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Using Pinterest to Find New Chinese Resources and Study Methods

I started a I’m Learning Chinese pinterest board quite some time ago, but found that so many of the sites I found while researching the language did not pin well, due to lack of acceptable photos. So, I kind of gave up on it for that particular subject, other than the occasional youtube video. However, a couple of weeks ago, another Chinese pinterest profile, Wordoor Chinese, starting following my board. I’m sure it was a move on their part to get my attention, and it worked. I have repinned some of their pins, and enjoyed the review of reading them as I go. I particularly like some of the jokes, but there are a wide variety of catchy phrases.

This activity also stimulated the pinterest machine itself to note my interest, and I realized that other people studying or teaching Chinese might have boards I could tap into to suit my level and interest. I don’t know why this didn’t occur to me before, as I have extensive boards on other subjects, from crochet to gardening. Now, I intend to use pinterest more on days when I want a quick dose of the language, which can help make-up some for my lack of daily verbal conversation, especially if I make it a point to say a lot of what I read out loud.

I tried going to the website associated with that “profile” that began following me. It seems to be some sort of hub for connecting people who are trying to learn languages, but it didn’t grab my attention enough to look further. Probably because I already have a tutor and some Chinese friends and feel I could interact with them more before going further. At least, that is my choice for today.

Meanwhile, I know that one thing that would be very helpful is some audio of a lot of these saying and phrases. I have already gotten a lot of good practice speaking Chinese from the recordings that my tutor has made for me. I think I will talk to her about recording things to go with these, so that I can hear them and practice saying them with the correct tones! Real estate agents say what is important is “location, location, location.” My tutor says what is important is “tones, tones, tones.” If you have those wrong, you might as well be speaking your own private language, as a Chinese speaker will not understand you.

Next week, I should be ready to publish “How to Catch a Mouse in Chinese.” Until then, here is one of the interesting things I learned from my tutor while studying for writing it:

The word meaning “dormitory” in Chinese is built using a same word that is used to make “chicken coop.” This is because the character they have in common, the second one in each of the Chinese words being talked about here, means “house.” Apparently, the government that took power in Taiwan right after World War II wanted to lay claim to some buildings that were like dormitories, something that was not around there before then. They chose a word to describe the buildings that would make them undesirable to the general population and make it more acceptable to kick out the those who were then living there. Thus, a chicken coop is 雞舍 (ji1 she4), literally “chicken house.” The word dormitory is 宿舍 (su4 she4), meaning a “stay-over-night house.” But, in spite of it being government propaganda, my experience is that the comparison between a dormitory and a chicken coop is not that far off. It is fun connections like this that help me learn the language!

If you are wondering how this all ties in to catching mice, I guess you’ll have to tune in next week.  🙂

(click on photo to enlarge)

A simple study of the Chinese word meaning "chicken coop."

A simple study of the Chinese word meaning “chicken coop.”