Ice breaking telegram Chinese language

                                              Videos from Youtube Channel: Miaomiao Chinese

Talk - Learn - Discuss, Join Language Plaza

                   Shēchǐ 奢侈:thoughts on Covid

More Newsletters: see 'activity snapshot'

Weekend Chinese word “奢侈 shēchǐ”: luxurious

COVID-19 is not yet completely gone, now there comes a war! The Ukrainian war seems close yet far. Carnival festival is going on, so do the football matches, the night life, and the sun and moon... We ordinary people just need an ordinary life, no 'luxury' - Shēchǐ. The Ukrainian war seems to be a "luxury" that in fact, the ordinary people have to pay for.

The word 奢侈 (Shēchǐ) is an adjective, which means luxurious and extravagant. Learn the word in the following sentences:
1. Tā xǐhuān mǎi shēchǐ pǐn. 他喜欢买奢侈品。
    He likes to buy luxury goods.
2. Búqiè shíjì de mùbiāo, shì shēchǐ de yòuhuò. 不切实际的目标是奢侈的诱惑。
    Unrealistic goals are the lure of luxury.
3. Zhànzhēng shíqí, píngpíngchángcháng de shēnghuó yǐjīng biàn dé hěnshēchǐ.
    In times of war, ordinary life has become luxurious.
Wish we all may live in a peaceful world. (See also the above video 'Shechi')


Chinese characters-2 formation

Most Chinese characters are the combination of the meaning, form and pronunciation of the character and can therefore show more substantive information camparing with the alphabetic script. This is one of the reasons why many people love Chinese characters and the stories behind them. People find Chinese characters amazing and like to learn to write them. Learning to write characters is fun and can help perople to remember and use them. On the other hand, writing Chinese characters demands a lot of practice and perseverance. That is quite challenging. Chinese characters can be classified into four main categories with respect to their basic formation. Click to read more.


Chinese characters-1 evolution

The Chinese characters are one of the oldest writing systems in the world, and are the most used text in the world. Chinese characters have a long history and have had various forms in the development. When and how are Chinese characters being created? More than 13,000 characters are collected in the latest edition (12th, 2020) of "Xinhua Dictionary". There are so many Chinese characters! But, how many Chinese characters do people master on average? Do Chinese characters have any special functions? We'll share our thoughts about these questions with you in this Chinese character knowledge series.  Click for more.


November 11: Singles' Day and Double 11

The thirteenth 'Double 11 shopping carnival' (双十一购物节 Shuāng shíyī gòuwù jié) has just passed. Buy buy buy! Mǎi Mǎi Mǎi 买买买! was for many a must, no reason required. Both Alibaba and JD have reached this year 2021, a new high in turnover. Originally, due to that some campus studented associated the four Arabic numerals '1' with four smooth sticks and so, they named the date November 11 'Singles' Day' Guānggùn jié 光棍节. Click for more.


November: Chinese Thanksgiving Culture 中国的感恩文化

Thanksgiving Day (Gǎn'ēn jié感恩节) is originated from the U.S.A. In 1863, American president, lawyer and statesman Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving as a National Holiday. In 1941, the US Congress officially designated the fourth Thursday of November each year as "Thanksgiving Day." The Thanksgiving holiday generally lasts from Thursday to Sunday. This year (2021), Thanksgiving Day is on November 25. 

China, although does not have a specific day as Thanksgiving Day, has however its own “Culture of Gratitude” (Gǎn'ēn wénhuà 感恩文化). The culture of gratitude in China has a long history. Click for more

October: Double Ninth Festival - with a famous poem of WANG Wei

The Double Ninth Festival (Chóngyángjié) is a traditional Chinese folk festival. The festival is held on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month, in 2021, Chóngyángjié falls on the 14th of October. The "nine – jiǔ 九" number is a yáng 阳-number according to "Book of Changes – I-Jing 易经", and "nine-nine" - two yáng-numbers together, it is hence called "Double Ninth - Chóngyáng 重阳".
The ancients believed that nine-nine (jiǔ-jiǔ) Chongyang was an auspicious day. Click for more

Xinhua Dictionaly - to discuss on October 11, 2021

Today, we’d like to introduce you a small, but very important book that has been developed along with the establishment of New China: Xinhua Dictionary - Xīnhuá zìdiǎn 新华字典”. "Xinhua Dictionary" is the first modern Chinese-Chinese language dictionary in New China. In 1948, five professors of Beijing University gathered in a simple cottage still shrouded in gunfire in Beijing, and discussed about a Chinese dictionary with great enthusiasm and excitement. They know, a small and affordable dictionary is essential for China’s literacy and development. They know that, the literacy rate in China around 1911 is only about 1%... click to read more.


The Mid-Autumn Festival
The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, is also known as Family Reunion Day. According to the Chinese lunar calendar (农历 Nónglì), the lunar 8th, 9th and 10th months make up autumn. The 8th month falls in mid-autumn, and the 15th day is in the middle of the month, hence the name "Mid-Autumn Festival". This is a time when the whole family enjoys getting together to admire the full moon 圆月 Yuán yuè, and to eat delicious moon cakes (月饼 Yuèbǐng).

