ChildBook is finally carrying the New Practical Chinese Reader, a compilation of Chinese lesson books edited by Liu Xiun. They are inspired by the original De Francis Practical Chinese Reader books. Authors combined the different teaching styles and came up with this series.
So they came up with a learn Chinese textbook that: 1) teaches Chinese conversation 2) teaches structure, and still 3) teaches cultural contexts of the Chinese culture.
There are mixed reviews on the books if you google about, but generally people agree there is an improvement. I also got the impression that one of the strengths of the series is teaching the writing of Chinese characters.
What impressed me are the audio CDs that complement the textbooks (sold separately). Per textbook, there are about 4 CDs available! I like this because I know how important it is to know the sounds and tones when learning Chinese. And in today's world and technologies available, there's no excuse now to not learn the proper tones. I am also intrigued that even the workbooks have audio CDs. Somehow I feel safer learning Chinese if there are conversations to emulate.
Anyhoo, to make the lessons more interesting, the original characters in the First Practical Chinese Reader now have families. It is now their children’s turn to learn about the Chinese language and culture, and the series revolves around their stories of learning.
1. Understanding a person's background when issuing feedback is critical. One person's yelling is another person's usual way of communication.
2. American Culture can view criticism as a personal attack, where a person from Taiwan would view it as caring by giving valuable feedback. And if you get defensive on it, they reply "but it's true" justifying their comments.
3. It's important to make a person understand they are OK, even if they made a mistake, and the important part is learning from the mistake and moving on.
4. When receiving feedback, do not argue or defend yourself, but ask questions to understand the feedback better. The goal is to Learn Chinese, not get into an argument.
5. For Chinese Teachers, do not make fun of your students mistake. If they mispronounce a word, do not ask them to keep on repeating it wrongly, and keep on laughing every time they do so.
6. Excellent quote from the article - way to avoid criticism is to “do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.”
It is not intentional, because we don't have free Chinese books. We do have lots of other free stuff including Chinese Coloring Pages, Projects, Chinese New Year Events, Moon Festival Events, etc.
Not sure what can be done about it. I am just a reseller, so I don't have the option of posting the stuff I sell online (my suppliers would get a bit upset with me, not to mention the copywrite issues).
Moon Festival is coming soon (October 3) and we're getting all excited here at ChildBook. (Not too loony, but loony enough heehee.) Gets me frequently thinking about the different Moon festival customs. This time, since I feel my stomach rumbling before blogging, I thought, why not blog about... ehmm... food.
Besides the iconic moon cake, did you know there are a few other food traditionally eaten during the Moon Festival? Here are some:
Taro - a yummy root crop. It was said to be discovered by starving Ming Dynasty soldiers (brave dudes who lived about 1368-1644 C.E.) IN THE MOONLIGHT. Guess when? On the 15th night of the 8th lunar month! What an interesting coincidence. These days, taro is used in main dishes, breads, even drinks. Remember how I said it's yummy? Try it sometime.
Pomelo - the Chinese grapefruit. It's yellow, and robustly round. Yup, looks like the moon. But remove the rind and you find a delicious pink citrus flesh inside. It was believed to ward off evil spirits and promote good health. In the Qing dynasty, the leaves were believed to be sacred.
Snails - Hold that "Ew" and "Ick" first. Edible snails are nyom nyom nyom. Don't believe me? In the 1700s, it was said that there were 2 farmers with uncontrollable garden pests (snails). Each one thought it was a bright idea to catch the snails and dump it into the neighbor's yard. Soon, the bickering turned real nasty. (Wouldn't you if your neighbor kept dumping stuff into your yard? Anyhoo,) A wise magistrate attempted to restore the peace by hosting a meal for the nasty neighbors. The 2 neighbors were delighted with the sumptuous meal, only to find out that the menu was ... snails. Yum.
There are a lot of other food that people like to serve on the Moon Festival. Usually these symbolize the moon or other good values. Examples are apples, pomegranates, pears, persimmons,grapes, peaches, melons, peanuts, coconuts, watermelon seeds.
Don't forget your tea service and your moon cakes (!) on your Moon Fest table.
Chinese Valentines Day is the 7th day of the the 7th lunar month, and the western calendar equivalent of that is ... tada!.. today!
