A Character-Counting Challenge

My recent post on the Wikimedia Commons Stroke Order Project prompted Mark of Toshuo.com to decry the relative dearth of traditional characters being added to the project. To this, David on Formosa reminded Mark that there are also a large number of characters shared by the traditional and simplified character sets.

At this point I’ll interject a visual aid (gotta love them Venn diagrams!):

Simplified and Traditional Characters

All this got me thinking about the following question: If “s” represents the characters …

Obama and Bush on Pinyin News

If you liked Obama as an English teacher, you’ll probably enjoy him as a Chinese/Taiwanese-speaking punny cartoon spokesperson for a Taiwanese vitamin drink with his pal Dubya:

obama_bush

View the entire post (with full explanation of the Chinese and Taiwanese) on the ever-scholarly Pinyin News.…

Deaf, not Dumb: Chinese Sign Language

It’s been a while since I last wrote about sign language, but some interesting YouTube videos by Alice (胡晓姝) recently pulled me back into it.

Below is the video that I found most fascinating. It’s subtitled in Chinese, but worth a watch even if you don’t read Chinese. I’ll sum up the main points in English below the video.

Before I list Alice’s main points, I need to first explain some background. In the video, Alice discusses …

How Taiwan Became Chinese

So I’m caught up these days with an experiment (I hate humans!), work, and now even Christmas. So I decided to just throw up a link.

I found this interesting-looking online book: How Taiwan Became Chinese.

Has anyone read it? Any good? The title smacks of propaganda, but I’m willing to eat a little propaganda every now and then in the name of good education……

The earthquake broke my internet

There was recently an earthquake in Taiwan which destroyed the key nodes in China’s trans-Pacific internet connection. As a result, most traffic between China and the US on the internet has slowed to a near-impossible crawl. Fortunately Google (and Gmail) still work.

This means I won’t be updating this blog much until it’s fixed. It means ChinesePod has quite a headache (our servers are in the US). It means it’s going to be a lot harder to get good material …

Taiwanese Cuisine: Overrated?

Prince Roy in Taiwan:

I consider it one of my biggest tasks to dispel the myth that Chinese food in Taiwan is ‘the best in the world’. It is one that many foreigners living in Taiwan buy into uncritically. For instance, in the No. 5 issue of Taiwanease, Albert Creak, author of the article “In Search of the Pu Pu Platter”, enthusiastically agrees with a guy named Mr. Lin who tells him: “Once you’ve tried the Chinese food in Taiwan,

The 'Please speak Mandarin' T-shirt

please speak mandarin

please speak Mandarin

Some of you may have noticed that when I put up my new Tone Pair Drills I added a new Products section to this website along with it. I’ll introduce one of the items here from various fascinating sociopolitical angles.

The shirt says 请讲普通话 which means “please speak Mandarin” (rather than some other local dialect). The inspiration for this shirt can be seen at countless bus stops all over Shanghai: completely ineffectual “请讲普通话” propaganda. The Shanghainese continue …

Who Wants to be a Patriotic Millionaire?

patriot millionaires

I have this bad habit of randomly sampling Chinese Flash animations and games from time to time. Recently I found this trivia game called 百萬富翁遊戲:愛國版 (Millionaire Game: Patriot Edition). It’s got trivia questions mainly relating to the Opium War and Republican China. I have never been a very good student of history, so between my ignorance and the annoying traditional characters it took me a few tries to win the game. But now I feel confident enough to take on …

Bad Sample Sentences

I’m currently doing some editing work for a Taiwanese book on English. It’s one of those books that takes the most common English words, organizes them alphabetically, then provides a Chinese translation, English sample sentence, and Chinese translation of said sample sentence for each word. Now, since each word only gets one sample sentence, it’s important that the usage in each sentence (1) corresponds to the most common meaning of that word, and (2) provides clear usage of the word.…

LTK video

No one seems to understand why I regularly check out Screenhead‘s offerings. It’s because I occasionally find really good stuff there! I’m not sure if this qualifies as “really good,” but it’s Chinese and it’s interesting.

LTK

LTK video

The video is by LTK Commune, “a well-known Taiwanese ‘underground’ band founded in 1990. Their music has been variously described as having elements of punk, rock, nakasi, Taiwanese folk songs. In recent years band members have self-consciously applied the label …

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