craze in motion.
this website, there is a collection of most frequently used Chinese characters
in GIF format. You may click the Chinese character using the Right Key of your
Mouse, then click 'Save Image As...' to download the character.
this website, there is a collection of most frequently used Chinese characters in GIF format. You may click the Chinese character using the Right Key of your Mouse, then click 'Save Image As...' to download the character.
Readies Giant Chinese-English Dictionary
Here is a fascinating compact history of Chinese political, economic, and cultural life, ranging from the origins of civilization in China to the beginning of the 21st century. Historian Paul Ropp combines vivid story-telling with astute analysis to shed light on some of the larger questions of Chinese history. What is distinctive about China in comparison with other civilizations? What have been the major changes and continuities in Chinese life over the past four millennia?
Myself and China
As a research associate at Harvard's Fairbank center for Chinese Studies, Terril has penned dozens of books, most of which are related to China. He is widely known for his Mao: A Biography, acclaimed as one of the best memoirs of Mao by Western scholars since it hit the shelves in 1980. Unlike other books about the country by western scholars, Terril's books are full of humane accounts of his personal encounters.
second volume of
Myself and China
which will cover the stories of China in the 1990s and beyond is in the works.
Myself and China which will cover the stories of China in the 1990s and beyond is in the works.
(click on the links to read the full story)
“We have this national psyche that we’re not good at languages,” said Marty Abbott, the director of education for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages in Alexandria, Va. “It’s still perceived as something only smart people can do, and it’s not true; we all learned our first language and we can learn a second one.” Recent studies on how language learning occurs are beginning to chip away at some long-held notions about second-language acquisition and point to potential learning benefits for students who speak more than one language.
In recent decades, the study of language acquisition and instruction has increasingly focused on “chunking”: how children learn language not so much on a word-by-word basis but in larger “lexical chunks” or meaningful strings of words that are committed to memory. Chunks may consist of fixed idioms or conventional speech routines, but they can also simply be combinations of words that appear together frequently, in patterns that are known as “collocations.” In the 1960s, the linguist Michael Holliday pointed out that we tend to talk of “strong tea” instead of “powerful tea,” even though the phrases make equal sense. Rain, on the other hand, is much more likely to be described as “heavy” than “strong.”
Beijingers and Shanghainese love to poke fun at each other, though the jokes are often more barbed than funny. The rivalry between Beijing, the national capital, and Shanghai, the financial capital, has been going on for decades. The dynamic is a powerful undercurrent in Chinese politics and culture.
World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty
28, 2010–January 2, 2011
This exhibition covers the period from 1215, the year of Khubilai's birth, to 1368, the year of the fall of the Yuan dynasty in China founded by Khubilai Khan, and features every art form, including paintings, sculpture, gold and silver, textiles, ceramics, lacquer, and other decorative arts, religious and secular. The exhibition highlights new art forms and styles generated in China as a result of the unification of China under the Yuan dynasty and the massive influx of craftsmen from all over the vast Mongol Empire—with reverberations in Italian art of the fourteenth century.
in Modern China, 1937-2008:
Adults $7 Students and seniors (with valid ID) $4
At China Institute
September 16 ~ December 12, 2010
China has had a long history in woodcuts and printing, the western woodcut,
printed with oil-based ink, was adapted in the early 20th century by Chinese
artists searching for a simplified pictorial language that would resonate with
the illiterate masses. They not only created the beginnings of communist art
in China, but laid the foundation of modern Chinese art in the most general
sense. While past scholarly publications and survey exhibitions have
familiarized wider audiences with aspects of the modern Chinese woodcut
movement, this exhibition is the first in the U.S. to present a comprehensive
overview of the beginnings and development of this important art form during
the modern period of Chinese history from the 1930s to the present. Woodcuts
in Modern China is organized by the Picker Art Gallery at Colgate University.
UN Chinese Programme