April 17, 2006

Learning to flirt in Chinese. By Michael Erard

Learning to flirt in Chinese. By Michael Erard

This comes via Slate.com. I haven't checked into it yet, but will as soon as I finish listening to Dark Star. Sounds a lot like the English radio programming they run in Taiwan.

Ok, checked it. This may be just what I ought to have been looking for. There are opportunities for listening practice all over the place in Taiwan, but the subject matter hasn't done much to hold my interest. At Chinesepod, they discuss culture and language with learners in mind and the folks doing the talking have actual personalities. It's not a laugh riot by any stretch of the imagination, but it's nowhere near as dull as a class at TLI.

The Premium services look quite nice, too (I only know because they give you the premium service free for the first 7 days--just like a crack dealer) If you mouse over the characters, the Pinyin transcription and English translation come up. It's pretty convenient, and would be moreso if the characters weren't the simplified version. In all fairness, though, more people use the simplified characters than the traditional characters used in Taiwan, Macau, and Hong Kong.

Digging a little more deeply, in their Wiki section, there's a page of street signs and their translations. Among others, the Chinese for "please don't disorderly throw away fruit peel paper crumbs," "it's not allowed to spit anywhere," and "gas station, be careful with fire."

Definitely a site to be bookmarked. (Or, even Chipmarked)

1 comment:

Paul said...

Was listening to the program on Chinese Idioms this morning when my lovely wife came back in from dropping our son off at school. Three quick comments in rapid succession: 1)the accent is annoying (Jenny and Karen are from Shanghai and have a very distinct accent, one that is apparently grating to someone who lives in my house). 2)They sound like they don't know what they're talking about;the history of Chinese Idioms is very rich and they're not getting it. It's as if they're reading this stuff from a magazine. 3)It sounds like the first time these two women have worked together. That one who's talking now likes to talk too much. (which, in all honesty, is I think a very funny comment for my wife to make...enough said.) And a bonus complaint: "People named Karen...ugh."