Everything about China and it's culture

Everything about China and it's culture

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  • Chinese-learning Harvard students parody “Beijing Welcomes You”

    Remember 2008 when the Olympic theme song “Beijing Welcomes You” song was playing out of every store, public square, and radio station? (Wasn’t every student learning Chinese at the time forced to learn it too?) If you’re still bothered by the tune you may want to skip this video. If not, three Harvard students enrolled in a class called Chinese BB (elementary modern Chinese) have posted up this video “Harvard Welcomes You” sung in Mandarin. It’s a parody of the Beijing 2008 Olympics theme and extols the reasons why all should come to Harvard (not that Chinese people really need encouragement to send their kids to “Ha-fo”….we’re pretty sure it’s the MO of every family in the country). Anyway, if you must make us choose, we think the hands down best reason to attend the Ivy is because as these three boys sing, the Annenberg cafeteria looks just like the Harry Potter dining commons

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  • 40 million foreigners learning Chinese

    More than 40 million foreigners around the world are learning Chinese, a senior official with the Confucius Institute Headquarters said at the organization’s fifth annual conference in Beijing, which ended on Saturday.

    This year, 40 new Confucius Institutes and 97 Confucius Classrooms opened worldwide, while eight countries also joined the program, Xu Lin, the headquarters’ chief executive and director-general of the Office of Chinese Language Council International, or Hanban, told China Daily.

    And more expansion is on next year’s docket, she added.

    "We expect to dispatch 2,000 teachers and 3,000 volunteers from China, train 10,000 Chinese teachers and 10,000 local teachers, and release revised Standards for Teachers of Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages (TCSOL) next year," she said.

    "A better benefits package will be offered to teachers from China. Tentative efforts will be made to establish a team of full-time directors and teachers for Confucius Institutes."

    Confucius Institutes are affiliated with the Ministry of Education and are committed to educating people worldwide about Chinese language and culture


  • Chinese surges in US school

    Thousands of public schools stopped teaching foreign languages in the last decade, according to a government-financed survey — dismal news for a nation that needs more linguists to conduct its global business and diplomacy.

    But another contrary trend has educators and policy makers abuzz: a rush by schools in all parts of America to offer instruction in Chinese.

    Some schools are paying for Chinese classes on their own, but hundreds are getting some help. The Chinese government is sending teachers from China to schools all over the world — and paying part of their salaries.

    At a time of tight budgets, many American schools are finding that offer too good to refuse.

    In Massillon, Ohio, south of Cleveland, Jackson High School started its Chinese program in the fall of 2007 with 20 students and now has 80, said Parthena Draggett, who directs Jackson’s world languages department.

    “We were able to get a free Chinese teacher,” she said. “I’d like to start a Spanish program for elementary children, but we can’t get a free Spanish teacher.”

    (Jackson’s Chinese teacher is not free; the Chinese government pays part of his compensation, with the district paying the rest.)

    No one keeps an exact count, but rough calculations based on the government’s survey suggest that perhaps 1,600 American public and private schools are teaching Chinese, up from 300 or so a decade ago. And the numbers are growing exponentially.

    Among America’s approximately 27,500 middle and high schools offering at least one foreign language, the proportion offering Chinese rose to 4 percent, from 1 percent, from 1997 to 2008, according to the survey, which was done by the Center for Applied Linguistics, a research group in Washington, and paid for by the federal Education Department.

    “It’s really changing the language education landscape of this country,” said Nancy C. Rhodes, a director at the center and co-author of the survey.

    Other indicators point to the same trend. The number of students taking the Advanced Placement test in Chinese, introduced in 2007, has grown so fast that it is likely to pass German this year as the third most-tested A.P. language, after Spanish and French, said Trevor Packer, a vice president at the College Board.

    “We’ve all been surprised that in such a short time Chinese would grow to surpass A.P. German,” Mr. Packer said.

    A decade ago, most of the schools with Chinese programs were on the East and West Coasts. But in recent years, many schools have started Chinese programs in heartland states, including Ohio and Illinois in the Midwest, Texas and Georgia in the South, and Colorado and Utah in the Rocky Mountain West.


  • Start Early, to Learn Tones and Characters

    As long as China is on the rise, one can expect that interest in the Chinese language will grow.

    We have heard claims that Chinese is among the world’s most difficult languages, if not the most difficult language, to learn. This is bit of an overgeneralization, as it really depends on who the learner is and what aspects of the language we are talking about.

    Chinese is not necessarily harder than, say Korean, for English (non-heritage) speakers. After all, the grammar is rather simple: There is no need to conjugate verbs (for example, the verb “to go” in Chinese is always qu 去, no matter it is ‘we go’, ‘they went’, or ‘she goes’). Word order, unlike, say, Korean, is very similar to English (e.g., wo ‘I’ + qu ‘go’ + nali ‘there’). Nouns do not have to change to reflect differences in number (singular vs. plural) or gender (as in Spanish and French).

    The most difficult part in learning to speak Chinese may be in figuring out the tones. Chinese is a tonal language, where pretty much every word must be uttered with a particular tonal contour, and this has to be memorized.


  • Graduates line up to teach Chinese overseas

    Hundreds of college graduates yesterday attended interviews to be volunteer teachers of Chinese in Thailand, the Philippines and other Asian countries.

        As many as 380 people turned out at the Minzu University of China for the recruitment drive organized by the Beijing Center of the Promotion of Chinese Overseas. This brings the total to almost 700 youths over the past two weekends.

