The other day I was lying in bed and my cell phone started ringing. Caller ID showed an out-of-town area code. I picked up, heard a low voice murmuring in an unfamiliar language, and hung up. A few seconds later, my phone rang again. Same number, same murmur, another hangup. Then, a third ring. This time I let it go to voicemail. Then there was another ring, and another voicemail. These voicemails are SO WEIRD. [more inside]
I want to go China towards the end of the year. How far can I get without knowing any Chinese languages? [more inside]
The grammars of English, Latin, and Spanish are all taught as relatively general principles (families of declensions, verb tenses, etc.). In contrast, I'm now on my third attempt at learning Chinese, and this program like both before it apparently expects me to learn the grammar by memorizing a vast library of fill-in-the-blank templates. Why the difference? And is there anybody teaching Chinese with less reliance on rote memorization? [more inside]
Looking for a slightly more fluid translation of the lyrics (below the fold) to Hedgehog's lovely song Waiting for the Last Bus than any of the machine translators have been able to offer. They're quite short; can you help? [more inside]
We heard the owner of a Chinese restaurant speak the words "Ha chin tao" in an angry tone, and I was curious if anyone recognized the phrase and could translate it for us. [more inside]
Next week I'll spend several days together with clients from Shanghai coming to Europe for a project we are producing for them. As it's the first time we are working for a Chinese client (specifically: an advertising agency and their client), it would be great to know in advance any specific business etiquette (beyond usual international practice), and any relevant cultural pointers to keep in mind during our work together during the day, and dinners (that we will be offering) during the evenings. [more inside]
Why do my Chinese cleaners move my toy snake off of my toy tiger? [more inside]
The local Chinese place has a "closed for repairs" sign up. I want to brighten the proprietor's day by slipping an anonymous cash gift in the mail slot. But I don't want to make any cultural mis-steps. Guide me, mefites. [more inside]
I have heard of people doing this, but I don't know how to find a good one -- if you do a google search, there are a ton of hits but a lot of them look sketchy. I am looking for a person that I can have say weekly, paid conversation with, ideally where they would point out pronunciation or grammatical errors, but perhaps more informally than it would be in a classroom setting. My chinese is good enough that I can hold a basic conversation, but bad enough that I have to pay someone to practice with me :P I have a teacher I meet with twice a week, but I think it would be good to augment that with a different person, more conversation, etc. Any advice?
HI, We recently had a lovely couple visit us from China, and they left behind these two broaches/pins (could be something as well). Already said thank you, but have absolutely no clue what they are or their function. Google hasn't helped!
In the translation I've found of Xi Jinping's speech at the recent military parade, he says: "War is the sword of Damocles that still hangs over mankind." Does he refer to the Damocles myth in the original Chinese or is an equivalent Chinese reference transposed into Western culture? If he does refer to the actual sword of Damocles, is it a common reference in China? And if so, did it enter common Chinese parlance through the writings of Marx?
Do you have any suggestions for books, websites, other to help a new arrival to the US with learn general cultural references? I'm mentoring a Chinese student who is attending a mid-size US university. This is her first time in the US, and her English is fantastic. She asked me if I knew of any resources that could help her understand more US cultural references since sometimes she feels lost. [more inside]
I'm going to be in Beijing for a couple of days sometime soon and while I'm there I'd like to buy serious, modern, scholarly editions of some of the Chinese classics. Not translations into any modern language, definitely not versions set in simplified characters, but editions of the texts + scholarly apparatus. (So, not Penguin, not even Loeb - more like Oxford Classical Texts.) The difficulty is, I don't speak Chinese. [more inside]
My girlfriend's family is from Shanghai, but her families recipes are informal and there are many common dishes that she'd love a good cookbook on how to make. Any suggestions?