Chinese Valentines commemorates love for your partner as well as love for family.
Niu Lang and Zhi Nu, a human cowherd and a divine daughter of the Jade Emperor, were separated. One has to live at the star Vega, while the other at star Altair. Once a year, during the 7th day of the 7th month, Niu Lang and Zhi Nu are allowed to meet again. It is said that the couple's 2 children live on 2 the stars beside Altair, awaiting the day when they get to be with their mother again.
Be thankful you have your partner, children and parents, no matter how far away they are. Greet them a happy valentines day and show them you love and appreciate them.
I have always admired Jet Li in the movies as he skillfully whooshes through the air with his martial arts moves. Somehow his character on film is always admirable and his physical prowess are near super.
This is one of the reasons why I subscribed to his account in a popular social networking site ( I don't care much for celebrities online, truthfully.)
Recently he has been updating his account and I cannot help but admire him, this time in real life, as Jet Li shares his real life passion: Educating people about and supporting social causes. Though I subscribed to him to be updated in his work, now I am learning about the need for changing electricity consumption in China, Taiwan's worst flood in years with Morakot recently and Wuji - a health and fitness system.
Of course, there will always be a favorite organization or product or movie dropped here and there, but I don't care. What is important is one person cares about the improvement of the world, and that person can help inspire people to care too.
For older students of a language, it is common for them to look up a desired word or phrase in reference book. But for those studying Chinese, and there are no native speakers to ask, it can be quite a feat to look up a correct word or phrase. Some people say it’s very difficult to translate as one Chinese word has a lot of different English equivalents. For others who are using Pinyin, this may also prove to be a problem as a Roman letter for Pinyin may sound different from the usual Western alphabet sound. And to look up characters, hmmm...
But for those who are dead set on doing these in their serious pursuit of fluency in Chinese, there are several materials from ChildBook that can help you.
Dictionaries.The no-brainer solution to guide students of any language.Some people are very comfortable looking up words inthe secondary language to find the English meaning.If you think you’re going to go crazy looking up the Chinese word first using the Chinese- English dictionary,try the opposite, use the English- Chinese dictionary.If you want to express anything in Chinese, look up the English word and find the Chinese equivalent.There are also picture dictionaries for kids, and even picture dictionaries that will suit adults.
Learn-Chinese Software.There are a lot of ChildBook software that has an accompanying dictionary function.Just type in the English word you want translated, and get the Chinese or English equivalent.Not all people are still comfortable to use the computer, but for those who do, it can save you a lot of time and less shaking of brains to get that desired word.
Quick Guides to Chinese Conversations.For those who are impatient with looking up words per piecemeal in the dictionary and want translations of complete sentences, we have several Quick Guides that already list the phrases or sentences you want to translate.One disadvantage to getting the complete phrases is that some students want to dissect each and every word to see how the structure compares to English sentences.So one would expect a return to the uhmm… dictionary.
Learn Chinese Audio sets.For those who want English Chinese translations to use in spoken conversations, maybe you’ll want to try out our audio sets with books as well.The nice thing about audio is you instantly get the tone needed to express yourself correctly in Chinese. However, do use the books the audio comes with, otherwise you’ll go crazy looking for the Pinyin equivalent.
There you go, several materials that will help you look up English to Chinese translations. We hope you'll drop by ChildBook for more English Chinese materials
There are a lots of benefits of Learning Chinese, but I pretty much can summarize it into two big points for our dear customers.
It is getting to be accepted worldwide that trading with the Chinese are now hot. It seems it will stay that way for a long time too, so parents are preparing their kids for that not-so-distant future that their kid's career may be able to use the Chinese language. Therefore, one benefit of learning Chinese is that kids will somehow be able to use it in their future vocation, whether in business or in government.
Another big benefit that kids get from learning Chinese is for their personal development. Learning any language somehow yields to kids' better creativity and higher intelligence. This helps with schoolwork. Somehow, research has found that bilingual or multilingual kids do better in school than monolinguals. Specifically learning Chinese is special because the Chinese culture has been around for a considerable time and kids will be fascinated with China's thousands-year old culture. Learning Chinese will not benefit a child's intelligence, but also empathy and compassion for a culture totally benefit. Of course, being able to communicate with a family and community speaking a different language is also worth mentioning, as this helps mold a child's character as well.
