Category Archives: Linguistics

复习纠正口音

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中华伟大 江河可爱 朝阳普照
风调雨顺 花团锦簇 英雄百万
身强体壮 胸怀广阔 心灵美丽
光明磊落 聪明努力 心直口快
积极能干 酸甜苦辣 千锤百炼
中流砥柱 心明眼亮 深谋远虑
边防守卫 坚如铁壁 官僚主义
妖魔鬼怪 千奇百怪 因循守旧
规行矩步

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墨守成规 笑里藏刀 弄假成真
兔死狐悲 袖手旁观 耀武扬威
万马齐喑 调虎离山 木已成舟
刻骨铭心 背井离乡 字里行间
破釜沉舟 视死如归 厚古薄今
异曲同工 妙手回春 具体而微

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居安思危 卑躬屈膝 挖空心思
声东击西 息息相关

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儿童文学 名存实亡 牛羊成群
勤杂人员 竭泽而渔

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岂有此理 永远友好 稳妥处理

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对症下药 就事论事 自怨自艾
创造纪录 对外贸易 政治避难
社会制度 跃跃欲试 意气用事
面面俱到 地质构造 背信弃义

Caijing’s Hu Shuli is Back in Action!

Hu Shuli 胡舒立, founder of Caijing Magazine stepped down back in November. Hu Shuli is known to have backing from the CCP Standing Committee, enabling her to safely report on policy, corruption, law and human rights from a relatively independent perspective. Her situation is quite unique in China.

In September last year, Hu Shuli started stepping away from Caijing due to editorial constraints that were starting to impact the magazine. The scope of coverage started tightening in July, not due to editorial, but due to the magazine’s chief investor (Wang Boming 王波明) calling for caution. The All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce/中华全国工商业联合会, the party-led organization of businessmen that holds the magazine’s publishing license. Desk editors told reporters they wouldn’t be running any politically controversial stories — indefinitely. The move was related to the general restrictions of all forms surrounding the Oct 1st, 60 year anniversary of the CCP.

There are some things that even Caijing would have never been able to report on…

The untouchables are known among foreign media as “the three T’s and one F”: Tiananmen, Tibet, Taiwan, and the Falun Gong. Jeremy Goldkorn, who runs a Web site about Chinese media called Danwei.org, adds, “You don’t directly criticize central government and top leaders, and you don’t question their legitimacy. You can criticize lower-down officials, specific actions, and talk about local problems.”

Our worries seem to be over. This wasn’t a long term crackdown on transparency. It was only only an admission of frailty in preparation for the 60th anniversary military parade.

Hu Shuli 胡舒立 is back in action at Caing 新世纪周刊! Here’s the post at Caing: 胡舒立的团队和新闻职业共同体

Bloomberg Picks up on China Real Estate Bubble

Bloomberg published: “China Property Bubble May Lead to U.S.-Style Real Estate Slump

Although parallels with other bubble markets, the China bubble is not quite so easy to understand. In some places, demand for upper middle class housing is so hot it can’t be satisfied. In others, speculators keep driving up prices for land, luxury apartments, and villas even though local rents are actually dropping because tenants are scarce. What’s clear is that the bubble is inflating at the rich end, while little low- cost housing gets built for middle and low-income Chinese.

Koyo Ozeki, an analyst at U.S. investment manager Pimco, estimates that only 10 percent of residential sales in China are for the mass market. Developers find the margins in high-end housing much fatter than returns from building ordinary homes.

The central government now faces two dangers. One is the anger of ordinary Chinese. In a recent survey by the People’s Bank of China, two-thirds of respondents said real estate prices were too high.

The second danger is that Beijing will try, and fail, to let the air out of the bubble. Pulling off a soft landing means slowly calming the markets, stabilizing prices, and building more affordable housing.

One difficulty in handicapping the likelihood of a nasty pullback is the opacity of the data. As long as property prices stay high, the balance sheets of the developers look strong.

New Years Blessing

In China it’s customary to broadcast text holiday blessings to your friends. Here is the blessing I sent to friends on New Years Eve:

今晚00年代会过去、这十年来大家的事业和生活方向定好了。在10年代、几乎每个朋友会结婚、生孩子。现在大家的自由很好、下一步的责任也好。享受生活循环的每一阶段。我希望有一天可以看到我的曾孙!按照现在的趋势很可能是混血、呵呵!欢迎到10年代来 😉 「美国>上海>欧文」

New Word for the Day: Biang!

Funny enough, Biáng is actually a word and yes, it’s written like below. You can check out the stroke order here.

biang-200px.png

Biáng biáng noodles are a type of noodle popular in China’s Shaanxi province. The noodles, touted as one of the “ten strange wonders of Shaanxi” (陝西十大怪), are described as being like a belt, due to their thickness and length. The “Noodle King” chain in Beijing (梆梆麵北京連鎖店) serves biáng biáng noodles.

Made up of 57 strokes, the Chinese character “biáng” is one of the most complex Chinese characters in contemporary usage, although the character is not found in modern dictionaries or even in the Kangxi dictionary.

