February 8, 2015



Duration of actions

February 3, 2015

In Chapter 18 of Integrated Chinese, Dialogue II has a section which describes the duration of an action, and it shows two sentence formulas for it. One of the examples they give is:

She listens to recordings for an hour everyday.

Both of the Chinese sentences say they same thing in slightly different ways. The first one uses verb repetition, and the formula is something like:

Subj + (how often) + verb + object + verb + (how long).

The second sentence doesn’t repeat the verb, but does put a duration of time between the verb and the object. Its formula is something like:

Subj + (how often) + verb + (how long) + (的) + object.

De (的) is apparently optional in the second type of sentence. Our teacher didn’t have much of an explanation for it, other than saying that it sometimes sounds right, and sometimes doesn’t. I guess that is something that comes with experience.

Now for some practice sentences of my own.

I walk for an hour and a half every day.

I review Chinese for 30 minutes every day.

Wang Peng plays basketball for two hours every Saturday.

Li You studies Chinese for twelve hours every weekend.

Verbs are kind of tricky in Chinese, because there are verbs and there are verb-objects. They are tricky because while some verbs are only one character, some are two characters, which means they can get confused with verb-objects, which will always have at least two characters. I guess it’s another one of those things where it will become easier to understand after I’ve learned more.

Time expression + 没 + Verb (+ 了)

I have a test in Chinese class later today, so this post and the next are a couple of things the teacher told us will be on the test.

Chapter 18 of Integrated Chinese*, page 231 (运动 – Sports), the Dialogue I section describes the
following formula:

Time expression + 没 + Verb (+ 了)

It’s used to describe an activity that hasn’t been performed for a certain amount of time. They have several examples, one of which is:

He hasn’t gone online for three days.

On Page 232 it offers a counter example, showing how long something has been happening:

I have studied the Chinese language for two years.

Really? I haven’t studied the Chinese language for two years.

The point of these practice exercises is for me to come up with come of my own sentences using the formula they described, so mine are below.

I haven’t studied French for five years.

I haven’t drunk coffee for the past day.

It hasn’t snowed for a week.

I haven’t been to Norway for two years.

Gao Wenzhong hasn’t called Bai Ying-ai for four days.

* Integrated Chinese, Level 1, Part 2, Third Edition

Rude awakenings

February 1, 2015


This morning I was awoken by a fire alarm. Today is Sunday, so I wanted to sleep in. However, I heard people talking in the hallway outside my apartment, and I smelled smoke. I got up, put on some shoes and a winter jacket, grabbed my cell phone, and went outside. I saw many firemen. My neighbor’s apartment door was open. I knew I wouldn’t be able go back inside for awhile, so I walked to Starbucks.


January 25, 2015

学习中文我觉得我可以放假中国,可是我不知道哪里。我有一些中国人同事,一些从北京,和一位从吉林。我也有一位老师从广州和一位从四川。中国有很多地方,我不可以决定。有的时候我想去北京,深圳,广东,香港, 和台北。

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January 24, 2015



我想一个中文俱乐部是很念。学生们可以听说中文,聊天中文问题, 和互助学习。
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呆宝静 - It’s OK

January 13, 2015

One of the things I’ve struggled with in Chinese is finding Chinese songs I find interesting. Most of it is just pop music. It’s OK (no pun intended), but it’s usually not very interesting. There are a lot of ballads (boring), but some dance songs which are at least more energetic. What I’ve been trying to find is Chinese rockers and rappers. Who are the Chinese equivalents of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, or The Clash? Are there punk rockers who sing in Chinese?

Yesterday, I found a website (www.chinese-forums.com) and there was a thread in there about Chinese rock music. One of the posts linked to a Chinese rock video on YouTube, and I found the video above in the Related Videos section.

I can pick out phrases here and there, but nothing more. I’ve found the lyrics somewhere else on the web, so I’ll probably go over them and try to figure out what they mean. Musically, she reminds me a bit of MIA.

American girl speaking Chinese

The other day I looked on YouTube for a video of Mark Zuckerberg speaking Chinese, since I wanted to find out if he spoke better Chinese than I do (he does). In the related videos section, I saw the video embedded above.

The video is quite humbling because she speaks Chinese very well compared to me. I can understand some of what she’s saying, but not all.


Getting ready

January 10, 2015

Next week I start my fourth semester of Chinese classes. One thing I’ve learned from past experience is that it’s very easy to forget it, if you don’t keep studying, at least a little bit. To keep 中文 mostly fresh in my mind, I decided to deleted all my flashcards in Anki and started over.

In the classes, we use Integrated Chinese by Cheng & Tsui. As someone who is TESOL certified, it’s pretty good material for college age (and maybe high school age) students. In first semester Chinese (EALC-C131 at IUPUI), we covered chapters 1 – 5 of Integrated Chinese, Level 1, Part 1. In the second semester (EALC-C132), we covered chapters 6 – 10 of that, and chapter 11 of Level 1, Part 2. For the third semester (EALC-C201), which we just finished in December, we covered chapters 12 – 16. Supposing we cover five chapters this semester (in EACL-C202), we finish Level 1, Part 2 and begin on Level 2, Part 1. A syllabus hasn’t been posted yet, so I don’t know for sure.

When I created a new set of 生词卡 (flashcards), I began with the 40 or so radicals at the beginning of IC 1-1, then added the Chinese numerals for 0 through 10, plus 100, 100, and 10000. After that, I started adding the vocabulary from the chapters, finally finishing last night. I don’t know how many card there are, but it’s several hundred, at least.

Aside from trying to keep the Chinese words fresh in my mind, I think it’s probably also good prep for the HSK 3, which I plan to take in March.

I’ve written a page on Using Anki to learn Chinese, because how I use it is a bit different and it might be useful to other learning languages.


January 9, 2015


Today is my birthday. I won’t have a party, but later on I’ll get a free mocha from Starbucks.