Thesis Crunch and a note on Pinyin Tooltips

My thesis is taking up most of my free time these days. The deadlines are coming real soon and I have a lot of work left to do. (How could I have ever known an experiment would be a lot of work??)

The good news is that I have a pretty good idea of how the paper is going to turn out, even if I don’t have all the particulars nailed down yet, and I think it’s pretty interesting. The bad news is I have to have 30,000 Chinese characters on paper to turn in way too soon!

Anyway, for that reason, over the next month I will probably not be posting as frequently as my usual one post every 2-3 days, and when I do post, they will likely be quickies. Once all this is over, I will have a lot to say about my Chinese grad school experience. But it just wouldn’t be prudent to say too much yet.

On a wholly unrelated note, I finally managed to add javascript tooltips to pinyin on my site, like this: 拼音. The cool thing is that the tooltips are all still in the HTML markup and will work without javascript, but if you have javascript enabled you get the fancy ones. (On the site only, you lazy RSS-reader readers!) Anyone interested on how I did this? I could make it a topic of a future post if there is interest. I have to thank Brad for his help with the javascript, but the specifics can come later.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. So is your thesis going to be going up online once it’s done? I’d be very interested in seeing that. The tooltips, eh, not so much — I assume it’s something similar to the code they used to have on Metafilter.

  2. Greg Pasden Says: February 18, 2008 at 9:04 am

    Best of Luck! I think your wit and positive attitude along with your desire to do well will carry your through.

  3. I am definitely interested in adding this to my blog, since most readers (I think I have 10+ !) don’t know any Chinese at all.
    The basic pinyin popup DOES work with my RSS reader, btw, just not the fancy version.

  4. Personal recommendation:
    Take the following month off and concentrate fully on the thesis!

    Do not forget to reserve 2-3 days for printing and binding. If you do have that buffer you will not need it. If you don’t, well, the printer will only spit out garbage, munches all the paper, and your file is corrupt after the first print attempt. Some corolla of Murphy’s law I guess.

    Also: Do have at least four people correct the thesis, 2 of which knowlegeable in how to write good papers in general and 2 experts for language details. You will find that every single one of them finds other blatant mistakes. There will still be too many of those left after finishing, but you cannot get the number down to 0 anyway.

  5. HI, I’ve read your blog for a long time but never leave any message. Your blog is interesting. Similar to you, I am a Chinese but study outside mainland. I just finished my thesis and submitted it to my faculty two months ago. Now, I am waiting for my final exam. It seems you are very good in Chinese. Will you write your thesis in Chinese? If so, do you think it is difficult? I was required to write my thesis in English and the oral defense also should be in English. This is 相当无奈啊。英语始终都学不好。Anyway, good luck for you and hope you have a successful thesis !

  6. Nobody cares about my tooltips 🙁

  7. I liked the tooltips…

  8. I like the way they have a pointer. You should make the text they’re annotating colour on mouseover Brad. Easier to see the segmentation in action that way.

  9. It would be really cool if the adsotrans plugin let you make pop-ups just like this.

  10. Brad, some people care. What was the tricky bit?

  11. Brendan,

    Not sure if I’ll put it online or not. I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out yet.

  12. @Stephan: OK, I’ll write it up in the future.

    @Henning: Thanks for the tips!

    @Alice: Yes, it’s all in Chinese, at least 30,000 characters.

    @Brad: Everyone likes your tooltips!

    @trevelyan: Brad did the javascript, but I did the CSS. (Ever hear of separation of presentation and content? 🙂 I don’t feel the need to highlight any characters, because 99% of the time it’s just a tooltip for one word or short phrase, sitting in a sea of English. I might consider it, though.

  13. @Oren: There actually wasn’t anything tricky about it … I searched google for “pretty tooltips” and found some good code at the first result. The original code was meant to display titles and urls for links, so I just added a getElementByClass function and adjusted it to work with John’s setup.

  14. John,

    Do you realize you wrote this post exactly 2 years to the day after the Adding the pinyin quicktag in WordPress post?

  15. Henning Says: April 4, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Hi John,
    can we congratulate already or is it still in the keep-the-fingers-crossed-phase?

    All the best

  16. Feds,

    That is CrAzY!

  17. Henning,

    I’m not too worried, but no, it’s not over yet…

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