Chinese Resources

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Stuff I've Learned 1.0

Probably the most exciting thing about living in Taiwan or Mainland Chinese as a Mandarin learner is the fact that Chinese is all around us. Even a bus ride across town can turn into a game of "how many characters do I know." As a Chinese teacher, I also appreciate the nearly infinite access I have to authentic material.

In an effort to store a bit of this information for when I inevitably forget it (about 30 days from now) I thought I would start a new series of posts titled "Stuff I've Learned." Today's entry showcases a few of my favorite bits of language I've collected. Sometimes the material is new to me, and other times I simply find the information too good not to share.

While this blog was created to document my own journey through language learning and teaching, I also recognize that some of my readers might have a different level of Chinese than I. If you ever have questions about the material I put forth, be sure to ask in the comments below. However, since it is my own blog I won't be giving Pinyin (at least on these posts) in an effort to force character recognition. There are tons of apps that will display Pinyin for ya, so go get one if you need it.

And now... onto the show!

Don't we look cute?
I updated my Facebook with this picture of Pui (my fiancé) and I.  One of the great things about being friends with native speakers on Facebook is that you always have an opportunity to learn new stuff while waisting your day away (and stalking your friends). Among the comments was this one from a classmate of mine. 

"俊男美女、郎才女貌 :D"

俊男: "Handsome guy" was new for me.. the word that is, my mom calls me handsome all the time! And while I could read 郎才女貌 individually as characters I was pleased to learn that it meant "a perfect match between a man and a woman." I'll be sure to add that little idiom to my list of things to bust out at the next Chinese wedding I attend!

Some of the best material comes from bathroom signs!
I find bathroom signs to be a perfect challenge of language competency. You don't really have to ever read the signs (we all know what to do), but they are generally formally written, polite, and to the point. The second bullet point warranted this picture the other day.


維護 (safeguard; defend; uphold) 

I'm sure this should be translated as something along the lines of "for your own safety..." but it sounds way more crazy to say In order to defend your safety...". Also, are people still standing on western-style toilets these days?

Bold move sir. Bold move.
Saw this picture in the paper today. At first I thought, oh they are just kissing, but after reading the article I noted where the guys hand was. And here I thought Taiwan was conservative. That aside, I was drawn to reading the caption where I discovered the proper way to say "making out in public." Before I might have said something like 在大家的面前親吻 to describe the situation, but now I know that I can just use 公然親吻. I'll have to keep an eye out for more 公然 actions on my next MRT ride!

That's all I've got for the past few days, but now that I've started this little series I'll be sure to be on the lookout for future content.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Love this post.

    Please keep doing more of these. I remember last year travelling in Shanghai and Xiamen that learning while I was in China, the amount of opportunities to learn was endless. Sure you can learn a language without being in the country, but it just makes it so much more effortless while you're in the country.

    When I got back to South Africa, I was bummed. I had to force myself to learn Chinese again.

    Alas, your post is exactly how I picked up some new stuff too. Check this post for example:

    That idiom you got there is a good one. Also making a mental note to use that the in the future.

    P.S. - Congrats on your engagement btw!

  2. The best way to learn Mandarin Chinese is to spend time in the countries where it is spoken. Living in China or Taiwan gives you the chance to immerse yourself in the culture and to use the language on a daily basis. Thanks for sharing.
    Learn mandarin online

  3. Your article about Mandarin language is really interesting. Thanks for sharing your idea with us. I have intensive knowledge about Mandarin language , culture and we are making a plan to teach Mandarin language for our students so that they will have sufficient knowledge about their native language Mandarin .


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