Enhancing Learning

Exploiting cognition through Semantic Knowledge Management and writing practices


Homophones in Chinese

Chinese has a high number of homophones. This means many words in Chinese have the same or a very similar pronunciation. For example: chéng jì [成绩 ] (result, achievement, success) or chéng jì [承继] (to inherit), with exactly the same tones; guǎn lǐ [管理 ](supervise), guàn lì [惯例] (attend a ritual), guān lǐ [观礼] (officer). Learners…

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Set expressions of four characters 成语

As a child in Italy teachers forbid us to use proverbs. People without critical thinking would use proverbs.  It is a pity, because as all languages also Italian has meaningful proverbs. Chinese pupils, on the contrary, are forced to learn proverbs. The use of proverbs is considered the highest expression of eloquence and wit. I…

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Choosing a language school: instructions

Please note that some language learning books of Chinese publishers sometimes lack of good grammar explanations. 请注意,中国的一些中文图书出版商有时缺乏良好的语法解释。 Enquire about the teacher’s academic degree 关于教师的学历查询。 Language teaching is a complex activity which requires, language knowledge, knowledge of teaching methods, cognition science and psychology. 语言教学是一项复杂的活动,需要,语言知识,教学方法,认知科学和心理学知识。 Enquire about the placement method and ask for the warranty that you…

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Machine translation: Which tool to use?

To quickly translate Chinese texts (e.g. baidu/wikipedia articles) I use following tools: Babylon; rule-based translation engine Google translate; statistical engine Systran. In the following an example of the translation quality of each of the tools. Texttype: popular science article Subject field: philosophy Source: http://baike.baidu.com/view/50208.htm, 22/11/2009 性格(character)是一种与社会相关最密切的人格特征,在性格中包含有许多社会道德含义。性格表现了人们对现实和周围世界的态度,并表现在他的行为举止中。 Here the translation of each of the character: 与…

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How to choose a language course: Vademecum for expatriates

Dear Reader, during my first year in Shanghai I attended Chinese language courses in different private schools. As it often happens, I had good and bad experiences. So, I thought to summarize some advices that could help you to more easily identify the language school that will support your progresses in the learning of the…

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Translation quality

China and translation quality

当碰头 dāng pèng tóu.

Is Chinese difficult?

Chinese spoken language is not difficult. It does not have conjugation of verbs and declinations of adjectives or inflections. Ideograms (called 汉字 hànzì) are the only hard stone in this language. To learn to recognize, or for the most audacious even to write, Chinese characters, you need time and dedication (this means hours spent trying simple and complex…

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my Chinese name

Chinese calligraphy: Figure iceskating on 4 fingers

Equipped with brush, paper, ink and a lot of motivation I had yesterday my first Chinese calligraphy lesson. As any other Chinese (traditional) activity or art expression, this has always seemed to me an easy activity, to be performed in full relaxation. Well, after the first trial lesson I must admit that exercising shūfǎ (the art…

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Books for Conversational Chinese

for Italians: Nuovo Parlo Cinese (Vallardi) for English speakers: Madarin (lonely planet)