        Recruiters say they’ll pick 300 people from Beijing to join between 1,000 and 1,500 people nationwide to teach Chinese in neighboring countries, starting next May, to meet the ever-increasing demand for Chinese teachers in foreign countries.

        An official of the volunteer center of the Office of the Chinese Language Council International (Hanban), told METRO that Chinese teachers are in great demand because learning Chinese is now part of compulsory education in many primary schools in Asian countries such as Thailand.

        "I heard from some education officials in the Thai government that they can’t start Chinese teaching without Chinese teachers and volunteers," she said. Chinese teachers can be found in almost all the elementary schools in Thailand, according to her.

        An official with the Beijing International Center for Chinese Language, said those who passed the interview would go through a five-month training period organized by Hanban. Successful candidates would then become volunteers and teach Chinese to primary and middle school students in Thailand, Philippines and other neighboring countries.


  • In Chinatown, Sound of the Future Is Mandarin

    He grew up playing in the narrow, crowded streets of Manhattan’s Chinatown. He has lived and worked there for all his 61 years. But as Wee Wong walks the neighborhood these days, he cannot understand half the Chinese conversations he hears.

    Cantonese, a dialect from southern China that has dominated the Chinatowns of North America for decades, is being rapidly swept aside by Mandarin, the national language of China and the lingua franca of most of the latest Chinese immigrants.

    The change can be heard in the neighborhood’s lively restaurants and solemn church services, in parks, street markets and language schools. It has been accelerated by Chinese-American parents, including many who speak Cantonese at home, as they press their children to learn Mandarin for the advantages it could bring as China’s influence grows in the world.

    But the eclipse of Cantonese — in New York, China and around the world — has become a challenge for older people who speak only that dialect and face increasing isolation unless they learn Mandarin or English. Though Cantonese and Mandarin share nearly all the same written characters, the pronunciations are vastly different; when spoken, Mandarin may be incomprehensible to a Cantonese speaker, and vice versa.

    Mr. Wong, a retired sign maker who speaks English, can still get by with his Cantonese, which remains the preferred language in his circle of friends and in Chinatown’s historic core. A bit defiantly, he said that if he enters a shop and finds the staff does not speak his dialect, “I go to another store.”


  • More Chinese middle school teachers to teach Chinese in British schools

    Ninety-five Chinese middle school teachers have been recruited to act as "Chinese-language assistants" to teach Chinese in British secondary schools for one year.

        The "Chinese Language Assistance" program, jointly launched by China and Britain in 2001, has drawn an increasing number of participants each year.

        The program aims to promote understanding and communication between the peoples of the two countries through language exchanges, Chinese Ambassador to Britain Fu Ying said at a reception for the Chinese teachers on Wednesday.

        Fu said the Chinese teachers, while teaching Chinese philosophies, history and culture, could also learn advanced teaching skills from their British counterparts during the one-year term.

        The shortage of qualified Chinese-language teachers is major factor hindering Chinese language learning in Britain.

        Britain has always attached great importance to Chinese language training, in which British youngsters could deepen their understanding of the Chinese culture, history and language, said Olga Stanojlovic, Director of Schools in Education at the British Council.

        Currently, there are 11 Confucius Institutes and 13 Confucius Classrooms in Britain.

  • Olympics boosts Chinese language

    Michael Phelps who claimed a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympic Games said it was harder for him to learn Chinese than to win swimming races.

        Before the American came to China for the 2008 Games he seriously took a few Chinese lessons. A popular online video shows how hard he tries to imitate the voice of a Chinese learning multimedia software in saying such basic words as "guo zhi" (juice), "nan hai’er" (boy) and "nu hai’er" (girl).

        But still, the 23-year-old rated his Chinese language studies as the most difficult thing he had tried in his life. "Learning Mandarin is even harder than winning eight gold medals in the pool."

        In primary school Phelps took French and German courses, but the swimming ace said, "all the words, characters and pronunciations in Mandarin are so different. All of them are hard to manage."

        He was not the only star athlete trying to learn some Chinese language and culture. When gymnast Nastia Liukin arrived back home in Dallas, Texas, with five medals around her neck, the Russian-born blonde appeared in front of her reception wearing a black T-shirt with two big Chinese characters "Beijing" in the front.

        "The Beijing Olympics have brought world attention to the Chinese civilization and further enhanced the utility of the Chinese language worldwide," said Zhao Guocheng, the Office of Chinese Language Council International (OCLCI) deputy director general.

        He called the Games an opportunity for the Chinese language to gain more popularity and for China to be better understood by foreigners.


  • Get to know Chinese names of fruit

    Chinese names of fruit

    苹果 píng guǒ apple

    香蕉 xiāng jiāo banana

    橙子 chéng zi orange

    樱桃 yīng táo cherry

    猕猴桃 mí hóu táo Chinese gooseberry

    椰子 yē zi coconut

    葡萄 pú tao grape

    水蜜桃 shuǐ mì táo juicy peach

    柠檬 níng méng lemon

    荔枝 lì zhī litchi

    芒果 máng guǒ mango

    桔子 jú zi tangerine

    桃 táo peach

    梨 lí pear

    柿子 shì zi persimmon

    菠萝 bō luó pineapple

    李子 lǐ zi plum

    西瓜 xī guā watermelon

    草莓 cǎo méi strawberry

    木瓜 mù guā papaya


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