I'm curious about the pricing of Chinese restaurant food in various countries. Can you give me a price range for your country or area, for either delivered or in-restaurant dining, either in your country's currency or US dollars? [more inside]
So I decided to take the plunge and begin studying the chinese characters (before now I was still studying chinese, but only focusing on pinyin and speaking). My chinese teacher is elated! And I'm deflated. What are some good tools for study? [more inside]
So I know Mandarin Chinese, as in speak and read it pretty much as well as English. I also have a community of Japanese speakers I can tap to help me with the very esoteric task of learning Japanese from scratch. I don't have any incentive curiosity and time to kill, so given these factors, are there any things the almighty green would recommend to learn Japanese better/faster/smarter, especially from the unusual approach angle of a USian gaijin? [more inside]
Is there a number generator that will read the number out in Mandarin? [more inside]
One of my ELL students wrote this in my yearbook and I don't know what it says-- it's probably not overly exciting but I would like to know what she wrote. [more inside]
I'm looking for someone to help me communicate with my Chinese grandmother who only speaks Hakka, a dialect spoken in her village in Hong Kong. Is there somewhere I could find someone to help me interpret over the phone? We are in Sydney Australia, but would be happy for help from anywhere. [more inside]
My father passed a few months ago and left behind a painting that he picked up while residing in China many decades ago. We don't know much about the story behind the painting but would at least like to know what the artist's name was. Can anyone tell us what the Chinese on the painting says? Picture links inside. [more inside]
I recently came into possession of this brooch. I would like to know what it is. Any ideas?
What did they use in China, particularly in Cantonese speaking regions, to romanize names around the turn of the century? How did foreigners choose how to transcribe Cantonese names in the Latin alphabet back before the 1920s? [more inside]
I'm trying to find someone who uses public transit in Beijing to interview about a new service offered on the subway there. I'm writing a short article about the service. Do you have any suggestions as to how I could find someone who speaks both Chinese and English to talk to, either via email or a phone interview? I'm in the U.S. Just to be clear, this isn't something I could pay for, but the interview would probably take 10 minutes or less or someone's time, so I'm hoping someone would be willing.
There is a large dragon statue at Children's Fairyland in Oakland, and it has what I think are Chinese characters on it. Can someone tell me what it says?
I'll provide the link in the extended, but in a 2 minute news report for a local culinary school I'm interested in knowing what the student is saying in Chinese and I'm wondering if I can get any help in that regard. This report is from a San Francisco Chinese-language news station, and I expect the students are just talking about their intended careers and the school experience, but would love to know precisely what they're saying. Can anyone help out? [more inside]
Every time I go to nasdaq.com, it automatically defaults me to nasdaq.com/zh, which is in chinese. I can't figure out how to get it to switch back. [more inside]
I am from China and my first language is Mandarin Chinese. I also speak excellent English. My SO is an American. I just moved to Austin,TX, USA. I am trying to become an interpreter for Mandarin/English. I have a bachelor's degree in English language from my university in China and I worked as a full time interpreter in a UN wetland protection project in china in 2014. Could you please help me find more info (websites, books etc.) about how to get certified as an interpreter and a translator between Chinese and English in Austin? How and where can I find work? Thanks
I now live two minutes away from a huge korean supermarket that has an amazing and cheap produce and seafood section. I have no idea what a lot of this stuff is, but I love Asian cooking, so what are some things I should buy, now that I have an opportunity? I'm particularly interested in any recipes that are easy, inexpensive, and depend on 'ethnic' ingredients that you can't find in most grocery stores, or fresh seafood or unusual cuts of meat (pork belly, chicken feet, etc)
I'm in need of some image reference for Chinese business interiors, with an emphasis on decor vs. architecture. [more inside]
How can somebody on the receiving end of the unfortunate manifestations of Asian fetish ("yellow fever") suck it up and get on with her day/life as best as possible? [more inside]
I am looking for suggested recordings of Chinese traditional music and some help in how to contextualize and understand what I am listening to. [more inside]
After a great deal of deliberation, a thorough reading of Fosterhood, and an inconceivable amount of bureaucratic obstacle weaving, we are currently parenting two foster children. They're Chinese. We aren't. They need to eat more soups, more vegetables. I need help figuring out how to make things they'll like. [more inside]
I recently ordered the Huawei P6 mobile phone on Amazon (UK). I received it this morning, and it is clearly the Chinese version of the phone with a UK adapter included in the packaging. Will this be a big problem? Can I return it and get a refund easily? [more inside]
I'm interested in doing a Chinese Studies MA but I don't know how much of my reading I need to remember. Any advice? [more inside]
I'm looking for the identity of this Pakistani counterterrorism expert. In this [YT] documentary, the Chinese transliteration of his name appears as 古尼‧伊纳亚特‧欧拉‧罕‧尼亚文. Any ideas?