In 2021, the Mid-Autumn Festival (Zhōngqiū jié 中秋节) falls on Tuesday September 21, click to read more

The Golden Mean 中庸 Zhongyong
When talking about Zhōngyōng 中庸, many people consider that it refers to ‘Don't go to extremes, don’t insist too much, don't offend anyone, take a middle solution – so, stay mediocrity’. But what does the ‘Golden Mean’ really mean? According to the in-depth study of Mr. Hua, a famous scholar and a strict practitioner of Confucianism, the Golden Mean is absolutely not mediocrity but, perfection! The ultimate and unconditional perfection.
Click to read more.


Five ways to improve verbal fluency in Chinese
During our recent forum on 9th August, we did several exercises and tests together to test and train our verbal fluency, the exercises were found very useful. So, we've made a video to share our good practice with you.
Please watch the above video. Hope the exercises would help you to enlarge your verbal fluency.

How to train the verbal fluency in Chinese
Have you ever had such a situation that you just cannot came up with the words you wanted to express at the moment you needed them? Later on, the words come to your mind without any problem. This normally has something to make with your verbal fluency.
Verbal fluency is a cognitive function that facilitates information retrieval from memory (Encyclopedia of clinical neuropsychology). In another words, verbal fluency is the ability to speak smoothly without stopping and hesitating, so by getting the right words at the right time and in the right contexts. The two most common parameters are: 1) semantic fluency and 2) phonemic fluency.
Research of neuropsychology and linguistic sciences suggests several tests in examing the verbal fluency. We would like to try the test and some exercises to improve verbal fluency together with you on Monday evening August 9th, during our bi-monthly forum, welcome to join us. Click here to read the whole article.


Idiom: What and where is the ‘durable knife‘ in your life? - like the life of Cook Ding
Enlightenment of the Chinese Idiom '庖丁解牛Páo Dīng Jiě Niú' from Zhuang Zi 庄子, one of the important representative figure of Taoisme of prior Qin Dynasty. Click here to read the whole article.


The Cultural Circle of Chinese Characters 汉字文化圈 Hànzì wénhuà quān

The Cultural Circle of Chinese Characters (hereafter: CCCC), also known as the Sinosphere, the Sinic world, or the Sinitic world, refers to parts of East Asia and Southeast Asia that have been influenced by China and Chinese Han culture in history. It also refers to the surrounding countries or nations that have been colonized by the Chinese emperor or have made tribute to China in history. It is generally believed that the CCCC includes the following countries: China, North Korea, South Korea, Japan (including the ancient Ryukyu Kingdom), Vietnam, and Mongolia. Click here to read the whole blog.


Chongqing - The Bridge Capital of China

Do you know which city is the largest city of China? Have you heard about its nickname ‘Bridge Capital’ of China?
Yes, it is Chongqing, my hometown Chóngqìng
重庆: a city with cultural appeal and a land with natural beauty!

A hundred years ago on July 1, the Communist Party of China was founded. 100-year has passed, under the leadership of the Party, China has achieved great achievements in all respects and has become a moderately prosperous society. That is a huge contribution to the centenary. I can feel it from the huge changes of Chongqing.

Chongqing literally means: ‘double celebration’, click here to read the whole article.

June: The Dragon Boat Festival, Qu Yuan and Chu Ci 楚辞

Duan Wu Jie 端午节, popular known as Dragon Boat Festival, is one of the top three Chinese traditional folk festivals. The other two are festivals are Chun Jie 春节 Chinese New Year and Zhong Qiu Jie 中秋节 Mid-autumn Festival. These festivals are all ethical festivals that are related to blood relationship. People celebrate with families and normally at home. This year, Duan Wu Jie is June 14, 2021. What do Chinese people do in Duan Wu Jie? What is the origin of this festival? Are there any related books also in Dutch? Please click to read more.

Idioms from 'The Analects'

1. 有教无类     Yǒu jiào wú lèi, Everyone is equal in education.

Confucius was the first person in Chinese history who expanded the learning rights and opportunities to common people. He started the first vocational school to teach people the practical skills, such as archering, carriage riding, accounting and writing, also music and business etiquette. Anyone, who had a sincere learning attitude and paid ten pieces of dried meat as tuition, could follow him to learn.

2. 因材施教    Yīn cái shī jiào   

3. 名正言顺    Míng zhèng yán shùn  

Click for the videos for more explanation.

Gǎnjǐn dǎ - 赶紧打 - Hurry up to get vaccinated

Sichuan Province Health Commission lauched a promotion video this week to call-up for getting vaccinated soon. The rap song is called 'Vaccination Divine Comedy' by netizens and is becoming quickly hot. Watch here the short version of the video, with the subtitling of several phrases.
Click to see the rap song texts in Pinyin, Chinese character and in English.


