Saturday, March 23, 2019

Mandarin I ALESN Class summary and notes from this past Monday, March 18, 2019

Hi Gang,

Another late email. It happens.

This past Monday, we covered:
  • a quick mention of Lesson 3 Dialogue 1's premise and its use of numbers, dates, days of the week, etc.
  • the chart for the numbers from 1 to 99, plus a brief mention of the words for zero and 100 -- on page 70
  • Dates and Time on pages 71-75
We covered a lot with various uses of numbers this past Monday, but at this point, the MOST important thing is that you take the chart on page 70 of your book and mark it in your mind. Memorize it, make sure that you understand the system for using the words for the numbers 1 through 9 and the word for 10 to create all of the rest of the numbers from 11 through 99. I cannot do the work for you. I have presented you with the table and you simply need to memorize it.

How to memorize and work on your progressively faster recall of the numbers so that you can eventually use them comfortably, in real time, when telling time or handling money or counting objects or whatever?

There are all kinds of exercises you can do for yourself, but the 3 that I mentioned in class which worked the best for me when I was first learning my Chinese numbers and telling time were:
  1. Simply telling time -- lots of different times throughout the day -- in Mandarin. Every few minutes, pause and recite the time back to yourself in Mandarin to practice the system that we have learned;
  2. Looking at every license plate as you walk down the street, anytime you walk down any street until you have learned your numbers well, and say to yourself the numbers component of that license place. Be careful to make sure you get it right, check your answers the first few times to make sure you are remembering the vocabulary words, and then go nuts, challenging yourself to say the number portions of as many license plates as possible to yourself while walking down the street from your home to the subway or from your job to lunch or whatever; AND
  3. Grab a page from your company's phone directory, or from any phone book for that matter, and just start reciting phone numbers in Mandarin.  You already "know" the numbers from 0 to 9. Go nuts and try to read as many phone numbers as possible in Chinese before your brain cramps. Seriously, feel your brain start to cramp and then say maybe 3 or 4 more full phone numbers. This is like cranking out extra reps at the gym with a spotter. You are cranking out extra brain reps. Good for your language learning brain -- I promise you -- and good for general cognition, regardless of the subject matter.
If you haven't already, take some time this weekend and work on your numbers using any or a combination of the above 3 suggested methods. Or make up your own fun study routine with the numbers. If you come up with something good that works for you, please share in class this coming Monday.

After discussing the numbers in general during our last class, we took a look at dates, beginning with DAYS OF THE WEEK. Please memorize the first 2 systems on page 72 and be aware of system 3 using the word ZHOU1. This system is mainly for written Chinese, whereas the other 2 systems at the top of this table are for spoken Mandarin.

Next, we covered MONTHS. Remember that in Chinese, the months are named by simply taking the numbers 1 through 12 and adding the word month afterwards. This is similar to the naming of the first six days of the Chinese week (in principle, but with the word order reversed). If you don't understand what I just said, reread it until you do, because this statement will help you to memorize and remember your days of the week and months in Mandarin Chinese.

From here, we briefly discussed the principle of naming things in Chinese in a progression from most general to most specific, and we showed how the word order for Saturday, March 23, 2019 in Mandarin is:


Live it. Love it. Learn It.

We talked about the use of the word LIANG3 for 2 o'clock -- WE DON'T USE THE WORD ER4 FOR TWO WHEN TELLING TIME! We talked about telling exact times using FEN1. Our visitor, native speaker Qian Qian from Taiwan, confirmed various uses of FEN1 when telling time. We talked about the use of KE4 and BAN4 to tell time in 15 minute increments: a quarter after, half past, and three quarters after such and such hour.


We will pick up on Monday with the several non-numbers grammar points on pages 76-77, and then you will break up into pairs or small groups to do the Language Practice exercises on pages 78-82. This will put us in position to begin Lesson 3 Dialogue 2 the following class.

See everyone on Monday.

Best to All,

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