08 mars 2008

finally

And finally I start writing stuff in Chinese again. Yesterday, having just about torn up the textbook in frustration with its sappy, sentimental, saccharine-laden texts, and having reviewed and then studied a few paragraphs of 《活着》/To Live (yes, I know, I'm taking a long, long time about it), I decided to see how much I could write and how often I needed to reach for a dictionary to remind myself what the characters were supposed to look like. Well, apart from a few mistakes (including one I seemingly can't stop making:... [Lire la suite]
Posté par bezdomny à 20:04 - - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]

18 février 2008

comfort

One key aspect to studying, and something I've been lacking over this winter holiday, is a comfortable place to study. Even before I decided to all but abandon the university-supplied big box of 麻烦 computer and just plug in the laptop, the computer desk wasn't all that great. Somehow I could never rearrange stuff so that textbook, notebook and dictionary were all within easy reach and view, comfortably useable, and not overlapping each other. I've been trying the coffee table this morning, and apart from the extra... [Lire la suite]
Posté par bezdomny à 11:28 - - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
25 novembre 2007

爹 and 娘

I've been wondering for a while about the origin of the Chinese words 爸 (ba, dad) and 妈 (ma, mum). Why? Well, in films set as late as the sixties the words 爹 (die, dad) and 娘 (niang, mum) are more commonly used. lzh tells me 爹 and 娘 are the older words. But what really got me intrigued is that I have heard 爹 and 娘 used by young people in Yanqing- lzh and her brother tend to use 爹 and 娘 only in specific contexts, and usually use 爸 and 妈, but I've heard some of their younger cousins use them as the default words for dad and mum. ... [Lire la suite]
Posté par bezdomny à 13:21 - - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
10 octobre 2007

music

Another excellent piece from Danwei, this one on ethnomusicology in China. Unfortunately, one thing that's been missing from my experience of Yanqing has been music. Well, sure, several times I've been told I can go and 看戏 (watch the show), and once I did go, but that first time: It was nighttime, but still, everyone who could see me was watching me, and I was the only one watching the show. It was just modern pop music, the kind you can hear anywhere, and which isn't so hugely different from Western pop music, no... [Lire la suite]
Posté par bezdomny à 09:53 - - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
09 octobre 2007

Dazhai Spiritual

Danwei has a great post up about religion at Dazhai. It includes a translation of an article by Li Xiangping called Dazhai Builds a Temple. It's well worth reading, but there was one aspect of that article that grabbed my attention:   There is a pervasive belief in Mao Zedong among the people of Dazhai. A "poor fellow" who had fought with Chen Yonggui against the Langwozhang Gulley told me that he didn't believe in any other gods. He only believed in Mao Zedong. Every year when he venerates his ancestors, he will... [Lire la suite]
Posté par bezdomny à 10:29 - - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
04 octobre 2007

discovering Mozi

First up, a quick note: Unless otherwise stated, all quotations and page and chapter references in this post are from Selected Philosophical Writings of Fung Yu-Lan (Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, 1991). All references to classical Chinese texts, unless otherwise stated, are as recorded in that same book. So yesterday it was Kongzi, today it's Mozi. Actually, I'm supposed to be out picking corn, but something weird happened to me this morning, and I was told to stay home, rest, and 看门, so here I am. It kinda sucks,... [Lire la suite]
Posté par bezdomny à 11:09 - - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
03 octobre 2007

Rediscovering Kongzi

First up, a quick note: Unless otherwise stated, all quotations and page and chapter references in this post are from Selected Philosophical Writings of Fung Yu-Lan (Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, 1991). All references to classical Chinese texts, unless otherwise stated, are as recorded in that same book.  Reading the Analects, I got the impression that Confucius was an arch-conservative of the knee-jerk kind- stuck in a rapidly changing, unstable world, he got all scared and wanted to take everything back to... [Lire la suite]
Posté par bezdomny à 14:03 - - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
23 mars 2007

Beijing or Peking?

Well, I don’t actually want to pose the question. I tell my students Beijing is Beijing; Peking is only used in an historic context. But I always wondered how Beijing got to be called Peking. I always put it down to some ridiculous old system of romanisation, like Wade-Giles or Yale, but now, via this post at Pinyin Info, I have an article which explains it all. Haven’t read it yet, I just downloaded it (bloody pdf files never cooperate with Firefox), but according to the summary at Pinyin Info, we got Peking through a ... [Lire la suite]
Posté par bezdomny à 19:00 - - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
20 mars 2007

nom chinois

For seven years living in China I've managed to get away with not having a Chinese name. I never saw why I'd need one. Still don't. But some Chinese people seem to think it a necessity for us laowai to have a Chinese name. I'm quite happy for Chinese people to mangle the pronunciation of my English name. Anyway, having only once heard my father in law say my name, I realised that maybe a Chinese name would be useful. So I consulted my wife. But I had certain rules about a Chinese name:1: No dorky foreigners' Chinese names. I mean, 大山... [Lire la suite]
Posté par bezdomny à 15:22 - - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]