Pinyin doesn’t actually include the sound “biáng”, so people often use substitutes like 棒棒麵 (bàng bàng miàn) or 梆梆麵 (bāng bāng miàn).

The New Yorker – Why the Chinese don’t spend

The New Yorker put together an interesting discussion about Chinese consumption.

“[In China]consumption accounts for just thirty-five per cent of G.D.P., significantly lower than for most Asian countries and only half the rate in the United States. Chinese households set aside a quarter of their disposable income…

This makes the economy more dependent than ever on exports and investment, creating an imbalance in the global economy. It also means that Chinese consumers aren’t really reaping the full fruits of their labor.

China’s policy of holding down the value of its currency means that consumer prices are higher than they would otherwise be, which obviously discourages spending.

The inadequacy of the social safety net forces the Chinese to engage in “precautionary savings,” buffering themselves against disaster.

There is a point at which you can oversave, and overinvest, and that’s where China seems to be.

Complete Article.

Tips for Learning Chinese

There are lots and lots of Chinese materials out there. I’ve personally bought tons of them. But there are just a few items that stand out far above EVERYTHING else.

1) PLECO – Dictionary for iPhone, Palm, Windows Mobile

2) Easy Way to Learn Chinese Characters (汉字速成课本)

3) Boot Camp style class using the Berlitz Method to get started

There are lots and lots of items that I felt were valuable, but not necessarily extremely so. However, if you are learning Chinese, I can’t imagine 3 more valuable resources.

41.0166.jpg screen1.gif 200910270315.jpg

There are lots of features of Pleco that will appeal to you regardless of your current proficiency in Chinese. Be it a beginner, intermediate, advanced – unless you attended K-12 in China and got your masters in Chinese Literature, then Pleco has something useful for you.

As for “Easy Way to Learn Chinese Characters”, it’s just that. Chinese is actually really easy. Characters aren’t scary. They’re totally logical and easy to remember. They are just taught as badly as Calculus is taught in most universities. Personally, I couldn’t imagine trying to learn Chinese if I didn’t learn to read and write. That is basically saying that you’re goal is to be illiterate. Next time you meat an American who is illiterate, ask yourself if your goal is to speak Chinese as badly as an illiterate american speaks english.

Berlitz Immersion courses are very good to get the basics down. Enough to have very basic conversation and accomplish very basic tasks. Once you’re done with your Berlitz class, you’ll be a long, long way from language mastery, but you may already be fluent in the sense that you can begin to think in Chinese rather than translating ideas from your native language. Once you can think in the target language, you’re just a lot of rules, vocabulary, time and practice away from mastery – but the course is already set. You just need to persist.

你属什么?What year are you? (子鼠丑牛)

Do you have trouble remembering each of the different years in the Chinese system? There is a poem that old Beijing people like to say that just combines the 12 heavenly branches (地支) with the 12 years, and when you read it off, it sounds like it’s an actual little story because of the similar words (形声字).

Note that the Heavenly Stems (天干) are: 甲、乙、丙、丁、戊、己、庚、辛、壬、癸

The Heavenly Branches (地支) which are used in calculations in conjunction with the heavenly stems are:子、丑、寅、卯、辰、巳、午、未、申、酉、戌、亥。

And a simple listing of the years are: 鼠、牛、虎、兔、龙、蛇、马、羊、猴、鸡、狗、猪

子鼠丑牛 zǐ shǔ chǒu niú
寅虎卯兔 yín hǔ mǎo tù
辰龙巳蛇 chén lóng sì shé
戊马未羊 wù mǎ wèi yáng
申猴酉鸡 shēn hóu yǒu jī
戌狗亥猪 xū gǒu hài zhū


Income Statement: 利润表

It’s been nearly 4 years since I first wondered how an income statement is supposed to look in Chinese, and today I think I basically have that answer – the short version of it anyway. Perhaps I’m just an operations guy at heart, but I’ve always been more attentive to the Income Statement than to the Balance Sheet. Granted there are ways to work the numbers on both sides – Enron for example took liberties with the Balance Sheet to make the Income Statement look good. Generally speaking though, if the Income Statement is good, then it will eventually show up on the Balance Sheet.

The Baidu Encyclopedia has a nice Income Statement article you can check out - much better than the Chinese Wikipedia Income Statement page.
Revenues 销售收入 xiāoshòu shōurù
- COGS 成本 (chéngběn)
- Returns 退货 (tuìhuò)
= Gross Profit 毛利 (máolì) (Gross Margin 毛利率 máolìlǜ)
- G&A 行政 (xíngzhèng)
- S&D 营销 (yíngxiāo)
- R&D 研发 (yánfā)
- Other 其他 (qítā)
= Operating Profit (EBIT) (纯利) chúnlì
- Interest (利息) lìxī
- Taxes (税) shuì
= Net Income (净利) jìnglì

成语

负荆请罪 fùjīngqǐngzuì
蔺相如 Lìn Xiāngrú (上级升官)
廉颇 Lián Pō (到了蔺的家”负荆请罪”)
打草惊蛇 dǎcǎojīngshé
调虎离山 diàohǔlíshān
东施效颦 dōngshīxiàopín
功亏一篑 gōngkuīyīkuì
班门弄斧 bānménnòngfǔ
疑神疑鬼 yíshényíguǐ
杯弓蛇影 bēigōngshéyǐng
老马识途 lǎomǎshítú
临渴掘井 línkějuéjǐng

