Zhi Chinese

The Best from the Web for Chinese Learners & friends

"Watch the predicate"

From Jonathan Lundell: Can’t think of anyone to ask but LL… what on earth does this mean? I know that Nunes’s Monday testimony was coordinated with WH because top WH official told me, “Watch the predicate that is set” by Nunes. — Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) March 24, 2017 The word predicate here is clearly not the grammatical…

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Aphantasia — absence of the mind's eye

You’ve probably heard sentences like this a thousand times:  “Picture it in your mind’s eye”. How literally can we take that? “What Does it Mean to ‘See With the Mind’s Eye?‘” (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic [12/4/14]): Imagine the table where you’ve eaten the most meals. Form a mental picture of its size, texture, and color….

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There’s a wonderful new podcast on linguistic matters that I highly recommend to all Language Log readers. It’s called Lingthusiasm, and it’s appropriately billed as “a podcast that’s enthusiastic about linguistics.” The podcast is co-hosted by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne. You may know Gretchen from her All Things Linguistic blog or her posts on The…

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Cantonese sentence-final particles

Even if you don’t know any Cantonese but listen carefully to people speaking it, you probably can tell that it has an abundance of particles.  For speakers of Mandarin who do not understand Cantonese, the proliferation of particles, especially in utterance final position, is conspicuous.  Non-speakers of Cantonese, confronted by all these aa3, ge3, gaa3,…

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IWTYAL 174: Should I rely on Google Translate?

Yuta asks: “Should I be relying on Google Translate?” Episode Summary: Effective language learning means learning to communicate within your means The problem with relying on Google Translate is that you stop relying on yourself Paraphrasing is a key speaking skill, and you develop it by learning to communicate in spite of a lack of vocabulary…

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Originalism 2.0

An email from Jonathan Weinberg: I’m passing along, for whatever interest it holds, Jonathan Gienapp’s new (to my mind very good) essay on originalism in constitutional law, which I thought you might appreciate.  [(myl) Jonathan Gienapp, “Constitutional Originalism and History“, Process 3/20/2017.] His focus is on originalists’ shift from their initial position that the Constitution…

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"Bare-handed speech synthesis"

This is neat: “Pink Trombone“, by Neil Thapen. By the same author — doodal: Source: Language Permalink: “Bare-handed speech synthesis” Share PostTwitterFacebookGoogle +1Email

Misunderestimation of the month

“Scottish parliament to seek new independence vote despite UK government rebuff“, Reuters 3/22/2017: Holding a non-binding referendum would be damaging, argues Stephen Tierney, Professor of Constitutional Theory at Edinburgh Law School, because it would not provide certainty in a highly divisive situation.   “The central importance of commonly agreed rules and a neutral referee in…

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How Long Does It Take to Learn a Language?

How long did it take you to learn Spanish? How long did it take you to learn Mandarin Chinese? How long does it take to learn a language?
 I get these questions all the time. As a learner of 13 languages, people often want to know just how long it takes to get it all…

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Renaming anonymous

Paula Abul sends in a spooneristic eggcorn: I’ve just come across an eggcorn I’ve never seen before, and thought it might interest you. It is the phrase “who will rename anonymous”, in place of the more usual “remain anonymous”. A cursory Google search shows a fair few instances. Her example is from Kate Allen, “What Your Hairstylist…

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