Friday, November 23, 2018

ALESN Monday Night Cantonese I class summary and notes 11/19/18 class -- sorry for slight delay

ALESN Monday Night Cantonese I class summary and notes 11/19/18 class -- sorry for slight delay

Fri, Nov 23, 2018 at 12:48 PM

Hi Gang,

Sorry for my slight delay in sending this email and posting it on the blog. As a reminder, my blog can be found at There you will find entries summarizing our class so far this year, as well as much of the same class as I taught it last year during the 2017-2018 academic year (until February, when I needed to take a break from teaching).

This past Monday, we covered the syllable finals (vowel sounds of spoken Cantonese) as presented in the table at the top of page 12 in your text. We went over the short and long A (a and aa) family vowel/final sounds for a Cantonese syllable; the E family final sounds; the EU family final sounds; the I family sounds; the O family sounds; the U family sounds; and the YU family sounds (almost identical to the "umlaut U" type sounds in Mandarin). It took our entire class to go through this table, and though it might have been a bit mind numbing for some of you, everyone did a good job of sticking with it and pronouncing the sounds when it came time to repeat.

I know that it is the holidays, but it is a shame for those of you who missed the class, because this stuff is THE MOST IMPORTANT MATERIAL THAT WE HAVE COVERED SO FAR. I know that some of you emailed me beforehand to let me know that you would be missing class, but for the rest of you, it is a shame that you missed this stuff, because unless you learn it on your own and really pay attention in class going forward, your Cantonese pronunciation has a real potential to suck for the rest of the year.

No joke. It is just the way it is. Sorry not sorry.

I can only show up and teach this stuff to the best of my ability. If some of the class doesn't attend for whatever reason other than those who emailed me in advance to tell me, well, I can't control that, and you all already know that this is not the kind of class where I am going to hold your hands and repeat this stuff forever.

We will spend the entire class this coming Monday reviewing this same material, because it is THAT important, and I hope to see more of you in class on Monday.

If not, I am telling you -- your Cantonese pronunciation will absolutely suffer for the rest of the year. This is stuff that you have to learn, and if you haven't already quit my class, you need to attend for the next few weeks -- even if you think I am covering dry, boring stuff. I have ZERO patience for students who decide to sit out the intro pronunciation and tones lessons and then expect to rejoin the class a month later and just jump into conversation. If I see that happening, that students who have missed much or most of the pronunciation units are suddenly back in class once we start covering more traditional textbook dialogues in December, and if I hear that your pronunciation as suffered due to your absences, I am going to be very vocal about it. Just a heads up.

Which brings me to something very important:

PLEASE LET ME KNOW VIA EMAIL IF YOU HAVE QUIT THIS CLASS. It is no problem and I will never judge anyone for quitting this class for whatever reason, but please let me know so I can remove your names from the class email list going forward. Thanks in advance.

I am going to hold off commenting on what I covered in the table on page 12 until next week's email, because in addition to quickly reviewing the pronunciations of all of the items in the table, vowel family by vowel family, we are going to plow through the supporting material on pages 12 through 22 this coming Monday as well. It will be better for me to wait to comment on pronunciation of the syllable finals until I have covered the way the textbook explains the material.

This will set us up to spend the following class (in 2 weeks) covering Culture Notes and some grammar points on pages 22-26 and then doing lots of different exercises on pages 26 through 30, as well as reviewing the vocabulary that we have covered in the book so far for our initial dialogue about a case of mistaken identity.

Lesson 2 will continue to point out some pronunciation and tones concerns, but will start to introduce a more typical, less" basic building blocks" approach to the lessons from that point forward. From lesson 2 onward, we will introduce some basic vocabulary; then go through the buildup to a new dialogue; then review the dialogue; then have everyone break into groups and run the dialogue; then point out some grammar notes; and finally do a bunch of varied exercises as a class, with a lot of repetition and me calling on students to complete sentences, etc., as we finish out each chapter/lesson.

Thanks to everyone who attended this past week and I look forward to seeing you all this coming Monday. Again, please let me know via email if you have quit the class.

Best wishes to All,


Ah -- crap -- I forgot to mention:

I have been told by a student from the Mandarin class this past Monday that the infamous DVD store relocated approximately 1 week ago to a new location on Grand Street between Eldridge and Allen, closer to Allen somewhere near that corner. The student did not explain to me whether it was on the north or south side of Grand street on that block. I apologize for any confusion that the previous location's closing might have had on those of you who emailed me a week and a half or two weeks ago asking where the store was located, but since the store didn't start moving until approximately 1 week ago, it should have been at the previous location and open for business during the entire time that I described it to you, including on the day when I sent my slightly angry email.

Quite a few students purchased Dragonball Z and all kinds of other really cool kids' and even regular TV drama series DVDs at the original location -- and I hope that more of you will visit the new location, once we determine where it is, to purchase a $1-8 DVD that you can watch over and over again for the rest of the year as you learn some basic Chinese.

Best wishes to all!

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