满城风雨 mǎnchéngfēngyǔ
盲人摸象 mángrénmōxiàng
画蛇添足 huàshétiānzú
精卫填海 jīngwèitiánhǎi
故步自封 gùbùzìfēng
安于现状 不求进取 停留在原地
含沙射影 hánshāshèyǐng
百发百中 bǎifābǎizhòng
闭门造车 bìménzàochē
病入膏肓 bìngrùgāohuāng
吹毛求疵 chuīmáoqiúcī
滥竽充数 lànyúchōngshù
囫囵吞枣 húlúntūnzǎo

按图索骥 àntúsuǒjì (骥(F驥) [jì] thoroughbred)
百发百中 bǎifābǎizhōng
班门弄斧 bānménnòngfǔ
对牛弹琴 duìniútánqín
井底之蛙 jǐngdǐzhīwā
画龙点睛 huàlóngdiǎnjīng
吹毛求疵 chuīmáoqiúcī (瑕疵 xiácī n. flaw; blemish)
草木皆兵 cǎomùjiēbīng
狼狈为奸 lángbèiwéijiān
刻舟求剑 kèzhōuqiújiàn
惊弓之鸟 jìnggōngzhīniǎo
滥竽充数 lànyúchōngshù

ΔV – My first wikipedia article (or 维基百科 anyway)

在天文动力学, ΔV字面上的意思是”方向和速度的变化”,但是ΔV 也有特殊的意思: 一个标量的单位用来测量一个轨迹变换用多少”作用力”,比如在改物质的轨道。

\Delta{v} = \int_{t_0}^{t_1} {\frac {|T|} {m}}\, dt
T 是瞬时推力 thrust
m 是瞬时质量 mass

如没有其他动力,而如推力的方向是常量,可以简化成:

= \int_{t_0}^{t_1} {|a|}\, dt = | {v}_1 - {v}_0 |

这就是”方向和速度的变化”、可是,在普遍的情况不可以怎么简化。 假设,在时间 (t1t0) / 2 有常量单向的推力的方向颠倒了,v (矢量) v1v0 = 0, 但是 ΔV 跟原来的没有颠倒推力的例子还是一样。

在火箭的情况,”没有其他动力” 一般来说不单是没有大气层的摩擦力,而是火箭发动机喷管没有空气静力的向后压力,所以”真空比冲“是用来算ΔV。

See full article at 维基百科.

From Hua Tuo to the Hulu Brothers

中国古代有个人叫“华佗”。他老是带个葫芦,葫芦里装药囊和药草。

有一个中国动画片叫“葫芦兄弟”,里面有个角色是用个穿山甲来扮演。

  • 华佗[華-] Huà Tuó (?-220) n. 〈Ch. med.〉 a famous physician
  • 穿山甲 chuānshānjiǎ n. ①〈zoo.〉 pangolin M:²zhī ②〈med.〉 pangolin scales
  • 葫芦[-蘆] ¹húlu* n. ①bottle gourd; calabash ②〈trad.〉 sign of Chinese pharmacists/healers | Bù zhīdào tā ∼ lǐ mài de shì shénme yào. I don’t know what he has got up his sleeve. ③symbol of certain Daoist sages
  • 药囊[藥-] yàonáng n. medicine bag M:ge/²zhī
  • 药草[藥-] yàocǎo* n. medicinal herbs

In Ancient China there was a medicine doctor named “Hua Tuo“. He always carried a calabash filled with medicine bags and medicinal herbs.In modern Chinese culture, there is a animated cartoon called the “Calabash Brothers“, and one of the characters inside of the cartoon is a Pangolin. Calabash Brothers (or Hulu Brothers) was one of the most popular Chinese cartoons of the 80’s and a “Hulu Brothers Movie” was released last year.

LincOn.com – Travel – Chinese phrasebook

Excellent Chinese language introduction. If you’ve every wanted to learn about the Chinese language – read this – about 27 pages. Here’s a brief excerpt.

Writing dates in the Lunar Calendar

If you are attempting to name a date in the Chinese Lunar Calendar, add the words ‘农历’ before the name of the month to distinguish it from the months of the solar calendar, although it is not strictly necessary. There are some differences: The words 日(rì)/ 号(hào) are generally not required when stating dates in the lunar calendar; it is assumed. Besides that, the 1st Month is called 正月 (zhèngyuè). If the number of the day is less than 11, the word 初 is used before the value of the day. Besides that, if the value of the day is more than 20, the word 廿 (niàn) is used, so the 23rd day is 廿三 for example.

15th day of the 8th lunar month (the mid-autumn festival)
(农历)八月十五 ( (nónglì) bāyuè shí-wǔ).
1st day of the 1st lunar month
(农历)正月初一 ( (nónglì) zhèngyuè chūyī).
23rd day of the 9th lunar month
( 农历) 九月廿三 ( (nónglì) jiŭ yuè niànsān).

[From LincOn.com – Travel – Chinese phrasebook]