4. Learning Mandarin – Chinese Characters

DISCLOSURE: From time-to-time, this site may contain affiliate links and advertising. This means that I might get paid commission if you click on some of the links or buy a product. This will be at no extra cost to you. All opinions are that of my own. I only recommend products and services that I personally use and also feel would be a valuable asset to other language learners.


漢字

歡迎 (Huānyíng), this week I have been focusing on Chinese characters. Throughout May 2017 my goal is to learn 5 - 10 Chinese characters per day. There are loads of resources out there to help, but my personal favorite has to be the Chineasy method. I have made significant progress with these products.

3. Learning Mandarin – Chinese Zodiac

中國十二生肖 - Zhōngguó shí'èr shēngxiào

This week I have been learning about Animals so I thought it seemed rather fitting to do a post on the Chinese Zodiac! For years I believed I was a pig 豬 (until my Chinese tutor explained that I needed to use the Chinese Lunar Calander in order to establish my actual sign). Under this calendar, I am actually a dog! Our Zodiac signs focus on the 12 months of a year, whilst the Chinese Zodiac focuses on The 12-year cycle of the traditional Chinese lunar calendar.

 

Vocabulary 

你幾歲?(Nǐ jǐ suì?) - How old are you?

我是...歲 (Wǒ shì... Suì) - I am... years old.

你的中國十二生肖是什麼?(Nǐ de zhōngguó shí'èr shēngxiào shì shénme?) - What is your Chinese Zodiac sign?

我的中國十二生肖是...?(Wǒ de zhōngguó shí'èr shēngxiào shì...?) - My Chinese Zodiac Sign is...

The Signs - 生肖 (shēngxiào)

Rat  鼠 - shǔ:  2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960

Ox 牛 - niú: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961

Tiger 虎 - hǔ: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962

Rabbit 兔子 - Tùzǐ: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963

Dragon 龍 - lóng: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964

Snake 蛇 - shé: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965

Horse 馬 / 马 - mǎ: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966

Ram 羊 - yáng: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967

Monkey 猴 - hóu: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968

Rooster 雞 / 鸡 - jī:  2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969

Dog  狗 - gǒu: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970

Pig 豬 / 猪 - zhū: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971

To find out more information on the Chinese Zodiac and double check your sign, click here.

Check out my recommended products for learning Mandarin here

So what is your Zodiac Sign? Comment below. 

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2. Learning Mandain: Basic Introductions and Manners

DISCLOSURE: From time-to-time, this site may contain affiliate links and advertising. This means that I might get paid commission if you click on some of the links or buy a product. This will be at no extra cost to you. If anything due to the relationships I have established with my affiliates you might even save some money. All opinions are that of my own. I only recommend products and services that I personally use and also feel would be a valuable asset to other language learners.


第二周 - 基本介绍和礼仪

There is an old saying "manners get you everywhere" so with that in mind this week I have been brushing up on my "Please", "Thank You", "Sorry" and basic introductions in Mandarin.  My tones are rather rusty and need practice, but I have the Get Fluent in Chinese package to help me with this.

Want to set a good impression when you meet a Chinese person? Easy peasy just introduce yourself in Chinese! However, remember that Mandarin although the most spoken language in the world is not the only Chinese language. There is also Shanghainese and Cantonese, plus some other local languages too.

Mandarin is Chinese is commonly known as 'Pǔtōnghuà' 普通话 meaning Universal Language or Zhōngwén 中文 meaning Chinese Language. 

Check out 'Beginner's Mandarin Chinese' on Udemy. Click image for more information.

 

The Basics

你好 (Nǐ hǎo) = Hello

再见 (Zàijiàn) = Good bye

谢谢 (Xièxiè) = Thank you

(Qǐng) = Please

对不起(Duìbùqǐ) = I am sorry

Basic Introductions

你好吗?(Nǐ hǎo ma?) = How are you?

我很好 (Wǒ hěn hǎo) = I am fine

我的名字是... (Wǒ de míngzì shì...) = My name is...

我叫...(Wǒ jiào) = I'm called...

For more information on tones check out my week 1 blog.

What's in a Name?

In the video above I am introducing myself with my Chinese name that was given to me by my tutor. It sounds like I am saying Amy, but I am in fact attempting to say 'En Ming'. To get a Chinese name speak to your Chinese tutor if you have one or ask a Chinese friend to name you or just for fun check out the link below...

