We have seen Lotus Root 莲藕 (Lián’ǒu) in the Chinese markets in San Francisco on many occasions. In fact, 莲藕 (Lián’ǒu) was part of a scavenger hunt challenge that Laoshi developed for a homework assignment. Laoshi recently returned from a weekend holiday himself and he brought back several 莲藕 (Lián’ǒu) for our cultural lesson.
The school year is coming to a rapid close and everyone is starting to plan their summer vacations. One of my favorite Chinese idioms is 百闻不如一见（Bǎi wén bùrú yī jiàn）which means “Hearing something a hundred times is not as good as seeing it once.” This idiom is similar to the English saying “Seeing is Believing.”
I remember the first time I saw the Great Wall in China.
Qīnyǎn kàn dào chángchéng fāxiàn zhēnshi tàiměile, zhēnshi bǎi wén bùrú yī jiàn。
The Great Wall is truly beautiful and grand. it really is “better to see it once than hear about it a hundred times.”
How did you use this idiom today?
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The 2013 Better Chinese Calendar features all the Chinese and Western holidays rolled into one vividly, illustrated calendar. This year, each month features a Chinese idiom. The calendar contains both Simplified Chinese and English to help the beginner Chinese learner start talking about the days and months of the year.
On April 7-9th, over 1200 folks gathered for the National Chinese Language Conference (NCLC) in Boston. It was my first time going to this event and it was fantastic. I got to meet lots of teachers, visit a Boston public school, as well as enjoy a wonderful gala hosted by the hilarious comedian Joe Wong. My favorite line from the entire conference was
“Isn’t it funny how the Chinese guy is on stage speaking in English and the Americans are on stage performing in Chinese.” – Joe Wong
The world is truly changing and we’re all a part of it.
Here’s a quick summary of what my conference experience was like.
Meili loves projects. For homework to compliment lesson 27 (My Day | 我的一天 from My First Chinese Reader Volume 3), Shawn Laoshi asked her to write a script for a fictional student, 小白 (Xiaobai). She was first asked to write out Xiaobai’s bad habits and the following day, she was asked to write out Xiaobai’s improved habits. Each day she was expected to take a photo of her script and email it for corrections. In class, they worked together on pronunciation and then recorded her reading the final script. Listen to her read Xiaobai_Habits.
We are so grateful for all that you do for this generation of students and giving them the gift of learning and the Chinese language!
Growing up, my Chinese class was less than exciting. As a result, I dropped out quickly and failed to become literate in Chinese.
After working at Better Chinese, I have been floored by the ideas and projects Chinese teachers have for their Chinese language classrooms. Whether it’s having Jay Chou playing in the background before the bell rings or having students call and leave phone messages in Chinese, I love knowing and sharing what other teachers are doing in the classroom.
Here’s what one of a dear teachers recently sent me. It made me laugh out loud. Enjoy!
Hilda Leung, the Mandarin teacher at Brentwood School had her 8th graders recently rewrite the lyrics to Gangnam Style based on our grand ol’ United States of America. The vocabulary is mostly from Discovering Chinese Volume 1 and 2.
The groundhog’s prediction is proving to be correct this year. As spring rolls in and everything starts to bloom, including my allergies, 风和日丽 （Fēng hé rì lì) is an extremely useful Chinese idiom to have in your back pocket. This idiom means “The wind is mild and the sun is bright” and is often used to describe the weather in the spring.
Fēng hé rì lì de tiānqì ràng rén xīnqíng yúkuài.
Warm and sunny weather puts one in a good mood.
Oh, how I love spring.
We love technology and we share our passion with our Mandarin teacher. One session, he asked me to be sure to bring the iPad to class as he wanted to try texting MeiLi. He had come to learn that when she didn’t know a word she would resort to saying “I don’t know” or saying it in English, rather than to struggle to find an alternative word to communicate her thought.
Periodically, Laoshi Shawn will divert from the lessons in the Better Chinese book to focus on pronunciation and tones. Correct pronunciation is very important in Mandarin because the five tones can change the meaning of a word. To further complicate things, Mandarin is a group of related dialects. A northeastern-dialect speaker and a southwestern-dialect speaker can hardly communicate except through the standard, written language (characters), mainly because of the differences in tone. In Mandarin, the most widely-spoken tonal language, many words are differentiated solely by tone, and each syllable in a multisyllabic word often carries its own tone.