Those are the 2 biggest benefits of learning Chinese, in my opinion. There are more benefits but the others can be grouped under the big 2 I've mentioned.
There is a wide belief among the Western world that the Chinese language is one of the more difficult languages to learn. Understandably so, because the Chinese sounds and tones are considerably different from other Romanized language that Westerners are used to. If English is your primary language and you attempt to learn other Romanized languages, such as French or Spanish for example, there will inevitably be a lot of cues in spelling or sound that will enhance the memory, making the second language easier to remember.
Ms. Wendy Lin, one of our favorite textbook authors over here at ChildBook, will beg to disagree that the Chinese language is more difficult to learn. She reminds learning Chinese is just like learning any other language. Like any language, Chinese has its easy and hard parts to learn. But for today, let us look at why Chinese is also easy to learn:
Chinese is easy to learn because:
Verbs do not need to have plenty of tenses. Chinese people would say: “I buy apples last week.” And “I buy apples tomorrow.”
Nouns are not singular or plural. “One pen” and “Ten pen” are both correct.
Gender is not used in spoken Chinese, unlike in English, French and other Western languages.
One character could stand for multiple English words. For example, the animals in the Chinese zodiac are represented in Chinese with only one character, while in English, each animal in the Zodiac has its own separate name.
It is easy to learn numbers, months, dates and weekdays. To count to 99 in Chinese, you only need to learn the numbers 1 to 10. The rest are combinations of 1 to 10. For dates, you need to learn the character for month, add to the numbers 1 to 12, and you will be able to refer to all 12 months of the year. It is the same for “day” or “weekday”.
To be able to ask questions, the structure is the same for the regular sentence, you just have to add one suitable question word. For example, add “ma” to make a sentence into a question that requires the answer “yes” or “no”. There are more question words that can be inserted into a declarative sentence that will convert the sentence into a question.
Yes, we still have Chinese Valentines and Hungry Ghosts festival, but
Chinese Moon Festival is coming up!
The Lunar Festival/ mid-autumn festival in the Chinese lunar calendar this 2009 is on October 3.
The moon festival is an important occasion for the Chinese, next to Chinese New Year. A lot of organizations are celebrating this event. In the past years we have seen different kinds of groups celebrate. Besides Chinese-American associations there are museums, schools, restaurants, performing groups, local governments, even parks.
To help families and kids appreciate the Chinese culture more, ChildBook encourages families to participate in Chinese festivities such as the moon festival. We continually compile the different Moon Festival events across the US states and some selected places in Canada so that you can look up the moon fest activities nearest your area.
Also, some parents are already preparing this early what to do on the Moon Fest with their kids, since it's a nice time to talk about stuff all Chinese for that night. ChildBook is now having a Learn Chinese Moon Festival Sale for those who want to buy Moon-fest related activities.
So please drop by our Weekly Sale area to see the moon-fest related stories or poems you can use with your children.
Mother's Day - Finished already for this year, but these can be used for mom's birthday or any special day. Of course, next thing you know it's already Mother's Day 2010 so keep ChildBook in mind if you want to make cards for mom or dad.
We make an effort to have coloring pictures made so that the children can have fun with coloring while parents get the chance to teach a little about the Chinese culture. So far we have over 100 coloring pages that the children can enjoy.
The sun god from the neolithic Hong Shan culture has big eyes, a tapering head, pokerface mouth. We can only wonder what mystical powers the Hong Shan sun god may have been capable of, besides harnessing the sun. I'm guessing it won't be called a god if its powers aren't ehmm.. awesome.
The Hong Shan culture is dated 4,700 BC 2,900 BC and artifacts from that culture have been found in Inner Mongolia to Liaobei and Hebei. Most notable from this era are the jade carvings produced then, the most popular being the jade pig dragon and the C-dragon amulets. However, there are also other interesting pieces unearthed from the Hong Shan time such as clay figures of pregnant women, copper rings, altars with mural paintings...please do read more about these, it's all very interesting.
Fast forward to 1970s in Japan : Here is a silver colored guy named Ultraman - with big eyes, tapering head and pokerface mouth as well. This silver dude also has powers, also super, as it frequently saves the world from big (!) bad monsters.