Name me!

Chinese names all have meanings. When introducing themselves you may notice they give their family name (surname) first.

(Xìng) = Surname

名字 (Míngzì) = Name

To get to grips with the basics  I recommend Udemy. There are free language courses as well as paid.

Want to know your Chinese name? Comment below and I'll ask on your behalf!

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25 Powerful Quotes to Inspire Positivity

© Will van Wingerden

You may have come across the quote "The pen is mightier than the sword" - Edward Bulwer-Lytton. The power of words is the very thing that could lift that sword or inspire peace! Here are 25 of the most powerful quotes that will help inspire positivity and motivation

1 "Positive anything is better than negative nothing." - Elbert Hubbard

 

2 "When life gives you curdled milk, be patient. You get very good cheese!" - Braum

 

3 "You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind." - Joyce Meyer

 

4 "Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." – Lao Tzu

 

5 "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." ― Albert Einstein

 

6 "Of all sad words of mouth or pen, the saddest are these: it might have been." — John Greenleaf Whittier

 

7 "As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves." ―Mahatma Gandhi

 

8 "Even heaviest door can be opened." - Braum

 

9 "I fear not the man who has practised 10,000 kicks, but I do fear the man who has practised one kick 10,000 times." Bruce Lee

 

10 "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." — Jiddu Krisnamurti

 

11 "To love is to recognise yourself in another." – Eckhart Tolle

 

12 "And when you gaze long enough into the abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you." — Friedrich Nietzsche

 

13 "Don’t let schooling interfere with your education"-Mark Twain

 

14 "A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on." — John F. Kennedy

 

15 "Every man dies, but not every man truly lives."— William Wallace

 

16 "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." — Plato

 

17 "Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." — Albert Einstein

 

18 "Some cause happiness wherever they go, others whenever they go." ― Oscar Wilde

 

19 "Have I not destroyed my enemy when I have made him into my friend?" — Abraham Lincoln

 

20 "Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money." — Indian Proverb

 

21 "And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." –Kahlil Gibran

 

22 "Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough." – William Saroyan

 

23 "When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life." ― John Lennon

 

24 "You never fail until you give up trying." - Albert Einstein

 

25 "Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” - Dalai Llama

Share your favourite quotes below...

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1. The Layman’s Guide to Mandarin Tones

DISCLOSURE: From time-to-time, this site may contain affiliate links and advertising. This means that I might (when pigs can fly) get paid commission if you click on some of the links or buy a product. This will be at no extra cost to you. If anything due to the relationships I have established with my affiliates you might even save some money. All opinions are that of my own. I only recommend products and services that I personally use and also feel would be a valuable asset to other language learners.


Week 1: Introducing the Tones

你好, I am currently piloting the awesome Step Up Language Program, #SULP. I have selected Chinese Mandarin as the language I will study for the next 90 days. In my first week of the challenge I have decided to go back to the beginning (I have studied Mandarin in the past) and start with the tones.

In Chinese Mandarin it is really important to get the tones correct. A word such as 'ma' can have many meanings depending on the tone.

First Tone - mā (ma1)

Meaning mother. This first tone is high and flat. To help memorise it think of a doctor telling you to say "Aaah" When he looks down your throat!

Second Tone - má (ma2)

Meaning hemp. The second tone is rising. It is similar to when we ask a question.

Third Tone - mǎ (ma3)

Meaning horse. The third tone is low. It is referred to as the "falling-rising" tone or the "dipping" tone. The tone needs to start very low than rise. One way that helps me is to imagine a bouncy ball. Through it down and catch it on the way up.

Fourth Tone - mà (ma4)

Meaning scold. The fourth tone is falling. Think of it as an angry sounding tone or a tone of statement for example "No!". The 4th tone also tends to be shorter in duration than the other three tones.

Neutral Tone - ma

Just keep it short and light. Don't emphasize it.

For help with tones I recommend checking out Udemy. There are free language courses on there as well as paid. I recommend "Chinese Made Easy", which was a free course and also Mandarin "Say it Right" course by Chinese Pod. The courses by Chinese Pod cover tones in a lot of detail and are very easy to understand.

