murrayjames on August 28, 2014 (0) | reply
She's from Sichuan. We live in Chengdu.
murrayjames on August 27, 2014 (0) | reply
My mother-in-law says “一百岁!” to my daughter whenever she sneezes.

Rules of etiquette vary between cultures... In North America, "Bless you!" or "Gesundheit!" is said even to strangers as a courtesy. In China, expressions like “一百岁!” seem less common with people the speaker is unfamiliar with.

Polite expressions in Chinese (called 客套话) are often different from what we say in the West. If you live in China, you've heard these a millions times, sayings like “辛苦”、 “慢走” etc. Using familial relations for older strangers (阿姨,叔叔, etc.) would be another example.
murrayjames on August 26, 2014 (0) | reply
Grace, any thoughts on this?
murrayjames on August 5, 2014 (0) | reply
Hi Grace, thanks for your reply. I have some follow-up questions though.

If I change the first sentence to: “4月20日是他母亲的生日。他当天就回老家去了。”Is 当天 now pronounced dàngtiān ?

I'm also confused by the second dictionary sentence:

票是当天的。 Piào shì dāngtiān de. The ticket is for the same day.

当天 here means "the same day". Shouldn't this be dàngtiān (not dāngtiān)?
Elementary on August 8, 2014 (0) | reply

1. Yes. “4月20日是他母亲的生日。他当天就回老家去了。”当天 is pronounced dàngtiān ?(That very day/ the same day as in 4月20日)

2.If it means the same day, then it should be pronouced "dàng tiān". :)

murrayjames on August 2, 2014 (0) | reply
hi Oyamakuma,

When I started learning Chinese, I would divide my time into blocks devoted to different activities (reading textbooks, watching Chinese cartoons, listening to podcasts, etc.). This was valuable at the time, because my Chinese was poor and I needed structure.

I don't study that way anymore. Now I live in China and am immersed in Chinese for most of the day. Whether at work, at home, at a restaurant, playing music shows--there's Chinese everywhere. Of course, having Chinese friends, a Chinese wife (and inlaws!) and a job at a Chinese university help a lot.

Here are some other ways I use Chinese throughout the day:

-listening to podcasts at Popup Chinese :-D

-Chinese social media, like 微信, 微博 and QQ

-my computers, cellphone, and most of the applications I use (Microsoft Office, Google Chrome, etc.) are all set to Chinese localization

-correcting my students' homework

-Lang-8 for practice with written Chinese

-flashcards (Anki) periodically throughout the day

-in my spare time I

* play video games (currently 《去月球》)

* read books (currently 《流行音乐与爵士乐和声学》), or

* read articles online (usually from 百度百科 or 维基百科)

For sentences or words I don't know, I use Wenlin on my computer or Pleco (with paid add-ons) on my cell phone. Then I make Anki flashcards for stuff I want to review later.

When I'm confused about a grammar point I usually ask Grace in the forums here :-) There's also John Pasden's fantastic Grammar Wiki:

I'm not sure how much time I spend on Chinese a day! Probably a lot, but I care about frequency more than quantity.
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