FIRST OF ALL, NO CLASS NEXT MONDAY DUE TO VETERAN'S DAY. REMEMBER: ANYTIME THERE IS AN NYC PUBLIC SCHOOL CLOSING, WE DO NOT HAVE CLASS.
This past Monday, we reviewed the initial finals and the bo po mo fo table, then did some repetition exercise focusing on lines 5 and 6 of the table on page 5 of your textbook. Following this, I introduced and we repeated all of the COMPOUND FINALS of spoken Mandarin Chinese, located at the top of page 6 of your book. We covered some repetition exercises highlighting subtle and obvious differences between the compound finals, and also between some of the more difficult initial consonant sounds from the right side of our infamous bo po mo fo table (lines 4, 5, and 6). We finished midway down page 7, which is where we will pick up next time.
At the request of one of our students, I started class by teaching you all one very practical sentence -- asking where the bathroom is located in Mandarin:
Ce4 suo3 zai4 nar3?
Ce4 suo3 zai4 na3 li?
I am not going to go over this other than to quickly translate it word for word, because we are still learning the basics of pronunciation and we know nothing yet of grammar or sentence structures in Mandarin Chinese.
The exact translation for this question is as follows:
zai4 = to be located at
nar3 = where [Beijing accent pronunciation using the Beijing favored "er" final sound, which will be explained in Lesson 1 when we get to it in one of the dialogues]
"WHERE" CAN ALSO BE SAID AS [AND IS SAID THIS WAY IN MANY PARTS OF CHINA AND TAIWAN]:
na3 = which
li3 = location [pronounced with a neutral tone in this situation, which we will eventually cover in the next few classes]
Someone also asked about xi3 shou3 jian1, or "washroom," broken down as such:
xi3 = to wash
shou3 = hand
jian1 = measure word for room, which stands in for room in this situation. We will learn what measure words are later in the semester.
Using this term, the question then becomes:
xi3 shou3 jian1 zai4 nar3?
xi3 shou3 jian1 zai4 na3 li?
I will bring a phrasebook with me to class from now on and will try to teach one or more practical phrases at the beginning of each class, time and knowledge level permitting. I mentioned the Tuttle Essential Mandarin Chinese Phrasebook and Dictionary with New Manga Illustrations as my current choice for a fun, interesting, beginner level phrasebook in pinyin romanized Mandarin.
From here, I mentioned that I have decided to reactivate my Cantonese and Mandarin language learning blog, dedicated to the proper pronunciation of syllables and tones for each dialect [spoken language]. My blog can be found at:
I will be pasting each weekly email into a blog entry from now on as soon as I click send, which means that going forward, if anyone misses a class or wants to review everything we covered during a certain period of time or for a certain lesson, whatever, you can reference my blog instead of searching for past emails. Of course, your class's section is the Mandarin I menu tab at the top of the screen.
I also mentioned that I am starting to offer in person and Skype private tutoring specifically focusing on pronunciation and tones for both beginner level Cantonese and beginner level Mandarin. If you are interested, please see the Tutoring tab on my blog and shoot me an email so we can discuss.
This past Monday, we covered the initial consonants and finals explanations and examples on pages 5 through 7. Please review this material in your book and come to next class [in 2 weeks] prepared with any questions about this material. We spent quite a white discussing and repeating after me, the various COMPOUND FINAL sounds of Mandarin. Please pay special attention to the various *, **, and *** footnotes to certain sounds as explained in your textbook on page 6. YOUR HOME WORK IS TO REVIEW WHAT WE COVERED AND TO READ, REREAD, AND RE-REREAD PAGE 6 UNTIL YOU GET IT -- or until you come as close as possible, taking into consideration any confusion you might have at this point in time, since this is all new information for you.
We will pick up next time on page 7 and I intend to cover pages 7 through 11 next class, which will bring us to the end of our whirlwind tour of the sounds and tones of Mandarin Chinese. HOWEVER, since you all know by now that my personal area of interest in teaching this material is the accurate pronunciation of the syllables and tones of Mandarin Chinese, we will continue to return to the basics of all of these initial and final sounds for the entire rest of the academic year -- as they pertain to the pronunciation and tones for each new vocabulary word that we will learn once we begin the actual dialogue lessons in the book. This is another reason I asked you all to please download the video material that accompanies the textbook [now in better resolution and fidelity thanks to the link from San Francisco State University that I sent you all last week]. It will help you all to see the scenes of each dialogue acted out on your computer screen, phone, tablet, TV, whatever as you learn the vocabulary and as you study and review each lesson once we start the dialogues. Plus, watching DVDs is just more fun than reading from a textbook -- at least I think it is...
FINALLY, you should check out the DVD store that I recommended near school and try to get a $1 - $6.99 Cantonese language kids' movie DVD of your choice, making sure with the people behind the counter that they read the packaging and verify for you that it has a Mandarin language SPOKEN language track and English language SUBTITLES. $1 to $6.99 is not a lot for me to ask you to spend, especially since this is a free class, so I want some stories next time, people, from at least a few of you, telling the class what movie you decided to purchase, if you had any issues configuring the language and subtitles on your screen, and if you watched any of the movie, what your experience was like. PLEASE DO THIS.
A HINT FOR FIRST TIME BUYERS OF MANDARIN LANGUAGE DUBBED KIDS' MOVIES ON DVD:
DO NOT USE THE ONSCREEN LANGUAGE OPTIONS MENU TO SELECT THE SPOKEN LANGUAGE. INSTEAD, START THE MOVIE AND DURING THE FIRST FEW SECONDS WHILE IT IS SHOWING THE DISNEY LOGO OR THE PIXAR LOGO OR WHATEVER, USE YOUR REMOTE CONTROL TO CHANGE THE SPOKEN LANGUAGE AND SUBTITLE TRACKS. MOST OF THE MOVIES YOU BUY WILL HAVE 2 OR 3 CHINESE LANGUAGE TRACKS: EITHER 1 OR 2 MANDARIN TRACKS AND 1 CANTONESE TRACK. THEY WILL ALL BE LABELED SIMPLY "CHINESE." USUALLY THE FIRST OR THE FIRST AND SECOND ARE THE MANDARIN TRACKS, BUT NOT ALWAYS. IF THERE ARE 2 MANDARIN TRACKS, AS I MENTIONED IN CLASS, ONE WILL HAVE A BEIJING REGIONAL ACCENT AND THE OTHER WILL HAVE A TAIWANESE ACCENT.
Cantonese and Mandarin sound very different from each other. Make sure you are listening to the correct track! If you are unsure, email me, because I own hundreds of these DVDs and if I have the one you purchased, I will pop mine into my DVD player and tell you which is/are the Mandarin track(s).
Thanks, and SEE YOU ALL IN 2 WEEKS.