      Online Forum on June 14, 2021

Confucius, his teaching practice and leadership
Confucius, 孔子Kǒng Zǐ (551–479 B.C.), was a great Chinese Master of Education and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period. Legend has it that he had 3000 disciples. He was a versatile man and with a height of 1,95 meters. How did Confucius build up his knowledge system? With this question in mind, I did my study. Confucius could not seriously start learning until he was 15-year-old. Based on the materials found, I could conclude that Kong Zi mostly did self-study, and he was the first self-taught big education master in Chinese history. Before he was 20-year-old, Kong Zi found himself a white collar job in the most powerful noble enterprise. Before 30, Kong Zi started a vocational school to train his disciples the needed skills to live a better life. Click to read the whole article.(1195 words)
    Confucius was widely considered one of the most important and influential individuals in human history. Confucius's teaching and philosophy form the basis of East Asian culture and society, and remain influential today. If you are interested in Confucius and his leadership, join our Sunbird club activity on Monday evening June 14 to discuss & learn from each other.


May 2021  

Decennial census and the learning of Chinese language and culture

On May 11, 2021 two news came out on the same date: the results of the 7th Chinese national decennial census were announced. China's total population is more than 1411 million, with November 1, 2020 as the reference date. China is still the most populous country in the world. The average age of the Chinese population is now 38.8 years old. The average population of each household is 2.62 persons. Family households continue to shrink.

    Another news from Dutch central television NPO appeared on the same date. It was a talk about the learning of Chinese language and culture. It is reported that more than 260 VWO students at Dutch middle schools took part in the recent exams of Chinese proficiency. Nine years ago, only 20 students did that...
    The speakers of the NOP program let know that their children have been learning Chinese as well, because China is a big and important country and will be more important soon.
Please click here to read the whole post.


May 1, Today in history
Labour Day, 996, and the 1st SEZ in China
-- by Sunbird Chinese Culture Club
May 1, 1890 - the first International Workers’ Day (Labour Day 劳动节Láodòng Jié) was established by the Second International (former International Workingmen's Association) during the Marxist International Socialist Congress 1889 in Paris. There were important demonstrations in 1880s, one severe and bleeding demonstration was the Haymarket Affair in Chicago on May 4, 1886. Workers strongly requested to shorten working hours to eight hours a day. The establishment of Labour Day put universal peace movement forward... Click to read more

Watch the video to see the origin of our Logo

Narration in mandarin
Get English & Chinese texts in Post April 23.

Our Sunbird Logo

Today is the World Book Day. UNESCO established the World Book Day to promote book, publishing and reading. We would like to provide you a short reading material regarding the Sun Bird, the inspiration of our logo. Please watch the above video, listen to the story in mandarin while enjoying the photos. Click here to get the Chinese text, Pinyin text and the English translation.


April 13, 2021: Robert van Gulik

Robert Hans van Gulik (1910 - 1967) 高罗佩 (Gāo Luōpèi) was a Dutch sinologist, orientalist, diplomat, translator, and novelist. He was born in Zutphen. As a son of a medical officer in the Dutch army, he was tutored in Mandarin and other languages from three years old. He studied in Leiden University and obtained his PhD in 1935 from Utrecht University. Robert van Gulik is fluent in 15 languages and was stationed in various countries, mostly in East Asia (China and Japan). His Chinese name is 高罗佩 (Gāo Lúopèi). He made great contributions in bridging Chinese cultures and western cultures. Click on the photo of the poster below to see the details of the online celebration. Click here to read more

April 20: UN Chinese Language Day celebration 联合国中文日



仓 颉 Cāngjié
(~ 5000 BC)

Inventor of original Chinese writing

UN Chinese Language Day is observed globally on April 20 every year, and is celebrated by UNESCO to honour the multilingual culture and diversity. The event was established by the UN Department of Public Information in November 2010. From 2011, April 20 was chosen as the Chinese Language Day to pay tribute to Cangjie, a very important figure in ancient China.
    Canjie is claimed to be an official historian of the Yellow Emperor about 5,000 years ago, and the invertor of Chinese characters. Legend has it that he had four eyes, and that when he invented the characters, the deities and ghosts cried and the sky rained millet. ‘Rain of millet’ in Chinese is 谷雨 (Gǔyǔ). The date of April 20 corresponds to Guyu in Chinese lunar calendar.
    Standard Chinese (Mandarin) was established as an official language of the United Nations in 1946. In 1973, the General Assembly included Chinese as a working language, which was followed by the Security Council in 1974. More and more UN offices and staff members work with Chinese language. Mandarin is also one of four official languages of Singapore. (With material from: Wikipedia)
    Language Plaza will hold an online Chinese cultural evening on April 20, 2021 for members and invitees to celebrate Chinese Language Day.
    Follow-up: The online celebration was successfully held. Contact us if you are interested in the cultural quiz or the presentation.