Wonder if they are distant relatives... both look alike and have special powers.
Next time your son or daughter tunes in to Ultraman, you can point out that there's this really cool being who looks like Ultraman, also Chinese and waaaaaaaaaaay older than the monster bashing superhero! (that's also your cue to insert some Chinese history in without your kid noticing it ;-)
Learning Chinese Optional for getting a job in China?
Fun NY Times article to read about how many US college graduates are going to China to find jobs. And they are getting in at higher levels than they would in the US. New Graduates Finding Jobs in China (Mandarin Optional). Of course once they get there they learn Mandarin. I just had a phone call from Shanghai on Friday ordering some learning Chinese Materials for children because there was a lack of such material for teaching native English speaking Children Chinese.
Wow on the accusation and in my opinion, this is becoming a lose lose for China. They are being forced to buy on the spot market and Rio Tinto is not going to refund them $100 Billion.
China's central government is setting a situation where all Chinese companies will be forced to negotiate as one body. And may be, the individual steel companies in China are controlled by different players (state governments, that have a lot of political power. And this is a way for the central government to stop the smaller companies from negotiating directly with foreign iron ore producers that undercut China's negotiating position in the past.
The official reason is Rio Tinto did espionage by finding out to much about China's iron ore requirements. Of course, the problem in a non-democratic country is what is a secret, and what is not. And since this is often a gray area, authorities can decide what is a secret after the fact. And since this is a states secret trial, the government does not need to supply what their charges are. It's times like this I deeply appreciate the US constitution with it's rights to a trial by your peers, habeus corpus (produce the corpse), and due process.
Another theory is payback by China to Rio Tinto for refusing to be bought by China and getting a better deal.
China wants to keep this year very quite. It's the anniversary of the revolution (60th), so not a good year be pushing the boundaries. And the reason these two people are on trial is they were pushing investigating why so many schools collapsed in the earthquake.
Backyard furnaces in Sunan, Gansu Photo from Danwei.org
Read from Danwei that 159 backyard iron furnaces from the Great Leap Forward were recently discovered in Sunan County. Some were in ruins, about 50 were still intact. The smelters stand 8 meters high and upto 14 meters around.
The county government has named the ruins a protected cultural site.
In 1958 a law called on the Party and the People to strive to produce 10.7 million tons of steel. Wu Zuolai, a cultural critic and president of the journal "Theory and Criticism of Art and Literature," noted that this mass movement to produce steel also had some serious effects on the environment and culture. Whole forests were torn down to accommodate furnaces. Historical sites, such as the 2 towers of Hangu Pass that had 2000 year old inscriptions were torn down. Areas that couldn't produce sufficient steel had its people melting their own cooking pots. The result was a huge amount of unusable iron.
Ah, sacrifices "for the sake of progress."
Wu Zuolai asks readers to learn from history. It was stressed that the ruins be preserved, and not repeat the mistakes done (that is, tearing down historical artifacts) when these furnaces were constructed. Most importantly, it is recommended that the recollections of the people involved with the Great Leap Forward then be recorded, so that the current generation may learn from history.
First time I have read of Panda Hugging, that is where the US government is accused of focusing on China, instead of helping US manufacturers. The argument being that China is unfairly targeting the growth of the manufacturing industry, at the cost of the US of theirs. And that is it strategically important for the US to keep a good manufacturing base.
Will Your Dad enjoy Father's Day with a Dragon Boat Race Festival?
The word father in Chinese "ba ba" sounds like 8. Thus, Baba Day, or Father's Day is celebrated on the eighth day of the eight month.
Those in the Tacoma, Washington area may like to hang out with Dad on his special day by participating in the Dragon Boat Festival of the Asian American Dragon Boat Association (AADBA).
AADBA is holding their annual Dragon Boat Festival entitled "International Bon Om Tuk Festival," on August 8, 2009 at Thea's Park in Dock Street, Tacoma. Have dad drive the family (hee hee) and let him enjoy the day with watching the dragon boat races. There will also be lots of ethnic food, cultural performances and arts and crafts.
So go. Let the little ones wear their cheung sam-qi pao , bring them over to Thea's Park, and have fun on Chinese Father's Day. :-)