Do you have any tips or tricks for learning the Mandarin tones? Comment below or on social media.

 

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Pimsleur Chinese Mandarin

Learning Chinese Mandarin in 3 Months

DISCLOSURE: From time-to-time, this site may contain affiliate links and advertising. This means that I may get paid commission if you click on some of the links or buy a product. This will be at no extra cost to you. If anything due to the relationships I have established with my affiliates you might even save some money.  Money raised will go towards hosting this site, my blog and setting up language learning projects in my local communities and online.  All opinions are that of my own. I only recommend products and services that I personally use and also feel would be a valuable asset to other language learners.

Ready, Steady, Go - Week 0

你好

On the 1st May 2017, I was lucky enough to be invited to test pilot the Step Up Language Program, #SULP. I have selected Chinese Mandarin as the language I will study for the next 90 days. My goal is to study for 45 minutes, 6 days-per-week.

I have started Mandarin in the past and even managed to have short, very basic conversations with native speakers, but I am feeling terribly rusty. Having done 3 months of Spanish, followed by 28 days of Icelandic I feel like I need to retune myself for Chinese. I really do admire people who can switch quickly between languages.

Having successfully kick-started Icelandic with positive psychological techniques I intend to apply the same principle to Mandarin. This will also help with my independent research into positivity and language learning.

My Chinese name was given to me by my friend and Chinese Teacher Sun Tong. I clearly still have trouble trying to pronounce my own Chinese name!

但唐明 (Tong En Ming ) 

Tong ~ Family name. When introducing themselves Chinese people often start with the family name and then the given names. The surname comes from my original Chinese Teacher as a mark of respect.

En ~ Given names tend to have meanings in Chinese. En means kindness, mercy and charity.

Ming ~ In Chinese this name means bright, light, intelligence and clever.

90 Day Resource Plan

I dare say that my resource plan will be tweaked (a lot) during the next 90 days or so. I will be adding to this list so do check back or if you know of any other Mandarin resources please let me know.

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8 Ways Positive Thinking Can Make You More Productive

More than almost any other factor it is your mindset that equals productivity. Your perspective of a current situation will impact on the ability to learn something new.

If you need to be more productive, that is is paramount that you use positive thinking. Do you let anger, disappointment, and complaining take over your learning? OR Can you keep a positive mindset even when faced with a difficult situation?

When you are faced with adversity, it is your choice to let your mood change for the worse or you can choose to look on the positive side of the situation. Positivity is worth almost as much as hard work determination and perseverance when it comes to productivity.

1 What is your Current Mindset?

How are you feeling right now? If you are stressed your brain will be less likely to retain information. It would be better to do some techniques to help calm down first of all. Check out how to manage negative mindsets here  

2  Fake it Until you Make it!

Not feeling confident then fake confidence. By acting confidently even if you do not feel it can release the same chemicals as if you were really confident! Check out the video from Amy Cuddy. If you can only watch one thing today make it this!

3 People Tend to Help Happier people

A positive mindset actually makes others want to help you. No one wants to get near the person who is complaining and being all negative about everyone and everything. However, everyone wants to come to the aid of the person who is always smiling, joking and holding their head high despite bad things happening. Check out this article about what happier people do differently that in turn helps them to be more successful

4 Avoid Wasting Time and Energy Complaining

As above instead of wasting time being negative use that energy more productively and put it into doing something to improve the situation.

5 Recharge Energy Levels  

A positive mindset can give you a lift even during difficult times. Boost your energy level by looking on the bright side of any situation. No matter how bad things get, there is something you can look positively at.

6 Teamwork 

A positive mindset is contagious. It brings people together. Others want to be around people who are positive. Nothing brings a team together and builds relationships like positive energy.

7 Problem Solve 

Have you ever disarmed a tough situation with a smile? Your brain can not tell the difference between a real or fake smile. Once again  Positive mindset is sometimes all it takes to turn a bad situation around. On the other side, a bad attitude can take a problem and quickly make it worse.

8 Positive Mindset improves Decision Making and Learning

When you let yourself get upset, you impact your ability to make good decisions and take in new information. Thinking positively helps us to act more logically rather than reacting to our emotions.

References

22 Things Happy People Do Differently - http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/04/08/22-happy-habits.aspx

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