Chinese cover of Radiohead’s Creep

Few things stir up high school nostalgia for me quicker than Thom Yorke going on about how un-special he is. Even now, Pablo Honey is a regular shuffle on my iPod (and still my favourite Radiohead album). Throw in the fact that I’ve been trying to re-dedicate myself to learning Chinese lately, and I was …

ChinesePod affiliate program back up

ChinesePod.com, one of the pioneers for learning languages via podcasts, has recently relaunched their affiliate program, and I gotta say, it’s better than ever. An affiliate program might not mean much to many of you, but I know a lot of folks that read this blog regularly also run their own China-related blogs and sites, …

The Chinese Alphabet – it’s not THAT big

For as long as I’ve been in China I’ve been told, and have told others, that the reason the Chinese language is so impossibly difficult to learn is because of its alphabet of 50,000,000,000,000,000 characters, each strokingly more confusing than the last. However, I think it’s time to set the record straight. Comparing the number …

Why not to study Chinese at university

As some of you may know, I’m enrolled at Suzhou University (or Soochow University, SuDa) studying Mandarin. Having just completed my mid-terms, I want to give a bit of a summary on the problems I see studying in this way. First, the title of this post is a bit of a misnomer, as overall I …

Practice writing Chinese on your computer

Over the past couple years of half-heartedly studying Chinese I’ve come across a good number of computer-based tools to help in my studies. ChinesePod, Google’s IME, Adsotrans and Google Translator, Wenlin and a bunch of great freeware and Firefox plugins – just to name a few. However, about two months ago I was casually browsing …

Has anyone seen my face?

One of the things I like about Chinese is that it tends to be quite module-like. There are lots of little structures that you can just modify with new nouns, adjectives or what have you, to create entirely new meanings. A couple examples: 越 … 越 … 越(来)越(好) | yuè lái yuè hǎo | better …

Soochow University, here I come

So, I’m registered. As of yesterday afternoon I am officially a student of Mandarin at Suzhou University (cue hollers and hats thrown in a random and celebratory fashion). The whole process was pretty straight forward, and I have to admit that I’ve little clue as to what is actually going on (mantra – follow the …

The Laowai Psychological Street Fight

I’ve always been a lousy liar. Remembering whom I’ve told what to is difficult for me when it’s the truth, but add in the complexity of deceit, well… forget it. About five years ago my buddies and I started up a weekly Texas Hold’em game, and this taught me the “bluff”. Now here was a …