I live in an extremely whitebread town, and nothing I have done has induced any of the Chinese restaurants to make my food in the least hot. I say "extra hot" or "extra spicy" or "with hot peppers" and the food seems exactly the same. They must have had people complain that what they ordered was "too hot." What can I say in Chinese to get the point across? How do you say the pepper paste stuff that is made out of pepper flakes and oil, and then lots of it?
I have an idea of what I think would be my ideal career set up (involving social, ethnographic and/or market research in China) , but am not too clear on the next steps to take. Can you help? [more inside]
TLDR: I'm in a serious relationship with a girl whose whole family is native Shanghainese speakers. They are ok Mandarin speakers. If I'm gonna be with her long-term (seems likely), I want to have a relationship with her family and feel like I need to learn either Mandarin (or Shanghainese -- open to that). So I need strategies to get as fluent as possible as efficiently as possible. I can spend whatever I need to on this. Can't go live in China for a while, though can at some point in the distant future maybe. I live in NYC. More after the jump. [more inside]
I'm working on a project that would benefit from Cantonese speaking skills. Luckily, I live in the SF Bay Area, where there are a couple college-level classes, and lots of native speakers. Unluckily, the class I'm enrolled in is terrible. What are my other options for Cantonese language learning in the Bay Area, or online, or even just via self-study? And, if you have any experience with self-study, what worked best? [more inside]
I'm going to start learning Japanese in a couple of months, and in researching the language, I'm realizing that it's going to be a *lot* easier if I could recognize all the component parts of any Kanji I encounter. But..I'm noticing that there are a lot of different lists of those component parts...Heisig's lists, Wikipedia's tables of radicals, The Kanji Dictionary's 79 radicals, etc. Which radical lists do you like best, and why? Are there any out there that show you the radical, show you the characters that use it, and explain how the radical fits into those characters (meaning-wise)? [more inside]
Actually, that should read "Hey, readers of Chinese script, etc". Recently, some of my neighbors took exception to the opening of a homeless shelter in my neighborhood. They held a protest. Some of the signs were in Chinese. What do these signs say in English, if you've got a moment? Many thanks in advance.
Mrs. Penguin and I just bought a house, but we discovered today that the circuit breaker box is labeled in a mixture of English and Chinese. We will eventually just turn them off one at a time to figure out which is which, but in the meantime can y'all translate them for me? [more inside]
How to reconcile the differences between your origin and daily society? [more inside]
Are there any stores in Los Angeles that might carry this version of Sherlock - Season 1 (region 3 Taiwan version with Traditional Chinese Subtitles)? I need it quicker than YesAsia's 7-14 day shipping estimate.
How can I deal with this nagging sense of guilt that I should know more Chinese than I presently do? Or, how can I improve my Chinese as a busy twenty-something year-old? [more inside]
I recently got an old fountain pen marked in Chinese. Please help translate the pen. Links to photos and more information below the fold. [more inside]
I lead a monthly teleconference with a small team of colleagues in China, and would like to kick off each session with a funny or inspirational image or quote. Help me find something that doesn't get lost in translation! [more inside]
Any ideas to help myself continue to be a wandering freelancer while increasing my income and expanding job opportunities? [more inside]
I love the sinus-clearing flare of the mustard at chinese restaurants but it seems unique to what's on the dine-in table. The packets at the same restaurants are never truly hot and what gets sold in most groceries around here from the "Asian Gourmet" brand also is only barely hot (despite its claims on the label). What gives? And where do I get the stuff that really nukes my nasal passages? [more inside]